The holidays are upon us! Along with the twinkling lights and hint of merriment in the air, you may have also noticed an increase in traffic and clusters of frenzied people at the mall frantically trying to find the perfect gift. There are many things you can count on during the holiday season, and court closures has become one of those annual traditions. We have been tweeting about holiday court hours as we get more information, but for those of you who may have missed it, here are a few of the courts with reduced holiday hours:
In addition to these holiday court hours, Mono County Superior Court has announced that effective January 16, 2015, the Mammoth Lakes courthouse will implement furlough days as well as reduced operating hours. The new hours will be Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8:30 a.m. - 12:30 p.m. and Tuesday and Thursday from 12:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m. The furlough days are as follows:
Always make sure to check your local court for updated hours of operation. You can also contact our Customer Support team with any questions you might have at 800-938-8815.
San Francisco Superior Court officials and court clerks have agreed to stop feuding for the moment, as they struck an agreement which puts a bandaid over the open labor wound that has been festering over the last eight months. The temporary resolution will last until the end of June, 2015, which marks the end of the existing two-year contract. You may recall that clerks shut down court operations for one day back in October, as wage negotitiation talks turned contentious.
This temporary agreement gives clerks five new floating holidays or a two percent bonus. Clerks must either take the holidays or the bonus by June of next year. Although the labor union has yet to vote on the matter, the San Francisco Superior Court's executive committee has approved it, making it effective immediately.
Court clerks and union officials have demanded a wage increase ranging between 2.5 - 5 percent, arguing that the San Francisco Superior Court has a $16 million surplus in their reserve funds. They accused the court of negitiating in "bad faith". Superior Court Executive Officer T. Michael Yuen countered, stating that not only did the October strike violate the current labor aggreement but that the San Francisco clerks are the highest paid court employees in the state.
The clerks picketed once more in November over their lunch hour in front of the Hall of Justice. Talks ensued after the last protest, and the agreement was approved this week.
What do you think of this compromise? Do you think there is a better solution?
On December 12, the Judicial Council will consider recommendations from its Policy Coordination and Liaison Committee on what it thinks the council's priorities should be in 2015. The December 12 meeting will be open to the public. The committee has recommended that the Judicial Council should champion reinvestment in the justice system. This includes no further budget cuts and implementing a more dependable method of funding. They have also suggested in the report that the council should expand access to court interpreters and secure judgeships for communities in need.
The committee has released a report stating that California needs about 270 more judicial officers in order to manage the court system's workload. Along with the committee's recommendation that the council should expand access to court interpreters, Assembly Bill 1657 will go into effect January 1, 2015. This bill authorizes courts to provide court interpreters to any case participant in a civil matter, even if the party does not have enough income to afford one. It also gives a "priority order" when a court does not have the resources available to provide a party with an interpreter.
Lastly, the committee will provide an updated report on which trial courts have closed courtrooms and clerks' offices, or have reduced operating hours as a result of budget cuts. Since the last report was issued, Calaveras, Mono and San Diego County Superior Courts have either reduced office hours or closed courtrooms and clerks' offices.
The meeting will be held from 8:30 - 12:15 at the Judicial Council Conference Center, Hiram Johnson State Office Building, Third Floor, Ronald M. George State Office Complex, 455 Golden Gate Ave, San Francisco. You can listen to a live audiocast of the meeting on the California Courts website.
You can read more about the upcoming meeting agenda here. What do you think the Judicial Council's 2015 legislative priorities should be?
Once again, the debate on whether or not to increase the statewide minimum wage will be a hot topic for the new California Senate sworn in on Monday. Senator Mark Leno introduced a bill this week that would increase the minimum wage by $3 over the next two years. Labor unions across the state have attempted to join together fast-food workers and Walmart employees in an effort to increase the minimum wage to $15. They are also fighting to give these employees the ability to unionize.
