• TAGLaw West Coast Regional Meeting | March 10-11, 2017

    TAGLaw West Coast Regional Meeting

    March 10-11, 2017
    San Francisco, CA

    We look forward to hosting you in San Francisco!


    Friday Evening, March 10th

    6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
    Welcome Reception

    Join us for refreshments and hors d’oeuvres as we welcome you to San Francisco at Press Club, a lively local wine lounge in the Financial District.

    Press Club
    20 Yerba Buena Lane
    San Francisco, CA 94103
    (Yerba Buena Lane is the pedestrian-only street spanning Market & Mission Streets, between 3rd & 4th Streets next to the Four Seasons.)

    Saturday Morning, March 11th

    8:30 AM – 1:00 PM

    Check-in and coffee and breakfast begin at 8:30 AM, with the program beginning promptly at 9:00 AM.

    The presentations include:

    Settlement of In re: Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices and Products Liability Litigation
    Judge Charles R. Breyer, Senior District Judge for the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and partner with Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass before his appointment to the bench, will discuss the recent $1.6 billion settlement that resolved lawsuits filed by Volkswagen AG franchise dealerships in the wake of the carmaker’s 2015 diesel emissions scandal.

    2017 Financial Outlook and Law Firm Leaders’ Expectations
    Citibank will share insights into what’s driving revenue in midsized law firms and highlight what successful firms are doing differently. Law firm leaders’ expectations and a financial outlook for 2017 will also be discussed.

    Catapulting Toward the Future: How are law firms focusing on brand, recruiting and innovation?
    International architecture and design firm Gensler will discuss how law firms are focusing on brand, recruiting and innovation through design.

    TAGLaw Update
    Richard Attisha will provide the group with a TAGLaw update.

    Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP
    One Montgomery Tower, Suite 3000
    San Francisco, CA 94104
    (The entrance to One Montgomery Tower is accessed at 120 Kearny Street between Post and Sutter streets. Please check in at the security desk to gain access to the elevators. We are located on the 30th floor.)

    Saturday Afternoon, March 11th

    1:00 PM – 2:30 PM

    Enjoy lunch and tea service at this unique restaurant overlooking beautiful Yerba Buena Gardens.

    Samovar Tea Lounge
    730 Howard Street
    San Francisco, CA 94103

    3:30 PM – 4:30 PM
    Guided tour of Matisse/Diebenkorn exhibit
    *Optional – please RSVP to evictor@coblentzlaw.com by Friday, March 3rd to reserve your ticket.

    151 3rd Street
    San Francisco, CA 94103

    Saturday Evening, March 11th

    6:30 PM

    Enjoy an epic dinner to close the meeting at one of San Francisco’s best restaurants, featuring rustic Italian fare from Michelin-starred chef Michael Tusk.

    490 Pacific Avenue
    San Francisco, CA 94133

    If you’re staying in town through Sunday, or would like other ideas for fun things to do Saturday afternoon, here are our favorite ways to experience San Francisco:

    Explore the historic Ferry Building marketplace, and treat yourself to a self-guided “foodie tour.” Click here for a sample tour itinerary.

    Take a stroll or rent a bicycle and ride through Golden Gate Park, filled with gardens, museums, art, flowers, trees, lakes, birds and wildlife. The Park’s many attractions can be found here, and a mobile map can be found here.

    Catch a Hop-On Hop-Off bus and take a sightseeing tour of the City. You can purchase a ticket at any of the 40 designated stops around San Francisco. Click here for more information, and here for a map of bus stops.

    Take a ferry across the Bay to the picturesque town of Sausalito. Boats depart approximately every 90 minutes from the Ferry Building’s ferry terminal. Click here to view the ferry schedule, and here for things to do in Sausalito.

    *Please note the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade will take place on Saturday, March 11th, and will affect traffic due to closure of parts of Market Street.

    Categories: Events
  • Developments in Vineyard and Winery Employment Laws

    Join us for a practical information session reviewing new and existing employment law regulations and their impact on vineyards and wineries.

    Thursday, November 17, 2016  |  4:00 pm – 6:00 pm

    CIA at Copia
    500 1st Street
    Napa, CA 94559

    Click here to RSVP.

    On September 12, Gov. Jerry Brown signed AB 1066, changing the overtime rules for agricultural employers and employees in California. The ag overtime law is the latest of a string of environmental and labor regulations enacted and taking effect in the past few years that are changing the economics of agriculture. We will also review meal and rest period, pay stub, seating, transportation and housing issues, as well as which work order applies and the evolving trend of joint employer liability that can force the winery and vineyard owner to pay for a staffing agency’s or labor contractor’s violations.

