“Stand-Alone” REALLY Does Mean Stand-Alone; Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Interprets the FCRA

On January 29, 2019, the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (covering a
number of states and territories bordering the Pacific Ocean) issued a far-reaching opinion that will likely impact the hiring process of prospective employers who conduct background checks on applicants.

Read more here.

Legislative Update from BHGS

The Bureau of Household Goods and Services, formerly the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings, and Thermal Insulation, has released Industry Advisory 19-01 entitled, “2018 Legislative Update”. This Advisory contains a summary of laws enacted January 1, 2019, that impact the Bureau or its licensees.

California Ranks as No. 1 ‘Judicial Hellhole’ in Nation

From CalChamber

California has landed atop the “Judicial Hellholes” list again, according to the latest ranking of the “most unfair” civil litigation courts by the American Tort Reform Foundation (ATRF).

Trailing not far behind California are Florida, New York City and St. Louis, Missouri. California was last at No. 1 in the 2015–2016 report, and also held the No. 1 title in the 2013–2014 and 2012–2013 reports.

A recent study released by the U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform highlights both the overall cost and inefficiencies of the tort system. The report states that the cost and compensation paid in the U.S. tort system totaled $429 billion in 2016, accounting for 2.3% of the U.S. gross domestic product.

The 2018–2019 Judicial Hellholes jurisdictions largely contributed to these costs, and on a local level, they saw job loss, personal income loss, and state revenue loss due to the excessive tort costs in the states. The data clearly demonstrate the need for a more balanced civil justice system, the report states.

According to the report, California is a perennial Judicial Hellhole because “California judges and legislators alike have a propensity to expand liability at almost every given opportunity.” Read more

BEARHFTI will become BHGS in 2019

Effective January 1, the Bureau of Electronic and Appliance Repair, Home Furnishings, and Thermal Insulation (BEARHFTI) will be renamed to the Bureau of Household Goods and Services (BHGS). The agency will encompass Electronic and Appliance Repair (EAR), Home Furnishings, and Thermal Insulation (HFTI) and Household Movers (HHM).

California vs. Trump ‘will be a giant case’ over air rules, could end up in Supreme Court

From the Sacramento Bee

California and like-minded states are girding for a legal battle with the Trump administration on whether those states have gone too far in controlling greenhouse gases from automobiles, a prospective case that legal scholars say – barring a last-minute settlement – is sure to reach the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies are expected to announce, as soon as this week, a rollback of national fuel economy standards for vehicles. They could also revoke California’s ability to set its own, tougher, air pollution limits. If the Trump administration  challenges California’s longstanding latitude to set its own emissions rules, it would be wading into untested legal waters, said Deborah Sivas, a law professor and expert on the Clean Air Act at Stanford University.

Read more here

Look in the Mirror for Climate Change

(OC Register) Until the first steam locomotives were invented in the early 19th Century, man could travel as far as he could walk or as far as his horse would take him. Life was dirty, smelly, difficult – and short. Life expectancy was short and human misery was assured. There was virtually no military and the only available weapons were the bow and arrow, swords, the single-shot Muscat rifle.

In the decades and centuries after 1900, after the discovery of oil, and the inventions of the automobile and the airplane, we now have a huge military of aircraft, ships, and artillery, an airline industry that can take us anywhere in the world consuming 225 million gallons of aviation fuels EVERY DAY to move almost 10 million passengers and other things EVERY DAY, a cruise line industry that takes us to all parts of the world consuming 30 to 50 gallons of fuel for EVERY MILE, a leisure industry of hotels, resorts, theme parks, and a transportation industry of rail, trucks and automobiles that can deliver products from around the world and take us to virtually any destination. We also have an electronic and aerospace industry that has everyone wired and wireless, and elaborate infrastructures to support the growing populations. Continue reading 

Relearning the ABCs: California Supreme Court Adopts New Independent Contractor Test, LaborSphere

[In April],  in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court, 2018 WL 1999120 (Apr. 30, 2018) (Dynamex), the California Supreme Court upended the prevailing understanding of the independent contractor-employee distinction under California law. In a ruling that is certain to have wide-ranging repercussions for companies that rely on independent contractors, the Court declined to apply the multi-factor common law test derived from its 1989 decision in S.G. Borello & Sons, Inc. v. Dep’t of Indus. Rel’ns, 48 Cal. 3d 341 (1989) (Borello) to the question of whether a worker is an “employee” subject to the minimum wage and overtime protections of the California Industrial Welfare Commission’s (“IWC”) wage orders. Instead, the Court adopted a simple, three-part test that likely will expand the wage orders’ reach. Continue reading.

Shaking down manufacturers doesn’t help climate change fight, Sac Bee

California manufacturers are big players in the state’s efforts to address climate change. The largest companies are regulated through a program that will greatly reduce emissions and grow the economy at the same time. The result will be a win-win for jobs and the environment. Continue reading.

Opinion: With air-quality standards, is the cure worse than the disease? Orange County Register

Have we reached the point where air pollution regulations are harming people more than air pollution itself?

That’s the question at the heart of the dispute between the Trump administration and California about the Environmental Protection Agency’s air pollution program known as NAAQS, the National Ambient Air Quality StandardsContinue reading.