Law Office of Joshua A. Burt

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Burt Legal Files Suit Against Rite Aid Corp. for Sexual Harassment and Discrimination.

The Law Office of Joshua A. Burt filed a lawsuit today against Rite Aid Corporation and a its District Manager for sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and other related claims.  The complaint alleges that a Rite Aid Corporation District Manager required his subordinate to have sex with him in exchange for his supporting her application for a management level position.  However, as part of Rite Aid’s recruitment of Plaintiff, Rite Aid agreed that Plaintiff was being hired as a Manager and only had to go through a short  manager training period prior to assuming that position.   Shortly after beginning her training, the Rite Aid District Manager told Plaintiff she would not get the manager position she was promised.  He then suggested that they have sexual intercourse and implied that he could “help” her obtain the position.  After Plaintiff began refusing her superior’s sexual advances, he began to retaliate against her, filing multiple unfounded complaints against Plaintiff to Rite Aid Human Resources.  Each time, Human Resources found that these complaints were meritless.  However, when Plaintiff attempted to complain to Rite Aid Human Resources regarding the harassment, she was told that they didn’t have the time to even listen to her complaint.  Rite Aid then failed to investigate and the retaliation, discrimination and harassment continued relentlessly.  Ultimately, faced with escalating abuses, Plaintiff was forced to quit and take a lower paying job at another company.  The Plaintiff is seeking damages for lost wages, emotional trauma, and punitive damages.

What is Employment Harassment and Discrimination under California Law?

In California, the Fair Employment and Housing Act (known as FEHA) defines what employment harassment and discrimination is and what penalties apply.

Although California prohibits certain forms of harassment and discrimination, not everything uncomfortable is illegal.  The law does not stop employers from being bad, vulgar (to a point), disorganized, lazy, or from playing favorites unless their conduct is the result comes from a “bad” reason.  Such reasons include acts based on the following:

  • Race;
  • Color;
  • Religion;
  • Sex/Gender;
  • Pregnancy;
  • Sexual orientation;
  • Marital status;
  • National origin;
  • Ancestry;
  • Disability;
  • Medical condition;
  • Age (40 and above);

In addition to the above forms of harassment and discrimination, California law prohibits many other improper employment practices, including:

  • Denial of family and medical care leave;
  • Denial of disability leave and/or reasonable accommodations for pregnant women;
  • Denial of reasonable accommodations for those with disabilities; and
  • Restrictions on spoken language.

There are many other inappropriate employment practices that are prohibit in California.

The Law Office of Joshua A. Burt is very experienced in handling employment disputes.  If you feel that you have been victimized by employment discrimination or harassment or are an Employer defending against such a claim, please contact the firm to discuss your particular concerns and to set up a free consultation.

Disclaimer: The above post should not be considered and does not constitute legal advice. You should not rely on any of this advice because each case is fact specific and could be subject to different local, state, and federal laws.  No attorney-client relationship exists based on this or any other information on this website.

Burt Legal Files Suit Against American Bottling, Inc. for Breach of Contract and Fraud

The Law Office of Joshua A. Burt filed a lawsuit today against American Bottling, Inc. for breach of contract and fraud.  The complaint alleges that, although America Bottling, Inc. agreed to deliver bottles of a correctly formulated energy drink to a customer, American Bottling, Inc. delivered less than one-third of the bottles contracted for, all of which were incorrectly formulated, and charged the plaintiff more than the agreed on price.  The plaintiff is seeking compensatory damages and punitive damages.

Burt Legal Files Suit Against Grandstay Hospitality, LLC for Whistleblower Retaliation

The Law Office of Joshua A. Burt filed a lawsuit today against Grandstay Hospitality, LLC and a supervisor for whistleblower retaliation, failure to pay overtime, denial of meal and rest breaks, and breach of privacy rights, among other things.  The complaint alleges that Grandstay Hospitality, LLC fired the plaintiff after he reported possible illegal activities by management.  Furthermore, Granstay Hospitality, LLC is alleged to have doctored time cards so as to avoid paying overtime and also failed to provide meal and rest breaks to its employees.  The plaintiff is seeking damages for lost wages, emotional trauma, and punitive damages.

