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Preliminary Injunction Puts the Freeze on New Proposition 65 Lawsuits for Acrylamide in Food
Hanson Bridgett LLP, April 2021

Food producers can breathe a sigh of relief, at least temporarily, thanks to efforts by the California Chamber of Commerce resulting in a preliminary injunction barring the State of California and all private plaintiffs from filing any new Proposition 65 lawsuits targeting acrylamide in food and beverage products. On March 31, 2021, Chief United States District Judge for the Eastern District of California, Kimberly J...

Supreme Court Expands Scope of 'Public Works' Definition — Contract Employees Performing Operations Work are Covered by Prevailing Wage Laws
Hanson Bridgett LLP, March 2021

Key Points Historic definition of "public works" expanded beyond construction-related activities Supreme Court holds that some special districts must pay prevailing wages to workers performing non-infrastructure related tasks Full extent of coverage of prevailing wages for operational contract workers is unclear   Labor Code Section 1720(a)(1) defines a "public work" as "construction, alteration, demolition, installation, or repair work done under contract and paid for in wh

Court of Appeal Finds Overlying Correlative Rights Do Not Have to Share Equally in Water Shortages
Hanson Bridgett LLP, March 2021

(Antelope Valley Groundwater Cases, JCCP No. 4408 (3/16/21))[1] After twenty-two years, the protracted proceedings in the Antelope Valley groundwater adjudication resulted in a settlement and court-approved "physical solution." A physical solution equitably allocates available water under California's laws governing water rights. The physical solution in Antelope Valley limited pumping to balance the overdrafted aquifer with the available native safe yield...

California Employers Face New COVID-19 Supplemental Paid Sick Leave Requirement
Hanson Bridgett LLP, March 2021

Key Points California employers with more than 25 employees must provide an additional 80 hours of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave to full-time employees for qualified reasons COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave is retroactive to January 1, 2021, and must be paid out on an employee's oral or written request made on or after March 29 The amount of COVID-19 supplemental paid sick leave available must be listed as a separate line item on employees' wage statements, no later tha

B Corp Makes Good Business Sense
Hanson Bridgett LLP, March 2021

Hanson Bridgett has long been a visionary in promoting social and environmental change. That innovative spirit is what led them to become the first law firm certified as a B Corporation and a leading advocate for what has now become a global social movement. The California law firm is one of the founding members of B Corporation, a business model created in 2006 that enables companies to include a social as well as financial agenda in their legal structure...

California Supreme Court Prohibits Rounding for Meal Periods
Hanson Bridgett LLP, March 2021

California employers should assess their meal period policies and practices in light of the California Supreme Court's February 25, 2021, decision in Donohue v. AMN Services, LLC (Donohue). This ruling: (1) prohibits California employers from rounding time punches for meal periods and (2) holds that time records showing non-compliant meal periods will raise a rebuttable presumption of liability for meal period violations...

San Francisco Court Declines to Halt Enforcement of Cal/OSHA Emergency Temporary Standard Regulations
Hanson Bridgett LLP, February 2021

San Francisco Superior Court Judge Ethan Schulman ruled yesterday that Cal/OSHA can continue to enforce its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard Regulation (ETS), at least for now. On February 25, 2021, Judge Schulman issued an order denying Plaintiffs' applications for a preliminary injunction halting enforcement of the Cal/OSHA's COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard Regulation (ETS) in two cases...

The End of the Line for Exclusionary Zoning: Berkeley Set to Make its Move
Hanson Bridgett LLP, February 2021

Key Points Later this month, the Berkeley City Council is expected to consider ending exclusionary zoning by December 2022. The city has a long history of implementing single-family zoning, which encourages more expensive stand-alone homes that are often inaccessible to disadvantaged populations. The shift would place Berkeley, which in 1916 became the nation's first city with single-family zoning, at the forefront of a modern era of inclusionary housing policy...

