Posts Tagged ‘LLP’

Uh Oh, Now There’s a Lawsuit Against the City for Recent Ellis Act Legislation – SFAA & realtors Fighting Us

Wednesday, January 29th, 2014

Read it and weep, San Francisco. We’re getting sued:

“For Immediate Release, January 29, 2014:

San Francisco Housing Associations File Lawsuit to Block Anti-Family Legislation

San Francisco – On Tuesday January 28, 2014, the San Francisco Apartment Association, Coalition for Better Housing and the San Francisco Association of REALTORS® filed a lawsuit challenging the legality of legislation known as the Avalos Ellis Act and Merger Prohibition Legislation.

 The legislation was passed by the Board of Supervisors and signed into law by Mayor Ed Lee in violation of building owners’ rights under the state law known as the Ellis Act.

 The legislation prohibits owners of multi-unit buildings from combining units in a building for ten years following an Ellis Act eviction or for five years following an owner-move in eviction.

 On a practical level, the legislation prevents families who own a building from creating a home that meets their needs. For example, the legislation prevents a family from combining two small units into a larger one to provide a home for a growing family. Couples with young children often find themselves in need of additional space they did not anticipate when they purchased a rental building, yet the legislation punishes them.

 Only 2 percent of new housing built in San Francisco since 2001 are single-family homes that provide adequate space for families, often with multiple generations living together. Lack of adequate housing to meet the needs of families has contributed San Francisco losing 5,278 people younger than 18 between 2000 and 2010, according to the census.

 “The San Francisco Association of REALTORS® supports the rights of private property owners for the free use of their property as their needs suit them.  This legislation only exacerbates the problems families face in finding adequate housing and drives out the families that have created the diversity we want and celebrate in our city,” said Walt Baczkowski, CEO of the San Francisco Association of Realtors.

 Because so few single family homes are being constructed, families rely on improving buildings they own, including tenancies in common to add living space. This legislation prohibits them from creating the home they need in a building they own.

 “Families are fleeing San Francisco due to a multitude of reasons that include a lack of adequate space for growing families that often include multiple generations. This legislation exacerbates that problem by punishing and limiting options for families who simply seek to create a home that meets the needs of their family,” stated Janan New, Executive Director of the San Francisco Apartment Association. “This legislation punishes hard working families, while doing little to protect renters.”

 The lawsuit states that the legislation is pre-empted by state law known as the Ellis Act, which allows building owners to take a building off the rental market and convert those units to condominiums or single -family homes. Under the law, building owners are already required to give occupants up to one year advance notice and provide relocation fees of $5,210 per tenant, up to a maximum of $15,632, plus $3,473 additional for tenants who are senior or disabled.

 “My clients are seeking relief from this just-passed legislation which unfairly takes away the right of individuals and families who simply want to create a home for themselves and their family in a building they own,” stated Jim Parrinello, attorney for the plaintiffs.

Know Your Financial District Buildings: Pre-Quake, Post-Quake, Post-Modern, Modern – All in a Row

Thursday, September 6th, 2012

From California Street, starting in the lower right:

400 Montgomery, the Alvinza Hayward Building, aka the Kohl Building, 130+ feet tall, 1901

500 California, the Omni Hotel, these days anyway, ___ feet tall, 1927

580 California, the No Name Building, apparently, 351 feet tall, 1987

650 California, the Hartford Building, 466 feet tall, 1964

Click to expand

There’s a lot of history in this photo. Do you see the trend – taller and less ornate until, whoops we went too far…

You know who should write about this kind of stuff? John King. Get him a camera like this or something.

There’s Way More Poo in Justin Herman Plaza Now Than During the Height of OccupySF – Why Is That?

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Horses, that’s why. Police horses, that is.

JHP poo, tourists, the Embarcadero, and Ferry Building. Welcome to San Francisco!

Click to expand

Perhaps the super-whiny whiners in the the area, such as Boston Properties* and whoever, will start writing sneaky letters to SFGov about how they’re going to sue, sue, sue over horse poo now?

Perhaps.

So, now that OccupySF is over, area property owners are happy? Really? Mmmm.

And who was it, was it Hawaiian Airlines or Disney what was demanding the end of OccupySF? Maybe I’ll look into that and see how they feel about Occupy. [Cough, boycott, cough.]

On It Goes…

*Owner of Embarcadero Center or someplace. (Now isn’t that a great name for a San Francisco company?) 

