Author Archives: Thomas Slovak

What Goes Into Estate Planning?

Not many people like having to deal with estate planning, especially after the tragic loss of a loved one, which can often be difficult to bear. However, if you plan your estate ahead of time, it can make the entire process much easier on everyone involved. Continue reading

How to Proceed with Creditor Claims in Probate Law

Creditor claims in California are a detailed and intricate part of probate law. If you fail to comply exactly as the rules state, you will lose any claim against the estate. 

What is a Creditor Claim? 

A creditor claim is any type of demand for a payment. It means if anyone owes you money and then that individual dies, you have to file a creditor claim. Creditor claims are for liabilities and debts incurred by the individual that died. It’s required to be filed in a probate court. It must also be served by a specific time to the representative of the decedent’s estate.

What is the Claims Procedure? 

The creditors claim procedure can be invoked by filing notices in the newspaper. A notice can also be mailed to the creditor. There are different time stipulations for each regarding how long creditors have to file a claim. If any of these claims are not filed correctly with the trustee, the creditor may lose rights to the claim. 

How is the Claim Approved? 

After a claim is filed, the trustee has 30 days to deny or approve this particular claim. If the claim is denied, it’s necessary to act quickly if the creditor wants to file a lawsuit. Because of how complicated filing claims and understanding all aspects of the law can be, it’s crucial to have a lawyer. Our Coachella Valley probate attorney can help when it’s time to file a creditor claim.

Tribal Land: Land In Trust

What Is Tribal Land in Trust?

Tribal land is land in trust given to the Native Americans by the American Government under the Indian Reorganization Act. This act gives land to the American Indians under the trust of the government to preserve and improve natural resources of the tribal reservations, and land that is owned by Native Americans. The Department of The Interior has since returned over 9 million acres of land back to Indians and Indian Reservations.

Better Way of Living for Native Americans

These reorganizations are meant to make the quality of life better and more resourceful for generations to come. 90% of Indian Reservation land was lost in 1887 under the Dawes Act, so being given back even 10% of the land lost and being given the land for improvements and better ways of living for the American Indians is a positive and progressive step.

Limits to How Land Is Used

Under these laws, the American Indians are self-governing and therefore not subject to state law. There are, however, limitations to how the land may be used and many motions regarding tribal law that go forward must be approved beforehand.

The Indians who reside on Native American land can either own their dwelling spaces through an allotment or they can be given their dwelling spaces by the tribal authorities.

Free to Trust Application

Should a tribal member desire to own an allotment on or off of a reservation, there is a “free to trust” application that has to be completed. An attorney can guide these tribal members through the process. These applications require an understanding of Tribal Law can require consultation with our experienced Palm Springs tribal attorneys.

Most Employers Can Require Arbitration Agreements As A Condition Of Employment

In a victory for American employers, the United States Supreme Court has just ruled that class action waivers in arbitration agreements required as a condition of employment do not violate the National Labor Relations Act, the 1930s law that applies to all base level employees, even absent a union.

Most private California employers will now be able to require as a condition of employment that employees agree in advance to arbitrate employment disputes. A well-crafted arbitration agreement developed with the help of experienced employment counsel familiar with this case presents the possibility of reducing the time, expense, disruption to your business, and potential negative publicity of litigating class action employment disputes in court. As well, it eliminates exposure to a runaway jury verdict.

The case is Epic Systems Corp. v. Lewis, Ernst & Young LLP v. Morris, and NLRB v. Murphy Oil USA, Inc.


REMINDER: California has approved new regulations addressing national origin protections for applicants and employees, including individuals who are undocumented. Even though California already has strict rules prohibiting harassment and discrimination based on protected classes, including national origin, California has approved new regulations which expand on those rules. These new regulations also reiterate the Fair Employment and Housing Act’s prohibitions against harassment and retaliation based on national origin.

Should you have any questions regarding the new regulations, contact the Employment and Labor attorneys at SBEMP.


In a decision likely to make it much harder for businesses to classify workers as contractors, the California Supreme Court has set aside a multi-factor standard California courts used for 30 years to determine whether a worker was an independent contractor or an employee under California’s various Wage Orders.

The Court ruled on April 30th in Dynamex Operations West v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County that from now on businesses must use a three-factor, or ABC, test when making that determination. The test presumes the worker is an employee and not an independent contractor unless each of three conditions is satisfied.

For additional information, contact our office or continue reading on SBEMP Facebook Page.

