Is My Electronic Signature Enforceable?

As a transactional lawyer, I’ve always found a special delight when the occasion arises to use one of my favorite sayings: “The pen is mightier than the sword.”  It provides a certain level of self-importance that transactional attorneys enjoy in relatively few circumstances. But in today’s electronic world, where ballpoint pens may soon join VHS tapes and 8-tracks in the trash can, we’ve had to reassess whether that saying still holds water. If no one handwrites agreements, or almost anything for that matter, where does the power go that was otherwise held by the prestigious pen?  Or (perhaps) more importantly, how can parties execute transaction documents without having to resort to printing and physically signing their documents, and can this be done electronically?

Katie A. Collins in Law360: Employer Duties As Pandemic, Caregiver Law Evolve

This article was first published on Law360 on July 11, 2022.  Reprinted by permission.

For many of us, the pandemic has changed where we work, how we work and the things we are juggling while we work since March 2020. The number of individuals who are acting as caregivers while also working full-time or part-time jobs outside of the house is at an all-time high.[1]

Caregiving responsibilities extend to spouses and children, parents and other older family members, and relatives with disabilities.

A Brave New World: The NCAA’s New NIL Policy and the Need for Federal Legislation

©2022. Published in Landslide, Vol. 14, No. 4, June/July 2022, by the American Bar Association. Reproduced with permission. All rights reserved. This information or any portion thereof may not be copied or disseminated in any form or by any means or stored in an electronic database or retrieval system without the express written consent of the American Bar Association or the copyright holder.

This article was written by Josh Escovedo and Michelle Yegiyants.

The landscape has changed. After decades of the NCAA reaping the benefit of college players, their labor, and their name, image, and likeness (collectively, NIL), the NCAA has changed its policy and allowed players to market their NIL without sacrificing their amateur status. However, the NCAA only made this change after a scathing U.S. Supreme Court ruling in a related matter, where the Court affirmed a decision from a U.S. district court enjoining the NCAA from limiting universities from providing student-athletes with certain education-related benefits.[1] In Justice Kavanaugh’s concurring opinion, he warned the NCAA that it should strongly reconsider its NIL-related policies before such matters are taken before the Court.[2] The Court issued its decision on June 21, 2021. The NCAA responded by changing its policy effective July 1, 2021.[3] 

Overlooked Provisions when Negotiating Purchase and Sale Contracts

In protracted contract negotiations, many clients become dismayed when a deal they thought had been agreed in a letter of intent is suddenly the subject of contentious exchanges between the parties and their counsel. The clients may be comfortable with the purchase price or due diligence timelines, but many clients have never considered, let alone negotiated, the various other critical terms in a purchase contract.  These terms are often as, if not more, important, as they will define the scope of the parties’ rights relating to the transaction and exposure for lawsuits after closing. This article is designed to give a primer on the basics of these concepts so that parties may be better prepared when negotiating their purchase contracts at the letter of intent stage.

Real Estate Contracts: The Complex and Often Overlooked Indemnity Clause

“Let’s leave that to the lawyers.”  It’s a familiar refrain that I hear often as contract negotiations drag on between parties.  After the primary deal points in a contract have been agreed upon, many clients believe that the remaining terms can be easily resolved without their involvement.  Unfortunately, this is rarely the case, as what some clients perceive to be boilerplate or “standard” could become critically important if a dispute arises relating to the transaction.

COVID-19 Commercial Tenant Eviction Update

As March approaches, we are poised to hit the two-year anniversary of California’s March 4, 2020, State of Emergency Proclamation relating to the COVID-19 health crisis. In the months that followed, we watched federal, state, and local governments adopt myriad laws, rules, emergency orders, proclamations, declarations, ordinances, and mandates, creating a patchwork of rules and regulations for commercial real estate that defied generalization or statewide compliance practices. The market may never look exactly like it did before COVID-19 (note our last article: to-go alcoholic drinks are here to stay!). As concern over the virus appears to be waning, we are seeing jurisdictions generally, but not uniformly, remove their COVID-19 commercial tenant eviction protections*. We therefore thought it would be appropriate to highlight a few of the notable policies which are in effect in some of California’s markets. Of course, most of the rules listed below have exceptions, and exceptions to the exceptions, so please consult your local laws (or counsel) before proceeding.

New California Laws Affecting Real Estate in 2022

After surviving holiday family dinners, a few-too-many champagne toasts, and a record-breaking snowstorm, this team is ready to turn its sights to a new year and the exciting projects that are in store.  To kick off our 2022 newsletter season (and hopefully in better fashion than the Sacramento Kings), we thought it would be helpful to summarize a few of California’s noteworthy new-for-2022 laws.[1] There aren’t any earth-shattering changes that will require substantial deviation to standard operating procedures, but some represent new requirements that will need to be considered in upcoming projects.

The Importance and Dangers of Letters of Intent

Despite a global pandemic and a bingo-card full of natural disasters and calamities, the commercial real estate market has been extremely active over the past two years. While there are some signs that activity will be less frenetic in the upcoming year, most commentators project continued growth, development and overall volume. Many of our clients are already eyeing next year’s targets, beginning the negotiation process with the hopes of getting these deals under contract in the first quarter of 2021. Given these efforts, we thought it might be helpful to offer a friendly reminder regarding the importance and dangers of letters of intent. 

Recent Fires Serve as Reminder That Casualty Will Always be a Hot Issue

Fires have played a major role in the history of California. Not only have these disasters repeatedly left a trail of devastation through the State’s forests and other natural areas, but recent fires have been noteworthy in their damage to developed areas such as Paradise and South Lake Tahoe. The impacts will be felt for years, as families struggle to rebuild their homes and charred trees litter freeways and hiking trails. These effects are a good reminder to make disaster plans, including identifying key heirlooms and records and reviewing insurance policies for adequacy and comprehensiveness.

Shauna Correia in the Sacramento Business Journal: If Asked For a Religious Exemption From A Vaccine Mandate, Be An Optimist

In a contributed article for the Sacramento Business Journal, Shauna Correia discusses an extremely challenging issue that many businesses and HR professionals are facing – how to evaluate religious exemption requests from vaccine mandates. The October 8, 2021 article explores two important questions that arise:

What sort of religious belief or religious practice qualifies for a religious exemption?

How do employers know whether a proposed accommodation is reasonable or an undue hardship?

Read the full article in the Sacramento Business Journal, here. (paywall may apply)