Latest Updates

Alberta Court of Appeal Weighs In on Random Drug and Alcohol Testing

Employers in Alberta are likely to have greater latitude in terms of the evidence they can rely upon to justify a policy of random drug or alcohol testing in the workplace, following the decision of the Alberta Court of Appeal in… more

Missouri Appeals Court Vacates $72 Million Verdict For Lack Of Personal Jurisdiction

In a significant defense win applying recent U.S. Supreme Court precedent, a Missouri appeals court reversed and vacated a $72 million judgment for lack of personal jurisdiction. Estate of Jacqueline Fox v. Johnson & Johnson, et al… more

Expect Focus - Life Insurance, Volume III - September 2017

EXPECTFOCUS® is a quarterly review of developments in the insurance and financial services industry, provided on a complimentary basis to clients and friends of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, P.A. Please see full Publication below for… more

Expect Focus - Life Insurance, Volume III - September 2017

EXPECTFOCUS® is a quarterly review of developments in the insurance and financial services industry, provided on a complimentary basis to clients and friends of Carlton Fields Jorden Burt, P.A. Please see full Publication below for… more

The Higher They Are, The Harder You Fall

You don’t need to be a cable news network, a Hollywood production company, a media mogul or a politician in order to feel the ripple effect from the recent wave of workplace sexual harassment claims. While such harassment claims might… more

Braced for Brexit

As negotiations continue, so do business preparations. Change is almost inevitable but the extent, nature and timing is uncertain. How can such change be addressed in one-off transactions (e.g. M&A) and in on-going relationships (e.g… more

Trade Secret Misappropriation By Ex-Employees In China: How To Confront “Inside Theft”

Article 123 of the General Provisions of the Civil Law of the People’s Republic of China (effective Oct. 1, 2017) confirmed that trade secrets are intellectual property, signifying China’s recognition of the importance of trade secret… more

Unified Credit for Estates & Annual Exclusions for Gifts Increased for 2018

The IRS announced that the Unified Credit for Estates and Annual Exclusion for Gifts will be higher in 2018. Unified Credit Against Estate Tax. For an estate of any decedent dying in calendar year 2018, the basic exclusion amount… more

President Trump Nominates Joe Simons to Chair the Federal Trade Commission; President Also Nominates Noted Consumer Protection Advocate Rohit Chopra to the Commission

President Donald Trump has indicated his intent to nominate Joe Simons, a long-time antitrust lawyer, to chair the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The President also has indicated his intent to nominate Rohit Chopra as an FTC… more

President Xi Jinping Pledges Sustainable Development to Build a “Beautiful China”

At the 19th National Congress of the Chinese Communist Party, President Xi Jinping asserted his country’s emerging leadership in environmental stewardship and pledged to build a “beautiful China”. In his speech to the 2,300 delegates… more

Departments of Justice and State Announce Joint Effort Targeting Visa-Abusing Employers

The federal government’s intent to increase restrictions on legal and illegal immigration is no secret to any U.S. business. The Trump administration’s various proposals have included ones intended to deal with perceived abuses in the… more

ISO 37001: Training, Employee Concerns, and Internal Investigations (Part V of V)

In my final posting on ISO 37001, I review requirements for training, raising concerns and internal investigations as part of a company’s anti-bribery risk management system… more

The Latest on President Trump's Executive Order

President Donald Trump issued his Presidential proclamation, “Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats" on Sept. 24, 2017. This order… more

Benefit and Contribution Limits for 2018

The Commissioner of Internal Revenue announced the 2018 dollar limitations for benefits and contributions that apply to retirement plans. Some limits have increased while others remained the same… more

Deeper Dive into Statistics Confirm Rise in Sex Harassment Cases...With Some Caveats

So a few weeks back, I suggested that we were entering into a new era of sexual harassment cases and wondered out loud when the statistics would back up my observations. We now have our first signs. Maybe… more

CFPB Finalizes Payday Lending Rule - With a Few Changes

On October 5, 2017, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) finalized its new rules governing the small-dollar consumer loan market, based on a proposal first released in June 2016. The rule requires underwriting for “ability… more

This Week In Securities Litigation

The Supreme Court removed Leidos from its argument document this week. The case, which focused on a question regarding the scope of Section 10(b) in a securities class action, was scheduled for argument next month. The Commission… more

