Supreme Court Appears Divided on Immigration

United States v. Texas, No. 15-674, now before the Supreme Court, concerns Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, or DAPA, which was introduced by the Obama administration in November 2014.

DAPA, if implemented, would allow some four million unauthorized immigrants, who are the parents of citizens or legal permanent residents, to apply for a program that would defer their deportation and allow them to apply for work permits.

Texas and 25 other states have filed suit, claiming that the president has exceeded his authority by proposing this program.

Supreme Court Appears Divided on Immigration

As is often the case, the arguments before the court are based not so much on the moral and ethical questions tied to immigration, but on a legal issue: standing to sue.

Standing to sue requires that the plaintiffs in a case would suffer some substantive injury. In this case, Texas claims that it would be prohibitively expensive to issue drivers’ licenses to the immigrants.

Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli Jr., presenting the administration’s case, argued that Texas had not – or would not – suffer the kind of injury that would give it standing to sue. Justice Sotomayor also questioned the idea that DAPA created a real, financial burden, asking:

Why can’t you just let people wait on line?

Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.’s line of questioning suggested he might side with the more conservative members of the court, upholding the plaintiffs’ claim of standing to sue.

A four-to-four decision would leave in place a lower court decision blocking the plan, effectively preventing President Obama from reintroducing DAPA during the remainder of his term. It would also set no Supreme Court precedent, thus allowing for a challenge at some later date, presumably after the appointment of a new Justice to replace Antonin Scalia.

Click here to read the New York Times article.

 

Social Media: The New Legal Frontier

Social media has changed the way we interact with each other. It’s also changing the practice of family law. Attorneys and clients, take note.

Social Media: The New Legal Frontier

Don’t believe me? Consider these recent cases:

Service by Facebook

A Brooklyn woman tried for years to serve her husband – who claimed he had no fixed address or permanent employer – with divorce papers, without success. The woman’s attorney petitioned the court to allow “service by alternate means.” In his ruling, Justice Matthew Cooper said the “advent and ascendency of social media,” means sites like Facebook and Twitter are the “next frontier” as “forums through which a summons can be delivered.”

The husband got served via Facebook.

Click here to read the CNN article.

Virtually Violating a Protective Order

In Pennsylvania last year, a county court arraigned Justin Bellanco on contempt charges for violating the restraining order filed by his ex-girlfriend, which forbid him from having any contact with her for one year. He had “liked” 22 of her photos and videos posted on Facebook.

Click here to read more.

And in New York, a woman may face jail time for “tagging” her sister-in-law.

Click here to read the article.

Still not convinced?

Four attorneys share their stories in “The State of Facebook and Family Law” published in California Lawyer. Click here to read the article.

Proposed Bill Will Improve Disclosures of Police Shootings

Last year, the California Legislature passed a bill requiring “detailed reports on all police shootings that result in serious bodily injury or death.” The bill only required that departments provide these reports on paper.

Proposed Bill Will Improve Disclosures of Police Shootings

AB-71, introduced by Assemblywoman Jacqui Irwin (D-Thousand Oaks) and supported by Attorney General Kamala Harris, will require departments to file documents electronically, bringing “criminal justice data reporting into the 21st century.”

Jack Dolan, reporting for the Los Angeles Times, writes:

The bill would also require departments to file traditional crime statistics electronically, including the numbers of murders, rapes, robberies and property crimes. Currently, 60% of departments submit that information on paper, requiring state workers to type it into computers before it can be analyzed and disseminated. The process is unnecessarily expensive and time-consuming, state officials said.

Click here to read Jack Dolan’s article in the Los Angeles Times.

Click here to read the text of Assembly Bill No. 71.

Supreme Court Decision a Setback for Corporations

“The Supreme Court dealt a setback to corporate America on Tuesday by upholding a nearly $6-million class-action verdict for a group of Iowa meat packers who contended they were not paid for time spent putting on and taking off safety gear,” reports David Savage in the Los Angeles Times.

The court ruled 6-2 in favor of the workers, saying that “the suit made sense.”

Supreme Court Decision a Setback for Corporations

Recent decisions by the court – for example a case five years ago “alleging gender bias in salaries brought on behalf of 1.5 million women who worked for Wal-Mart” in which the court ruled in favor of Wal-Mart – had led some to believe that the court would look favorably on the claim made by Tyson and corporate groups, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the National Association of Manufacturers.

