MARK YOUR CALENDARS: [email protected] Series on How Women Lawyers Make It Rain

Want to hear the secrets of successful client development? Ever wonder if women build business relationships differently than men? Are corporate law departments championing business with women outside counsel?Join us as highly successful women rainmakers and corporate counsel who make hiring decisions share their candid perspectives on effective business development at the [email protected] series presented by Lim Ruger. This three-panel series program will feature storytelling and interactive presentations with ample time and opportunity for networking. The first [email protected] event will be June 10, 2014 from 5:30pm-7:30pm at the Lim Ruger offices with panelists Katherine Adkins, General Counsel, Toyota Financial Services, Maidie Oliveau, Counsel, Arent Fox, and Leon Bass, Senior Attorney, Southern California Edison Company. The other events will be held in August and October. Contact us for more information.

Congratulations To Lim Ruger Scholars For The First Quarter, 2014

Congratulations to Adriane Peralta (UCLA School of Law, Class of 2014) who was awarded the Lim Ruger Foundation scholarship at the annual Japanese American Bar Association Installation & Awards Gala on March 7, 2014. Upon graduation, Ms. Peralta will begin a judicial clerkship in the Southern District of New York. It is her passion to return to Los Angeles to serve the community as a civil rights attorney.  Also, Christina Burke-Browning (UCLA School of Law, Class of 2014) received the Lim Ruger Foundation scholarship through the John M. Langston Bar Association in February 2014. Ms. Burke-Browning is the Managing Editor of the UCLA Law Review. She has an interest in environmental law, health care law, and insurance law.

Selling Mixed-Use Property? Don’t Forget the Transfer Disclosure Statement

As one seller of a mixed-use property learned the hard way, the fact that your property has a commercial structure on it does not necessarily exempt you from providing a Transfer Disclosure Statement (“TDS”) when you sell it. California’s Transfer Disclosure Law (“TDL”) (California Civil Code section 1102, et seq.) requires sellers to provide buyers with a TDS in connection with any transfer of real property “improved with or consisting of not less than one and not more than four dwelling units.” Cal. Civ. Code §1102(a). The California Court of Appeal recently held that this requirement applies even if the subject property contains commercial improvements in addition to the dwelling units. Richman v. Hartley (Cal. App., 2nd Dist., 03/20/2014)Richman v. Hartley arose out of the sale of real property located in Ventura, California. The property was improved with a residential duplex and a commercial building. Plaintiff seller and defendant buyer entered into a purchase agreement with a two year escrow. After two years, buyer refused to close escrow because seller had not given him a TDS. Seller then sued buyer for breach of contract.The court in Richman v. Hartley affirmed the trial court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of buyer. It ruled that a seller’s duty to provide a TDS applies to any transfer of real property improved with not less than one nor more than four dwelling units, even if the property also has commercial improvements. Additionally, the court held that a provision in the purchase agreement stating that the property was being sold in an “as is condition with all its faults” did not waive seller’s obligation to give the buyer a TDS. The court observed that the provision could not effect a waiver of seller’s statutory duty because the TDL states that any such purported waiver is void as against public policy. Cal. Civ. Code §1102(c).In view of this decision, it is important for a seller of real property improved with between one and four dwelling units to make sure that a buyer of such property is provided with a TDS, regardless of whether any non-residential improvements exist on the property.Mark T. Hansen, Senior Counsel

New Law May Lead To Rise In Whistleblower Claims

On October 12, 2013, Governor Brown signed into law Senate Bill 496, which amended Labor Code Section 1102.5 (Section 1102.5), California’s general whistleblower statute, by expanding protections for employees who blow the whistle on employer misconduct. As a result of the amendments, which became effective January 1, 2014, employers are likely to see a significant increase in whistleblower litigation this year.Before it was amended, Section 1102.5 already prohibited employers from retaliating against employees who reported (based on the employee’s reasonable belief) violations of state or federal laws, rules, or regulations to a government or law enforcement agency. The updated version of Section 1102.5 extends this protection to employees who report suspected illegal behavior: (1) internally to “a person with authority over the employee” or to another employee with the authority to “investigate discover, or correct” the reported violation; or (2) externally to any “public body conducting an investigation, hearing, or inquiry.” In addition, Section 1102.5 now prohibits employers from adopting or enforcing any rule, regulation, or policy that prevents the disclosure of reasonably-believed violations of any local (in addition to state and federal) laws, rules, or regulations.Section 1102.5 also prohibits employers from retaliating against employees based on the employer’s belief that the employee has disclosed or may disclose information regarding the employer’s illegal activity, either externally or internally, and regardless of whether disclosing such information is part of the employee’s job duties.The updated whistleblower statute is yet another potential trap for unwary employers. In light of the expanded protection for whistleblowers who report unlawful conduct to their employers, employers must be even more vigilant about investigating employee reports in a prompt, fair and thorough manner and taking appropriate corrective action. Employers also must be even more careful about documenting legitimate business reasons for making employment-related decisions such as terminations and discipline to defeat whistleblower claims. Finally, employers should update their anti-retaliation policies to reflect these new provisions and provide training to managers and supervisors regarding their compliance obligations.If you would like to discuss the new provisions of Labor Code Section 1102.5, or employment law compliance in general, please contact Philip Cha or your regular Lim Ruger attorney.

Lim Ruger Closes Two Construction Loans For The Source Office Tower

The Source project in Buena Park continues to gain momentum as Lim Ruger has closed two construction loans for a 5-story office tower. The loans include $7,399,000 in financing from an institutional lender and $5,000,000 in EB-5 financing.The office tower will be built above two levels of retail. The office developer is ground leasing the air space above the retail from the master developer.The Source is highly prominent due to its cutting edge architecture and location at the gateway to Buena Park. Upcoming development phases will feature a hotel and residential units.Lim Ruger attorneys John Lim, Marc Manason and Sophia Chang worked on this matter.

Lim Ruger Attorney Norma Nava Honored As Alumna Of The Year

Litigation associate Norma Nava was honored as the 2014 Alumna of the Year by the La Raza Law Students Association of UCLA School of Law on March 15th at the Annual Alumni Dinner. Ms. Nava received this award for her work as the Vice President of For People of Color, Inc., an organization dedicated to providing educational consulting services to underrepresented students who seek a law school education. At Lim, Ruger & Kim, LLP, Ms. Nava focuses her practice on commercial and business litigation matters. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Nava served as a judicial law clerk to Hon. Oliver W. Wanger (Ret.) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California. Ms. Nava is also the author of “A Guide to the Judicial Clerkship Application Process For People of Color.”
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