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Business Law Newsletter - July 2014

In This Issue: - Redskins Trademark Cancelled - Q&A with Bean, Kinney & Korman - Knowing When and Why to Maintain Your Trademarks - Tortious Interference in Virginia - Improper Methods...more

Tortious Interference in Virginia – Improper Methods Requirement

The U. S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia says a company that hired away a competitor’s employees may be liable for tortious interference. This can occur with an at-will business contract without the need...more

Supreme Court Nixes "Presumption of Prudence" in Employer Stock Cases

On June 25, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously rejected the "presumption of prudence" that had been applied by lower courts in cases where a retirement plan holds stock of the employer sponsoring the plan. Fifth Third...more

Seventh Circuit Reverses Summary Judgment in Case Applying ERISA’s Statute of Limitations

A Seventh Circuit panel declined to apply ERISA’s three-year statute of limitations to bar fiduciary claims in a case arising out of a buy-out transaction involving an employee stock ownership plan. The court held that the...more

ESOP Fiduciaries Lose “Presumption of Prudence”

A unanimous U.S. Supreme Court held last week that employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) investment in employer stock is not entitled to a special ERISA “presumption of prudence”. The decision provides important guidance for...more

Massachusetts Federal Court Refuses to Transform Non-Disclosure Agreement into a Non-Competition Agreement

A recent decision from the Massachusetts federal district court serves as a good reminder to Massachusetts employers that courts are unlikely to view the breach of a non-disclosure/confidentiality agreement as justification...more

Supreme Court Strikes Down Presumption of Prudence For Fiduciaries Investing in Employer Securities

On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer unanimously held that no special presumption of prudence applies under ERISA for investments in employer stock. The case involved a form of employee...more

Supreme Court Rules No “Presumption of Prudence” for Employer Stock Plan Fiduciaries

In a decision that could have significant implications for certain companies and their 401(k) and other plans that invest in employer stock, the Supreme Court ruled, in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer, that there is no...more

Supreme Court Rejection of Duty of Prudence Presumption—What Does it Mean for Retirement Plans?

On June 25, 2014, the Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision, ruled in Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer that there is no “presumption” of prudence extended to fiduciaries of employer stock ownership plans (“ESOPs”) in...more

SEC Charges Private Equity Firm with Pay-to-Play Violations

For the first time since passing Rule 206(4)-5, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has charged a Philadelphia-area private equity firm with violations of the pay-to-play rule. The case concerns contributions made...more

The Plaintiff Who Knew Too Much: First Circuit Dismisses Effort to Toll Statute of Limitations

On June 3, 2014, the First Circuit affirmed the dismissal of a putative class action filed by a group of former workers in a French luggage factory against Bain Capital, LLC in the District of Massachusetts. The case...more

Ninth Circuit Uncharacteristically Takes the Lead in Limiting Plaintiffs' Rights to Recover for Breach of Fiduciary Duty under...

In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court recognized, for the first time, that some forms of equitable relief could lead to an award of a monetary payment for breach of fiduciary duty under section 502(a)(3) of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. section...more

The Inadvertent Fiduciary: Mass Mutual Crosses The Line

Plan fiduciaries are held to the highest performance standards and can be personally liable for breaches of fiduciary responsibility. Because of this potential liability, there should be clear and rational rules enabling...more

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait: $26 Million

Trade secret misappropriation cases often are won or lost quickly and early at the preliminary injunction stage of the case. However, today we report on the results of a slow moving, long-running trade secret case that...more

Northern District of Iowa: Litigation “Reasonably Foreseeable” After Insured Accuses Insurer of Acting in Bad Faith

Meighan v. TransGuard Ins. Co. of Am., Inc., No. C13-3024-MWB, 2014 WL 1199596 (N.D. Iowa Mar. 24, 2014). The Northern District of Iowa finds that claim reserves and settlement information created after litigation was...more

Erhöhtes Haftungsrisiko des Arbeitgebers bei Auslandseinsätzen

In Anbetracht stetig wachsender globaler Vernetzung geht nach Angaben des Verbands Deutsches Reisemanagement (VDR) fast jeder dritte Beschäftigte in Deutschland mindestens einmal im Jahr auf Geschäftsreise. Für den deutschen...more

Before The Whistle Blows: Understanding And Addressing The Expanding Scope Of Whistleblower Protections Under Sarbanes-Oxley And...

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 (“Sarbanes-Oxley”) was enacted following the accounting scandals of the early 2000s involving Enron, WorldCom and other public companies. Congress passed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and...more

Focused on Franchise - April 2014

FRANCHISEE 101: Terminated Franchisee Can Pursue Fraudulent Disclosure Claims - In Solanki v. 7-Eleven, Inc., a U. S. District Court in New York ruled that a terminated 7-Eleven franchisee who decided to purchase a...more

Queen v. Schultz

Queen v. Schultz - USCA, D.C. Circuit, April 4, 2014 - Defendant Ed Schultz is a radio and television personality currently hosting “The Ed Show” on the MSNBC network. Plaintiff Michael Queen is an NBC employee who...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

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

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

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

Retaliation Exposure Tipping Point? Supreme Court Extends SOX Whistleblower Protections to Private Company Employees

The Supreme Court in Lawson vs FMR, LLC (delivered March 4, 2014 after a 6-3 vote) has ruled that employees of private companies engaged by public companies are covered by the whistleblower protections of Sarbanes Oxley Act...more

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