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Your daily dose of financial news The Brief – 2.11.16

Day 1 of Dr. Yellen’s trip to the Hill is done, and the official tone is “cautious,” with Yellen predicting continued economic growth and eventual additional rate hikes but expressing concerns about international threats to the US…more

Communicating Culture Outside the US – Part 1

I once worked in a law firm that was headquartered in another city. We fondly referred to ourselves as “in the provinces” since we worked apart from the mothership. In my corporate life I have worked in the corporate headquarters…more

Podcast - Food Industry Needs to Take Product Safety More Seriously - Or Pay

There have been a number of examples lately of the U.S. Justice Department investigating and prosecuting the food industry on their product safety measures. The latest examples making headlines include Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc…more

HUD Announces $1.9 Million Settlement with Memphis-Based Bank over Alleged FHA Discrimination

On February 1, HUD announced a $1.9 million settlement with a Memphis-based bank to resolve alleged violations of the Fair Housing Act. Specifically, the complainant alleged that the bank “was responsible for discriminatory terms and…more

IRS Provides Welcome Guidance on Mid-Year Amendments to Safe Harbor 401(k) Plans

The IRS recently issued Notice 2016-16 (the “Notice”), which permits most mid-year amendments to safe harbor 401(k) plans.  This is welcome news to sponsors of safe harbor 401(k) plans who, prior to the issuance of the Notice, faced…more

Maryland Appellate Court Clarifies Applicability of Business Judgment Rule for Board Responding to Shareholder Demand

The Maryland Court of Special Appeals recently ruled in Oliveira v. Sugarman, -- A.3d --, 2016 WL 361055 (2016), that a Maryland board's rejection of a shareholder demand is subject to the presumption of the business judgment rule –…more

Firing after employee’s “generalized threat to get legal advice” was not retaliatory

An employee who was fired approximately one month after he told his employer that he “might get legal help” was not the victim of a reprisal, the Ontario Labour Relations Board has decided. Although the case was filed under the…more

DOJ Focuses on Individuals in Corporate Wrongdoing

The U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”) has a new view in cases involving corporate wrongdoing (includingfraud and abuse, qui tam, and similar matters). And its gaze is focused squarely on rooting out and punishing the individuals…more

Delay In Seeking Class Certification May Be Grounds For Denial Of Certification

A recent decision by a Florida appellate court highlights an important point that defendants can effectively raise in other jurisdictions as well – a named plaintiff’s failure to timely seek certification can, by itself, be grounds for…more

It's a New Dawn, New Day for HMDA Reporting

On Oct. 15, 2015, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the CFPB or the Bureau) issued its long-awaited final rule amending and drastically expanding the mortgage loan application data reporting requirements under Regulation C and…more

New Final USDA Rule to Reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in Poultry

On February 4, 2016, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) announced the issuance of its final rule designed to reduce Salmonella and Campylobacter in raw chicken breasts, legs and wings…more

[Video]Law Firm Lawyer to Startup Biz Dev: Interview with Ben Alden @ Betterment

Lessons on working at and with startups from Ben Alden, who went from a law firm to doing business development and legal at Betterment in NYC…more

Don’t Rest on Your Laurels: The Importance of Adapting Objections to Changed Circumstances

Without a crystal ball, trial lawyers can make objections only on the basis of what has occurred or what they reasonably expect might occur based on the facts and circumstances existing at the time. Litigation, however is a fluid…more

SAMHSA Proposes Major Changes to Federal Substance Abuse Privacy Rule

On February 9, 2016, almost thirty years after the last substantive change to the federal regulations governing the confidentiality of alcohol and drug abuse patient records, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services…more

FDIC Announces RMBS-Related Settlement with New York-Based Financial Institution

On February 2, the FDIC announced a settlement for more than $62 million with a New York-based financial institution to resolve “federal and state securities law claims based on misrepresentations in the offering documents for 14 RMBS…more

“Reasonable Cause” Standard Highlighted In OSHA’s Revised Whistleblower Investigations Manual

On January 28, 2016, OSHA issued a revised Whistleblower Investigations Manual (“Manual”) outlining procedures for the handling of retaliation complaints under the various whistleblower statutes that OSHA oversees. Chapter 3 of the…more

Despite the Fanfare, Iranian Sanctions Remain Largely in Place

To read many of the media reports, the United States has withdrawn sanctions on Iran and Iran is now open for business. Contrary to such reports, the United States sanctions on Iran remain substantially unchanged…more

