The holidays are a jolly time of year…for fraud and scam artists!!

ImageOn Tuesday, California’s Attorney General announced the establishment of the nation’s largest e-crime unit.  These investigators and prosecutors will work to prevent and prosecute cybercrimes including identity theft, Internet scams, computer theft, and intellectual property theft   http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/13/california-creates-special-unit-to-fight-computer-crimes/ 

Meanwhile, The Alameda County District Attorney’s Office has had the Identity Theft & High Tech. Crimes Unit for some time.  http://www.alcoda.org/about_us/hitech  Watch our Facebook page for a Stop Identity Theft program in 2012 by an attorney from the unit.  http://www.facebook.com/alamedacountylawlib 

And you can research the topic in the Law Library in the following publications among others. 

Credit repair
Nolo Press, 2011
KF 1501 U54 L46 2011 — Reference desk

Stopping identity theft : 10 easy steps to security
Nolo Press, 2009
HV 6679 M58 2009 — Self-Help Area 

Fair credit reporting.
National Consumer Law Center, 2010 –
KF 1040 .W83 2010 Reference Desk

 Claudia Cook           12/16/11

 
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Deductibility of California Property Taxes

Kathleen Pender wrote in her Chronicle column of November 24, 2011 that California homeowners are not be entitled to deduct their entire California property tax payments. Ad valorem taxes are deductible which are taxes based on a percentage of a home’s assessed value. Some portion of local benefit taxes are deductible. The 2012 California tax returns will likely include spaces for the homeowner’s parcel number, amount of taxes paid and the non-deductible amount. Information is posted at sfg.ly/rHNwOA. Both the California Tax Franchise Board and the IRS expect to collect more in taxes due to smaller deductions.

What’s New on VerdictSearch

                                                                                                                                                               VerdictSearch Case of Note for Week of December 12, 2011:                                                                          Admiralty/Maritime                                                                                                                                                                                               Man is awarded $1M for facial fractures in sailing crash*

Thompson v. Forni
Admiralty/Maritime – Alameda County

A jury awarded $1 million to a sailing crewmember who sustained several facial fractures after two sailing vessels collided. In 2009, David Thompson, then 54, was struck in the face by a metal roller that gave way on Gary Gebhard’s sailing vessel, which he was on, after it collided with James Forni’s vessel during a race. Thompson fractured his right cheekbone, eye socket and nasal orbit, resulting in nerve damage. Gebhard claimed Forni violated racing rules of sailing by failing to have a look out and for proceeding when he didn’t have the right of way. Forni admitted partial blame, but claimed that Thompson was injured by Gebhard’s post-collision actions. The jury found Forni 72 percent liable for the crash and Gebhard 28 percent liable.

*Summarized from content provided by VerdictSearch: http://www.verdictsearch.com/index.jsp

Full case reports available to VerdictSearch.com subscribers.

VerdictSearch at the Law Library

The library maintains a subscription to VerdictSearch Online. Library visitors can access VerdictSearch Online free of charge on computer terminals at the Main Library in Oakland. VerdictSearch Online features searchable case reports for every jury verdict, settlement agreement, judgment, and ADR decision that has been reported in a VerdictSearch publication (formerly Jury Verdicts Weekly) since 1985. By reviewing awards and settlements obtained in similar cases, attorneys and litigants can use VerdictSearch Online for case valuation. Users can save, print, or email results.

Additional Library Resources

The library has a strong admiralty and maritime collection. Information about bringing maritime tort actions can be found in The Law of Maritime Personal Injuries (Thomson West) and The Law of Seamen (Thomson West), both available at the Main Library in Oakland.

Poisoned: The true story of the deadly E. Coli outbreak that changed the way Americans eat.

Jeff Benedict, Inspire Books, 2011

If your firm does a lot of food and drug related work, you may not need this book.  If your firm has no cases on food borne illnesses, you may not need this book.  I say may not because Poisoned, like A Civil Action, by Jonathon Harr, also gives a great illustration of that elusive skill, “lawyering”. It also has plenty to say about the Food and Drug Administration and food regulation from manufacturing to distribution as well as insurance law and corporate governance.  Attorney Bill Marler and the author donated the book to many law schools.  Six top law schools have used the book in such courses as legal writing and public affairs.

