Current News and Events from the State Bar of California Business Law Section.
Here is your August eNews from the Business Law Section (“BLS”) :
My term as Chair of the Business Law Section (BLS) is coming to a close in September 2017 as I pen this final Chair’s message to you. We just celebrated the 40th Anniversary of the BLS in the first ever Convention of State Bar Sections in San Diego, California— where the BLS offered its members and other California lawyers well-attended educational programs, networking events, and our annual BLS Breakfast Meeting. The gathering allowed BLS leaders and members to connect with other Sections, confirming once again that our future is bright, and is looking better every day. We promised-- and delivered-- meaningful content and relationship building opportunities. We reconfirmed our commitments to the Sections, and to providing service to our members during our next 40 years as the “go to” resource for all business lawyers in California.
Reflecting on my term, which began in October 2016, we found ourselves on a sea of troubled waters. The entire State Bar had been placed under threat of financial calamity, and its 16 voluntary Sections, including the BLS, were in a state of confusion about their future. The State legislature had just failed to pass a dues authorization bill. Not only was the State Bar facing funding shortfalls, but the Sections faced an uncertain future. Our own source of voluntary dues revenues-- money essential to our survival-- was in great peril. Without access to voluntary dues and our reserves, many questioned whether the BLS could continue to provide products and services to our members at the level they had come to expect.
Thankfully, in late 2016, following submission of an emergency petition to the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, albeit without an annual dues bill from the legislature, the State Bar was granted authorization by order of the Supreme Court to send out billing statements for mandatory dues to all California attorneys-- done for the first time ever solely by electronic billing. We owe thanks to all of you BLS members for continuing your membership in the BLS. We all owe even more accolades and notes of appreciation to the scores of members of the BLS Executive Committee and our 15 substantive law Standing Committees for persevering and stepping up to deliver to you, other California lawyers, and the public at large, timely and meaningful content in the way of educational programs, scholarly and practical publications, and legislative analysis, comments and proposals.
While the BLS Standing Committees were hard at work delivering substantive business law content, many of the past chairs and other leaders of the BLS stepped up as volunteers and advisors to help shape and shepherd legislation reforms that will ensure the Sections will not just survive, but will thrive, in its new structure as a nonprofit voluntary professional association separate from the State Bar.
The State Bar itself is being restructured by reform legislation embodied in enabling legislation known as Senate Bill 36. This reform and restructuring legislation appears likely to become law and will move the 16 Sections (with more than 60,000 members) and the California Young Lawyers Association (with 48,000 members) into what will become the second largest voluntary professional association of lawyers in the nation, smaller only than the venerable American Bar Association.
I take great comfort in the new leadership that is following me this coming term. Uzzi O. Raanan, of Danning, Gill, Diamond & Kollitz, LLP, based in Los Angeles, California, is the incoming Chair of the Business Law Section. He will start his one-year term on September 7, 2017, at the conclusion of the annual business meeting of the Board of Trustees of the State Bar.
As is custom, I will remain on board as an advisor to the BLS Executive Committee to help guide the ship-- this time not as its captain, but as a navigational resource as we sail onto more pacific waters as part of the association of Sections.
We look forward to making the most of the unique opportunity that the State Bar reform legislation has offered us. We will evolve, and we will continue to improve. Do not hesitate to let us know how we can better serve you. And, please, join us as we build a new future for the Business Law Section, as part of the association of Sections, to better serve all California lawyers and the public at large.
Jim Hill, Chair, Business Law Section
We are sad to announce that this month, the California legal community and attorneys throughout the United States have lost eminent attorney, colleague, and friend, Harry C. Sigman.
According to his New York Times obituary (which may be found here), on August 19, 2017, Harry C. Sigman died peacefully after a battle with multiple myeloma. Among other honors throughout his long and distinguished career as a business attorney, Mr. Sigman was a past recipient of the Business Law Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award for 2005. At the time he received this award, special Advisor to the Business Law Section’s Executive Committee, Roland Brandel, wrote a profile of Mr. Sigman in which he described his fascinating career, numerous accomplishments, hobbies and extensive travels. The profile originally appeared in the BLS’ Business Law News, and may be viewed here.
