On September 23, 2021, a Federal Jury, In Tacoma, Washington, unanimously found that City of Roy Police Officer, Christopher Johnson, violated the Fourth Amendment rights of David Rice and Seth Donahue, when he shot them as they were traveling, unarmed, in their UTV on the BNR rail tracks inside the City of Roy.
Now, the city of Roy has withdrawn its attempt to appeal and agreed to pay an additional $793,000 in attorneys fee’s and costs. Total payout will now be $4,050,000.
Read the full story via Seattle Times:
Written By Evette Padilla, member of the Dolan Law Firm Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee
November is Native American Heritage Month, and the Dolan Law Firm would like to acknowledge and give thanks to the Ramaytush Ohlone people of Yelamu, aka San Francisco; whose unceded lands and territories have provided a safe home to this firm’s main San Francisco office for over 20 years.
In order to accurately honor Native American history, we must acknowledge that the indigenous peoples of precolonial United States experienced mass genocide at a scale unlike any other in World History.
“The nation’s indigenous people had a population of nearly 10 million before European settlers explored America. Their numbers began to fall rapidly shortly after that due to war and diseases brought by the settlers. Native Americans faced centuries of persecution and discrimination, losing their land and resources and being forced onto reservations that lacked the soil and natural resources needed to build and sustain their communities.”
According to the U.S. Bureau of the Census, the estimated population of American Indians and Alaska Natives, as of July 1, 2007, was 4.5 million, or 1.5 percent of the total U.S. population.
Today, some of the issues Native Americans face include threats from federal and state governments related to land-use and resource extraction. Furthermore, Native Americans have the highest poverty rate of any major racial group, with one in four people living below the poverty line. The tragedies of murdered missing indigenous women and girls have ripped away generations of matriarchs from their families and communities. The disregard for the wellbeing of the Earth in exchange for corporate greed for fossil fuel money, has left native lands and waterways so contaminated to sustain any form of life. We mourn all the generations that died, and at the same time we celebrate all the generations that have survived.
The diverse Native American cultures and communities have endured despite centuries of violence, injustice and discrimination. Their resilience to persevere in the face of mass societal and historical erasure is commendable. Their centuries of and present day land stewardship sustains the life that remains in the United States.
Let’s continue to amplify indigenous voices, highlight and celebrate the diverse and rich culture of Native American people, and take meaningful action to preserve the Native land. To learn more about the histories and contemporary experiences of Native Americans, here are some resources we recommend:
- An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
- 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, by Chris Mann
- Not “A Nation of Immigrants”: Settler Colonialism, White Supremacy, and a History of Erasure and Exclusion, by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
- 7 Must-See Films on Native American History and Life
- American Bar Association’s Introduction to Status, Realities, Legal Framework and Future of Indigenous Peoples in the United States and Canada
Written By Mari Bandoma Callado, Senior Associate Attorney & Director, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
The Dolan Law Firm recognizes National Disability Employment Awareness Month this October to commemorate the many contributions of people with disabilities to America’s workplaces and economy.
This year, the theme for NDEAM 2021, “America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion,” reflects the importance of ensuring that people with disabilities have full access to employment and community involvement during the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some people who have had COVID-19 have not completely recovered and instead, continue to experience ongoing symptoms for months afterward, known as Post-Acute COVID-19 Syndrome or long COVID-19 – and it has caused a wide variety of limitations.
If you’re experiencing long COVID-19, and it’s affecting your ability to work, you may be entitled to accommodations under the Americans with Disabilities Act and the California Fair Employment Housing Act. Even if you don’t think of yourself as having a disability, you may meet the ADA or FEHA’s definition. Contact the Dolan Law Firm’s employment team to learn more.
This week’s question comes from Josh D. from Marin County:
With our current 24-hour news cycle it’s hard to keep up with all the important issues in our daily lives. It seems like Proposition 22 was an initiative constantly discussed 5 years ago that went away. Did Proposition 22 ever take effect?
