BUsiness & Economics

On-the-spot tax "refunds" turn out to be loans–sometimes at triple-digit interest rates.

MONEY FOR NOTHING ( 9/01/2003)
Corporations collect billions in job-creation subsidies, with often dubious results.

Predatory mortgage-lending straps poor people with impossible amounts of life-long debt.

A sophisticated social movement fights back against predatory lending practices.

A fractious Los Angeles coalition hangs together to win in a downtown development battle.

Over 120 towns and cities across the country give minimum wage workers a raise.

Businesses that get tax subsidies should be held to a salary and benefits standard.


CHEAP LA (9/29-10/5/2000)
Every other California county is more generous with home-care workers.



The Supervisor won’t give up on privatizing LA County welfare-to-work programs.

A DREAM IN THE WORKS (7/30-8/5/1999)
Grassroots alliance digs in as movie studio honors its job-training pledge.

(Private firms derailed in bid to take over county aid program.

DREAM DEAL (5/28-6/03/1999)
Activists strike last-minute deal with film studio.

BATTLING FOR THE BIG ONES (5/14-5/20/1999)
(Reformers get mixed results in targeting major projects.

PLAYING THE NUMBERS (8/28-9/03/1998)
Welfare statistics cloud the issues.


SECURING SAFE WAGES (8/28-9/03/1998)
Airport screeners get paid bottom dollar for a tedious and essential job


Santa Monica hotels finance a phony living wage ballot measure in order to bamboozle voters.


DIRTY BUSINESS (7/14/2005)
Lacking health care and working for peanuts, janitors strike against a sub-contractor for an aerospace giant.

BREAKIN’ A SWEAT (3/17/05)
Garment-worker advocates worry that the city won’t enforce L.A.’s unique anti-sweatshop ordinance.

THIS YEAR’S LINE (12/23/04)
Global politics bring some good news but maybe some bad to L.A.’s garment workers.

Southern california still feels the aftershocks of last year’s devastating grocery strike.

GROUND ZERO LA (9/23/04)
The International Hotel Workers Union may be headed to a strike in LA.

Strike-weary Los Angeles braces itself as hotel workers and management clash.

After a spectacular crash-and-burn, L.A.’s film commission, the Entertainment Industry Development Corporation, looks like it’s back on track.



The race for the economic bottom as globalization and outsourcing impact American workers.

Software Counsel Faces Corruption Charges (05/10/07)

The indictment of the chief in-house lawyer for a San Diego software firm is only the latest in the wave of corruption charges against corporate lawyers.

Prominent Lawyer Takes Intellectual Property, Patent Practice to Howrey (05/07/07)
Jeannine Yoo Sano joins global giant law firm Howrey as a partner.

New Counsel Joins Breast Cancer Mission (4/23/07)
Kimberly Simpson’s last job championed child patients–now she is top lawyer for the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

Experts Outline Do’s and Don’t’s of Handling Electronic Data (4/19/07)
An e-mail is not mere communication–it’s potential evidence. Lawyers are playing catch-up on how to manage electronic information so it doesn’t come back to bite them in court.

Lawyers Struggle With New Rules (4/19/07)
Six months after the Supreme Court amended its Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, lawyers are scrambling to understand and apply the new regulations.

Experienced Business Lawyer Joins Century City’s Valensi (4/02/07)
Gary F. Torrell brings lots of corporate litigation experience to his new position.

Business Finds Legal Salaries Harder to Stomach (3/19/07)
Law firms have boosted associates’ salaries to $160,000 a year, but the corporate lawyers that use external firms for support balk at absorbing the cost of higher salaries.

Cooley Adds Partner To Its IP Leadership (3/12/07)
Thomas Friel, a partner at Cooley Godward Kronish, has been bumped up to head the firm’s intellectual property group.

Grand Jury Indicts McAfee Counsel in Backdating Case (2/28/07)
The former general counsel of the internet security software company resigned but now finds himself under indictment.

