All posts by Hanna Bowman

Navigating California Medical Care Through a Telehealth Practitioner

Medical care continues to evolve given the use of electronic media and communication, and a number of large health care practitioners are turning to telehealth as a method to provide medical care to a greater number of patients who reside in California’s rural communities. Before embarking on a telehealth practice, a practitioner must first be licensed by the Medical Board of California if the care provided involves California residents. If a physician is not licensed in California and provides care to a California resident, the physician has violated California law and could be subject to substantial fines and possible imprisonment.

Telehealth Advancement Act
In addition to the above requirement that the physician must be licensed in California, a telehealth practitioner is subject to the Telehealth Advancement Act, which became effective on September 18, 2004. The Act describes the mode of delivering health care in a system that provides “real-time” interaction via “communication technologies to facilitate the diagnosis, consultation, treatment, education, care management, and self-management of a patient’s health care.” Simply interacting via telephone and e-mail is insufficient to constitute providing “telehealth” medical care in accordance with California law.

Conduct an “Appropriate Prior Examination”
Moreover, to the extent that a patient is treated via “telehealth” medical services, a practitioner may prescribe a drug or device after conducting an “appropriate prior examination.” While various commentators have differing opinions of what constitutes “an appropriate prior examination,” it is commonly acknowledged that a physical examination is not the sole method of obtaining “an appropriate prior examination.” Thus, an interactive and sophisticated real-time communication system that has the capability of gathering current and detailed medical information — by way of a medical interview of a patient, allergies and medical history — could suffice as an “appropriate prior examination.” An exchange of random emails that are not detailed enough to constitute “an appropriate prior examination” would not permit a physician to prescribe pharmaceuticals, and could be deemed insufficient to justify providing health care via “telehealth.”

Consequences of Providing Telehealth Services Without an “Appropriate Prior Examination”
If a physician prescribes medication without “an appropriate prior examination,” the prescribing physician is subject to a $25,000 per occurrence fine. Thus, it is imperative that a physician who provides “telehealth”, and then prescribes medication as a result of his or her diagnosis of the patient, complete a thorough and detailed medical examination. While a physical examination is not required to constitute “an appropriate prior examination,” the medical examination that is provided must be detailed, which includes gathering his or her patient’s current medical condition, existing allergies and complete medical history of the patient.

Adherence of the California Medical Practices Act and Appropriate Regulations
Lastly, a telehealth provider must comply with the California Medical Practices Act and appropriate regulations regardless of where the provider is located. Consequently, a provider is required to file an application with the medical board if the provider desires to use a fictitious name. In addition to the physician being licensed in California, a professional medical corporation that provides telehealth services must be incorporated as a California corporation and is subject to California’s prohibition against the lay practice of medicine. Thus, the shareholders of the professional medical corporation are subject to scrutiny and must be designated health care professionals.

Navigating the requirements to become a telehealth provider and provide telehealth services can be challenging. A physician or medical group exploring or attempting to provide telehealth services should consult with an experienced healthcare attorney to ensure compliance with all state and federal regulations pertaining to telehealth services and providers.

By: Michael G. Polis 

Natural Disasters and the Employer’s Duty to Pay Employees

Recent natural disasters such as Hurricane Dorian and The Camp Fires in Butte County, California have left employers wondering whether they would be required to pay their employees during a temporary closure caused by a natural disaster. The answer varies depending on whether the employee is exempt from overtime (exempt employee) or subject to overtime (nonexempt employee).

For exempt employees, it generally depends on how long the natural disaster lasts.  Exempt employees usually get their full salary for any workweek in which they perform any work.  This means that if the temporary closure caused by a natural disaster is only for a partial workweek, then the exempt employee will continue to receive her full salary for that workweek.  However, the employer might be able to require the employee to use leave, if any, for the absence(s).  On the other hand, if the temporary closure is for an entire workweek (and the employee is not working remotely), then the exempt employee would not continue to receive her salary for that workweek. 

