Concepcion has no application in many employment cases

About a week ago, on behalf of Consumer Attorneys of California ("CAOC"), I filed an amicus curiae brief in support of the plaintiff in Brown v. Ralphs Grocery Company.  In Brown, after oral argument, the Court of Appeal requested supplemental briefs on the question of whether AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (April 27, 2011) precludes the Gentry v. Superior Court (2007) 42 Cal.4th 443 defense to certain arbitration agreements.  After determining that the parties had not already addressed the issues, CAOC presented several bases for rejecting the contention that Concepcion overruled Gentry, including the fact that a bar on class actions violates the National Labor Relations Act's protection of concerted action by employees to improve their wages and working conditions.  You can view the brief viat the Spiro Moss website here.

Other attorneys at Spiro Moss contributed to the brief, including Dennis F. Moss (who conceived of the argument involving the NLRA), Gregory N. Karasik, and J. Mark Moore.  David M. Arbogast of Arbogast & Berns LLP also contributed to CAOC's brief.

Consumer Attorneys of California makes it to the bleeding edge: Twitter and Facebook

Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC) is breaking into new media territory with presence on Facebook and Twitter.  You can find CAOC on Twitter by following @ConsumerAttysCA.  You can become a fan of CAOC on Facebook here.  Personally, I've almost given up on Facebook, purely because of its deplorable disregard for user privacy.  Facebook needs to keep its act clean for a while just to get back to zero with me.  The problem is, half the planet is using Facebook, so my protestations are unlikely to start a grass roots movement.

Multi-Blog Post and Message to Plaintiffs' attorneys: Join CAOC!

George Washington once said:

Discipline is the soul of an army. It makes small numbers formidable; procures success to the weak, and esteem to all.

Letter of Instructions to the Captains of the Virginia Regiments [July 29, 1759]. The advocates of consumer rights, viewing the resources of defense firms and corporate defendants, can relate to the trepidation felt by the out-numbered and out-gunned Continental Army. Because of that disparity in resources, Consumer Attorneys of California ("CAOC") consolidates the voices of consumer attorneys throughout the state to (1) preserve and protect the constitutional right to trial by jury for all consumers, (2) champion the cause of those who deserve redress for injury to person or property, (3) encourage and promote changes to California law by legislative, initiative or court action, (4) oppose injustice in existing or contemplated legislation, (5) correct harsh, unjust and oppressive legislation or judicial decisions, (6) advance the common law and promote the public good through the civil justice system and concerted efforts to secure safe products, a safe workplace, a clean environment, and quality health care, (7) uphold the honor, integrity and dignity of the legal profession by encouraging mutual support and cooperation among members, (8) promote the highest standards of professional conduct, and (9) inspire excellence in advocacy. This post is a multi-blog effort to inform consumer attorneys about CAOC's value and encourage participation in CAOC through membership.

CAOC works tirelessly to protect or advance those causes of import to consumers and their attorneys in California. Often those efforts, though valuable, receive little fanfare. For example, CAOC recently sponsored SB 510, which affects the re-sale of what are known as "structured settlements," in which victims receive financial compensation over a period of time for medical expenses and basic living needs, as determined by a jury. Before SB 510 was signed by the Governor, Courts expressed frustration at their inability to prevent the sale of structured settlements on terms that might ultimately lead to long-term financial hardship for the victim. Now, SB 510 gives judges the information they need to make a reasoned decision about the propriety of a structured settlement sale.

Measures like CAOC-sponsored SB 510 help protect the most vulnerable members of our society and ask for nothing in return. They exemplify the spirit of CAOC. However, CAOC is only as effective in its mission as its membership allows it to be. When consumer attorneys join the ranks of CAOC, its voice gains in power and clarity. But if consumer advocates sit on the sidelines, hoping to benefit from the work of others, CAOC is stretched thin, and we are all at risk as a result.

Now, consumer advocate bloggers from across the state are combining their voices to call upon each and every lawyer and firm that regularly represents plaintiffs to join CAOC, thereby strengthening the consumer's first line of defense. The blogs participating in this unified call to action are:

Show your support of consumers' rights by joining and supporting CAOC. Together we can make an impact that we cannot make alone.

CAOC Board elections open online until September 18, 2009

If you are a member of the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC), and you haven't yet voted for the Board of Governors, you stil have a chance to do so.  Voting is open online until September 18, 2009 (note the conveniently included hyperlink).  If you are eligible to be a member of CAOC but aren't, get cracking and join CAOC.  More members means a louder, unified voice speaking on behalf of consumers and employees (you know, the down-trodden masses, the grist for the corporate mills).

It also happens that I am running again for the Board of Governors.  Remember that a vote for me is like a vote to feed hungry orphans, but slightly different.

in brief: CJAC at it again with call to support bill that allows interlocutory appeals of class certification orders in California

According to a February 18, 2009 article on the California Chronicle website, Assemblyman Van Tran (R-Costa Mesa) has authored AB 298, which would apparently allow for interlocutory appeals by defendants when a trial court certifies a class action.  The Civil Justice Association of California (CJAC) is calling for support of this bill, which sounds strikingly similar to a 2008 bill promoted by CJAC in 2008.  That last effort was shelved after strong opposition was organized by the Consumer Attorneys of California (CAOC).  If you've wondered what CAOC can do for you as a plaintiff's attorney, there's one nice example.  Plaintiff's attorneys can't afford not to join.


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Attending CAOC Committee Meetings and first Board Meeting

I'm in San Francisco today to attend CAOC's Class Action Committee section meeting and my first CAOC Board of Governor's meeting after becoming a Board member-elect.  It's eye-opening to talk with other class action practitioners from around California and hear about their concerns and experiences.

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