I love a big juicy rare hamburger with lettuce, tomatoes, mayonnaise, mustard, pickles and onions.  It has to be encased in one of those mushy hamburger buns from the grocery store.   A hamburger, in fact, much like the one pictured on the front cover of Poisoned.  I could have been the little girl on the cover – when I was a kid, a hamburger was a treat and it still is for many young (and not so young) children today.

In 1993, that happy treat became a nightmare for children who ate hamburgers from Jack in the Box restaurants. In only a few weeks, an outbreak of deadly E. Coli attacks spread to 700 victims, at least four of whom died.  The effects of E. Coli attacks are extremely painful, gruesome and traumatizing, psychologically as well as physically. One victim was described as looking “like a mummy”.

Poisoned interweaves the medical, legal, insurance, corporate governance and state and federal government roles in this terrifying epidemic.

The cast of characters include Brianne Kiner, one of the first victims.  Represented by attorney Bill Marler, Brianne eventually received an award of $15.6 million, a record award at the time. Bob Piper an established Seattle lawyer represented Jack in the Box. Jack in the Box’s president, Robert Nugent, Vice President of Quality Assurance, Ken Dunkley, and others including the families of those involved are all portrayed in a humane and personal light. Their foibles and character traits are pictured convincingly. Bob Piper is a colorful character prone to wearing suspenders featuring naked women, partying and cigar smoking wherever inappropriate.  However, he proved to be astute, fair and practical. Bob Nugent is depicted as an honest, direct person whose driving goal, besides saving his company, was the fair treatment of the victims. The only true villain in the book is the E. Coli bacteria itself.

Bill Marler, Suzanne Kiner, Brianne’s mother, and others have continued to work to improve food safety standards of all kinds and have achieved a significant reforms in all aspects of food production, including stricter federal regulations, stricter inspections, better procedures for and documentation of food handling processes.  After the 1993 outbreak, strong federally mandated rules and standards were put in to place.

However, as we know, there isn’t a perfectly happy ending. Recently there has been a string of reports of food poisoning from lettuce to bean sprouts. Congress has not provided the funding to implement many of the reforms passed.  While this outbreak has not completely “changed the way Americans eat”, it certainly has made many more people aware of food choices.  And the book is an absorbing, compelling and yes, even, entertaining read.

Avaliable in the Law Library at QR 201 E382 B46 2011

What’s New on VerdictSearch

VerdictSearch Case of Note for Week of October 24, 2011: Medical Malpractice                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                Family awarded $5.72M for patient’s fatal arterial condition*                                                                                           Smith v. Long Island College Hospital                                                                                                                                                               Medical Malpractice – New York

 A Brooklyn-based internist and his practice were ordered to pay a total of $5.72 million to the family of a patient who was alleged to have died from untreated arterial inflammation. The matter dates to the summer of 2005, when Joann Fowler-Smith, 35, sought treatment of persistent headaches. After weeks of failed treatment, Fowler-Smith was admitted to a hospital, where she died nine days later. Fowler-Smith’s estate sued her treating internist and his practice, alleging that the doctor did not promptly consult a specialist and did not consistently administer steroidal medication that would have saved her. The defense contended that Fowler-Smith was properly treated and that her death was not preventable, but the jury found otherwise.
Smith v. Long Island College Hospital

*Summarized from content provided by VerdictSearch: http://www.verdictsearch.com/index.jsp Full case reports available to VerdictSearch.com subscribers.

 VerdictSearch at the Law Library

The library maintains a subscription to VerdictSearch Online. Library visitors can access VerdictSearch Online free of charge on computer terminals at the Main Library in Oakland. VerdictSearch Online features searchable case reports for every jury verdict, settlement agreement, judgment, and ADR decision that has been reported in a VerdictSearch publication (formerly Jury Verdicts Weekly) since 1985. By reviewing awards and settlements obtained in similar cases, attorneys and litigants can use VerdictSearch Online for case valuation. Users can save, print, or email results.