Over the last year, the labor unions have organized several worker strikes. They led yet another strike on Wednesday in Sacramento, with demonstrations taking place outside fast food restaurants and bargain stores. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has stated that he would entertain the idea of raising the wage above the current $9/hour rate. He stated that in January 2015, he will organize a task force designed to explore the the concept of a minimum wage increase.
Voters in San Francisco approved a ballot measure that will increase the minimum wage in their city to $15/hour by 2018. Oakland voters approved a similar measure, and Los Angeles has raised the minimum wage for hotel employees that will take effect next year.
The task force will be comprised of business representatives and organized labor. They will be tasked with determining a timeline for a possible wage hike and who would be included in this increase.
Some business owners worry that a wage increase will negatively impact their business, especially coming so soon on the heels of the recession. Others argue that an increase is necessary to give full time workers the ability to provide for their families.
"We have to proceed cautiously and be aware of the unintended consequences," said Kevin Greene, director of governmental affairs for the Sacramento Metro Chamber of Commerce.
California's minimum wage became $9/hour effective July 1 of this year and will be increased to $10/hour July 1, 2016.
What is your opinion on a statewide minimum wage increase?
The San Bernardino Superior Court hosted representatives from ten County agencies and community organizations to talk about creating a Domestic Violence Council. The Domestic Violence Council Exploratory Committee hopes that the formation of a Domestic Violence Council will enhance and develop domestic violence education and prevention efforts within San Bernardino County.
In 2012, over 6,800 domestic violence-related calls for assistance were made in San Bernardino County According to the California Attorney General’s Office Criminal Justice Statistic Center, over 6,800 domestic violence related calls were made in San Bernardino County. Despite these overwhelming statstics, there are stil incidents that go unreported. The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey of 2011 reported that one out of every four women and one out of every seven men have been the victims of severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
The Domestic Violence Council Exploratory Committee hopes that the development of the Council will help coordinate and publicize domestic violence education and service efforts occurring within the county. They also hope that the Council will address the issues of domestic violence, and incorporate education, health, law enforcement, and legislative institutions.
For more information about Domestic Violence Council Exploratory Committee, please contact Suzanne Townsend at 909-708-8856. Read the entire notice here!
The Commission on the Future of California’s Court System has developed an online survey to seek feedback from the public, attorneys, judicial officers, court staff, and law enforcement on the recommendations to improve the California court system. The purpose of this survey is to generate suggestions that will help facilitate a plan to make the California judicial branch more effective and efficient.
“The commission is particularly interested in identifying outdated laws, systems, or practices and proposals for new approaches, such as the use of technology, that will improve court services and save time and resources in the long term,” said Justice Carol A. Corrigan, an associate justice of the California Supreme Court and chair of the commission. “The goal of the survey is to ensure that we’re focused on today’s most pressing priorities. All ideas are welcome.”
The deadline to complete the online survey is Friday, December 5. If you have any questions you can contact FuturesCommission@jud.ca.gov. The Commission on the Future of California’s Court System was formulated to study and make recommendations to improve the state’s court operations and accessibility. The commission plans to examine ways to increase efficiency in civil, criminal, traffic, juvenile, and family law matters within the next two years. They are also looking for ways to fiscally stabalize the California court system suffering from a lack of funds.
Will you be providing feedback?
Almost one year ago, eFiling became mandatory for all civil case types in 10 Texas counties. Today, there are 109 counties and 290 courts utilizing the efiletexas.gov eFiling system. In just the first six months of the eFiling mandate, over 2 million filings were processed through the system! The Texas courts project that by January 2015, around 90% of all civil and family law filings will be done electronically. As more Texas counties move toward mandated eFiling, the Texas Bar has put out an article with eight tips on easing into the transition as seamlessly as possible. A few of their tips include:
Bookmark and add hyperlinks! You must convert all documents into a text searchable PDF format to eFile your documents. Make sure that you have a PDF program such as Adobe Acrobat or something comparable so that you can utilize this functionality. Because judges and research attorneys are now viewing your documents electronically, it is imperative to make your filing easy to navigate. Inserting hyperlinks for citations and bookmarking exhibits ensure that your document is easy to review.