FTC Obtains $4.1 Million Judgment Against Seller of Fake Payday Loans

On October 17, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced? that it obtained a $4.1 million default judgment from the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas against a phony debt collection operation that sold lists of… more

CFPB releases consumer protection principles for consumer-authorized sharing of financial information

The CFPB has released a set of “Consumer Protection Principles” for participants “in the developing market for services based on the consumer-authorized use of financial data.”… more

Alabama and Mississippi Insurance Law Questions Following Hurricane Nate

Hurricane Nate made landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast near the city of Biloxi on Sunday, October 8, 2017, as a Category 1 Hurricane. The eastern quadrant of the storm’s center also passed over significant portions of the Alabama… more

SEC Proposes Disclosure Changes

The SEC issued a proposing release on October 11, 2017 to amend a wide variety of disclosure rules, primarily under Regulation S-K, in an effort to modernize and in some cases simplify disclosure requirements for public companies… more

Leaving the Contractual Term “Voting Power” Undefined Could Be Risky Business

What does the contractual term “voting power” mean? Does it refer only to the power to elect corporate directors, or does it refer to the power to vote on any fundamental matter of corporate governance? Is voting power an attribute… more

Your Daily Dose of Financial News

Lyft, armed with a fresh billion from Google’s venture investment arm (CapitalG), is looking seriously at a 2018 IPO. The CapG money raises Lyft’s valuation from $6.9 billion to more than $10 billion… more

The Scope of an Insurer’s Right to Control the Defense – OneBeacon America Ins. Co. v. Celanese Corp.

The scope of an insurer’s right to control the defense of an insured is an underdeveloped issue in Massachusetts case law, which the Appeals Court recently addressed in OneBeacon America Ins. Co. v. Celanese Corp., No. 16-P-203 (Oct… more

Virginia Amends Data Breach Notification Law

Virginia amended the state’s data breach notification law, effective July 1, 2017, to expand notification requirements for employers and payroll service providers to data breaches that involve “unauthorized access and acquisition of… more

Executive Order on Association Health Plans Could Benefit Employers

Stymied by the lack of congressional progress toward repealing, replacing or reforming the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President Trump has in recent days issued a number of directives affecting various aspects of the law. Perhaps most… more

EC To U.S.: The (Privacy Shield) Kids Are Alright.

The Privacy Shield agreement struck between the European Commission (“EC”) and the U.S. Department of Commerce (“Commerce”) gave the EC a right of annual review to determine if all aspects of the Privacy Shield are being completely and… more

FERC issues update in hydroelectric licensing

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC or Commission) hydropower licensing processes are perennially criticized for how long they take and for the regulatory uncertainty they involve. On October 19, 2017, FERC took one more step… more

From the Mummy’s Tomb to the Mummy’s Ghost to Professional Development

Too often your learning goals suffer because you are too busy or too tired to even think about it. Or because you have no time and have other obligations. Yet there is no job, particularly the compliance profession, in which you can… more

FinCEN Provides FBAR Relief To Victims Of The California Wildfires

The Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) announced today that California wildfire victims in affected areas of California have until January 31, 2018, to file their Report of Foreign Bank and Financial… more

New Law Governs Immigrant Worksite Enforcement Actions in California

On October 5, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law Assembly Bill 450 (“AB 450”), imposing new requirements for public and private employers regarding immigration worksite enforcement actions by Immigration and Customs… more

General Contractors Now Liable In Private Construction For Wage And Fringe Benefit Liabilities Of Subcontractors

On October 14, 2017, California Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 1701. This law imposes liability on general contractors for wage and fringe benefit liabilities of its subcontractors. This law applies to all contracts entered into on… more

How Were the Court’s Civil Cases Distributed at the Court of Appeals (Part 4)?

