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  • Katherine S. Catlos, partner at Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck, LLP (KDV) in San Francisco, has been quoted in a Law360 article published June 24, 2015. Katherine comments specifically on the impact of a recent ruling by the California Labor Commission that a driver for Uber Technologies, Inc. was an employee and not an independent contractor.

    “The decision is likely to spur ride-hailing companies and others to examine ways to limit any perception of control they have over users of their technology platform,” according to Katherine Catlos, managing partner of Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck LLP’s San Francisco office.

    “Uber drivers already set their own hours and decide whether to pick up passengers,” she said. “Companies are going to do what they can to take additional steps to establish drivers retain control over how their job is done, and that might include letting drivers set the price for a ride.”

    “Because the ruling by the Labor Commissioner’s Office only encourages the plaintiffs bar to look for similar independent contractors in the sharing economy to pursue class actions over misclassification, smartphone-based service providers also may take advantage of arbitration agreements,” she said.

    “The plaintiffs bar is looking for clients to follow in the footsteps of the Uber plaintiff,” she said. “Companies in the sharing economy will likely be inserting arbitration agreements into their contracts with users or workers to prevent class actions.”

  • Jul 31, 2015

    Based on industry demand, ACI is pleased to present its inaugural Networking & Leadership Forum for Women Leaders in Insurance Defense, Claims and Compliance, a conference aimed at facilitating high-level discussion of substantive challenges, and opportunities facing like-minded women in the insurance industry while promoting woman-to-woman networking.

    On Friday, July 31, 2015 at 3:00PM – Katherine S. Catlos, Managing Partner in the KDV San Francisco Office with be monitoring the following discussion:
    Relationship Building & Networking: An Interactive Discussion on Topics Including:

    • Strategies, information, ideas, and support uniquely tailored to address issues from the perspective of being a woman with a major leadership position in the insurance industry
    • Key networking skills that serve aspiring leaders and drive their business and personal goals
    • Mentorship/sponsorship trends: Finding champions for support, guidance, critical feedback, stretch opportunities and visibility
    • Taking advantage of Social Media and “Virtual Networking” opportunities

    Register today by calling 888-224-2480, faxing your form to 877-927-1563 or online.

  • Jun 26, 2015

    By Erik Ortmann

    June 26, 2015

    Trucking has long been a strong option and opportunity to obtain DBE participation credits on federally funded contracts. However, the manner in which credits are provided for trucks and trucking services is often greatly scrutinized and confusing to all parties. The new DBE program regulations made effective November 3, 2014 clarify and finalize a modification to the counting rules for trucking which seeks to increase opportunities for DBE trucking credits.

    It has long been established under the rules that a DBE trucking company that performs a commercially useful function and owns and operates at least one licensed, insured and operational truck, will generate DBE credits for the total value of the transportation services it provides on a contract using its own trucks and employee drivers. The DBE trucking company will also get credit when it leases trucks from another DBE for the total value of transportation services the lessee DBE provides on a contract. When the DBE leases trucks and drivers from a non-DBE the rule has stated that agencies may choose to allow credit for the value of transportation services provided by the non-DBE equal to the credit provided by the use of the DBE’s owned trucks. Beyond such value/threshold, additional credit might be permitted only for the fee or commission the non-DBE receives for the lease arrangement.

    The modification contained in the new DBE program rules clarifies and finalizes the understanding that trucks that are leased by a DBE from a non-DBE which are operated by the DBE’s employees will be treated no differently than any other equipment a DBE would lease for its work. In other words, the credit for transportation services provided by a DBE trucking company will not be impacted because the trucks used by the DBE’s employees are leased, the total value of the transportation services will be credited in such instance.

    The new rule provides a good example as to how the modification would apply as follows: 
    DBE Firm X uses two of its own trucks on a contract.  It leases two additional trucks from non-DBE Firm Z.  Firm X uses its own employees to drive the trucks leased from Firm Z.  DBE credit would be awarded for the total value of the transportation services provided by all four trucks.

    The contractor must be mindful, however, that each agency, such as NYS DOT and the MTA, has requirements as to what constitutes an appropriate leasing of trucks for DBE credit purposes. Additionally, note that the term “employee” under the rule is to be given its common dictionary meaning and the term “’ownership’ includes the purchase of a truck or trucks through conventional financing arrangements”.

