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PAUL LLEWELLYN ON MASTERING THE DEPOSITION

By Speaking Engagements

For over five years, continuing legal education providers have turned to Paul Llewellyn as a trusted authority and compelling speaker on the art of taking and defending a deposition.  Paul will be back in action on January 19, speaking at Bridgeport’s Mastering The Deposition Workshop.  This is an in-depth, all day mastery course designed for both the novice and experienced litigator to take his or her deposition skills to the next level.  The other presenters come from firms including Keker & Van Nest, and Munger, Tolles & Olson.

The panel will cover a wide range of topics, including:

  • Fundamentals of Taking Depositions
  • Deposition is Trial: Taking Jury-Focused Direct and Cross Examination Depositions
  • Preparing Witnesses for Depositions
  • Deposing Expert Witnesses: Promoting Expertise and Limiting Exposure
  • Defending Depositions
  • How Deposition Testimony Plays Out at Trial

Differences between depositions in state and federal courts

LEWIS & LLEWELLYN PRESENTS A PANEL ON ADVANCED DEPOSITION TECHNIQUES

By Speaking Engagements

On February 23, Marc Lewis will speak on a panel featuring several federal judges and high-profile advocates.  The title of the panel is Storytelling in IP Litigation: How to Talk To Judges And Juries In Technology Trials.  Marc will be joined by Judge James Donato and Magistrate Judges Elizabeth LaPorte and Laurel Beeler, along with Robert Van Nest of Keker & Van Nest and Jennifer Seraphine of Turner Boyd.

The panel will discuss how to distill complex technical issues for effective advocacy, ways to avoid common pitfalls in complex technology litigation, and consider recent high-profile federal jury trials involving technical subject matter.  The intended audience is the experienced technology litigator.  Attendees can expect to receive practical tips on an array of matters, including discovery disputes involving complex technology issues, confidentiality concerns, the utility of independent court experts, and how parties can cooperate on undisputed technical issues.

CALIFORNIA COURT OF APPEAL EXTENDS TORT CLAIM EXEMPTION IN CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE CASES

By Litigation Tips

A few weeks ago, in A.M. v. Ventura Unified School District, et al., 2016 WL 5936851 (Cal. Ct. App. Oct. 12, 2016), the Court of Appeal overturned a trial court decision limiting the ability of childhood sexual abuse victims to file suit.  The Court of Appeal found that California Government Code section 905(m), which waives the requirement that a tort claim be filed before suing a public agency for childhood sexual abuse, is not limited to cases in which the alleged abuser was employed by the public agency.  In other words, if a child files suit alleging that he or she was abused by his or her fellow students, no tort claim form is required.

The underlying complaint in A.M. alleged that the victim was bullied, battered, and sexually abused by some of her fellow students.  Even though her mother complained to the school district, no action was taken.  The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the student defendants, finding that the plaintiff had failed to file a claim form and, therefore, was barred from filing suit against them.  The Court of Appeal rejected this narrow interpretation of the statute and reversed the trial court’s decision.

This decision is a welcome development for victims of childhood sexual abuse, and removes another barrier for victims seeking recourse through the courts.

LEWIS & LLEWELLYN PRESENTS A PANEL ON ADVANCED DEPOSITION TECHNIQUES

By Speaking Engagements

On December 12, Evan Burbidge will be co-moderating a Bar Association of San Francisco panel on advanced deposition techniques.  Seasoned attorneys, including Paul Llewellyn and attorneys from Latham & Watkins LLP and Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger, will be providing tips and tricks on the art of the deposition, including how to get trial-ready soundbites, the best ways to deal with expert witnesses, and methods for taming an evasive witness or argumentative opposing counsel.  It’s a can’t-miss for any litigator.  Lunch will be provided.

In recognition of the firm’s long-standing relationship with the BASF, the firm is sponsoring five complimentary tickets to the program.  If you would like one of those places, please send an email to Amanda Jarvis.

LEWIS & LLEWELLYN OBTAINS $1.2 MILLION SETTLEMENT ON BEHALF OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIMS

By Announcements

Following an eight-week trial, a Lewis & Llewellyn team led by Marc Lewis and Becca Furman, along with co-counsel from Casper, Meadows, Schwartz & Cook and the Law Offices of H. Paul Bryant, obtained a settlement of $1.2 million from a Bay Area school district on behalf of several victims of childhood sexual abuse.  The settlement brings an end to a hard fought litigation arising from the alleged sexual abuse of male students by a male teacher.  This matter is one of the firm’s many representations throughout the United States that seek recourse for individuals and families whose lives have been forever changed because of sexual abuse.