Limited exceptions exist for when an exempt employee’s salary may be reduced for full-day absences for personal reasons other than sickness or disability.  The federal Department of Labor has opined that an employee’s failure to report to work because of transportation issues during inclement weather when the office is open is an absence for personal reasons.  The position of the California Department of Labor Standards Enforcement is not clear.  Employers should exercise caution before reducing an exempt employee’s salary because they can jeopardize the employee’s exempt status by making improper salary deductions.

Different from exempt employees, non-exempt employees generally only get paid for the hours they actually work.  This means that if a natural disaster prevents non-exempt employees from reporting to work or there is no work to report for, they do not get paid.  California wage orders also contain an exemption from reporting time pay requirements for natural disasters.  Finally, employers should be aware of their own agreements or policies because employers can change the general rules for exempt and nonexempt employees through employment contracts, labor contracts and employment policies providing that the employees will be paid during temporary closures caused by a natural disaster. 

Twelve Wilke Fleury Attorneys Selected as Sacramento’s 2019 Top Lawyers!

Congratulations to Wilke Fleury’s featured attorneys who made the Sacramento Magazine’s Top Lawyer List for 2019!

Each attorney was awarded a Top Lawyer accolade in the following practice areas:

David Frenznick: Commercial Law
Dan Egan: Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor
Dan Baxter: Business Litigation, Government Contracts
Adriana Cervantes: Medical Malpractice
Mike Polis: Healthcare
Steve Williamson: Bankruptcy & Creditor/Debtor
Gene Pendergast: Estate Planning and Probate
George Guthrie: Commercial Law, Insurance
Danny Foster: Litigation: Insurance
Ronald Lamb: Medical Malpractice
Aaron Claxton: Healthcare
John Valencia: Legislative & Governmental Affairs, Government Contracts

The voting for Professional Research Services’ survey to determine the top attorneys in 2017 for Sacramento Magazine was open to all licensed attorneys in Sacramento, Calif. Attorneys were asked whom they would recommend among 56 legal specialties, other than themselves, in the Sacramento area. Each attorney was allowed to recommend up to three colleagues in each given legal specialty. Once the online nominations were complete, each nominee was carefully evaluated on the basis of the survey results, the legitimacy of their license, and their current standing with the State Bar of California. Attorneys who received the highest number of votes in each specialty are reflected in the following list. – Sacramento Magazine

Wilke Fleury Attorneys Awarded Sacramento Business Journal’s Best of the Bar

Wilke Fleury congratulates attorneys Dan Egan, Steve Williamson and David Frenznick on their inclusion in the Sacramento Business Journal 2019 Best of the Bar!

The Sacramento Business Journal annually honors the region’s top attorneys after a rigorous process of selection. To be awarded the Best of the Bar, attorneys are nominated by fellow attorneys and then vetted by a panel of peers.

Wilke Fleury is thrilled to celebrate our attorneys awarded this distinction and looks forward to the attorney’s profiles in the Sacramento Business Journal’s special ‘Best of the Bar’ publication!

David A. Frenznick Awarded Multiple Accolades in the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America

Wilke Fleury congratulates attorney David A. Frenznick on his inclusion in the 26th Edition of The Best Lawyers in America© for his work in: Litigation – Real Estate!

In addition, David was also acknowledged as a 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” award recipient. He received this accolade for his work in Litigation – Real Estate in Sacramento. Only a single lawyer in each practice area and community is honored with a “Lawyer of the Year” award.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become universally regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence. Best Lawyers lists are compiled based on an exhaustive peer-review evaluation. Almost 94,000 industry leading lawyers are eligible to vote (from around the world), and have received over 11 million evaluations on the legal abilities of other lawyers based on their specific practice areas around the world. For the 2020 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America©, 8.3 million votes were analyzed, which resulted in more than 62,000 leading lawyers being included in the new edition. Lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed; therefore inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

David A. Frenznick – Litigation, Real Estate

David has extensive and broad experience in the areas of complex civil litigation, with particular emphasis on the representation of residential and commercial property owners in construction-related disputes. David represents homeowners, homeowner associations, developers and contractors in real estate cases, as well as complex construction defect claims involving multiple single-family residences and multi-unit developments.

