Blog : Info

Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2024 Super Lawyers

Minami Tamaki Attorneys Named to 2024 Super Lawyers

We’re proud to announce that eight Minami Tamaki LLP attorneys were selected as Northern California Super Lawyers and Rising Stars for 2024.

Super Lawyers, part of Thomson Reuters, is a rating service of outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Each year, no more than five percent of the lawyers in California are selected by the research team at Super Lawyers to receive Super Lawyer honors and no more than 2.5 percent are selected to receive the Rising Star recognition.

PERSONAL INJURY
Dale Minami (Top 10, 2013-2018; Top 100, 2007-2024; Super Lawyers, 21 years)
B. Mark Fong (Super Lawyers, 15 years)
Seema Bhatt (Rising Stars, 8 years)

IMMIGRATION AND NATIONALITY LAW
Olivia Serene Lee (Super Lawyers, 4 years; Rising Stars, 7 years)
Suhi Koizumi (Super Lawyers, 6 years, Rising Stars, 8 years)
Dian Sohn (Rising Stars 4 years)

CONSUMER AND EMPLOYEE RIGHTS
Sean Tamura-Sato (Super Lawyers, 4 years; Rising Stars, 8 years)

CORPORATE/NONPROFIT
Donald K. Tamaki (Super Lawyers, 21 years)

Olivia Serene Lee, Suhi Koizumi, Seema Bhatt, and Dian Sohn will also be listed in the Super Lawyers Women’s edition.

The Super Lawyers annual selections are made using a patented multiphase process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, an independent research evaluation of candidates and peer reviews by practice area. The result is a credible, comprehensive, and diverse listing of exceptional attorneys.

The Super Lawyers lists are published nationwide in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines and newspapers across the country. Super Lawyers Magazines also feature editorial profiles of attorneys who embody excellence in the practice of law. For more information about Super Lawyers, visit SuperLawyers.com.

Minami Tamaki Partner Olivia Serene Lee Recognized by Who’s Who Legal

Minami Tamaki Partner Olivia Serene Lee Recognized by Who’s Who Legal

Who’s Who Legal (WWL) included Minami Tamaki Partner Olivia Serene Lee in its latest edition of “WWL: Corporate Immigration,” recognizing Olivia as one of the foremost legal practitioners in immigration law based upon WWL’s comprehensive, independent research.

WWL: Corporate Immigration was the first area of business law to be covered by WWL back in 1996, and features the leading corporate immigration experts around the world. Those recognized are highlighted for their exceptional work advising domestic and international clients on a range of matters including visa applications, corporate immigration strategy, employee transfers, naturalization of skilled workers, and regulatory matters.

Who’s Who Legal publications feature over 27,000 of the world’s leading private practice lawyers and consulting experts in over 150 countries. Publishing both international editions and jurisdiction-specific reports, WWL’s research identifies leading individuals across 35 different areas of corporate and commercial law, as well as providing in-depth editorial analysis of each area and a breakdown of the leading firms overall. 

Who’s Who Legal does not accept paid entries into their listings.

Mark Fong and the Story Behind the Skrillex Case on The Legal MD Podcast

Mark Fong and the Story Behind the Skrillex Case on The Legal MD Podcast

Minami Tamaki LLP Partner Mark Fong and Emergent LLP Partner Seth Rosenberg appeared on the August 22, 2023, episode of The Legal MD Podcast to reveal details behind their successful lawsuit against DJ and producer Skrillex on behalf of their client Jennifer Fraissl.

The Legal MD Podcast host Dr. David Grundy is a renowned medical legal consultant with years of experience in clinical practice and forensic medicine. Together with host Sydney Delaney, Dr. Grundy brings insightful discussions and analysis on the intersection of medicine and law.

A Los Angeles jury on November 20, 2018, awarded Ms. Fraissl $4.5 million in damages against Skrillex (real name Sonny John Moore), his touring company, Lost Boys Touring Company, Inc., and the Belasco Theater in Los Angeles. It was the first successful jury award in a case involving injuries resulting from a performer’s crowd dive.

