Blog : CERG

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.

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 (stoprepeatinghistory.org) 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).

Minami Tamaki Files German Automaker Cartel Class Action Lawsuit

Minami Tamaki Files German Automaker Cartel Class Action Lawsuit

On October 4, 2017, Minami Tamaki filed a class action lawsuit in the Northern District of California alleging that German automakers BMW, Volkswagen, Audi, Porsche, and Mercedes Benz conspired to limit competition and stunt automotive innovation.

The German publication Der Spiegel has reported that German automakers formed a wide-ranging cartel to reach agreements related to vehicle technology, costs for components, and suppliers.  It has been reported that working groups within these companies met with each other over 1,000 times dating back to the 1990s.

The automakers allegedly colluded on technical advancements, such as limiting the tank size for chemical cleaning agents (called AdBlue) that filter harmful diesel engine emissions.  The Der Spiegel report also cites an example of the automakers agreeing to limit the maximum speed at which convertible roofs could be opened to 50 kilometers/hour.

Individuals in the U.S. who purchased vehicles marketed as the product of highly touted “German engineering” may have been misled and unknowingly overpaid for their vehicles, and may be entitled to compensation.

Reports of a German automaker cartel come on the heels of the Volkswagen “clean diesel” scandal, which revealed that the company masked the fact that its vehicles emitted pollutants greatly exceeding legal limits through the use of “defeat devices.”  Minami Tamaki filed several lawsuits against Volkswagen alleging that the company cheated consumers and lied to the government.  After consumer claims were consolidated in the Northern District of California, Minami Tamaki prosecuted this matter with attorneys around the country, which resulted in settlements of over $15 billion.

If you own or lease a BMW, Volkswagen, Mercedes Benz, Audi, or Porsche automobile 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.

‘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.

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!