News & Blog

Leaving Millions to the Cats and Dogs

While the notion might seem absurd, many wealthy people and celebrities have named their pets in their estate plans. Designer Karl Lagerfeld, who died at age 85 in February 2019, wrote his beloved cat Choupette into his will four years before his death. The Burmese cat inherited a chunk of the fashion icon’s estimated $300 million net worth. However, the cat was already independently wealthy...
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When Can the Wrongly Incarcerated Recover Money Damages?

Imagine being wrongly convicted then imprisoned for years or decades, knowing that you are completely innocent. By a seeming miracle, however, some wrongfully incarcerated prisoners are released through the discovery of new evidence, such as DNA, or when the police catch the real perpetrator. In 1993, Anthony Wright of Philadelphia was sentenced to life for a crime he never committed — the rape and murder...
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How a Senate Post-Impeachment Trial Differs from the Usual Court Trial

The “Rules” of the Impeachment Trial Can Be Changed At Anytime The first “rules” governing a Senate conviction trial were written in 1868 for the impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. The rules were updated after the Watergate scandal and President Nixon’s resignation. The Senate then updated the Rules in 1986, which were used for President Bill Clinton’s 1999 Senate trial. However, the Senate can change...
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California’s New Criminal Justice Laws

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed more than 1,000 new laws. Most will take effect in 2020. These are the major new laws affecting law enforcement and criminal justice. Starting on September 1, 2020, AB 12 expands who can petition a California Superior court to confiscate a person’s firearms if they believe that person may be violent to employers, coworkers and teachers. Existing law allowed police, immediate...
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A Christmas Gift for California Employees? Mandatory Arbitration Agreements Soon To Be Illegal

Many employees hired in California are forced to sign something called an Arbitration Agreement or an employment contract containing an arbitration clause. These arbitration agreements are usually presented to new hires. The message is clear: sign this or you won’t get the job. The California Legislature has now banned these mandatory arbitration agreements. On January 1, 2020, California employers will no longer be able to...
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Fact or Fiction: Attorneys Can Be Sanctioned for Insulting Opposing Counsel and Parties

This is a fact! One California lawyer faces sanctions in federal court for a shocking variety of vulgar insults sent via email to opposing counsel for Allstate Insurance Company: “Haha. F- – – you crooks. Eat a bowl of dicks….” “I understand the position you are in,” Hook replied. “I’m going to let the long dick of the law f- – – Allstate for all of...
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California Passes Nation’s Strongest Law Protecting Consumer Privacy

Soon, California consumers will have the strongest data privacy laws in the country on their side. Although the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 was passed in 2018 (AB 375), it will take effect on January 1, 2020. If the state legislature hadn’t passed the bill, the issue would have been deferred to a ballot initiative, which was widely considered a much more extreme version...
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Fact or Fiction: A Federal Appeals Courts Ruling Protects the Homeless from Criminal Prosecution

This is fact! At least in most of the Western states. Most people have heard of the seemingly unsolvable homeless crisis in California. It’s gotten so bad in San Francisco that in 2014, software engineer Jennifer Wong created the site Human Wasteland to record and map feces-related 311 complaints. 311 is the customer service phone number for the City of San Francisco. Wong was trying to bring...
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FTC Releases New Rules for “Influencers” aka Instagram “Celebrities”

Did you know that social media “influencers,” many on Instagram, can command thousands (some even with millions) of followers can make up to $1,000 per POST? Advertisers pay these social media “influencers” to use, wear, or praise their products in social media posts. “Micro” influencers with 6,000 to 10,000 followers can even make up to $88 per post. Influencers with 50,000 to 80,000 followers can...
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Congress Passes First EVer Federal Law to Criminalize Extreme Animal Cruelty

What Are “Crush Videos?” They are usually videos that how women using high heel shoes or bare feet literally crushing, stomping on, or impaling small helpless animals. Many such videos are made to satisfy viewers with a bizarre sexual fetish. In 1999 Congress enacted a federal law, 18 U.S.C. §48, that banned trafficking in “depictions of animal cruelty.” But in April 2010, the U.S. Supreme...
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