Thanks for reaching out Josh. Many people may have forgotten about Proposition 22. On August 20, 2021, Alameda County Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch ruled Proposition 22 to be unconstitutional. Recall that Proposition 22, a ballot initiative passed by California voters in 2019 permitted many gig economy companies such as Uber, Lyft and Door Dash to classify their drivers as independent contractors instead of employees of those companies. These companies and others poured over $200 million into the campaign to pass Proposition 22. The benefit to these companies in classifying their drivers as independent contractors (not employees of the companies) is that these companies can then evade almost every regulation in place governing how companies treat their employees as well as virtually every cost associated with having employees such as health insurance benefits, minimum wage laws, safety regulations, workers compensation insurance, etc. As it relates to drivers, these companies would be excused from paying employees mileage, reimbursing them for the cost of gasoline and vehicle maintenance. The cost savings to these companies would have been in the billions of dollars annually. The downside of course, is that the drivers would have to pay for their own health insurance coverage, for example, and would have almost none of the benefits that most full-time employees receive. The cost savings to the companies gets shifted almost entirely to the drivers as an expense to them.
Proposition 22 was far reaching and expansive in its language and in the sheer number of components it included. For instance, it also contained language that would prohibit drivers from forming a union. For that reason, as well, Judge Roesch wrote, Proposition 22 violated the Constitutional requirement that ballot initiatives be limited to a single subject. Relative to this component prohibiting unionization, Judge Roesch wrote that this prohibition,
“appears to only protect the economic interests of the network companies in having a divided, un-unionized workforce, which is not a stated legal goal of the legislation.”
Judge Roesch is saying that the drafters of Proposition 22 overreached both on process and in substance.
Proposition 22 itself was created as a ballot initiative by these companies as a direct response to Assembly Bill 5, a law passed by the California State Legislature and signed by Governor Gavin Newsom. AB 5 would have required these types of companies to classify their drivers as employees and conferring upon those employees such benefits as minimum wage protections, workers compensation insurance, overtime pay, etc. Much of the basis for Judge Roesch’s ruling in finding Proposition 22 to be unconstitutional rests largely on the idea that in California, in accordance with the California State Constitution, only the State Legislature can, for example, regulate compensation for workers’ injuries. That goal cannot be accomplished through a ballot initiative process because the Constitution grants that right exclusively to the Legislature. In essence Judge Roesch said that Proposition 22 took that power away from the Legislature, thereby violating the State Constitution. In his ruling, Judge Roesch did say that the voters of California do have the power to make such a change to the State Constitution, but “If the people wish to use their (ballot) initiative power to restrict or qualify a plenary and unlimited power granted to the Legislature, they must do so by (a ballot) initiative constitutional amendment, not by (a ballot) initiative statute.” Voters would have to amend the Constitution first, amending it to permit, in effect, the passage of legislation through ballot initiatives. Neither the voters nor the Legislature have thus far amended the State Constitution in such a manner. The State Legislature had followed the Constitution in properly passing AB 5 through the legislative process as dictated by the Constitution. The backers and authors of Proposition 22 had not, thereby violating the State Constitution.
A spokesperson for ride sharing company Uber said that the company will file an appeal of Judge Roesch’s ruling imminently. Uber has since filed their appeal and requested a stay on Judge Roesch’s ruling until their appeal is complete. That means that while Uber’s appeal is pending, Judge Roesch’s order does not yet take effect, thereby leaving Proposition 22 in effect unless and until the appellate court hears the case and issues a ruling. So, for now, at least, these companies do not yet have to classify their drivers as employees and can continue to classify them as independent contractors, saving companies like Uber, Lyft and Door Dash billions of dollars in costs in the meantime, to the detriment of their drivers.
The Dolan Law Firm celebrates Filipino American History Month
By Dolan Law Firm, DE&I Committee
The celebration of Filipino American History Month in October commemorates the first recorded presence of Filipinos in the continental United States, which occurred on October 18, 1587, when “Luzones Indios” came ashore from the Spanish galleon Nuestra Senora de Esperanza and landed in what is now Morro Bay, California.
Today, the Bay Area is home to the largest Filipino community outside of the Philippines and over 500,000 Filiipino Americans call the greater Los Angeles area their home. In 2009, U.S. Congress recognized October as Filipino American History Month in the United States. Various states (including California), counties, and cities in the U.S. have established proclamations and resolutions declaring observance of Filipino American History Month.