Wilke Fleury Attorneys Highlighted | 2019 Northern California Super Lawyers

Wilke Fleury is proud to announce that 14 of our astounding attorneys were featured in the Annual List of Top Attorneys in the 2019 Northern California Super Lawyers magazine.

Super Lawyers rates attorneys in each state using a patented selection process; they also publish a yearly magazine issue that regularly produces award-winning features on selected attorneys.

sacramento super lawyers

Each Wilke Fleury attorney was highlighted as Top Rated in the following practice areas:

Aaron R. ClaxtonTop Rated Health Care Lawyer

Heather M. ClausTop Rated Health Care Lawyer

Anna G. ThomasTop Rated Health Care Lawyer 

Michael G. PolisTop Rated Health Care Lawyer

Ronald R. LambTop Rated Medical Malpractice Lawyer

Daniel L. EganTop Rated Bankruptcy Lawyer

Samson R. ElsberndTop Rated Civil Litigation: Defense Lawyer

David A. FrenznickTop Rated Construction Litigation Lawyer

George A. GuthrieTop Rated Construction Litigation Lawyer

Dan Baxter Top Rated Business Litigation Lawyer, Top 25 Sacramento Super Lawyer, Top 100 Northern California Super Lawyer

Stephen K. MarmadukeTop Rated Business/Corporate Lawyer

Steven J. WilliamsonTop Rated Business Litigation Lawyer

Bianca S. SamuelTop Rated Employment Litigation: Defense Lawyer

Adriana C. CervantesTop Rated Personal Injury Medical Malpractice: Defense Lawyer

You can read the full article here:

Wilke Fleury Promotes Three Associates To Senior Counsel

Wilke Fleury is pleased to announce that it has promoted three associates to the position of Senior Counsel – Bianca Samuel, Adriana Cervantes and Aaron Johnson – who have demonstrated professional excellence and complement the firm’s multi-generational leadership.

“Bianca, Adriana, and Aaron’s ascension to Senior Counsel status reflects their significant accomplishments and contributions to the firm, both professionally and culturally,” said Dan Baxter, Managing Partner. “We are lucky to have all three of them within our ranks here at Wilke Fleury, and look forward to their successes for our clients.”

Senior Counsel have at least six years of experience delivering high-quality legal work, collaborate with partners on the development and management of key practice areas, and actively mentor junior lawyers.

Bianca Samuel litigates a wide variety of employment matters, including claims for discrimination, retaliation, wrongful termination, and single-plaintiff wage and hour claims on behalf of employers and supervisors before all state and federal courts and administrative proceedings. She conducts independent workplace investigations for public and private entities. She also advises and counsels employers on best practices relating to hiring, discipline, termination, wage and hour issues and training on employment related topics.

Adriana Cervantes defends healthcare professionals and hospitals against claims of medical malpractice, intentional torts, licensing actions for unprofessional conduct, and similar charges. She has successfully litigated cases involving obstetrics and gynecology, neurology, cardiology, infectious disease, radiology, psychiatry, emergency medicine, and many other medical specialties. Her practice extends to matters initiated in both state and federal court, and before administrative boards. Adriana also serves as the Fundraising Director for Operation Protect and Defend (OPD) an organization dedicated to engaging public high school students in a dialogue about the U.S. Constitution and promoting civic engagement.

Aaron Johnson has deep experience in Estate Planning, Business Formation and Transactions, Tax Planning and Controversy Resolution. His work in estate planning focuses on succession planning for individuals, family limited partnerships and closely-held businesses. Aaron specializes in drafting wills, trusts, advance health care directives, durable powers of attorney and related documents. In addition, he assists clients and companies with matters covering the full life cycle of business from formation to succession planning. He has experience forming LLCs and S Corporations, drafting Buy-Sell agreements, Purchase and Sale agreements, corporate minutes, and shareholder agreements, among other business documents. Aaron represents individuals and companies in all aspects of tax planning and controversy resolution before federal and state taxing authorities. His experience includes representing clients in front of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Franchise Tax Board (FTB) and the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration (CDTFA).

