Hayward Arts Council has a new exhibit

There is another art show at the Alameda County Law Library.  The ACLL South County Branch, 224 West Winton Avenue, Hayward is thrilled to announce the exhibition of work of a new artist: Castro Valley’s Carol Jones Brown.  The Hayward Arts Council is sponsoring the installation of art work at the branch and Brown is a member.

Carol Jones Brown

Saying Brown’s work is vibrant is an understatement.  Colors dance.  Hues jitter.  Her paintings enliven and energize.  She has said in past interviews that she doesn’t “try for a particular image, such as a seascape or a floral.  Now I strive to create something that is rich in color, fun and exciting—a surprise for me and those who view my art.  Recently, I have been attacking my empty canvases with globs of brilliantly hued acrylic paint, dancing my brushes around the canvas for a challenging start.”Dancers

Brown’s work has been exhibited around the world, in Japan and Europe as well as at galleries around the United States.  Her  evolution as an artist began with working with oils and doing what she  calls “representational” work of landscapes and florals to working with acrylic and manipulating the medium with her brush in the empty canvas an seeing what happens.

Brown has taught at Adobe Art Center in Castro Valley and at the Hayward Adult School for over 30 years and is represented by Expressions Gallery on Ashby Avenue in Berkeley.Rocket's Red Glare  She does not have her own website so do come in to the library to view her work.

The South County branch had an additional treat on Friday, June 19th.  Accompanied by Hayward Arts Council Curator Winnie Thompson and her husband, Gerry, was none other than Cosette Sun, former Library Director of the Alameda County Law Library.  They came by to see the Brown’s work and the new Hayward “gallery.”

The Appeal Of Uber – Research Headlights Directed At California Labor Commissioner ODAs

Uber Appeals California Labor Commissioner Decision to San Francisco Superior Court


The recent ruling by the California Labor Commissioner in the case of a single Uber driver could have much broader implications for the ride-hailing service and other companies that rely on workers they categorize as independent contractors.  The California Labor Commissioner has ruled that an Uber driver, Barbara Berwick, should be considered a company employee, not an independent contractor, and therefore is entitled to $4,000 in mileage and toll expenses because her services were “integral.”  This ruling only came to public notice because Uber filed an appeal of the Labor Commissioner’s Order, Decision or Award (“ODA” aka DLSE Form 535) in the San Francisco Superior Court.  The papers, including the ODA, filed in the Berwick case appeal can be read here – Ubersappeal_labor_commiss_june2015.

As the following discussion highlights, California Labor Commission hearings and rulings are relatively informal proceedings.  The ODAs are not published in an organized fashion as many of the other California uber_logoadministrative agency rulings are.

While many commentators have shared their opinions on the Berwick case (including mashable.com), this post will be looking at these events from a legal researcher’s point of view.

Background information about the California Labor Commissioner’s office

The California Labor Commissioner’s Office, also known as the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), was established to adjudicate wage claims, investigate discrimination and public works complaints, and enforce Labor Code statutes and Industrial Welfare Commission orders.  The chief executive of the DLSE is known as the Labor Commissioner.  The DLSE is an office within the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR). (CA DIR organization chart here)   The Department of Industrial Relations, headed by a Director of Industrial Relations, includes many divisions in addition to the Labor Commissioner’s Office including: Cal/OSHA, the Division of Workers’ Compensation, the Division of Apprenticeship Standards, six boards, commissions and programs.  The DIR is a department within the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency overseen by the agency Secretary who reports to the Governor.  The Labor Commissioner is appointed by the Governor to serve as Chief of DLSE.

The web page for the Labor Commissioner provides a number of links to miscellaneous topics on various topics but no link to on-line files of ODAs.

Labor Commissioner investigations & hearings – A simple outline

 Claim is filed An initial report or claim is filed by an employee or his or her representative.  Four major categories of claims include:  discrimination or retaliation complaint, wage claims (failure to pay overtime or benefits), labor law violations, and public work complaints. (See links below for filing information.)  These are the major categories but the DLSE has responsibility for an extensive range of issues within the state.

Investigation begins Once a claim is filed, the staff will then begin to investigate and take any appropriate action. The Labor Commissioner’s Office has 30 days to inform the employee and employer whether further action will be taken.  The Labor Commissioner’s staff has unlimited access to all workplaces within California. Failure to cooperate or provide access and information may result is a misdemeanor offense.