Mr. Sigman specialized in Commercial Law, serving as a sole practitioner, law professor, consultant, and leader of multiple national committees. He served as the Chair of the BLS, and contributed over 30 years of service to the Business Law Section’s Uniform Commercial Code Committee (which subsequently changed its class="anchor" name to the Commercial Transactions Committee). His intellect, friendship, and generosity will be greatly missed by attorneys and friends on both coasts.
By Roland E. Brandel
Mr. Brandel is Chair of the Business Law Section’s Lifetime Achievement Award Committee, is a former Chair of the Business Law Section’s Executive Committee, currently serves as a Special Advisor to the Executive Committee, and is a Senior Counsel at the firm of Morrison & Foerster LLP. Susan Orloff, John Power and Steven Weise each contributed to this article.
The Business Law Section awarded its Lifetime Achievement Award for 2005 to Harry C. Sigman at the Annual Meeting of the State Bar of California in San Diego. The award is given each year to a member of the State Bar who over an extended period has made significant contributions to the Section or to business law generally in the State of California and who has achieved high status in the legal community. (Past recipients have been: John B. Power (2004); William B. Burke (2003); Marshall L. Small (2002); George R. Richter (2001); William D. Warren (2000); R. Bradbury Clark (1998); Richard Jennings (1998); and Harold Marsh, Jr. (1997).)
Harry Sigman is a sole practitioner. He is a law professor. He is a consultant to governments and to the private sector, he drafts laws, he lectures frequently, he writes prolifically, and his writings are published and read worldwide. Harry is on the road more than most bus drivers. He travels constantly — not in California alone nor just in the U.S., but throughout the world as a latter-day intellectual Johnny Appleseed planting seeds of U.S. principles and processes used in commercial financing transactions. He collects globally, like a jurisprudential Darwin, samples of commercial law principles and processes used in other countries; the better to compare and to understand our domestic species of financing transactions, always with the possibility of introducing new ideas into our domestic stock. A most unusual career!
Harry was born in Strasbourg, France in 1939, spent 15 months as a small child in Havana, and was then raised in New York City. He moved to Los Angeles in his teens. His father was an entrepreneur who engaged in various businesses, including commercial finance. Harry graduated in 1960 from UCLA, Phi Beta Kappa, with a double major in Political Science and Accounting, and from Harvard Law School in 1963. He clerked for Justice Raymond E. Peters, of the Supreme Court of California, and then worked for the law firm of Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp in Los Angeles through 1969. During that period he began instructing at USC Law School and lecturing for the Continuing Education of the Bar. At the end of 1969 he joined the full-time faculty at USC Law School as an Associate Professor.
Harry Sigman then embarked on a path rarely traveled by an attorney with a similar background and interests. He wished the time flexibility to raise his children, since he was faced with the reality of being a single parent to a young son and daughter, to participate in bar and other institutions where he could contribute without fee and professionally enrich others and be enriched himself, and he desired to practice law at the highest possible level. To achieve these goals, he became a solo practitioner in a “consulting practice, specializing in commercial law, on a worldwide consultative basis . . . .” Harry since has written the book on how to lead such an atypical professional life, as he became in the intervening 35 years one of this country’s most respected and significant contributors to the field of commercial law.
He has consulted with, and held in-house seminars for, scores of private businesses and law firms, including such sophisticated organizations as Weil, Gotshal; O’Melveny & Myers; Gibson, Dunn; General Motors; G.E. Capital; and Comerica. He has also consulted with numerous governmental agencies and non-governmental organizations. They include the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, UNCITRAL, the Law Commission of England, the Australia-New Zealand Bankers Association, the World Bank, Banco Central de la Republica Argentina, and the governments of New Zealand and Mexico, as well as law reform projects in Ukraine, Albania, and Macedonia.
He has written more than 20 articles on commercial law and secured transaction issues, which have been published not only in the U.S., but also in England, France, Belgium and Italy.
He has lectured or taught seminars at universities in Japan, Switzerland, Belgium, Israel, Uruguay, Spain, and the Netherlands. Outside the U.S., he has spoken before audiences in Hungary, Japan, Germany, England, Spain, the Netherlands, France, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Poland, and Switzerland.
