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Author: Tammy Ryans

Kroloff Shareholders Christopher Engh and Velma K. Lim honored as “Super Lawyers” for 2022

Kroloff is thrilled to announce that Shareholders Christopher Engh and Velma K. Lim were selected as “Super Lawyers” for 2022.  Chris was named a Super Lawyer in Estate Planning and Probate, and Velma was named a Super Lawyer in Employment Law.   This is Chris’ seventeenth year and Velma’s eighth year being named a Super Lawyer!

The Super Lawyer nomination process is quite rigorous and is based on peer nominations and achievements. Selected lawyers are considered in the top 5% of lawyers practicing in the state of California.

Congratulations, Chris and Velma!

Trademark Modernization Act Reduces the Response Period for Office Actions

During the trademark application process, the United States Patent and Trademark Office may issue an “office action,” which is an official letter that lists any legal problems with either your trademark or the application itself.  You must resolve all issues identified in the office action before your mark can be approved.

On December 1, 2022, changes to the office action response timeline will go into effect.  Previously, applicants and registrants had six months to respond to office actions.  Starting in December 2022, this timeframe will be shortened to three months.  This also applies to post-registration actions.  Applicants will have the option to request a single three-month extension for a $125 fee.  The application or registration will be canceled if the applicant does not respond within three months or request an extension.

If you have questions about how to apply for a trademark, contact our office to speak with one of our experienced attorneys.

Witnesses Now Required to Sign Transfer on Death Deeds in California

Transfer on death (TOD) deeds can be a valuable tool in estate planning, and are used as a way to transfer real property to a beneficiary on the owner’s death without the property having to pass through probate.

Effective January 1, 2022, the California Legislature amended California Probate Code section 5624 to require that TOD deeds be signed by two adult witnesses to be valid.

To avoid potential litigation down the road, the witnesses should generally not be beneficiaries on the deed (recipients of the property on the owner’s death).

With this new witness requirement, the following steps should be followed to finalize a transfer on death deed in California:

  • The owner of the property signs the deed.
  • Two adult non-beneficiary witnesses sign the deed.
  • The owner’s signature is notarized.
  • The deed is recorded with the County recorder’s office within 60 days of the owner’s signature being notarized.

Depending on the situation, additional steps may be needed to ensure the deed is effective.  If you are interested in using a transfer on death deed as part of your estate planning, contact our office to speak with one of our experienced estate planning attorneys.

Kroloff Voted Best Law Firm in San Joaquin County 2022

We are pleased to announce that Kroloff has been voted Best Law Firm in San Joaquin County for 2022!

We pride ourselves in providing excellent legal service to the San Joaquin Valley and thank our wonderful community for recognizing us with this award.

MICRA Modernization Amendment Signed Into Law, Increasing MICRA Damages Caps

On May 22, 2022, Governor Newsom signed Assembly Bill 35 (“A.B. 35”) into law, resulting in major changes to California’s Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act (“MICRA”). The primary effect of A.B. 35  is to increase the cap on noneconomic damages awarded to plaintiffs in medical malpractice lawsuits.

Originally enacted in 1975, MICRA established a $250,000 cap on non-economic damages awards. MICRA went into effect during a time when doctors were rapidly leaving California due to rising insurance premiums resulting from high medical malpractice awards. With A.B. 35’s enactment, there will be a new non-economic damages limit for medical malpractice suits. Starting on January 1, 2023, cases not involving a patient’s death will have a new limit of $350,000, which will steadily increase over the next 10 years to $750,000. Meanwhile, cases involving patient death will have an increased limit of $500,000, with incremental increases over the span of 10 years to $1 million.

FREE Webinar on Trademark Law!

August 5, 2022 at 12pm via Zoom

Your business “Brand” is very important. In this free, informative webinar, we’ll be sharing the following:

– What is Intellectual Property?
– What is a Trademark and do I need one?
– Federal vs. State vs. Unregistered Protection
– Unregistered Trademarks
– Brand Identity and Its’ Protection
– Defending and Prosecuting Your Rights
Register Here:

Jamie M. Bossuat and Courtney S. Hayes Win Defense Verdict in San Joaquin County

Join us in congratulating attorneys Jamie M. Bossuat and Courtney S. Hayes for successfully defending a claim for over $400,000 in spousal support against a decedent’s estate.  During a bench trial in San Joaquin County, Ms. Bossuat and Ms. Hayes were able to prove that the plaintiff received all spousal support due and would be unjustly enriched if she received an award.

SCOTUS Rules Individual PAGA Claims May Be Arbitrated – Viking v. Moriana

On June 15, 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a ruling in Viking River Cruises v. Moriana allowing arbitration of individual employee claims under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) if the employee signed a valid arbitration agreement to that effect.

Learn more about the Court’s decision here:

We recommend that employers update their arbitration agreements to reflect this win for California employers. If you would like assistance, contact our office to speak with one of our experienced employment law attorneys.

DFEH Cracking Down on Violations of the Fair Chance Act

In October 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (“DFEH”) announced a new initiative focused on identifying and correcting violations of the Fair Chance Act (the “Act”), which prohibits employers with five or more employees from asking job candidates about their conviction history before offering them a job.  The Act is part of California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”), which is enforced by the DFEH.

The DFEH conducted a mass search of online job postings for violations of the Act and found over 500 job postings containing statements that employers would not consider job applicants with a criminal record, in violation of the Act. The DFEH sent notices to these employers to remove the unlawful statements.

The DFEH is offering a Fair Chance Act Toolkit with resources to help employers comply with the Act and plans to release interactive training and an online app in 2022.  The Toolkit can be found at and includes the following resources:

  • An informative video that explains the Act
  • Sample forms that employers can use to follow the procedures required by the Act
  • A guide to using the sample forms
  • Suggested text that employers can add to job postings and applications to inform applicants that the employer will consider individuals with a criminal history
  • FAQS about the Act

If you have questions about the Fair Chance Act or how your business can comply, please contact our office to speak with one of our experienced employment law attorneys.

California Minimum Wage Increase

The California minimum wage is currently $15.00 per hour for employers with 25 or more employees and $14.00 per hour for those with less than 25 employees.  The minimum wage is expected to increase to at least $15.50 for all employers on January 1, 2023.

Under current law, if inflation exceeds 7% between the 2021 and 2022 fiscal years, a minimum wage increase is triggered.  Currently, inflation is expected to be 7.6% higher from the previous year, triggering the increase.

Additionally, employers should be aware that a minimum wage initiative is expected to be on the November ballot in California.  It proposes to increase minimum wage to $16.00 per hour on January 1, 2023 and to increase annually until it reaches $18.00 per hour in 2028.

Employers should prepare for this increase by adjusting their pay scales.  This includes ensuring that all salary scales tied to the minimum wage, including the salary basis test for the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions, are also adjusted upward or employees are reclassified as non-exempt.

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