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“New and Improved” is Not Always a Good Slogan Under CEQA

Marketing departments in major corporations love to describe products as “new and improved” in order to convince you that the product is something you need. In many cases though, you already have the product; the new and improved…more

American Indian Tribes and Canadian First Nations: The Impact of Gaming Law and Policy on the Industry

In the United States, Indian gaming is a $29 billion industry, with some 240 American Indian tribes operating more than 450 gaming operations in 28 states. Alan Meister, Casino City’s Indian Gaming Industry Report (2016). In Canada…more

CAFC Says Functional Claim Language Does Not Create Divided Infringement

In LifeNet Health v. LifeCell Corporation, one of the many issues the Federal Circuit decided was that functional claim language did not create a divided infringement situation, even though an independent actor could impact whether the…more

First Privacy Shield Guidelines for Companies published by German DPA

On September 12, 2016, the Data Protection Authority of the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia (“DPA NRW”) became one of the first EU data protection authorities to issue guidance on the implementation of the Privacy…more

Joint Tenancy Lienholders Should Timely Execute on Judgment Liens in Order to Avoid Losing Property Interest

The Alabama Supreme Court recently held in Ex parte Arvest Bank, that an unexecuted judgment lien against the property interest of one joint tenant does not sever a joint tenancy with the right of survivorship, thereby extinguishing…more

SEC Sends Another Message on Section 16 Filings

In connection with a partial settlement of alleged fraudulent activities, the SEC charged three directors of a company associated with the fraud that did not participate in the fraud with failing to make Section 16 filings…more

Crackdown on excessive boardroom pay – as easy as publishing a simple ratio?

The theory: work out the average worker’s pay in a company, calculate the ratio between that average pay and the CEO’s pay, and then, if the ratio is large, name and shame the company and its overpaid boss…more

Proposed Regulations Under IRC Section 2704 Seek to Eliminate Discounts on Transfers of Family Business Interests

On Aug. 2, 2016, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service released proposed regulations under Internal Revenue Code (Code) section 2704 (the “Proposed Regulations”). The Proposed Regulations, if finalized in their…more

North Carolina Business Court Ruling Regarding Fees May Impact Class Action Claims

North Carolina Business Court Judge Louis Bledsoe III has held that the named plaintiff must pay any defendant's costs incurred after the plaintiff rejected the defendant’s offer of judgment. This decision brings to an end more than…more

House Financial Services Committee Takes Aim at the CFPB

While the CFPB has been busy revamping debt collection rules, including those required by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), lawmakers are doing a bit of revamping of their own. Earlier this month, the Financial CHOICE…more

Well Well: Court Sides with Employer in Latest Wellness Program Battle (Part 1)

Here’s one for you: Did you hear the one about the employee that turned down the opportunity to have his annual health insurance premiums waived? Not a joke, unfortunately. And there’s not much of a punch line either…more

Federal Court in North Carolina Holds That Impracticability of Arbitration Clause Which Required Decision Within 30 Days of Selection of Arbitrators Did Not Render It Invalid Because Incorporated AAA Rules Allowed for Extension of Arbitration Period

Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise v. W.G. Yates & Sons Constr. Co., 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86100 (W.D. NC July 1, 2016) - Tribal Casino Gaming Enterprise (the “Casino”) contracted with joint general contractors, W.G. Yates & Sons…more

Four States Expanded Employer Data Breach Notification Obligations in 2016

With over 680 security breaches reported so far in 2016, more employers are being forced to confront the issue of how to respond to a breach. All states except Alabama, North Dakota and New Mexico now require notification when…more

Rejecting "True Lender" Arguments, California District Court Dismisses Claims Against Student Loan Servicers

This past Thursday, September 22, a federal district court in the Central District of California dismissed an action raising usury claims against several student loan servicers, rejecting the plaintiffs' arguments based on the "true…more

In Case You Missed It: Launch Links - September, 2016 #3

Some interesting links we found across the web this week: Long-Term Success Starts With Managing Your Startup's Runway - This week’s post is all about fundraising. Managing your startup’s money can be just as difficult as…more

Best Practices for Attorneys re the Court Reporter at Hearings

In many county courthouses throughout California, Friday is law and motion day. Every hour a new calendar is called by the judge with approximately 10 matters. Attorneys will hire a court reporter to report their hearing if they feel…more

