Shareholder Craig A. Livingston attended the three-day Product Liability Advisory Council Fall Conference in Dana Point, California, beginning October 31, 2018. The conference was attended by more than 175 Corporate and Sustaining Members of PLAC, as well as other product liability experts, who discussed complex legal issues facing product manufactures, suppliers and retailers. Conference programs ranged from a preview of the 2018-2019 U.S. Supreme Court term to the product liability implications of artificial intelligence and block chain technology, “smart” product risk management, autonomous vehicles, global product regulation, and the risk implications of the Common Decency Act on “brick and mortar” retailers vs. e-commerce retailers.
Effective January 1, 2019, a new law will require California attorneys to provide a more detailed disclosure to clients participating in mediation about the confidential nature of information exchanged during mediation, including attorney-client communications. In addition, attorneys will be required to obtain a written acknowledgment from the client regarding this disclosure.
It has long been the law in California that all communications made for or during mediation are confidential and may not be used as evidence in a subsequent trial. (See, Evid. Code §§ 1115-1128.) Though there was strong disagreement by both the plaintiffs’ and defense bars, the Legislature nonetheless believed some attorneys were not adequately informing clients of the ban on the use of information exchanged in mediation in subsequent proceedings, and clients could therefore be surprised in a future malpractice action against their attorney.
The new law, which will be codified as Evidence Code section 1129, requires the client to acknowledge, in writing, that he or she understands all communications made in the mediation setting are confidential and cannot be used in any subsequent action, including an action for legal malpractice. Code-compliant notification language is provided in section 1129, subdivision (d), and subdivision (c) sets forth several specific requirements for this notification: 1) it must be printed in the client’s preferred language in at least 12-point font; 2) it must be printed on a single page that is not attached to any other document provided to the client, and; 3) it must include the names of the attorney and client and be signed and dated by both. In addition to Evidence Code section 1129, the law adds a new subdivision (a)(3) to Evidence Code section 1122 relating to the disclosure and admissibility of mediation communications in certain situations.
The notification and acknowledgement shall be obtained as soon as reasonably possible before the mediation. If the client has agreed to mediation before retaining the attorney, for example when the client is contractually obligated to participate in mediation as a dispute resolution method, the attorney should obtain the acknowledgement as soon as reasonably possible after being retained.
In light of the new notification and acknowledgment rules, we will be working closely with our clients to ensure they are aware of and understand the confidential nature of information exchanged during the mediation process.
Crystal L. Van Der Putten and John C. Hentschel present Mock Trial Demonstration at NAMWOLF Regional Conference
LLF Shareholders Renée Welze Livingston and Craig A. Livingston Named as Northern California Super Lawyers
Livingston Law Firm shareholders Renée Welze Livingston and Craig A. Livingston were again selected for inclusion on the prestigious Northern California Super Lawyers list to which no more than five percent of practicing regional attorneys are named. Renée was named to the list for her distinguished civil litigation defense practice and Craig was named for his product liability defense work. Both Renée and Craig have been included on the Northern California Super Lawyers list for many years.
"As a firm, we are dedicated to providing the highest quality legal services and delivering positive results for our clients. It is an honor to have our peers recognize us as being at the top of our practice areas," said Managing Shareholder Renée Welze Livingston.
Super Lawyers, a Thomson Reuters-owned rating service, evaluates highly-regarded attorneys from more than 70 practice areas through a multi-phase process. Each year, attorneys are selected for inclusion on regional lists based upon peer nominations, peer evaluations and the service's own independent research. The annual Northern California Super Lawyers list is published in Super Lawyers Magazine (Northern Calilfornia edition) and is available online at www.superlawyers.com.
June 2018: LLF obtained 1 summary judgment, 1 outright dismissal and 1 good faith settlement determination. Attended 2 mediations in 2 states and 11 depositions on 2 coasts. Settled 3 cases and taught 4 law school classes. Logged 15,500 airline miles. Counseled national clients on new Proposition 65 regulations and CLRA. Negotiated tender acceptance. Gave legal update at SAAMI meeting. Spoke on gender bias at bar association program. Attended 3 board meetings, 1 leadership conference, 1 past president's dinner, 1 senior lawyers roundtable and 1 NBA championship game. Today we play (the ponies)!