Harry regularly lectures nationwide for such organizations as the California Continuing Education of the Bar, ALI-ABA, PLI, the Uniform Commercial Code Institute, and the American Bar Association.
In a tour de force, he was the sole lecturer for an ALI-ABA 12-hour course on the Fundamentals of Secured Transactions. For more specialized audiences, he has conducted 12 to 18-hour in-house seminars on the Uniform Commercial Code for some of the biggest and most prestigious law firms and businesses in the country.
Harry has also been a leader of organizations that are critical to the development and legislative adoption of commercial law reforms and to educational efforts surrounding those reforms. One of his most important leadership roles has been with the State Bar of California’s Business Law Section, where he chaired, and has served for over 30 years as a member of, its Uniform Commercial Code Committee. He also has served as a Governor and Past President of the Financial Lawyers Conference, and as a Regent of the American College of Commercial Finance Lawyers. He has held leadership positions in the UCC Committee of the ABA’s Section of Business Law and the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Commercial Law and Bankruptcy Section.
Could there possibly be more? Emphatically, yes!
He has served as a member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on Private International Law, and as a U.S. Delegate to UNCITRAL, UNIDROIT, and the Hague Conference on Private International Law. These efforts have resulted in completed Conventions now open for adoption by the nations of the world.
Harry has been heavily involved with UCC law reform. He was an ABA Advisor to the Drafting Committee for UCC Article 1. Of special importance were the roles Harry played in the enormously successful major rewrite of UCC Article 9, dealing with financing transactions secured by personal property. During this multi-year project, Harry was a member of the formal Drafting Committee to Revise UCC Article 9 of NCCUSL, following an earlier stint as a member of the Article 9 Study Committee of the UCC Permanent Editorial Board. That decade-long effort was followed by educational/political work to promote enactment throughout the U.S. This effort culminated in 2001 with passage in all states of the new Article 9.
Harry was highly influential in devising the Article 9 theories and practical systems for applying those theories associated with the all-important filing of financing statements relating to security interests in collateral that make effective the U.S. commercial financing structure. His work in part involved serving as a critical bridge between the UCC drafters of Article 9 and the administrators of government filing offices throughout the U.S. The latter had to confront the practical issues associated with operating these state-specific, complex systems. He assumed an important role as a member of the UCC Article 9 Filing Project of the University of Minnesota and in working with the International Association of Commercial Administrators to create standard form financing statements. That work made the filing systems more efficient in practice for attorneys and parties with a stake in commercial financings.
Finally, he has served as a mentor and a nudge. Although no title accompanies these functions, it may be one of his most important. Much like the very best of sports team coaches, Harry is well known for demanding excellence and a high level of contribution from all of the “volunteers” with whom he has worked over the decades. The written works delivered are one testimony to his insistence on quality and productivity. Another result is the scores of lawyers and academics who have learned from Harry, who have worked at a high level on mutual projects because of Harry, and who have followed his example and have gone on in admirable careers of their own to also make major contributions to the field. Yet a third result is institutional. He has infused the State Bar Business Law Section’s UCC Committee with a standard of excellence that has elevated that Committee’s stature within the Bar and before the California legislature; all prerequisites to the substantial influence that Committee now possesses.
Harry is now in his mid-60s. He should be taking time to enjoy his children and grandchildren. He does. He should be devoting more time to his lifelong interest in art and design and his collection of art nouveau/Jugendstil/Sezession objects. (Pieces in his collection date primarily from the period 1890-1905 and can be viewed by some museum-goers.) He does that too. Has he slowed down in his dedication to the law of commercial finance? You would have to ask him yourself — if you can catch up with him at some distant global conference, lecturing assignment, or legislative drafting session — but all the evidence is to the contrary.
The American College of Commercial Financial Services Lawyers formally recognized Harry earlier in 2005 by presenting to him the 2005 Homer Kripke Award for lifetime achievement and contribution to the field of commercial finance law. The Business Law Section is pleased to join in the acclaim by honoring Harry C. Sigman as the recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award for 2005.
