Minami Tamaki Investigating Malfunction at San Francisco Fertility Clinic

Minami Tamaki Investigating Malfunction at San Francisco Fertility Clinic

The San Francisco law firm of Minami Tamaki LLP is investigating local fertility clinic Pacific Fertility Center after it disclosed on March 11, 2018, that it suffered a malfunction in a steel tank where hundreds of patient’s eggs and embryos were stored. The liquid nitrogen failure, which reportedly occurred on March 4, 2018, could endanger the tissue and patients’ chances of having children.

The malfunction was discovered by the clinic’s laboratory director, who noticed that the level of liquid nitrogen in one tank was too low. A lack of liquid nitrogen causes temperatures in tanks to rise, which can cause damage to tissue housed in vials called cryolocks. The clinic reported the incident to the College of American Pathologists, which oversees California’s tissue banks.

The clinic declined to specify the number of eggs and embryos affected, but disclosed several thousand were in the tank. According to reports, the eggs and embryos in the affected tank had been in storage for as long as 10 years. According to Pacific Fertility Center, the extent to which the malfunction damaged eggs and embryos remains unclear.

News of this incident comes on the heels of a similar malfunction the same weekend at University Hospital Fertility Clinic in Cleveland, Ohio.

These incidents come as a growing number of U.S. women are choosing to freeze their eggs as assisted reproductive technology has advanced. According to Pacific Fertility’s website, egg-freezing starts at $8,345 for the first cycle and $6,995 for subsequent rounds. Thousands of individuals are planning their families based on this technology, and, for some families, the treatment is their only chance at conceiving a child.

Minami Tamaki attorneys have experience advising individuals regarding laboratory failure at reproductive clinics. If you believe your frozen eggs or embryos were affected by the Pacific Fertility Center malfunction, you may contact us online or call us at 415-788-9000 to set up a free consultation.

Government Agencies Investigating Apple Over iPhone Performance Slowdowns

Government Agencies Investigating Apple Over iPhone Performance Slowdowns

The U.S. Department of Justice and the Securities and Exchange Commission are investigating Apple Inc. about software updates that slowed down older iPhone models. This investigation was made public on January 30, 2018 by a Bloomberg news report.

In December 2017, Apple admitted that iOS updates slowed down the performance of older iPhone models. The slowdowns occur when an iPhone battery reaches an unspecified point of low health, and can be fixed if a user replaces the iPhone battery. Apple publicly apologized for not clearly communicating that these iOS updates throttled the speed of older iPhones. Apple announced that it plans to release a further software update in 2018 that allows users to turn off throttling, but may leave older iPhones more prone to random rebooting.

Some consumers allege that Apple slowed down iPhones in order to force them to upgrade to newer – and more expensive – iPhone models. Industry experts estimate that these iOS updates have caused slowdowns in millions of iPhone 6, 6s, SE and 7 models.

If you have experienced slowdowns in your iPhone and would like to discuss this matter, you may contact us at (415) 788-9000 or through our online form. We look forward to the opportunity to speak with you.

Lisa P. Mak Joins Board of The Bar Association of San Francisco

Lisa P. Mak Joins Board of The Bar Association of San Francisco

Minami Tamaki attorney Lisa P. Mak recently started a two-year term on the board of directors of The Bar Association of San Francisco (BASF).

The BASF board has two seats designated for representatives of the Minority Bar Coalition. Lisa was selected by the Coalition for one of the seats. She served as co-chair of the Coalition in 2017 and continues to serve on its board.

The Minority Bar Coalition (MBC) is a network of over 40 diverse bar associations dedicated to working in a unified manner to advance the cause of diversity in the legal profession. MBC does this by sharing best practices and resources in bar association programming and advocacy, finding issues of common cause, and building shared platforms.

“I hope to contribute to BASF’s commitment to engage our members with service opportunities, educational programs, and community advocacy,” said Lisa. “I want the legal community to know about the meaningful work this organization has been doing, especially in the current political climate. I’m also excited to continue working with both BASF and the MBC to drive our shared goals of increasing diversity in the legal profession.”

Lisa’s new BASF role is an extension of her ongoing leadership in the community and in the legal profession. She serves on the boards of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach, and is Co-Chair of the Diversity Outreach Committee of the California Employment Lawyers Association.

Lisa is part of our Consumer and Employee Rights Group and passionate about protecting the rights of consumers and employees as individuals and in class actions. Her practice includes employment discrimination, harassment, retaliation, wrongful termination, defamation, contract claims, and labor code violations. She is experienced in litigation, from pre-litigation negotiations to trials and appeals. Lisa also advises employees on employment contracts and severance agreements.