SECTION 2019.210 – A POWERFUL TOOL FOR THE TRADE SECRETS DEFENDANT

By Litigation Tips

California Code of Civil Procedure section 2019.210 provides that, before the plaintiff in a trade secret lawsuit may commence discovery relating to its alleged trade secret(s), it must “identify the trade secret with reasonable particularity.”  This provision provides defendants with a powerful tool, preventing a plaintiff from alleging the misappropriation of trade secrets in vague or generalized terms, and then back-filing the allegations after discovery starts.  The Ninth Circuit has yet to rule on its applicability in federal court, and California district courts conducting an Erie analysis are split on the issue.  However, even district courts that hold section 2019.210 does not apply often require plaintiffs, pursuant to a federal court’s inherent Rule 26 powers, to disclose their trade secrets with particularity before obtaining discovery from defendants.  In sum, section 2019.210 can be a powerful tool, and in deciding whether to file a trade secret action in federal or state court, plaintiffs should expect that they will have to disclose their trade secrets with “reasonable particularity” – either pursuant to section 2019.210 or the court’s Rule 26 order – before they can begin discovery.

LEWIS & LLEWELLYN OBTAINS A SETTLEMENT OF $1.3 MILLION ON BEHALF OF CHILDHOOD SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIM

By Announcements

A Lewis & Llewellyn team led by Paul Llewellyn and Ryan Erickson recently obtained a settlement of $1.3 million from a Bay Area school district on behalf of a victim of childhood sexual abuse.  The case is one of the firm’s many representations that seek recourse for individuals and families whose lives have been forever changed because of sexual abuse, serious injury, or death.

COMPANIES BEWARE: CALIFORNIA’S AUTOMATIC RENEWAL LAW HAS BECOME CALIFORNIA’S NEXT CLASS ACTION CRAZE

By Litigation Tips

The California Automatic Renewal Law (ARL) was passed in 2010 in order to prevent companies from locking consumers into renewal payment contracts without any ability to cancel.  Unfortunately, the ARL has created a difficult business environment, riddled with pitfalls for unsuspecting companies.  Most importantly, the regulatory framework created by the ARL provides for an incredibly precise set of rules detailing what all companies which have recurring payment contracts must do before, and after, signing up a customer.

The penalties for failing to comply are severe.  If a company fails to follow the ARL’s very specific and detailed rules, the law deems all “goods, wares, merchandise or products” sold as “unconditional gifts.”  This has allowed plaintiffs’ attorneys to argue that a company which violates the ARL must return 100% of its proceeds to every single California customer since 2010.

While the law was largely ignored at first, over the last few years, plaintiffs’ attorneys have begun aggressively pursuing class actions.  Since 2015, plaintiffs have filed putative class action lawsuits agains Birchbox, Dropbox, Google, Spotify and Tinder, just to name a few.  Nor are these class actions limited to large companies.  We have seen, and defended, relatively small subscription-based companies that have been targeted by plaintiffs’ counsel.

Due to the ARL’s broad language, few companies have opted to test its limits.  Based on a study of publicly available information, we have seen a large trend of defendants, or even would-be defendants, settling based on a demand letter or complaint alone.  However, the few companies that have engaged plaintiffs in litigation over the ARL have found some success, especially at the federal level.

NICK SAENZ AUTHORS UPDATE TO “CORPORATE LITIGATION” CHAPTER IN CALIFORNIA BUSINESS LITIGATION GUIDE

By Announcements

Lewis & Llewellyn attorney Nick Saenz recently authored an update to the corporate litigation chapter in California Business Litigation, which he co-authored in 2015.  California Business Litigation brings together case analysis, best practice and advice from leaders in the field.  The updated version of California Business Litigation is scheduled to be published in early 2017.

FEDERAL TRADE SECRETS LAW TAKES EFFECT

By Litigation Tips

On May 11, 2016, the Defense of Trade Secrets Act (“DTSA”) became effective, establishing the first civil federal trade secrets law.  Importantly, the DTSA does not preempt state law, meaning a plaintiff alleging trade secret misappropriation can assess which law is more favorable before bringing suit and could also, depending on the case, opt to assert claims under both laws.  While the substantive elements of trade secret claims under the DTSA are similar to those under California law, the DTSA differs in several key respects.  For example, in contrast to California law, the DTSA does not, on its face, require a plaintiff to disclose its purported trade secrets with particularity before commencing discovery.  Because the particularity requirement can be a powerful tool for defendants, depending on the nature of its case, a plaintiff should consider whether to file suit under the DTSA to potentially avoid this procedural hurdle to obtaining discovery.  Moreover, the DTSA contains a civil seizure remedy, which, under certain circumstances, allows a plaintiff to obtain an ex parte order providing for the seizure of property necessary to prevent the dissemination of the trade secrets.  Depending on how courts apply the seizure provision, this remedy could be a reason in and of itself to bring suit under the DTSA.