Courtesy of CEB, we are bringing you selected legal developments in areas of California business law that are covered by CEB’s publications. This month’s feature is from the July 2017 update to Internet Law and Practice in California. References are to the book’s section numbers. See CEB’s BLS Landing Page for special discounts for Business Law Section members. The most significant legal developments since the last update include developments in such important topic areas as copyright, software patents, website accessibility, electronic contracting, privacy and data security, liability and litigation issues, e-discovery, and international law.
In Design Data Corp. v Unigate Enter., Inc. (9th Cir 2017) 847 F3d 1169, the court held that unauthorized use of a copyrighted work is not actionable unless the use is significant, but liability may arise even when use is minimal. See §1.33A.
To prove willful infringement (and thus eligibility for statutory damages of up to $150,000 for each infringement), a plaintiff must prove either: "(1) that the defendant was actually aware of the infringing activity, or (2) that the defendant's actions were the result of 'reckless disregard' for, or 'willful blindness' to, the copyright holder's rights." Friedman v Live Nation Merchandise, Inc. (9th Cir 2016) 833 F3d 1180, 1186 (citations omitted). See §1.35.
Sampling parts of a sound recording for use in another sound recording (sometimes known as a "mashup") is common practice in modern music. Arguably, mashups may be viewed as transformative because they may comment, critique, or provide new aesthetics to the original work. In the Ninth Circuit, "de minimus" use of the underlying composition or sound recording is not actionable. See VMG Salsoul, LLC v Ciccone (9th Cir 2016) 824 F3d 871. The standard is whether "the average audience would not recognize the appropriation." VMG Salsoul, 824 F3d at 878. In VMG Salsoul, Madonna used a measure and a quarter of a horn sample in her song from the 1980s, Vogue. The court found that the average audience member would not recognize the sample as coming from the original. 824 F3d at 879. See §1.44.
In Enfish, LLC v Microsoft Corp. (Fed Cir 2016) 822 F3d 1327, the Federal Circuit provided further clarification for determining whether a patent claims an abstract idea under 35 USC §101, and confirmed that all improvements in computer technology are not necessarily abstract ideas. The court held that the claims of two patents directed to a "self-referential" computer database were not directed to an abstract idea and were therefore patent-eligible. 822 F3d at 1339. The court found the claimed invention to be an improvement over existing database technologies because it allowed for faster searching and more flexibility in configuring the database. Because the claims recited a specific implementation of a solution to a problem in software development, the court held that the claims were patent-eligible. 822 F3d at 1339. See §2.18A.
Despite Enfish, courts have continued to find that software-related claims fail the first prong of the Alice test and reflect non-patentable abstract ideas or methods. See, e.g., Papst Licensing GMBH & Co. v Xilinx Inc. (ND Cal, June 9, 2016, Nos. 16-CV-00925-LHK, 16-CV-00926-LHK) 2016 US Dist Lexis 76061, *50 (claims "are directed to methods of verifying and optimizing memory tests, not to improving the computer or software components used to carry out those methods"); Kinglite Holdings, Inc. v Micro-Star Int'l Co. (CD Cal, May 26, 2016, Nos. CV 14-03009 JVS(PJWx), CV 14-04989 JVS(PJWx)) 2016 US Dist Lexis 105980 (claimed invention describing interactions between computer's BIOS firmware and other data stored on computer system recited invention involving conventional use of computer and is not patentable subject matter). See §2.18A.
The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) (42 USC §§12101–12213) is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, under certain circumstances, discrimination based on disability. Under the ADA, no individual may be discriminated against on the basis of disability with regard to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, or accommodations of any place of public accommodation by any person who owns, leases (or leases to), or operates a place of public accommodation. See 42 USC §§12181–12189. See §5.27.