The Fight against a new Fiduciary Rule continues

It should come as no surprise that the Senate and the House of Representatives are trying to do their best to make sure that the Department of Labor (DOL) is thwarted with implementing a fiduciary rule for retirement plan and…more

President Obama establishes commission on enhancing national cybersecurity

Earlier this week, President Obama, by Executive Order, established the Commission on Enhancing National Cybersecurity within the Department of Commerce. The commission will be comprised of up to 12 members including “those with…more

The Skies Are Alive With the Sound Of Drones: The FAA Implements Drone Registration Requirements

It happened again—another incident involving an errant drone and a resident from the Garden State. As reported by various news sources, a New Jersey man attempted to photograph the Empire State Building with his drone. He was arrested…more

What’s Union Membership Got to Do with It? Nothing, According to a Proposed Alabama Constitutional Amendment

Republican state legislators recently introduced parallel bills that would amend the Alabama Constitution and reiterate Alabama’s status as a right to work state. Right to work states recognize and protect an employee’s right to choose…more

District Court Refuses to Enjoin State From Pursuing Claims That Fell Within Terms of Prior Class Settlement Agreement and Release

The court in In re Flonase Antitrust Litigation, No. 08-3301, 2015 WL 9273274 (E.D. Pa. Dec. 21, 2015) recently held that it could not enjoin the state of Louisiana from pursuing claims that, on their face, fell within the terms of an…more

CMS Takes Action Against Network Transparency While New Jersey Legislation Hits a Snag

Just as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) began holding federal health care plans accountable for their provider network transparency obligations, the New Jersey legislature stalled in its bid to pass a law that would…more

Share and Share Alike? Not so fast.

The joint ownership of patents is governed by 35 USC 262: - In the absence of any agreement to the contrary, each of the joint owners of a patent may make, use, offer to sell, or sell the patented invention within the United…more

Defective products: anxiety damage recognised and provisionally compensated by interim relief judge

By three court orders issued on 28 January 2016, the Nanterre Civil Court interim relief judge (Juge des référés du Tribunal de grande instance de Nanterre) granted a provision to 13 patients who had taken the Médiator® drug, in order…more

Illinois Supreme Court “Upgrades” Willful Misconduct Requirements in Unemployment Cases

The longstanding statutory definition of “willful misconduct” that would disqualify an unemployment insurance claimant has been “the deliberate and willful violation of a reasonable rule or policy of the employing unit, governing the…more

Banks Should Take Note of FINRA 2016 Examination Priorities

Why it matters - The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), the independent self-regulatory body for the securities industry, has issued its list of examination priorities for 2016. Banks will recognize many, but some…more

Amended version of Judicial Redress Act passes the Senate; now goes back to the House

The US Senate passed the amended version of the Judicial Redress Act on February 9. The amendments, which tie the Umbrella Agreement to Safe Harbor 2.0 (now dubbed the US-EU “Privacy Shield”), now go back to the House for approval…more

Virginia Trial Court Rules Against Taxpayer in Addback Case

In a case of first impression, the Richmond City Circuit has determined that Virginia’s “subject to tax” exception to intangible expense addback only applies to the portion of the royalty that the recipient included in its income…more

Drug Testing Company Settles FTC Case Alleging Invitation to Collude

The FTC has entered into a final settlement with Drug Testing Compliance Group LLC (DTC Group) by order issued January 21, 2016, resolving an administrative case that alleged DTC Group had invited a competitor to collude with respect…more

Employment Law - February 2016

In Equal Pay Push, EEOC to Collect Pay Data From Employers - Why it matters - On the anniversary of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, President Barack Obama announced that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)…more

OMB Finalizes Review of 60-Day Overpayment Rule

The Office of Management and Budget completed its review of the long-awaited final rule establishing a process for Medicare Part A and B providers and suppliers to report and return overpayments within 60 days (the “60-day rule”). As…more

HHS OCR Issues Rule Modifying HIPAA In Effort To Fight Gun Violence

On January 4, 2016, the Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (“OCR”) issued a rule modifying the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) Privacy Rule to expressly permit certain…more

Seventh Circuit Knocks Out Claims Against Generic Manufacturer on Preemption Grounds

It is not often that we get the opportunity to discuss an opinion from a panel of judges including two former professors from our law school. Diane Wood is the Chief Judge of the 7th Circuit and taught us Civil Procedure at the…more

Top 5 Legal Considerations for FinTech Advertising

The growth and expansion of FinTech service providers nationally and internationally over the last five years is reshaping the financial landscape. This evolution includes differentiation in how financial products are delivered and who…more

