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Five on Friday – Five Recent Developments that We’ve Been Watching Closely: August 2016 #2

It’s Friday and time for another overview of developments in the field of business and human rights that we’ve been monitoring....more

Respirable Coal Dust Samples Prove New Dust Rule Is Achievable, Mine Safety Agency Announces

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has announced that 99 percent of the coal mine dust samples collected from April 1, 2016, through June 30, 2016, were in compliance with its coal mine dust standards requiring lower...more

DOE Clarifies Whistleblower Protections in Proposed Rule Revision

Department of Energy contractors and subcontractors may be subject to additional civil penalties. The US Department of Energy (DOE) recently published proposed revisions to its procedural rules for nuclear activities in...more

What is Title Insurance, Really?

All real estate buyers should consider purchasing title insurance. The premium is approximately $4.00 for every $1,000 of the purchase price. Some see this as an added cost to the deal.  But the cost is well worth the value...more

Wage and Hour Claims Surge in the Oil and Gas Industry

Since 2012, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) reports that it has recovered over $40 million in back wages for employees in the oil and gas industry.  Employers in the industry can expect claims to rise as the DOL...more

When Can Employee Policies Be Amended?

Thinking about changing an employee policy in Texas? Kubala v. Supreme Production Services, Inc. says you can do it (almost) whenever you want. Want to make employees arbitrate their disputes? You can do that too....more

2015-2016 Massachusetts Legislative Session Ends

After a mad scramble to take action before their midnight deadline, Massachusetts lawmakers closed the 20152016 legislative session by passing five of the “Big Six” bills on their agenda. Beacon Hill saw a flurry of activity...more

Forgery May Not Constitute “Theft” Under an Employee Dishonesty Coverage

Ruling in favor of the insurer on a motion for summary judgment, on July 29, 2016 the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals held that under the terms of a commercial crime policy, proof of a forgery by the insured’s employee in...more

OSHA and MSHA Increase Penalties for Workplace Safety Violations

On July 1, 2016, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) increased the maximum penalties under the Occupational Safety and Health Act by about 78 percent to account for inflation. Acting under authority conferred...more

Tenth Circuit Drills Down Into Roots Of Moral Hazard, Comes Up Dry

Moral hazard (one of this blog’s preoccupations) usually comes up in disputes over the scope of coverage under an insurance policy. But state legislatures often address it, too—for example, by imposing limits on agreements...more

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House

Under the Dome: Inside the Maine State House provides a high-level overview of recent activity at the Maine State House. Maine Sees Higher Budget Surplus Than Expected - On June 30, 2016, Maine’s fiscal year ended...more

Proposed Oil Refinery Regulations Tackle Safety Concerns

On July 14, 2016, the California Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) announced a “landmark set of regulations to strengthen workplace and environmental safety at oil refineries across the state.” The refinery safety...more

Mine Operators Face Conundrum over MSHA’s RFI on Diesel Exhaust

The mining industry faces a conundrum over the Mine Safety and Health Administration’s Request for Information (RFI) for industry data and experiences accumulated by underground mine operators over the past 15 years. MSHA’s...more

Mine Commission Upholds Safety Agency’s Demand for Records in Split Decision

The Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission has upheld a judge’s decision favoring the government over a Western Kentucky coal operator who had refused to honor a directive to provide federal authorities with a...more

Unsecured Creditor Perspectives in Energy Restructurings

This Practice Note provides guidance and advice to unsecured creditors in energy restructurings. This Note specifically addresses restructurings in the oil, gas, and coal industries and the strategies that unsecured creditors...more

Mine Agency Focuses Attention on Workplace Exams, Diesel Exhaust Exposure

The Mine Safety and Health Administration has rolled out two initiatives: a proposed rule increasing requirements for workplace examinations that, MSHA says, is aimed at curbing injuries, illnesses, and fatalities among...more

WARN Act and Oil Field Rightsizing: Court Finds Layoff Does Not Require Notice

In a recent case involving the layoff of employees assigned to land drilling rigs, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas limited the ability of plaintiffs to claim that multiple rigs collectively form a...more

NC Legislative Update - June 2016 #2

This Week - The North Carolina political community was saddened to learn Wednesday, that former Rep. Ruth Samuelson (R-Mecklenburg), who chose not to seek reelection in 2014, has been diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian...more

MSHA Announces Proposed Rule on Mine Examinations

MSHA announced today that it has formally submitted a proposed mine examination rule for publication in the June 8, 2016 Federal Register. The proposed mine examination rule (RIN:1219-AB87) would require metal and nonmetal...more

MSHA Issues New Workplace Exam Proposed Rule

The Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) announced today that it was issuing a notice of proposed rulemaking that will amend the Workplace Examination regulation at 30 C.F.R. § 56.18002 (Surface) and § 57.18002...more

Citing Mine Inspector’s ‘Animus,’ Judge Softens Tough Enforcement Action

Convinced that the tough enforcement action brought against a West Virginia coal operator by an inspector for the Mine Safety and Health Administration was influenced by a long-standing grudge the inspector held toward the...more

Safety Agencies Expect to Release 9 Rules This Year

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has identified seven proposals the agency hopes to release as final rules before the end of the year, while the Mine Safety and Health Administration, its sister agency within...more

Mine Safety Agency Rolls Out New Fatality Prevention Initiative

Noting that 2015 was the safest year ever in the U.S. mining industry, the Mine Safety and Health Administration nonetheless has rolled out a new safety initiative, Rules to Live By (RTLB) IV....more

U.S. Solar Jobs Exceed Oil and Gas for First Time in 2015

According to a report released last week by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the number of U.S. solar jobs surpassed those in oil and natural gas extraction for the first time last year. Overall, renewable...more

Banking & Financial Services E-Note - May 2016

The Southern District of New York has issued an opinion that permitted a debtor to reject certain gathering and condensation agreements as executory contracts. Because the midstream service sector finances the construction of...more

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