HP Brings Holston In-House as Leak Investigation Rolls On (2/9/07)
Hewlett-Packard, under the Feds’ legal microscope after a couple of scandals, has hired former federal prosecutor Michael J. Holston as its new general counsel.

Angels Rebuffed Anaheim’s Bid to Control the Baseball Team’s Name (2/08/07)
The team’s legal victory was one of 2006's top verdicts.

Nonequity Partners Are Benefit-Eligible Employees, Judge Rules (2/02/07)
The ruling says a law firm can’t call someone a partner but not pay them like one–so owe unemployment payments if the so-called partner gets laid off.

Prosecutor In Ralphs Case Opens Practice Next to His Dad’s (1/30/07)
Government lawyer Adam Braun successfully prosecuted Ralphs Grocery Company for law-breaking to win a strike. Now he’s left the U.S. Attorney’s office for one in the private sector–next door to his dad’s, celebrity defense attorney Harlan Braun.

Grocers and Union Battle in Court (1/19/07)
California grocers challenge a Los Angeles ordinance that says they must retain workers 90 days after acquiring a grocery store changes hands.

Dance Lover’s Legal Footwork Gets Ballet On Its Toes (12/27/06)
Lawyer Jennifer Bellah Maguire trained in ballet–that passion plus her legal skills have helped establish LA Ballet.

Ninth Legal-Self-Help Center Opens (12/20/06)
Los Angeles County now boasts nine self-help legal centers that supply computers and staff to help civilians with non-complex legal matters.

Veteran Baseball Arbitrator Steps Up to Grocery Strike Plate (11/14/06)
Thomas T. Roberts is best known for his arbitration on high-dollar baseball salaries–but now he’s managing the $50 million pot that Ralphs Grocery Company must pay locked-out workers.

Combined Vioxx Cases Will Start Trial Today (11/08/07 )
Merck & Co faces a barrage of lawsuits that allege the painkiller Vioxx caused cardiovascular injury. Two suits begin trial in a Los Angeles courtroom–and the stakes are high.

Vioxx Judge May Issue Template Rulings for Controlling 4,000 Cases (11/04/06)
With nearly 20,000 Vioxx lawsuits nationwide, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Victoria Chaney must devise the best way to manage the 4,000 cases in her charge.

U.S. Judge Ok’s Plea Deal With Ralphs; Employees Speak Out (10/17/06)
Wronged employees speak their piece as a judge accepts a plea deal with Ralphs Grocery Company, indicted on charges related to re-hiring and paying employees under false social security numbers.

Locked-Out Grocery Workers Will Speak At Ralphs Hearing (10/16/06)
Rafael Moraga and fellow Ralphs workers address the court about the devastating fallout from a 4 months-plus strike–one the grocery chain prolonged through illegal means, according to prosecutors.

Filing Deadline Passes as Cases Against Merck Rise by 50 Percent (10/04/06)
There are now 4,000 cases against Merck & Co that allege Vioxx caused heart attack or stroke.

Ralphs Clerk Pleads Guilty to Falsifying W-4 (9/18/06)
A 48-year-old grocery clerk has become the first individual indicted in connection with a Ralphs Grocery Company scheme to lock out striking workers then pay some under false identities.

Judge Rules Two State Vioxx Cases Are To Be Combined (9/13/06)
Merck & Co. , the manufacturer of Vioxx, has pushed to have each of thousands of cases tried one at a time.

Deadline to Get In on Vioxx Mass Tort Action Looms in 30 States (8/31/06)
Plaintiffs’ lawyers scramble to file lawsuits at the approach of the two-year anniversary of manufacturers’ withdrawal of Vioxx from the market.

Whittier Firm First To Clear Bankruptcy In Asbestos Litigation (8/22/06)
The first asbestos cases in the 1970s targeted manufacturing companies for unsafely handling the carcinogenic asbestos–now plaintiffs’ attorneys are pressing cases that go after other sources.

Plaintiff Prevails in Federal Vioxx Case (8/18/06)
The Newport Beach-based powerhouse firm Robinson, Calcagnie & Robinson scored the first California victory for a Vioxx plaintiff.