Wilke Fleury is a thriving midsized general practice law firm located in California’s capital. Our attorneys offer broad expertise, creativity, and strong ties to local businesses, families, and individuals, making Wilke Fleury one of the region’s most respected and longstanding law firms. Our support of local charitable organizations, universities, law schools, political interests and the community reveals the character of the firm and our sincere commitment to the Sacramento region.

Michael G. Polis Joins Board for The Center for Land-Based Learning

Wilke Fleury Welcomes New Associates and Legislative Advocate!

Wilke Fleury is growing with the addition of three new associates – Heather M. Claus, Kevin R. Bonsignore, & Spencer S. Turpen along with a new Legislative Advocate – Magaly L. Zagal. The firm is committed to strategic hiring practices and is excited to expand the firm’s capacity to serve the needs of clients.

Heather M. Claus is a health care attorney with significant experience navigating the dynamic legal and regulatory health care landscape on behalf of a variety of public and private health entities.  She is well-versed in pertinent federal and state laws, including HIPAA, False Claims, ERISA, Knox-Keene, Stark, Anti-Kickback, Public Records, and the Brown Act.

Click here to read more about Heather M. Claus.

Spencer S. Turpen’s practice primarily focuses on general civil litigation, including personal injury, medical malpractice, professional liability, and business litigation. Spencer is dedicated to providing excellent legal representation to his clients and prides himself on creative problem-solving in litigation.

Click here to read more about Spencer S. Turpen.

Kevin R. Bonsignore’s practice is focused on general business litigation, bankruptcy, and real estate.  Kevin regularly represents clients in all phases of litigation, including discovery, law and motion, and alternative dispute resolution.  In addition to his litigation practice, Kevin represents clients in bankruptcy matters utilizing expertise he developed as a judicial extern in the United States Bankruptcy Court, Northern District of California.

Click here to read more about Kevin R. Bonsignore.

Magaly L. Zagal joins Wilke Fleury with a background in politics and agribusiness. Magaly began her path into politics and policy at former Assemblymember Alejo’s district and capitol offices. Those experiences helped shape her decision to apply legislative and regulatory strategies to achieve solutions with the potential to impact millions of Californians.

Click here to read more about Magaly L. Zagal.

Wilke Fleury is a thriving mid‐sized general practice law firm located in California’s capital. Our attorneys offer broad expertise, creativity, and strong ties to local businesses, families, and individuals, making Wilke Fleury one of the region’s most respected and long‐standing law firms. Our support of local charitable organizations, universities, law schools, political interests and the community reveals the character of the firm and our sincere commitment to the Sacramento region.



Wilke Fleury Celebrates the Addition of Two New Partners

Wilke Fleury celebrates the addition of two new partners – Shannon Smith-Crowley and Daniel J. Foster – who complement the firm’s shifting generations of leadership. Shannon and Danny bring unique perspective and excellent capability to Wilke Fleury’s partnership effective January 1, 2019.

Shannon has been a registered lobbyist in California for 20 years. After a career in managed care, she started lobbying  with the California Medical Association before founding her own firm, Partners In Advocacy to specialize in medical and reproductive health advocacy.  At Wilke Fleury, her areas of practice include health care, women’s equity, life sciences, the biomedical industry, new family formation and emerging technologies in green energy.  After a four year tenure with the firm, she has been elevated to the partnership.

Click here to read more about Shannon Smith-Crowley.

Daniel Foster’s litigation practice is composed of matters involving complex construction defect litigation, mechanics liens claims, stop notice actions and Miller Act claims. He represents clients before the Contractors State License Board and handles matters involving breach of warranty, the Song-Beverly Consumer Warranty Act, indemnity agreements and liability insurance coverage.

Click here to read more about Daniel J. Foster.

