• Tad A. Devlin, partner in the Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck San Francisco office, was quoted in Rob Hotakainen’s McClatchy article on marijuana and the workplace.

    Pot backers hope that all or most of the ballot measures pass, making 2016 the point of no return in the long drive to end federal marijuana prohibition. On Nov. 9, recreational marijuana could be legal in states that represent nearly a quarter of the U.S. population.

    As a result, larger companies with multistate operations will have the most homework, scrambling to figure out how to deal with employees who work in jurisdictions with differing marijuana laws.

    “The labyrinth of laws are going to become even more complicated and complex,” said Tad Devlin, a professional liability partner at Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck in San Francisco who counsels employers and insurers on marijuana issues in the workplace. “What it’s going to do is create more uncertainty and potential for dispute claims and even litigation.”

  • Aug 23, 2016

    By Philip R. Voluck, Esq., Keith J. Gutstein, Esq., and David A.Tauster, Esq.

    As the summer winds to a close, employers must now begin to focus on compliance with the new United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) regulations which will be taking effect on December 1, or approximately 100 days from today. KDV previously addressed the specifics of the new regulations in a prior alert, available here.

    As a reminder, the DOL is more than doubling the minimum salary required for an employee to qualify as overtime exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), from $455 per week to $913 per week. Notably, the salary test is not the sole basis for an overtime exemption, as the employees in question will still have to meet the applicable duties test for their specific exemption to apply. The new regulations are expected to provide overtime eligibility to as many as 4.2 million workers, and will almost certainly affect employees at your business.

    With 100 days until the new regulations take effect, employers should review their employee classifications. The labor and employment attorneys at KDV are available to assist you in conducting such a review, and in connection with all aspects of compliance with the FLSA and the state labor laws applicable to your business.

  • Aug 19, 2016

    By Michael L. Zigelman and Ryan R. Westerfield

    A recent decision by California’s Second Appellate District in Ace American Insurance Company v. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company, 2016 Cal. App. LEXIS 647 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. Aug. 5, 2016), addressed a split in the California Divisional Courts.  The Second Appellate District determined that, in addition to excess judgments, certain settlements in excess of primary policy limits could afford excess insurers with a viable cause of action for bad faith against a primary insurer.

    Ace American dealt with a film industry worker that was injured while on set.  The worker’s employer had a primary insurance policy with Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company (“Fireman’s”) with a $2 million limit, and an excess insurance policy with Ace American Insurance Company (“Ace”) with a $50 million limit.  During the course of litigation, the worker made settlement demands within the $2 million limit of the Fireman’s policy.  The parties ultimately entered into a settlement “for an amount substantially in excess” of the Fireman’s primary policy limits.  At the time, Ace consented to the settlement and contributed towards it, but subsequently pursued Fireman’s for equitable subrogation and breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.  Ace contended that it sustained damages as a result of Fireman’s refusal to settle within its policy limits when those demands were made.

    Relying on RLI Ins. Co. v. CNA Casualty of California, 141 Cal. App. 4th 75, 45 Cal. Rptr. 3d 667 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. 2006), Fireman’s argued that “an excess insurer may only sue for equitable subrogation if there has been a judgment against the insured that exceeds the limits of the policy.” Ace American at p. 4 (emphasis added).  The Second Appellate District rejected Fireman’s argument, citing to the decision in Fortman v. Safeco Ins. Co. 221 Cal. App. 3d 1394, 271 Cal. Rptr. 117 (Cal. App. 2d Dist. 1990), for the proposition that a cause of action exists when (1) an excess insurer suffered damages as a result of the primary insurer’s actions, and (2) the damages were actually paid in a discernable sum by the excess insurer.  Ace American at 8, citing Fortman, 221 Cal. App. 3d at 1401-1402. The Court noted that while a judgment is one example of reliable evidence of damages, it is not the only manner by which an excess insurer can prove its damages.  A settlement can serve this purpose provided that it offers a reliable reflection of the damages at issue.

