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‘Top 100 Settlements in California in 2016’ List Includes Three Cases by Dale Minami, Mark Fong, and Seema Bhatt

‘Top 100 Settlements in California in 2016’ List Includes Three Cases by Dale Minami, Mark Fong, and Seema Bhatt

Top Verdict’s ‘Top 100 Settlements in California in 2016‘ list recognized three cases by Minami Tamaki’s personal injury practice.

Top Verdict each year recognizes law firms and attorneys who have obtained some of the highest jury verdicts and settlements in specific areas of law. The lists are generated based on extensive research based on court records, electronic submissions by attorneys, and major legal publications.

Top Verdict says that “most firms would make a Top Verdict list only once in their history.” Minami Tamaki had three cases on the 2016 list of settlements in California.

The first case was a $3,250,000 settlement in the case of Estate of Lai v. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. 78-year-old Cheng Jin Lai was killed by a Muni bus while riding his bicycle in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco. The bus made him lose control of his bicycle, causing him to fall under the rear wheel of the bus and be killed instantly. Partner Mark Fong, Associate Seema Bhatt, and Partner Dale Minami represented the Lai estate.

The second case was a $2,805,000 settlement in the motor vehicle injury case of Paul Hon Chow Lee v. Progistics Distribution Inc. et al. Our client was struck by a delivery van that ran a red light. The van was rented by the driver’s employer, Progistics Distribution, Inc. Mr. Lee suffered multiple traumatic injuries and is partially disabled, but thankfully has made significant improvement. Partner Dale Minami and Partner Mark Fong represented Mr. Lee.

The third case was a $1,250,000 settlement in the case of Delgado v. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Retiree Hanna Delgado was walking in a crosswalk in the Inner Sunset neighborhood of San Francisco when she was struck by a Muni bus. She sustained injuries to her pelvis, hip, lower back, and chest. Partner Mark Fong, Associate Seema Bhatt, and Partner Dale Minami represented Ms. Delgado.

Learn more about our personal injury practice.

‘Northern California’s Leading Lawyers’ Publication Recognizes Four Minami Tamaki LLP Cases

‘Northern California’s Leading Lawyers’ Publication Recognizes Four Minami Tamaki LLP Cases

Leaders in the Law recently recognized four Minami Tamaki LLP cases in its recent “Northern California’s Leading Lawyers” publication.

The publication included two new lists recognizing the region’s top verdicts and settlements compiled in partnership with LexisNexis.

Ranked in the Top 20 of both lists were the following cases:

A $3,250,000 settlement in the case of Estate of Lai v. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. 78-year-old Cheng Jin Lai was killed by a Muni bus while riding his bicycle in the South of Market neighborhood of San Francisco. The bus made him lose control of his bicycle, causing him to fall under the rear wheel of the bus and be killed instantly. Partner Mark Fong, Associate Seema Bhatt, and Partner Dale Minami represented the Lai estate.

A $2,805,000 settlement in the motor vehicle injury case of Paul Hon Chow Lee v. Progistics Distribution Inc. et al. Partner Dale Minami and Partner Mark Fong represented Mr. Lee.

A $1,250,000 settlement in the case of Delgado v. San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency. Retiree Hanna Delgado was walking in a crosswalk in the Outer Richmond neighbor of San Francisco when she was struck by a Muni bus. She sustained injuries to her pelvis, hip, lower back, and chest. Partner Mark Fong, Associate Seema Bhatt, and Partner Dale Minami represented Ms. Delgado.

The $3,574,753 jury verdict in the case of Hagadorn et al v. County of Sacramento and Sacramento County Sheriff ‘s Department. Plaintiffs were four female law enforcement officers who complained about race and gender discrimination and sexual favoritism in the Sheriff’s Department. After their complaints, the Department retaliated against the female officers and derailed their careers. They were removed from their job positions, unfairly disciplined, subjected to punitive investigations, and passed over for promotions and specialty assignments.

The plaintiffs, four Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department officers, were represented by Lisa P. Mak of our consumer and employee rights practice and by The Law Offices of Jerry L. Chong and Alice W. Wong.

 

Lisa Mak Honored at Equal Justice Society Gala

Lisa Mak Honored at Equal Justice Society Gala

On September 27, 2017, Associate Lisa P. Mak in our Consumer and Employee Rights Group was honored at the Equal Justice Society’s annual gala. The Equal Justice Society celebrated its 17th anniversary with an “Art + Youth” gala honoring the next generation of torchbearers in the civil rights movement.

Lisa was honored for her work as a successful civil rights litigator, her fearless advocacy on behalf of workers, her writing on social justice issues, and her commitment to diversity.

