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Dale Minami on the ‘Live Your Dream’ Podcast with Celina Lee

Dale Minami on the ‘Live Your Dream’ Podcast with Celina Lee

Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami was the featured guest of the “Live Your Dream” podcast hosted by Celina Lee.

On the podcast, Dale shared with Celina his thought on a wide range of topics.

On how the Japanese American incarceration: “My parents and older brother were put in the concentration camps. First in the horse stalls in race tracks which was Santa Anita Racetrack, which was converted into a temporary – they called it a euphemism – ‘assembly center.’ It was a prison. And then they were transported to Arkansas where they spent various amounts of time, I think it was about two years.

On the impact of the incarceration on Japanese Americans: “There have been studies [about] how even though the children of these incarcerees didn’t know much about their parents’ experience, the effects go down generations and generations – psychological issues. And for our family, and I think a lot of Japanese American families, we were pushed to be 100 percent American, which meant we barely learned much Japanese. … We didn’t know much about our culture. We were protected, so to speak by our parents so that we would never stand out as a racial minority again. In that way we would be hopefully assimilated and that the experience of being incarcerated because of your race would never happen to us again.”

On how Dale might have been Dr. Dale: “I was interested in social psychology as well. So the choice was law school, social psychology. My father thought law would be more practice. … I think deep down, the law did not protect our parents. [Many] second-generation [Japanese Americans] have issues with the law and racism. They felt that they could obtain some knowledge of law essentially to protect their families.”

Listen to the podcast here.

In addition to hosting the podcast, Celina is a career coach and lawyer. She started her career as an investment banker at Merrill Lynch and worked as a corporate lawyer at Ropes & Gray LLP. She is the General Counsel and Business Development Director of AKA Study, a startup that develops artificial intelligence engine to create innovative educational services and software.

Celina is also the author of an award-wining book in Korea, “꿈을 이뤄드립니다” (“Live Your Dream”), a collection of life stories of people who overcame failures to achieve success in diverse industries.

Video: Remarks by Dale Minami at 50th Manzanar Pilgrimage

Video: Remarks by Dale Minami at 50th Manzanar Pilgrimage

Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami was one of the featured speakers at the 50th Annual Manzanar Pilgrimage, which was held the weekend of April 27, 2019, at the Manzanar National Historic Site, approximately 230 miles northeast of Los Angeles.

Manzanar was the first of the American concentration camps in which more than 120,000 Japanese Americans and their immigrant parents were unjustly incarcerated during World War II. Each year, more than 1,000 people attend the Manzanar Pilgrimage, including students, teachers, community members, clergy and former incarcerees.

The program was emceed by former California State Assemblymember Warren Furutani, one of the founders of the Manzanar Pilgrimage and the Manzanar Committee, and also featured Karen Korematsu and writer/artist traci-kato kiriyama.

From the Manzanar Committee’s Feb. 2019 announcement of the speakers: “We’re so pleased Dale Minami and Karen Korematsu will be speaking this year,” said Manzanar Committee Co-Chair Bruce Embrey. “Dale and Karen have played key roles in the long struggle for redress and reparations, as well as the current efforts to challenge the Trump Administration’s Muslim ban and xenophobic anti-immigration policies. Their experience, their message, is what our country needs to hear right now.”

“Let’s remember that 2019 is the 75th anniversary of Korematsu v. United States,” added Embrey. “Let’s remember that not that long ago, our government, the government of the United States, prosecuted and convicted a young man by withholding, altering and falsifying key evidence and then incarcerated him for no other reason than his ancestry. Fred took a stand against the unconstitutional and illegal incarceration of his family, of his community. But even though the law was on his side, a racist and undemocratic ruling prevailed. Let us not forget what can happen when hysterical, unfounded appeals to national security gain sway in our body politic.”

“What we want to project at this year’s Pilgrimage is that our history, our experience, is a cautionary story that our country must take to heart. We cannot stand by and allow this administration’s undemocratic, racist immigration policies to go unchallenged and that is exactly what Karen and Dale have been doing by fighting in the courts and in the realm of public opinion. They are two of the most effective leaders linking our community’s experience with the struggles against the anti-immigrant hysteria and Islamophobia of the Trump Administration, so really, we couldn’t ask for better speakers.”

