Determining Fault in a Car Accident: Legal Reasons #21

aid1662395-728px-Determine-Who-Is-at-Fault-in-a-Car-Accident-Step-3-Version-2The reality is that the odds of getting into an accident have increased tremendously with the advent of higher smart phone use. Distracted driving has become commonplace, and so have vehicle collisions. Once you know your safe, the question comes up.  Who is at fault?

Drivers have a duty to exercise reasonable care while behind the wheel. Obvious infractions or violations of the California Vehicle Code, such as driving in excess of the speed limit, ignoring traffic signals, failing to signal, etc. can be used as evidence of one’s negligence in contributing to the cause of a car crash. All of these are examples of evidence which may assist the decider in their determination of fault.

Who decides fault? Typically, it is an insurance adjuster, sometimes aided by a police report which is based upon statements from the drivers and possibly witnesses to the accident, physical evidence, such as skid marks on the road, damage to the cars, etc. However, sometimes fault is not easily determined and a car accident case winds up in court, so that a judge or jury can make a fault determination.


An Amazing Weekend

michaels bachelor partyAs I pack today, I cannot help reflect on the weekend as I got to spend it with some very special people in my life. It is amazing that all together I have known them most of them for over two decades, and although we don’t get to hang out regularly.

It amazed me how much love I experienced with these guys, and it felt like coming home in a way I hadn’t experienced in a long time. We talked of old times, and I realized we shared so much of each other and how much of an influence they were in my life.  I felt selfish in a way because even though we were there for a bachelor party, it felt like homecoming for me, and the comfort and love that surrounded me is one that I will cherish for a long time. Good food, good music, and great spent time together. Who could ask for anything more? (Well the alcohol helped a bit)/

I try not to make predictions, but one thing is clear these guys will be in my life for the rest of it, and I would have it no other way. It truly was an amazing weekend


Why A Marital Settlement Agreement Instead of Trial: Legal Reasons #20


imagesRecently. I received several calls about a MSA (Marital Settlement AGreement) where one party wanted them to just orally agree while the other wanted down on paper. The partner did not want an attorney drafting the MSA, but old adage “Penny Wise, Pound Foolish” came to mind because oral agreements with former partners that are not drafted are fraught with


A marital separation agreement, also known as a property settlement agreement, is a written contract dividing your property, spelling out your rights, and settling problems such as alimony and custody. A marital separation agreement may be drawn before or after you have filed for divorce — even while you and your spouse are still living together.

When and if you begin the divorce proceedings, you will attach the separation agreement to your divorce papers and ask the court to merge, but not incorporate, the agreement into the final judicial decree.  If the marital separation agreement is incorporated into the decree, it becomes a court order and is enforceable by the court.  If you don’t incorporate the separation agreement into your decree, it simply becomes a contract or agreement between you and your spouse.

If you want to provide for the future governance of your relationship, as well as provide additional evidence to the court about the day that you separated, you should have a Marital Settlement Agreement. An agreement leaves no doubt about the details of the ending of your marriage relationship. It is better to have a clearly written agreement, rather than rely on verbal understandings.

In a community property” state, like California, all property acquired during the marriage is “marital property” and all property owned before the marriage is “non-marital” property. Gifts or inheritances to either spouse during the marriage is non-marital property.


Food For Thought, Inpsiration


1376f5d19b3952b945ec871ce97b3458Still abuzz from last night’s amazing reception ready for my brother-in-law Ricky Sood and his new bride Sabina Sood. It’s surreal to see how much love can come together in one room when so many gather to witness and celebrate the union of two who deeply love each other, and have shown that with time some bonds not only get stronger, but transform from dating to relationship to a life long commitment.

It was easy to take a moment and just be grateful for it all, to know that this too was another unique moment that should be lost to petty fights or emotional exchanges or perhaps it all added to the flavor of the weeks festivities. It all comes down to how everyone adjusts to enjoy a milestone in a way that is an inspiring reminder as to why so many mark this occasion with thunderous joy.

Each day of this wedding created so many moments that will leave lasting impressions on some or all. It’s easy to celebrate so much love when you see it in the couples eyes for each other. So Ricky and Sabina, congratulations once again and welcome to the family!


Meal And Rest Breaks For Hourly Employees: Legal Reasons #19

california-wage-chartAlmost all hourly employees know about overtime and their meal breaks, how I am often surprised at how many employees are not aware about rest breaks, meal break violations and what the penalties are for employees who fail to provide you with these breaks appropriately.

You may not employ an employee for a work period of more than five hours per day without providing him/her with a 30-minute unpaid meal break. You owe the employee one hour of pay if the employee is unable to take one or more meal breaks.

You must also give non-exempt employees an opportunity to take a 10-minute paid rest break for every four hours worked, or major fraction thereof.

If one or more meal breaks or one or more rest breaks are not given, you owe the employee one hour of pay for any missed meal breaks and any missed rest breaks for a maximum of two hours per day.

The additional pay for a missed meal or rest break must be included in the employee’s next paycheck.

Employees are owed “premium pay” when they miss a meal break and/or a rest break in one day. The law requires employers to pay two hours of premium pay for each day that two separate violations occur.

The additional hour of pay requirement is found in Labor Code section 226.7, which discusses the remedies together, rather than in separate sections. However, the actual language of the statute states that if a meal or rest break is not provided, the employer owes the employee one hour of pay for each work day that the meal or rest break is not provided.


1. Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, 53 Cal.4th 1004 (2012)

2. United Parcel Service, Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County, 192 Cal.App.4th 1425 (2011)

3. Murphy v. Kenneth Cole Productions, Inc., 40 Cal. 4th 1094 (2007)


Independence Thought

susanbanthony380664Even though I no longer think of India as my home, its appropriate that today it is it’s Independence Day. I unshackled a lot of baggage that include self-doubt, lack of self-worth and just plain stuckness in the past few years. That independence only came after being in a hospital room recovering from brain surgery.

I spent so much of my time not acting due to fear. Even an earlier stroke did not derail me from the path of doubt. Only when I was in hospital room again did I realize that I could either get ready for another visit or I could take steps to make myself a different life.  Yes, I knew a chronic condition I was unaware of caused it, but it also hit me that did not mean, it would define me. I would not live a life unlearned, unloved or lacking.

No longer do I wish to be a writer, a lawyer, a business person, being kind or fit. I do it every day. It may not matter what the end looks like, but the point is that I am living my vision rather than dreaming of it. And that, in itself, is Independence