Daily Business Report-Jan. 25, 2016
San Diego attorney David Casey Jr.
San Diego Plaintiffs’Attorney Appointed to Panel
Overseeing Class Action Suit Against Volkswagen
A San Francisco federal judge has appointed San Diego plaintiffs’ attorney David S. Casey Jr. to the committee overseeing the class action lawsuit against automaker Volkswagen over alleged violations of the Clean Air Act.
Casey, the managing partner of the CaseyGerry law firm, is the only San Diego attorney selected to serve on the committee, one of the largest in class action history. The formal name of the committee is the VW Multidistrict Litigation Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee.
U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer, who is presiding over the Volkswagen
litigation, appointed the 22-member nationwide steering committee to oversee hundreds of class action lawsuits filed on behalf of car owners, dealers, lessees and others.
Volkswagen first came under fire last September when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency accused the carmaker of utilizing software designed to dupe federal emission regulators into believing certain cars met Clean Air Act Standards. According to reports, once the cars were out of the lab, emissions control software was deactivated — the vehicles then actually emitted harmful pollutants at rates of up to 40 times of acceptable standards.
CaseyGerry filed a class action on behalf of several consumers seeking compensation for them and those similarly affected by Volkswagen’s alleged fraud and violation of state regulations.
The steering committee was appointed by Judge Breyer to conduct the pretrial stage of all cases consolidated in the United States District Court, Northern District of California in San Francisco. Elizabeth Cabraser of Leiff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein is committee chair.
“I am honored by this appointment and to be working on this very important matter before Judge Breyer,” said Casey. “I look forward to working under the direction of lead counsel Elizabeth Cabraser and with this committee of very talented attorneys to quickly bring these claims to a fair resolution for the consumers and businesses nationwide that were adversely impacted by the VW emissions scandal.”
Casey has spent more than 35 years practicing law. He is past president of the American Association of Trial Lawyers (now known as the American Association for Justice).
Construction Underway on Training
Facility for General Atomics’ Gray Eagle
Cox Construction has broken ground on a new training facility for the General Atomics-built MQ-1C Gray Eagle unmanned aerial system in California under a $26 million contract with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Los Angeles District.
A groundbreaking ceremony took place at the site Jan. 12 with district and service branch officials for the construction project in attendance at National Training Center in Fort Irwin, Calif.
“This project is one that will make a significant contribution to the National Training Center’s ability to conduct tough and realistic training,” said Col. Kirk Gibbs, Los Angeles district commander.
The 52,000-square-foot facility will house repair shops, aircraft container storage, hangar, vehicle parking areas and administration offices.
The company expects to complete construction work in fall 2017.
Judge David Berry Elected
President of San Diego Law Library
Superior Court Judge David Berry has been elected president of the San Diego Law Library for 2016.
Berry serves on the Law Library’s executive committee along with Mara W. Elliott, chief deputy city attorney as vice president; Lorena Slomanson, staff attorney with the Legal Aid Society as treasurer; and Superior Court Judge Joseph P. Branningan as secretary.
Board members volunteer their time. Officers serve one-year terms.
“As an independent public agency funded solely by a small portion of civil filings fees, we depend on the stewardship of our trustees to move the law library through these difficult times,” said Law Library Director John Adkins. “We are very grateful for their service.”
Other Law Library Board of Trustees members include: Immediate Past President, Judge Julia Kelety; Jeffrey Cawdrey; Judge Yvonne Campos; Judge David Gill; and Nathan Low.
Judge Berry served as San Diego County deputy district attorney for 25 years, and served as a state-wide instructor for prosecutors and law enforcement officers, and as an author of manuals on sentencing and evidence laws. He has served numerous nonprofits, and was presented the 2011 San Diego County Bar Association’s Community Service Award for outstanding service to the needs of the community.
Haney Hong Takes Leadership Reins
Of San Diego County Taxpayers Association
The San Diego County Taxpayers Association has named Haney Hong, a small business owner, Navy Reservist and policy expert, as its president and CEO.
Hong joins the Taxpayers Association after serving as managing partner of HDH & Associates LLC, a management-consulting firm he founded that assists public and private organizations with strategy and managing through change. He served as a submarine officer in the U.S. Navy on active duty from 2003 to 2010, and is now the commanding officer of his U.S. Navy reserve unit.
Hong has lived in San Diego since 2012. He founded and leads a local alumni group that fosters civic engagement in the region. He graduated from LEAD San Diego in 2014 and was part of the Public Leadership Institute’s class of 2015. The San Diego Regional Economic Development Corp. featured Hong in “Today’s and Tomorrow’s Leaders of San Diego” at its 50th Anniversary celebration last year, and he earned LEAD San Diego’s Herbert G. Klein Memorial Award for Exemplary Leadership in 2014. A child of immigrants from South Korea, Hong said he was raised to value public service and the importance of a vibrant democracy.
Hong has taught undergraduate and professional courses at the University of San Diego’s School of Business Administration and School of Professional and Continuing Education, and he formerly chaired the advisory council of the university’s “Changemaker Challenge” program.
Hong draws on his policy experience in his service as a member of the National Navy Reserve Policy Board, a congressionally mandated advisory body to the Secretary of the Navy on reserve policy matters. His previous policy experience includes two years as an active duty officer in the Office of the Secretary of the Navy at the Pentagon; a fellowship in the office of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo; and a global public policy and communications associateship at Eli Lilly & Co.
San Marcos to Consider
Ban on Retail Pet Stores
The city of San Marcos may join dozens of other cities in banning the retail sale of dogs, cats and rabbits.
The City Council on Tuesday will consider adopting an ordinance to ban retail pet stores. The proposed ordinance comes after the City Council extended a temporary ban in 2015 after a pet store opened on Nordahl Road. The owner of the Mini Toy Puppies store in San Marcos is the same owner of a retail store in Oceanside, which was targeted in 2015 with a similar ban.
In an online petition, the store claims that banning pet stores would mean the reduction of puppies. It also claims that shelters profit off of animals.
Six other cities in San Diego County currently ban so-called “puppy mill” stores. — Times of San Diego
State Tax Credit Program Championed
A new state tax credit program that, combined with a federal program, could put $600 million in the hands of working San Diegans was celebrated Friday by Assembly Speaker Toni Atkins, who championed the program in Sacramento.
Atkins was joined by Assembly member Shirley Weber and nearly 100 community representatives at the Jacobs Center for Neighborhood Innovation to raise awareness of California’s new Earned Income Tax Credit.
“The federal Earned Income Tax Credit has a demonstrated track record of improving the lives of working families,” Atkins said. “Adding the new California ETC is a tremendous opportunity for hard-working Californians to keep more of the money that they earn and help them to take care of their families. We can’t miss the chance to bring home these dollars for San Diegans. The end result is a stronger local economy.”
The two programs refund taxes to working men and women who meet certain income limits set by the federal and state governments.
“This tax season, nearly $600 million in San Diego is available between the state and federal EITCs for San Diego’s working families,” Weber said. “That’s an estimated 50,000 filers who are eligible for CalEITC in San Diego County, benefiting up to 120,000 people.”
The California tax credit was designed to complement the impact of the federal one, so many of California’s working families now eligible for both state and federal benefits.
Historically, California taxpayers have ranked among the lowest in filing for the federal credit, leaving up to $1.8 billion on the table. Now with nearly $400 million through the California credits, an estimated $2.3 billion is available for Californians between both the state and federal programs.
A new public-private campaign called CalEITC4Me aims to make sure these much-needed dollars get to the people who earned them.
— Times of San Diego