Business Law Blog

Good News For Social Networking Web Sites

The California Court of Appeals, Second Appellate District, ruled today that the Communications Decency Act ("CDA") immunizes the popular social networking web site MySpace from lawsuits brought by minors who have been sexually assaulted by adults that they met on the web site.

Good Samaritans Beware

As it turns out, Jerry Seinfeld and his cohorts in the last episode of the Seinfeld show had it right after all when they watched, but failed to come to the aid of a person being victimized. If you recall that episode, they all went to jail for failing to be Good Samaritans.

Well, a divided California Supreme Court, in deciding Van Horn v. Watson (December 18, 2008), held that not only is there no duty to come to the aid of others, but that Good Samaritans who do give assistance can be sued by the very people they try to assist. This does not seem like very good public policy to me, but it is now the law in California.

California Labor Code Protects Non-Residents Too

Let's assume you have a business that operates is several states. You have employees that live someplace other than California, say Arizona. But your employees travel to California to do business.

Now, Arizona has no state law regulating overtime, but California does. Will your company have to comply with California's overtime laws when your Arizona based employees perform work in California? In Sullivan v. Oracle Corp (9th Circuit November 6, 2008), the court held that it does.

Finance Lessors Not Subject to Strict Products Liability

Until today, there were no appellate cases decided by the California courts on the issue of whether Lessors of equipment under finance leases could be liable in strict products liability for injuries caused by defective leased equipment. Today, Finance Lessors can rest easy, knowing that, just like the courts in the other jurisdictions that have considered the question, the California courts have held that Finance Lessors cannot be held liable for product defects in the products that are subject to their leases. The case is Arriaga v. Citicapital Commercial Corporation (Decided November 3, 2008).

No "Narrow Restraint" Exception - Noncompetition Clauses are Unenforcable

The California Supreme Court recently took the opportunity to reaffirm and solidify the rule in California that an employer cannot require an employee to enter into a noncompetition agreement. In Edwards v. Arthur Andersen, LLP (Decided August 7, 2008), the California Supreme Court also took this opportunity to rule out an exception that the Federal 9th Circuit had indicated it thought existed - the so called "narrow-restraint" exception.

Broad Release Of Claims In Severance Agreement Not Enforcable As To Some Claims

It is typical these days for an employer to require an employee to sign a broad release during his or her exit interview in order to receive a severance payment. But are these releases valid and enforceable? The California Supreme Court recently answered that question in the case of Edwards v. Arthur Andersen, LLP (Decided August 7, 2008).

Unlicensed Contractor Must Return All Money Paid

The courts of appeal in California just handed down another decision that brings home the importance of having a contractor's license if your business is engaged in any activities that require a contractor license.

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