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Paul Zimmerman
pzimmerman@mrllp.com
310.299.5500

Showing 9 posts from May 2015.

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New California Water Restrictions Extend to Restaurants, Bars and Hotels

California is in year four of a severe drought crisis that is the worst in the state’s history. In January 2014, Governor Jerry Brown declared a state drought emergency in California and asked state residents and businesses to cut back their water use by 20%. Nevertheless, new data released for January 2015 showed that Californians reduced their water usage by only 8.8% compared to January 2014. (Read more)

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Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow - Especially With a Severance Package (Part 1 of 2)

Whether severance packages are right for your firm always, sometimes or never, can only be answered by management.

This month’s post is the first in a 2-part series addressing the issue of severance packages, first from the employer’s perspective and then from the employee’s perspective.

In its most basic form, a severance package offers additional compensation to a terminated employee. Many, many years ago, it was common for employers to offer small severance packages without any strings attached. Today, however, the situation is much different, and very few severance packages are offered on an unconditional basis. (Read More)

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Minimum Wage Hike Hikes Pressure on Bay Area Small Businesses

On May 7, 2015, the Emeryville, California, City Council initially approved a new minimum wage increase for employers in its city that will surpass the recently passed minimum wage hikes in nearby San Francisco and Oakland, and will result in baseline pay of $16 per hour by 2019, making it the highest minimum wage in the United States.  While characterized by Emeryville’s mayor as a lifting of the floor on poverty for Emeryville’s estimated 2200 minimum wage workers, the May vote is a clear response to recently approved minimum wage increases to $12.25 per hour in the two neighboring big cities, and may reflect a “David versus Goliath” political strategy to attract labor into the small community.   (Read more)

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Cyber Liability Insurance: Protection Worth the Search

New risks present themselves before insurance policies exist to cover them.  When a risk materializes, insureds want their insurers to cover them under familiar existing insurance policies, while insurers resist on the ground that they never intended their policies to cover the new risk.  The insurers draft exclusions, and new risk-specific policies become available.  While these processes are unfolding, insurers, insureds, and third party claimants must live with considerable uncertainty. (Read More)

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M&R Urges California State Senator to Correct Errors in Bill

Michelman and Robinson, LLP (M&R) has written to California State Senator Connie Leyva recommending amendment of SB 585. This bill would require insurers to divert claims payments to a new state child support program if the claimant is delinquent in making child support payments. In a letter sent on May 7, M&R advised the Senator that language in the bill dealing with the nonadmitted market is a significant legal defect. The letter was delivered both to the Senator and to key legislative and Department of Insurance staff.  (Read More)

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Insurers’ Right To Recover Fees Directly From Independent Counsel To Be Decided

Under California Civil Code 2860, an insured who is entitled to a defense from a liability insurer may also be entitled to select counsel of its choice, even though the insurance policy states that the insurer has the right and duty to defend the insured. If an insurer agrees to defend under a reservation of rights (a letter advising that, at the end of the day, the insurer may actually not cover a loss even though it is currently defending), the insured may have a right to select defense counsel of its choice.  Whether this reservation letter does, in fact, trigger the right of an insured to select its own counsel usually is determined by whether the reservation letter creates a conflict between the insured and the attorney that has been selected by the insurance company. (Read More)

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Survey Says: Nearly 1 In 3 Americans Receive Surprise Medical Bills

In the past two years, nearly one-third of all privately insured Americans received a “surprise medical bill” in which their health plan paid less than expected, according to the just released results of a survey conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center in March 2015. (Read More)

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Motel 6: We’ll Leave The Light on For You (and Let the Police Know You’re Here)

UPDATE: Warwick, RI Police Chief Stephen McCartney has discontinued his department’s recent practice of accepting the local Motel 6 guest list on a daily basis. The Providence Journal reports that invasion-of-privacy concerns outweighed any potential criminal deterrence that Motel 6 instigated the practice to achieve.


A Motel 6 establishment located in Warwick, Rhode Island, has unveiled a new strategy to respond to the rampant illegal activity of its guests. Given the 75 arrests over the past 14 months at that location – sex trafficking, drug busts, meth labs and shootings – Motel 6 executives have initiated a controversial policy: voluntarily providing its daily guest list to local police. What’s more, the motel does not intend to inform its guests that their names are being provided to law enforcement. The idea is that frequent visits by the police will ultimately prompt undesirables to migrate to less-surveilled locations. It is currently unknown whether Motel 6 is utilizing this approach in other locations. (Read more)

Celina Kirchner Explains Why Every Startup Needs an Attorney

Celina Kirchner spoke on “Latino VCs and Startups” at the Digital LA event, Digital Latino: Startups, Content & Social, which took place on May 5, 2015 at Madera Kitchen in Los Angeles. In celebration of Cinco de Mayo, the event featured Latino VCs, investors, and startups, who discussed popular Latino businesses as well as challenges in raising early stage capital. In this segment, Celina emphasized the importance of hiring an attorney in a startup’s formative stages to protect entities from costly and time-consuming litigation down the line.