Actions Depending on the issues raised by the investigation, the staff member will notify the parties as to the specific action that will be initially taken:

1) dismissal of claim  (no further action will be taken)

2) Labor Commissioner can file a civil suit against the employer

3) referral to a hearing

4) referral to a conference

Many cases will be resolved, informally, before either a conference or hearing is scheduled.

Informal conference and/or hearing If referral to a conference is made, the conference (Labor Code 98.3) will be conducted (you guessed it) informally and parties will not be under oath.  If a hearing (Labor Code Sections 98(a)) is scheduled because the matter failed to be resolved at the conference, it may be held in an informal setting but they are formal proceedings.  It is generally conducted in a conference room, not a courtroom, and is held before the hearing officer, not a judge.  Parties and witnesses testify under oath and the proceedings are recorded.  Each party may call witnesses and present evidence. Hearings lasting more than a few hours are rare.

Labor Commissioner’s Decision ODA Following the hearing, the Labor Commissioner will issue a written Order, Decision or Award  on the matter within 15 days.  As with a normal civil case, the commissioner’s decision can award the employee all, some, or none of the sought-after relief.  The decision must include a statement of reasons supporting the result.

Appeal The Labor Commissioner’s decision must apprise the parties of their right to appeal the decision. If no appeal is taken, the Commissioner’s decision becomes final. If either party wishes to appeal, they must do so within 10 days of the Commissioner’s service of the decision (Labor Code 98.2). The appeal does not get submitted to another level of Labor Commissioner/DLSE review; instead, the matter is heard “de novo” in the appropriate California superior court. (In the Berwick matter, it was the San Francisco Superior Court.) De novo review means that the matter is independently addressed by the superior court, and no deference is given to the Labor Commissioner’s ruling.

A special Notice of Appeal form (DLSE-537) and a California Judicial Council form CM-010 must be filed.

More detailed information about the procedures for filing claims with the California Labor Commissioner can be found at:

For an easy to follow discussion of how to appeal a decision by the California Labor Commission see:

ODA compilations  These decisions are not generally available through Westlaw or Lexis.

  • WestlawNext (WLN) and Lexis Advance have limited holdings of  DLSE actions.  None for the current year.  Available by using the public research terminals at Alameda County Law Library, the WLN Trial Documents files provides selected filings for the appeals that have been filed with a Superior Court
  • A search on the Internet for “DLSE 535″ will bring up some examples of these decisions  but only ones that have been uploaded to the web by a party involved.  The official DLSE form used by staff to issue an Order, Decision or Award is numbered “DLSE 535″ at the bottom.  The form is not available on the DLSE Forms public website
Links for filing a claim with the California Labor Commissioner
Filing and procedure for a discrimination or retaliation complaint
Wage claims
Public Work complaints
Labor law violations
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California State of Mind – Art Show at ACLL

Works by Bev Lindsay

June 22 –August 21, 2015  at the Alameda County Law Library
125 12th Street, Oakland, Californiariver_sentries_lindsay

At right – River Sentries by Bev Lindsay

The artist’s comments on her work:

My calling to art came as I grew up in Iowa, with a passion for horses and a wish to express that love on paper. Broadened interests and passions now include all things organic, my favorites being trees and animals. All artists’ media excite me, and the subject I choose informs the medium. I love to work with value contrast and color harmonies, telling the story as simply as I can. My goal for a painting is not photographic realism, but a simplified expression of my own reality.

Ms. Lindsay may be contacted at bev.lindsay@gmail.com

Library hours ~ MWF 8:30 am to 6:00 pm (Doors close at 5:45 pm) ~ TTh 8:30 am to 9:00 pm (Doors close at 8:45 pm)


Sign Here — CA’s Requirements For Notarizations – Jurats v. Affidavits And More

quillhandChanges in Acknowledgement and Jurat language.

California has had for over six months new language requirements for notarized documents.  CA Senate Bill 1050 (Stats 2014, ch. 197) requires that a pre-printed consumer notification must be included on all California Acknowledgment, Jurat, and Proof of Execution by Subscribing Witness certificates.  The consumer notification needs to be clear and legible in a box.

