Alcohol at Automated Checkout

If you’re like me, you love using the automated check out machine when making purchases at a store. You’re probably not like me in that you don’t notice signs and other postings related to the law, like this one that I saw the other day while shopping at Walmart. I can’t say that I’ve ever bought alcohol at an automated check out machine before, but I apparently couldn’t, even if I wanted to. The law in question here is California Business and Professions Code section 23394.7, which states: “No privileges under an off-sale license shall be exercised by the licensee at any customer-operated checkout stand located on the licensee’s physical premises.” Section 23394.7 originally went in to effect on January 1, 2012, but was challenged in a lawsuit so implementation was delayed until October 18, 2013. For the lawyers in the audience, the case in question is California Grocers Association v. Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (2013) 219 Cal. App. 4th 1065. I merely present this as an example of law in everyday life. A while ago, I did a similar post involving sales tax on cold versus hot Subway sandwiches in California. I don’t specialize or focus on alcohol-related law (or sandwich law… although that sounds awesome). From what I have read from others, Business and Professions Code section 23394.7 was opposed from the outset by grocery stores with automated check out machines — in the form of the California Grocer’s Association (CGA)– who wanted those machines used to the fullest. Simultaneously, the law was supported from the outset by, among others, unions representing retail clerks who would...

Lawyers Returning Client Files – California Rules of Professional Conduct

One of the common questions I see posted on law question and answer forums for California is some variant of ‘I’ve fired my lawyer and he won’t return my files so that I can go find another lawyer. What can I do?’ I’m surprised by this for two reasons. The first is morals and integrity, namely if a client fired me, I would not withhold their files. Every lawyer — me included — has had a client fire them before. It comes with the territory of being in the profession. Because there is an inevitability to being fired, I don’t see the point of refusing to return the client’s files. It doesn’t solve anything. The second reason I’m surprised, however, is probably more of interest to you if you’re reading this blog post of mine — it violates the rules California has for its lawyers. The rules I’m talking about are the California Rules of Professional Conduct (RPC) and are put out by the State Bar of California. Failure to abide by the RPC subjects a lawyer to discipline by the State Bar. As you can probably gather, being disciplined by the licensing body for your profession is not a good thing. The RPC are fairly short so reading them is not difficult. If you do read them, you’ll find that they cover all types of conduct — from advertising to trust accounts to sexual relations — that lawyers can and can’t engage in. The particular RPC that governs what lawyers have to do if they have been fired by a client is RPC 3-700, Termination of Employment. The...

Law School Help: What is Consideration?

Lawyers often toss around the term “consideration” when discussing the existence or lack of a contract. Consideration is one of the criteria that has to be proven in order to show that a contract exists. In California, consideration is defined in Civil Code section 1605 which states: “Any benefit conferred, or agreed to be conferred, upon the promisor, by any other person, to which the promisor is not lawfully entitled, or any prejudice suffered, or agreed to be suffered, by such person, other than such as he is at the time of consent lawfully bound to suffer, as an inducement to the promisor, is a good consideration for a promise.” As you can perhaps tell, consideration is not something that lends itself to a neat or simple definition. Consideration can take many forms. The common idea behind all of these forms, however, is that the purpose of consideration is to show that a party to a contract has voluntarily assumed the obligation imposed on them by the contract. Thought of another way, consideration prevents a person from accidentally falling in to a contract and being obligated to do something they didn’t intend. Numerous other requirements for consideration are imposed by sections 1606 to 1615 (or so) of the California Civil Code as well. In case you’re wondering, the other required elements of a contract are: (1) parties capable of entering in to a contract, (2) the consent of said parties to enter in to the contract, and (3) a lawful goal or purpose to the contract. See California Civil Code section 1550. Depending on the facts of the particular...

Law School Help: What is a Common Carrier?

One of the things that makes the law unnecessarily confusing for non-lawyers (and lawyers too, let’s be honest) is specialized terminology. This isn’t unique to the law, of course. Many industries and specialties have their own terms and vernacular that makes perfect sense to those in the field, but leaves everyone else scratching their head. In a small, small, small, small, small effort to remedy that for the law, I’m going to explain in this blog post what the legal term “common carrier” means. This post will be specific to California, which means, as usual, that you have to look it up yourself for other states. The term common carrier appeared for me in law school in my torts class. If you happen to be encountering it in your law school torts class now and have no idea what it means, this post is for you. Regardless of whether your professors are explaining the concept, very few professors actually connect the concept to a specific authority in California like I am about to. In California, “Common Carrier” is defined in Civil Code section 2168 which states: “Every one who offers to the public to carry persons, property, or messages, excepting only telegraphic messages, is a common carrier of whatever he thus offers to carry.” Sections 2169 and onward of the Civil Code also provide other rules and requirements for common carriers. Court cases in California also help define the term Common Carrier. For example, “[A] common carrier within the meaning of Civil Code section 2168 is any entity which holds itself out to the public generally and indifferently to...