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Simas & Associates, Ltd. Newsletter | June 6, 2014 | Volume II, Issue 7
Firm Announcement

Sacramento Superior Court to Charge Fees for Use of Online Public Case Access System

Sacramento, CA - The Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento possesses a wonderful online, public case access system.  Unfortunately, effective July 1, the wonder will come with a price tag.



The public case access system provides users with the ability to research and locate Superior Court of California, County of Sacramento cases on a particular party or a case number. As the proper venue for almost all of the licensing agencies throughout the state, the system provides a bevy of useful information that can be accessed and incorporated into pleadings, motions, and even oral argument.  The system provides a user with the ability to search for cases by name, case number, or even filing date. In Civil Litigation and Writ of Mandate matters, one is able to view information regarding case participants, events, and documents, including pleadings and proofs of service.

"It is a great tool," explained Julianne Allen, Paralegal at Simas & Associates, Ltd.  "For our own client matters, it provides us with a window into what the court actually has on file and a method to double-check upcoming appearances."

"We use the Public Case Access Systems, when available, for all of the Superior Courts," explained Nicole Hanley, Attorney at Simas & Associates, Ltd.  "But what makes Sacramento's system so useful is that its system is so user-friendly.  It is also our "home court", providing us with the most likely landing point for many of our cases.  And finally, it just has so many other types of cases against similar opponents, in similar disputes, in front of the same judges.  Depending upon the circumstances, it can be a crucial tool for research and case preparation."

Now, that will all come with a charge.  Effective July 1st, 2014, name searches and document downloads will incur a public access fee that reimburses the Court for the cost of providing public access to its electronic records. The fees for searches are as follows:
  • $1.00 for 1 name search
  • $3.50 for 5 name searches
  • $25.00 for 75 name searches
  • $250.00 for 30 consecutive days of unlimited name searches  
  • $2,500.00 for 365 consecutive days of unlimited name searches
A public access fee will also be charged for viewing case documents. These fees will be calculated at the time of check-out. The fees are as follows:
  • $1.00 per page for the first five pages of a document
  • $0.40 per page for each additional page up to a maximum of $40.00 per document.
There are no refunds for unused name search credits.  A credit card is required for payment of these fees.  If a user wants to see documents on a case he or she is are part of and have an approved fee waiver, the user must actually come to the court to view the requested documents for free.  One may also come to the court and access the case information and documents online through one of the court’s kiosks free of charge (requests for printed copies will be charged at the rate published in the Court’s Fee Schedule).

"What stands out is that they are permitting an avoidance of the fee for state and federal governmental attorneys for all cases," observed Ms. Hanley.  "However, for private sector attorneys, they can only avoid fees for cases for which they are assigned.  And it is only for a brief, 72-hour window, for the attorney to access or download the documents.  This will provide the government-side attorneys with a distinct advantage regarding the research component of using the system."

Pursuant to California Rule of Court 2.506 and Government Code Section 68150(l), the Court may impose fees for the costs of providing access to its electronic records.  According to Sacramento Superior Court, it incurs technology development, maintenance, and operational expenses to provide electronic public access to court information.

"The reality is that this will make our jobs more difficult," explained Ms. Hanley.  "However, when the research is essential to zealously representing our clients' interests, then it will be something we will have no choice but-to-incur."

For more information on our 
Issue Advocacy and Public Records Act Request services, please visit our website at www.simasgovlaw.com.
Staff Announcement

Simas & Associates, Ltd. Welcomes Two New Team Members

On May 19, 2014, Simas & Associates, Ltd. added two new talented members to its staff.  Specifically, Colleen Moore was added as a paralegal to the firm's San Luis Obispo office and Jasmin Gonzalez joined the Sacramento office as its Administrative Assistant.  

Ms. Moore previously worked for the Superior Court of California, County of Kern for 14 years and private practice for a handful of years.  After working outside of the law for a couple of years, Ms. Moore jumped at the opportunity to get back.  "I missed the challenge of the law," explained Ms. Moore.  "As someone who still would like to go back and pursue a law degree, as a paralegal, I like to anticipate what the Attorney is thinking and going to need to accomplish the next step, so that it is already completed before the attorney even has to ask for it."  

Ms. Gonzalez is also interested in pursuing a career in the law.  She already has a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and she has experience working for a law firm.  However, she also started her own business in 2012 as a legal process server, teaching herself how to file papers at individual courts, how to serve different documents, and all other items her clients would request.  "I loved what I was doing with my own company," explained Ms. Gonzalez, "however, this position provides me with an opportunity to expand my horizons.  I see it as a stepping stone into the business, marketing, and client service side of practicing law."
    
Both Ms. Moore and Ms. Gonzalez are tasked with managing the front desk and reception area of both office locations, interacting with prospective and current clients, as well as fellow attorneys and vendors.  So, there is a good chance that if you contact or visit our offices, you will interact with them.  If you do, please make sure to welcome them both to the team.  
Client/Vendor of the Month
 
Luper's Tank & Trailer
5528 Faith Home Road
Ceres, CA 95307
p: 209.531.145
www.lupers.com
 
Luper's Tank & Trailer specializes in commercial tractor trailer repairs, parts, maintenance and sales in California and the western United States.  Located just north of Turlock, California, right off from Highway 99, Luper's is an all service repair shop for tractor trailers.  Expansive service is also provided to vans, flatbeds, food grade tanks, and end dumps.  Luper's can do customized research on your repairs, including frame straightening, lift gates installation, and fuel tank modifications.