The new requirements went into effect as of January 1, 2015 but people are still trying to file forms with the Alameda County Clerk-Recorder’s Office (and other agencies) that fail to meet the new standards.  They are sent over to the Alameda County Law Library with the agency’s sample language handout in an effort to obtain a form that includes up-to-date language.  These people are usually self-represented and unfamiliar with what is a notary’s purpose – exactly the consumers for whom the new California language was written.   The language in the box presents a simple explanation that the notary’s role involves the signing and he/she has no responsibility as to the validity of the text or purpose of the document.

Examples of the required language under California law for acknowledgement and  jurat_text can be found on the second pages of these document links.

Here is an explanation of the difference between the two types of certificates taken from an article posted on the National Notary Association website — Understanding the Key Differences Between Notary Acknowledgment and Jurat Certificates .

Acknowledgement  — The purpose of the acknowledgment is to ensure that the signer of a document is who he/she says claims and that he/she voluntarily signed the document.  Required by many important documents, such as deed, mortgages, deeds of trust and powers of attorney.

Jurat — The main purpose of the jurat (“subscribed and sworn to (or affirmed)”) is to require that the signer be compelled to truthfulness regarding content of the document.  This is accomplished by the notary administering an oath or affirmation.  Jurats are often performed on affidavits and depositions.  An example — affidavit of death of joint tenant.

Some other terms related to the work of notaries:

Affidavit — a written statement prepared by or on behalf of a person (known as the affiant) who swears that what it contains is true and accurate.  It usually recites facts based on the affiant’s personal knowledge … or states an opinion that the affiant professes to be qualified to state. It must be sworn to before someone authorized to administer oaths, such as a notary public, who validates the signature and affirms that an oath of affirmation was administered.  A declaration is similar to an affidavit in content, but it does not have to be sworn to.  (The Redbook: A Manual on Legal Style, Section 19.1)

Proof of execution —  This notary act takes place when a subscribing witness or executing witness appears before a notary and swears that another particular person signed a document. This is the only notary act where someone can be notarized without appearing before a notary public.

Difference Between Oaths and Affirmations — While both oaths and affirmations are notarial acts that compel a person to tell the truth, an oath is a solemn, spoken pledge to God or a Supreme Being, while an affirmation is a spoken pledge made on the signer’s personal honor with no reference to a higher power. Either is considered acceptable and a signer may choose which he prefers.


 Remember: Be careful what you search for.

At least one of the patrons who tried to record a deed with an out of date certificate was an example of how legal information can achieve an eternal life on the Internet.  Browser search results may pull up a form that states in its title that it is a “California quit claim deed.”  A searcher needs to ask – When was it uploaded?  Who uploaded it? Is the web site a reliable one?  Are well-informed people editing, adding and removing information from this site?

The county law library collection relies on professionally edited legal reference sources.  The legal publishers are in the business of providing up-to-date information for lawyers and self-represented litigants (at a steep price because of their value to researchers.)  This is another reason why continued support for public county law libraries is so important.

No, everything isn’t on the Internet.


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More Secondary Sources, Formbooks Available on WestlawNext

books westlawnext

Due to unprecedented budget shortfalls, the library has been forced to cancel our print subscriptions to many popular secondary sources published by Thomson West, in favor of electronic, full-text access through the library’s WestlawNext subscription. WestlawNext is available on Research Computers at the Main Library in Oakland and the Branch Library in Hayward.

Although the library is no longer updating the print versions of many of the titles listed below, ALL are now available in-full text electronic format through the library’s WestlawNext subscription. Patron favorites are indicated with a happy face.

WestlawNext users can browse these titles or search them in full-text, and can print, email, or save WestlawNext content to a USB drive.

 California Secondary Sources & Formbooks

CA Secondary Sources

National and Federal Secondary Sources & Formbooks

National and Federal Secondary

It Was Twenty Years Ago Today …

150605_20_years_12512th_amer_lib_photoIt was twenty years ago today Sgt Pepper taught the band, June 5, 1995, that the Alameda County Law Library relocated the Main Library into its current home at 125 12th Street in Oakland and out of its former space within the Rene C. Davidson Courthouse.

The image on the right is of the newly completed space and was one featured in the architectural issue of  American Libraries in April of 1996.