Filipino American History Month: 50 Years Since the First Young Filipino People’s Far West Convention
Each year, the Filipino American National Historical Society (FANHS) shares a theme for Filipino American History Month. This year’s theme is “50 Years Since the First Young Filipino People’s Far West Convention”. The convention, which is hailed as the beginning of the Filipino American Movement, took place at Seattle University and brought over 300 young Filipino Americans from the West Coast. Learn more about the First Young Filipino People’s Far WEst Convention and FAHNS and Filipino American History Month here.
The FANHS states that
“this theme is particularly crucial in 2021, especially as we are still amidst a global pandemic that has disproportionately affected communities of color in general and Filipino American healthcare workers specifically. We are also still navigating a culture of state-sanctioned violence against Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), which resembles the historical racism faced by BIPOC communities (including Filipino Americans) throughout the history of the US. We are also still combating anti-Asian violence that resembles the anti-Asian and anti-Filipino violence that occurred a century ago in places like Watsonville, CA and Yakima Valley, WA. We must educate others – as well as our own families and communities – about our history, so that historical violence does not repeat itself over and over again.”
Activities and/or celebrations related to Filipino American History Month in the San Francisco Bay Area:
- San Francisco Public Library: This year, the Library’s celebration honors the Filipino American community in the Bay Area’s resilience against the tragedies and travails of the COVID-19 pandemic with the theme darating ang liwanag, or “Hope will come.” Throughout the month of October, the public is invited to learn more about the unique history and contributions of this community through interactive workshops, demonstrations, book readings, and more.
- Filipino American History Month Celebration with SF Mayor London Breed: Filipino American History Month Celebration, hosted by San Francisco Mayor London N. Breed and the Filipino American Arts Exposition (FAAE), on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 5:30 PM.
Activities and/or celebrations related to Filipino American History Month in the the greater Los Angeles Area:
- LAX lights Los Angeles International Airport lit up in honor of Fil-Am History Month from September 30-October 2
- LA Public Library: Books to Celebrate Filipino American History Month
For additional resources available to better understand the history of and to honor the contributions of Filipino Americans in the US and California, check out:
- The Filipino American National Historical Society: http://fanhs-national.org/filam/
- This Filipino American Life podcast
- My Family Moved to the US for a Better Life. But What Does That Really Mean? Buzzfeed News article on Concepcion: An Immigrant Family’s Fortunes
- From the Bay to the Bayou: 10 Places That are Steeping in Filipino American History, The Points Guy article on travel.
- Shades of L.A: The Filipino American Experience
By the Dolan Law Firm DEI Committee
Latina Equal Pay Day raises awareness about the wage gap and its impact on Latinx women and their families. It is recognized on October 21, 2021, because it is the day when Latina pay catches up to that of white, non-Hispanic men from the previous year. Today, Latinas typically earn only 57 cents for every dollar earned by white, non-Hispanic men and must work nearly 23 months to earn what white men earn in 12 months. #LatinaEqualPay
Learn more at the 2021 Latina Equal Pay Day & Essential Women Worker Summit happening today at 10 a.m. The Summit will feature worker action sessions, surveys and story collection, and policy/organizing strategy discussions.
In California, several laws and regulations attempt to bridge the pay gap such as California Equal Pay Act (Labor Code section 1197.5) which prohibits an employer from paying its employees less than employees of the opposite sex, or of another race, or of another ethnicity for substantially-similar work.In addition, employers are prohibited from using prior salary to justify any sex-, race-, or ethnicity-based pay difference. Additionally, Labor Code Section 432.3, prohibits employers from asking job applicants about their salary history information, including compensation and benefits.
If you believe that you are being treated differently because of your race and/or gender, contact the Dolan Law Firm’s team of employment attorneys.
Celebrating Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month By the Dolan Law Firm DE&I Committee
In honor of Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month, which is celebrated from September 15 to October 15, the Dolan Law Firm celebrates the culture of both Hispanic and Latinx individuals and communities.
