June 19, 2019: Unbelievably, it has been over a year since our last post on our website. A lot has occurred since June of 2018 till now. We have received substantially more phone calls, emails and potential clients filling out our online “new client” forms and have taken on a lot more cases. We do our best in this initial “intake” phase to read and listen to the details of the matter, analyze what we think are the most important legal issues, and give the potential client meaningful feedback. It takes a little extra time and effort to do it this way, rather than simply say no or not answer at all, which we would never intentionally do, but there is a purpose for it. Unfortunately, we simply cannot help everyone. Likewise, not everyone that contacts us has, what we determine, to be legitimate claims that we can ethically stand behind. However, we do what we can to always respond with courtesy and go the extra mile to give some sort of thoughtful feedback. At least they walk away somewhat better off than they came. We do that intentionally because that is what any one of us would also want in the client’s shoes. As a courtesy, we thought it might be a good idea to simply lay it out here so potential clients can get a sense of how a lawyer thinks.
Some Reasons Why the Lawyer did not take your case:
- No legitimate claim. Simple. Our firm will only represent clients with meritorious claims. There is often confusion around what is unpleasant or mean or even unfair vs. what is unlawful. The most common version of this occurs in employment law when an employer / supervisor / coworker is being a “bully” and a “jerk” but is not necessarily breaking a discrimination law under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (the FEHA) standards. Being a mere jerk is not enough. However, do not be discouraged from contacting an attorney if you feel you might have rights. Often, an experienced employment attorney will go down multiple avenues to make sure he/she has covered other issues before getting off the phone with you. There have been several occasions where the client called our office about one area of law, but through conversation, we discovered other significant violations that we could act upon.
- Claims are tenuous. Sometimes claims are “borderline” or “wobblers”. It could be unclear whether laws were being violated or not. The most common manifestation is called a “mixed-motive” claim that raises both legitimate reasons for adverse employment action as well as unlawful ones. In that case, the busier the lawyer, the less likely he/she will take on a “mixed-motive” case. You can always contact other lawyers or ask for a referral. Usually, you should be able to get a few other referrals and figure out what you want to do after getting some well rounded feedback. Just because one lawyer turns you down doesn’t mean it’s over. Go ahead and talk to a few more and get a second opinion.
- The defendant is insolvent / a small employer. What good is it to have legitimate claims if the other party has no way of paying you at the end of the day? That’s the sad reality check. If the defendant is prone to bankruptcy or have little to no assets, they might be what is known as “judgment proof”. One hint under employment law is when the employer has trouble making payroll. In a personal injury matter, sometimes it’s when they have a “vintage” automobile and a minimum policy. However, “pleading poverty” is a common defense tactic for this very purpose. Defendants like to threaten bankruptcy in hopes to scare off aggressive plaintiffs. There are times when the defendant has pled poverty and we knew they had assets and so it did not have the desired effect the defendants were hoping for and we ultimately got what our client rightfully deserved.
- Difficult Client. There might be legitimate claims, perhaps even a Fortune 500 defendant with deep pockets, and everything in the case lines up. However, if the client is difficult and the attorney foresees that it will be twice the work battling both opposing counsel and his own client, he/she may just pass. This is not to say it is all the client’s fault or that there is any fault to be had. However, sometimes personalities just don’t mesh well. It is hard enough battling with the other side who has a legitimate cause to fight you and all the stress and work that goes into pushing a case forward. Having to also fight with your own client is something no lawyer wants to do. After all we are supposed to be on the same team.
There are other reasons that could have been listed but I believe I’ve covered the most common. Hope this is helpful. Cheers!
For additional questions, contact Joshua Lee, Esq.by going online to his website at: www.lawandevidence.com.
