Los Angeles Business Journal

Ending 2 Year Legal Battle, Judge Rules Port Truck Drivers are Employees

In a coup for labor activists and the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, a Superior Court judge on Thursday ruled that drivers for harbor trucking firm Pacer Cartage are employees, not independent contractors, and that seven of them are owed more than $2 million in damages, the Long Beach Press-Telegram reports. The Teamsters have argued for years that most harbor truckers are effectively employees, not contractors, and are therefore eligible to unionize.

Court Upholds Deceptive Ad Charge Against Resnicks’ POM Wonderful

A federal appeals court has upheld the Federal Trade Commission’s ban on deceptive advertising by pomegranate juice brand POM Wonderful, a unit of West L.A. agriculture giant Roll Global, Bloomberg reports. Roll and POM, owned by local billionaires Stewart and Lynda Resnick, have been fighting with the FTC for years over claims about the health benefits of pomegranate juice.

Sumner Redstone Absent from Viacom Call

Billionaire Viacom Inc. Chairman Sumner Redstone, No. 3 on the Los Angeles Business Journal’s list of the 50 Wealthiest Angelenos, is in declining health, and did not participate in Viacom’s earnings call with Wall Street analysts on Thursday, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Long Beach Port Chief Talks Congestion, Projects

In his first State of the Port address Thursday, Port of Long Beach Chief Executive Jon Slangerup spoke of solving problems that have led to crippling congestion in recent months and of projects underway that will allow the port to accommodate bigger ships, the Long Beach Press Telegram reports.

Patients Evacuated After Fire at Culver City Hospital

A fire at Culver City’s Brontman Medical Center prompted the partial evacuation of the hospital Thursday afternoon, with about 120 patients and 220 staff members evacuated from seven floors, KTLA reports.

Bollore Wants to Expand Electric-Car Sharing Service to L.A.

French billionaire Vincent Bollore is looking to Los Angeles and Singapore as the next markets for his electric-car sharing service, which debuts later this year in London and Indianapolis, and is looking for partners to expand the venture, Bloomberg reports.

Google Inc. Hurt by Rising Dollar

The rising dollar hurt Google Inc.’s fourth quarter revenue, which rose 17 percent to 14.5 billion, while net income rose 41 percent to $4.8 billion ($6.91 a share), the Wall Street Journal reports.

Vidiots Closing

Vidiots movie rental store in Santa Monica survived the shift to streaming services and internet rentals far longer than most, but after 30 years of operation, the store will close in April due to a steep drop in rentals, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Stocks Down

The Dow Jones industrial average was down 124 points in Friday morning trading to 17,296. The S&P 500 was down 15 points to 2,006. The Nasdaq was down 20 points to 4,663. The LABJ Stock Index was down three points to 212.

Report: California Facing Financial Relapse?

A report released Wednesday from Standard & Poor's questioned how sustainable California’s recovery is, warning that the budget could be dramatically hurt if the stock market shifts from gains to losses because about half of the state’s revenue comes from the wealthiest 1 percent in California, the Los Angeles Times reports.

L.A. Convention Center Profits for First Time in Years

After years of running at a deficit, the Los Angeles Convention Center today reported a profit of $3.3 million in the first year that the facility has been run by a private-sector operator, Anschutz Entertainment Group, the Daily News reports.

‘First Karaoke Bar’ to Close in Burbank

The iconic Burbank karaoke bar Dimples, which Sal Ferraro opened across from the Warner Bros. building in 1982, is preparing to close in order to make way for the $165 million Talaria at Burbank, a mixed-use project, the Daily News reports. Dimples bills itself as America’s first karaoke bar.

Hollywood’s Historic Taft Building Restored

The Taft Building on Hollywood and Vine, which was Hollywood's first high-rise office building and has been home to major film studios, has undergone a $15 million renovation by owner DLJ Capital Partners that made it more earthquake safe and uncovered historic architectural details, including concrete ceilings and brick walls, that were under wraps for decades, the Los Angeles Times reports.

OneWest Bank CEO Fights Protesters With Unusual Campaign

After protesters called for regulators to scrutinize the $3.4 billion purchase of OneWest Bank more closely and hold public-benefit hearings, the bank's chief executive, Joseph Otting, took up an unusual response. He started an email campaign through the bank's website that prompted 1,900 form letters backing the merger to be sent to federal regulators this month, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Fed Won’t Raise Rates Before June

Federal Reserve policymakers on Wednesday kept their benchmark interest rate near zero, indicating no increase is coming until at least June, the New York Times reports.