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Ted Lieu: Trump is stoking xenophobic panic in a time of crisis

Ted Lieu: Trump is stoking xenophobic panic in a time of crisis

Congressman Ted Lieu of California’s 33rd Congressional District authored an op-ed published by The Washington Post on March 18, 2020.

Related: The Asian Pacific Policy and Planning Council (A3PCON) and Chinese for Affirmative Action (CAA) have launched the Stop AAPI Hate Reporting Center in response to spreading xenophobia as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you have experienced harassment and/or discrimination, visit to file a confidential report.

I genuinely want President Trump to succeed in stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus, and will do everything I can to help him in this effort. At stake are the lives of my elderly parents, my family, my constituents and many Americans. But Trump’s repeated insistence on calling coronavirus the “Chinese virus” is more than just xenophobic; it causes harm both to Asian Americans and to the White House’s response to this life-threatening pandemic. I served on active duty in the U.S. military to defend the right of any American to make politically incorrect statements, but as a public figure, I cannot stand idly by while the president uses his pulpit to exacerbate xenophobia in a time of crisis.

Trump claims that in using the phrase “Chinese virus,” he’s just trying to be “accurate” in describing where it’s from. But there is a difference between saying the virus is from China and saying it is a Chinese virus. In a time of unease and uncertainty, such language stokes xenophobic panic and doesn’t get us closer to eradicating this virus. Asian Americans have been assaulted or otherwise discriminated against because of such rhetoric. In New York, a man assaulted an Asian woman wearing a face mask and called her a “diseased b—h.” Also in New York, a man on the subway sprayed an Asian passenger with Febreze and verbally abused him. On the subway in Los Angeles, a man ranted at an Asian American woman, claiming Chinese people are putrid and responsible for all diseases. (The woman happened to be Thai American.)

Trump’s rhetoric adds fuel to the growing fire of hatred being misdirected at Asian Americans. The fact that he is the president of the United States, who is responsible for the well-being of all Americans, only makes his rhetoric even more disturbing. The leaders of both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization have warned that we should not use terms such as “Chinese virus.” The novel coronavirus already has an official name, SARS-CoV-2, and an unofficial name, covid-19. Injecting an ethnic qualifier to the virus is unnecessary and can stigmatize Asian Americans.

Against the backdrop of Trump’s unnecessary language lies the history of discrimination against Asian Americans in our country. From the Chinese Exclusion Act to the internment camps of World War II to the murder of Vincent Chin, Asian Americans are particularly susceptible to being discriminated against by the mistaken belief that we somehow are foreigners or have foreign ties.

Read the full op-ed by Rep. Lieu.

California Consumer Privacy Act Gives Consumer Certain Rights Regarding Their Collected Personal Information

California Consumer Privacy Act Gives Consumer Certain Rights Regarding Their Collected Personal Information

On January 1, 2020, the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), the most comprehensive privacy legislation in the United States, will go into effect.

In the internet age, businesses collect an enormous amount of data about consumers.  This includes identification, health, biometric, geolocation, credit and financial information.  Unfortunately, as the level of collection has grown, the hacking and unauthorized use of such data has also increased dramatically.  

The CCPA is designed to provide protection to California consumers by: 1) limiting unauthorized disclosures and losses of personal information; 2) giving consumers control of their personal information; and 3) penalizing businesses for violations. 

California residents will have new rights regarding access to, deletion of, and sharing of their personal consumer data. Consumers will have the right to request disclosure of the categories and specific personal information being collected by the business, and the right to request disclosure of the business or commercial purpose of collecting the personal information.  Consumers can request that companies selling or disclosing their personal information for a business purpose disclose the identity of the third parties to whom their information is sold or disclosed. 

Further, California residents will also have the right to request to opt out of the sale of their personal information, barring a few exceptions. The CCPA has specific requirements when it comes to the personal information of children, requiring that businesses obtain opt-in consent from children between ages of 13-16, and the opt-in consent of the parent or guardian of a child under 13 years of age before selling their personal information. 

California residents can also request that businesses delete the personal information, subject to certain restrictions. 

The CCPA requires that businesses implement reasonable security procedures to protect consumer information. If there is a breach of that duty, e.g., if a California consumer’s personal information is subject to unauthorized access, theft, or disclosure, the CCPA provides a private right of action for a consumer to recover damages in an amount between $100 and $750 or actual damages, whichever is greater. Businesses cannot discriminate against a California resident for exercising any of their rights under the CCPA.

The CCPA requires compliance by for-profit businesses that: 1) have an annual gross revenue of at least $25 million; 2) buy, receive, sell, or share consumer data from 50,000 or more consumers, households, or devices; or 3) gain a majority of their annual revenue from the selling of personal data. 