June 12, 2018:The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division 7, California in Charles Lee v. Dynamex Operations West, Inc. reversed trial court’s decision to deny Lee’s motion to compel and motion for class certification and remanded to the trial court to issue a new order compelling Dynamex to provide the requested discovery. Furthermore, Lee is to recover his costs on appeal. In relevant part, this is a big decision regarding the independent contractor status. The court stated:
“Individual workers generally possess less bargaining power than a hiring business and may face pressure to accept work for substandard pay and working conditions,” Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said in the unanimous decision, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
Dynamex v. Superior Court is a landmark case that is redefining the way California businesses will differentiate employees from independent contractors through a newly adopted “ABC Test.” The three-pronged test stems from a similar test used in Massachusetts and New Jersey, and states that a worker is properly classified as an independent contractor when the employer can prove up the following:
- That the worker is free from the control and direction of the hirer in connection with the performance of the work, both under the contract for the performance of such work and in fact;
- That the worker performs work that is outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business; and
- That the worker is customarily engaged in an independently established trade, occupation, or business of the same nature as the work performed for the hiring entity.
All three parts of the ABC Test must be met in order for independent contractor classification to be deemed accurate and lawful. Also, the key note is the employer retains the burden to prove all three elements. In Dynamex, the Supreme Court concluded that the “B” and “C” qualifications had not been met by the company because common proof existed that (“B”) the work of the drivers was part of the company’s core business and (“C”) the drivers worked only for Dynamex and did not have employees of his own.
January 31, 2018: More and more states are allowing for medicinal marijuana use. California has followed Colorado and starting January 2018 is now also allowing recreational use as well. However, the laws have not quite caught up and real life enforcement is still a possibility. Consider that Cannabis is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug (highly addictive with no medicinal value) under the Federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) (21 U.S.C. § 811). The is the reason why even in states with medicinal marijuana laws like California, doctor’s may not “proscribe” the use of marijuana but can only “recommend” it. It is still illegal “technically”. Federal laws always supercede State. For employers, it needs to be well thought out how to address marijuana use in the workplace. For employees, you should not expect that you can assert your medicinal nor recreational use of marijuana in the workplace. After all, alcohol is legal but your employer may still terminate you for drinking on the job.
December 21, 2017: Another great year for the firm. We are blessed to have wonderful relationships with trusted, ethical, caring and experienced doctors who treat our clients like family. We have clients who appreciate the work that we do. Most of all, we have a great team. We give thanks for all that we have. We give thanks for another year of experiences from which we may learn and grow better next year. We opened our Huntington Beach location. We added an attorney to litigate some of our employment and personal injury cases. Our Office Manager took on the role of Case Manager for our personal injury clients. We look forward to an even better 2018. From everyone at our office to you, we wish you all a wonderful blessings Christmas was meant for and a joyous and happy New Year.
August 12, 2017: Every year, the Kingdom Dreamer Scholarship Foundation, founded by members of Sarang Community Church in Anaheim, California, gives away hundreds of thousands of dollars to college students who show a dire need, an authentic life purpose to serve others, and who will actually be able to fulfill their dream if awarded the scholarship. In the past, our office has actually been part of the very rigorous selection process. This year, our office is humbled by being included amongst many other generous donors and local businesses who likewise share the vision of the future and see the value in investing in those students who seek to do the most good in our world. We know our small contribution will go to a well deserved student who will help make this a better place for others.Check out the great many local donors and businesses who contributed to the fund.
July 11, 2017: Our office is honored and proud to be featured for the 2017 Fullerton Small Business Excellence Award in the area of Business Law.
June 15, 2017: Attorney Todd Nevel won a unanimous jury trial to the tune of $17.4 million for his sanitation worker client, James Pearl who was taunted by his coworkers because of his “perceived homosexuality”. Discrimination based on sexual orientation as well as “perceived” sexual orientation, race, disability, or other protected class is nonetheless unlawful despite the person not actually belonging to the protected class if the discrimination occurred due to the perception of belonging to one.
May 16, 2017:
STATE BAR ANNOUNCES RESULTS OF FEBRUARY 2017 CALIFORNIA BAR EXAMINATION
Contact: Laura Ernde
SAN FRANCISCO, May 12, 2017 6 p.m. – Today the State Bar of California released the results of the February 2017 California Bar Exam, and announced that 1,532 people (34.5 percent of applicants) passed the General Bar Exam. If those applicants satisfy all other requirements for admission, they will be eligible to be licensed by the State Bar to practice law in California. The February bar exam generally has a lower pass rate than July.