In her acceptance remarks, Lisa expressed gratitude for being able to help her clients seek justice and emphasized the important role of lawyers in the fight for civil rights.

“Since the last election, lawyers have been at the forefront of protecting our civil rights by filing litigation, pushing for legal protections, and speaking truth to power against the narrative of ‘fake news,'” Lisa said. “Not only do we need lawyers in this country to continue fighting for civil rights, but we also need more diverse lawyers. Lawyers with backgrounds and characteristics that reflect the communities that we seek to serve, that need our help the most.”

The Equal Justice Society seeks to transform the nation’s consciousness on race and social justice through law, communications, social science research, and the arts. The organization’s current advocacy efforts include racial disparities in school discipline, inequities in the criminal justice system, and race-conscious remedies such as affirmative action.

Photo: EJS Board Member Jayashri Srikantiah (left) presents the EJS award to Lisa Mak. Photo by Bob Hsiang.

Suhi Koizumi Among NAPABA’s ‘Best Lawyers Under 40’

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) selected Minami Tamaki LLP attorney Suhi Koizumi and 17 others to receive its 2017 Best Lawyers Under 40 Award (BU40 Award).

The BU40 Award 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 — be it the practice of law, academia, business, civic and charitable affairs, the judiciary, or politics — and who have demonstrated a strong commitment to Asian Pacific American civic or community affairs.

The BU40 Award will be presented on Nov. 2, 2017, during the 2017 NAPABA Convention in Washington, D.C. For a complete list of this year’s award winners, visit http://www.napaba.org/news/362444/NAPABA-Announces-Its-Best-Lawyers-Under-40.htm.

In its announcement, NAPABA stated: “The 2017 class of honorees continues the BU40 Award legacy of excellence and leadership in both the legal and Asian Pacific American communities. NAPABA congratulates the 2017 BU40 Award winners and looks forward to their future successes.”

Suhi is a Senior Associate in our Immigration Practice Group, where she partners with executives and legal and human resources personnel to address a wide spectrum of immigration issues of corporate clients.

She is a past president of the Korean American Bar Association of Northern California and has been recognized by Super Lawyers in the Rising Star category from 2010 through 2017. She has served as General Counsel for the Asian Business League of San Francisco and as a board member of the Korean American Chamber of Commerce. Suhi also regularly volunteers at immigration clinics where she advises indigent clients and has promoted the rights of women fleeing from persecution at the Center for Gender and Refugee studies.

What We’re Witnessing as Business Immigration Attorneys

What We’re Witnessing as Business Immigration Attorneys

After only eight months in office, we are beginning to see the impact of the government’s implementation of Trump administration policies regarding business immigration, as they chip away at many of the benefits your company and its foreign national employees have come to enjoy over the years.

Here is a high-level overview of what we are witnessing:

  • Greater scrutiny and vetting by adjudicating officers, consular officers, and officers at the border.
  • Issuance of Requests for Evidence (RFEs) with much greater frequency and with aggressive new issues.
  • A spike in site visits by the USCIS fraud unit.
  • Harsh adjudication by TN officers in Toronto, Peace Arch, and land borders near Quebec.
  • Mandatory interviews imposed for employment based applicants for adjustment of status.
  • Language added from Trump’s Executive Order to “Buy American Hire American” to all field guidance for consular officers that instructs officers to seek out potential fraud and abuse, and deny work visa applications for U.S. job offers where the officers construe that job can be performed by a U.S. worker.
  • Greater interagency data sharing — between USCIS, USCBP, the Dept. of State, and IRS, and regarding old filings submitted in the past.
  • Lengthier and more arduous USCIS forms, e.g. I-485 applications to adjust status, where up to 70 new questions have been added.
  • The ongoing suspension of premium processing for H-1Bs.

Much of it feels quite mean-spirited and without regard to the impact it may have on businesses, employees, and their families.

Nevertheless, we will continue to advocate tirelessly on behalf of our clients.  Our attorneys remain at the forefront of immigration legal thought at the national and local level and will continue to help navigate you through these challenging times.

Minette A. Kwok is a Partner with Minami Tamaki LLP and a Certified Specialist in Immigration and Nationality Law, as designated by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization. Our immigration practice has been recognized by “Best Law Firms.” a list by U.S. News – Best Lawyers.

Four Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Selected for 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America

Four Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Selected for 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America

Minami Tamaki LLP Partners Dale Minami, Minette Kwok, and B. Mark Fong and Senior Associate Olivia Serene Lee were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in the 24th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America.