The Attorney General of California is currently in the process of drafting and finalizing the regulations pertaining to the California Consumer Privacy Act.  Moreover, the U.S. Senate is also considering a comprehensive piece of legislation regarding privacy rights.

For more information on the California Consumer Privacy Act, you may contact Minami Tamaki at (415) 788-9000 or through our online form.

*The contents of this website are intended to convey general information only, and does not constitute legal advice. 

Minami Tamaki and In re Sergio C. Garcia on Admission

Minami Tamaki and In re Sergio C. Garcia on Admission

UPDATE (01/02/2014) – The California Supreme Court rules Sergio C. Garcia can be admitted to the state bar. Minami Tamaki LLP was one of the firms representing the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California with respect to the Bar’s recommendation to the high Court that Garcia be allowed to become a lawyer. Read the ruling here:

UPDATE (10/5/2013) – Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 1024, allowing undocumented immigrants to be licensed as attorneys in California. The bill was introduced by Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez inspired by Sergio Garcia.

Garcia, who was brought to the United States by his undocumented immigrant parents when he was 17 months old, has earned a law degree and passed the California State Bar Examination and moral character check. His application was certified to the California Supreme Court for review. The Court issued an order asking for clarification of several issues related to the practice of law by undocumented immigrants.

Minami Tamaki LLP was one of the firms representing the Committee of Bar Examiners of the State Bar of California with respect to the Bar’s recommendation to the high Court that Garcia be allowed to become a lawyer. The Committee of Bar Examiners’ brief argues that state and federal laws permit Sergio Garcia to be licensed as an attorney in California. Also on the brief were Professor Emeritus Bill Ong Hing, attorneys from the State Bar of California, the law firm of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and UC Davis School of Law Dean Kevin R. Johnson.

The case is In re Sergio C. Garcia on Admission (S202512).

If You Bought an LCD Flat Panel Product, You May Qualify for a Cash Payment

If You Bought an LCD Flat Panel Product, You May Qualify for a Cash Payment

Oct. 18 Update: See today’s announcement regarding this settlement.

We want to make sure you do not miss the announcement of the historic settlement of one of our cases that could mean $25, $100, $200 or more in your pocket.

Since 2007, Minami Tamaki partner Jack Lee has served as the Court-appointed Liaison Counsel for consumers, known as “indirect purchasers,” in a class action against ten leading international companies for unlawfully conspiring to fix prices of LCD panels used in laptops, desktop monitors, and flat screen televisions. The case is IN RE TFT-LCD (FLAT PANEL) ANTITRUST LITIGATION, MDL Case No. 1827, pending in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California in San Francisco.

The indirect purchasers we represent include individual and private companies in 24 states and the District of Columbia that purchased laptops, monitors, and TVs containing LCD panels for use (and not for resale) from January 1, 1999, to December 31, 2006.

This litigation has resulted in settlements totaling approximately $1.1 billion, the largest amount ever obtained for consumers who bought products indirectly from retailers and resellers, and not directly from the original manufacturer. The net proceeds of the settlement, after attorneys’ fees and costs, will be distributed to consumers and businesses that submit claim forms.

We believe it is likely that you, like tens of millions of other consumers, may have purchased one or more of the products at issue in this case during the seven year period that the price-fixing occurred. We hope that you will take advantage of the opportunity to recover any unlawful overcharges you paid as a result of this conspiracy.

Consumers and businesses in the District of Columbia and the following 24 states are eligible to participate in this settlement:  Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Hawaii, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

Eligibility requirements and instructions on the claims process are available online at the web site: deadline for filing claims is December 6, 2012. Eligible consumers will be able to collect $25, $100, $200 or more by answering a few simple questions about the number of LCD flat screen TVs, monitors, and laptops they bought from 1999 to 2006. The exact amount of each payment will depend upon the number of products purchased and the number of claims filed. No receipts or other documents are required for small claims.

We believe that the eligibility requirements and claims process described on the web site are clear and simple. However, if you have questions or would like assistance in preparing your claim, we invite you to contact our toll-free LCD help line at 1-855-225-1886 or via e-mail at

While Minami Tamaki LLP is pleased to announce this settlement and to have played a substantial role in this momentous litigation, we will ultimately measure our success by the benefits actually received by consumers eligible to share in the proceeds, including our friends and clients. We are therefore notifying you of this opportunity, urging you to submit your claim, and offering whatever assistance you feel you may need to realize the maximum benefit available to you. We also encourage you to pass this information on to your friends, family members, and colleagues who may be interested in making claims for their share of this settlement.

Asian American Community Celebrates Nancy Pelosi’s 25 Years in Congress


Partner Brad Yamauchi (back row, second from left) and his wife, Diane Gunderson ( back row, left ), joined an Aug. 28 celebration of Nancy Pelosi’s 25 years of service in Congress. Brad is a board vice president of the Japanese Cultural and Community Center of Northern California (JCCCNC), one of the organizational members of the event host committee. Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi (back row, second from right) was the first woman Speaker of the House.