The San Francisco Trial Lawyers Association named Mark and Seth as one of four finalists for the 2019 Trial Lawyer of the Year award for their work in obtaining compensation for Ms. Fraissl.

From the podcast episode’s show notes:

In this episode,  we chat with San Francisco legal giants Seth Rosenberg and Mark Fong, who recently nabbed a colossal $4.5 million victory for Jennifer Fraissl, injured during an EDM concert by the famous artist and Coachella headliner Skrillex (Sonny John Moore). Seth and Mark dissect the intricate details of this five-year legal rollercoaster, shedding light on the complex medical and legal hurdles they navigated. They open up about the defining moments where they pushed back against rival counsel’s claims, expertly neutralized their expert’s testimonies, and painstakingly untangled the knotty threads of this case.

We step into the murky waters of proving medical probability of injury from the defendant with Seth and Mark. They share how they outfoxed the rival expert witnesses, and how their savvy analysis of a crucially relevant Disneyland case tipped the scales in their favor. Unraveling the minute details from video footage, and arguing from the famous 1928 precedent of Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad, they demolished the argument that since Skrillex had not directly struck Jennifer he was not responsible for her harm. 

As we reach the end of this engrossing journey, Seth and Mark lay bare the specifics of the legal battle involving Skrillex. They scrutinize the strategies that worked, the challenges they faced, and the broader implications of stage diving and safety protocols in the entertainment industry. 

Listen to the podcast here.

Dale Minami on ‘Love thy Lawyer’ Podcast

Dale Minami on ‘Love thy Lawyer’ Podcast

Minami Tamaki LLP co-founder and Senior Counsel Dale Minami appeared on the July 12, 2023, episode of the “Love thy Lawyer” podcast by attorney Louis Goodman.

From the episode teaser (edited): “Dale Minami has had a fascinating career as a lawyer. He is currently one of the top personal injury lawyers in the Bay Area. He was involved in the creation of the Asian American Bar Association and the Asian Law Caucus serving as its first director. Dale was also part of the legal team that successfully overturned Fred Korematsu’s conviction in the famous case of Korematsu versus the United States.

“In this interview, he discusses attending Berkeley during the growth of the civil rights movement and explains how the Asian Law Caucus came to be. Additionally, Dale explains his involvement in the judicial appointments process in the Bay Area and shares behind-the-scenes details of overturning the Fred Korematsu conviction.”

In response to a question about tips for new lawyers, Dale said: “I would advise a new attorney to find a mentor, someone with experience, knowledge, wisdom, and willingness to help you grow. A mentor will shortcut the learning process and accelerate your development of skills. I was too dense and perhaps diffident to ask for help but if I were to do it all over again, I would be more assertive in finding someone and asking for help. I realized later in my career that so many attorneys are willing to help younger attorneys if they were just asked.”

Visit lovethylawyer.com for more episodes.

Minami Tamaki LLP Obtains $7 Million for Family of Senior Killed by Inattentive Bus Driver

Minami Tamaki LLP Obtains $7 Million for Family of Senior Killed by Inattentive Bus Driver

We represented the eight adult children of a 71-year-old disabled woman who was hit by a school bus while driving her motorized scooter in a crosswalk in San Jose and subsequently died. We sued the driver of the bus, the company that employed him and owned the bus, and the public entity that hired the bus company to drive its students.

Together the defendants denied the driver was negligent. However, we obtained surveillance video from a nearby business, as well as video onboard the school bus, and created a reconstruction of the accident that showed the driver’s head was turned to his left at the time he struck the victim, instead of facing ahead as it should have been. If the driver had been properly attentive, the accident would never have happened.

In addition to proving fault for the accident, one of the great challenges in this case was proving the value of the loss of care, guidance, and support the decedent gave to each of the plaintiffs. We spent months getting to know her children, who described their mother as the matriarch of their family and the glue that held them together.

