One of the most little known resources for artists is free and low-cost attorneys through California Lawyers for the Arts. With free and low-cost seminars and referrals, check out this terrific low cost resource for new and established artists in all aspects of culture and creativity:
Two recent articles in the Los Angeles times report that there have been 28,000 complaints to the City regarding the City’s new forced monopoly trash hauling program. Columnist Steve Lopez says that the “honeymoon is over” and the “execution doesn’t look so hot.” Reporter David Zahniser’s article is an in-depth critique of the system and again notes how “trash bills have soared for some customers.”
The Shining Law Firm has been fighting this ordinance on behalf of impacted commercial property owners and their tenants, HOAs and apartment owners since June of 2017. If you have been impacted by this ordinance, call the Shining Law Firm and tell us your story. We are fighting to have this unconstitutional program overturned, and return your right to vote on taxes under California’s Proposition 218.
Following last Friday’s packed hearing at City Hall, Los Angeles City Councilmembers are finally waking up to the chaos that has been created due to the failed rollout of the largest City program in decades. Owners of commercial property, multi-residential apartment buildings, tenants who pay waste bills and HOAs have been gouged with increased assessment and fees of 400% or more. The City Council has claimed to be unaware of these increases — however, the evidence collected by the Shining Law Firm has proved that they are either being duped by the new franchise waste haulers or that they are complicit in the illegal secret tax grab.
To join the fight against the City of Los Angeles’ illegal tax grab hidden under the guise of recycling for all, call or email the Shining Law Firm today.
Read more about the Council’s growing problems here:
On Monday, October 30, 2017, the Los Angeles Downtown News published a detailed article on how the City of Los Angeles has doubled, tripled and even quadrupled waste hauling costs on commercial property owners. The Shining Law Firm on behalf of the Apartment Owners Association, commercial property owners and their tenants has filed a class action lawsuit demonstrating how the new “recycLA” program is really an illegal tax grab. The lawsuit shows how the City has violated the Right to Vote on Taxes Act which became part of the California Constitution in 1996.
In this article, you can read quotes from property owners both large and small. They describe in their own words how they are being hit hard with surprise rate hikes, newly added on fees, burdensome requirements and a lack of any way to challenge the City’s actions. Who is to blame for the failed implementation of this program? Read and decide for yourself, and contact the Shining Law Firm if you are a witness to the failures of this program and would like to tell your story.
Susan Shelley, columnist for the Southern California News Group, has called for a reversal of the new City of Los Angeles waste hauling system called “recyLA” and formerly called “Zero Waste.” Ms. Shelley’s article hits the nail on the head. However, on behalf of the Apartment Owners Association of California and all impacted commercial property owners, HOAs and apartment owners, the Shining Law Firm is spearheading an effort in the courts to stop these unconstitutional increases. Read more about Ms. Shelley’s ideas using the link below and stay tuned here for more developments.
Today’s Op-Ed by the Los Angeles Times editorial board makes it clear: The City of Los Angeles has duped citizens by promising recycling benefits but failing to disclosed forced price increases of 100, 200, 300 percent and more. Still worse, the City’s plan increases burdens on elderly property owners, small business owners and HOA owners. In its op-ed, the Times notes that the City spent years preparing this system, while at the same time hiding its failure to negotiate the reduced rates it promised. These higher rates are expected not only to impact up to 80,000 businesses, but will hit tenants hard.
On behalf of lead plaintiff the Apartment Owners Association of California, the Shining Law Firm has championed the rights of Angelenos to vote on tax increases negotiated and made in secret.
To read the LA Times op-ed, click here:
On July 1, 2017, the City of Los Angeles implemented massive rate hikes on owners of commercial property and apartment owners. The Shining Law Firm is fighting these rate hikes arguing that they violate Proposition 218, the “Right To Vote on Taxes Act”. The Right to Vote on Taxes Act was passed by California voters in 1996 as a follow-up to close loopholes in Proposition 13. In attempts to get around Proposition 13’s bans on illegal tax increases without a vote, Proposition 218 calls out so-called “fees” and “assessments” used to circumvent Prop 13.