District Court Preliminarily Approves Settlement in Akaosugi v. Benihana National Corporation

On August 20, 2012, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California preliminarily approved the class action settlement reached by the parties in Akaosugi v. Benihana National Corp., Case No. 11-cv-01272 (WHA).

The Settlement Class, which consists of current and former employees of Benihana-branded teppanyaki-style restaurants in California, alleged that Benihana required employees to forfeit vacation pay in violation of California wage laws. Benihana denies any wrongdoing, and the Court has not made any finding on the merits of the claims. The parties’ settlement remains subject to final Court approval.

Lewis Feinberg is co-counsel for the class along with Minami Tamaki LLP. A court-approved notice of the proposed settlement will be mailed by October 3, 2012. A final approval hearing will be held on January 24, 2013.

La Verne Ramsay to Present at AILA NorCal CLE Event on May 29

Senior Associate La Verne Ramsay in the Minami Tamaki LLP Immigration Practice Group will be a featured speaker at a CLE event on “Advanced Issues in PERM Labor Certifications” presented by the American Immigration Lawyers Association Northern California Chapter.

Also featuring Lisa Spiegel, a partner at Duane Morris LLP, the CLE event will be on Tuesday, May 29, 2012, at Duane Morris LLP, One Market Plaza, Spear Tower, Suite 2200, San Francisco. Cost is $30 in advance and $40 at the door if space is available. This is an AILA NorCal members-only event. AILA NorCal is a State Bar of California approved provider. For more information, please contact Olivia Lee or Angela Mapa at

$2.9 Million Recovery for Fall

Brenda K. (fictitious name), a 76-year-old married artist, fell down a dark staircase at night at a retreat center in rural Marin County where she was attending a weekend conference. There were no witnesses to the fall and she was found by other guests who heard her cries for help after she landed close to the bottom of the staircase.

Although there were serious issues with proving negligence and causation, our discovery showed that lighting on the stairs was less than the minimum required by the building code and one of the handrails of the stairs did not extend to the bottom of the staircase, which was also a code violation and would have contributed to her falling while descending the stairs in the dark.

Brenda was airlifted by helicopter ambulance to John Muir Hospital in Walnut Creek where she was hospitalized from February 21 to April 13, 2009. She was diagnosed as a C6 quadriplegic and underwent fixation of fractures at the C4/C5 level in her neck; laminectomy surgeries of the C3 through C7 levels; and implantation of surgical rods and hardware from C4 to C6. She was transferred to California Pacific Medical Center where she stayed from April 13 to June 5, 2009.

Brenda’s medical expenses, which were paid by Medicare, were approximately $490,000. The retreat center had an insurance policy of $3 million. Senior Counsel Mark Fong, Partner Dale Minami and co-counsel Steve Cavalli settled her claim for damages and her husband’s claim for loss of companionship and services for $2.9 million.

Minette Kwok Joins American Immigration Council Board of Trustees

Minette KwokMinami Tamaki LLP Partner Minette A. Kwok will join the national Board of Trustees of the American Immigration Council, effective June 2012.

Based in Washington, D.C., the American Immigration Council has played a leading role in the national debate over immigration reform. With its focus on advocacy, public policy, litigation and education, the AIC is dedicated to changing the way Americans think and act towards immigrants, and committed towards advancing fundamental fairness and due process for immigrants.

“The AIC sits on the cutting edge of immigration law and policy, and I’m excited to be a part of it, “said Kwok. “Its leadership represents all that is outstanding, forward thinking, and compassionate within the immigration bar.”

“The Trustees voted unanimously to have Minette join the Board. She is a perfect fit for our organization given her expertise, demonstrated leadership, and contributions to the immigrant community,” said Board of Trustees Chair Kirsten Schlenger, managing partner of Weaver Schlenger Mazel LLP.

Ms. Kwok heads the immigration practice group at Minami Tamaki LLP, which focuses primarily on business immigration, representing startups and Fortune 500 companies in the IT, engineering, clean energy, and manufacturing industries, guiding employers through mergers/acquisitions, reduction in force, and phenomenal growth.

She has served as a Commissioner with the State Bar of California’s Board of Legal Specialization’s Immigration and Nationality Law Advisory Commission; as Chair of American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA), Northern California; and as Liaison to the Department of Labor, Region IX.

Minette has been named a Northern California Super Lawyer by Law & Politics Magazine for eight consecutive years, was selected as one of the Top 50 Female Northern California Super Lawyers, and has been awarded an AV rating by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, the highest rating for competence and ethics issued by that publication, reserved for attorneys designated as outstanding in their field.