Blog : News from Minami Tamaki

Minami Tamaki LLP Announces Retirement of Partner Minette Kwok and Transition of Donald Tamaki to Senior Counsel

Minami Tamaki LLP Announces Retirement of Partner Minette Kwok and Transition of Donald Tamaki to Senior Counsel

Minami Tamaki LLP today announced that Partner Minette A. Kwok will retire from the firm and that Managing Partner Donald K. Tamaki will transition into a Senior Counsel position, both effective on January 1, 2021.

Minette has led Minami Tamaki LLP’s immigration law practice for more than two decades, growing it into an award-winning and successful practice nationally recognized and ranked by U.S. News and World Report.

“Minette developed a solid team of stellar, hardworking professionals and nurtured a firm culture promoting collegiality, collaboration, and mutual respect,” said Don Tamaki who worked with Minette since she joined the firm in 1990 as the first woman Partner. “She built an immigration law practice with superb clients, including numerous technology leaders, and dedicated countless hours to the nation’s immigration bar and to community organizations. Minette is an inspiration to all attorneys.” 

Minette’s achievements during her 30-year career include recognized leadership in AILA, numerous awards and recognition for legal excellence, and years of service on nonprofit boards and pro bono work.

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Recorder: ‘LCD Makers to Pay $539M to Settle Civil Antitrust Suits’

The Recorder last week reported on a case in which Minami Tamaki partner Jack Lee is the court-appointed liaison. See article below.  Bloomberg also reported on the settlement.

The plaintiffs in the case allege that Samsung, Hitachi, Sharp and others “engaged in a worldwide, multiyear conspiracy to fix prices and hinder competition related to TFT-LCD panels, which are in TVs, notebooks and monitors.”

LCD Makers to Pay $539M to Settle Civil Antitrust Suits
By Ginny LaRoe, The Recorder
December 23, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO — On the heels of a plaintiff-friendly ruling in the TFT-LCD antitrust litigation, a group of manufacturer defendants is poised to settle for $539 million.

Co-lead plaintiffs’ counsel Francis Scarpulla of Zelle Hofmann Voelbel & Mason and Joseph M. Alioto of Alioto Law Firm filed a motion for preliminary settlement approval on behalf of indirect purchaser plaintiffs and state attorneys general on Friday. They asked U.S. District Judge Susan Illston to sign off on a deal to resolve price-fixing claims against Samsung, Hitachi, Sharp, Chimei, Chunghwa, Epson and HannStar.

Plaintiffs allege the makers engaged in a worldwide, multiyear conspiracy to fix prices and hinder competition related to TFT-LCD panels, which are in TVs, notebooks and monitors.

The filing comes after Illston earlier this month rejected defendants’ renewed bid to toss the case for lack of antitrust standing on the part of indirect purchaser plaintiffs, saying the plaintiffs alleged injuries and the direct link between defendants’ alleged anti-competitive conduct “place this case squarely within the type of suit the antitrust laws were meant to address.”

Earlier this year a group of defendants settled with direct purchaser plaintiffs for around $388 million.

Plaintiffs asked for a Jan. 20 hearing before Illston, who presides over the consolidated multidistrict litigation and related criminal action.

Minami Tamaki partner Jack Lee is the court-appointed liaison in the action.

National Trial Lawyers Selects Mark Fong as Among Top 100 Trial Lawyers in California

Mark FongSenior Counsel B. Mark Fong in our Personal Injury Practice was recently selected to be a member of the National Trial Lawyers, which is composed of the top 100 trial lawyers from each state.

Membership in National Trial Lawyers can only be obtained through special invitation and is extended to attorneys who exemplify superior qualifications, leadership, reputation, influence, stature, and profile as trial lawyers, both civil plaintiff and criminal defense.

Mark is a trial lawyer with 30 years experience who has obtained multi-million dollar settlements and large verdicts, specializing in the trial of catastrophic personal injury, wrongful death, product liability, premises liability and medical malpractice cases throughout California in State and Federal Court.

One of the top personal injury lawyers in the Bay Area, Mark has also been named a Northern California Super Lawyer in the Personal Injury category and is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum.  He is rated “AV” by the Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, signifying the highest level of legal ability and professional standards of ethics. Mark is also listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers for high professional legal standards and ethics.

See Mark’s listing on the National Trial Lawyers site.

