A quarterly newsletter from The Scali Law Firm, designed to keep our clients and friends ahead of the compliance curve.
The Scali Law Firm, Ahead of the Curve: navigating dealer compliance in a changing industry

Information security best practices in the age of spear-phishing, malware and ransomware

State and federal law requires auto dealers to protect their customers’ non-public private information and dealers have their own sensitive and confidential information to protect. Much of this information is vulnerable to data security threats. Dealers should, by now, be very familiar with these risks and ways to combat them, but newer risks have surfaced in the last few years that require updates to safeguards policies and other actions and vigilance to effectively combat.



Sandquist v. Lebo Automotive
Why now is a good time to review your arbitration agreements

In a 4-3 split decision, Sandquist v. Lebo Automotive, Inc., the California Supreme Court recently held that who decides if a valid arbitration agreement allows class arbitration—an arbitrator or judge—depends on the agreement. This decision is in stark contrast to all recent federal appellate decisions, which require a court to decide whether an agreement allows class arbitration, unless the parties unmistakably agreed otherwise. Sandquist appears to flip that on its head, meaning California arbitration agreements that do not expressly waive class arbitrations may be headed to an arbitrator near you to interpret whether class claims will be permitted in arbitration.



Selling your dealership
Organizational and compliance considerations

Selling a dealership involves many moving parts. A proactive dealer can make itself more marketable and streamline the buy/sell process by preparing before going to market. While preparing to go to market includes getting your financial, employment, inventory, franchise and real estate house in order as well, this article highlights some other important considerations to add to your checklist before going to market.



Exactly what is a deferred downpayment?

That was the issue on appeal in Nichols v Century West, LLC et al., 2016 Cal.App.LEXIS 689, after judgment was entered for the dealership. The court of appeal held that post-dated downpayment checks provided to the dealer on the date of sale—as opposed to payments scheduled to be made at a later date—are not “deferred” downpayments.



Three dealership website advertising problems you can easily avoid

As print, radio, and television media become a smaller part of consumers’ lives, dealerships are relying more on internet advertising to reach new clients. Despite this increased use of internet advertising, many dealership websites are not compliant with applicable laws. For example, although many California dealerships provide legally-mandated disclosures after a monthly lease payment in their print ads, they often fail to provide these disclosures online or bury them in a tiny disclaimer at the bottom of a web page. But the majority of advertising laws apply consistently in all forms of media. This article briefly addresses three major deficiencies that we often see on dealership websites.



Chris Scali comments on the Department of Transportation’s new highly autonomous vehicle guidelines

Last week, the DOT released its new guidelines on the development of highly autonomous vehicles. Scali Law Firm managing partner, Christian J. Scali, comments on these guidelines in the Daily Journal's article titled New driverless car standards create a patchy road map, by staff reporter, Matthew Blake.



Castro-Ramirez redux
Update on associational disability claims and the need to accommodate disabilities of non-employees

Three months ago, we reported that the California Court of Appeal stretched precedent to expand the FEHA’s protections for persons merely associated with someone with a disability (the first case of its kind to do so). Specifically, the Court found that an employee who had informed his employer of his need to administer dialysis to his sick son, and whose request to work the early shift had been accommodated for years, could maintain a claim for failure to reasonably accommodate a disability when this accommodation was taken away (apparently for no good business reason). The reasoning was that FEHA’s reasonable accommodation provision extended to persons with disabilities who were associated with employees or applicants and this association was itself the employee or applicant’s “disability.” But the Plaintiff in this case had previously abandoned his claim for failure to reasonably accommodate. So the defendant asked the court of appeal for a rehearing of the issue in light of that critical fact. The court of appeal agreed to rehear the case.



This newsletter is no substitute for contacting and working with your own dealer attorney to determine what compliance solutions are best for your dealership.  It does not constitute legal advice and any question or comment you send to us in response to anything you read in our newsletter does not create an attorney-client relationship where none otherwise exists.
Copyright © 2016
Scali Rasmussen, PC, All rights reserved.

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