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Ember Oparowski Published Case on COVID-related Delays

Ember Oparowski Published Case on COVID-related Delays

Minami Tamaki LLP Associate Ember Oparowski was the lead attorney for the defendant in a case that resulted in the only published case on COVID delays and a plaintiff’s diligence in prosecuting cases within the statutory five-year period mandated by Code of Civil Procedure section 583.310.

Ember defended a stucco contractor in a high-end construction defect case. The plaintiff homeowners refused to provide dates for deposition, meaningfully participate in mediation, provide responses to written discovery, and created numerous obstacles in advance of trial.

Ember drafted and argued a Motion to Dismiss for Failure to Prosecute the case. Her motion was granted and the case was dismissed. The Court of Appeal affirmed the trial court’s judgment and ordered the opinion published.

Although this appellate decision stands for a fairly discrete legal issue, it is believed to be the only published case on COVID delays and a plaintiff’s lack of diligence in prosecuting cases within the statutory five-year period. The case demonstrates Ember’s dogged representation of her clients and the use of creative legal strategies to obtain a favorable result.

$3.85 Million Settlement for Injured Cyclist

$3.85 Million Settlement for Injured Cyclist

Minami Tamaki LLP Partner B. Mark Fong and Senior Associate Seema Bhatt recovered a $3.85 million dollar settlement for a 52-year-old cyclist who was struck by a car while riding to his job as an aircraft cleaner at San Francisco International Airport.

The initial facts of the case were unfavorable. Based on witness statements the police concluded our client ran the red light, causing him to be struck by the defendant, a Canadian citizen driving a rental car. Our client also tested positive for methamphetamine at the hospital.

Through tenacious investigation, we were able to obtain security video from the airport that showed our client entered the intersection on a green light, and the driver struck him before he had a chance to clear it. Based on this, the police prepared an amended report which found the driver at fault for the crash. We also argued the drug in our client’s system did not cause the driver to run the red light.

Our client suffered significant orthopedic injuries and bleeding on his brain in the crash. His case was further complicated when he suffered a stroke two years after the crash, which could have been caused by his methamphetamine use. At mediation, Mark and Seema obtained a settlement of $3.85 million dollars for the client, which will allow him to fulfill his dream of reuniting his family in the United States.

Don Tamaki and Lisa Mak Honored with 2023 Minority Bar Coalition Unity Awards

Don Tamaki and Lisa Mak Honored with 2023 Minority Bar Coalition Unity Awards

Congratulations to Minami Tamaki Senior Counsel Don Tamaki and Senior Associate Lisa P. Mak on receiving Unity Awards from the Minority Bar Coalition for their efforts to promote the cause of diversity in the legal progression in the San Francisco Bay Area community.

The Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area nominated Lisa. who is a former President of AABA. The Alameda County Bar Association nominated Don. Don and Lisa received their awards on November 9, 2023, at Golden Gate University School of Law.

The Minority Bar Coalition 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.

Minami Tamaki LLP Donates $75,000 to Eight Nonprofits this Fall

Minami Tamaki LLP Donates $75,000 to Eight Nonprofits this Fall

Minami Tamaki LLP has donated $75,000 to eight nonprofit organizations in the fall of 2023 as part of its ongoing commitment to supporting the critical role of these organizations in protecting the vulnerable and advancing our cultures and communities. Minami Tamaki was proud to be a sponsor of the events listed below.

Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus held its 51st Anniversary Celebration on October 4 in San Francisco. As one of the top sponsors of the event, Minami Tamaki joined the more than 600 attendees in celebrating honorees Bill Tamayo, Gen Fujioka, and Covington & Burling LLP. The program also featured W. Kamau Bell in conversation with ALC Communications Director Niketa Kumar. Since 1972, ALC has been fighting with Asian American and Pacific Islander communities for civil rights and systemic change that builds a more just and caring world.

Video of the Partners at Minami Tamaki LLP shown at the Advancing Justice-Asian Law Caucus 2023 event.

API Legal Outreach (APILO) awarded Minami Tamaki LLP its Legal Impact Award at APILO’s 48th Anniversary Celebration on October 20 at Harborview Restaurant in San Francisco. Our firm was recognized for its outstanding work promoting community service, diversity, and social justice within the legal profession. For nearly five decades, APILO has provided direct legal and social services to low-income, marginalized communities in the areas of immigration, family law, housing rights, domestic violence protection, senior and disability rights, and anti-human trafficking. 

Minami Tamaki Senior Counsels Dale Minami and Don Tamaki and other members of the legal teams representing Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi, and Minoru Yasui were honored on October 21 in San Francisco at a Fred Korematsu Institute event commemorating the 40th anniversary of the coram nobis cases that overturned their convictions. The program featured former Acting Solicitor General of the United States, Neal Katyal, the Hon. Marilyn Hall Patel, and the Hon. Mary Schroeder in a fireside chat with the Hon. Ed Chen, Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California.