Uh Oh: Is Our Cafe Gratitude Running Afoul of CA’s “Tip Pooling” Law? – “Direct Table Service” and “Chain of Service”

Tuesday, August 9th, 2011

Comes now Cafe Gratitude server Sarah Stevens, who alleges that she is:

“…required to participate in an unreasonable and uncustomary tip pooling scheme that leaves her with a very small percentage of the tips she earns as a server. Specifically, Stevens alleges that after tipping out 20% of her daily tips to the “central kitchen” — an offsite kitchen on 14th street — Stevens then splits the remaining 80% of her tips equally with all of the Café Gratitude staff, including the “shift leaders” and retail employees.”

Improper involuntary tip pooling? No thank you!

Today’s special – Greens ‘n Gruel. All right, eat up, after you thank me!

Via Johann F

Per John Birdsall, CG is engaging in shady behavior:

“I Am Shady RT @EastBayExpress Cafe Gratitude sued for labor-code violations http://t.co/Dr9qHQd

Uh Oh. If Sarah can prove what she’s saying, she’ll have a nice case against CG, leaving aside other issues, like her not getting proper breaks ‘n stuff like that.

‘Cause our Department of Industrial Relations does not approve of servers splitting tips with anyone who doesn’t provide “direct table service.”

Check it:

“According to a California court, Labor Code Section 351 allows involuntary tip pooling. Therefore, your employer can require that you share your tips with other staff that provide service in the restaurant. In this regard, it’s DLSE’s position that when a tip pooling arrangement is in effect, the tips are to be distributed among the employees who provide “direct table service.” Such employees could conceivably include waiters and waitresses, busboys, bartenders, host/hostesses and maitre d’s. Employees who do not provide direct table service and who do not share in the tip pool include dishwashers, cooks, and chefs, except in restaurants where the chefs prepare the food at the patron’s table, in which case the chef may participate in the tip pool. Additionally, tip pooling cannot be used to compensate the owner(s), manager(s), or supervisor(s) of the business, even if these individuals should provide direct table service to a patron.”

(California’s laws are biased towards waitstaff at the expense of food preparers, IMO, for whatever reason.)

[UPDATE: Stop the presses! An employment lawyer in the Comments section has just pointed out the “chain of service” concept that some judges worked out a couple years ago. News to me. Anyway, the trend is that our courts are more accepting of mandatory tip pooling schemes than they were a few years back. But still, management has to keep its paws off of tip money in CA no matter what.]

Anyway, from where I’m sitting, this looks like game, set, and match for server Sarah. You hear that, restaurant owners? This is a dead bang, this is a lead pipe cinch. Just saying.

Thank you!

Know Your Black Aluminum Skyscrapers of the Bay Area: One Maritime Plaza, aka the Alcoa Building

Monday, June 13th, 2011

Well, here it is, or what you can see these days, after the Alcoa Building got surrounded by Embarcadero Center.

Nevertheless, it remains:

One of earliest examples of expressed seismic bracing using external trusses and X-braces.

See?

Click to expand

But check out how she looked back in the Mad Men era, back in the 1960s.

Anyway, it sure looks strong – I’m sure it will ride out the next Big One with aplomb.

Bon Courage, 1 Maritime Plaza!

FarmVille FaceBook Game “Creator” Zynga Sued Again – Class Action Suit Alleges User Data Illegally Sold

Tuesday, October 19th, 2010

Uh oh, looks like San Francisco-based Zynga is in trouble again. The lawyers at Nassiri & Jung LLP down there on Kearny near Market filed a class-action lawsuit in San Francisco federal court yesterday.

Get all the deets, below.

Facebook User Sues FarmVille Maker Zynga for Violating the Privacy Rights of Millions of Americans

Class action suit filed after Zynga shared the personal Facebook information of millions of Americans with Internet tracking companies.

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 19 — A class action lawsuit filed yesterday challenges Zynga’s alleged practice ofillegally sharing the Facebook user data of its customers with advertisers and data brokers.

The lawsuit alleges that Zynga, which currently makes six of the top ten Facebook games, collected the Facebook data of its 218 million users and shared it with advertisers and data brokers in violation of federal law and Zynga’s contract with Facebook.

The lawsuit, which was filed in federal court in San Francisco, Calif., is brought by Nancy Graf of St. Paul, Minnesota. The class action seeks monetary relief for those whose data was wrongly shared, and injunctive relief to prevent continued privacy abuses. 