“I’d like to congratulate the applicants who passed the Bar Exam,” said Elizabeth Rindskopf Parker, Executive Director of the State Bar of California. “Regrettably the pass rate shows a continuing decline, a trend happening nationally. The State Bar is committed to a better understanding of the problem to determine how to address it.”
The State Bar is undertaking a series of studies into the bar exam. The initial phase of the standard setting study, which examines the cut score, begins on May 15.
Preliminary statistical analyses from the February 2017 General Bar Exam:
- 4,439 applicants completed the exam
- 1,153 (26.0 percent) were first-time applicants
- The passing rate for first-time applicants was 39.0 percent overall
- 3,286 applicants were repeat applicants
- The passing rate for repeat applicants was 33.0 percent overall
Passing rate (rounded to whole numbers) by law school type:
|California Accredited (but not ABA)||18%||15%|
|Unaccredited Distance Learning||18%||7%|
The General Bar Exam is given in February and July each year. The exam consists of three sections: a multiple choice Multistate Bar Examination (MBE), six essay questions, and two performance tests that are designed to assess an applicant’s ability to apply legal knowledge to practice tests. For the February 2017 administration of the examination, the mean scaled MBE score in California was 1379; the national average is 1341.
The applicants not included in the above totals were attorneys admitted in other states who either chose or were required to take the General Bar Exam, attorneys admitted in foreign jurisdictions, law students in the Law Office / Judge’s Chambers Study Program, or law students who qualified to take the exam through four years of law study.
The Attorneys’ Examination consists of the essay and performance test sections of the General Bar Exam and is open to attorneys who have been admitted to the active practice of law and are in good standing for at least four years in another U.S. jurisdiction. Of the 375 attorneys who completed the Attorneys’ Examination, 167 (44.5 percent) passed. Twenty-two were disciplined attorneys who took the exam as a condition of reinstatement; three disciplined attorneys passed.
More detailed statistics about examination results will be available in approximately three weeks and on the State Bar website: calbar.ca.gov.
Successful applicants who satisfy all other requirements for admission may take the Attorney’s Oath individually beginning May 22, or participate in admissions ceremonies held throughout the state in June.
Once applicants have met all admission requirements and taken the Attorney’s Oath they are licensed to practice law in California and their names will appear on the State Bar website via the attorney search.
The State Bar of California is an administrative arm of the California Supreme Court, protecting the public and seeking to improve the justice system since 1927. All lawyers practicing law in California must be admitted to the State Bar.
March 10, 2017: Iceland becomes the first country in the world to make employers prove they offer equal pay for women. http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2017/03/08/iceland-require-firms-prove-equal-pay/98906702/
February 17, 2017: Michele Coyle, the former chief campus counsel at University of California Riverside from 2006 to 2012, was recently awarded $2.5 million by a Riverside jury. The jury concluded that University officials fired her out of retaliation when she reported the “rampant gender discrimination” she and other females were experiencing. Instead of investigating Coyle’s claims, they fired her one week before a federal “equal opportunity” audit was scheduled. Therefore, Coyle claimed that UC officials retaliated against her because she refused to comply with their discriminatory practices or whitewash the facts.
Coyle claimed that the Gender Discrimination she and other women experienced included:
- Dallas M. Rabenstein, the UC Riverside Executive Vice Chancellor, allegedly preferred hiring, promoting, and increasing the salaries of men over women.
- Rabenstein intentionally lied about the salary differences between his male and female employees in a federal audit.
- Rabenstein refused to accommodate the needs of female employees who were mothers of young children.
- Rabenstein referred to some females as “biddies”.
- Rabenstein referred to females asking for raises as being overly aggressive.
The jury ruled that university officials indeed violated the state labor code and the state Fair Employment and Housing Act. This is just the tip of the iceberg.
February 1, 2017: California Equal Pay Act / California Fair Pay Act (SB358) as established by Governor Brown, took effect January 1, 2016. Read more about it here. http://www.dir.ca.gov/dlse/California_Equal_Pay_Act.htm. There were numerous changes to the Equal Pay Act which created tremendous rights for the plaintiff. The most critical are enumerated on the Department of Industrial Relations website as follows:
- Requiring equal pay for employees who perform “substantially similar work, when viewed as a composite of skill, effort, and responsibility.