Joshua Burt Receives Top Rating by the Renowned Martindale-Hubbell Rating Service

The Martindale-Hubbell attorney rating service has announced that it is giving Joshua Burt, the principal of the Law Office of Joshua A. Burt, its top rating, AV Preeminent.  The rating involves an in depth review of the attorney’s experience and ratings from peers in the legal community.

Joshua Burt has been practicing in California since 2002 in the areas of intellectual property, rights of publicity/privacy, entertainment, employment, and personal injury law.  He has provided exceptional legal services to countless clients through the years.

Joshua Burt would like to thank all his clients and colleagues who helped make this recognition possible.

BurtLegal to Move into New Offices in Ventura

The Law Office of Joshua A. Burt is proud to announce that, as of September 6, 2011, the firm will have a new home in Ventura. With the growth in the firm’s business, a larger office became a necessity. The new office will feature a large reception area and conference room for client meetings, depositions, and events.

The office will be located at:

200 East Santa Clara
Suite 220
Ventura, California 93001

With the move, the firm will also have new telephone numbers. The new phone numbers are:

Phone: (805) 652-1211
Toll Free: (888) 245-3312
Fax: (805) 652-1212

The firm will be hosting a reception at the new offices in the coming weeks.

Burt Legal Files Suit Against Vahe Aftandilian for Fraud

The Law Office of Joshua A. Burt filed an adversarial proceeding (the bankruptcy court’s version of a lawsuit) today against Vahe Aftandilian to prevent him from obtaining the discharge of debts he incurred through fraud.  The complaint alleges that Mr. Aftandilian created false profit and loss statements and provided inaccurate proofs of environmental certificates when negotiating the partial sale of a car wash business to the Plaintiff in the case.   The Complaint also alleges, that Mr. Aftandilian also committed breaches of fiduciary duty, embezzlement, and larceny.  As a result, the Plaintiff contends that he was defrauded out of $1.65 million from his family trust account.  The Complaint seeks reimbursement for the lost $1.65 million, interest, punitive damages, attorneys’ fees, and costs

Cease and Desist Letters – Ignore at Your Own Risk

 

In my last blog post, we discussed the risks involved in using the trademarks and copyrighted works of others on your website and how to avoid infringement.  But, what happens if you have already gotten yourself in trouble and are hit with the dreaded cease and desist letter?  Whatever you do, do not ignore the letter and do not panic.

The fastest way to get sued for infringement is to simply ignore a cease and desist letter.  You are already on their radar screen; it’s not just going to go away.  Worse yet, if you keep using the trademark or the copyrighted work, you are now on notice and could be held liable for willful infringement and the punitive damages that come with that finding.

Also, it is important that you have an attorney contact the other side.  If you say too much, it could be used against you later on in a lawsuit.

The first thing you should do is contact an attorney immediately.  The lawyer should then contact the other side and acknowledge receiving the letter and that a response will be forthcoming.

When your attorney contacts them early on to discuss the letter, you may be able to negotiate a settlement with little or no payment to the other side.  You may even be able to negotiate a license to continue using the trademark or copyrighted work.

The next step is to get a written opinion from your attorney.  The attorney will analyze the validity of the other side’s trademark(s) and/or copyright(s) and tell you whether they have any rights and to what extent, if any, you have violated those rights.  The opinion will also include a plan for how to approach the other side and to resolve the dispute in a cost effective and timely manner.

Often times, these matters settle quickly and without any lawsuit if handled correctly.  Sometimes, litigation is necessary, either when the sides cannot agree on the price for the infringement or whether there is any infringement in the first place.

The bottom line is: to decrease the risk of an expensive lawsuit, you should contact a competent intellectual property attorney rights away and address the problem head on.