California Extends COVID-19 Eviction Moratorium; Provides Financial Assistance for Eligible Landlords and Tenants
Hanson Bridgett LLP, February 2021

Key Points Eviction protections that were set to expire January 31 have been extended to June 30, 2021 New notice requirements took effect February 1 Landlords may not charge late fees or increase rent or fees for tenants who attest to COVID-19-related financial distress State Rental Assistance Program may pay 80 percent of a qualified tenant's rent if landlord forgives the remainder On January 29, 2021, California Senate Bill 91 became law, effective immediately...

Court Finds in Favor of Restaurants Seeking Coverage for Loss of Business Income
Hanson Bridgett LLP, January 2021

In a scenario that has played out across the country for nearly a year now, a group of restaurants based in Ohio were ordered by government authorities to close their on-site dining operations to abate the spread of the coronavirus. However, when the restaurants sought insurance coverage for their loss of business income, their insurer, Zurich American Insurance Company, denied coverage. Last week, the U.S...

California Proposes Significant Change to Limit Use of Short-Form Proposition 65 Warning For Consumer Products
Hanson Bridgett LLP, January 2021

Article PDFJust when businesses thought they had figured out their Proposition 65 compliance strategies, the State of California, through the Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (OEHHA), has proposed a substantial change that will drastically limit the use of the short-form safe harbor warning first authorized in 2018...

IRS Reverses Position on Deductibility of Paycheck Protection Program Loan Expenses
Hanson Bridgett LLP, January 2021

Key Points The CARES Act provides that PPP loans may be forgiven without causing the borrower to incur cancellation of debt income, but did not address whether business expenses could be deducted if paid for by PPP loan proceeds. On April 30, 2020, the IRS published Notice 2020-32 clarifying that taxpayers whose PPP loans were forgiven could not deduct business expenses covered by such loan proceeds...

New Payroll Tax Credit Available in 2021 for Public Colleges, Universities and Governmental Healthcare Entities – Q&A
Hanson Bridgett LLP, January 2021

Key Points Effective January 1, 2021, public colleges, universities, and governmental entities whose primary purpose is providing medical or hospital care are eligible for the employee retention and rehiring tax credit. The amount of the credit is equal to 70 percent of up to $10,000 in eligible wages per employee per quarter for the first two quarters of 2021. The tax credit is claimed as an offset to employment taxes otherwise payable by the employer...

COVID-19 Legislation: New Paycheck Protection Program Loan Rules Allow Second Round Funding and Deductibility of Expenses Paid with Forgivable Loan Proceeds
Hanson Bridgett LLP, January 2021

Key Points Past and future PPP loan recipients can deduct PPP loan-funded eligible expenses for federal tax purposes even if the loan is forgiven. Expanded eligibility for new loans to include new categories of employers; existing borrowers who have not yet received loan forgiveness may increase loan amount based on expanded allowable expenses...

San Francisco Imposes Quarantine on Travelers and Commuters from Outside the Bay Area with Two Exceptions for Construction Workers
Hanson Bridgett LLP, January 2021

The City and County of San Francisco (SF) issued a COVID-19 surge-related travel and quarantine order (Quarantine Order) on Dec. 16, 2020, and an updated Shelter-In-Place Order (SIP Order) on December 9 (updated Dec. 30, 2020). Under those orders, every person who enters SF after having been outside the Bay Area within the last ten days must quarantine for 240 hours from the time of arrival in SF. However, two exceptions apply to those working on construction projects in SF...

NEPA in the Ninth Circuit: A Rare Look at Impacts to Redwood Forests and "Downstream" Carbon Emissions
Hanson Bridgett LLP, December 2020

Key Points In a rare move, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals published two opinions about subjects that are hardly ever discussed in the court's published National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) decisions. For the first time in more than three decades, the court examined impacts to an old-growth redwood forest, and for the first time since 2016, the court examined indirect (downstream) carbon emissions. In Bair v...