“This appears to be another example of an online company failing the American public with empty promises to respect individual privacy rights,” explained Michael Aschenbrener of Edelson McGuire LLC, co-lead attorney for the class action. “Companies large and small need to learn to follow through on their privacy promises or risk having consumers decide that it is simply not worth it to use their services,” added Kassra Nassiri ofNassiri & Jung LLP, co-lead attorney for the lawsuit.

Aschenbrener and Nassiri are also co-lead class counsel in another case against Facebook that alleges massive privacy violations.

Edelson McGuire LLC is a leading class action firm that focuses on Internet, technology, privacy, banking, and consumer issues with attorneys in Illinois, New York, California, and Florida. www.edelson.com.

Nassiri & Jung LLP is a boutique litigation firm based in San Francisco that focuses on complex business disputes. www.nassiri-jung.com

Pwned! San Francisco Law Firm Barroway Topaz Drops the Hammer on American Apparel

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

I’ll tell you, when your stock price goes from $15 per share all the way down to less than the cost of a BK Buck Double, you’ve got to start worrying about one of them shareholder derivative class action lawsuits.

As here, today, in the 415, where the San Francisco law office of Barroway Topaz Kessler Meltzer & Check, LLP right there at 580 California Street has just announced such a suit.

What’s the beef? Well:

“…the Company failed to disclose and misrepresented the following material adverse facts which were known to defendants or recklessly disregarded by them:  (1) that they had made “diligent efforts” to comply with labor and employment regulations, when in fact they had not done so; (2) that they failed to disclose to investors, and made false statements regarding facts surrounding the Company’s illegal hiring practices and its effect on the Company’s operating costs and margins; (3) that they failed to disclose or indicate that the Company lacked adequate internal and financial controls; (4) that they failed to disclose that, as a result of the foregoing, the Company’s financial statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times; and (5) that they failed to disclose that, as a result of the foregoing, their statements regarding the Company’s prospects were false and misleading at all relevant times.”

Uh oh. Is this the beginning of the end for those sexy, NSFW, ubiquitous and risque Internet ads?

Possibly. First, all that trouble down in the Mission, and now this.

All the deets, after the jump

(more…)

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger Announces the California Disaster Corps

Friday, June 25th, 2010

Looks like Arnold is doing something besides those photo-ops these days.  

Not that he’s not good at photo-ops, like this one from a few years back. Anyway, here’s what he’s up to today:

Governor Schwarzenegger Launches First-in-the-Nation Disaster Corps

LOS ANGELES, June 25 — Governor Schwarzenegger today launched the first-in-the-nation Disaster Corps to professionalize, standardize and coordinate highly trained disaster volunteers statewide. Disaster Corps volunteers will be registered by their local government organization under the Disaster Service Worker Volunteer Program and will meet Disaster Corps training, typing, certification and security screening guidelines.

“California is always leading the way and now we are the first state in the nation to integrate volunteers into our state emergency plan,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Volunteers are an incredible resource, and no state has more giving, more passionate or more dedicated volunteers than California. Together, we will take volunteerism to a whole new level and make California better prepared and better equipped than ever before, for any emergency.”

In the aftermath of the 2007 Southern California Wildfires and Cosco Busan Oil Spill, thousands of disaster volunteers poured into affected areas to assist with evacuations, sheltering, clean-up and a host of other activities supporting response operations. Governor Schwarzenegger recognized the need to more effectively integrate and coordinate disaster volunteer efforts in all phases of emergency management, from disaster preparedness to disaster response and recovery. In February 2008, Governor Schwarzenegger appointed Karen Baker to serve as the state’s and also the nation’s first secretary of Service and Volunteering and charged her office with the development of the Disaster Corps.

All the deets, after the jump

(more…)

San Francisco’s Phillips & Cohen Pwns Northrup Grumman in Qui Tam Lawsuit

Wednesday, June 23rd, 2010

In Latin, qui means “lotta” and tam means “cashola,” or something like that, so that’s exactly what you get when you win as a whistle blower in a False Claims Act lawsuit.

Read on to learn about a recent qui tam suit involving local attorneys Eric R. Havian and Claire M. Sylvia and Allen Davis, a former quality assurance manager at Northrup in SLC, Utah.