Minami Tamaki sponsored the Chinatown Community Development Center’s 46th anniversary dinner on September 29 in San Francisco Chinatown. The event was emceed by legendary journalist Ben Fong-Torres and youth empowerment leader Jennifer Chan and honored Eddie Ahn of Brightline Defense, retired schoolteacher and lifelong supporter of youth Gladys Kwong, and community activist and transportation advocate Phil Chin.

The firm also supported the JCYC Aloha Run, JCCCNC Tabemasho, Always Dream Gala, and Asian Pacific Fund Gala this year.

Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Share Expertise at Immigration Law Conference

Minami Tamaki LLP Attorneys Share Expertise at Immigration Law Conference

Attorneys from Minami Tamaki LLP’s Immigration and Nationality Law Practice presented at and participated in two 2023 American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) conferences held simultaneously in San Francisco October 26-28, 2023 — the 2023 AILA Technology and Innovation Summit and the 36th Annual AILA California Chapters Conference.

Senior Associate La Verne Ramsay presented on the panel “Show Me the Money! Documenting an Employer’s Financial Viability,” which explored issues around showcasing an employer’s financial strength in the context of the financial viability requirement for nonimmigrant visas and green cards. In addition to serving on this panel, La Verne sits on the AILA National Advisory Council as the U.S. Department of Labor Co-Liaison for the AILA NorCal chapter.

Partner Olivia Serene Lee was a speaker in a pre-recorded session “Thinking Ahead: Succession Planning,” which discussed succession planning for law firm immigration practices, focusing on ethical duties and practical strategies. Olivia Serene Lee serves on the AILA national Board of Governors and was also featured as a speaker during one of the conference’s social events.

Partner Suhi Koizumi was a speaker in a pre-recorded session “Where’s Waldo? Navigating the Immigration Pitfalls of a Remote and Hybrid Workforce,” which discussed various issues related to foreign workers utilizing remote or hybrid work options. Suhi also served on the conference planning committee. 

Associate Julia Pilkington serves on the AILA Advisory Council as the Events Co-Coordinator for the AILA Northern California Chapter and assisted in coordinating the social events for the 2023 conferences.

AILA is the national association of more than 16,000 attorneys and law professors who practice and teach immigration law. AILA member attorneys represent U.S. families seeking permanent residence for close family members, as well as U.S. businesses seeking talent from the global marketplace. AILA members also represent foreign students, entertainers, athletes, and asylum seekers, often on a pro bono basis. Founded in 1946, AILA is a nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization that provides continuing legal education, information, professional services, and expertise through its 39 chapters and over 50 national committees.

Minami Tamaki LLP Ranked on ‘Best Law Firms’ for 10th Year

Minami Tamaki LLP Ranked on ‘Best Law Firms’ for 10th Year

Best Lawyers today announced that Minami Tamaki LLP is again ranked on its “Best Law Firms” list. This is the 10th year that the firm has been recognized with this distinction.

The firm’s Immigration and Nationality Law practice received a National Tier 2 ranking, the fifth year of being nationally ranked. The practice ranked Metro Tier 1 for the ninth consecutive year. The firm’s Personal Injury practice ranked as Metro Tier 1 for the 10th consecutive year.

The 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 the field, and review of additional information provided by law firms as part of the formal submission process. To be eligible for a 2024 ranking, a law firm must have at least one lawyer recognized in the 14th edition of The Best Lawyers in America list for that particular location and specialty.

Earlier this year, Best Lawyers in America recognized nine Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys in its 2024 edition. Partners Sean Tamura-Sato, B. Mark Fong, Olivia Serene Lee, Suhi Koizumi, Senior Counsel Dale Minami, and Senior Associates La Verne A. Ramsay and Angela Mapa made the Best Lawyers list. Senior Associate Seema Bhatt and Associate Lisa P. Mak were selected for Best Lawyers: Ones To Watch.

The Immigration and Nationality Law Practice Group of Minami Tamaki LLP offers expertise in a broad array of immigration services, routinely assisting employers and employees in obtaining temporary and permanent employment-based visas. The firm’s immigration attorneys also help individual clients to secure family-based immigration status through marriage or other qualifying family relationships. The practice group includes Partner Suhi Koizumi, Partner Olivia Serene Lee, Senior Associate La Verne A. Ramsay, Senior Associate Angela C. Mapa, and Associates Dian Sohn, David Palmer, and Julia Pilkington.

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. A team approach brings all the resources of the practice group to cases. This has allowed the firm to recover multimillion-dollar settlements and verdicts for its clients. Senior Counsel Dale Minami founded the firm’s personal injury practice, which is led by Partner B. Mark Fong and includes Senior Associate Seema Bhatt and Associate Ember Oparowski.