Unions and Hotels Gird for NLRB Battle (8/15/06)
Workers at five Los Angeles hotels are embroiled in contentious organizing drives.

Merck Learning How to Reach Juries, Observers Say (8/04/06)
Merck & Co.’s win in California’s first Vioxx liability trial illustrates defense lawyers’ methods of persuading a jury.

Lawyers for Merck Questions Amount of Vioxx Plaintiff Took (8/02/06)
Merck lawyers mounted a fierce counterattack with records that showed the plaintiff had taken Vioxx on only several occasions, not for months as plaintiffs’ attorneys had said.

Grocers Group Sues LA Over Workers Bill (7/28/06) Los Angeles passed a law requiring companies that buy out grocery stores to retain the employees for at least 90 days. The California Grocers Association took the city to court.

Ralphs to Enter Formal Plea in Lockout (7/26/06)
Ralphs Grocery Company will plead guilty in Los Angeles federal district court to charges in an indictment that says the company rehired locked out workers under false social security numbers.

Merck Attacks Testimony That It Played Down Vioxx Risks (7/13/06)
Defense lawyers for Merck & Co challenged a marketing expert’s testimony asserting the company downplayed Vioxx risks as part of a business plan.

Merck Feared $437 Million In Lost Sales (7/10/06) Merck & Co anticipated it could lose nearly a fifth of a projected $2.5 billion annual profit if patients became aware of potential cardiovascular risks from the painkiller Vioxx.

Vioxx Lawyers Fight Consolidation in Next California Cases (6/29/06)
Merck lawyers see a tactical advantage in fighting Vioxx cases one-by-one; plaintiffs attorneys would be happy to do several at one time. It’s up to the judge to decide.

Judge, Lawyers, Meet to Pick Vioxx Cases (6/28/06)
Defense attorneys for Merck &. Co, and plaintiffs lawyers arguing Vioxx harmed their clients will meet with the Los Angeles Superior Court judge who decides cases go to trial first.

Medical Journal Runs Correction on Study of Vioxx Data (6/27/06)
The New England Journal of Medicine’s correction to their Vioxx study comes on the eve of the painkiller’s first California liability trial--and potentially undermines Merck & Co’s defense.

Merck’s Lawyers Are Glad to Try Only One Vioxx Case (6/22/06)
Several plaintiffs’ stories at one time detailing alleged Vioxx injuries could tip jurors against Merck’s defense arguments.

Concerns About Due Process Cause Judge To Sever Vioxx Cases (6/19/06)
Just hours before jury selection was scheduled to begin in California’s first Vioxx liability trial, the judge separated the two cases that were to have gone to trial together.

Judge Puts Off Her Decision on Severing Vioxx Cases (6/19/06)
Lawyers for Merck and plaintiffs attorneys both wait as judge weighs whether California’s first Vioxx liability trial should include one case alone or two together.

Judge OKs $161 Million in Attorney Fees in Sempra Suit (6/16/06)
It’s an outsize payday for three plaintiffs attorneys who won a huge lawsuit.

Merck, Plaintiffs Lawyers, Square Off Over Cameras in Vioxx Courtroom (6/15/06)
Merck says it’s all for transparency during the California Vioxx liability trials, but object to a small courtroom camera that would allow subscribers to watch proceedings on the web.

Merck Spreads Good Word About Vioxx (5/30/06)
As Vioxx-related lawsuits pile up by the thousands, the drug’s manufacturer has gone on a public relations blitz that includes a new website, a PR team and institutional advertising.

Vioxx-Case Defenders Push For Dismissal (5/17/06)
Merck lawyers move to dismiss one of the two Vioxx liability cases headed for trial together.

Lawyers Seem Ready to Name Vioxx Plaintiffs (5/11/06) Merck lawyers would prefer to try Vioxx liability cases in which plaintiffs had numerous cardiovascular risk factors before they took the painkiller.

Appellate Lawyers Score Sexy Cases, Cool Hobbies (5/10/06)
Kent L. Richland argued Anna Nicole Smith’s case before the US Supreme Court; Irving Greines is another outstanding appellate lawyer who is–literally–a magician.

