Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer

Legal Issues Blog

New study finds Oakland, CA has high rate of distracted driving


A recent study dug into the rate of distracted driving throughout the country. One portion of the study looked specifically at the rate of distracted driving incidents in big cities. It examined data from Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Miami, New York and other, similarly sized cities.

The researchers found that the Oakland area was one of the top locations for distracted driving practices.

Are California's medical malpractice damage limits going national?


California laws governing how medical malpractice claims are handled legally were changed in 1975 in response to alleged concerns over rapidly increasing costs medical professionals faced for insurance coverage. Although limits on medical malpractice damages has been a conservative talking point in Congress for the last several decades, the debate has been kickstarted by medical provider advocacy groups and this time the U.S. Congress is listening.

New proposals are on the table that would force every state to institute or increase restrictions on lawsuits for medical negligence. California's Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (MICRA) is often held up as the model which other states should be forced into following.

In this post, we'll take a look at one aspect of California's 40 year old MICRA and why it has been harmful to medical consumers since its passage.

Injured on vacation: is your hotel responsible?


Every year, millions of people from around the world visit California for vacation, business or to visit relatives. Once here, visitors need a place to stay, so they spend millions of dollars on hotel rooms and similar accommodations.

No matter how much a guest spends on a hotel room here in the Bay Area, the hotel's owners have a legal duty to keep the guest reasonably safe. Rooms and common areas must be maintained and kept free of dangerous defects and conditions. Floors, parking lots and sidewalks must be kept dry and clear of debris to minimize the risk of a slip-and-fall accident. Elevators must be regularly inspected and maintained. Smoke detectors and fire extinguishers must be in working order.

Buyer beware: not all stem cell treatments are created equal


Stem cell research has been a growing area of medical science for years-with real promise of bringing remedies to many of the world's incurable diseases. Scientists are exploring the practice of injecting patients with placental and umbilical cord blood-which is uniquely rich in stem cells. The treatment has life-saving potential for patients suffering from blood disorders, blood cancers and immune disorders-among other ailments.

In recent years, however, a different type of treatment has cropped up across the nation-which goes by a similar name but has potentially devastating consequences. Practitioners of this treatment, involving taking adult stem cells from one area of a patient's body and injecting them into another, problem area, admit that no applications, or potential applications, using these autologous stem cells are approved by the FDA, or are even effective. The theory behind the practice is that the injection of healthy cells will work to regenerate the unhealthy ones. This form of treatment has scientists and federal agencies legitimately concerned.

Possible link between brain injury, violent behavior found


A blow to the head can cause a wide range of long-term effects, including memory problems, chronic headaches, sensitivity to light and mood swings. But can a brain injury change your behaviors or personality?

A growing body of research suggests that brain trauma is a major factor in violent crime. In other words, a traumatic brain injury (TBI) like a brain tumor, can change a person from law-abiding into a thief, someone who gets into fistfights -- even, perhaps, a murderer.

Car crashes through 2nd-story window in California


Few people imagine being involved in a car accident while they are sitting in their living room. The road is where the vast majority of auto wrecks happen, of course. But no building close to the street is safe from reckless motorists. And if you or your love ones are in the wrong part of the house when the car crashes through the wall, someone could get seriously hurt.

Scary crash into a building

What isn't protected by employment discrimination law?

In California, state and federal law protects workers from discrimination based on several factors, including:

  • Race
  • National Origin
  • Gender
  • Age
  • Sexual orientation
  • Pregnancy status

However, it is important to note that most employers still have broad powers to hire and fire their workers as they see fit. Reasons can range from poor productivity to chronic tardiness to simple personality conflicts with co-workers or management. The vast majority of employees are “at-will” workers, which means they do not have an employment contract and their employer can terminate them at any time for nearly any (legally permitted) reason.

California lawmaker sexual harassment crisis: is training adequate?


The movement by women across the country who are coming forward with their stories of workplace sexual harassment has reached the California State Capitol. In October, a letter signed by nearly 150 women was released that said sexual harassment is at toxic levels in the Legislature. Since then, two assemblymen have resigned after several women accused them of harassment, and a state senator is facing similar claims of inappropriate behavior with female staff members.

As the nation reckons at last with how pervasive and destructive sexual harassment is in this country, it is clear that things have to change. The courage of victims naming their harassers is just the beginning. Litigation against companies that protect executives and managers who harass their subordinates will be an important part of making all workplaces a safe and healthy environment for everyone.

Gwilliam Firms makes $10k contribution to Law Library

The law Firm of Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer made a $10,000 contribution today to the Alameda County Law Library to help raise the necessary $50,000 in funding to reinstate evening and weekend hours at the Law Library.


(L to R) Gary Gwilliam, Esq.; Honorable Vernon K. Nakahara, Law Library Board Member; Mark Estes, Director Alameda County Law Library and Steven J. Brewer, Esq.

"We believe in the access to justice mission of the Law Library and hope our contribution will help encourage other Alameda County Law Firms to also contribute towards the $50,000 needed to reinstate evening and weekend hours at the Law Library." said Steven J. Brewer, Esq. of Gwilliam Ivary Chiosso Cavalli & Brewer.

What are the benefits of motorcyclists splitting lanes?


Only when every driver is courteous, cautious and alert are California's streets and highways reasonably safe. Unfortunately, sometimes it's hard to tell that everybody is on the same "team" when it comes to traffic safety.

A big example is the long-running feud between motorcycle riders and people driving cars and trucks. It seems like whenever there is a collision between a motorcycle and a four-wheeled vehicle, two camps emerge: those who blame the rider and those who say the driver was at fault. Many of these terrible crashes occur when a rider is attempting to split lanes.

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