Posts from 2020.
Are Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”) Securities? Do ICOs have to follow Securities Laws?

Investors who invested in Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) or purchased “digital tokens” may be wondering whether their investment is governed by any laws. Likewise, investors may be wondering if they have any recourse when they expect fraud or the ICO disclosures failed to provide material information.

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Healthcare Schemers Cannot Hide Behind the First-to-File Doctrine 

With a greater demand to access for healthcare services also comes the need for reliable and honest physicians and healthcare facilities. Unfortunately, throughout the country healthcare kickback schemes are becoming more prominent in the healthcare system.

Kickbacks are incentives, usually bribes or anything of value, paid to a physician or healthcare facility to induce the referral of items or services reimbursable by Medicare, Medi-Cal or private insurers. Now more than ever, whistleblowers are encouraged to exercise their duty and right to disclose fraudulent or wrongful conduct.

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CPM Seeks to Recover Damages for Users Affected by TikTok’s Biometric Data Storing

Social media is a deeply embedded part of our culture. The rise and use of social media applications (apps) has become as common as having a smart phone or a computer. The prevalence of these apps is especially persistent in use by minors and young adults.

TikTok is a video-sharing social networking service owned by ByteDance, a Chinese company. The application is used to create short, “fun” videos typically featuring the user performing a song, dance, or themed monologue. Largely targeted at, and used by teenagers, TikTok is one of the most downloaded social media applications of the decade. As of 2019, 41% of TikTok’s 800 million users were between the ages of 16 and 24, with 90% of this group using the app daily.

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Disaffirmance by a Minor as a Defense to Arbitration in Consumer Class Actions

Mandatory arbitration clauses are ubiquitous in consumer contracts. In a 2019 survey, eighty-one Fortune 100 companies, including their subsidiaries or related affiliates, used an arbitration agreement in dealing with consumers. Imre Stephen Szalai, “The Prevalence of Consumer Arbitration Agreements by America’s Top Companies,” 52 UC Davis L. Rev. Online 233 (February 2019), https://lawreview.law.ucdavis.edu/online/vol52/52-online-Szalai.pdf. Of these companies, seventy-eight also included a class action waiver. Id. at 234. Moreover, the same source found that more than sixty percent of retail e-commerce sales in the United States were covered by broad consumer arbitration agreements. Id. Strikingly, this led to an estimate that at least 826,537,000 consumer arbitration agreements were in force in 2018. Id.

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Nursing Home Residents Among the Vulnerable Populations Disproportionately Affected by COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect people differently. Vulnerable populations who are inherently disadvantaged in protecting themselves against illness have, sadly, died from COVID-19 disproportionately to the population at large. The numbers are staggering. Reports show that 42% of COVID-19 deaths in the United States have occurred in nursing homes and assisted living facilities.

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Lawsuit Filed Against Fraudulent Puppy Traffickers Stayed As To Three Of The Four Defendants

For many years, the Kenney family— husband and wife Trina and Rick, and adult children Elijah and Jezriel — who is based in Phelan, California, have defrauded consumers in Southern California by misrepresenting the health, age, sex, and breed of puppies that they sell through Craigslist and other internet sites. The puppies that these consumers buy often die within days after purchase, and the consumers often spend thousands of dollars at the veterinarians office trying to save them before the puppies sadly pass away or are euthanized at the recommendation of the veterinarians.

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Common Cryptocurrency Scams and How to Avoid Them

The first modern cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, took the financial world by storm with its meteoric rise in 2009. As Bitcoin’s value and popularity grew, cryptocurrencies – virtual funds that exist within a decentralized currency system – have steadily gained their place within the modern financial market, despite their high volatility and lack of benchmark for evaluation.

The current market value of one Bitcoin is $6766 US Dollars. Stories of early investors such as Erik Finman, who purchased Bitcoin for $12 US Dollars a coin, motivate many to seek the same success by investing in Bitcoin and new coins alike. In the aftermath of the Bitcoin boom, the frenzy and excitement over these novel investment options have led to the emergence of numerous cryptocurrencies and online exchange platforms.

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Sanchez Update

I have previously written about the framework for analyzing Sanchez issues, and I explained that the answer turns on the difference between “background information” and “case-specific facts.” Last week, our Supreme Court reaffirmed that “the distinction between case-specific facts and background information thus is crucial—the former may be excluded as hearsay, the latter may not.” (People v. Veamatahau (2020) 9 Cal.5th 16, 26.)

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Some Businesses are Rethinking Arbitration over Class Actions

The U.S. Supreme Court has made it clear that arbitration agreements are governed by contract. An arbitration agreement will bind the parties to a resolution outside of traditional litigation.

Businesses have viewed an arbitration clause as an effective method to control the risks and costs of class litigation. Consumers and employees have regularly attacked arbitration clauses as bar to substantive rights, unconscionable, and expensive to challenge an individual claim. Furthermore, upon accepting arbitration agreements consumers and employees waive their rights to pursue class actions.

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Understanding Sanchez

Since our Supreme Court decided People v. Sanchez (2016) 63 Cal.4th 665, lawyers and judges have struggled to understand its implications. I recently opposed a motion in limine titled “Defendant’s Motion to Preclude Expert Opinions Based on Hearsay (People v. Sanchez).” The caption alone showed that opposing counsel had not overcome that struggle.

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