    This session will provide an overview of current regulations and practical guidance on their interpretation and implementation.


    Charmaine Yu
    Employment Law Partner, Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP

    Peter Nissen
    President, California Farm Labor Contractor Association;
    Founder, Nissen Vineyard Services Inc.

    Stephen Lanctot
    Employment Law Partner, Coblentz Patch Duffy & Bass LLP

    4:00 pm – Registration
    4:30 pm – Program and Q&A
    5:30 pm – Wine Reception

    Categories: Events
  • Prop U: Making Affordable Units Available to Low and Moderate Income Households

    Prop U dovetails with the City’s new increases in required affordable housing percentages by expanding the range of household income levels that would be eligible to rent an affordable housing unit. According to the Controller, this would increase rental revenue for property owners and tax revenue for the City.  The measure is part of an ongoing debate about the appropriate income range for defining eligibility for affordable units, and reflects a desire to expand the range to include more low/low moderate income families (as opposed to very low income).

    Prop U proposes to increase the qualifying household income cap from 55 to 110 percent of area median income. But it would retain the maximum allowable rent at 30 percent of a household’s annual income.

    Under the current 55 percent cap, a household living in an on-site affordable unit may pay up to $1,121 a month for a one-bedroom unit and $1,261 for a two-bedroom unit. Under Prop U, a qualifying household could pay up to $2,241 for a one-bedroom unit or $2,521 for a two-bedroom unit, but could also pay less, depending on income.

    The City’s Department of Elections website lists Thomas A. Hsieh as Prop U’s proponent, Supervisor Farrell as the proponent argument author, and the San Francisco Council of Community Housing Organizations as the opponent argument author.

  • What We’re Reading: October 21, 2016

    A roundup of news and articles the Unfamiliar Terrain team is reading this week:

    Top-Down, Bottom-Up Urban Design (The New Yorker): Updating Le Corbusier’s Athens Charter at the UN Habitat III conference and charting the course of future cities.

    San Francisco Makes a Guerilla Bike Lane Permanent (CityLab): The rise of the San Francisco Municipal Transformation Authority.

    A New Typology of Cities (CityLab): New metrics for urban form and productivity.

    A Tale of Blue Cities (LA Review of Books): Cities and voting trends.

    A Free Place for Designers to Work (NYT): creating a communal design and prototyping workspace in Brooklyn.

    Next Big Tech Corridor? Between Seattle and Vancouver, Planners Hope (NYT): A vision to rival Silicon Valley.

    Suburbs Will Soar on Wings of Tech (Bloomberg): Will tech propel suburban growth?

    The Return of the Utopians (The New Yorker): A brief survey of utopias in America.

    Cities Will Change When Cars Drive Themselves (Bloomberg): How self-driving cars might alter land use, traffic, and parking in cities.

  • Update: City Controller Recommends Reduction in Prop C’s Affordable Housing Percentages

    After several weeks of delays, on September 13 the City Controller released a study assessing the impacts of Prop C’s increases in the affordable housing percentage requirements for market rate developments.

    Whereas Prop C increased the required set-aside rate from 12 to 25 percent, the study recommends setting an initial on-site requirement of 14 to 18 percent for rental projects and 17 to 20 percent for ownership projects. The study, authorized by the Board of Supervisors in trailing legislation contingent on voters’ approval of Prop C in June, directed the Controller to assess the economic feasibility of current and increased inclusionary housing requirements under Prop C, and make recommendations in an advisory report. The Board of Supervisors will now consider the recommendations in setting the City’s inclusionary housing requirements.

    The study also recommends setting a schedule for incrementally increasing the inclusionary housing rate by .5% annually and phasing in the requirements over a 15 year period, with a study every 5 years. The City Controller and the Technical Advisory Committee—a group of affordable housing developers, advocates, community representatives, lenders, and real estate developers appointed by the Mayor and Board of Supervisors—unanimously endorsed these recommendations.

  • Summer Blockbusters: A Tale of Three Trials with Tim Crudo

    On November 9, 2016, litigation partner Tim Crudo will be moderating a panel discussion for the Criminal Justice Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco, titled “Summer Blockbusters: A Tale of Three Trials.” Tim will moderate the panel of lawyers from some of the year’s biggest white collar trials – U.S. v. Facteau, U.S. v. Federal Express, and U.S. v. PG&E, discussing pretrial strategy, dealing with the press and public, jury considerations, responsible corporate officers, trial without individuals, and corporate mens rea.

    Registration required. Click here for full event information and registration. MCLE credit available.

