Criminal Judge Asks Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy to Weigh in on PG&E's Safety Record

PG&E is on probation for its six felony convictions related to the 2010 San Bruno gas pipeline explosion, which killed 8 people, injured 58 and destroyed 38 homes. U.S. District Judge William Alsup is overseeing PG&E’s probation. As part of the probation proceedings, Judge Alsup has found PG&E violated its criminal probation by failing to notify a probation officer of a criminal investigation, prosecution and settlement with the Butte County District Attorney’s Office over its role starting the 150-acre Honey Fire in October 2017. The probation proceedings are on-going and Judge Alsup is considering forcing the utility to take far-reaching reform action, such as adherence to a stringent wildfire prevention program. Read More ›

Defrauded Investors May Lose Their Right to Recovery: Trump Administration Pushes for Regulatory Changes that Would Allow Companies to Avoid Securities Class Actions Through the Use of Mandatory Arbitration Agreements

“Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.”

 – Justice Louis Brandeis”

Investors need to be aware of efforts underway to undermine their ability to redress corporate fraud.  The Securities Exchange Commission (SEC) is contemplating a highly controversial change to securities policy which would allow companies to block securities class actions, which are often the only way that defrauded investors can be made whole. Read More ›

Finra Enacts Important Rule to Protect Seniors Against Fraudulent Activity

In you have a brokerage account it is subject to oversight by FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority).  Over the past several years FINRA has implemented new protections for senior citizens.  An important new rule (FINRA Rule 2165) went into effect in February 2018 to address scams and other fraud targeting vulnerable adults.  Rule 2165 is designed to protect two populations:

  • Elders aged 65 and older; and,
  • People over 18 who a brokerage firm “reasonably believes” have a mental or physical impairment that renders the individual unable to protect his or her own interests.

This wording dovetails nicely with FINRA’s “know your customer” rule (FINRA Rule 2090). Read More ›

The CPFB Remains Under Attack: Consumers Should Care About an Agency that has Recovered More than $11.9 Billion for Everyday Workers

Over the past several years we have posted news about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”).  As attorneys focused on socially just causes, we care about the watchdog agency that was formed to protect the interests of everyday consumers against unscrupulous practices of financial institutions.  The CFPB’s mission becomes that much more important in this era of forced arbitration and contractual class action bans.  In more and more cases the courthouse doors are shut to consumers who have been defrauded by their banks, mortgage companies, payday lenders, and brokerage firms.  Imagine your bank took $500 from your bank account without justification, what are your options?  It used to be that you could band together with other bank customers who had the same thing happen, but in 2018 that is often not the case.  This is one reason that the CFPB is so critically important – in a time when citizens’ rights to hold financial institutions accountable are being trampled, there at least was a government agencies that was designed to help injured consumers.  Read More ›

Supreme Court Upholds Right to Bring Securities Act Class Actions in State Court

On March 20, 2018, in Cyan, Inc. v. Beaver County Employees Retirement Fund, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that state courts retain jurisdiction over class actions brought under the Securities Act of 1933.  The decision resolves a split among the lower courts and protects pending class actions from removal. Read More ›

Cracking Down on the “Rehab Riviera”

The State of California has finally woken up to the fraudulent practices endemic to the state’s addiction-recovery industry, which rips off insurers and preys upon people at their most vulnerable. The now-multibillion-dollar industry has found a lucrative home in Southern California, which has been dubbed “the Rehab Riviera.” Read More ›

Protecting Our Seniors—Stating a Cause of Action for Elder Abuse is Not as Difficult as Defendants Often Claim

Defendants often cite Carter v. Prime Healthcare Paradise Valley LLC (2011) 198 Cal.App.4th 396 in support of their argument that the plaintiff’s complaint pleads a cause of action for professional negligence rather than elder abuse.  Defendants often argue that Carter, in effect, altered the law and heightened the pleading requirements for an elder abuse cause of action.  In making this argument, however, defendants misinterpret the Carter holding.  The Carter court did not modify the elements or the pleading requirements for elder abuse under California’s Elder Abuse and Dependent Adult Civil Protection Act.  In fact, the Carter court stated that it “distill[s]” the requirements of an elder abuse case.  The Carter decision did not, however, increase or enhance Plaintiff’s pleading requirements.  Id. at 406. Read More ›

“Smart” toys raise privacy and safety concerns for kids

Kids’ privacy and safety may be jeopardized by toys that connect to the internet. Parents should pay attention to toys with speech recognition, GPS, microphone, camera, or data storage capabilities. Such devices may ask for a child’s name, age, address, phone number, or other personal information. This is information parents may not want in the hands of an unscrupulous hacker, if it is intercepted or otherwise obtained. Read More ›

Strict new privacy and data protections soon take effect in European countries

The number of data breaches occurring in the United States has privacy advocates watching new privacy laws that will soon take effect in European Union (“EU”) countries. Read More ›

Is your cell phone tracking every move you make?

I recently visited a small coffee shop and glanced at my phone while waiting for a friend to arrive. I had a notification asking if I was, indeed, at that cafe. When I clicked on the icon, my phone immediately showed the full menu and several photos of the establishment. This was possible because the geolocation feature on the phone could pinpoint my travel throughout the morning based on GPS, WiFi, and cell tower networks. Read More ›