Using Phantom Stock in a Family-Owned Business

Like any business, a family-owned business needs to attract, retain, motivate and reward key employees. A competitive salary and benefits package may not be enough to do this in today’s market. Many businesses issue stock or stock…more

Boilerplate – New Consideration in View of Patent Subject Matter

Can boilerplate language describing possible variations to an invention ever impact validity of a patent? Many software patents include standard “boilerplate” text describing many ways to implement an invention, such as by discussing…more

New regulation for biomass and biogas power projects in Indonesia (MEMR Regulation 21 of 2016)

Shortly after the issuance of a new regulation for the development of solar power projects in Indonesia, the Government of Indonesia is now introducing a new regulation on the purchase of electricity by PLN from biomass and biogas…more

Taxation Law Section - 2016 Oklahoma Tax Legislation

The Following is a summary of some of the changes in Oklahoma tax law enacted by the Oklahoma Legislature in 2016. Income Tax - Investment/New Jobs Credit, $25 Million Cap, 2016-2018 - The Income tax credit for…more

GMO Food Labeling And CRISPR

A new law targeted at GMO food labeling instructs the Secretary of Agriculture to establish standards for identifying “bioengineered” food. While many might think CRISPR-modified foods will be covered by such a law, certain CRISPR…more

Bitcoin Again Held to Be “Funds” for Federal Money Transmitting Purposes

Murgio decision reflects a growing judicial consensus around the application of money transmitting laws to Bitcoin exchangers. On September 19, 2016, U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan of the Southern District of New York denied…more

CFPB Files Action Against Credit Repair Company, Seeking Injunction and Penalties

On September 23, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) announced that it filed suit against a credit repair company in the United States District Court for the Central District of California, for alleged violations of the…more

Do CMS Ratings Punish Hospitals for Serving the Poor?

Does the CMS star rating system reward hospitals for serving the affluent and punish those that serve the poor? The answer is a resounding yes, according to a recently published analysis by Bloomberg BNA. The analysis compared star…more

Futility Trumps Waiver of Arbitration Rights in Third Circuit

Echoing a holding already issued by four other circuits, the Third Circuit recently found that a defendant does not waive its right to arbitration by continuing to litigate in court, if the reason it failed to move to compel…more

Blog: HM Treasury consults on a new definition of “financial advice”

Consumers ask for advice or guidance on financial matters at different times and for different reasons. Some want to make their own investment decisions, and guidance would help. Some need limited advice on a particular issue…more

SDNY Refuses to Dismiss Executive’s Dodd-Frank Retaliation Claim

On August 24, 2016, the Southern District of New York denied Defendants’ motion to dismiss a Dodd-Frank whistleblower retaliation claim brought by its former co-CEO and Executive Chairman of its Board of Directors, finding that the…more

Massachusetts Takes Lead in Energy Storage Initiatives

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has released its long-awaited Energy Storage Initiative Study and simultaneously announced an $11 million program designed to help fund approximately 10 to 15 energy storage projects that will…more

Weekly Update Newsletter - September 2016 #3

GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS - Notice of Minimum Wage Rate Change for Contractors - The Wage and Hour Division of the U.S. Department of Labor issued a notice announcing that beginning January 1, 2017, the Executive Order minimum…more

Your daily dose of financial news - The Brief – 9.26.16

The Deal Professor weighs in on Yahoo’s announcement last week of the hack of roughly 500 million of its customers’ data and the specter of the MAC (material adverse change) that Verizon may choose to invoke to dance away from its $4.8…more

Deposit Insurance Review: Improving the Current Framework

On September 16, 2016, Canada’s Department of Finance (Finance Canada) published for comment the Deposit Insurance Review (Consultation Paper). The Consultation Paper ensues from the Budget 2014 announcement of the launch of a…more

Comments Due November 1, 2016 on Proposed Update to Framework for Biotechnology Regulation

On September 18, 2016, the Obama Administration issued two major documents in connection with its ongoing efforts to modernize the federal Coordinated Framework for the Regulation of Biotechnology. The first document, a proposed…more

Germany Publishes Review of the Joint Research Strategy of the Higher Federal Authorities

On September 19, 2016, the Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) published a report entitled Review of the joint research strategy of the higher federal authorities — Nanomaterials and other advanced materials:…more

