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Digital advertising drives sales: how to avoid compliance dangers

Christian Scali is published in DRIVEN

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This article, by Christian Scali, in the California New Car Dealers Association's fall edition of DRIVEN provides a primer on the basics of advertising compliance in the digital space with some answers to more advanced and frequently asked compliance questions concerning digital marketing and advertising.

Daily Journal recognizes The Scali Law Firm as the top boutique automotive firm in California

Firm recognized in the publication’s inaugural list of boutique law firms

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California’s most prestigious legal publication, the Daily Journal, recognized The Scali Law Firm for its “high degree of specialization” in the automotive industry.  The firm was one of 24 firms throughout California to be recognized for industry specialization; The Scali Law Firm was the only firm recognized in the Automotive category.

Volkswagen dealers in crisis

Mind your messaging

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The response to Volkswagen’s deceptive use of software to fake emissions results is still unfolding, as are announcements of measures the automaker will take to address the damage. Governments around the world, including the U.S., have announced they will launch investigations. At last count, over two dozen class action lawsuits have already been filed in the U.S., several of which have been filed in California. And the American public often doesn’t understand the difference between the factory and the independently owned and operated Volkswagen dealerships.

2016 Minimum Wage increase

Are you ready?

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Effective January 1, 2016, the minimum wage in California will increase to $10 per hour. However, for Los Angeles employers, the increase does not stop there. On June 13, 2015, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti signed a law requiring businesses to increase pay for minimum wage workers to $15 by 2020. The Los Angeles increase will be introduced over the next five years, with the first pay hike to $10.50 per hour taking effect on July 1, 2016.

Court of Appeal hands a victory to dealers who timely make reasonable offers to settle CLRA demands

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In Benson v. Southern California Auto Sales, Inc., Case No. G050484, the Court of Appeal held a car dealer’s offer of rescission, $2,500 in attorney’s fees and a requirement that plaintiff release all other claims was “appropriate” and sufficient to cutoff a plaintiff’s ability to recover damages or attorney’s fees. (The court indicated this ruling would not necessarily apply to a claim seeking injunctive relief.) In this brave new post-Benson world not only can car dealers insist with confidence that a plaintiff release all claims as part of the settlement of a CLRA demand but can point to this written legal opinion quantifying $2,500 as reasonable amount for attorney’s fees incurred in pursuing a CLRA claim. This quantification of reasonable attorney’s fees should provide especially welcome relief from the previously plaintiff favorable climate where plaintiff’s attorneys routinely demanded upwards of $15,000 in attorney’s fees when negotiating settlement of CLRA claims before a complaint was even filed.

Rideshare leasing programs present compliance issues for dealers

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Lyft, Uber, Sidecar and other such “rideshare companies” are undoubtedly changing the automotive industry. The state of California and many of its cities have embraced rideshare companies to varying degrees with new regulations. But lawmakers have not adjusted vehicle sales and finance laws to accommodate this new business model. And rideshare companies continue to innovate, most recently by establishing programs to sell or lease vehicles to their drivers through franchised auto dealerships. These programs raise several difficult legal issues for dealers who desire to participate in these programs to increase their sales performance or revenues.

DOL’s proposed amendments substantially increase minimum salary requirements for white collar exemptions

Will you need to give your exempt employees a raise?

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This summer, the Department of Labor (“DOL”) released proposed amendments to the “white collar” exemption standards under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The white collar exemptions from the FLSA overtime requirements include the executive, administrative and professional classifications. A 60-day public comment period ended on September 4, 2015 and now the DOL will review and evaluate the public comments submitted and issue final amendments, which may differ from the proposed amendments. It is unknown exactly when the final amendments will be issued, however, they are expected to take effect some time in 2016.