PHOTO: Minami Tamaki attorney Lisa P. Mak (left) with other members of the BASF board.

Impact of A Government Shutdown on U.S. Immigration

Impact of A Government Shutdown on U.S. Immigration

There is a likelihood that the federal government will shut down at midnight if Congress cannot pass a spending bill to fund the government.

In preparation for a possible government shut down, you should anticipate slowdown in visa transfers as well as the greencard PERM process.

All fee-based government functions will continue to operate, as well as “essential” personnel.

We understand that the following immigration-related agencies will be impacted in the following manner:

USCIS: USCIS is a fee-funded agency with the exception of E-Verify, so if the government shuts down, only E-Verify shuts down. Otherwise, it’s business as usual.

DOS: Visa and passport operations are fee-funded and should not be impacted by a lapse in appropriations, but operating status and funding will need to be monitored closely. If visa operations are affected, consular posts will generally only handle diplomatic visas and “life or death” emergencies.

CBP: Inspection and law enforcement personnel are considered “essential.” Ports of entry will be open; however, processing of applications filed at the border may be impacted.

ICE: ICE enforcement and removal operations will continue, and ICE attorneys will typically focus on the detained docket during a shutdown. The ICE Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) offices are unaffected since SEVP is funded by fees.

EOIR: EOIR’s detained docket is typically considered an essential function and would therefore continue to operate. During the 2013 shutdown, EOIR continued to accept court filings, even in non-detained cases.

DOL: The OFLC would cease processing all applications in the event of a government shutdown, and personnel would not be available to respond to e-mail or other inquiries. OFLC’s web-based systems, iCERT and PERM, would be inaccessible, and BALCA dockets will be placed on hold.

CIS Ombudsman: The DHS Office of the CIS Ombudsman would close and would not accept any inquiries through its online case intake system.

Minami Tamaki LLP Partner Minette A. Kwok leads our immigration and nationality law practice.

Tips for Safer Cycling and How to Protect Your Rights After an Accident

Tips for Safer Cycling and How to Protect Your Rights After an Accident

Bicyclists fill the bustling streets of San Francisco and the Bay Area. Cycling is increasingly seen as a practical, green, and healthy alternative to driving in the city. However, the increasing numbers of cyclists also increase the number of accidents involving motor vehicles and bicycles.

Here are tips for safer cycling, and how to protect your rights in the event of an accident.

The first and most important tip is to obey all Rules of the Road. A bicycle is required to obey the same rules as motor vehicles when operating on city streets (California Vehicle Code section 21200).

When an accident occurs, you should of course seek medical attention if you are injured. If you are able, you should take photographs of the accident scene, the damage to your bicycle and the other vehicle involved in the crash, and obtain the contact information from any eyewitnesses.

It is important to preserve your bicycle, clothing, and helmet as evidence. It is typical for drivers to claim they did not see cyclists before hitting them, so it is important for the cyclist to be able to show they were highly visible and not likely to be missed, had the driver been paying proper attention.

We recommend wearing bright or fluorescent clothing (including helmets), and reflective gear for night riding. California law requires the use of headlights and taillights after sundown (Vehicle Code section 21201(d) and (e)), and reflectors on the cyclists’ pedals or ankles, which also increases their visibility.

When a cyclist is hit by a motor vehicle, the seriousness of injuries to the rider can vary. Many injuries, such as concussions (traumatic brain injuries), may be invisible at the time of the accident and not recognized until days, weeks, or even months later.

It is important to be evaluated by a physician for a concussion after any crash if you suffer symptoms such as loss of consciousness, headache, blurred vision, changes in hearing, problems with memory, significant mood swings, or changes in personality.

These signs can be subtle and require specialists such as neurologists and neuropsychologists to prove. As traumatic brain injuries can cause serious lifelong injuries, it is essential that cyclists wear helmets at all times while riding.

Many cyclists are unaware they may be able to obtain compensation for their injuries from auto insurance in addition to that of the driver who hit them. They may also be able to recover payment through the underinsured motorist coverage of their own car insurance, or the insurance policies of relatives with whom they reside. This is true even though the cyclist is not driving a car at the time of the accident. Obtaining this compensation requires careful analysis of all applicable insurance policies and the crafting of thoughtful legal arguments.

It is important to consult with an attorney early on to discuss pursuing an accident claim, as these claims can be tricky. They may involve filing claims against public entities such as city governments, for dangerous conditions of public property, such as potholes, or negligently driven city vehicles, such as buses and trucks. There can also be issues surrounding the insurance coverage available to compensate you.