Ninth Circuit cases have uniformly held that websites that are not connected to an actual physical place are not places of "public accommodation" and therefore are not subject to the ADA. See, e.g., Weyer v Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. (9th Cir 2000) 198 F3d 1104, 1114. The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), charged with enforcing the ADA, and disability rights advocacy groups have targeted Internet sites for lack of compliance with Title III of the ADA. For example, in November 2014, the DOJ entered into a settlement agreement with the owners and operators of online grocery retailer Peapod, over allegations that the site was not accessible to individuals who are blind or have certain other disabilities. See https://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/justice-department-enters-settlement-agreement-peapod-ensure-peapod-grocery-delivery-website. As part of the Peapod settlement, peapod.com's Internet and mobile sites were required to conform to the World Wide Web Consortium's (W3C) Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0 AA). See §5.27. These guidelines include the following recommendations:
The California Attorney General's Office of Privacy Protection has released "Recommended Practices on Notice of Security Breach Involving Personal Information" covering protection and prevention as well as procedures for data security breach notifications, sample forms, and letters. See http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/formsandpubs/laws/priv/Documents/PrivacyProtection.pdf. The Federal Trade Commission has also issued guidance titled "Data Breach Response: A Guide for Business" addressing recommended steps to take once a data breach has occurred. See https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/plain-language/pdf-0154_data-breach-response-guide-for-business.pdf. Although these recommended practices are not binding regulations, they provide valuable insights into the direction California law and FTC enforcement actions may take in the future and may serve as a reference point for courts reviewing the reasonableness of a business entity's practices and procedures. See §9.25A.
In 2016, mobile advertising company InMobi settled FTC charges that it violated COPPA by collecting geolocation information from mobile apps used by hundreds of millions of consumers, including children, without their knowledge or consent. Under the terms of its settlement with the FTC, InMobi received a $4 million civil penalty, which was reduced to $950,000 based on its financial condition. See https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2016/06/mobile-advertising-network-inmobi-settles-ftc-charges-it-tracked. See §9.33.
In FTC v Commerce Planet, Inc. (9th Cir 2016) 815 F3d 593, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed that a California federal district court had power to impose an $18.2 million restitution award against the former president of Commerce Planet, Inc. as an individual, after finding that the company violated §5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 USC §45). See §17.7.
In Facebook, Inc. v Power Ventures, Inc. (9th Cir 2016) 844 F3d 1058, Power Ventures, a social networking company, engaged in a promotional campaign by accessing Facebook's user data and sending electronic messages promoting its website. Notwithstanding Facebook's cease and desist letter, Power Ventures continued its promotional campaign, and Facebook sued the company and its CEO Steven Vachani for violations (among other provisions) of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) (18 USC §1030) and Pen C §502. The court held that, by continuing to access knowingly Facebook's computers and by taking, copying, and making use of Facebook's data, Power Ventures violated the CFAA and Pen C §502. The court also found Vachani personally liable because he guided Power Ventures' violations. See §§17.27, 18.3, 18.5C, 18.16.
Effective January 1, 2017, Pen C §523 was amended to make the use of ransomware a form of criminal extortion and therefore a felony punishable by up to 4 years in prison. See §18.16A.
On October 25, 2016, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) released a helpful guide on data breach response, titled Data Breach Response, A Guide for Business, available at https://www.ftc.gov/system/files/documents/plain-language/pdf-0154_data-breach-response-guide-for-business.pdf. The guide sets forth a series of steps that a company is advised to take for a quick and appropriate response when the company suspects a data breach has occurred. See §18.22.
The so-called "Good Samaritan" provision of the Communications Decency Act (CDA), enacted as Title V of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 (Pub L 104–104, 110 Stat 56), grants limited immunity to internet service providers (ISPs) from defamation liability on account of statements made online by their subscribers. However, this immunity may not insulate website operators from the obligation to comply with injunctions to remove defamatory material. In Hassell v Bird (2016) 247 CA4th 1336, the court held that 47 USC §230 did not bar an order directing Yelp to remove defamatory reviews of a lawyer made by a former client because the order did not impose any liability on the website. The court rejected application of the CDA even though Yelp was not a party to the injunction proceedings. See §20.5.