“Hispanic Heritage Month” began as a weeklong celebration coined as “Hispanic Heritage Week” in 1968. President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Hispanic Heritage Week Bill (P.L. 90-498) and was eventually enacted into law on August 17, 1988 (law-100-402) by President Ronald Reagan who extended the week to a full 31 days.
Additional Important Dates
- September 15 marks the independence day for various Latin countries, primarily from Central America: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.
- September 16 is Mexico’s independence Day.
- September 18 is Chile’s Independence Day.
- The second Monday of October (October 11th this year) was originally observed as Christopher Columbus Day. However, many have rejected the commemoration of Columbus and have pushed for the holiday to be renamed to celebrate the unique and often indigenous ancestry of Latinx people. Many communities of color and officially recognized by cities and states across the U.S. celebrate Indigenous Peoples’ Day. Some Latin American cultures celebrate Dia de la Raza, Day of the Race or Day of Hispanic Heritage. Latinx/Hispanic Heritage Month is an opportunity to highlight and celebrate the rich contributions and diverse makeup of Latin American culture.
Debate on the term Hispanic or Latinx?
The term Latinx is originated in “activist circles primarily in the U.S. as an expansion of earlier gender-inclusive variations such as Latino/a and Latin@”. The “x”does not imply a specific gender – as would the “o” (masculine) or “a” (feminine) for nouns in Spanish and is meant to disrupt the grammatical binary that is inherent in this romance language” according to Joseph M. Pierce, an assistant professor in the Department of Hispanic Languages & Literature at Stony Brook University.
The difference between Latinx and Hispanic largely comes down to how you self-identify. Latinx has been adopted among people who are looking for a more gender-free alternative to Latino or Latina (leaving no option for those who choose to identify as non-binary).
Honoring Historical Events and Contributions Made by People of Hispanic/Latino Heritage
- Color TV – Guillermo Gonzalez Camarena, only 23-years-old, patented a chronoscope adapter with which black and white cameras of the day could capture color. NASA used the mechanism as recently as 1979 to transmit images of Jupiter.
- Mendez v. Westminster – In 1946, eight years before Brown v. Board of Education, Mexican Americans in Orange County California won a class action lawsuit to dismantle the segregated school system. Federal District Judge Paul McCormick, delivered a landmark ruling that segregation of Mexican Americans was not only unenforceable under California law, but it violated the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
- Helen Rodriguez Trias – Headed the department of pediatrics at Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx. In 1970 she was a founding member of the Committee to End Sterilization abuse and in 1971 a founding member of the Women’s Caucus of the American Public Health Association. She supported abortion rights, fought for the abolishment of enforced sterilization and sought neonatal care for underserved people. She drafted guidelines requiring a woman’s written consent to sterilization in a language they could understand and set a waiting period between the consent and the sterilization procedure. She is credited with helping to expand the range of public health services for women and children in minority and low-income populations in the United States, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
- Astronaut Ellen Ochoa became the first Latina to go to space in 1993. She served on a nine-day mission aboard the space shuttle Discovery where she studied the Earth’s ozone layer, then returned to space three more times, spending nearly 1,000 hours in orbit. Ochoa was honored with NASA’s distinguished Service Medal and served as the director of the Johnson Space Center in Houston Texas, from 2013 to 2018. In 2017, she was inducted to the United States Astronaut Hall of Fame and in 2018 she was inducted into the 2018 International Air and Space Hall of Fame class.
- Sonia Sotomayor – Became the first Latina Supreme Court Justice and the third woman to serve on the court. She ruled in the majority which upheld the Affordable Care Act twice, and in Obergefell v. Hodges, to legalize same-sex marriage in all 50 states.
This week’s question comes from Kate R. from Oakland:
I was rear-ended on the freeway a few days ago and the driver that hit me fled the scene. The police took a report but have not been able to identify the other driver. I ended up in the hospital with some serious injuries. I am not going to be able to go back to work for a few weeks, at least. The bills for my medical care are going to start piling up. I have no idea what to do. Please help.
