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FTC Settles with Payday Lender over Alleged UDAAP Violations

The United States District Court for the District of South Dakota Central Division entered a final order and judgment approving a settlement between the FTC and a payday lender, in which the company agreed to pay civil money...more

Supreme Court Expands Sarbanes-Oxley Whistleblower Protection to Employees of Private Companies

In 2002, after corporate fraud at Enron led to the company's collapse, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX). Under SOX's main whistleblower protection provision, an employee of a publicly traded company who claims...more

Employer Failed to Establish Tortious Interference by Current Employees Who Were Secretly Operating a Competing Business

An employer failed to show that its former employees tortiously interfered with its current and prospective customers, even though they had been secretly operating a competing business while working for the employer. In...more

U.S. Appeals Court Affirms Judgment Against 401(k) Plan Fiduciaries for Excessive Recordkeeping Fees

On March 19, 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eight Circuit (the “Appeals Court”) issued its highly anticipated ruling in the case of Tussey v. ABB, Inc., affirming a Missouri trial court’s $13.4 million judgment...more

The Teflon Fiduciary: Could Your U.S. Adviser Avoid Responsibility For Bad Advice?

Ronald Reagan was referred to years ago as “the Teflon President” because voters never seemed to hold him responsible for his administration’s missteps. A significant decision on fiduciary status has just been issued by the...more

Judgment Reduced, but the Importance of Monitoring Plan Investments Reaffirmed

On March 19, 2014, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld one of the first excessive fee rulings in favor of retirement plan participants. Two years ago, in Tussey v. ABB, Inc., et al., No. 06-4305 (Mar. 31, 2012), a...more

Muddy employee incentive issues in a disappointing exit: 9 practical tips for public company acquirers

In mediocre payout situations, transaction proceeds are unlikely to give a substantial (if any) return to common stockholders, yet may be sufficient to at least return the initial investment, and perhaps a liquidation...more

Massachusetts SJC Rules on Fiduciary Duties Owed to and By Shareholder-Employee in Closely Held Corporation

A recent decision by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC), Selmark Associates v. Ehrlich, illustrates the complex web of fiduciary obligations owed to and by shareholder-employees in a closely held corporation under...more

Lawson and Doral Expand Whistleblower Protections

Two recent decisions interpreting the Sarbanes-Oxley Act have significantly expanded the protections available for federal whistleblowers and increase the potential liability for public companies and private companies that...more

U.S. Supreme Court Expands Scope of Whistleblower Protections

Earlier this month, the U.S. Supreme Court concluded that whistleblower protections of Sarbanes-Oxley extend not only to employees of public companies, but to the employees of their contractors and subcontractors. See Lawson...more

Retirement Plan Fee Litigation Finds Its Way to North Carolina

Over the last few years, we have seen a significant increase in litigation involving the fees paid by retirement plans. However, until recently, no major litigation had occurred in North Carolina. On March 12, 2014, one of...more

Ex-SanDisk Employee Arrested In Japan, Civil Suits Filed In The Wake Of Alleged Flash Memory Trade Secrets Misappropriation

Technology firms SanDisk and Toshiba recently filed trade secrets lawsuits on opposite sides of the Pacific, each alleging misappropriation by a third party stemming from the two companies’ joint venture....more

IRS Issues Final Regulations on Substantial Risks of Forfeiture under Code Section 83

On February 25, 2014, the Treasury Department issued final regulations identifying the circumstances in which a substantial risk of forfeiture would exist under Section 83 of the Internal Revenue Code (the “Code”)....more

Non-Courtside Madness? Resume Fraud Costs Manhattan Coach Steve Masiello From Securing South Florida Coaching Job

Our attention on the NCAA college basketball tournament was temporarily diverted by the non-courtside drama that played out this week when the University of South Florida revoked its head coaching offer to Steve Masiello...more

Another Way To Become Personally Liable To A Multiemployer Plan

I have blogged in the past about individuals and businesses that are not signatories to a collective bargaining agreement being found liable for withdrawal liability imposed by multiemployer pension plans (plans jointly...more

District Court Relies on Fee Disclosure Regulation to Dismiss Complaint

A federal district court in New York last month dismissed a class action complaint brought by a company sponsoring a 401(k) plan. The plaintiff, in Skin Pathology Associates v. Morgan Stanley, alleged, among other claims,...more

In Fuller, Eleventh Circuit Affirms Dismissal of Claims Challenging Financial Services Company’s Use of Proprietary Products in...

In a recent Eleventh Circuit case challenging, under ERISA, the use of proprietary funds in a financial services company’s own retirement plan, the court affirmed dismissal of the claims. It held, in Fuller v. SunTrust...more

Fidelity wins the high fee battle, but loses the war

Often time the newspaper will have big headlines on the front page when somebody gets busted, but a small paragraph when that same person gets cleared of all charges. That’s the nature of the newspaper business; if it bleeds,...more

Proxy Season Litigation Primer: Defending Shareholder Suits to Enjoin Annual Meetings for Allegedly Inadequate Disclosures...

Over the past few years, as plaintiffs have found it increasingly harder to succeed in “say-on-pay” litigation, another type of litigation over proxy disclosures has been on the rise. These cases are generally brought as...more

Focused on Franchise Law - March 2014

FRANCHISOR 101: Franchisee Not Bound by Arbitration Provision - In March 2013, Edison Subs, LLC, a Subway franchisee/transferee, filed a complaint in New Jersey against Subway and Aliya Patel (the original...more

Striking the Right Balance in a North Carolina Non-Compete Can Be Tricky

North Carolina companies who rely on non-compete agreements to protect their trade secrets and proprietary information may want to review their agreements in light of two recent court decisions....more

Tattletales Beware: Whistleblowing May Result In Trade Secret Misappropriation Liability

In the Brady Bunch episode “Stop Tattling,” Mike Brady (the father) gives Cindy (youngest of the clan) a stern warning after her tattling lands Alice (the Brady caretaker) in hot water with Sam (the Brady’s butcher and...more

Will The Material Change Doctrine Reduce Your Ability to Enforce Your Non-Competes?

Consider this: An employee signs a perfectly reasonable non-compete/non-solicitation agreement at the inception of employment. The employee remains with the employer for ten years and during that period, receives several...more

Two law school professors and their 401(k) study

There is a tendency to shoot the messenger because folks don’t like the message. I ought to know. Whether it was in college, law school, or working at a third party administrator, I was the messenger of some terrible news....more

"Inside the Courts: Supreme Court Agrees to Review American Pipe Tolling Issue"

This morning, the Supreme Court granted the writ of certiorari in Public Employees Retirement System of Mississippi v. IndyMacMBS, Inc. The petition raises an issue regarding the application of American Pipe tolling to claims...more

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