In a year marked by controversial legal decisions, one figure stands out as the judiciary’s undisputed champion of anti-business bias in California: Judge Ethan Schulman of the San Francisco Superior Court.
Today, CABIA is running a full-page ad in USA Today announcing Schulman’s dishonorable win. You can see the ad here.
As we present the first annual “2023 InJustice Award,” it is regrettable but necessary to shine a light on Schulman’s consistent anti-business rulings that demonstrate a troubling pattern of favoring ideology over fair and impartial judgment.
Google’s latest multi-million dollar settlement serves as a prime example of Schulman’s misguided approach to justice. In approving the staggering $27 million PAGA-only settlement against Google, he demonstrated his penchant for decisions that punish employers and reward greedy trial attorneys – while providing little relief to actual workers. In this case, each employee will receive about $80. Meanwhile, $9 million was awarded to the plaintiffs’ counsel, Outten & Golden LLP and Baker Curtiz & Schwartz PC.
In 2020, Schulman further solidified his anti-business bias by forcing the two largest ride-sharing companies to reclassify their drivers as employees. This move contradicted what the majority of voters wanted. Nearly 10 million Californians voted in favor of Proposition 22, a ballot measure that allowed some app-based workers to remain independent contractors.
Schulman’s decision also ignored the potential economic impact of forcing these companies to switch to an employee-based model – including higher labor costs, reduced employment opportunities, and increased costs for customers.
That same year, Schulman continued going against the will of voters with his approval of tax-increasing ballot measures without the required 2/3 vote, further highlighting his apparent disregard for job creators and democratic processes.
In the case of the construction of a homeless shelter in 2019, Schulman’s ruling against the neighborhood group Safe Embarcadero for All highlighted his willingness to prioritize social initiatives over the concerns of local businesses and residents. Schulmanseemingly dismissed community concerns that the shelter could lead to increased “crime, drug use, and blight.”
Even Schulman’s own colleagues in the legal community seem to question him, as evidenced by his middling 4 out of 10 stars rating on Robing Room – a platform where lawyers can review, rate, and share their experiences and opinions about judges.
In matters ranging from the construction of homeless shelters to upholding California’s COVID workplace standards, Schulman consistently sides against small businesses, disregarding the economic implications and trampling on the rights of entrepreneurs. His decision to hold an employer liable for car repairs despite not owning the vehicles further emphasizes his willingness to stretch legal boundaries to the detriment of the business community.
As we reflect on the year’s legal landscape, it is evident that Judge Ethan Schulman’s legacy is one of a clear lack of understanding or concern for the economic repercussions of his decisions. The “2023 InJustice Award” serves as a solemn reminder that justice must be blind, impartial, and above all, fair to all parties involved. Schulman’s record, unfortunately, paints a different picture.