Filings may be returned for correction without affecting your deadline! If a clerk returns your document for correction under the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure 21(f)(11) and 21c(e), it is still considered filed at the time it was submitted to the EFSP. The system provides a history of all eFiling transactions, so all you need to do is correct the errors and send it back to the clerk.
You must eServe opposing counsel if they are registered to eFile. In addition to having the ability to eServe documents you have eFiled, you also have the option to eServe discovery as well. Think of all the time, paper and money you can save!
Did you know that we offer eFiling in Texas? You can learn more tips and tricks as well as the eFiling rules and procedures by attending our Texas Two Step webinar! As always, don't hesitate to contact our Training team with questions.
We want to know - do you eFile in Texas?
San Francisco Superior Court has issued a mandate that all general Civil case types, with the exception of Unlawful Detainer and Small Claims matters, must be eFiled effective December 8, 2014. We are happy to announce that One Legal, especially as a local Bay-Area based company, supports the court's eFiling and eService mandate.
With our new and modern eFiling solution, you will experience:
A smooth, easy to use workflow. Some of you may have already experienced our eFiling workflow in San Diego and Orange County!
Local Customer Support with in-depth court knowledge.
Innovative features including the ability to access your conformed copies from within our application! This will provide you with anytime access to your filed-endorsed copies without having to visit the court's website.
Free MCLE accredited training to improve your efficiency and productivity!
To celebrate the launch of our eFiling product and in order to support the San Francisco Superior Court mandate, we are offering free eFiling and eService for the first 30 days! You can find out more about the mandate and other important information as well as download our Welcome Packet here!
While you may have attended one of our Tools of the Trade training, we know that the real questions begin when you actually have to do a Filing or a Process Serve! Not to worry - your Product Training and Research Team has you covered. We have created a quick-read training guide to help you complete your Physical Filing and Process Service with ease! Click here to access our new training materials.
We are always striving to provide you with the best training materials we can. When you have had a chance to see what we've been busy creating, we want your feedback! Email Brooke Greene with your thoughts on our new and improved guides.
We have 25 years of experience which comes in handy when you need someone to file your documents with a respective court or serve your documents. We have knowledge of local rules so you don't have to spend a good portion of your day trying to figure out the idiosyncrasies of the court in which you are trying to file. We have 58 superior courts in California, and sometimes it feels like there are 58 different sets of rules to follow! Our court runners are at the court all day long and have learned what the clerks expect in order to get your documents filed in a timely fashion. You can also file and serve within the same transaction, so you can have all of your filing and process service needs met in one click.
Need additional training? Sign up for any of our free, MCLE accredited courses for more information!
You can always count on us to provide you with the tools, information and personal assistance you need to excel at your firm – each and every day!
In an attempt to show their commitment to fighting for a wage increase, San Joaquin County Superior Court clerks have voted to authorize a strike should their union decide it is an appropriate course of action. Due to the California court budget crisis, county clerks say that they have had to deal with an increased workload and furlough days. They now want increased compensation as they believe that the crisis is over and the court now has the money to give the clerks a raise.
Eighty-one percent of the SEIU Local 1021 union members voted to authorize a potential strike, and the authorization passed with 88 percent of voters in favor. However, it has not been disclosed when this strike may occur or how the possible strike could impact court services.
Court clerks also want to extend court hours. The Stockton courthouse currently closes at 3:00 pm. Court officials do not believe that they are ready for this, although they do say that improvements are in the works. Such improvements include reopening the Lodi branch.
The San Francisco Superior Court clerks recently went on strike in October, disrupting court operations the day after the Columbus Day holiday. They too demanded an increase in wages. An agreement has not yet been reached.
What do you think of this potential strike in San Joaquin County?