Sunday, January 27, 2013

DP&F Reception at Unified

Dickenson, Peatman & Fogarty will be hosting a reception at Unified on Wednesday, January 30th from 6:30-9:30 at Downtown & Vine located at 1200 K Street  #8 in Sacramento.  We invite all of our Lex Vini readers to join us if you happen to be in Sacramento for Unified.  Also stop by our booth on the main floor to meet one-on-one with our attorneys in attendance.

To RSVP for our reception and put it into your calendar follow this link:

We hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Filing Period for H-1B Visas to Open April 1st

From time to time we like to post guest blogs from our colleagues with information that might be useful to our clients.  The below post is from Melissa Harms, an immigration law attorney based in Marin.  Melissa can be reached at with any questions or inquiries.

The FY2014 H-1B cap filing period will open 04/01/2013 (for a 10/01/2013 start date).  The H-1B, “specialty occupation” visa is the most commonly used visa for employment purposes.  To qualify for an H-1B visa, the position must require the theoretical and practical application of a body of highly specialized knowledge.   To approve an H-1B application, the USCIS requires the position to require a Bachelor’s level degree (or the equivalent) in a specialized field and the foreign national to possess a Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) in this field.

As you may know, there is a limited number of H-1B slots each year (known as the H-1B quota).  Currently, there are 65,000 slots afforded to foreign nationals with a Bachelor's degree or higher and 20,000 afforded to U.S. Master's degree holders.  In prior years, the quota was reached within days of April 1.  Last year, the quota remained open from April 1, 2012 until June 11, 2012.  There is no telling what will occur this year as the results are often unpredictable but it is anticipated that the cap will be reached within a month or less.  Accordingly, we plan to file all H-1B petitions on March 29, 2013 for an April 1, 2013 arrival at the immigration service.  This leaves under 3 months to prepare these petitions.  Please contact our office as soon as possible if you'd like to file an H-1B petition under this year's cap.  We would be pleased to assist you with this process.

Friday, January 11, 2013

New York State Liquor Authority to Examine Third Party Marketing

The New York State Liquor Authority ("NY SLA") is holding a special meeting on January 17, 2013 to discuss the role of third party providers in internet advertising and sales. This meeting is the result of a request from ShipCompliant for a declaratory ruling that its MarketPlace Platform does not violate New York state laws or NY SLA rules.

Wineries as well as third party marketers should closely follow the result of this meeting, as it will impact their ability to market wine to New York state residents. These same entities have until end of the day on January 11, 2013 to submit comments to the NY SLA. Interested parties can attend the meeting, which is scheduled to start at 1pm at the NY SLA office in New York City (317 Lenox Avenue, New York, NY).

According to ShipCompliant and Wines & Vines presentation, New York is among the top three states for direct to consumer wine sales.

For more information on third party providers and third party marketing, please contact John Trinidad at

Thursday, January 10, 2013

California Increases Penalties for Farm Labor Violations

On Jan 1, 2013, a new law came into effect in California that allows for serious civil penalties -- fines of up to $50,000 -- to be levied against a farm labor contractor (FLC) for license violations.  The law amends Section 1683 of the California Labor Code, and provides teeth to enforcement agents.  Previously, the Labor Commissioner was restricted to referring license violation cases for criminal misdemeanor prosecution, an action rarely pursued.  Now that AB 1675 is on the books, we’ve been told that the Labor Commissioner plans to specifically target agriculture as one of three primary enforcement areas for 2013.  Its on-the-ground division, the Bureau of Field Enforcement (“BOFE”), has recently tripled the number of field agents in the Northern CA region (from 1 to 3).  BOFE officers will be going to businesses unannounced to conduct audits. 
Under California law, a vineyard management company is almost always considered an FLC.  Vineyard management companies must comply with California laws regulating FLCs, including registration and licensing.  Growers or owners who engage a vineyard management company/FLC have an affirmative statutory obligation to check the license and retain a copy for at least three years following the termination of services. 

For more information on the new law or assistance with other grower issues, please contact Caroline Boller at   

Thursday, January 3, 2013

2013 Employment Reminders (Happy New Year!)

As of January 1, 2013 most California employers must comply with a handful of important new laws.  Here are two that should top your list:

1. Commission Agreements:  Employers must have a written and signed commission agreement for all employees who receive any part of their compensation in the form of a commission. (Labor Code §2751)

2. Personnel File Requests:  Employers are now required to provide copies of personnel files to current and former employees.  Employers are also required to have a form that current and former employees can use to request a review and/or copy of their records.  (AB 2674, revised Labor Code §1198.5)

For questions about compliance with these laws or the handful of other changes in employment law for 2013, please contact Greg Walsh ( or Jennifer Phillips ( in DP&F’s Labor& Employment Group (707.524.7000).