Larson & Gaston, LLP


Pasadena Business & Commercial Law Blog

Fed up with the bank: CA bill seeks to invalidate contract clause

You live with the contractual terms you knowingly agreed with.

Although there are certain limited exceptions to that dictum (select permutations, if you will; public policy restraints come readily to mind), most adults who execute contracts in California and nationally know that they are tasked with abiding by the material terms and conditions stated therein.

What's in a "P?" Plenty, says a protective PayPal.

The time-honored and oft-litigated standard relevant in adjudging trademark lawsuits focuses squarely on confusion. That is, courts are routinely asked to consider whether an alleged infringing use of a protected mark is sufficiently similar in look and feel to reasonably promote confusion in a consumer as to the source of the mark.

Put another way, in the form of a question: Is company A's alleged infringing mark so similar to company B's trademark that consumers are mistakenly confusing the two and harming the latter by mistakenly purchasing goods from the infringer?

2017 tax planning for a California business: some considerations

If you're a proven California business owner or principal, no one needs to tell you that your enterprise must be absolutely focused on state and federal tax rules and policies at all times.

That means every day of the year.

California class action suit spotlights insurance coverage denials

Hartford Life principals argue that they're simply trying to inject some common sense and boundaries regarding reasonable parameters germane to a key contract provision in select life insurance contracts inked with California policyholders.

State class action plaintiffs advance an alternative position, grounded in a quote from one claimant that he and fellow class members were "deceived and left hung out to dry with no protection" by the mega national insurer following its wrongful interpretation of key policy language.

Product liability scenario continues to play out for General Motors

For obvious reasons, the largest car manufacturing company in the United States is doing everything it reasonably can to stay ahead of a potential tidal wave of litigation that is imminently heading its way and the attendant liability of massive proportions it could trigger.

Notwithstanding that effort, though, a recent national news report indicated that, "General Motors' bid to block hundreds of lawsuits, potentially worth billions of dollars, over a deadly ignition-switch defect broke down [last] Monday."

Does a similar business name invite an infringement lawsuit?

It appeared that the Arthur Andersen and Andersen Worldwide network, one of the five "Big Five" accounting firms, was recently poised to rise from the ashes after the Enron and WorldCom accounting scandals. The network even announced its reconstitution under the company name of Arthur Anderson, although the legal name of the partner is MoHala Enterprises d/b/a Sundial Consulting. However, the announcement proved premature.

As background, 23 former Andersen partners formed a new firm, Andersen Tax, after the original company's demise. After MoHala Enterprises made its announcement, Andersen Tax filed a trademark infringement lawsuit. Not surprisingly, Andersen Tax anticipated consumer confusion, and possibly economic damages, if MoHala Enterprises were allowed to call itself Arthur Andersen.

Mediation resolves large, growing government/bus operator dispute

It was obviously important that the contractual dispute between a Southern California municipal transportation entity and a bus company providing riding services to approximately 800,000 customers each day get resolved, and in an optimal manner.

Seemingly, it did, with the Ventura County Transportation Commission (VCTA) and Roadrunner Management Services recently coming to terms that resolve past differences and point a way forward in their relationship.

Early Mitigation of Damages

Damages are the monetary results of litigation. They can range from compensation for injuries incurred by a plaintiff to attorney's fees. As a result, they can range from a single dollar in nominal damages to millions of dollars in extensive litigation cases.  Due to this wide range, it is prudent to evaluate the potential economic effects of any litigation with legal representation.


A recent case heard by California Court of Appeals can be seen as a cautionary tale for the effects of not taking prudent steps to evaluate economic effect of litigation.


Private Attorney General Act and Arbitration

The Private Attorney General Act, or PAGA, allows an aggrieved employee to act as if they are the state in an attempt to make claims for recovery of civil penalties for Labor Code violations. Claims under this Act essentially substitute the plaintiff for a state labor law enforcement agency and give the plaintiff similar rights to recover civil penalties that would normally be assessed by the Labor Workforce Development Agency (LWDA). This act gives employees the ability to bring claims and gain damages that prior to the enactment of this Act would have been solely brought the LWDA.

Once again, UC Berkeley spotlighted in employment harassment suit

What a UC Berkeley honors graduate who came back to her alma mater last summer to work with a described "world-renowned professor of philosophy" as his assistant prior to embarking on a graduate program reasonably expected was s singular opportunity to grow in her chosen field.

What she nearly immediately experienced instead, as related in litigation she recently filed against the university, was "shock, fear, confusion and horror."

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