Photos and video by Manzanar Committee (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Video filmed by Cory Shiozaki.

Minami Tamaki Investigating Allegations Against Hill’s Pet Nutrition Regarding Potentially Toxic Dog Food

Minami Tamaki Investigating Allegations Against Hill’s Pet Nutrition Regarding Potentially Toxic Dog Food

Minami Tamaki LLP is investigating allegations that Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Inc. dog food has caused serious illness or death in affected dogs.

On January 31, 2019, Hill’s Pet Nutrition announced a recall of several varieties of the company’s canned dog food. Hill’s said that it recalled these products due to potentially elevated levels of Vitamin D. Excessive amounts of Vitamin D can lead to severe health issues in dogs, including vomiting, loss of appetite, increased thirst, frequent urination, excessive drooling, and weight loss.

After initiating this recall earlier this year, Hill’s expanded its recall of dog food products in March 2019. A list of affected products, including their date or lot codes, is available at the Hill’s Pet Nutrition recall website.

For more information on our investigation, you may contact us online or call us at 415-788-9000 to set up a free consultation.

Family of Tesla Car Crash Victim Walter Huang Files Lawsuit

Family of Tesla Car Crash Victim Walter Huang Files Lawsuit

Errors by Tesla’s Autopilot navigation system caused the crash that killed Walter Huang of Foster City, Calif., last year, claims a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Huang’s widow and family on April 26. The family is represented by B. Mark Fong of Minami Tamaki LLP, and Doris Cheng and Michael Kelly of Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger.

Huang, 38, died on March 23, 2018, from injuries he suffered when the Autopilot system of his 2017 Tesla Model X drove his car into the unprotected edge of a concrete highway median.

The lawsuit alleges Tesla’s Autopilot feature was defective and caused Huang’s death. The navigation system of Huang’s Tesla misread the lane lines on the roadway, failed to detect the concrete median, and failed to brake the car, but instead accelerated the car into the median.

Huang is survived by his wife of ten years, Sevonne, their son and daughter, ages 4 and 7, and two elderly parents who depended on Huang for financial support.

“Mrs. Huang lost her husband, and two children lost their father because Tesla is beta testing its Autopilot software on live drivers,” said Fong, a partner at Minami Tamaki LLP. “The Huang family wants to help prevent this tragedy from happening to other drivers using Tesla vehicles or any semi-autonomous vehicles.”

“We want to ensure the technology behind semi-autonomous cars is safe before it is released on the roads, and its risks are not withheld or misrepresented to the public,” said Cheng, a partner at Walkup, Melodia, Kelly & Schoenberger.

The allegations against Tesla include product liability, defective product design, failure to warn, breach of warranty, intentional and negligent misrepresentation, and false advertising.

The lawsuit also names the State of California Department of Transportation as a defendant. Huang’s vehicle impacted a concrete highway median that was missing its crash attenuator guard, as Caltrans failed to replace the guard after an earlier crash there.

The case is Sz Hua Huang et al v. Tesla Inc., The State of California, no. 19CV346663, filed in California Superior Court, County of Santa Clara. Download the complaint here.

Minami Tamaki Participates in National Conference Advancing the Hmong American Community

Minami Tamaki Participates in National Conference Advancing the Hmong American Community

Top Photo: Kaa Bao Yang (left) and Donald K. Tamaki (middle) of Minami Tamaki LLP with Bao Vang, President/CEO of Hmong American Partnership.

Minami Tamaki LLP participated in the 19th Hmong National Development Conference, held April 19-21, 2019, in San Jose. Associate Kaa Bao Yang in our Personal Injury practice served on the conference planning committee and Partner Don Tamaki was the conference keynote on April 20.

The conference is a biennial gathering organized by Hmong National Development, Inc., a national nonprofit founded in 1993 as a national policy advocacy organization for the Hmong American community. For the past 20 years, the organization has provided Hmong nonprofits capacity building and technical assistance tools, advocated in Washington D.C. for legislation which impacts the Hmong community, and cultivated leadership in youth through internship programs and youth empowerment programming models.

Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys Kaa Bao Yang (left) and Seema Bhatt staffing our booth.