The specific City program that requires these higher rates is called “Zero Waste” or “recyLA”. The program is supposedly designed to increase rates of recyling by consumers. However, these charges are being forced disproportionately on the impacted owners, in particular smaller owners who are constricted by rent control. The program forces commercial property and apartment owners to use one of seven selected waste haulers in seven pre-determined “zones”. These haulers are called the “Franchisees”. In addition to these increased rates, the City will receive an extra 2% of the gross receipts from each hauler, up from 10% previously. Many impacted property owners are also having to pay extra fees such as pull-outs, locking charges and other fees that were not previously before in Los Angeles under free competition. The Shining Law Firm’s complaint also alleges that these extra burdens are a cost to owners, and thus also part of the illegal tax grab.
The Apartment Owners Association of California is leading the charge as one of the lead plaintiffs of this case. The case is currently a class action seeking an injunction, but notice has been given to the City that a class action for damages may be brought as necessary.
If you are a commercial property owner in Los Angeles and you believe you have been impacted, you may be a ‘putative’ class member. Please call our offices at 310-490-4383 to see if you qualify today.
For more information, see the following recent articles from the Los Angeles Times:
The much anticipated release of the game “No Man’s Sky” can proceed now without further delay as British Sky TV owners have settled their trademark lawsuit against the game company.
Could this happen in the United States? Just like everything else in business, trademark law is becoming globalized. Of course, lawyers can’t just say “globalization” – they need their own fancy term which is called “harmonization”. The International Trademark Association has posted a nice overview of what is supposed to happen to “generic” words. Simply put, they are not supposed to be given trademark value. But as is often in legal areas stemming from British common law, there are exceptions to exceptions to exceptions.
It is always recommended that business owners consult with an experienced trademark attorney before really investing in any brand name, service name or trademark. A few thousand dollars can save months and years of legal aggravation over what should be “free” as the “sky” above.
The creator of Priceline, Jay Walker, has become fascinated by patents and patent licensing it seems. He has bought and merged several patent holding (some say patent troll) companies and proposed creation of a new agency called the “United States Patent Utility”. It would act as ASCAP works for copyright protection, charging license fees, negotiating with potential users and presumably sending cease and desist letters to potential infringers.
Will this work because patents have become as narrow as copyrights, and their value is as low? Are patent attorneys or licensing attorneys now irrelevant to patent licensing? Or is the specialization of licensing becoming even more narrow and parochial?
While sitting as a judge in the Northern District of Illinois, Judge Posner has ruled in a 15-page Markman opinion that Promega’s DNA fingerprint kit infringes on a patented process licensed by Applied Bioscience from Caltech. In the brief opinion, Posner rejects Promega’s efforts to narrow the patent’s claims beyond those regularly understood by expert scientists. Unfortunately for those watching SCOTUS and its rulings with regard to the Myriad case, Posner very clearly does not comment on the validity of the claims. We’ll have to stay tuned for that one.
The latter portion of the opinion is a veritable collection of USPTO Patent Bar test answers. Posner rejected arguments that the Caltech patent did not try to improperly “recapture reissue” by improperly broadening its claims in reissue. Next, he explained away Promega’s arguments that there was laches/equitable estoppel in the prosecution of the claims. He deals a coup de grace to arguments with regard to priority based on waiver and abandonment of a prior continuation application as the proper extension of time was sought and used. Lastly, he shuts the door on any admission that might be contained in a cross-license.
Posner’s job at the lower court may have been made easier by agreements in the cross-license that the patent claims were valid. Of course, Posner stays far away from any implication that this might have impacted his views on infringement. Of course, we know that Posner would never allow such a collateral issue to color his views while examining claims.
This is not the last word regarding these much litigated Caltech patents. So stay tuned for more soon.