A number of our attorneys at Minami Tamaki are cyclists, members of the San Francisco Bicycle Coalition, and actively involved with nonprofit organizations that advocate for pedestrian and cyclist safety in San Francisco.

We are passionate about protecting the rights of cyclists and have vast experience in handling cycling accident cases involving cars, buses, semi-trucks, and municipalities responsible for creating dangerous roadways that cause cycling accidents.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a cycling accident, contact us online or call us at 415-788-9000 to set up a free consultation.

Intel Processor Security Investigation

Intel Processor Security Investigation

Minami Tamaki is investigating allegations that Intel Corporation processors suffer from defects that create significant security vulnerabilities for desktop computers, laptop computers, and servers.

In late 2017, information security researchers discovered vulnerabilities in Intel x86-64x processors that could allow unauthorized users to gather sensitive information from devices.  Researchers dubbed these security flaws “Meltdown” and “Spectre.”  

In an effort to patch the security vulnerabilities, Intel has issued updates to consumers.  However, the online publication The Register reported that the operating system updates necessary to address the Meltdown vulnerability would likely result in “a ballpark figure of five to 30 percent slow down, depending on the task and the processor model.”  

Affected consumers may thus be left with the choice of using devices vulnerable to attack by hackers, installing the patch and being left with devices with subpar performance, or purchasing entirely new devices.

Consumers have alleged that the security defect impacts millions of consumers, as Intel’s x86-64x processing units have been installed in most desktop computers, laptops, and servers over the last decade.

If you have a personal computer, work computer, or server that uses an Intel processor, and would like to discuss your legal rights, you may contact us at (415) 788-9000 or through our online form.  We look forward to the opportunity to speak with you.  

Minami Tamaki at NAPABA Convention 2017

Minami Tamaki at NAPABA Convention 2017

TOP PHOTO: (back row) Partner Dale Minami (second from left) with the Hon. Holly J. Fujie (left), Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge; Pankit Doshi (second from right), incoming NAPABA national president; Ameek Sidhu (right); (front row) David Louie (left), former Attorney General for the State of Hawai’i; Joan Haratani (middle), the 2006 president of the Bar Association of San Francisco; and Michelle Park Chiu (right), AABA Bay Area board member (photo courtesy of AABA).

Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys Dale Minami, Sean Tamura-Sato, Suhi Koizumi, Lisa P. Mak, and Seema Bhatt recently attended the annual National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) National Convention in Washington, D.C.  The Convention had a record-breaking turnout of over 2,000 Asian Pacific American attorneys, judges, law students, and elected officials from around the country.

Suhi Koizumi, a Senior Associate in our Immigration Practice Group, was honored with the prestigious NAPABA Best Under 40 Award, which recognizes talented individuals in the Asian Pacific American legal community who are under the age of 40 and have achieved prominence and distinction in their respective fields, and who have demonstrated a strong commitment to Asian Pacific American civic or community affairs.

Minami Tamaki’s Suhi Koizumi (left of podium) receiving one of NAPABA’s ‘Best Under 40″ awards at the 2017 national convention (photo by Lisa P. Mak).

During CLE breakout sessions, Dale Minami, a Partner in our Personal Injury Group, joined with members of the Asian American Bar Association of New York in a moving re-enactment of the story and trial of Fred Korematsu, which resulted in the overturning of a 40-year-old conviction for Mr. Korematsu’s refusal to obey exclusion orders aimed at Japanese Americans during World War II.  Since Dale was the Lead Counsel for Fred Korematsu, he played himself in the re-enactment, which he described as “quite stressful.”

Minami Tamaki Partner Dale Minami participating in a re-enactment of the Korematsu trial (photo by Lisa P. Mak).

At the Convention, our firm also raised awareness about the Stop Repeating History ( campaign, which seeks to educate the public on the dangers of unchecked presidential power and the parallels between the incarceration of Japanese Americans during World War II with the current administration’s travel ban executive orders.

All of our attorneys who attended the Convention were a part of the NAPABA Solo and Small Firm Committee, which promotes the interest of small firms through “Boot Camp” seminars, networking, and cross referrals.

The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area (AABA), represented by President Miriam Kim, was honored with the NAPABA Affiliate of the Year Award, which recognizes an outstanding local affiliate bar association for its best practices and accomplishments in its local community.  Nassiri & Jung LLP of San Francisco, represented by Charles Jung, was recognized as the APA-Owned Law Firm of the Year.  Pankit Doshi of San Francisco was sworn in as the new President of NAPABA.