Employment & Labor Law Attorneys of SBEMP

thomas_s_slovak lena_d_wade vee_b_sotelo
 Thomas S. Slovak  Lena D. Wade   Vee B. Sotelo

SBEMP’S Labor and Employment Department is comprised of attorneys with decades of experience in a broad range of labor and employment matters from day-to-day counseling to labor negotiations and litigation. Our team is prepared to guide our clients through the complex myriad of employment laws affecting California employers. We assist our clients with day-to-day personnel management issues, such as drafting employment policies, managing leaves of absence, identifying potential problems in hiring and firing practices, and ensuring wage and hour compliance. Our attorneys are also experienced litigators who regularly represent clients in all types of employment litigation, including defending wage and hour class actions as well as lawsuits alleging discrimination, harassment, and retaliation. Additionally, we regularly represent clients in administrative proceedings, such as Labor Commissioner claims, CalOSHA citations, DFEH and EEOC investigations, and DLSE complaints. Our labor and employment practice is also prepared to assist clients with labor negotiations and disputes. Our labor attorneys are experienced in negotiating labor agreements as well as representing clients before the NLRB.

DISCLAIMER: This blog post does not constitute legal advice, and no attorney-client relationship is formed by reading it. This blog post may be considered ATTORNEY ADVERTISING in some states. Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Additional facts or future developments may affect subjects contained within this blog post. Before acting or relying upon any information within this newsletter, seek the advice of an attorney.

Handling Problems in Probate

Probate is the legal method by that the fiduciary (executor) of the estate ultimately settles all affairs of a deceased dearest. It is typically more sophisticated for the executor of an estate, who has a fiduciary obligation and who has been entrusted with the responsibility of overseeing an estate’s assets while facilitating the methodical process of probating the estate.

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Why DIY is Hazardous to Your Estate Plan

Estate planning attorneys may work with financial experts to help customers create legally-binding trusts related to the disbursement of money and assets.

Great legal representatives can often provide advice for a better distribution of an estate’s assets. Going forward, legal documents can be drafted and utilized to discharge debts (like mortgages and loans) upon the death of an individual. This aids in avoiding the creation of any undue burden upon family members.

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Tribal Lands Seek Protection Against Fracking

A recent article states that environmental and tribal coalition groups have sued to obstruct a rule from 2015 in order to protect wildlife and public resources. The case is set to repeal the Trump Administration’s change to the rule that protects against fracking on lands that belong to federal and tribal communities. Continue reading

Why Companies Need Clear Sexual Harassment Policies To Prevent Litigation

The headlines in 2017 involved emerging headlines showing litigation and sexual harassment claims. In 2018, there is no indication of these headlines slowing down. The boost in sexual-harassment claims coincides with the prevalent and ongoing social movement which has supported those who are victims of sexual harassment to step forward and announce that they, also, have been victimized.

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How Companies Can Prepare For Business Litigation Before It Starts

Owning your company and being your own boss involves a lot of responsibility. Being a successful small business owner also entails understanding the basics of business litigation and being ready for potential legal issues should they arise. Although no provider goes out searching for legal problems, these issues can affect virtually any business, and preparation is important to avoiding long term damages.

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The Specifics Of Indian Tribal Law

Native Americans are governed by two types of laws in the United States. The first combines State and Federal laws all United States residents must adhere to. Indian law is the second, and is only applicable to Native American tribal groups. This provides Native Americans with a unique business and legal environment. Continue reading

Benefit of Using Alternative Dispute Resolution to Resolve Disputes

Going to trial is not the only way to resolve a particular legal dispute. Even if a matter goes to litigation, the two parties can always negotiate a settlement by undergoing the process known as alternative dispute resolution. The various methods of this process include mediation, negotiation, arbitration and collaborative law. Using ADR provides parties with a number of different benefits. One of our Palm Springs arbitration lawyer can explain to you how ADR can help resolve any business dispute.

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Planning To Develop Your Property? Why You Need To Go Through Land Entitlement Process

Whether you are planning to build a home, an apartment complex, or a shopping center on your newly purchased land, you may have to go through a land entitlement process. By definition, land entitlements are legal requirements between you and the concerned municipal authorities that allow you to develop certain types of buildings. In other words, it is the legal process of getting approvals for your construction and development plans.

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The Specifics Of Land Use Laws And Their Importance To Real Estate

Laws affecting the possession and use of land fall under the land use laws umbrella. Land can be used by an individual or business without ownership, including city workers, the government, and various public entities. Land may be frequented by service workers, mail carriers, and trespassers. Every state has special rules regarding land use including zoning, trespassing, eminent domain, and easements. These laws are important when a conflict arises.

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Understanding California’s Deceptive Trade Practices May be Trickier Than You Think

Many people may not be aware that California has yet to pass the Uniform Deceptive Practices Act. As a result, the State handles deceptive practices regarding Commercial trade through the California Business and Professions Code. More specifically, § 17500 et seq. Articles 17500, 17500.5 and 17505 are applicable in prohibiting false advertisements. In accordance with Section 17500, these violations can be punishable as a misdemeanor by a maximum fine of $2500, and/or up to six months of county jail time.
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How to Avoid Business Litigation

Every company needs to be prepared for unanticipated controversy which could lead to business litigation. It does not matter what industry you work with, the company could become engaged in disagreements with other companies regarding any transaction. That could lead you to the need for civil litigation.

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