Dale and Mark were selected for the list in the practice area of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. It is the fifth year in a row that they received this honor.

Minette was selected for inclusion in the practice area of Immigration Law. It is Minette’s fourth consecutive time on The Best Lawyers in America list.

Olivia was also selected for inclusion in the practice area of Immigration Law. It’s Olivia’s inaugural listing in The Best Lawyers in America.

Best Lawyers is a respected peer review publication in the legal profession. Recognition in Best Lawyers is widely regarded by both clients and legal professionals as a significant honor, conferred on a lawyer by his or her peers.

The Best Lawyers lists of outstanding attorneys are compiled by conducting exhaustive peer review surveys in which tens of thousands of leading lawyers confidentially evaluate their professional peers. If the votes for an attorney are positive enough for recognition in Best Lawyers, that attorney must maintain those votes in subsequent polls to remain in each edition.

Lawyers are not permitted to pay any fee to participate in or be recognized by Best Lawyers.

75th Anniversary of E.O. 9066 in the Spotlight at Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference

75th Anniversary of E.O. 9066 in the Spotlight at Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference

Minami Tamaki LLP Partner Dale Minami joined Judge Marilyn Hall Patel (Northern District of California), Judge Mary Schroeder (Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals) and Karen Korematsu at the recent Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference to discuss Korematsu v. U.S. and the persisting relevance of the government’s malfeasance in the Japanese American incarceration during World War II.

The annual Ninth Circuit Judicial Conference is a prestigious invitation-only forum that includes judges of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the U.S. district courts and lawyers practicing in these courts. This past conference was held July 17-20 at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in downtown San Francisco.

The conference included a special program marking the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9066 and the presidential directives that led to the unjust incarceration of Japanese Americans citizens during World War II.

The program focused on the extraordinary search for justice by Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi and Minoru Yasui – who waited four decades to be exonerated of criminal convictions for violating government orders based on the dangers posed by Japanese Americans, claims that were later proven false.  Documents admitting their falsity by government lawyers were suppressed and other evidence discounting the danger of Japanese Americans were altered, destroyed or suppressed from Supreme Court review.   In addition to historical accounts, the discussion focused on the imperfect balancing of civil rights and national security during a period of national uncertainty.

“The court gave almost complete deference to the military, and they refused to look at any underlying facts in the justification for the incarceration,” said Minami. “The duty of the courts is to judge any decision by any person on constitutional law – nobody is above the constitution. Those issues are still relevant today, as we well know.”

Judges Patel and Schroeder who authored the decisions in the Korematsu and Hirabayashi cases, respectively, told poignant stories of how the cases affected them and became some of the most significant rulings in their long and respected careers.  Karen described the ostracism her father suffered from his own community for challenging the Military Orders and appealing to the Supreme Court for relief.

Read more about the program in this article on courthousenews.com:
https://www.courthousenews.com/trumps-policies-wwii-internment-linked-9th-circuit-conference/

Dale to Speak on Korematsu Case at Japan Society Event on Aug. 24

The Japan Society of Northern California has invited Dale to speak at its event on August 24, 2017, from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the Dentons law firm, Spear Tower, 1 Market Plaza, San Francisco.

Dale will share details of the Korematsu coram nobis team’s successful effort in 1983 to overturn the conviction of Fred Korematsu, whose defiance of the World War II Japanese American exclusion order led to Korematsu v. United States, one of the most controversial United States Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century.

The Korematsu cases remain highly relevant today as our nation wrestles with issues of race, ethnicity and immigration. Earlier this year a Ninth Circuit federal judge referred to the Korematsu case to raise questions about President Trump’s proposed ban on visitors from Muslim-majority countries.

For more information about the August 24 event, visit
http://www.usajapan.org/event/insights-on-the-fred-korematsu-case-with-dale-minami/

NAPABA Spotlight on Lisa Mak

NAPABA Spotlight on Lisa Mak

The National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) Women’s Leadership Network profiled Minami Tamaki LLP attorney Lisa P. Mak in its “July Member Spotlight.” We reprint the NAPABA Women’s Leadership Network post here with their permission.

By Carolynn Beck

This month’s member spotlight is Lisa Mak, a San Francisco employment and consumer rights attorney with Minami Tamaki, LLP.