OSHA Addresses Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Releases

We have written about SEC enforcement actions related to severance and confidentiality agreements that restrict reporting matters to the SEC. OSHA has also issued guidance regarding settlement agreements with whistleblowers under…more

The Future of U.K.-EU Trade: The Bilateral Trade Agreement Model

In the aftermath of Brexit, the United Kingdom is faced with the challenge of negotiating a relationship with the European Union that balances Single Market access with national control over the movement of goods and workers. This…more

Diversity Visa ("Green Card Lottery") Registration

On October 4, 2016, registration for the Diversity Visa (DV) 2018 Program will begin. Conducted by the U.S. Department of State (DOS), the DV program provides a limited number of immigrant (permanent) visas each fiscal year for…more

Wearable Device Data: The Next Big Thing for Employment Litigation Cases

Wearable device data may be the next big thing in the world of evidence for employment cases since social media. Given that it has already been used in personal injury and criminal cases, it is only a matter of time before wearable…more

Surviving the Zombie [Foreclosure] Apocalypse

Preparing For A World When Lis Pendens Protections Are All But Ober - “BEWARE REAL PROPERTY LITIGATORS” warns a former chair of the Real Property, Probate and Trust Law Section of the Florida Bar. This advice, given in…more

Ownership of Copyright in Software

Can an employee claim to own the employer’s software? An “author” of a work is the first owner of copyright. To determine ownership, it’s necessary to determine which contributions will be considered “authorship” for the purposes…more

More Lessons From McRo

My previous blog on McRo focused on the direct aspects of the decision, but there are other excellent points that the court makes and that can be derived from the opinion, and that should play an important role in how the courts and…more

Trust But Verify - Due Diligence with a Jaded Eye

Ronald Reagan’s mantra with respect to US-Soviet relations in the 1980s applies with equal force to today’s world of due diligence. (I know it shows my age that I can recall this statement). Not all due diligence cases require a…more

WARNING: California’s Proposition 65 Warning Requirements are Changing

California’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment (“OEHHA”) recently finalized substantial amendments to the regulations governing the provision of warnings required by “Proposition 65” (a/k/a the “Safe Drinking Water and…more

Federal Circuit Provides Additional Support to Software Patents

The federal circuit recently reversed a decision in McRO, Inc. v. DBA Planet Blue that asserted claims in patents at issue, relating to a method for automatically animating lip synchronization and facial expression of animated…more

UPDATE: CA Supreme Court Grants Review of Order Requiring Yelp.com to Remove Negative Reviews of Law Firm Following Determination They Were Defamatory and Disgruntled Former Client Failed to Act

In a case which was the subject of our Alert dated June 22, 2016, the California Supreme Court agreed on September 21, 2016 to review a lawsuit that Yelp.com warns could lead to the removal of negative reviews on the popular website…more

Blog: PSD2: EBA consults on PII Guidelines for payment initiation & account information service providers

The European Banking Authority (EBA) has published its draft Guidelines on professional indemnity insurance (PII) and comparable guarantees for payment initiation and account information service providers (PISPs and AISPs…more

Mission Near Impossible - Reliance on Professionals Defense to Late Filing and Payment Penalties

An estate sought relief for $1.189 million in penalties for the late filing of a Form 706 and the late payment of estate taxes when the filing and payment were over a year late. The U.S. District Court granted the government's motion…more

EPA’s Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products Pose Challenges for Industry, Particularly Importers

Importers, retailers, and others that sell goods containing plywood or other composite wood products face significant compliance challenges from EPA’s new Formaldehyde Standards for Composite Wood Products (the Standards). The final…more

[Video]Supply Chain Agreements

In this video, McNees attorney Peter F. Kriete recaps three recent food recalls as well as the new Senate Bill 764 that will require the USDA to develop label regulations on certain food and beverages. Mr. Kriete also lays out the…more

Western District of Michigan FBA Annual Meeting a Success

Approximately 100 members of the Western District of Michigan Chapter of the Federal Bar Association met for the chapter's Annual Meeting at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel's Imperial Ballroom on September 22, 2016. The meeting capped off…more

Uber Victory in Ninth Circuit Regarding Dispute Over Enforceability of Arbitration

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit (the “Ninth Circuit”) recently ruled that the majority of Uber’s contract drivers must resolve their disputes through individual arbitration and cannot pursue their labor claims…more

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