Dale Minami, Don Tamaki, Other Coram Nobis Legal Team Members Honored at Korematsu Institute Event on 40th Anniversary of Cases

Dale Minami, Don Tamaki, Other Coram Nobis Legal Team Members Honored at Korematsu Institute Event on 40th Anniversary of Cases

Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsels Dale Minami and Don Tamaki and other members of the legal teams representing Fred Korematsu, Gordon Hirabayashi, and Minoru Yasui were honored on October 21, 2023, in San Francisco at an event commemorating the 40th anniversary of the coram nobis cases that overturned their World War II convictions for defying the round-up of more than 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry.

(L-R): Peter Irons, Dale Minami, Prof. Eric Yamamoto, Hon. Marilyn Hall Patel (seated), Neal Katyal, Dr. Karen Korematsu, Hon. Mary Schroeder. Photo by Bob Hsiang

Thirty-seven years after the Supreme Court upheld the constitutionality of the mass incarceration, secret Justice Department, Naval, FBI, and FCC intelligence reports surfaced, characterizing the Army’s claims that Japanese Americans were spying as “intentional falsehoods,” and admitting that Japanese Americans had committed no wrong and posed no threat. Despite whistleblowers urging the Solicitor General and the Attorney General that the Justice Department had a duty to disclose this evidence and not to lie to the Court, the evidence was altered, suppressed, and in one instance burned, in order to manipulate the outcome of these landmark decisions.

In 1983, the coram nobis petitions on behalf of Korematsu, Hirabayashi, and Yasui laid bare this fraud on the Court and resulted in the overturning of their criminal convictions. These landmark legal battles vindicated Japanese Americans and boosted their reparations movement by revealing not only that the mass racial round-up was wrong, but that the government knew it at the time.

(L-R): Prof. Eric Yamamoto, Dale Minami, Don Tamaki. Photo by Ember Oparowski.

The program featured a keynote by former Acting Solicitor General of the United States, Neal Katyal, who also received the Fred Korematsu Social Justice Award. The Hon. Marilyn Hall Patel and the Hon. Mary Schroeder participated in a fireside chat with the Hon. Ed Chen, Senior Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and a member of the Korematsu legal team.

(L-R) Dale Minami, the Hon. Marilyn Hall Patel, and Dr. Karen Korematsu. Photo by Bob Hsiang

Judge Patel and Justice Schroeder issued the judgments that overturned the convictions of Fred Korematsu and Gordon Hirabayashi in their respective cases. Their courageous and brilliant decisions stand as a warning to the nation of the civil liberties disaster that can result when racism shouts louder than the Constitution.  

Minami Tamaki LLP was proud to be a sponsor of this special event.

Minami Tamaki Attorney Lisa P. Mak Honored with NAPABA ‘Best Under 40’ Award

Minami Tamaki Attorney Lisa P. Mak Honored with NAPABA ‘Best Under 40’ Award

Lisa P. Mak, a Senior Associate in our Consumer and Employee Rights Practice Group, was honored with a prestigious National Asian Pacific American Bar Association (NAPABA) “Best Under 40” Award.

NAPABA is the nation’s largest Asian Pacific American membership organization representing the interests of 60,000 attorneys, judges, law professors, and law students.

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, and who have demonstrated a strong commitment to Asian Pacific American civic or community affairs.

Lisa served as the 2022 President of the Asian American Bar Association of the Greater Bay Area, one of NAPABA’s largest affiliate organizations.

In addition to Lisa, the 2023 BU40 honorees are: Avanti Bakane; Alexander Chen; Amy B. Cheng; Wesley Cheng; Kira Teshima Conlon; Christine Han; Cathleen Hartge; Stacey Cho Hernandez; Beatrice Leong; Nathan Leong; Amisha Patel; Gregory Schwartz; and Navdeep Singh.

Lisa will receive the award at NAPABA’s 35th annual national convention, which runs November 9-12 in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Dale Minami Honored with Japan Foreign Minister’s Commendation

Dale Minami Honored with Japan Foreign Minister’s Commendation

The Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs bestowed a Foreign Minister’s Commendation on Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami, one of only 150 individuals outside of Japan to be honored in 2023.

The Foreign Minister’s Commendations are awarded by the Foreign Minister of Japan to individuals and groups with outstanding achievements in international fields, in order to acknowledge their contributions to the promotion of friendship between Japan and other countries and areas. The Commendations also aim to promote the understanding and support of the Japanese public for the activities of the recipients.

The Commendation was awarded to Dale for his contributions to the status of Japanese Americans, according to a representative of the agency. Among his numerous accomplishments, Dale was part of the legal team that successfully overturned Fred Korematsu’s conviction in Korematsu v. U.S. and was appointed by President Bill Clinton as Chair of the Civil Liberties Public Education Fund in 1996.

Dale joins firm Senior Counsel and former Managing Partner Donald K. Tamaki in being honored with this distinction. In November 2019, the Japan Ministry of Foreign Affairs awarded Don with a Foreign Minister’s Commendation for his dedication to “preserving and promoting Japanese culture in San Francisco.” Don was also part of the Korematsu legal team and since 2006 has served as President of the San Francisco Japantown Foundation board of directors.