Berkeley Balcony Collapse – Complaints Filed in Alameda County Superior Court – Culligan v. Black Rock, Inc

domainweb_headerComplaints were filed in Alameda County Superior Court this week to initiate negligence actions involving the recent deadly Berkeley, California balcony collapse.

A news article from the Bay Area News Group about the litigation can be read here.

For anyone interested in the causes of actions surrounding this incident, one of the complaints related to the disaster, Culligan v. Blackrock, Inc., RG1593019, can be read here – culliganvblackrock_acsup_complaint_rg1593019

The Alameda County Superior Court on-line public court records are kept behind a paywall.  But for the first week, new filings can be viewed without cost on the DomainWeb database.  A listing of documents with links can be can be viewed under the “Public Documents” link on the webpage.


Searches for information by case numbers are always available at no cost on the system.  Reading full text of the filings does require an on-line account and payment.

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US Supreme Court Landmark Cases – C-SPAN’s Fall Television Series

C-SPAN’s Fall Television Series

C-SPAN’ s new television series Landmark Cases  – explores the human stories and constitutional dramas behind some of the most significant and frequentlyLogo_cspan_landmarkcases cited decisions in the United States Supreme Court’s history.  This 12-part series delves into cases that represent some of the tipping points in our nation’s story and in our evolving understanding of rights in America.

Produced in cooperation with the National Constitution Center, each 90 minute program will air live on C-SPAN and C-SPAN3 on Monday nights at 9pm ET, the series started on October 5, 2015 and will continue through December 21, 2015.

 FredKorematsu_sTonight’s showing (November 9, 2015) will be on the case, Korematsu v. United States (1944) in which the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 vote, upheld the government’s forceful removal of 120,000 people of Japanese descent, 70,000 of them U.S. citizens, from their homes on the West Coast to internment camps in remote areas of western and midwestern states during World War II.

Oakland Art Association – Exhibit – ACLL Oakland

The Oakland Art Association will have a display of members’ artwork at the Alameda County Law Library, 125 12th Street, Oakland, CA from November 9, 2015 to January 4, 2016.

See flyer for more information.


Fee Agreement Forms Manual – Reference Review

Fee Agreement Forms Manual – A Review

By C. X. Berber

A new (to me) legal, ready-reference resource: Fee Agreement Forms Manual (KFC/77.5/ F43/ P52/2007 — Reference), is published by the Continuing Education of the Bar (CEB).  Although this resource is in the midst of the ready-reference section and I’ve probably laid eyes on it every day I’ve worked here, when the page updates came in I realized I wasn’t familiar with it. I took the time to find out what exactly this book would be used for.

fee_forms_agreement_imageThis is a manual of forms with sample contracts for client-lawyer agreements, for use by lawyers. These forms can be used as-is, or as a template for creating one’s own form. Subjects covered are Business, Civil, Bankruptcy, Criminal Debt Collection, Elder Law, Estate Planning, Limited Scope Representation, Marital Dissolution, Medical Malpractice, Personal Injury, Probate, Unlawful Detainer, and Wrongful Termination.
At the end is a chapter of letters for non-engagement, and completion of representation. The final chapter, “Statutes and Rules”, has the text for pertinent sections of the California Business and Professions Code and Rules of Professional Conduct discussed in Chapter 1. The Tables of Statutes, Regulations and Rules contains all the codes used in the manual listed under code titles, and refers the user to the pertinent section of the manual. The volume is indexed.

ONLAW_icon-80The format is in 8-1/2” x 11” size binder for easy copying. It is also available online, through our OnLAW subscription database. As this is a reference item, it can only be used in the library. There are copy machines available in the library for your convenience.

The forms manual is current, and the loose-leaf filing is up-to-date. This manual is cited as 2d ed Cal CEB.

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Alameda County Law Library – Hayward – Attorney After Hours Privilege Program

ACLL Hayward – After-Hours Privilege Program

Alameda County attorneys can pre-register for the privilege of using the resources at the Alameda County Law Library Hayward South County Branch outside normal operating hours.  The library is located at 224 W. Winton Avenue in Hayward, next to the Hayward Hall of Justice.

