We are pleased to announce that Benjamin L. Caplan has joined Booth LLP as an associate attorney. Ben is an experience attorney who has represented individual, corporate clients, and institutional clients in a wide variety of both litigation and transactional capacities. He has litigated civil actions in state and federal court in the areas of corporate and partnership disputes, trade secrets, intellectual property disputes, environmental litigation and land use matters, complex asbestos and other toxic tort litigation, product liability claims, landlord-tenant disputes including habitability and premises liability, complex construction defect litigation, employment disputes, ERISA litigation, civil rights claims, and general liability matters. Ben has also advocated for clients as counsel of record before the United States Patent and Trademark Office and the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board.
The elected officers of the Transportation Lawyers Association
On April 28, 2016, Hillary was elected First Vice-President at the annual membership meeting of the Transportation Lawyers Association (TLA). The TLA is an international association of lawyers who represent members of the transportation and logistics industry. As the First Vice-President, Hillary will serve as the editor of the TLA’s publication, The Transportation Lawyer, which contains case notes, legal articles, and analysis of current topics and legal trends.
We are pleased to announce that Jason Booth and Megumi Horiuchi have been invited to join the prestigious Claims and Litigation Management Alliance. The CLM is a nonpartisan alliance comprised of thousands of insurance companies, corporations, Corporate Counsel, Litigation and Risk Managers, claims professionals and attorneys. Through education and collaboration the organization’s goals are to create a common interest in the representation by firms of companies, and to promote and further the highest standards of litigation management in pursuit of client defense. Selected attorneys and law firms are extended membership by invitation only based on nominations from CLM Fellows.
Booth LLP is proud to announce that Jason Booth has been named a Southern California Super Lawyer for 2016. Jason was designated as a Super Lawyer based on his expertise in the areas of Product Liability Defense, General Civil Litigation Defense, and Environmental Litigation. Designation as a Super Lawyer means that Jason is among the Top 5 percent of lawyers practicing in our legal community, based on an extensive screening and voting process.
Booth LLP is pleased to announce that Joshua N. Levine has joined Booth LLP as a partner. Josh brings extensive experience in all stages of the litigation process, including jury and court trials, arbitrations, mediations, and appeals. Josh has represented businesses in a wide variety of complex cases, including claims involving breach of contract, product liability, personal injury, construction, unfair competition, environmental contamination, and business torts. Over his career, he has represented manufacturing companies in contract, toxic tort, CERCLA, and unfair competition claims; service companies in trade secret, employment, professional malpractice, and Cartwright Act claims; technology companies in business interference and contractual claims; real estate brokerages in commission disputes and negligence claims; property owners in environmental claims and CEQA disputes; consulting companies in misrepresentation and unfair competition claims; “start-up” companies in licensing issues and partnership disputes; and import/export companies in breach of contract and product liability claims.
Josh graduated from Cornell University with Honors, obtaining a BS degree in Public Affairs Management in 1991. He then graduated from the University of California School of Law, Los in Angeles, obtaining his JD degree in 1994. While in law school, Josh was a Board Member of the school’s Moot Court Honors Program. Josh has received a Commendation from the City of Lancaster in 2013 for “demonstrated excellence in trial advocacy” and he received an “Award of Meritorious Service” from the CAOC in 2006. Josh has been named as a Southern California Rising Star multiple times by Los Angeles Magazine. Josh has been rated as “Excellent” by AVVO since 2014. Josh is licensed to practice law in both California and Arizona. We are excited to have Josh join our firm, and we look forward to working with him and providing his enviable skill and experience to our clients.
On July 8, 2015, Massachusetts District Court Judge Denise Casper held that the FAAAA (Federal Aviation and Administration Authorization Act of 1994) pre-empts a Massachusetts state law limiting classification of independent contractors to those whose work differs from the company’s usual line of business. The Court granted summary judgement to the Massachusetts Delivery Association in a case challenging Massachusetts’ “ABC” law. The “ABC” law provides conditions for the classification of workers as independent contractors. By granting summary judgment, Judge Casper found that the “ABC” law was preempted because it relates to rates, routes, or services of motor carriers. Interestingly, Judge Casper had previously ruled in the opposite direction, but upon appeal to the First Circuit Court of Appeals, that decision was overruled and sent back to the District Court. Judge Casper’s new opinion focused mostly on Prong B of the “ABC” law, which states that a worker is properly classified as an independent contractor if “the service is performed outside the usual course of the business of the employer.” In an opinion that examined several outcomes of a carrier’s adherence to Prong B, Judge Casper’s opinion can essentially be boiled down to this: The “ABC” law as it stands would force many trucking companies operating in Massachusetts to reclassify independent contractors as employees. That reclassification would alter those companies’ prices, routes, and services. Thus, the FAAAA preempts the state law, effectively nullifying it when pertaining to trucking operations in the state of Massachusetts.
On June 3, 2016, the Labor Commissioner of the State of California issued a Decision finding that Uber Technologies is the employer of the “Transportation Providers” with whom it contracts to use its software system and who provide transportation to Uber’s customers. The Commissioner analyzed the factors set forth by the California Supreme Court in S.G. Borella & Sons, Inc. v. Dept. of Industrial Relations (1989) 48 Cal.3d 341 with a focus on the finding that the drivers provide services integral to the business of Uber. While the Commissioner found control of the overall operation was exercised by Uber, she acknowledged that there was a minimal degree of control over the details of the work. Nevertheless, given the statutes establishing a presumption of employment and the “modern tendency” to find employment when the individual is providing work that is integral to the regular business of the alleged employer, it was determined that the drivers are employees of Uber. Uber filed a Notice of Appeal on June 16, 2015 in the California Superior Court.
Hillary Booth participated in a panel discussion titled: “How Effective Implementation and Management of Internal Corporate Policies Can Eliminate Claims and Make Lawsuits Defensible” at the TLA 2015 Annual Conference. The panel evaluated common policies that are beneficial for some reasons, but may have negative ramifications in other areas of a business, and common policies that violate the law or create unintended negative inferences for a business.
In May 2015, Hillary was elected to serve as the Second Vice President of the Transportation Lawyers Association, an association of over 1000 lawyers from accross North America specializing in providing services to the transportation industry.