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BAKER, KEENER & NAHRA, LLP

Trial Attorneys

Posted by on Mar 11, 2019 in Publications |

Scooters, scooters, scooters everywhere

Scooters, scooters, scooters everywhere

If you’ve driven in Los Angeles or another major U.S. city in the last year you may have noticed a new feature on the sidewalks – electric, motorized scooters everywhere.  Whether they are being ridden, stored in neat rows on the edge of the sidewalk, or tossed carelessly in the middle of walkways, they are quickly becoming a common facet of urban life that communities are finding equal parts nuisance and convenience. California Vehicle Code 21235, the law specifically written to govern motorized scooters, allows for the use of these scooters under certain restrictions such as where they can be driven (generally speaking, not on the sidewalk) or how fast they can be driven (generally speaking, 15 MPH).  Incidentally, as of 2019, if you are over the age of eighteen you may no longer need to wear a helmet (though, of course, it is still strongly recommended you wear one – turning eighteen does not make you impervious to traumatic brain injury).  Take all of this with a grain...

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Posted by on Feb 14, 2019 in Publications |

Recent legal developments reflect a positive outlook for biometric security

Recent legal developments reflect a positive outlook for biometric security

About four years ago we published a post on some of the legal issues surrounding the use of biometric security. At the time, a Virginia Circuit Court’s nonsensical decision about why a suspect could be forced to unlock a phone with his fingerprint but not give up his password reinforced the fact that the legal system had no idea what to do with biometrics.  Fast forward to today and there are signs that at least some courts are finally coming around to recognize the legal issues implicated by biometric security and address them in a rationale manner. The United States Supreme Court recognized the need for this change of direction in Carpenter v. United States (2018) 138 S. Ct. 2206, where it instructed all courts to adopt rules that “take account of more sophisticated systems that are already in use or in development (Id. at 2218-19) and that courts have an obligation to safeguard constitutional rights and cannot permit those rights to be diminished merely due to the advancement...

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Posted by on Dec 14, 2018 in Publications |

Closing Thoughts For 2018

Closing Thoughts For 2018

This year has been filled with trials and tragedies reflecting humanity at its worst, just as it has been filled with many moments of self-sacrifice and love reflecting humanity at its best.  Despite the many challenges that our nation and our world have faced this year, and the many they will face in years to come, it’s important to keep things in perspective. For example, a prominent medieval historian recently opined that the 6th century was probably the worst time to be alive – beating out 1918 when the flu killed 50-100 million people and 1349 when the Black Death wiped out half of Europe – when not one, but three massive volcanic eruptions blocked out sunlight for years and the bubonic plague struck the Roman empire, the heart of civilization at the time.  And yet, despite all of the literal darkness, death, and destruction of that century, humanity lived on. It is easy to think that the challenges we face today are insurmountable, but when we look to...

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Posted by on Jun 15, 2018 in Publications |

The California Supreme Court Addresses the Gig Economy in Dynamex Decision: Independent Contractors, Not Employees

The California Supreme Court Addresses the Gig Economy in Dynamex Decision: Independent Contractors, Not Employees

Almost three years ago, an article was posted on this site discussing the potentially rocky road ahead for the sharing economy, now more commonly known as the “gig economy,” in view of the uncertainty as to whether participants in the gig economy were independent contractors or employees of the services which they used to find work – e.g. Uber and Lyft– and the ramifications when the courts finally addressed the issue. This uncertainty was directly and recently addressed by the California Supreme Court in Dynamex Operation West, Inc. v. Superior Court (S222732) Much will be written about the legal intricacies, policies, and consequences associated with this eighty-two page decision, so there’s no need to do so here at length. The core decision was effectively that all workers are considered employees unless the company proves they are independent contractors. In order to prove this, the company must establish that (a) the worker is free from the control and direction of the company, (b) that the worker performs work outside the...

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Posted by on May 30, 2018 in Publications |

Causation Must Be Foreseeable In Order To Create Liability

Causation Must Be Foreseeable In Order To Create Liability

Many of you may be familiar with an old board game called “Mouse Trap.” As you probably recall, the basic premise of this game was to string together a chain of contraptions that, when triggered together, would catch the mouse. It was, in effect, an attempt to turn a Rube Goldberg machine into a board game – after all, why simply use a boring old mouse trap when you could build one involvinga net triggered by a boot attached to a stick! A decision by the Court of Appeals earlier this year on March 20, 2018 is a good reminder that while creating a complex chain of events to cause a mouse trap to fall is all good and well for purposes of board games, the California courts are much less apt to entertain such convoluted chains for purposes of liability. In that case, Paula J. Novak v. Continental Tire North America, the decedent’s daughter sued Continental Tire for her father’s death. She alleged that Continental Tire had failed...

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Posted by on Apr 23, 2018 in Publications |

Perils For The Good Samaritan

Perils For The Good Samaritan

At some point in most of our lives we were taught the “golden rule” – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Or, put less archaically, treat others as you want to be treated. Generally speaking, many of us try to live by a version of this concept, including helping those around us when we seem them in need. Whether it’s as simple as holding the door open for a total stranger or the more onerous driving three hours into the middle of nowhere to help out a friend whose car broke down, I would venture that almost everyone, at least once in their life, has helped another human being in need. A Court of Appeals decision from earlier this year is a good reminder, however, that not all good deeds go unpunished. In Priscilla O’Malley v. Hospitality Staffing Solutions, an opinion issued on January 31, 2018, the Court of Appeals upheld the long-standing rule in California with respect to the legal duty to assist...

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