    The Second Appellate District, however, acknowledged instances addressed in case law in which a settlement would not provide an insurer with a basis to assert a bad faith claim.  While those cases were relied on by Fireman’s in support of its position, the cases were distinguished by the Second Appellate District as being inapplicable to the case at hand.  Specifically, Fireman’s relied on cases in which a stipulated judgment was reached between a plaintiff and an insured, but those cases did not involve the insurers as part of the settlement which were entered into with an agreement that the plaintiff would not execute a judgment on the insured.  The Second Appellate District found that type of settlement to not be satisfactory proof of an insurer’s failure to settle within policy limits, as it did not represent a “reliable basis to establish damages.”  Id. at 19.  The Second Appellate District noted that the Ace American case differed from those cases relied upon by Fireman’s because Ace was a participant and contributor to the settlement in this matter.  Because the Second Appellate District found that the settlement amount adequately reflected the damages, Ace could quantify the amount it was damaged by Fireman’s alleged refusal to settle.

  • Jul 6, 2016

    (July 6, 2016, New York, NY)

    — Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck LLP (KDV), a leading national law firm, today announced that three employment law partners, with a combined 60 years of experience, have joined its New York City (NYC) office. With this move, KDV strengthens one of its leading national practices with partners experienced in employment discrimination defense, wage and hour litigation, National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) matters and related labor and employment areas.

    Ivan D. Smith, Maureen M. Stampp and Gregory S. Glickman are joining KDV as partners. They come to KDV from the New York office of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP where they were partners in the firm’s Labor & Employment Practice. They have a national practice that will enhance KDV’s Labor & Employment Law Practice on both coasts.

    “Ivan, Maureen and Greg have worked together for eight years,” said Michael A. Kaufman, co-managing partner, KDV. “We are very fortunate to be adding employment litigators who have taken more than 25 employment jury trials to verdict.  These additions, coupled with the arrival in Los Angeles of nine Waxler Carner and Brodsky attorneys in April, many of whom have employment and labor practices, further demonstrate KDV’s dedication to having one of the strongest employment and labor teams in the country.”

    Smith brings to KDV substantial experience in employment discrimination litigation, wage and hour litigation, collective bargaining, contract and grievance arbitrations, litigation pertaining to unfair labor practices and matters before the NLRB. In addition, he advises on benefits and pension issues under Taft Hartley and ERISA.

    “I look forward to utilizing Smith’s diverse experience in employment law matters,  including complex class and collective actions, wage and hour litigation and discrimination defense,” said Philip R. Voluck, KDV’s labor & employment law practice co-chair.   Smith also brings a new dimension to KDV with an established entertainment law practice, representing Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Grammy- and Emmy-award-winning producers, writers, directors and artists in the music, television and film industries.

    Smith earned his B.A. from Tufts University and his J.D. from Albany Law School of Union University.  He is admitted to practice in New York and before the U.S. Supreme Court.

    “We enjoy working together,” said Smith. “Our goal is to be one of the top labor and employment legal teams in New York and expand our footprint nationwide. KDV gives us the platform to accomplish this.”

    Stampp’s practice focuses on employment law and ERISA litigation. She represents employers in all facets of employment and labor law including employment discrimination matters in state and federal courts and before administrative agencies including the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC), NLRB and Department of Labor (DOL). Stampp defends employers in federal and state wage and hour and consumer class actions. She also counsels employers on preventive, corrective and remedial measures in employment discrimination matters, prepares policy manuals, negotiates collective bargaining agreements and presents training seminars on employment discrimination laws.

    Stampp earned her B.A., summa cum laude, from Fordham University and her J.D. from Columbia Law School.  She is admitted to practice in New York.

    Glickman focuses his practice on labor and employment matters, handling all aspects of litigation in employment discrimination, wage and hour class action and traditional labor cases. He also handles litigation and arbitration matters brought under Title VII, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA), the Family and Medical Leave Act, the Fair Labor Standards Act (FMLA) the New York State and City Human Rights Laws and unfair labor practice proceedings and representational hearings before the NLRB and state agencies. Glickman prepares employee handbooks and policy manuals.

    Glickman earned his B.A. from Cornell University and his J.D., cum laude, from Georgetown University Law Center. He is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey.

    “With the continued uptick in employment related litigation, especially wage and hour class actions, the addition of this experienced trio will greatly benefit our clients based in New York City and those who conduct business here,” said Keith Gutstein, co-chair of KDV’s labor and employment law practice.  “We are thrilled that such a strong labor and employment group has joined our team.”


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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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