Participants who are members of the California Bar in good standing and are registered ACLL users (also in good standing) can have access to the ACLL’s computers with premium databases including WestlawNext, Lexis Advance and CEB’s OnLAW, and the library print holdings, in the evenings or over the weekend.

With the help of the staff at the Hayward Police Department next door, registrants are issued temporary building and library door keys at the Police Department desk. By using their ACLL borrower number (found on their ACLL issued library card), they can sign onto the library’s PCs. Links to the legal and other databases are found on the computers’ Home page.

Here are the basic requirements:

WHO: Members of the California State Bar who are registered ACLL attorney borrowers in good standing. No fines can be outstanding.

COST: $50.00. The annual registration fee is due at the beginning of each calendar year. Fee is payable by cash, check, or credit card.
• No partial payments for registration after the first of the year.
• No pro-rating of annual fee.
• Non-transferable.
• Non-refundable.
• No group registration.

HOW: Participants will –
• sign a Memorandum of Agreement;
• pay an annual fee of $50.00 (cash or check)
• obtain an After-Hours stamp on his or her State Bar card.
• Keys must be returned within 24 hours of sign out.

Only registered After-Hours users are allowed to gain access to the library.

FOR MORE INFORMATION contact Peter Sands, ACLL Hayward Branch Assistant, at 510-670-5230 or by email, . He will assist with the registration process and provide you with further details of the procedures.

It is understood that Hayward Police Department’s agreement to hold and issue keys is not police work but merely a courtesy to local attorneys, subject to cancellation if abused. Attorneys may be required to wait for a key while police attend to regular duties, which take priority. Please be patient.


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Legal, Legislative, and Rule Drafting in Plain English – New Book at ACLL Oakland

The 2015 legislative session in Sacramento may have ended but there is another much briefer season here in California when laws can be made using a different process.

Next Tuesday, voters across the state will be making decisions on ballot initiatives.  Alameda County is not holding an election this November but San Francisco County has eleven measures on the local November 3 ballot.  Some – such as Measure FShort-Term Residential Rentals – are making the news not only for the subject but also for the campaign strategies of the opponents.

According to Ballotpedia, November 3 is the biggest election date in 2015 for local ballot measure elections in California.  Voters in California will decide 61 local measures.

Source: The Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Online Catalog

California has a strong history of the direct democracy process.  These rules govern our daily lives with the same weight as any passed in Sacramento.  Proponents – either citizens, government officials, public interest groups or their lawyers –  and not professional legislators draft the text for these measures.  What are the best methods for writing ballot measures (or other legislation) to  insure that their effect on society will be what was intended by the proponents and the voters?   Alameda County Law Library has a resource to answer this question.

Robert J. Martineau and Michael B. Salerno are authors of Legal, Legislative, and Rule Drafting in Plain English.  Mr. Salerno served as a consultant to both houses of the California Legislature and as a principal deputy in the California Legislative Counsel Bureau.  He currently supervises a legislation clinic for the UC Hastings College of Law.

This reference manual is for anyone who does any type of legal drafting, both lawyers and non-lawyers.  The book specifies drafting principles and provides examples.  The relationship between style and substance is stressed in the text.

There is a section that focuses on the pre-drafting stage.  The discussion includes advice on the organizational process needed to consider the true wants of the proponent and how best to translate those desires into a legal document.

The authors state is their “Foreword” – “The goal of legal drafting is not to entertain but to inform in a precise manner easily understood in the same way by all those who read the text.”

For more information on the history of California initiatives see:  A History of California Initiatives: 1912 through January 2015

Legal, Legislative, and Rule Drafting in Plain English, currently on the New Book cart, will be shelved in the Oakland library at  KF/250/.M265/2005.



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ACLL MCLE (Ethics) Program 11/4 Seats Still Available – The Right To Remain Human

righttoremainhuman_11042015Pre-registration: $25.00/Day of Event: $35.00 To register 24/7, visit Eventbrite’s secure website:


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