Monthly Archives: October 2015

California becomes fifth state to legalize assisted suicide

California becomes 5th state to legalize assisted suicide by Legal Affairs Writer, Victor Li

California Gov. Jerry Brown ended weeks of speculation by signing a controversial assisted suicide bill into law.

On Monday, the Los Angeles Times reported Brown had officially signed the bill, which allows patients to end their lives with doctor-prescribed drugs. The bill had passed Sept. 11, but Brown, a devout Catholic and former seminary student, had given no indication whether he would sign it. California is now the fifth state in the country to allow assisted suicide, joining Oregon, Washington, Montana, and Vermont.

“In the end, I was left to reflect on what I would want in the face of my own death,” Brown stated. “I do not know what I would do if I were dying in prolonged and excruciating pain. I am certain, however, that it would be a comfort to be able to consider the options afforded by this bill. And I wouldn’t deny that right to others.”

According to the Times, California’s law was modeled after Oregon’s and allows doctors to prescribe lethal drugs to patients who are diagnosed with a terminal illness and told they will die in less than six months. The law would take effect 90 days after the end of the legislative session, which is scheduled to run into early 2016.

Read the entire article here.

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The “Intern Case”: Intern Protection Laws May Be Hurting Interns

Intern Protection Laws May Be Hurting Interns by third year law student at UCLA School of Law, Harrison Thorne. 

Employees are entitled to many benefits, including minimum wage, overtime wage, social security tax contributions, insurance (disability, unemployment), Family and Medical Leave and workers’ compensation. Interns generally do not receive benefits, nor are they paid. Accordingly, some businesses have relied on interns as a source of free labor. The businesses exploiting interns typically claim that they are providing the interns with intangible benefits such as access to high-level professionals, practical experience and resume value. The interns respond that they are performing tasks for which they should receive compensation. Interns have generally lost this battle.

All that could change, based on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Inc., also known as the “intern case”. The plaintiffs were college graduates working as interns for Fox Searchlight. Several worked well over 40 hours per week, and all of them performed tasks typically associated with entry-level paid positions. They argued that they were “employees” under the Fair Labor and Standards Act (the “FLSA”), and must be compensated for the work they performed.

The FLSA itself was of little assistance in the case, as it defines employees as, “individual[s] employed by an employer”, and “employ” as “to suffer or permit to work.”  29 U.S.C. § 203. Rather, the plaintiffs relied on the Department of Labor’s six-factor test to determine whether a worker is an intern or employee. Applying the DOL’s six-factor test, the U.S. Court for the Southern District of New York ruled in favor of the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, finding that they had been improperly classified as unpaid interns rather than employees. Fox Searchlight appealed, and the Second Circuit granted its petition for leave to file an interlocutory appeal from the district court’s order.

Read the entire article here.