The project included a complete gut and renovation of a 1920s four-story building by Robinson Mills + Williams Architecture and Interior Design.

The finished library was and continues to be a lovely space for work and study.  The large size of the display windows retained from the former Chevrolet automobile dealer space provide lovely natural light into the library.  But it was not always so lovely as the pictures below taken during from the demolition show.

Here is a description of the renovation’s of the “New Building” from ACLL’s files :


automobile_dealership_ad_12512thIn 1989 it was clear that the main library would have to grow in order to continue to provide the same level of service to the increasing number of patrons and to house the exploding collection of legal materials. In that year, the County of Alameda and the Alameda County Law Library entered into a joint venture to acquire the 1924 Gothic Revival building diagonally across from the courthouse at Twelfth and Oak Streets to house the law library and other offices.
Over the past seventy years, this building had served variously as a dance hall and an unemployment office, and has housed a Western Union switching station. During World War II it was an assembly point and internment processing site for Japanese-American citizens. Most recently “Twelfth & Oak” has been a bank and office building. The Alameda County Law Library is proud to have played a significant role in rehabilitating this landmark to serve the public in the twenty-first century.
Architect Matthew R. Mills and his associates at the San Francisco firm of Robinson Mills + Williams have preserved the gracious elegance of a bygone era in the renovated building while creating a functional space in which to use the latest technology. The first and mezzanine (second) floors form the new Law Library, the third floor is county office space, and the fourth floor became the new County of Alameda Conference Center.
renovation_125_fullspaceThe two-level, 30,000 square foot Law Library facility is paneled in rich cherrywood. The cherrywood carrels, study tables, library shelving, and the reference and circulation desks were crafted by Oakland’s Creative Wood Products especially for the library. Floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides and an open second floor balcony allow natural light into all parts of the library.
 The Law Library was built to accommodate state of the art technology as well as new technologies as they emerge. All computer purchases and installation were through a former Oakland company, INACOM (previously known as California Computer Options).
The building was purchased for $2,400,000 at a foreclosure sale in 1989 after the Alameda County Law Library and the County of Alameda had entered into a joint venture to purchase and renovate the building. The down payment came from the Law Library building fund which had been accumulated painstakingly out of its renovation_125_windows_viewfiling fee income and invested over 20 years. The balance of the purchase price, and most of the cost of renovation, furniture and equipment was from County issued participation bonds.
The earthquake delayed ground-breaking ceremony which officially started the renovation was held on March 25, 1993 as a part of Law Library’s also delayed Centennial Celebration. A little more than two years later, on June 5, 1995, the new Law Library opened to the public.

ACLL has had a long history of serving the legal information needs of the citizens of Alameda County. Since 1893, the Alameda’s County Law Library has provided resources to meet the needs of legal professionals, as well as, self-represented litigants.  Though we do not have staff who have worked here since the 1890s, we do have have four dedicated staff members who were working for the library twenty years ago when the new location opened – Clara, Jean, Johnnie and Peter (Hayward).

We all hope to continue to serve the public’s legal information needs into the coming years.  Recently, ACLL’s main funding source of a percentage of civil court  filing fees has dropped dramatically while the costs of on-line and paper legal information resources have soared.

Donations are always appreciated.  The Donate Now button can be found on the right side of this web page.  Your generosity would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you from all of us here at the Alameda County Law Library.

Traffic Court — CA Courts’ Proposed Rule – Comment Period Ends June 5, 2015

From the CA Judicial Council website:

SAN FRANCISCO—At a special open meeting via teleconference on June 8, the Judicial Council will consider adopting a proposed rule that would direct courts to allow people who have traffic tickets to appear for arraignment and trial without deposit of bail, unless certain specified exceptions apply.

The rule also states that courts must provide traffic defendants with notice of this option in any instructions or other materials provided by the court to the public.

The rule was developed on an urgency basis at the request of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye in response to recent concerns about court procedures for deposit of bail when defendants challenge infraction citations in court. The council advisory bodies that developed the rule recommend it be made effective immediately.

Text of meeting announcement and proposed rule for traffic court.

JUDICIAL COUNCIL OF CALIFORNIA MEETING is open to the public unless indicated as closed (Cal.Rules of Court, rule 10.6(a))
Monday, June 8, 2015 • 8:00 a.m. –9:45 a.m.
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