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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Avoiding MICRA’s $250K Non-Economic Damages Cap

The California legislature enacted the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) in 1975 with the intent of curbing a perceived increase in medical malpractice insurance premiums and health care costs. MICRA sought to achieve this by erecting a number of obstacles for plaintiffs in medical malpractice actions, the most well-known being a $250K cap on plaintiffs’ non-economic damages.

More than forty years later, health care costs have not slowed but innumerable victims of medical negligence have been denied just compensation. Though MICRA has been applied broadly to various acts and omissions only minimally related to the rendering of professional medical services, there are some fact patterns and theories of liability which may circumvent MICRA’s limitations and permit the recovery of full compensatory damages.

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Information Fiduciary Duty – Do Private Entities Have a Legal Responsibility to be Trustworthy with Your Data?

The Information Age has created a new type of business that thrives off of widespread collection and use of personal information. [1] At this time, though, there is no federal statute to define the obligations these businesses owe regarding the use of their users’ and customers’ data. While doctors and lawyers are legally obligated to respect the privacy of their clients’ information and cannot use that information to further their own interests, large companies are not held to the same standard.

As data-driven businesses continue to emerge, grow, and gain relevance in our society and economy, it is imperative that a clear standard of information fiduciary responsibilities be defined. Federal legislation classifying businesses as information fiduciaries would protect individual data privacy rights by requiring businesses to act with the utmost good faith in relation to their use of individual data.

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Differences between the Statute of Limitations and Statute of Repose Periods under the False Claims Act and California Insurance Fraud Prevention Act

An action under the FCA must be brought within the later of either: (1) six years from when the underlying § 3729 violation is committed; (2) three years after the government knows or should have known about the material facts ; or (3) ten years from when the underlying violation is committed. 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(1)-(2).

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How Does the Public Disclosure Bar of the California Insurance Fraud Prevention Act Differ from that of the False Claims Act

Both the FCA and California Insurance Fraud Prevention Act (“CIFPA”) have limitations on filing certain actions, including: (a) the first to file bar, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(b)(5) and Cal. Ins. Code §1871.7(e)(5); and (b) the public disclosure bar, 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4)(A)-(B); Cal. Ins. Code §1871.7(h)(2)(A)-(B).

Under the public disclosure bar, relators/whistleblowers are barred from pursuing claims if they allege substantially similar allegations or transactions were publicly disclosed, unless the relator is the “original source.” 31 U.S.C. § 3730(e)(4)(A)-(B); Cal. Ins. Code §1871.7(h)(2)(A)-(B). However, what constitutes an “original source” varies slightly between the statutes.

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What is the California Insurance Fraud Prevention Act?

The California Insurance Fraud Prevention Act (“CIFPA”), Ins. Code §§ 1871, et seq., is an anti-fraud statute applicable to all types of insurance fraud. The CIFPA is a broad reaching statute designed to prevent and punish fraud, specifically insurance fraud through imposing significant penalties and provides for recovery of damages, attorneys’ fees and costs, and a share of the penalties imposed by the successful whistleblower.

Two unique pieces of the CIFPA were discussed in State ex rel. Wilson v. Super. Ct. (2014) 227 Cal. App. 4th 579: (1) what constitutes a “fraudulent claim” and (2) the prohibition on employing “runners, cappers, [or] steerers.”

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