Many cases have upheld immunity for ISPs under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 (47 USC §230), including Kimzey v Yelp! Inc. (9th Cir 2016) 836 F3d 1263 (Yelp was entitled to CDA immunity; no facts plausibly suggested that Yelp fabricated content using a third party's identity; Yelp's dissemination of user-generated content did not make Yelp a creator or developer of content such that Yelp would lose immunity); Darnaa, LLC v Google, Inc. (ND Cal, Nov. 2, 2016, No. 15-cv-03221-RMW) 2016 US Dist Lexis 152126, *23 (plaintiff's tort claim for intentional interference with prospective economic advantage barred by 47 USC §230(c)(1)); and Fields v Twitter, Inc. (ND Cal, Aug. 10, 2016, No. 16-cv-00213-WHO) 2016 US Dist Lexis 105768 (Twitter not liable for ISIS's use of its service in connection with terrorist attacks; plaintiffs alleged that Twitter violated several anti-terrorism statutes by knowingly providing material support to ISIS and was therefore liable for ISIS's killing of an American, but court held that §230 barred plaintiffs' claims). See §20.6.
In a case involving the alleged deletion of e-mails stored on a third-party server by a former employee, the federal district court for the Northern District of California found violations of 18 USC §1030(A)(5)(A)–(C) (part of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) (18 USC §1030) (see §§18.3–18.7A)). The court held that the former employee's targeted deletion of his own e-mails in violation of the plaintiff-company's computer policy constituted damage to the company under the CFAA. The targeted deletions were made knowingly and constituted an intentional "impairment to the integrity or availability of data … or information" under 18 USC §1030(A)(5). E.D.C. Technols., Inc. v Seidel (ND Cal, Sept. 1, 2016, No. 16-cv-03316-SI) 2016 US Dist Lexis 118612, *11. See §20A.5.
In First Fin. Sec., Inc. v FreedomEquity Group, LLC (ND Cal, Oct. 7, 2016, No. 15-cv-01893-HRL) 2016 US Dist Lexis 140087, the Northern District of California imposed two adverse inference instructions against a defendant for failure to preserve text messages and for willfully neglecting the court's repeated request to produce native files. The court found that the defendant was negligent and did not necessarily act in bad faith; nevertheless, the court reasoned that the defendant should be subject to the adverse inference instructions. See §20A.28.
On December 1, 2017, a new subsection of Fed R Evid 902(14) will take effect, pertaining to authentication of digital data and outlining which data is self-authenticating and which requires independent verification of authenticity. See §20A.31.
The EU has replaced the current Data Protection Directive with the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), expected to become effective May 25, 2018. See Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016, available at http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=uriserv:OJ.L_.2016.119.01.0001.01.ENG&toc=OJ:L:2016:119:TOC. Unlike the Directive, the GDPR will be automatically applicable to all EU member states without need for implementing national legislation in each EU member state. For an explanation of the GDPR, see http://ec.europa.eu/justice/data-protection/reform/index_en.htm. See §21.11A.
On February 2, 2016, the European Commission and the United States agreed on a new framework, called the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, to supersede the Safe Harbor Framework previously in place with respect to personal data transfers from the EU to the U.S. See https://www.commerce.gov/news/fact-sheets/2016/02/eu-us-privacy-shield. The new program imposes stronger obligations on U.S. companies to protect the personal data of Europeans and stronger monitoring and enforcement by the U.S. Department of Commerce and the Federal Trade Commission through increased cooperation with European data protection authorities. To join the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, a U.S.-based organization is required to self-certify to the U.S. Department of Commerce and publicly commit to comply with its requirements. See §21.12. Joining the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield is voluntary, but once an eligible organization makes the public commitment to comply with its requirements, the commitment will become enforceable under U.S. law. See §§9.38, 21.11B.
As part of their Privacy Shield obligations, organizations are required to have an independent recourse mechanism in place to investigate and resolve individual complaints and disputes, as well as procedures for verifying their compliance. See §21.12. Under the Federal Trade Commission Act (15 USC §§41–58), an organization's failure to abide by its commitment to implement the Privacy Shield Principles may be treated as a deceptive practice by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The FTC has the power to prohibit such misrepresentations through administrative orders or by seeking court orders; violations of administrative orders can lead to civil penalties of up to $40,000 per violation or $40,000 per day for continuing violations. See Commission Implementing Decision (EU) 2016/1250, at ¶55. See §21.12A.