Brave New World: Courting Videoconferences (4/21/06)
If an experiment in an LA Superior Court goes well, attorneys may be able to forgo hours on the freeway by handling some proceedings by videoconference.

Master of Big Picture, Small Details (4/20/08)
Brad D. Brian is partner at Munger.Tolles & Olson–while, in his spare time, championing dance in Los Angeles and chairing the litigation section of the American Bar Association.

TV Shrink Dr. Phil to Open ABA’s Litigation Conference (4/17/06)
Phil McGraw was a jury consultant when Oprah met him and launched him as a household name.

Discovery Will Delay Choice of Vioxx Cases (4/11/06)
It could be weeks before the first of thousands of California Vioxx cases begin trial.

L.A. Judge Will Choose Vioxx Cases ((4/10/06)
The months-long runup could reach a turning point if an LA Superior Court judge selects the first case or cases she will try.

Pro Tems Fill Opening On LA’s Bench (4/07/06)
Lawyers go through special training when they volunteer to pinch hit for civil court judges.

Another Greenberg Clusker Lawyer Departs (4/06/06)
The Greenberg Clusker law firm has shed partners as feds continue to scrutinize relationships with indicted private investigator Anthony Pellicano.

Both Sides in Vioxx Case Will Use Earlier Strategies (3/24/06)
Vioxx liability trials in other states have returned mixed results for both Merck and plaintiffs attorneys, but it looks like both sides are planning to stick to previous legal strategies.

Merck Loses Fight To Scatter California Cases (2/16/06)
Vioxx manufacturer Merck & Co. is defending thousands of liability cases around the country, and it would have been an advantage to move thousands out of California–but Merck lost the motion.

L.A. Courtroom Will Be Stage For Epic Battle Over Vioxx (1/25/06)
A monster legal bout is shaping up as the pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co prepares to face off with some 4,000 California plaintiffs who say Vioxx caused heart attack and stroke.

Walt Weighs In On The Economy (12/05/08)
On Walt Disney’s birthday, hotel workers are pushing the Disney company to negotiate a fair contract while a weird little Disney WWII-era cartoon clip that extols saving money travels the internet.

In From the Margins (11/21/08)
For years American political discourse has pooh-poohed public investment as an economic force, but now that the economy into the dumper, the conversation has shifted.

The Free Market Ain’t Free (9/12/08)
The Bush Administration championed the "free market"–until it needed taxpayers to subsidize the $700 billion bank bailout.

Obama’s Nomination: Just in Time For Labor Day (08/08/29)
Unions and labor-community alliances around the country look to an Obama Adminstration to support the fight to raise wage and working standards.

A Messy Food Fight (7/30/08)
Great Britain’s largest grocer, Tesco, is moving into the U.S. under the name Fresh and Easy Neighborhood Markets. The chain claims it provides good jobs and cares about serving low-income neighborhoods–but a closer look reveals it's not all quite like that.

The Thanks of a Grateful Nation (7/15/08) The foreclosure rate in military towns is four times the national average–there’s lots of talk about supporting our troops, but it seems lots of companies and brokers were ready to aggressively sell them on bad loans.

Halting the Oil Slick’s Spread (6/23/08)
As the price-per-barrel of oil goes up, a Houston-based company wants to expand drilling--virtually into L.A. residents’ backyards.

New Math for a New (We Hope) Era (6/17/08) Maybe it’s time to look at how many jobs and other societal benefits we could reap per billion dollars moved from military spending into other sectors.

Asking the Big, Fat Question (6/02/08)
Tsk-tsking about young peoples’ propensity for weight-gain makes good news copy, but a closer look shows the most outsize kids are poor, have little access to healthful foods and live in neighborhoods where it’s too dangerous to walk or play outside.

Countrywide CEO’s Cyberblunder (5/26/08)
Countrywide CEO Angelo Mozilo–the pointman for turning the mortgage company into a leading purveyor of bad loans–makes an e-etiquette mistake that turned his rude remarks about a borrower into national news.

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