Delays in Prevailing Wage Determination

The Department of Labor (DOL) has temporarily suspended the issuance of Prevailing Wage Determinations (PWDs) for H-1B petitions and PERM Labor Certification Applications. To date, the DOL has not committed to a date it will resume prevailing wage processing.

The delay is due to a federal court mandate that requires DOL to reissue PWDs for approximately 4,000 H-2B temporary non-agricultural worker petitions using a revised wage methodology in line with new federal regulations. To comply, DOL has dedicated all its resources to H-2B cases, and suspended PWD issuance for all other cases. DOL estimates that they will complete the H-2B cases by October 1, 2011.

The delay particularly affects the filing of PERM applications, the first step for foreign nationals to obtain permanent residency through employment. A PWD is needed for all PERM applications before it can be filed and involves the issuance of a wage level determination according to the job code and location of an occupation. The delay could result in difficult timing issues for foreign nationals who need to extend their H-1B petitions beyond the sixth year. Also, it may negatively impact children of foreign nationals who are close to aging out. Employers may also need to rerun advertisements if they are unable to utilize existing recruitment.

The DOL has not commented on how it will handle these issues for employers. The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) has reached out to DOL to resume processing of PWDs and address the potential ramifications of this delay. We will provide you with additional updates as we receive new information.

Source: Minette Kwok, Partner, Minami Tamaki LLP’s Immigration and Nationality Law Practice

Minami Tamaki Partners Named ‘Super Lawyers’ for 8th Straight Year

Minami Tamaki LLP is proud to announce that all of our Partners and all of our Senior Counsel have been selected as Northern California Super Lawyers for 2011. This is the eighth straight year that our Partners received this distinction.

Our firm is one of the very few, and possibly the only one, in which every Partner and Senior Counsel received this distinction. Only five percent of the lawyers in the California are named by Super Lawyers.

Partners Dale Minami (Personal Injury), Donald K. Tamaki (Corporate), Brad Yamauchi (Employment), Minette A. Kwok (Immigration), Jack W. Lee (Employment), Senior Counsel Lynda Won-Chung (Immigration), Mark Fong (Personal Injury) and Derek G. Howard (Consumer Law) and Senior Associate Seth I. Rosenberg (Personal Injury) were selected based on voting conducted by ballots sent to more than 56,000 lawyers in the region, an extensive process involving peer nomination and a blue ribbon panel comprised of lawyers from appropriate practice areas who scrutinized the list of nominees.

Dale Minami has been selected for eight straight years in the Personal Injury category and as one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers for each of the last five years.

Northern California Super Lawyers is published annually in August in a special advertising section in San Francisco Magazine, which reaches more than 400,000 monthly readers. Northern California Super Lawyers magazine, featuring articles about the local legal community, is delivered to more than 64,000 readers, including Northern California lawyers, the lead corporate counsel of the Russell 3000 companies and the ABA-approved law school libraries.

The selections for Super Lawyers are made by Law & Politics, a division of Key Professional Media, Inc. of Minneapolis, Minn. Each year, Law & Politics undertakes a rigorous multi-phase selection process that includes a statewide survey of lawyers, independent evaluation of candidates by the Law & Politics’ attorney-led research staff, a peer review of candidates by practice area, and a good-standing and disciplinary check.

APALC, Minami Tamaki File Suit Against Fresno Employer Alleging Discrimination Against Hmong, Older Workers


More than 20 current and former casino workers have filed two class action lawsuits charging that Club One Casino engaged in discrimination by segregating and reducing the hours of Hmong poker dealers, as well as firing its older employees. The Asian Pacific American Legal Center, a member of Asian American Center for Advancing Justice, in Los Angeles, and the law firm of Minami Tamaki LLP in San Francisco represent the workers in both lawsuits.

Club One Casino, which runs the biggest card room in central California, is one of the largest employers in Fresno, with more than 300 employees. In 2008, Club One was acquired by new management when Kyle Kirkland assumed control of Club One’s operations.

The class action lawsuits were filed Monday in Fresno Superior Court. Chang et al. v. Club One Casino was filed on behalf of 15 Asian workers alleging race and national origin discrimination, and Caglia et al. v. Club One Casino was filed on behalf of six older workers alleging age discrimination. The lawsuits allege that under Kirkland’s management, Club One sought to create a new image, one that excluded its Hmong and older workers even though many had been working at Club One for more than 10 years. Chang et al v. Club One Casino also alleges that the casino, as part of company-wide pattern of employment discrimination, targeted Hmong and other Asian employees with real or perceived accents.

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