California Lawsuits Challenging Contractor Model for Lyft, Postmates

Ridesharing service Lyft Inc. and courier service Postmates Inc. are among the first companies to be sued for improperly treating workers in California as independent contractors following a recent decision that makes it easier for workers to prove that they are employees entitled to costly legal protections.

On Wednesday, the companies were hit with separate lawsuits in California state court accusing them of misclassifying workers as contractors rather than employees to save money.

Coffee in California to be Paired With Cancer Warnings

Starbucks Corp. and other roasters and retailers must serve up a cancer warning with coffee sold in California, a Los Angeles judge has ruled.

Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle in a ruling published on Monday said that Starbucks and other coffee sellers did not show that the risk from consuming acrylamide, a possible cancer-causing byproduct created during coffee roasting, was offset by benefits from drinking coffee.

Hawaiian Volcano Slopes Offer Affordable Paradise, Risks

As lava crawled down Leilani Road in a hissing, popping mass, Cheryl Griffith stood in its path and placed a plant in a crack in the ground as an offering to the Native Hawaiian volcano goddess, Pele.

Griffith lives in Leilani Estates, a subdivision on the Big Island where molten rock from the Kilauea volcano has burst through the ground, destroying more than two dozen homes and resulting in evacuation orders for nearly 2,000 people. But the 61-year-old did not leave.

California Man Nabbed for Collecting Workers’ Comp from Multiple Insurers While Working

Michael Williams, 34, of Daly City, Calif., has been arrested on 21 felony counts of insurance fraud and grand theft after allegedly working for multiple employers while collecting over $85,000 in workers’ compensation benefits from two different insurers.

In November 2014, Williams was reportedly working as an electrician when he sustained a work-related injury. He filed a workers’ comp claim with the State Compensation Insurance Fund and began collecting temporary workers’ comp benefits.

Study: Drop in California Workers’ Comp Hospital Stays and Spinal Surgeries

The number of California workers’ compensation inpatient hospital stays fell 31.2 percent between 2008 and 2016 compared with a 19.6 percent drop in hospital stays paid under private plans, a new California Workers’ Compensation Institute study shows.

The study also shows a 2.4 percent increase in Medicare inpatient stays, and a 19.6 percent increase in inpatient stays paid by Medi-Cal, which saw a huge jump in enrollment with the rollout of Affordable Care Act plans.

California Bills Inspired by 2017 Mudslides and Fires Clear Committee

Two bills inspired by the 2017 mudslides and fires in California that are designed to help prevent homeowners from being underinsured when disaster strikes passed the Assembly Insurance Committee on Wednesday.

The bills, sponsored by California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, passed out of the committee with a unanimous vote. Assembly Bill 1797, authored by Assemblyman Levine, D-Marin County, and Assembly Bill 1875, authored by Jim Wood, D-Healdsburg, will help homeowners avoid being underinsured, a terrible problem faced by many survivors of the 2017 fires, according to Jones.

M3.3 Magnitude Rattles Shakes San Francisco Bay Area

A minor earthquake has shaken the San Francisco Bay area, the United States Geological Survey confirmed.

The USGS says an earthquake with a preliminary magnitude of 3.3 struck just before 5 a.m. on Monday. The epicenter of the quake was about 24 miles east-northeast of San Francisco City Hall. The closest city to the 4:55 a.m. quake was Alamo, California, about 2 miles away. The quake had a depth of about 3.5 miles.

Transparency Reshaping the Risk Management Landscape

It's a whole new ballgame when it comes to protecting a business' reputation, according to Steven Minsky, CEO of enterprise risk management software provider LogicManager.

While regulators may be struggling to keep up with the times, the public isn't feeling quite so constrained. As the recent Facebook debacle shows, consumers and investors can swiftly throttle a business' reputation when they suspect the company isn't playing by the rules. "Companies are operating in what I call the 'see-through economy'—a dizzyingly, fast-paced age of transparency where consumers and investors are empowered by new technologies to impact a company’s reputation," said Minsky, who recently authored the study, The State of Risk Management in 2018.

Emergency Officials Say Texts, Not Sirens, More Effective for Tornado Alerts

(TNS) - There’s nothing like a dramatic chorus of sirens sounding around a city to announce looming disasters.

But Guilford County doesn’t have a siren system that could have warned people before a tornado struck east Greensboro on April 15.

And the county’s emergency management director says that’s not a bad thing — texts and emails are much more likely to break through the distractions and alert people that something wicked is headed this way.

The States Most and Least Prepared for Public Health Disasters

Maryland is best poised to respond to a public health crisis, while Nevada and Alaska are least prepared, according to a national index released earlier this month.

The National Health Security Preparedness Index measures states’ readiness to respond to health disasters, including natural disasters, terrorism and disease outbreaks—think Zika or Ebola.

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