- Eliminating the requirement that the employees being compared work at the “same establishment.”
- Making it more difficult for employers to satisfy the “bona fide factor other than sex” defense.
- Ensuring that any legitimate factors relied upon by the employer are applied reasonably and account for the entire pay difference.
- Explicitly stating that retaliation against employees who seek to enforce the law is illegal, and making it illegal for employers to prohibit employees from discussing or inquiring about their co-workers’ wages.
- Extending the number of years that employers must maintain wage and other employment-related records from two years to three years.
Damages are greatly strengthened as well. The California Fair Pay Act strengthens California Labor Code 1197.5, giving it more teeth and allowing for the recovery of the difference in illegal wage disparagement between the genders, interest, and attorney’s fees, but also liquidated damages which effectively doubles the recovery. You could potentially trigger Private Attorney General’s Act (PAGA) along with the discrimination claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act. By paying female employees less, the employer is inviting a slew of claims not typically found with any other labor code violation. See a recent case here where Farmer’s Insurance paid out $4m to it’s female attorneys who were paid less for no justifiable reason other than gender. http://www.latimes.com/local/abcarian/la-me-abcarian-discrimination-settlement-20160624-snap-story.html
January 9, 2017: Finalized are our new flyers to be seen at local retailers near you soon. Find them at “Pho House” on Beach Blvd. in Buena Park, “Flower Pig” AKA “Kote Deji” Korean bbq restaurant on Rosecrans, “Ahoy Cleaners” in the city of Bellflower, MC Art Hair Salon in La Habra and some other fine businesses. Law Office of Joshua Y. Lee flyer for 2017 and Law Office of Joshua Y. Lee flyer 2017 2.
December 22, 2016: Our office is proud to be ranked in “Three Best Rated”
December 17, 2016: Our office practices Employment Law (Wage & Hour and Discrimination and retaliation under the FEHA), Personal Injury (auto accidents) and Business formation & transactions / contract law. We do not practice bankruptcy. However, you should know that if you were involved in a lawsuit as a plaintiff for damages when you filed for bankruptcy, you MUST list the lawsuit as a “contingent and unliquidated asset/claim” in your bankruptcy filings. The nature of how to report it may be determined by the type of filings you are making and speaking with your attorney. This is best handled in collaboration with your bankruptcy attorney and the counsel of your pending lawsuit. This includes any malpractice, employment, or personal injury claims you might have. The potential for recovery makes lawsuits an itemized asset you must tell the bankruptcy courts about. Failure to disclose carries severe penalties and possible criminal prosecution. If your attorney has failed to fully disclose this requirement it might be cause for malpractice. The good news is, even if you forgot or neglected to report it and then later want to make a correction, you need only to file an amendment to your filings. If your bankruptcy attorney specifically instructed you incorrectly NOT to list your lawsuit, it would be wise to find other counsel as there is an actual conflict of interest at that point and amending the bankruptcy is probably best done with new counsel.
July 1, 2016: In the state of California, minimum wage is currently $10.00 per hour. However, for employers with more than 25 employees in Los Angeles county, including unincorporated parts of Los Angeles, parts of Pasadena, and Santa Monica, minimum wage increased to $10.50 today. Further, the state minimum of 3 days of sick leave increased to 6 days today as well. Smaller business must comply by next year. Under current laws, minimum wage is expected to rise to $15 per hour by 2020.
June 30, 2016: We launched “What’s new”, a page designed to give general updates on changes in our practice areas, relevant laws regarding the specific areas of practice that matter to our clients, and other news that might be useful.
June 29, 2016: On our Facebook page, Law Office of Joshua Y. Lee made this announcement: “Law Office of Joshua Y. Lee will no longer practice Estate Planning. After careful consideration, it just made more sense to pour our resources into our main practice area of employment Law, grow our steadily increasing personal injury, and our stable business transactions practice areas. We have two excellent referrals for any potential clients who are located in Fullerton and specialize in Elder Law as well as in Irvine who provide all sorts of complex advice for business owners. Thank you.”
January 1, 2016: Our office officially dropped the “& Associates” from our name.
Tel: (714) 616-4466