“As a member of the Impact Award and Entertainment Subcommittees, I had the pleasure of introducing two of the Impact Award Winners during the conference banquet on Saturday evening,” said Kaa Bao, “Leesai Yang, Deputy Sheriff with the Sacramento Sheriff’s Department and Director of East Bay Asian Youth Center, and Neng Thao, a graduate of Harvard and world traveler, videographer, and blogger in English, Hmong and Spanish with about 45,000 Facebook followers.”

In his keynote, Don spoke about the #StopRepeatingHistory campaign and efforts to educate the public on the dangers of unchecked presidential power, drawing parallels between the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II and the current administration’s policies targeting minority groups based on race or religion.

“Don delivered a powerful keynote speech,” said Kaa Bao. “Everyone loved it and Don was quite a celebrity. There was a very long line after his speech to shake his hand and take pictures with him. Our Minami Tamaki tote bags became quite popular afterwards!”

Minami Tamaki LLP Partner Donald K. Tamaki delivering the keynote on April 20.

Kaa Bao also had the opportunity to meet a number of inspiring women, including Elizabeth Yang, the founder of Hmong Women Take on the World, and Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Kashoua Kristy Yang, the first Hmong American judge elected without appointment and the first Hmong American female judge in the nation.

Kaa Bao Yang (left) of Minami Tamaki LLP and Milwaukee County Circuit Court Judge Kristy Yang.

Kaa Bao Yang is Minami Tamaki’s first Hmong American attorney. As one of the few bilingual Hmong attorneys in California, she aspires to provide the best support and legal services to the Hmong community and to all of our firm’s clients.

She was born in a refugee camp in northern Thailand and immigrated to the United States, where her family resettled in St. Paul, Minnesota. The fifth of eleven children and the first in her family to graduate from college and graduate school, she earned her B.A. in Sociology of Law, Criminology, and Deviance with honors, as well as a minor in Political Science from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.

Kaa Bao graduated with honors from Golden Gate University School of Law in San Francisco.

Mark Fong Honored as ‘Trial Lawyer of the Year’ Finalist

Mark Fong Honored as ‘Trial Lawyer of the Year’ Finalist

Minami Tamaki LLP Partner Mark Fong (right in top photo) and former firm Partner Seth I. Rosenberg (left in top photo) were honored on April 4 in San Francisco as one of four finalists for the 2019 Trial Lawyer of the Year award, presented by the San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association.

Mark and Seth were recognized as Trial Lawyer of the Year finalists for their representation of Jennifer Fraissl, who was awarded $4.5 million in damages in November 2018 in a lawsuit against DJ and producer Skrillex and other parties. Associate Seema Bhatt was also part of the trial team.

Jennifer’s attorneys believe this was the first successful jury award in a case involving injuries resulting from a performer’s crowd dive.

Photos by Lisa P. Mak.

 

Video: Dale Minami Impact Award, Presented by the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area

Video: Dale Minami Impact Award, Presented by the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area

The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area presented the first ever Dale Minami Impact Award at its annual gala on March 6, 2019, in San Francisco.

AABA created this award in Dale’s name to honor his legacy by celebrating those who have made a positive impact on the Asian Pacific American community.

The inaugural recipient of the Dale Minami Impact Award was Stewart Kwoh, the founder of Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles.

In this short video, Karen Korematsu, Don Tamaki, Michael GW Lee, and Minette Kwok discuss Dale Minami’s impact on the Asian-American community, civil rights, and the face of the legal profession.

Rafu: ‘Gardena Day of Remembrance Addresses Today’s Immigration Issues’

Rafu: ‘Gardena Day of Remembrance Addresses Today’s Immigration Issues’

J.K. Yamamoto with the Rafu Shimpo reported on the 2019 Day of Remembrance program held February 23, 2019, at the Gardena Valley Japanese Cultural Institute. Jon Osaki’s documentary “Alternative Facts: The Lies of Executive Order 9066” was screened, followed by a panel discussion with Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami and others.

Excerpts:

Panelist Dale Minami, who appears in the film, hails from Gardena, is a partner in the San Francisco law firm of Minami Tamaki LLP and was the lead attorney in the reopening of Fred Korematsu’s Supreme Court case in the 1980s. He liked the way that the film “really connects our experiences as Japanese Americans to other communities of color, and that’s critical for us to have the kind of coalition we need to change this country.”