The Law Office of Joshua A. Burt is very experienced in handling complicated copyright and trademark infringement matters.  Contact the firm to discuss your particular intellectual property concerns and to set up a free consultation.

Disclaimer: The above post should not be considered and does not constitute legal advice. You should not rely on any of this advice because each case is fact specific and could be subject to different local, state, and federal laws.  No attorney-client relationship exists based on this post.

Copyright and Trademark Perils of Websites

 

One of the first questions someone might have when they are building a website is: Am I violating someone else’s copyrights or trademarks when I publish the website content? If it isn’t one of the first things you are thinking about, it should be.  You can infringe someone else’s intellectual property rights without doing so knowingly.

Copyright infringement is the act of violating someone else’s rights covered by the United States Copyright Act.  There are six major categories of rights that a copyright owner has.  These rights are the rights to (1) reproduce the copyrighted work; (2) adapt the work (also known as making a derivative); (3) distribute the work to the public; (4) perform the work (such as a literary, musical, dramatic, motion picture or similar work); (5) display the work (such as literary, pictorial, graphic, sculptural or similar works); and (6) broadcast the work (such as radio or load-speaker transmissions of music).

Each of these rights could be violated if you use the copyrighted work or an adaptation of that work on your website or if you post in on a third party website.

The easiest way to infringe someone else’s rights is to simply cut-and-paste content (such as text or images) or codes from another website without permission. This could spell disaster.  If you are not sure whether you have the rights to post someone else’s content or whether that content is copyright protected, you need to consult an attorney before posting it.

Trademark infringement is the act of using a word, phrase, logo or sound that is confusingly similar to an existing trademark and for similar goods or services.  To infringe a trademark, there doesn’t have to be actual evidence that customers were confused.

If you are going to refer to a trademark you do not own, you must be very careful and only do so in an appropriate manner. You must make sure that there is no way anyone would confuse your business as the same or related to another business.  This goes to the heart of trademark infringement.

If you are using the trademark to refer to products you are selling through a store (online or brick-and-mortar), you can also use that trademark to identify or describe the items you are selling. This is called nominative fair use.  You can only use the trademark if it is reasonably required to identify or describe the goods or services you are selling.  If you can reasonably identify the goods or services without using the trademark, you need to avoid using the trademark.

This is especially the case with logos. If you can identify the goods and services without using the logo (i.e., spelling out the word rather than including the stylized logo – think of Dell’s logo with the offset “E”), you must only use the word mark and not the logo.  This is almost always the case.

The best way to protect yourself from an infringement lawsuit is to obtain the written permission from the owner of the copyright or trademark before publishing that content on the website.  If you are concerned about infringing a copyright or trademark, you should obtain the advice of a competent intellectual property lawyer.

The Law Office of Joshua A. Burt is very experienced in handling complicated internet legal, copyright infringement and trademark infringement matters.  Contact the firm to discuss your particular intellectual property concerns and to set up a free consultation.

Disclaimer: The above post should not be considered and does not constitute legal advice. You should not rely on any of this advice because each case is fact specific and could be subject to different local, state, and federal laws. No attorney-client relationship exists based on this post.

Burt Legal Files Lawsuit Against Daisy Brand for Discrimination, Retaliation and Wrongful Termination

The Law Office of Joshua A. Burt filed a lawsuit today against Daisy Brand, the well known maker of sour cream and cottage cheese, for harassment, retaliation, wrongful  termination and related claims.  The complaint alleges that a Daisy Brand senior sales manager retaliated against the Plaintiff because she participated in a protected investigation into claims of an improper relationship into his behavior with another employee. Also, the complaint alleges that, following the investigation, the sales manager and President of Daisy Brand discriminated against the Plaintiff based on her sex, age and perceived disability. Following the discrimination and retaliation, the employee became so distraught, she was forced to take medical leave. Daisy Brand then terminated the employee. The plaintiff is seeking damages for lost wages, emotional trauma, and punitive damages.


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