On August 14, 2017, the Agribusiness Committee of the State Bar of California’s Business Law Section traveled to Driscoll’s Cassin Ranch in Watsonville, California, to get a firsthand look at Driscoll’s innovative berry research and development program.
Rick Harrison, Driscoll’s Vice-President of Global Variety Development welcomed the group to the state-of-the-art facility and provided attendees with a brief history of Driscoll’s fourth generation family business and its berry development program. The group was then treated to a raspberry tasting before heading out to Driscoll’s raspberry and blueberry test plots. While walking the raspberry and blackberry test plots, the group heard from Jim Heilig, a Raspberry Pre-Breeder and John Fangary, a Blackberry Breeding Research Associate, about Driscoll’s constant pursuit for the tastiest, most attractive and highest yielding raspberry and blackberry varieties.
The group then moved on to a quick tour of Driscoll’s greenhouses before a stop at the molecular and chemistry labs. In the labs, the group learned about berry DNA and the science behind the sweet taste of Driscoll’s berries. The last stop on the tour was the entomology lab, where the group got up close and personal with some of the berry pests Driscoll’s is currently researching.
After that, attendees enjoyed a catered lunch in Driscoll’s conference center with the Driscoll’s personnel who led the tours, giving the attendees a chance to learn even more about Driscoll’s incredible operation. After lunch, the group heard from Louise Buckingham, Driscoll’s Senior Legal Manager, Intellectual Property, about the history of plant patents and Driscoll’s plant patent portfolio. In the end, a “berry” good time was had by all!
August 18 and 19, 2017, marked the inaugural of the Convention of Sections. The event was very well attended and, in addition to sponsoring CLE programs, the BLS held its Annual Breakfast, an evening reception, multiple Standing Committee meetings and networking events.
The first Section Convention featured 32 MCLE programs, a luncheon keynote address by famed Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law, an all-Section networking/business development lunch, and numerous award receptions and business meetings hosted by the State Bar’s respective Sections. Also meeting during the Convention was the Council of State Bar Sections, comprised of representatives of all 16 Sections and the California Young Lawyers Association (CYLA), which discussed, among other matters, the Sections’ impending separation from the State Bar.
The BLS hosted multiple MCLE programs, its annual BLS Breakfast and Lifetime Achievement Award presentation, and an evening networking reception. In addition, BLS hosted meetings by many of its Standing Committees and the BLS Executive Committee.
The eNews is glad to present pictures from the very special inaugural Convention. More pictures are available on our Facebook page, which can be found by clicking here: https://www.facebook.com/calbarbuslaw/
Pictured Above: Keynote Speaker Chris Cramer, CEO and Co-Founder of Karl Strauss Brewery, Jim Hill, outgoing Chair of the Business Law Section, and Uzzi Raanan, incoming Chair of the Business Law Section
(Above) Jim Hill, outgoing Chair of the Business Law Section, proudly poses next to sign denoting 40 years of service by the BLS
(Above) BLS members in attendance at BLS networking reception / Lifetime Achievement Award
(Above) Roland Brandel, Past BLS Chair and current advisor, presents the prestigious BLS Lifetime Achievement Award to Bruce Alan Mann of Morrison & Foerster
The ILC held an in-person meeting at the inaugural Sections Convention, in San Diego, California on August 18, 2017. It was attended by members and advisors of the ILC from across the state.
The ILC’s San Diego meeting featured updates on pending and anticipated legislation, including venue reform and dissolution of insolvent corporations, and updates on outreach to the community. Members and advisors of the ILC also socialized over a lunch following their formal Committee meeting.
The Committee holds two in-person meetings each bar year, one at the California Bankruptcy Forum’s (CBF) annual conference and the other at the Sections Convention (formerly the State Bar Annual Meeting). The in-person meetings present valuable opportunities to conduct Committee business and to forge relationships with insolvency practitioners hailing from all four corners of this State.
On August 19, 2017, ILC members participated in a BLS-sponsored networking reception for members of the bench and bar attending the Sections Convention. This year, well over 100 people attended the BLS reception.