Additional Library Resources

The library has several practice guides on the subject of medical malpractice:

  • California Medical Malpractice: Law and Practice / by George McDonald, Thomson West.
  • Medical Malpractice / David W. Louisell and Harold Williams, Matthew Bender.
  • A Practitioner’s Guide to Hospital Liability / James T. O’Reilly, Jolene Sobotka, and Philip Hagan, American Bar Association.

What’s New on VerdictSearch

VerdictSearch Case of Note for Week of October 17, 2011: Employment Discrimination – ADA                     

Target, ex-employee settle discrimination suit for $160K*                                                                                                           

US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Target Corp. U.S. District Court, Northern District

A former Target employee recovered a $160,000 settlement of a lawsuit that alleged that he was subjected to workplace discrimination. In 2004, the suit’s plaintiff, Jeremy Schott, took medical leave from a Target retail store because of a seizure. He claimed that, upon his return, his hours were reduced from 17 to 8 a week. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued Target on Schott’s behalf, alleging a violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Target’s counsel contended that Schott’s work hours were decreased because of poor performance and a lack of motivation.

 The parties reached a $160,000 settlement. The parties also entered into a three-year consent decree, which required Target to designate an ADA coordinator in its corporate level human resources department and implement a company-wide policy regarding requests for reasonable accommodations

 *Summarized from content provided by VerdictSearch: http://www.verdictsearch.com/index.jsp

Full case reports available to VerdictSearch.com subscribers.

 VerdictSearch at the Law Library

The library maintains a subscription to VerdictSearch Online. Library visitors can access VerdictSearch Online free of charge on computer terminals at the Main Library in Oakland. VerdictSearch Online features searchable case reports for every jury verdict, settlement agreement, judgment, and ADR decision that has been reported in a VerdictSearch publication (formerly Jury Verdicts Weekly) since 1985. By reviewing awards and settlements obtained in similar cases, attorneys and litigants can use VerdictSearch Online for case valuation. Users can save, print, or email results.

Additional Library Resources

The library has numerous practice guides that can assist attorneys and litigants pursuing an employment discrimination claim. See the library’s research guide: http://acgov.org/law/documents/Resources_for_Employees.pdf

What’s New on VerdictSearch

VerdictSearch Case of Note for Week of October 12, 2011: Dangerous Condition of Public Property

Family of Man Fatally Struck on Side of Road Gets $11.7M*

Laura Tindall and Erin Tindall v. Gregory Hoedt, County of Contra Costa and the State of California
Contra Costa County

The family of a North Bay man hit and killed by a car while coming to the aid of another motorist obtained an $11.7 million dollar verdict against the County of Contra Costa for creating a dangerous condition of public property. The deceased was driving on Marsh Creek Road in unincorporated Brentwood when he observed an overturned car on the side of the road. The motorist involved in the first accident had lost control of his vehicle when he entered a curved section of Marsh Creek Road that was being re-paved and was covered with loose gravel. After exiting his car to assist the first motorist, the plaintiff was hit by another motorist who swerved when he encountered the uneven roadway.

The county denied liability, arguing that it had taken adequate measures to mitigate the impact of the resurfacing project by erecting 25-mph speed limit signs to alert drivers to reduce their speed. Plaintiff’s counsel argued that these measures were insufficient and that the county had failed to cover existing 45-mph speed limit signs or to remove the loose gravel from the roadway the night before the accidents occurred.

The jury found the county 100 percent negligent and awarded the plaintiff $11,700,796.

*Summarized from content provided by VerdictSearch: http://www.verdictsearch.com/index.jsp Full case reports available to VerdictSearch.com subscribers.

VerdictSearch at the Law Library

The library maintains a subscription to VerdictSearch Online. Library visitors can access VerdictSearch Online free of charge on computer terminals at the Main Library in Oakland. VerdictSearch Online features searchable case reports for every jury verdict, settlement agreement, judgment, and ADR decision that has been reported in a VerdictSearch publication (formerly Jury Verdicts Weekly) since 1985. By reviewing awards and settlements obtained in similar cases, attorneys and litigants can use VerdictSearch Online for case valuation. Users can save, print, or email results.

Additional Library Resources

The library has numerous practice guides that can assist attorneys and litigants pursuing a claim against a government entity for creating a dangerous condition of public property. See the library’s research guide: Resources for Filing Claims Against Government Entities & Employees