    It is important overall to understand the DBE regulations; the implementation or interpretation of the DBE program rules by an agency (e.g. NYSDOT or MTA); and the DBE goals and requirements set forth in bid documents, before submitting a utilization plan. A careful consideration of the “finer points” and opportunities under the DBE program rules, such as those applicable to trucking services, will give the contractor a chance to submit a solid utilization plan to an agency which properly meets contract goals, provides solutions and minimizes questions and concerns.

  • Jun 25, 2015

    By Keith J. Gutstein, David A. Tauster & Aaron Solomon

    June 26, 2015

    On June 10, 2015, the New York City Council passed legislation that will drastically limit employers from performing pre-employment criminal background checks on prospective hires. Commonly known as the “Fair Chance Act,” this bill mirrors similar “Ban the Box” legislation which has been recently adopted in a number of large cities, including Washington D.C. and San Francisco.  The Act applies to New York City based employers, or businesses with workplaces in New York City, that employ four or more individuals.

    The Act makes it an unlawful discriminatory practice to inquire about an applicant’s pending arrests or conviction record until after the employer has deemed the applicant otherwise qualified and has decided to extend a conditional offer of employment. The Act would define such an inquiry broadly, such that it will prohibit inquiries in any form, including searches of publicly available records and obtaining consumer reports that contain criminal conviction, arrest, or accusation information. The Fair Chance Act would not apply, however, to those occupations where a pre-employment criminal background check is already required by law or those which bar employment based on criminal history –e.g., health care workers.

    For employers who wish to rescind an offer of employment based on a post-offer inquiry, the Act prescribes a specific procedure. First, the employer must provide a written copy of the results of the employer’s inquiry to the applicant. Second, the employer must engage in the multifactor analysis set forth in Article 23-A of New York State’s Correction Law to determine whether there is a direct relationship between the job and the prior criminal activity to warrant disqualification. These factors include the time which has passed since the conviction, the age of the individual at the time of the offense, and the seriousness of the offense. This analysis must also be reduced to writing and provided to the applicant. Finally, the employer must allow the applicant at least three business days to respond to the results of the inquiry and analysis. During this period, the employer is obligated to hold the position open for the applicant.  Importantly, applicants are not required to respond to inquiries that violate the Act, and any refusal to respond to any such impermissible inquiry cannot be used to disqualify an applicant from employment.

    The Act also prohibits employers from circulating any solicitation, advertisement, or publication which directly or indirectly expresses any limitation or specification in employment based on a person’s arrest or criminal conviction.  In addition, the Act prohibits employers from denying employment to an applicant or acting adversely toward any employee on the basis of criminal convictions if such actions violate Correction Law Article 23-A. Notably, however, even for existing employees, Article 23-A only bars adverse actions based upon criminal convictions that occurred prior to employment.

    As the Act will go into effect 120 days after it is signed by the Mayor, employers are advised to review their hiring practices and employment applications now to ensure that they are in compliance with the Fair Chance Act, as well as federal statutes regulating background checks.

     

  • Jun 17, 2015

    By Stefan R. Dandelles, Keith J. Gutstein and Bradley S. Levison

    June 17, 2015

    Joining a trend sweeping across the county, the City of Chicago is set to become the next city to phase in a new hourly minimum wage that is higher than the federal minimum wage. Other cities, such as San Francisco and Seattle, and other States, such as Maryland and Minnesota, have already implemented plans to raise their minimum wages, while Los Angeles just recently signed into law measures that will increase minimum wage in the city to $15 per hour over the next five years. The State of Illinois also appears headed that way following the recent overwhelming approval of a nonbinding referendum calling for the state to raise minimum wage to $10 per hour.

    Starting July 1, 2015, the Chicago Minimum Wage Ordinance raises the hourly minimum wage within the City of Chicago from $8.25 to $10. The hourly minimum wage will continue to increase incrementally every July 1 through 2019 when it reaches $13. After that, the hourly minimum wage will rise yearly according to the Consumer Price Index. Businesses are required to post notices advising employees of the current minimum wage.