“The addition of Shannon and Danny to our partnership ranks not only enhances our ability to serve the broadly-drawn needs of our clients, but is internally exciting, as well,” said Dan Baxter, Managing Partner. “All of us here at the firm have worked with Shannon and Danny for several years, and they are both excellent lawyers, hard workers, and good people.  Their ascension to partnership is part of an exciting time for the firm as we move into the new year.”

Wilke Fleury is a thriving mid‐sized general practice law firm located in California’s capital. Our attorneys offer broad expertise, creativity, and strong ties to local businesses, families, and individuals, making Wilke Fleury one of the region’s most respected and long‐standing law firms. Our support of local charitable organizations, universities, law schools, political interests and the community reveals the character of the firm and our sincere commitment to the Sacramento region.


Kathryne E. Baldwin published in Paradigm

Kathryne E. Baldwin published “Negative Online Reviews: Recommendations for Navigating an ‘Ethical Minefield'” in the Primerus Magazine Paradigm. 

Read the full article here:


Michael G. Polis featured in Comstocks Magazine!

Michael G. Polis was featured in “The Family Niche” published in the October issue of Comstocks magazine! The article illustrates Mike’s passion for niche farming and ethically raised lambs along with his protective llamas!

Read the full article here: 

And an additional Q&A here:

Wilke Fleury Recognized in U.S. News 2019 Edition ‘Best Law Firms’ in America

Wilke Fleury is pleased to announce its inclusion in the 2019 edition of ‘Best Law Firms’ in America. This award reflects excellence in legal service – firms included in the 2019 ‘Best Law Firms’ list are recognized for professional excellence by clients and peers.

“Firms included in the 2018 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.”

Employment Law Basics for Veterinarians


In California, four primary laws govern veterinarians’ interactions with their employees: Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, federal wage and hour laws, state wage and hour laws and California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act.

Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964

This section of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating on the basis of race, age, sex, religion, national origin or color. This law applies to all aspects of employment, including hiring, firing, recruitment, benefits, pay, promotions, layoffs, assignments, use of company facilities and more. If a prospective, current or former employee believes he or she has been a victim of discrimination, he or she can file a complaint against your veterinary practice with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. If the complaint cannot be resolved, it may lead to a lawsuit.

Federal Wage and Hour Laws

Under the Fair Labor Standards Act, the minimum wage you can pay an employee in the United States is $7.25 per hour. In addition, when an employee works more than 40 hours in a single week, federal law requires you to pay a wage equal to at least 1.5 times the employee’s usual rate.

State Wage and Hour Laws

The state of California mandates a minimum wage of $9.00, which is higher than the federally-mandated minimum wage. As a result of this law, veterinarians in California must pay their employees at least $9.00 for every hour worked. As of January 1, 2016, the minimum wage in California will increase to $10.00. Likewise, California requires overtime pay equal to at least 1.5 times the employee’s regular hourly rate for every hour worked in excess of 40 per week or 8 per day. The minimum amount of overtime pay increases to double the employee’s regular rate for hours worked in excess of 12 in a single day.

Fair Employment and Housing Act

The Fair Employment and Housing Act’s requirements for veterinarians are similar to those of the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. However, in addition to all of the protections provided by the Civil Rights Act, the Fair Employment and Housing Act also prohibits employers from discriminating against current or prospective employees because of sexual orientation, gender, gender expression, gender identity, pregnancy, breastfeeding, military of veteran status, medical conditions, marital status, ancestry, disability or genetic information.

Five Wilke Fleury Attorneys awarded Sacramento’s Best of the Bar!

Wilke Fleury congratulates attorneys Dan BaxterSteve Marmaduke, Dan Egan, George Guthrie, and David Frenznick on their inclusion in the Sacramento Business Journal 2018 Best of the Bar! The Sacramento Business Journal annually honors the region’s top attorneys after a rigorous process of selection. To be awarded the Best of the Bar, attorneys are nominated by fellow attorneys and then vetted by a panel of peers.

Wilke Fleury is thrilled to celebrate the five attorneys awarded this distinction and looks forward to the attorney’s profiles in the Sacramento Business Journal’s special ‘Best of the Bar’ publication.