    Categories: Events
  • Coming Into Focus – Draft Central SoMa Plan Released

    The Planning Department released the Central SoMa Plan on August 11, 2016, updating the framework for developing the 230-acre neighborhood.  The Plan focuses on increasing density in a transit-rich area while emphasizing economic, social, and environmental sustainability.

    The full Plan is available here.

    Many aspects of the Plan involve the most-debated and legislated issues in San Francisco development today, including affordable housing requirements, PDR space, and new office development – leaving the Plan subject to further evolution following this fall’s election.


    The Central SoMa Plan is the latest area plan developed by the Planning Department over the last twenty years.  The Plan includes major changes in land use designation and height and bulk districts, as reflected in the following new zoning maps:






    Key features of the Plan include:

    • Proposed height and bulk increases
    • Proposed affordable housing requirements and development fees based on the level of up-zoning for each property
    • Mello-Roos Community Facilities District covering the plan area
    • Production, Distribution, and Repair (PDR) space requirements (replacement and new developments)
    • Design Guidelines; and
    • Eco-District requirements

    Development fees in the Plan Area are based on tier system – the greater the increase in allowable development on a site, the higher the fees are.  Below Market Rate housing requirements in the plan area range from 16% for properties receiving the lowest level of up-zoning and constructing of new housing on-site, to 33% when such housing is provided off-site for properties receiving the highest levels of up-zoning.  A full listing of the proposed fees and Below Market Rate requirements can be found here.

    Election Issues

    The Plan’s Below Market Rate requirements are based on financial analysis completed before Proposition C was enacted earlier this year.  Proposition C generally sets the affordable housing levels for new projects at 25% for on-site and 33% for off-site, with such housing divided between low-income and middle-income households.  The levels set by Proposition C are subject to adjustment by the Board of Supervisors and the City Controller’s report, as discussed in more detail here.

    This November’s ballot also includes a proposition that would require conditional use authorization to convert PDR space into another use all across the Central SoMa Plan Area, along with required replacement of converted PDR space.  The measure is Proposition X, titled “Preserving Space for Neighborhood Arts, Small Businesses and Community Services in Certain Neighborhoods”, and was proposed Supervisor Kim.  Passage of Proposition X would add new requirements that would need to be taken into account in a revised version of the Plan.

    Next Steps

    The draft Plan is open for public comment, with the goal of submitting a version to the Planning Commission in November of 2016.  A draft EIR for the Plan is expected to be released this fall, with the goal of completing the final EIR in early 2017.

  • DISH Network Team Beats Class Action in Eighth Circuit Victory

    Coblentz congratulates DISH Network L.L.C. and Richard Patch, Jon Bass, Lauren Kowal, Rees Morgan, Katharine Van Dusen, and Mark Hejinian on the recent announcement that the Eighth Circuit unequivocally ruled in DISH Network’s favor in the Stokes, et al. v. DISH Network L.L.C. and Padberg v. DISH Network L.L.C. cases. The two cases, filed in the Western District of Missouri and assigned to the same judge, involved the temporary loss of programming to customers during programmer disputes at the time of renewal of the affiliation agreements. This is the first clear appellate court decision speaking directly to the potential class-wide exposure to cable and satellite companies for these temporary interruptions.

    In the 2014 Padberg matter, the firm defended DISH in a jury trial of a nationwide class action to a very favorable jury verdict which was subsequently set aside by the district court. The Stokes matter involved the same kind of takedown of programming two years after the Padberg dispute. The Eighth Circuit determined that the trial court erred in refusing to grant DISH’s motions to dismiss for failure to state a claim.

    Categories: News
  • Current Courtroom Battles in Intellectual and Entertainment Property Cases with Julie Greer

    Litigation partner Julie Greer spoke at the Americana Music Festival and Conference in Nashville, TN, on September 23, 2016, on a panel discussing “Current Courtroom Battles in Intellectual and Entertainment Property Cases.” The panel of entertainment-law practitioners reviewed the significant entertainment and copyright decisions from the recent past that are having industry-wide effects and could have major repercussions for the future.

    Full event information can be found here.

    Categories: Events
  • For Better or For Worse: New Partnership Audit Procedures with Jeff Bernstein

    Tax partner Jeff Bernstein will be speaking on a panel discussion for the Taxation Section of the Bar Association of San Francisco, titled “For Better or For Worse: New Partnership Audit Procedures.” The panel will discuss what tax and business attorneys should know to educate their clients about the new partnership audit procedures and how to help clients plan now to be in a favorable position during an audit.

    Full event and registration information can be found here.

    Categories: Events