Although Minami is well-versed on the subject, he was impressed that Osaki tracked down and interviewed descendants of wartime officials such as Edward Ennis, director of the Department of Justice’s Alien Enemy Control Unit, who said at the time that the incarceration was wrong, but was overruled.

“My parents didn’t talk about the incarceration, like most Nisei,” said Minami. “They went to Rohwer, Ark. as well. So we didn’t learn much about it from our parents. I had one paragraph in high school, I had a page in college, and it wasn’t until almost exactly 50 years ago, when a momentous event occurred, and that was the Third World Strike at San Francisco State. It was an outgrowth of the civil rights movement that was led by African Americans …

“And when we got to understand our own history, we started to learn about what happened in these prisons and the incarceration of our own parents. Then I finally read the Korematsu, Hirabayashi and Yasui decisions in law school and they were treated as abstract principles. There wasn’t anything that had the human drama or the loss of lives, broken homes, lost dreams, any of those.

“So I thought the decision was a travesty and it impelled me, along with the inspiration we got from the Third World Strike in the development of ethnic studies … to really learn about the depth and breadth of this whole terrible dark page in American history.”

Minami cited the legal precedent of bans on Chinese and Japanese immigration in the 19th and 20th centuries. “The massive racial profiling of Muslims as evil and its simple connections are this. These actions are taken against some marginalized group that is not well understood, that are people of color and are generally politically powerless.

“So when you combine that with the racist rant of a president who’s anti-immigrant … and talks about using national security as a phony basis for … a wall that goes nowhere … what we’re seeing is … an echo of history. If we keep allowing this to go on … those are the first steps in the establishment of a dictatorship and the loss of our rights.”

The film included a quote from Col. Karl Bendetsen, one of the architects of the incarceration, who claimed that Nikkei were not behind fences and could go wherever they wanted.

“That’s an outright lie,” Minami said. “You have pictures, they’re all over the place, showing fences. So it’s exactly what the president is doing right now. They’re telling outright lies and they’re saying that there’s this huge security threat at the border when immigration has been reduced over the years … A security threat about drugs being transported across borders when they’re really coming in through ports of entry … Essentially this whole foundation of national security is built today on lies, just like it was against Japanese Americans.”

Minami added that checks and balances between the branches of government are threatened. “In Korematsu vs. United States … the judiciary, the Supreme Court, abdicated its role and did not even look at the president’s declaration that Japanese Americans were dangerous. It’s doing the same thing in Trump vs. Hawaii. It refused to look beyond the president’s declaration and examine whether there was any rational basis, any factual basis for keeping the Muslims out … essentially deferring completely to the president.”

Another echo of history is talk about changing the 14th Amendment, which guarantees citizenship to anyone born on U.S. soil, Minami said, noting that Earl Warren, as governor of California, advocated stripping Nisei of their U.S. citizenship.

Daily Trojan: Korematsu lawyer discusses Japanese American incarceration, Trump

Daily Trojan: Korematsu lawyer discusses Japanese American incarceration, Trump

Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami spoke at the University of Southern California on March 5, 2019. Below is an excerpt from an article in the Daily Trojan, the USC campus newspaper.

Famed civil rights attorney and USC alumnus Dale Minami joined nearly 100 students for a discussion about the history of Japanese American internment and civil rights Tuesday.

Minami, who notably overturned the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Korematsu v. United States, which justified the internment of approximately 110,000 Japanese Americans, was invited by professor Alison Dundes Renteln to speak in her “Human Rights” course.

“He has been one of the great legal minds in our time,” Dundes said as she introduced him. “[He is] certainly a hero of mine. I’ve admired him for many years.”

Minami attended UC Berkeley’s School of Law, which was previously named the Boalt School of Law after John Boalt, now known for being an anti-Chinese racist. Dundes Renteln said Minami played a role in changing the school’s name after backlash from students. She drew a parallel to the controversy surrounding the Von KleinSmid Center on USC’s campus, which was named after former University president and eugenicist Rufus Von KleinSmid. (Read More)