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Friday, Sep 22, 2023

Law—New Year adds new laws to the state books

Cal Western’s Dean Emeritus Recognized With $1.4 Million Endowment

More than just the New Year rolled in Jan. 1.

Several new laws implemented statewide will affect many employees. One is the approved minimum wage increase.

The Industrial Welfare Commission voted to increase the state’s minimum wage by 50 cents for each of the next two years. The move was approved by the state Legislature.

Changes are also in effect for overtime exemptions. The IWC approved new wage orders, which changes the definition of managerial, administrative and professional employees who are exempt from California’s overtime requirements.

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The new rules, according to the San Diego Employers Association, are designed to bring California in line with the federal definitions of “exempt” employees and to minimize any conflicts between the two.

One last change to an old law is SB-1856 (co-worker liability for harassment). This bill provides that employees who harass other employees are “personally liable” for the harassment. Under the old rule handed down by the California Supreme Court, an employee could not maintain a suit against a co-employee for sexual, racial, or disability-related harassment. Now co-workers can be brought into these suits.

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Honor Roll: The work of California Western School of Law’s dean emeritus Robert K. Castetter made quite an impression on an anonymous donor who recently set up a $1.4 million endowment in his honor.

The program, the Dean and Professor Robert K. Castetter and Majorie B. Castetter Endowed Studies in Select Legal Studies Programs, is the largest gift from a single donor in the law school’s history.

Castetter became dean of the school in 1960. He has guided the law school through a series of achievements, including accreditation by the American Bar Association in 1962, membership in the Association of American Law Schools in 1967 and the law school’s separation from the United States International University in 1975 to become one of 11 free-standing law schools in the United States. He retired from Cal Western in 1985.

Stepping Down: Superior Court Judge Robert J. O’Neill, known for creating a new standard for handling mass tort cases, retired Dec. 31 after 20 years on the local bench.

O’Neill’s prominence stems from his appointment by the California chief justice in March 1993 to coordinate almost 5,000 silicone gel breast implant cases filed throughout the state. That case remains the largest state coordinated case in the history of the country.

O’Neill earned his bachelor’s degree at the University of San Francisco and his law degree from that institution’s school of law. He then served in the U.S. Army intelligence from 1965-67, ending as commanding officer of the San Diego field office.

The judge will return to private dispute resolution, beginning in April, and will expand his involvement in his various community activities.

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On Board: Anita Willis was recently hired as the city of Oceanside’s assistant city attorney, replacing Joseph Stine who resigned to enter private practice. Willis has been an Oceanside deputy city attorney since September 1998. Pamela Anderson was hired to assume the position of deputy city attorney to replace Willis. Anderson was most recently the supervising deputy counsel in the Riverside County counsel’s office. Blake A. O’Neill recently joined the Downtown law firm of Baker & Maxham as an associate. Tamara L. Glaser and Eric J. Prosser have joined the Downtown firm of Neil, Dymott, Perkins, Brown & Frank as associates . Gabe P. Wright, Matthew C. Smith and Bonnie L. Lutz have joined the Downtown law firm of Klinedinst, Fliehman & McKillop as associates . David E. Bergquist and Sandra T.M. Chong have joined the San Diego office of McKenna & Cuneo. Bergquist joined the firm as of counsel, and Chong joined as an associate . Frederick Taylor, William Reiter, Sean Berry and Lesley Ruth Knapp recently joined the Downtown law firm of Procopio, Cory, Hargreaves & Savitch as associates.

Please send law items to Ward at dward @sdbj.com.


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