Northrop Whistleblower and His Attorneys Comment on Company’s $12.5 Million Settlement

LOS ANGELES, June 23 — The fraud charges Northrop Grumman is settling today for $12.5 million were brought to the government’s attention by a company manager in its Salt Lake City, Utah, plant who filed a “qui tam” (whistleblower) lawsuit against Northrop in federal district court in Los Angeles in 2006.

After investigating the whistleblower’s allegations, the federal government determined that Northrop for nine years had failed to test certain electronic components it sold the military for use in the navigation systems of planes, helicopters and submarines.

Whistleblower: Allen Davis, formerly a quality assurance manager with Northrop’s navigation systems division in Salt Lake City. He will receive a reward of $2.3 millionas provided in the “qui tam” provisions of the False Claims Act.

Whistleblower’s attorneys: Eric R. Havian and Claire M. Sylvia, San Francisco lawyers with Phillips & Cohen LLP. Tel: 415.836.9000.

Statement from Claire M. Sylvia, Phillips & Cohen LLP, San Francisco.

“Allen Davis demonstrated a lot of courage in reporting to the government that his employer was failing to ensure that parts used in military products were properly tested.  He did everything he could to raise his concerns with his supervisors, but they ignored his complaints. So he turned to us to become a whistleblower to force the company to address the problem. Mr. Davis is deeply committed to doing his part to keep our armed forces safe.”

Statement from Eric R. Havian, Phillips & Cohen LLP, San Francisco

“Northrop charged the government for tested parts and delivered untested ones. The government allows defense contractors to use commercial parts in military equipment only if those parts are tested to withstand the extreme temperatures and wear that can occur in combat situations. The military pays contractors extra money to cover the costs of those tests. Allen Davis alleged – and the government’s investigation found – that Northrop was knowingly failing to conduct required safety tests.”

Statement from Allen Davis

“If an everyday person such as myself can bring about change for the better, anyone can. I pursued this case because we owe the men and women of the armed forces our best efforts to provide them with the best equipment possible. They are risking their lives every day and depend on the equipment we build to stay safe.”

About Phillips & Cohen LLP

Phillips & Cohen LLP is the nation’s most successful law firm representing whistleblowers. Qui tam lawsuits brought by Phillips & Cohen have resulted in civil recoveries and related criminal fines totaling $5.3 billion. Phillips & Cohen also represents whistleblowers in cases involving major tax fraud and evasion as well as securities law violations. The firm’s attorneys are regularly recognized for their successful work on whistleblower cases with inclusion on such select lists as the Top 10 “Winning Attorneys” in the U.S., the “100 Most Influential Lawyers” and the National Law Journal’s Top 20 “Hot List” of plaintiffs’ law firms. See www.phillipsandcohen.com for more information.

Straight Out of Emeryville – AMTRAK’s So-Called Train From Hell and Its Whiny Passengers

Monday, January 11th, 2010

How much would you expect from Amtrak if you paid $145 to board the California Zephyr in Emeryville, CA on January 3rd, 2010 with the expectation of getting to Chicago in a day-and-a-half? Well, what if your fellow passengers called this ride the “Train From Hell” or something?

How did it get that name? Well, the train arrived in Illinois almost a day late a few days back due to it hitting a truck abandoned on the tracks(!) and encountering snowdrifts  higher than an elephant’s eye  in Nebraska and other typical travel issues.

The number of deaths and injuries continues to be reported as zero. So how does that earn this particular Zephyr the sobriquet “Train From Hell” or whatever?

Amtrak’s CZ on a happier day: 

via Patrick Rasenberg

Perhaps Amtrak’s riders took a lesson from the whiny passengers of Flight 1549, famously piloted by CoCo County’s Captain “Sully” Sullenberger? Those particular airline passengers are getting at least $15k-$20k, plus free traumatic stress counseling sessions, plus a refund of their ticket cost, plus upgrades to first class on other flights  for the past year, etc., and yet some of them are still whining.

Sometimes when you travel, Things Happen.* Please make a note of this.  

Lower your expectations and you’ll never be disappointed… 

*People used to die on jetliners – not Beechcrafts nor Cessnas oh no, we’re talking about your Boeings, Airbuses, Lockheeds, McDonnell Douglasseses – people would board and then die, it happened all the time. But how many passengers have died due to jetliner crashes in America since 2001 (which was a bad year, of course)? That’s a Big Fat Zero.

So count your blessings the next time a flock of birds or a pickup or a snowstorm or an Act of God or an Act of Gaia wettens your iPod and/or delays your Journey Through Life.