By delving into her life story, we learned the decedent emigrated from Mexico as a young woman, hoping for a better life for her children in the U.S. A single mother, she worked at factory jobs to support them, despite having only one leg. She truly was an inspiration to her children, who credit her as their role model and the reason for their success in life.

Minami Tamaki LLP Partner Mark Fong and Senior Associate Seema Bhatt settled the clients’ claims at mediation for a total of $7 million.

How Employers Can Institute Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies Under California Employment Law

How Employers Can Institute Mandatory COVID-19 Vaccination Policies Under California Employment Law

As many California employers re-opened their offices in recent months, and as case counts increased with the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19, the issue of whether to institute mandatory COVID-19 vaccination requirements has risen to the forefront for employers and employees. Minami Tamaki has counseled non-profit organizations and other organizations on obligations and legal developments regarding COVID-19 vaccination policies.

The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) has issued guidance to assist employees and employers on vaccine policies and compliance with the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”). Further details are available here. The “DFEH Employment Information on COVID-19” includes the following guidance:

  1. Mandatory Vaccination Policy. A California employer may institute a mandatory vaccination policy as long as the employer does not discriminate against or harass employees or job applicants on the basis of a protected characteristic, provides reasonable accommodations related to disability or sincerely held religious beliefs or practices, and does not retaliate against anyone for engaging in protected activity.
  2. Exemption based on Disability. The FEHA requires employers instituting a mandatory vaccination policy to reasonably accommodate any employee with a disability. If an employee requests exemption from a COVID-19 vaccination requirement on the basis of disability, the employer must engage in an “interactive process” with the employee to attempt to identify a reasonable accommodation.

    Reasonable accommodations that an employer and employee might consider include allowing the employee to work from home, putting reasonable procedures and safeguards in place to enable the employee to work without endangering the employee or others, job restructuring, and job reassignment.

    If providing an accommodation to an employee imposes an “undue hardship,” the employer is not required to provide an accommodation to the employee. An undue hardship is defined as an action requiring “significant difficulty or expense.” Also, if the employee is unable to perform the essential duties of the job even with reasonable accommodations, or the employee cannot work without endangering the health or safety of the employee or co-workers, the employer may exclude the employee from the workplace.
  1. Exemption for Sincerely Held Religious Beliefs. The FEHA requires employers to reasonably accommodate employees’ known sincerely held religious beliefs and practices. Therefore, if an employer imposes a mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policy, and an employee objects to vaccination on the basis of a sincerely held religious belief or practice, the employer must reasonably accommodate the employee. Employers should engage in an interactive process with the employee similar to the process required in the disability context (see above).
  2. Documentation of Vaccination. Employers may ask employees or applicants for documentation of vaccination. However, because such documentation could include sensitive medical or disability-related information, employers should instruct these employees or applicants to omit any medical information from such documentation. Employers must maintain any records of employee or applicant vaccination as confidential medical records.

California employers are advised to follow local, state, and federal guidance on vaccinations in the workplace in order to ensure compliance with all legal obligations. For more information on COVID-19 regulation and developments, you may contact Minami Tamaki Coronavirus (COVID-19) Task Force members Sean Tamura-Sato, Lisa Mak, or Claire Choo online or call us at 415-788-9000.

*The contents of this article is for general informational purposes only and does not constitute legal or medical advice. Information in this article may not constitute the most complete or up-to-date legal or other information. Readers should contact a licensed California attorney to obtain advice with respect to any particular legal matter. Use of this website does not create an attorney-client relationship between the reader and Minami Tamaki LLP.

Minami Tamaki Law Firm and MTYKL Foundation to Donate $20,000 to Support COVID-19 Relief Efforts in India

Minami Tamaki Law Firm and MTYKL Foundation to Donate $20,000 to Support COVID-19 Relief Efforts in India

The Minami Tamaki LLP law firm and the Minami Tamaki Yamauchi Kwok & Lee (MTYKL) Foundation announced a $20,000 donation to support COVID-19 relief efforts in India.