The ILC’s last events of the 2016-2017 year are two webinar education programs: “Corporate Chapter 7 Bankruptcy: Problems It Solves" will be presented by Michael T. O'Halloran, Esq. on August 31, 2017. In July, 2017, Judi Descalso, Esq. and Diane Stanfield, Esq. presented their webinar program: "Discharged Mortgages: Credit Reporting Rules and Refinancing". It was well attended and several bar associations have requested that the speakers present the program in person in their cities.
CEB is currently offering discounts to BLS Members, including 10% off the price of a wide selection of CEB print and OnLAW publications as well as savings on section dues. For more information on these and other CEB discounts, click HERE.
The Business Law News (BLN) is seeking articles of general interest to business law practitioners for its next publication. With approximately 8,200 members, the BLS has a wide-ranging audience. The BLN is not only circulated to BLS members in print every quarter, it is also available to BLS members on the internet at www.calbar.ca.gov. Please submit your articles to the new editor-in-chief, Kenneth Minesinger (firstname.lastname@example.org).
A subscription to the BLN is one of the most significant membership benefits of the BLS. Publishing in the BLN is a terrific opportunity both to influence the discourse in the areas in which you practice and to market yourself and your skill set. Now is your chance to participate!
You can find the BLN’s submission guidelines HERE. Finally, have you been interested in getting involved in the BLS but don’t know where to start? BLN is now seeking enthusiastic section members to join its Editorial Board. You can find more information about the BLN Editorial Board HERE and the application to join BLN HERE.
The 15 BLS Standing Committees publish eBulletins announcing developments in their area of law and upcoming events open to BLS members. Click HERE to sign up to receive these eBulletins from any BLS Standing Committee completely free of charge.
We all know that social media can help drive new business. Did you know that the BLS maintains a presence on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook where it posts regular updates about new cases, new regulations, key legislative developments, and news and events from the BLS’s Standing Committees? What you may not know is that you can not only send items to the BLS to post or tweet, but also suggest items from your own social media pages for the BLS to re-post, re-tweet, or like. Doing so expands the reach of what you have to say to everyone who likes or follows the BLS on its various social media platforms, and may result in the BLS following you! Please submit your suggested items for consideration or direct any questions to BLS Social Media Coordinator, Dennis J. Wickham (email@example.com); BLS Vice-Chair of Member Services, Uzzi O. Raanan (firstname.lastname@example.org); or BLS Chair, James P. Hill (email@example.com), and join the ever expanding discussion!
Standing Committees continue to accept applications to fill vacant seats. Practitioners and other legal professionals who are members of the BLS and who have at least five years of experience are eligible to apply. Membership on a committee affords unique opportunities to participate in the creation of law in your practice area, to get to know and be known by other practitioners, to work with the recognized leaders in your field, and to stay on the cutting edge of developments and practice techniques. Membership is a rewarding experience that keeps one ahead of, and in touch with, business law developments. Most committees meet once a month, often by phone. A full list of the Standing Committee meeting dates for March are listed below. A description of the required commitment and application process, along with a link to the application, can be found HERE.
The BLS achieves its goals through the work of its 15 Standing Committees. You are invited to attend the regular monthly meeting of any BLS Standing Committees (see below for meeting dates). These monthly meetings provide attendees an excellent opportunity to chat with committee members and other lawyers with a similar expertise. Some committees even offer free MCLE credit! Please see the contact person listed below to RSVP or request more information. Follow us on Twitter @calbarbuslaw. Use a Standing Committee’s hashtag to search for tweets by that committee in its designated field and to re-tweet.
For a list of upcoming meeting dates and contact persons, see Standing Committee Meetings HERE. Please note that schedules and locations are subject to change at the last minute, so participants are encouraged to contact their Chair for any updates.
Jennifer Duncan, Editor-in-Chief
Kristina Del Vecchio, Contributing Editor
Corey R. Weber, Contributing Editor
Dennis J. Wickham, Contributing Editor
Uzzi O. Raanan, BLS Vice Chair, Member Services
James P. Hill, BLS Chair
For contact information, see the Executive Committee Roster HERE.
To join the BLS and receive membership benefits