Murphy, Campbell, Alliston & Quinn a Sacramento law firm

Whose Email Is It Anyway?

Whose Email Is It Anyway? A Recent Decision By The National Labor Relations Board Creates A Presumption Allowing Employees To Use The Employer’s Email System On Non-Working Time To Communicate With Other Employees About The Terms And Conditions Of Their Employment             In a decision issued on December 11, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board overruled an earlier decision and held that where an employer has chosen to give its employees access to the employer’s email system, employees can use the employer’s email on non-working time to engage in communications that are protected by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act, including communicating about union organizing.  Prior to this ruling, employees did not have a right to use their employer’s email system for Section 7 purposes, as held by the Board in its 2007 decision, Register Guard, 351 NLRB 1110 (2007). In this most recent decision, Purple Communications, Inc. and Communications Workers of America, AFL-CIO, Case Nos. 21-CA-095151 and 22-RC-091584, the Board found that its decision in Register Guard was incorrect.  The Board noted that “[t]here is little dispute that email has become a critical means of communication, about both work-related and other issues, in a wide range of employment settings.”  The Board found that the employee’s right under Section 7 of the National Labor…

Limitation of survivor damage for pain and suffering, California law Murphy, Campbell, Alliston & Quinn a Sacramento law firm

Uncertain No More: California’s limitation on survivor damages for pain and suffering held inapplicable to section 1983 claims where the constitutional violation causes death

California law does not allow survivors to recover damages for a decedent’s pain and suffering. (Code Civ. Proc., § 337.34.) Until just recently, how and whether this restriction on damages applied to civil rights claims brought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 was uncertain. For cases venued in the Eastern District, plaintiffs were likely out of luck, with decisions from that court concluding that CCP § 377.34 precluded the recovery of such damages. Other district courts held California’s limitation on survivor damages to be inconsistent with the policies behind § 1983, and therefore inapplicable to such claims. The days of uncertainty for section 1983 litigants in California are over. Chaudhry v. City of Los Angeles, 751 F.3d 1096 (9th Cir. 2014), decided in May of this year, finally addressed this issue head-on. The court held that California’s limitation on survivor damages for the pain and suffering of a decedent is inconsistent with section 1983 where the alleged constitutional violation has caused the decedent’s death, and is therefore inapplicable to such claims. Chaudhry came to the Court out of the Central District. It involved two police officers who shot and killed Mohammad Usman Chaudhry, a young Muslim man whom they found sleeping in front of a building and suspected might be a drug dealer. The officers testified…

Handcuff outlining the word Crime Murphy, Campbell, Alliston & Quinn

Recognizing the Victim in Criminal Restitution

Although the right to restitution is prescribed by law under the California Constitution and codified in the United States Code, all crime victims who would be entitled to obtain restitution are not automatically identified and awarded restitution orders. In practice, all potential victims may not be known to the prosecution and the court at the time of sentencing. Some crimes may also be misperceived as victimless crimes particularly where the victim is not a person but an entity. For instance, where the defendant is prosecuted for the crime of manufacturing and selling drugs, the court at the time of sentencing may not know of any victims arising from the criminal activity. However, if the offender operated the drug grow site by diverting resources such as water or electricity, both under state and federal law the utility entity may be considered a victim and may be entitled to restitution for the losses sustained and arising from the operation. The California Constitution broadly states that all crime victims who suffer losses as a result of criminal activity have a right to receive restitution. (Cal. Const., art. I, § 28(b).) Restitution is also available in federal court pursuant to section 3663A(a)(1) of title 18 of the United States Code, requiring that the defendant make restitution to the victims.…

Gavel on a stack of one hundred dollar bills Murphy, Campbell, Alliston & Quinn

Damage Control

In today’s world of medicine, costs can be all over the board. The number on a bill given to a patient can vary dramatically from the amount paid by a patient’s insurance company. Things can get even trickier if a patient enters into an agreement with a medical provider to put a lien on any legal damages the patient may collect related to their medical treatment. Evolving payment options have kept the courts on their toes about the proper method of calculating damages in personal injury cases, and have kept parties to litigation guessing about what damages a personal injury plaintiff will be permitted to recover at trial. There are three major types of tort damages in common legal usage: punitive, compensatory, and nominal. Medical damages are usually considered “compensatory,” meaning that they are awarded to a plaintiff in order to compensate for actual damage incurred or the “reasonable value” of the damage. This is different from punitive damages, which are awarded to punish or “send a message” to a defendant, or nominal damages, which are minimal money damages awarded to plaintiffs who have established a cause of action, but have not actually suffered significant injury. In the 2011 case of Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions Inc., 52 Cal. 4th 541 (2011), the California…