Attorneys for Tyson argued that, since the company did not keep records, “the workers could not prove how much time they spent putting on their protective clothing.” To support their claims, the workers instead relied on an expert study that concluded they “spent on average about 18 minutes a day putting on safety gear.”

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy observed:

A representative or statistical sample, like all evidence, is a means to establish or defend against liability.

Justices Stephen G. Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan, as well as Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr., concurred.

Justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr. dissented, Justice Thomas stating:

Our precedents generally prohibit plaintiffs from maintaining a class action when an important element of liability depends on facts that vary among individual class members.

Ruling Especially Significant for Low-wage Workers

Catherine Ruckelshaus, general counsel and program director for the National Employment Law Project suggested that the “ruling is especially significant for low-wage workers whose employers don’t keep track of their hours and often put the burden of proof on employees.” She continued:

The Supreme Court really clearly said workers, like the workers in this case, can use statistical evidence and representative evidence to determine the classwide liability because Tyson didn’t keep track of the time.

Federal law requires that workers be paid for overtime if they work more than 40 hours per week.

Click here to read David Savage’s article in the Los Angeles Times.

Ojai Has New Paramedic-Firefighter Engine

Medic Engine 21 was officially unveiled on March 14, 2016 at a ceremony attended by “Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen, local dignitaries, and representatives from Lifeline Medical Transport and the Ventura County Emergency Medical Services Agency.”

Ojai Has New Paramedic-Firefighter Engine

Prior to the addition of Medic Engine 21, the Ojai station was staffed only with an emergency medical technician. Now, VCFD paramedic-firefighters within the Ojai city limits, as well as in Oak View.

Chief Mark Lorenzen observed:

We’re not satisfied with the status quo. We’re looking for ways we can increase our level of service to the public, and one of the ways we can do that is to provide engine-based medics in east Ojai. We have partnered with Lifeline Medical Transport and the Ventura County Emergency Medical Services Agency to make this a reality.

Division Chief Norm Plott reaffirmed the county’s commitment:

This is all about providing excellent customer service to the citizens of the Ojai Valley.

Announcing the News Page

Blatz Law Firm will now be sharing local, regional, and national legal news to inform and assist our community.

These posts are for informational purposes only and are not to be considered as legal counsel.

For more information on a specific legal issue, please contact:

Blatz Law Firm
blatzlawfirm@gmail.com
Phone: 805-646-3110
Fax: 805-640-1047
206 North Signal Street, Suite G, Ojai, California 93023

Family Law – Anti-Davis Legislation Update, SB 1255

Senator John Moorlach

Senator John Moorlach

On February 18, 2016, Senator John Moorlach introduced SB 1255 which, if enacted, will “amend Sections 771, 910, 914, and 4438 of, and … add Section 70 to, the Family Code, relating to family law.”

Family Law – Anti-Davis Legislation Update, SB 1255

Under existing case law, a spouse is required to be living in a separate residence in order to be considered living separate and apart from the other spouse, for purposes of characterizing the earnings of the spouse.
SB 1255 will add Section 70, which reads:
(a) “Date of separation” means the date that a complete and final break in the marital relationship has occurred, as evidenced by both of the following:
(1) The spouse has expressed his or her intent to end the marriage to the other spouse.
(2) The conduct of the spouse is consistent with his or her intent to end the marriage.
(b) In determining the date of separation, the court shall take into consideration all relevant evidence.
(c) It is the intent of the Legislature in enacting this section to abrogate the decisions in In re Marriage of Davis (2015) 61 Cal.4th 13 846 and In re Marriage of Norviel (2002) 102 Cal.App.4th 1152.
If passed, modifications to Sections 771, 910, 914, and 4438 of the Family Code will reflect the addition of Section 70, modifying “during which the spouses are living separate and apart” to “after the date of separation.”
It will apply retroactively to cases pending on January 1, 2017.

This post is for informational purposes only and is not to be considered as legal counsel.

For more information on a specific legal issue, please contact:

Blatz Law Firm
blatzlawfirm@gmail.com
Phone: 805-646-3110
Fax: 805-640-1047
206 North Signal Street, Suite G, Ojai, California 93023