Open Sesame! FDA Draft Guidance and Proposed FASTER Act Open Door to Regulation of Sesame as a Major Food Allergen
Hanson Bridgett LLP, December 2020

Summary Proposed FASTER Act defines sesame as a major allergen under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act; FDA Draft Guidance recommends the declaration of sesame as an ingredient in flavors and spices. Although non-binding, these actions foreshadow the regulation of sesame as a major food allergen in the future. Two recent legislative actions and an FDA publication address emerging concerns about sesame as an allergen. The U.S...

Equal Employment Opportunity Commission Issues Updated Guidance for Employer COVID-19 Vaccination Programs
Hanson Bridgett LLP, December 2020

Key Points Employers may mandate employee COVID-19 vaccination programs, subject to certain exemptions. When requiring employee vaccinations, employers should consider the fact that these COVID-19 vaccines are currently approved under the FDA's Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Mandatory employer COVID-19 vaccination programs must include religious and disability-related employee exemptions. INTRODUCTION On Dec...

Parent-Child Exclusions from Property Tax Reassessment Fundamentally Changed by Proposition 19
Hanson Bridgett LLP, December 2020

In November, California voters narrowly passed Proposition 19, which makes significant changes to existing real property tax reassessment rules. Effective after Feb. 15, 2021, Proposition 19 significantly restricts property owners' ability to preserve the current assessed value of California real property transferred between parents and children. Effective Apr...

Cal/OSHA Issues FAQ Guidance Regarding Its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard
Hanson Bridgett LLP, December 2020

Key Points Cal/OSHA's COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) became effective Nov. 30, 2020. Cal/OSHA clarified Section 3205's Aerosol Transmissible Diseases (ATD) Standard exemption applies to employees with occupational exposure to ATDs, not to all employees of an employer subject to the ATD Standard. Cal/OSHA issued a model COVID-19 Prevention Plan to assist employers...

Reconciling the Gig Economy in California: Changes to Worker Classification Laws Since AB 5
Hanson Bridgett LLP, November 2020

Assembly Bill (AB) 5, signed by Governor Gavin Newsom in September 2019, which went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020, codified the California Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Dynamex Operations West, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles...

California Consumer Privacy Act 2.0 – What You Need to Know
Hanson Bridgett LLP, November 2020

Key Points On Nov. 3, 2020, a substantial majority of California voters passed the California Privacy Rights and Enforcement Act (CPRA). The CPRA replaces the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA), bringing California Privacy law more in line with the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and considerably strengthening the privacy rights of California residents. CPRA will go into effect on Jan. 1, 2023...

California's Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board Passes an Extensive COVID-19 Emergency Regulation Regarding The Spread Of COVID-19 In Workplaces
Hanson Bridgett LLP, November 2020

Key Points The new regulation covers all employees and places of employment with limited exceptions and is expected to take effect within the next two weeks. Employers must develop a written COVID-19 Prevention Program. Employers must also investigate and “respond effectively” to COVID-19 cases and notify employees and others who might have been exposed within one day...

IRS Issues 2021 Limits for Retirement Plans
Hanson Bridgett LLP, November 2020

On Oct. 26, 2020, the IRS announced in Notice 2020-79 cost of living adjustments (COLAS) to the qualified plan dollar limits for 2021. Below is a summary of the limits that are generally relevant for most retirement plans. Effective Jan. 1, 2021: The elective deferral limit for 401(k), 403(b), and eligible 457(b) plans is unchanged at $19,500. The catch-up contribution limit for those aged 50 or older remains stable at $6,500...

When Sugars are Not Counted as Sugars: FDA Clarifies Nutrition Facts Labeling Requirements for Allulose
Hanson Bridgett LLP, October 2020

Key Points The FDA will exercise enforcement discretion when Nutrition and Supplement Facts Labels (a) exclude allulose from Total Sugars and Added Sugars declarations, and (b) use as low as 0.4 kcal/g for allulose calorie count; but allulose must be included as a Total Carbohydrate. Allulose is a basic form of carbohydrate that is naturally occurring in a variety of sweet foods, such as raisins, maple syrup, and brown sugar...



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