Texas Court of Appeals Holds Property Owner’s Negligence Claim Against Design Professional Barred by Economic Loss Rule

In A&H Properties Partnerships v. GPM Engineering [(2015) No. 03-13-00805-CV], the Texas Court of Appeals decided whether a property owner could maintain a direct action for negligence against a project designer hired by the general…more

CPSC Public Database: A 2011 Change to the Procedure for Filing Materially Inaccurate Information Claims that Can Easily be Overlooked

President Obama signed Public Law 112-28 (“PL 112-28”) into law on August 12, 2011. PL 112-28 amended numerous provisions of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (“CPSIA”). One such amendment made a notable change to the…more

Sixth Circuit Rules That Employees Are Not Entitled to Vested Health Benefits

In a ruling that follows the Supreme Court’s repudiation in M&G Polymers USA v. Tackett of the retiree-friendly inferences set forth in UAW v. Yard-Man, the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit ruled in Gallo v. Moen…more

2015 in Review: ERISA Civil Enforcement Recoveries Remain Low, Criminal Investigations Continue to Rise

The United States Department of Labor (DOL) recently published its Fiscal Year 2015 “Fact Sheet” documenting civil and criminal enforcement activities under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA). Although civil…more

Court Held That Plaintiff Stated A Claim Against Bank’s Employees For Individual Liability Based On Alleged Fiduciary Breaches

In Medve v. JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A., a plaintiff sued a bank and three of its employees for breaches of fiduciary duties arising from fiduciary accounts. No. H-15-2277, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 11961 (S.D. Tex. February 2, 2016). The…more

New Jersey Appellate Court Holds Condo Association’s Cause of Action Accrued After Unit Owners Took Control of Board, Not Upon Substantial Completion of Construction

In the Palisades at Fort Lee Condo. Ass’n v. 100 Old Palisade, Llc, et. al., No. A-4292-13T3, 2016 N.J. Super. Unpub. LEXIS 193, a New Jersey appellate court held that the six-year statute of limitations did not bar a condominium…more

Provisional Applications Narrow Construction of Four Patents, Broaden Construction of Two

In the Trustee of Columbia University in the City of New York v, Symantec Corporation, [2015-1146] (February 2, 2016) the Federal Circuit affirmed the district court’s claim construction order and subsequent partial final judgment of…more

Good News for Safe Harbor Plan Sponsors: The IRS Will Allow Mid-Year Changes

On January 29, 2016, the Internal Revenue Service issued guidance on mid-year changes to safe harbor plans under Internal Revenue Code Sections 401(k), and 401(m). Notice 2016-16 significantly expands the permissible mid-year changes…more

Private Equity Market Intelligence - Manufacturing/Industrials Quarterly Report - Q4

Market Overview - Manufacturing - • Economic activity in the manufacturing sector contracted in December for the second consecutive month, said the latest Manufacturing ISM Report On Business. • Based on the above…more

Fifth Circuit Weighs In On Breadth Of The Rehabilitation Act

Recently, a split has continued among the Circuit Courts as to whether Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act permits employment discrimination suits by independent contractors. On February 1, 2016, the Fifth Circuit joined the Ninth…more

Can You Love Employment Law and Love Valentine’s Day?

For years, I’ve been “warning” about the upcoming holiday of Valentine’s Day. Back in 2011, I recapped several cases where employees’ inappropriate behavior on this day of love, led to lawsuits…more

California Court Holds Excess Policy Did Not Provide UM/UIM Coverage

In Haering v. Topa Insurance Company, 2016 Cal.App.LEXIS 78 (Feb. 3, 2016), California’s Second Appellate District had the opportunity to examine whether a “follow form” excess policy must provide uninsured/underinsured (“UM/UIM”)…more

SEC Files Settled Financial Fraud Action

One of the key products of Monsanto Company is weed killer Roundup, sold to retailers and distributors but not directly to growers. After the product came off patent generics began to erode its profits…more

Overview of US and EU “Implementation Day” Guidelines on Iran Sanctions Relief

This overview describes the status of US and EU sanctions following the first round of nuclear-related sanctions relief that occurred on “Implementation Day” under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) concluded with Iran. It…more

DOL Issues New Guidelines on Joint Employment

The past few weeks have brought us a flurry of activity from federal agencies poised to re-shape the employment landscape, from upending traditional notions of the employment relationship to re-defining what it means to engage in…more

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