Altshuler Berzon LLP Welcomes New Attorneys

Altshuler Berzon LLP is pleased to welcome five attorneys who will be joining the firm in the fall of 2021: Annie Wanless, who is joining the firm as a Law Fellow; Christine Salazar, Robin Tholin, and Jonathan Rosenthal, who are joining the firm as Associates; and Nicole Collins, who is joining the firm as the Altshuler Berzon-NRDC Joint Fellow.

Annie Wanless is a graduate of Stanford Law School and will be clerking for Judge Richard Paez of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit following her fellowship.

Christine Salazar is a graduate of Northeastern University School of Law and clerked for Judge Yvette Kane of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania.

Robin Tholin is a graduate of Harvard Law School and clerked for Judge Marsha Berzon of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Jonathan Rosenthal is a graduate of University of California, Berkeley School of Law and clerked for Judge Patricia A. Millett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit and for Judge Vince G. Chhabria of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.

Nicole Collins is a graduate of Stanford Law School and clerked for Judge Mary H. Murguia of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Thank you to our Altshuler Berzon LLP 2021 Summer Associates

Altshuler Berzon LLP thanks its 2021 Summer Associates for their extraordinary work this summer: Amanda Le (University of California, Irvine School of Law), Andrew Toney-Noland (Stanford Law School), Edgar Melgar (Yale Law School), Isaac Green (Harvard Law School), Michael Migiel-Schwartz (Harvard Law School), Nina Oishi (Yale Law School), and Simon Jacobs (University of Chicago Law School).

We know they will go on to be superb lawyers and wish them the very best as they return to their final year of law school.  We also congratulate them on accepting the following post-graduation judicial clerkships:

Nina will be clerking for Judge Robert E. Bacharach of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Edgar Melgar will be clerking for Judge Guido Calabresi of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

Isaac Green will be clerking for Judge Alison J. Nathan of the Southern District of New York and for Judge David J. Barron of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit.

Simon Jacobs will be clerking for Justice Scott L. Kafker of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court.

The law firm typically hires five or six summer associates each year. At times, we also have clerking opportunities available during the school year. Information about recruiting is available by clicking here.

Court Rules Proposition 22 Unconstitutional

The Alameda County Superior Court issued a decision on August 20 holding that California’s Proposition 22 conflicts with the California Constitution and is invalid in its entirety.  The case, Castellanos v.  California, No. RG21088725, was filed by SEIU, SEIU California, and four individual drivers and consumers after gig economy companies funded a $225 million initiative campaign that convinced the voters to exempt drivers who work for transportation and delivery network companies like Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash (who the proposition calls “app-based drivers”) from California’s employment law protections.

The court held Proposition 22 unconstitutional for three reasons.  First, by excluding “app-based drivers” from the state’s workers’ compensation system and forbidding the state legislature from including them in the future, Proposition 22 impermissibly interferes with the legislature’s “plenary power” over the workers’ compensation system under Article XIV, Section 4 of the California Constitution.  Second, although Proposition 22 lacks any substantive provisions addressing collective bargaining by “app-based drivers,” it impermissibly deems any legislation authorizing representation of app-based drivers an “amendment” to Proposition 22 that may be enacted only by a seven-eighths vote of each house of the state legislature.  A statutory initiative cannot limit future legislation that does not actually amend the substantive terms of an initiative.  And third, Proposition 22 violates the requirement, under Article II, Section 8(d) of the California Constitution, that initiative statutes be “limited to a single subject.”  The Court concluded that Proposition 22’s limitation of drivers’ collective bargaining rights “appears only to protect the economic interests of the network companies in having a divided, ununionized workforce” and was “utterly unrelated to” the Proposition’s “stated common purpose” of “protecting the opportunity for Californians to drive their cars on an independent contract basis, to provide those drivers with certain minimum welfare standards, and to set minimum consumer protection and safety standards to protect the public.”

The petitioners in the case are represented by Altshuler Berzon LLP, Olson Remcho, LLP, and the SEIU legal department.   A copy of the Superior Court’s decision is available here.  News coverage of the decision can be found here and here.

Workers at Oakland McDonald’s Restaurant Reach Precedent-Setting Settlement

August 11, 2021 – When a COVID-19 outbreak at the Telegraph Ave. McDonald’s restaurant in Oakland threatened workers and their families, four workers filed a public nuisance lawsuit in Alameda County Superior Court and sought a temporary restraining order (TRO) to ensure that the restaurant implemented necessary safety measures.  The court granted plaintiffs’ requested relief and issued a TRO on June 22, 2020; later continuing the TRO’s provisions on July 9, 2020, and converting the TRO to a preliminary injunction on August 13, 2020.  In late July 2021, the parties reached a settlement agreement that resolves this litigation.  The settlement continues the workplace safety measures for up to another year and establishes a health and safety committee.  The committee, which will include the restaurant owner-operator, the restaurant’s general manager, and three crew members on a rotating basis, will meet on a monthly basis to discuss the protective measures required by the settlement, as well as any other measures that may be necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace.  The committee will provide workers with a voice in addressing the evolving COVID-19 pandemic and the need to ensure safe working conditions.  The plaintiffs issued this statement regarding the historic settlement.  For press coverage of the settlement, see here and here.