Dale was a co-founder of AABA.  Sean Tamura-Sato, a Partner in our Consumer & Employee Rights Group, and Lisa P. Mak, an Associate in the same group, currently serve on AABA’s Board of Directors.

Associates Seema Bhatt (left) and Lisa P. Mak (right) attended their first NAPABA convention (photo courtesy of Lisa. P. Mak).

Lisa and Seema were first-time Convention attendees and were inspired by the experience of seeing so many influential API attorneys in diverse roles and meeting many judges, politicians, and other prominent members of the legal community.

Minami Tamaki is proud to continue supporting NAPABA and its efforts to address civil rights issues, promote community service, and increase diversity in the legal profession.

Partners Dale Minami (left) and Sean Tamura-Sato at the NAPABA 2017 convention (photo by Lisa P. Mak).

U.S. News ‘Best Law Firms’ 2018 Recognizes Minami Tamaki’s Immigration and Personal Injury Practices

U.S. News ‘Best Law Firms’ 2018 Recognizes Minami Tamaki’s Immigration and Personal Injury Practices

Minami Tamaki LLP has received a Tier 1 ranking on the U.S. News/Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” list under the “Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs” and “Immigration” categories for our metro area.

This is the fourth consecutive recognition by U.S. News/Best Lawyers of our Personal Injury practice and the third consecutive year of our Immigration practice.

The U.S.News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” rankings are based on a rigorous evaluation process that includes the collection of client and lawyer evaluations, peer review from leading attorneys in their field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process.

To be eligible for a U.S.News – Best Lawyers “Best Law Firms” ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer who is included in Best Lawyers in that particular practice area and metro.

Earlier this year, Partners Dale Minami, Minette A. Kwok, B. Mark Fong, and Senior Associate Olivia Serene Lee were selected by The Best Lawyers in America, which qualified the firm to be considered for the Best Law Firms list.

The attorneys in Minami Tamaki’s Personal Injury Practice Group fight for the rights of people who are injured or have suffered the loss of loved ones due to the carelessness of others. We use a team approach which brings all of the resources of our practice group to bear on our cases. This has allowed us to recover multi-million dollar settlements and large verdicts for our clients.

The Immigration Practice Group of Minami Tamaki LLP offers expertise in a broad array of immigration services. We routinely assist employers and employees, nation-wide, in obtaining temporary and permanent employment-based visas. And, just as often, we help individual clients to secure family-based immigration status through marriage or other qualifying family relationships.

Asian Pacific Fund Honors Minami Tamaki LLP with 2017 Leadership in Philanthropy Award

Asian Pacific Fund Honors Minami Tamaki LLP with 2017 Leadership in Philanthropy Award

The Asian Pacific Fund honored our firm with its 2017 Leadership in Philanthropy Award at the organization’s annual gala on October 14 at the Four Seasons Hotel San Francisco.

The Asian Pacific Fund Annual Gala is a celebration of philanthropic leadership in the Bay Area. A special part of the evening is a presentation of the Leadership in Philanthropy Award, which recognizes those who have attained remarkable success in their field while also serving as a role model for giving back.

From the Asian Pacific Fund: “For more than 40 years, Minami Tamaki LLP has been a trailblazer in legal services and civil rights on behalf of the Asian American community. The firm made history by reopening the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case, Korematsu v. the United States, and overturning the conviction of Fred Korematsu.”

The outcome of that landmark case helped lead to reparations for Japanese Americans unconstitutionally incarcerated during World War II.

“The firm’s partners are equally known for helping found the Asian Law Caucus and the Asian Law Alliance as part of their ongoing mission to promote, advance, and represent the basic human, legal and civil rights of Asian Pacific Islander communities and beyond.

“As a private law firm, Minami Tamaki LLP defends some of the most vulnerable in the community by fighting against wage theft, sexual harassment, and discrimination. The firm is consistently recognized as Super Lawyers; this year, all of Minami Tamaki LLP’s Partners were selected as Northern California Super Lawyers.”

The firm “also invests its profits and resources back into the community with the firm’s partners pooling together $1 million to launch a nonprofit foundation with an additional $200,000 immediately going into the community to support immigrant rights and advocacy.”

Past honorees of the Leadership in Philanthropy Award include: author Amy Tan, YouTube co-founder Steve Chen, former U.S. Secretary of Transportation and Secretary of Commerce Norman Mineta, and chair and CEO Sheila Lirio Marcelo.

Partner Dale Minami also previously received the award in 2003.

The Asian Pacific Fund is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to strengthening the Bay Area’s Asian and Pacific Islander communities. We help donors achieve their philanthropic goals, support organizations that serve our most vulnerable, and raise awareness about pressing community needs.