    This increase will impact all businesses that maintain an office in Chicago and/or are required to obtain a business license to operate in the City, as well as all employees who work two hours or more in Chicago within a two week period regardless where their employer is based. This means that any business Minimum Wage Ordinance and pay wages consistent with that Ordinance for work that has employees working in Chicago will need to comply with the Chicago performed in the City. The Chicago Minimum Wage Ordinance is not restricted simply to businesses but will also effect individuals residing in Chicago that employ housekeepers, nannies, caregivers and other household services in their private residences.

    Violating the new hourly minimum wage will be costly, subjecting the violator to a fine of not less than $500 or more than $1,000 for each offense. Each day that a violation continues will be treated as a separate and distinct offense meaning a violator could be subjected to multiple and increasing fines until the violation is cured.

    With July 1, 2015 approaching quickly, Chicagoans and business owners alike need to familiarize themselves with the Chicago Minimum Wage Ordinance (Municipal Code of Chicago 1-24-010, et seq.) and make sure that they are in compliance or possibly face steep fines. KDV’s labor and employment law attorneys can assist employers in best practices to ensure compliance with the applicable minimum wage laws, to avoid and minimize the likelihood of liability for wage and hour violations. If you have any questions, please contact Bradley Levison at (312) 646-6744.

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Dean Herman and Hee Young Lee Join Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck as Partners in Firm’s Los Angeles Office; Senior Counsel and Three Associates Also Join LA Office

(June 3, 2013, Los Angeles, CA) — Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck, LLP (KDV), a leading national law firm, today announced that Dean B. Herman, who has more than 30 years of experience in insurance industry and business litigation, and Hee Young Lee, who has represented insurers and policyholders for more than a decade, have joined the firm as partners in its Los Angeles office. They will be accompanied by Craig D. Aronson as senior counsel and Steven S. Son, Andrew C. Johnson and Mikhaile P. Savary as associates.

Dean Herman defends and advises insurers and professionals on liability, first and third party insurance coverage issues, bad faith, and errors and omissions issues. His experience also includes sophisticated business and commercial litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts on issues across a broad range of industry sectors and a diversified array of issues, ranging from IP to employment and contract disputes, executive risk exposures,  entertainment, wine industry,  as well as professional liability claims involving lawyers, insurance agents and brokers, real estate agents and brokers, directors and officers, business managers, financial advisors among others. He has also served as an expert witness and consultant and acts as a mediator in complex insurance coverage and other disputes. He comes to Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck from Mendes & Mount where he was a partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Hee Young Lee also joins from Mendes & Mount, where she was a partner and her practice is focused on advising and defending insurers and their insureds in federal and state courts in matters involving intellectual property, environmental, construction defect, agribusiness, privacy, and personal lines claims. She also defends insureds in professional liability claims.

“Dean and Hee Young are preeminent insurance attorneys who will enhance not only our West Coast but our national presence in this field, which has always been a core strength of the firm,” said Ivan J. Dolowich, co-managing partner of KDV.  “This group enhances our practice on the West Coast providing insurance coverage, business litigation, professional liability, labor & employment and financial services for our clients.”

Herman will also be working out of the KDV San Francisco office due to the considerable work he does in the Bay area for clients based there.  He earned his B.A.  from California State University at Fullerton, his J.D. from Loyola Law School and his Master of Laws from the University of California, Berkeley. He is admitted to practice in California, and regularly handles matters in many other states either on a pro hac vice basis or an advisory or national coordinating counsel basis.

Lee will have a leadership role in the Los Angeles office. She earned her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles and her J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law. She is admitted to practice in California, and also handles insurance coverage matters in many other states.

“Hee Young and I are excited to be joining a firm whose key practice areas are so compatible with our strengths,” said Herman. “We look forward to the opportunity to helping to grow KDV’s already strong insurance, professional liability and litigation practices on the West Coast and nationally.”

Craig Aronson, who has been practicing law for 30 years and whose practice focuses on coverage and professional liability, joins KDV from Gaglione, Dolan & Kaplan (Los Angeles) where he was a partner. He is admitted to practice in California. Aronson graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College and earned his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

Steven Son, Andrew Johnson and Mikhaile Savary are litigation attorneys joining KDV from Mendes & Mount where they were all associates. Son, admitted to practice in California, earned his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles and his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law.  Johnson, admitted to practice in California and Nevada, received his B.F.A. from the University of Kansas and his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law. Savary, admitted to practice in California and New York, received his B. A. from Cornell University and his J.D. from Columbia Law School.

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