Simas & Associates, Ltd. appreciates serving as Luper's Tank & Trailer's general counsel for the past two years.  If you would like to be featured as our law firm’s “Client/Vendor of the Month,” please contact us at info@simasgovlaw.com
Featured Agency Announcement

Senior Scam Stoppers

Sacramento, CA - The California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) have partnered with the State Bar of California to put together training materials and seminars on scams that are targeting senior citizens throughout the state.  As a group, senior citizens are targeted because they trust people and are not aware of all of the advancements that have been made in manipulating communication channels and photographs.  


Furthermore, senior citizens not only trust people, they’re most likely to have money in savings, own their own homes, and they have outstanding credit. Scammers view them as cash cows and ripe for the picking, because once victimized, many seniors are too embarrassed or ashamed to report it. Identity theft, mortgage fraud, automotive repair schemes, telemarketers, unscrupulous lawyers out to make a buck.  People can make a whole living just on stealing a senior citizen's mail.

Furthermore, senior citizens, as primary targets, serve as scouts to all new types of scams.  As the eyes and ears in the community, vigilance can not only help the senior citizen protect themselves, but put society at large on notice of a new form or method of a scam.


Through these seminars, question-and-answers sessions, and training materials, the CSLEA and State Bar seek to protect and equip the senior citizens throughout the state to be scam stoppers.
Featured Blog Entry
 
Top 5 Collateral Consequences of License Discipline
 
Most licensees when facing license discipline are concerned about the direct and immediate consequences. In particular, when a physician faces an accusation by the Medical Board of California, their primary concern is their continued ability to practice. And that is completely reasonable and understandable.

However, the lure of certainty in the continued ability to practice can often lead the licensee to immediately agree to anything less than revocation – even where discipline is not warranted or the restrictions on the license (by way of a restricted license or probation) are heavy-handed.  That is why we always recommend consulting with an attorney and even having an attorney present before ever conducting such a negotiation over license discipline.

But beyond the actual license discipline, there are also collateral consequences that the licensee does not properly weigh or even consider. These are the ramifications of the discipline that can end up even being a bigger burden to the licensee than the discipline being imposed.


To keep reading this entry, please click here: Top 5 Collateral Consequences of License Discipline.  For more blog entries from our attorneys and legal staff, please visit our law firm’s official blog –Wit of Mandate.
Word of the Month
 

Verification


verification is a statement in the form of a declaration under penalty of perjury or affidavit by the party that what it contained within the referenced pleading is true.  Sometimes required, a verification can be used strategically in opening pleadings to trigger more detailed and specific subsequent pleadings.  Furthermore, a verification must accompany discovery responses, otherwise the response is consider incomplete.

For more terms related to our practice areas, please visit our law firm’s glossary at 
SimasGovLaw.com - Glossary.
Looking to Hire
 
The
 Sacramento Office of Simas & Associates, Ltd. is looking to qualfied members to its staff.  This includes Associate Attorneys, Paralegals and a Marketing Coordinator.  The firm also is interested in establishing a relationship with a qualified and licensed Workplace Investigator as an independent contractor.  If interested or if you know of qualified candidates, please visit or direct qualified candidates to visit our Employment Opportunities section of our website.  Thank you.
Happy S & A Work Anniversary!
 
Simas & Associates, Ltd. is happy to congratulate Paralegal,
Julianne Allen on her 4 year anniversary.

Julianne is the senior employee of the law firm, pre-dating all of her colleague-paralegals, the support staff, and all of the attorneys.  As such, she has made significant contribution to its success, more often than not serving as the lead paralegal on the vast majority of our client matters.  In this role, she has acted as the point-of-contact for our clients, witnesses, opposing counsel, and whatever forum of adjudication or mediation the matter is being held.  She has also helped the firm adopt modern technology and methods of conducting business with our clients.  

Thank you for your positive attitude and everyday consistency, Julianne.  While our team appreciates it, it is even more important for our clients.
Upcoming Calendar

June 6 - 70th Anniversary of D Day.

June 7 -
National Trails Day.  Also, the Belmont Stakes.

June 11 -
Schwartz-Levi Inn of Court Meeting.

June 12 -
U.S. Open Championship Begins.  FIFA World Cup Begins.

June 13 - NCAA College World Series Begins.

June 14 - Happy Flag Day!  

June 15 - Happy Fathers' Day!

June 16 -
Sacramento County Bar Association Golf Outing.

June 19 -
San Luis Obispo County Bar Association Luncheon - Workers' Compensation Fraud.  Also, Happy Juneteenth!

June 20 - Take Your Dog to Work Day.

June 23 -
Wimbledon Begins.

June 26 -
 St. Thomas More Society of Sacramento Wine & Cheese Reception.

June 30 - Ramadan Begins.


July 4 - Happy 4th of July!
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