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News & Articles


In a published opinion, a unanimous three-judge panel of the Fifth District Court of Appeal has concluded that the California Vehicle Code only prohibits a driver from holding a wireless telephone while conversing on it.  The statute does not apply to other uses of a wireless telephone, including looking at a map application.  In so holding the court agreed with briefs filed by McCormick Barstow partner Scott M. Reddie, a State Bar-certified specialist in appellate law.

By: Timothy J. Buchanan

After seven years of litigation a federal district court has ruled that Google’s ambitious library scan project, under which 20 million books have been digitally copied and catalogued, is “fair use” under the federal copyright laws, ending (pending appeal) a massive infringement class action brought by an authors’ group. The article analyzes the court’s reasoning here in the context of the prevailing doctrine of “transformative” uses which can lead to unpredictable outcomes as technology finds creative new ways to copy materials and copyright holders struggle to keep their rights secure.   


Fresno, CA (October 1, 2013) – McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Wayte & Carruth attorney Michael F. Ball successfully defended his physician client in an alleged post-surgical medical malpractice lawsuit.


On February 6, 2013, the Nevada Supreme Court issued an order reversing a major portion of an arbitration award and vacating an award of $1,040,000 due to the fact there was no substantial evidence presented at arbitration to support the award.

By: Scott Reddie and Todd Baxter

The California Supreme Court has overruled one of its own decisions from more than 75-years ago that adopted a limitation on the fraud exception to the parol evidence rule.   In a decision issued on January 14, 2013 (RiverIsland Cold Storage, Inc. v. Fresno-Madera Production Credit Association, California Supreme Court case number S190581), the Supreme Court concluded that its prior decision in Bank of America etc. Assn. v. Pendergrass (1935) 4 Cal.2d 258 was “ill-considered’ and an “aberration.” 

By: Christina Tillman

Employees are entitled to various leaves of absence and time off work under both state and federal law. Many employers, particularly small employers, are unaware of the extent and in some instances even the existence, of various rights employees have to leaves of absence and time off from work.  What follows is an abbreviated version of California employers’ legal obligations to provide leaves and time off from work for small businesses, i.e., those employing fewer than 25 employees.

By: Christina Tillman

As most California employers have learned by now, it is getting more and more difficult to own a business in California due to the ever-increasing employee-friendly laws that make "extortion" lawsuits convenient and perfunctory, even with the most justified of terminations. To minimize exposure, it is important for employers to understand and comply with what, for most, is a complicated area of law. A large part of this strategy requires that employers stay up to date on new legislation and case authority in the realm of labor and employment law. The following is non-exhaustive summary of new laws and cases that will affect most employers.

By: Timothy Buchanan

Federal trademarks are registered by the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).  That office also issues patents upon an extensive application and review process.  Holders of these intellectual property rights might sit up and take notice if receiving emailed notifications appearing to be from the USPTO.

By: Timothy Buchanan

A recent Ninth Circut opinion again points up the need to draft arbitration clauses carefully and specifically, to capture the client's objectives in considering a suitable alternative forum to resolve disputes over the contractual relationship.  If the parties want the arbitator to follow legal athorities, they not only need to specify that in the clause but also need to avoid incorporating fereral law.  Other issues such as the form of decision, the scope of discovery, and the scope of court review also need to be discussed with the client and not simply presumed