Thank you for reaching out, Kate. We’re sorry to hear about what happened to you and hope that you make a speedy recovery. Navigating the claim process for a hit and run case can be complicated. The good news is that you may have purchased several types of insurance coverages that can help you through this difficult time.
Medical Payments Coverage (“Med Pay”):
What is it?
Med pay is an optional coverage that is part of your individual car insurance policy. Med pay covers reasonable and necessary medical bills when you (or your passengers) are injured in an accident. Med pay will even cover your reasonably necessary medical expenses if you are injured as a pedestrian or passenger in someone else’s car. This coverage applies regardless of who is at fault for the collision.
How does it work?
There are two ways that med pay typically works:
- You go to the medical provider of your choice and the provider bills the med pay directly as if it were health insurance; or
- You submit bills and records to your insurance company for reimbursement of paid or outstanding bills.
Why do I need this coverage if I have health insurance?
There are several reasons this coverage is useful even if you have health insurance.
- First, health insurance often leaves you to pick up the tab for co-pays and co-insurance amounts. With med pay coverage, you can be reimbursed for these out-of-pocket costs.
- Second, med pay enables injured people to seek treatment that would not normally be covered by their health insurance policy, i.e., acupuncture, massage, and other alternative treatments. Finally, med pay allows you to seek a second opinion by a medical provider of your choice which is often beneficial when your health insurance coverage is an HMO plan.
Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury Coverage (“UM/UIM”):
What is it?
Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage applies when another driver is at fault for a collision but either has no insurance or not enough insurance to cover the injured person’s medical bills and other damages. Importantly, this coverage also applies in hit and run cases, such as yours, when the identity of the at fault driver cannot be ascertained.
In order to protect yourself against hit and run drivers, uninsured drivers, and drivers carrying the minimum amount of liability insurance (which is $15,000 in California), it is best to make sure you protect yourself with uninsured/underinsured coverage.
How does it work?
With this coverage, your own insurance company covers your losses as if it were the at-fault driver—the insurance company steps into the shoes of the at-fault driver. In a UM/UIM case, you will make a claim against your own insurance company up to the amount of your purchased coverage. In some ways, UM/UIM cases are advantageous. Because you are in a contract with your insurance company, your insurance company has a duty to treat you fairly and regard your interests equally as its own interests. Unfortunately, you will not be entitled to a jury trial on these cases. UM/UIM cases are typically resolved by settlement or through an arbitration process (trial in front of a neutral “judge” agreed upon by the parties).
If you are injured in a hit and run accident, specific rules apply in order to trigger UM coverage.
- First, there must have been contact between your vehicle and the hit and run vehicle.
- Second, within 24 hours after the accident, it must be reported to the police for the jurisdiction in which the accident happened.
- Third, within 30 days of the accident, you must provide your insurance company with a sworn statement that you were injured and that the person causing injury is unknown. Facts explaining the same must be provided in the sworn statement. Typically, a copy of the police report showing hit and run will be sufficient to meet this requirement. These requirements are set forth in California Insurance Code section 11580.2(b)(1) and (2).
Will making a claim increase my insurance premiums?
In California, it is illegal for an insurance company to raise rates when a policyholder brings a claim and was not at fault. (California Insurance Code Section 491). As long as the other driver was the cause of the accident, your premiums should not increase. If there is an increase in the cost of your coverage based on claims activity made necessary by the fault of another, this should be reported to the California Department of Insurance.
Do not concern yourself with the fact that payment is coming from your own insurance company versus the adverse driver or his/her/their insurance company. This is coverage that you have paid for and the insurance company is best equipped to bear the loss. The insurance company is free to seek reimbursement from an uninsured driver should that be feasible.
How long do I have to resolve my case?
Generally, in a UM case, you have two years from the date of the incident to either settle your claim or make a “demand for arbitration” – a process where you formally notify your insurance company that you would like to resolve your case by arbitration. Your insurance company has an obligation to keep you informed of these deadlines and requirements throughout the process.
So often, we think of insurance as a means to protect our assets and property. It is equally important, however, to remember to protect yourself against uninsured and underinsured motorists who may cause you harm. Review your insurance policy to see if you have the applicable coverage.