Name:  Lisa P. Mak
Title:  Associate Attorney
Practice Area:  Employment and Consumer Rights
Contact Info:  Minami Tamaki LLP, 415-788-9000, LMak@minamitamaki.com
City & State:  San Francisco, CA

Short Bio: Lisa Mak is a plaintiff-side employment and consumer rights litigator at Minami Tamaki LLP. She has served as trial counsel in a wide variety of employment disputes in state and federal court. Lisa is actively involved in the Asian American bar and plaintiffs’ bar communities. She currently serves on the Board of Directors for the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, and the non-profit Asian Pacific Islander Legal Outreach. She also co-chairs the Diversity Outreach Committee of the California Employment Lawyers Association.  Additionally, she writes for CELA Voice, a plaintiffs’ advocates blog discussing workplace legal issues.

Recent Work Achievement/Highlight: In 2016, Ms. Mak was co-lead counsel on a five-week jury trial which resulted in a $3.5 million total verdict for four female officers with retaliation claims against the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department.  Additionally, she has been recognized as a SuperLawyers Rising Star since 2015, and she recently received the Legal Advocate Award from the Center for Workers’ Rights in Sacramento.

Fun Fact: One of her life goals is to visit all of the Disney theme parks in the world… she’s 50% of the way there!

Standing Up Against Sexism in Silicon Valley

Standing Up Against Sexism in Silicon Valley

Minami Tamaki LLP assists employees in the technology industry in navigating workplace issues and developing strategies to advance their careers.  We ensure that employee legal rights are protected, and take appropriate action to hold employers accountable.  Minami Tamaki attorneys have vast experience representing female tech workers in combating unfair and inappropriate treatment in the workplace.

Recently, new allegations of harassment and gender discrimination in Silicon Valley have been reported on a near daily basis.  The resignation of Uber CEO Travis Kalanick following accusations of a sexist, toxic culture at Uber was followed by venture capitalist Justin Caldbeck of Binary Capital resigning due to alleged sexual harassment. A female engineer at Tesla claimed she was sexually harassed and paid less than men for doing the same work, which was followed by stories from other women at Tesla who had allegedly experienced the same mistreatment.  More female entrepreneurs, engineers, and tech industry veterans are continuing to come forward with their own accounts of being harassed and retailed against.

Predatory and sexist behavior has long been a known problem in Silicon Valley, but has rarely been exposed and addressed until recently.  However, as more individuals speak out, a cultural shift has begun to take place within the tech industry.  Increased awareness of this culture of harassment has created serious consequences for companies and investors who engage in such misconduct.

DISCRIMINATION AND HARASSMENT

Major workplace issues related to gender discrimination in Silicon Valley include:

  • Harassment:  Sexual harassment in the legal context can be quid pro quo, which is characterized as unwelcome sexual conduct made as a condition of employment.  Or it can be hostile work environment harassment, which is an environment where harassment based on sex is sufficiently pervasive or severe to alter the terms and conditions of employment.  Both types of harassment are illegal under state and federal law.
  • Pregnancy Discrimination:  Employees are frequently denied their legally mandated maternity leave or, worse yet, “laid off” or dismissed during their pregnancy or while on maternity leave.  Employees can encounter difficulty in receiving legally required medical accommodations related to their pregnancies.  Also, new mothers may face discrimination when returning to the workplace after maternity leave, as they can be inappropriately viewed as less dedicated to their jobs.
  • Wage Gap:  In California, it can be illegal to pay women less money than men for performing equal work. Subjective and sometimes discriminatory criteria are used to negotiate starting salaries, pay raises, and promotions for individuals who have similar qualifications.  There continues to be a significant difference in the pay that men and women receive for performing the same work in the technology and engineering fields.  These wage differences are compounded over time, which can result in women being underpaid for many years of their working life.
  • Glass Ceiling: Even when women demonstrate their value in the workplace, they face additional challenges in receiving promotions and leadership opportunities.  Bias in the work assignment and performance evaluation process contributes to the creation of work environments where it is more difficult for women to succeed and advance.  A lack of mentoring and networking opportunities have been identified as factors in the lack of women in higher level and management positions in the tech industry.

WE CAN HELP

The San Francisco Bay Area is the epicenter of technological innovation in the United States.  Silicon Valley startup companies and tech giants have the potential to change the way that we live and every facet of our society.

However, while these companies seek to “disrupt” the status quo, the fundamental tenets of fairness and equality in the workplace remain critical.

Minami Tamaki LLP works to ensure that the rights of all workers are protected.  There are numerous state and federal laws that prohibit gender discrimination and provide for pregnancy and childcare leave. These laws include Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, the Family and Medical Leave Act, the California Family Rights Act, the Pregnancy Disability Leave Law, the Unruh Civil Rights Act, and the Equal Pay Act.

We welcome the opportunity to discuss your workplace issues with you.  You may contact us at (415) 788-9000 or through our online form.