Yesterday, we reviewed the year-by-year data for the distribution of the Court’s civil docket among the Districts and Divisions of the Court of Appeal. Today, we review the most recent data, from 2012 to year-to-date 2017… more

Suspicious Activity Reports Rarely Provide “Operational Value” to Law Enforcement Investigations

The Royal United Services Institute (“RUSI”) for Defence and Security Studies — a U.K. think tank – has released a study: The Role of Financial Information-Sharing Partnerships in the Disruption of Crime (the “Study”)… more

[Video]Day 15 of One Month to More Effective Compliance for Business Ventures- Tying It All Together for Joint Ventures

As I conclude this section on joint ventures, I want to emphasize again the risk they pose under the FCPA. Mike Volkov has stated, “A joint venture requires the integration of disparate company cultures. It can be successful, and is… more

Connected Cars “Compliance Package” at the Forefront

On October 17, after about 18 months of waiting, a consultation involving more than 20 players, and two intermediate versions, the French Data Protection Authority (“Commission Nationale de l’Informatique et des Libertés” or “CNIL”)… more

Assignment of Receivables: A Step Forward for UK PLC and a Step Towards International Harmonisation

The draft Business Contract Terms (Assignment of Receivables) Regulations 2017 (the “draft Regs”) have been published. Gone is the complexity of the original draft, and now we have a straightforward piece of legislation which will be… more

EPA Approves Flint Hills Resources’ Plant For Cellulosic Ethanol Production

On October 12, 2017, Edeniq, Inc., a leading cellulosic and biorefining technology company, announced that Flint Hills Resources, a member of the Biobased and Renewable Products Advocacy Group (BRAG®), received approval from EPA for… more

Washington's New Biometric Privacy Statute and How It Compares to Illinois and Texas Law

Washington recently became the third state to pass a statute regulating the commercial use of biometric identifiers. The growing trend of state biometric privacy legislation began in 2008, when Illinois enacted the Bio-metric… more

EPA Final Rule On Use Of TOFA Confirms Safety Of Unsaturated Fatty Acids

On October 10, 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) published in the Federal Register its final rule establishing exemptions for a tolerance limit to use tall oil fatty acids (TOFA) as an inert ingredient “[?i]n… more

Pensions Newsletter – October 2017

Welcome to the 19th issue of the Blakes Pensions Newsletter. This newsletter provides a summary of recent jurisprudential developments that affect pensions and benefits and is not intended to be legal advice… more

In-Vitro Fertilization Inconceivable to Legislature

On Oct. 16 the Georgia Supreme Court ruled that the statute covering children “conceived by means of artificial insemination” doesn’t cover children born by means of in-vitro fertilization (IVF). Why? Well, for one thing, the statute… more

American Process and Byogy Renewables Launch Phase 1 Of DOE-Funded Biofuels And Bioproducts Project

On October 9, 2017, American Process Inc. and Byogy Renewables, Inc. announced the launch of Phase 1 of its “Advanced Biofuels and Bioproducts with AVAP (ABBA)” project following the completion of negotiations with the U.S. Department… more

Supreme Court Asked to Clarify that Class Certification Evidence Must Be Admissible

A major California grower has asked the Supreme Court to resolve a circuit split by holding that evidence used to support class certification must be admissible. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit is currently one of only… more

DOE Researchers Optimize Lignin Processing By Combining Steps

Researchers at DOE’s Ames Laboratory are experimenting with chemical reactions that will provide an economical method of deconstructing lignin into stable, readily useful components. Lignin is the second largest renewable carbon… more

Apple Decides To Clean House

App developers, take note: due to Apple’s latest “clean-up” project, you should review your current apps to ensure that they meet Apple’s new App Store Review Guidelines. Make sure that your app is not a clone, does not offer spam or… more

Trump’s Third Travel Ban Suspended In Part

Seyfarth Synopsis: Federal judges in Hawaii and Maryland have issued orders blocking major portions of President Trump’s September 24, 2017 Presidential Proclamation… more

Email Discussions May Be Next: Mississippi Supreme Court Declares Closed-Door “Non-Quorum” Meetings Illegal

The Mississippi Open Meetings Act provides that “the formation and determination of public policy is public business and shall be conducted in open meetings.” Notwithstanding this command, some public boards in Mississippi had… more

Harvey Weinstein Case Brings Sexual Harassment Back to the Spotlight

The Harvey Weinstein case has brought a spotlight to a problem that has plagued not only Hollywood but other professions as well. While Corporate America has largely cleaned up its act and instituted robust anti-harassment policies and… more

6 Ways Employers Sink Their Own Ships

It’s not always the employee’s fault when things go bad for an employer. Sometimes the employer has no one to blame but itself. Here are six of the most common ways employers sink their own ships… more

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