The donation supported a May 27 fundraiser organized by the South Asian Bar Association of North America and others, with proceeds going to UNICEF, the Association for India’s Development, and Khalsa Aid. 

The Associated Press reported that India on Wednesday documented more coronavirus deaths in a single day than any other country at any time during the pandemic, while infections continued to spread through vast rural areas with weak health systems. The Health Ministry reported a record 4,529 deaths on May 19, driving India’s confirmed fatalities to 283,248. It also reported 267,334 new infections. India has more than 26 million cases. The numbers are almost certainly undercounts.

All of us at Minami Tamaki and the MTYKL Foundation mourn the devastating tragedy of coronavirus infections and deaths. Many of our employees and clients have been personally impacted with family members or friends who have passed away or been hospitalized by the virus. Our hearts go out to the South Asian community, and we hope our fundraiser will generate more awareness and support for India as it battles the virus.

“A Night of Light to Benefit India’s Covid-19 Relief Efforts” was on Thursday, May 27, 2021. The virtual event was hosted by the South Asian Bar Association (SABA) Foundation, SABA North America, and 20-plus SABA Chapters. The benefit featured TikTok comedian Zarna Garg, Asli Baat, the University of Southern California’s South Asian Fusion A Cappella group, and Reshma Saujani, South Asian activist and founder of Girls Who Code.

New Article by Lisa Mak on Whistleblower Protections in Advocate Magazine

New Article by Lisa Mak on Whistleblower Protections in Advocate Magazine

Minami Tamaki LLP attorney Lisa P. Mak authored an article, “Protecting Whistleblowers: Litigating Claims under Labor Code Section 1102.5,” in the May 2021 issue of Advocate Magazine.

In the article, Lisa writes that allowing employees to freely report and disclose potentially illegal practices in the workplace is an important tool in protecting other workers, shareholders, investors, and the general public from fraud, unsafe conditions, compliance issues, and other unlawful activity that may otherwise go undetected.

The California Labor Code has a general whistleblower-protection law, Section 1102.5, that can provide strong protections for employees who disclose or refuse to participate in unlawful activity at work. The statute reflects the California Legislature’s intent to protect whistleblowers, and reflects the importance of encouraging employees to report or resist unlawful activity without fear of retaliation.

Read the article here. The entire print issue can also be downloaded as a PDF.

Advocate, the largest magazine in the United States for plaintiffs’ trial attorneys, is published by the Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles. Published since 1963, it is a peer-reviewed legal publication, written and edited by leading plaintiffs’ attorneys.

Minami Tamaki LLP’s Consumer and Employee Rights Group is committed to ensuring that the rights of workers are protected, including workers who report unlawful activity in the workplace.

Dale Minami Receives Norman Y. Mineta Lifetime Achievement Award from APAICS

Dale Minami Receives Norman Y. Mineta Lifetime Achievement Award from APAICS

The Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) honored Minami Tamaki LLP Senior Counsel Dale Minami with the Inaugural Norman Y. Mineta Lifetime Achievement Award during its Virtual APAICS 27th Anniversary Awards Gala Dinner on May 13, 2021. 

The Award was renamed this year to reflect the outstanding contributions made by Norman Y. Mineta over a lifetime of public service.  “Receiving an award named after one of my heroes is a singular honor,” said Dale.

The APAICS’ Norman Y. Mineta Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a prominent Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) individual in the community. APAICS honored Dale with the award to recognize his service in devoting a lifetime to breaking down stereotypes and advocating for the AAPI community.

“You have continuously fought for the protection of the rights of people who have historically been discriminated against,” wrote APAICS President and CEO Madalene Xuan-Trang Mielke to Dale. “We hope to celebrate the work that you have done and continue to do.”

Founded by former Secretary Norman Y. Mineta in 1994, APAICS is a national non-partisan, nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to promoting Asian Pacific American participation and representation at all levels of the political process, from community service to elected office.

Watch Dale’s acceptance remarks below.