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Yesterday, Dr. Sara H. Cody, Health Officer of the County of Santa Clara, issued a new Order, that placed further restrictions on individuals and businesses in Santa Clara County, and superseded the original Shelter in Place Order from March 16, 2020. Since the original order, Santa Clara County and the San Francisco Bay Area continued to experience increases in confirmed cases of and deaths attributable to COVID-19, necessitating further measures to slow the transmission of Novel Coronavirus 2019 in the community. This action was taken in coordination with Alameda County, San Mateo County, San Francisco City and County, Contra Costa County, Marin County, and the City of Berkeley.

New Requirement: Essential Businesses Must Implement a Social Distancing Protocol

Customers May Not Bring Reusable Bags in Stores

In November 2016, California voters had approved Proposition 67, which banned single-use plastic bags in favor of recycled paper bags or reusable bags. Well, those reusable bags are now prohibited as well in a bid to reduce potential sources for contamination. This is one of the many changes you will see the next time you are at the grocery store.

Under the new order, Essential Businesses, such as grocery stores, must “prepare, post, and implement a Social Distancing Protocol” at their locations “frequented by the public or employees.” This protocol requires businesses to provide signage about their Social Distancing Protocol and implement measures to protect employee health, prevent crowds from gathering, keep people at least six feet apart, prevent unnecessary contact, and increase sanitization.


Posted in: COVID-19
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The coronavirus epidemic has disrupted courts across America. To slow the spread of the virus, courts have had to adapt their processes to new social distancing measures by transitioning to e-filing and teleconferencing, deferring non-emergency civil matters, or suspending jury trials. While many courts have reduced their services to protect the health of the public, attorneys, judges and other court personnel, the courts remain committed to stay open so that they can provide essential court services, such as hearing civil protection and restraining orders and certain criminal matters.

To learn more about how the coronavirus has affected the courts, read Coronavirus and the Courts: Technology, Public Health, and Access to Justice by Sarah Andropoulos on our Legal Marketing & Technology Blog

Most state courts have a special COVID-19 webpage where they have aggregated all their news and court orders. Since the situation is rapidly changing, be sure to check their websites for the latest updates.


Posted in: COVID-19
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Unlike the California counties that provided a more extensive list of permitted activities, Governor Newsom initially focused solely on maintaining the “continuity of operations of federal critical infrastructure sectors.”

The California State Public Health Officer and Director of the California Department of Public Health is ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence

A few hours later, the State of California updated their California Coronavirus (COVID-19) Response website to add more exceptions to their “stay home” order. Individuals may now leave their home to maintain continuity of operations of

  • critical government services
  • schools
  • childcare, and
  • construction, including housing construction.

So, we now have a legal order whose terms have been modified by a website.


Posted in: COVID-19
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The Santa Clara County shelter-in-place order explicitly permits outdoor exercise and activities.

For purposes of this Order, individuals may leave their residence only to perform any of the following “Essential Activities.” […] To engage in outdoor activity, provided the individuals comply with Social Distancing Requirements as defined in this Section, such as, by way of example and without limitation, walking, hiking, or running.

The Executive Order issued by Governor Gavin Newsom tonight does not. While the Coronavirus (COVID-19) in California website states that we are permitted “to get food, care for a relative or friend, get necessary health care, or go to an essential job,” it is silent on exercise. It is also silent on whether lawyers are permitted to work in their office while following social distancing recommendations.

Here is a hyperlinked version of the Governor’s Order.


Posted in: COVID-19
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COVID-19, 2019-nCOV, CoronavirusOn February 26, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed the first case of community spread of COVID-19 in the United States. Since this patient had not traveled to Wuhan City, China or come in close contact with a known patient with COVID-19, this infection raised the possibility that COVID-19 was spreading undetected in the United States.

Two weeks later, any hope of that the UC Davis Medical Center patient was an isolated case vanished with the steady rise in COVID-19 confirmations that forced our county to implement increasingly restrictive measures. On March 9, 2020, Santa Clara County required the cancellation of mass gatherings of more than 1,000 persons. The San Jose Sharks played one more away game before the National Hockey League (NHL) postponed the remainder of the season.


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In Matter of A-R-C-G-, 26 I&N Dec. 388 (BIA 2014), the Board of Immigration Appeals ruled that a victim of domestic violence was eligible for asylum based on her membership in a particular social group comprised of “married women in Guatemala who are unable to leave their relationship.” Yesterday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions overruled that decision. In Matter of A-B-, 27 I&N Dec. 316 (A.G. 2018), the Attorney General held that “claims by aliens pertaining to domestic violence of gang violence perpetrated by non-governmental actors will [generally] not qualify for asylum.”

To establish a claim for asylum, an alien must be “unable or unwilling to return to her country of origin because she suffered past persecution or has a well-founded fear of future persecution on account of ‘race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion.'” When a claim is based on membership in a particular social group, the applicant must demonstrate

(1) membership in a particular group, which is composed of members who share a common immutable characteristic, is defined with particularity, and is socially distinct within the society in question;


Posted in: Immigration Law
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On February 26, 2018, Texas1 filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief against the United States, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Internal Revenue Service alleging that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (a/k/a the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare) was unconstitutional. Six years earlier, in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate in the Affordable Care Act, which “require[d] most Americans to maintain ‘minimum essential’ health insurance coverage,” as a valid exercise of Congressional power under the Taxing Clause. The plaintiffs now argue that since Congress passed and President Trump signed into law the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which eliminated the tax penalty of the Affordable Care Act, the individual mandate is no longer a valid exercise of Congressional power under the Taxing Clause since removal of the tax penalty disconnects the individual mandate from the collection of taxes.

Plaintiffs further argued that without the individual mandate, the rest of the Affordable Care Act must fall since the individual mandate underpins the guaranteed-issue and community-rating requirements of the Affordable Care Act. The guaranteed-issue requirement prohibits health plans from denying coverage to applicants with pre-existing conditions. The community-rating requirement prohibits health insurers from charging higher premiums to persons with pre-existing conditions.


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Today, President Trump declassified a memorandum dated January 18, 2018, from the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence ("Nunes Memo"). This memo alleged abuses by the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation while seeking a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant to conduct electronic surveillance of Carter Page.

Posted in: Federal, Government
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An Act

To provide for the relocation of the United States Embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and for other purposes.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

This Act may be cited as the “Jerusalem Embassy Act of 1995”.


Posted in: Government
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Last week, President Donald Trump issued an Executive Order entitled Protecting the Nation From Foreign Terrorist Entry Into the United States, Exec. Order No. 13,769, 82 Fed. Reg. 8977 (Jan. 27, 2017).1 This order included several controversial provisions that may alter American immigration policy.

First, paragraph 3(c) of the Executive Order suspended immigrant and nonimmigrant entry into the United States from countries referred to in 8 U.S.C. § 1187(a)(12) for 90 days “to ensure the proper review and maximum utilization of available resources for the screening of foreign nationals, and to ensure that adequate standards are established to prevent infiltration by foreign terrorists or criminals.” The countries affected by this suspension include

  • Iraq and Syria;