Stinson Leonard Street

Bankruptcy Auctions Present Opportunities to Acquire Energy Assets with Limited Risk

Energy industry bankruptcies of all types are expected to increase, offering an opportunity for companies to acquire assets for their operating portfolios while taking advantage of the bankruptcy process. We have received…more

Business Assets, Commercial Bankruptcy, Energy, FERC

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Supreme Court Unties The Hands Of Courts To Award Attorney's Fees In Patent Cases

On April 29, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued two unanimous opinions that softened the Federal Circuit’s high standard for awarding attorneys’ fees in patent cases. See Octane Fitness, LLC v. Icon Health & Fitness, Inc., No…more

Attorney's Fees, Brooks Furniture, Highmark v. Allcare, Octane Fitness v. ICON, Patent Infringement

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Eleventh Circuit Adopts Broad Definition of Government "Instrumentality" in Recent FCPA Case - Ruling Underscores the Need to Continually Assess and Update Anti-Bribery Policies and Practices

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) makes it unlawful for a person or company to provide money or anything of value to any foreign official in order to obtain or retain business or to acquire an improper business advantage…more

Anti-Corruption, Bribery, Corruption, FCPA, Foreign Official

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Government Relations Alert: Legislative Leaders Agree To Special Session For Disaster Relief Only

September 9 Session Will NOT Revisit B2B Taxes - Governor Dayton and all four legislative leaders met this morning and agreed to hold a Special Session on Monday, September 9, at 10 a.m. to provide disaster relief to the…more

B2B Organizations, Disaster Aid, Legislative Agendas

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SEC Charges Audit Committee Chair for Failing to Investigate Red Flags

The SEC recently brought an enforcement action against the Chairman of the Audit Committee of AgFeed Industries, Inc. The Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, called the AgFeed action “a cautionary tale of what happens…more

Accounting Fraud, Enforcement Actions, Internal Audit Functions, Internal Investigations, Personal Liability

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Supreme Court Issues Significant Decision Interpreting Truth In Lending Act

In a unanimous decision issued on January 13, the Supreme Court held that a borrower exercises its right to rescind under Section 1635 of the Truth In Lending Act (TILA), simply by notifying its creditor of its intent to rescind…more

Bank of America, Jesinoski v Countrywide, Mortgage Lenders, Mortgages, Popular

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Energy Insight: Southern Exposure! That Giant—And Welcome—Expanding Market: North America's Southern Base

For natural gas producers in the Bakken Formation looking for a market to soak up shale gas, the United States and Canada already are relatively awash…more

Exports, Imports, Natural Gas, Shale Gas

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Same Sex Marriage: Effect on Benefits

The United States Supreme Court recently held in Obergefell v. Hodges http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/14pdf/14-556_3204.pdf that all states must recognize and allow marriages between same sex partners. Depending on an…more

Benefit Plan Sponsors, Equal Protection, ERISA, Fourteenth Amendment, Marriage

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Pay Versus Performance Rules Proposed by Securities and Exchange Commission

On April 29, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued another proposed rule under the Dodd-Frank Act, this time with respect to the pay versus performance requirements of Section 953(a) of the Act…more

Dodd-Frank, Executive Compensation, Pay-for-Performance, Pensions, Profit Sharing

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Banks Face Class Action Lawsuits Alleging Noncompliance With ADA Regulations Governing ATMs

More than 100 nearly identical class action lawsuits alleging noncompliance with Americans with Disability Act accessibility standards for ATM machines have been filed against banks and credit unions since new standards went…more

ADA, ATMs, Banks, Disability, Disability Discrimination

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Federal Court Limits States' Ability To Legislate Fuel Choices: Case Has Broad Implications For Electric Generation Industry

In a decision that will have broad impact on the electric generation industry, a federal district court has struck down parts of a Minnesota law that sought to regulate what fuels generators could use in their power plants to…more

Electricity, Energy, Power Plants, Utilities Sector

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Trends, Pitfalls and Opportunities in Celebrity Philanthropy

Athletes and celebrities have a long and storied track record with charitable causes. A celebrity can turn an otherwise unknown cause into a charitable powerhouse simply by lending a high profile name and likeness. Today,…more

Athletes, Celebrities, Celebrity Endorsements, Philanthropy, Private Foundations

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SEC Proposes Clawback Rule for Executive Compensation

On July 1, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) proposed rules to implement Section 954 of the Dodd-Frank Act, which added Section 10D to the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Section 10D requires the…more

Clawbacks, Compliance, Dodd-Frank, Executive Compensation, Reporting Requirements

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Pruitt v. Burwell Ruling Unlikely to have Major Impact on Employers in Near Term

AffOn Tuesday, September 30, federal Judge Ronald White of the Eastern District of Oklahoma ruled in Pruitt v. Burwell that the plain text of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”) does not allow for the…more

Affordable Care Act, Halbig v Burwell, Health Insurance Exchanges, Healthcare, Individual Mandate

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Supreme Court: 401(k) Plan Fiduciaries Have An Ongoing Duty To Monitor

In April 2013 I reported on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals decision in Tibble v. Edison International which involved an alleged breach of fiduciary duty by the Edison 401(k) Savings Plan committee selecting six retail mutual…more

401k, Appeals, Due Diligence, Employee Benefits, ERISA

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Bankruptcy Auctions Present Opportunities to Acquire Energy Assets with Limited Risk

Energy industry bankruptcies of all types are expected to increase, offering an opportunity for companies to acquire assets for their operating portfolios while taking advantage of the bankruptcy process. We have received…more

Business Assets, Commercial Bankruptcy, Energy, FERC

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Right of Contractor to Stop Work Upheld by Board of Contract Appeals

In an extraordinary decision, the U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals upheld the right of Kiewit-Turner, JV, to stop work and walk off a VA hospital project in Colorado…more

Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, Construction Industry, General Contractors, Public Projects, Stop Work Orders

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Software Patents Vulnerable: Use of a Computer is "Not Enough"

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank Int'l has effectively shut the door on obtaining patent protection for conventional business methods implemented on a computer. However, the decision leaves open the…more

Alice Corporation, CLS Bank, CLS Bank v Alice Corp, Mayo v. Prometheus, Patent Litigation

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Minnesota Session Ends With Governor Threatening Veto

The Minnesota legislature concluded its business last evening with Governor Mark Dayton threatening to veto a $17 billion public education funding bill – a threat he carried through with earlier today. The governor issued the…more

Child Protective Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Education Budget, Healthcare, Infrastructure

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Minnesota Session Ends With Governor Threatening Veto

The Minnesota legislature concluded its business last evening with Governor Mark Dayton threatening to veto a $17 billion public education funding bill – a threat he carried through with earlier today. The governor issued the…more

Child Protective Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Education Budget, Healthcare, Infrastructure

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SEC Proposes Significant Reporting Requirement Amendments to Form ADV

On May 20, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released several proposals, "Amendments to Form ADV and Investment Advisers Act Rules," that would require investment advisers to provide additional information on…more

Derivatives, Form ADV, Investment Adviser, Investment Advisers Act of 1940, RAUM

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Radioactivity In The Oilfield: North Dakota Issues Material Handling Regulations Impacting Oil And Gas Operations

On April 10, 2014, the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) announced new permit requirements for oil, gas and saltwater disposal wells. The new regulations, which go into effect on June 1, are targeted at the proper…more

Disposal Wells, NORM, Oil & Gas, Permits, Radioactive Drilling Waste

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FTC Announces Annual Adjustments to HSR Premerger Notification and Clayton Act Interlocking Directorate Thresholds

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on January 15, 2015, that the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR Act) thresholds will be increased. The FTC also announced that it has revised the thresholds…more

Filing Fees, FTC, Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, Pre-Merger Filing Requirements, The Clayton Act

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President Obama to FCC: Reclassify Broadband, Wireless to Title II Common Carrier Regulation; Wheeler "Asks For More Time"

President Obama released a statement on Monday that, if adopted, will have a significant effect on the way carriers, specifically small carriers offer broadband interconnect access services. The President called for the FCC to…more

Barack Obama, Broadband, FCC, Wireless Industry

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Halliburton: Supreme Court Retains Fraud on the Market Presumption in Securities Fraud Cases - Confirms Defendants' Right to Rebut that Presumption Before Class Certification Determination

On Monday, the Supreme Court issues its heavily anticipated decision in Halliburton Co. v. Erica P. John Fund, Inc. As predicted in our prior alert about this case, the Court declined to overrule the "fraud on the market" theory…more

Basic v Levinson, Class Certification, Fraud, Fraud-on-the-Market, Halliburton

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Energy Insight: Southern Exposure! That Giant—And Welcome—Expanding Market: North America's Southern Base

For natural gas producers in the Bakken Formation looking for a market to soak up shale gas, the United States and Canada already are relatively awash…more

Exports, Imports, Natural Gas, Shale Gas

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Department of Labor Proposes Regulations Expanding Overtime Eligibility

On June 30, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued highly anticipated proposed regulations that would make it harder for employers to classify employees as exempt from overtime pay requirements. The proposal is in…more

Compliance, DOL, FLSA, Minimum Salary, NPRM

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Pay Versus Performance Rules Proposed by Securities and Exchange Commission

On April 29, 2015, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued another proposed rule under the Dodd-Frank Act, this time with respect to the pay versus performance requirements of Section 953(a) of the Act…more

Dodd-Frank, Executive Compensation, Pay-for-Performance, Pensions, Profit Sharing

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Federal Regulators Expand Authority Over Data Security Issues: Recent Actions by FCC and FTC Underscore the Importance of Comprehensive Data Policies and Procedures

Highly regulated industries such as banking and healthcare have been at the forefront with robust data security regulations for a number of years. Regulators are now focusing on other industries as data breach incidents continue…more

Administrative Authority, Cybersecurity, FCC, FTC, FTC v Wyndham

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Estate Planning Insight: Estate Planning After The American Taxpayer Relief Act Of 2012

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) was signed into law on January 2, 2013, ending twelve years of uncertainty concerning the federal estate, gift and generation-skipping tax rates and exemptions…more

American Taxpayer Relief Act, Estate Planning, Estate Tax, Estate-Tax Exemption, Generation-Skipping Transfer

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State Renewable Energy Standards Pass First Big Constitutional Test

On July 13, in the first federal appellate court decision to address the constitutionality of a state renewable energy mandate, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals squarely rejected an industry-group challenge to Colorado’s…more

Electricity, Interstate Commerce, Renewable Energy

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Estate Planning Insight: Estate Planning After The American Taxpayer Relief Act Of 2012

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (ATRA) was signed into law on January 2, 2013, ending twelve years of uncertainty concerning the federal estate, gift and generation-skipping tax rates and exemptions…more

American Taxpayer Relief Act, Estate Planning, Estate Tax, Estate-Tax Exemption, Generation-Skipping Transfer

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Banks Face Class Action Lawsuits Alleging Noncompliance With ADA Regulations Governing ATMs

More than 100 nearly identical class action lawsuits alleging noncompliance with Americans with Disability Act accessibility standards for ATM machines have been filed against banks and credit unions since new standards went…more

ADA, ATMs, Banks, Disability, Disability Discrimination

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Employment Class And Collective Action Insight: U.S. Supreme Court Holds That Arbitration Class-Action Waivers Are Valid, Even If Individual Claims Are Too Expensive To Pursue

On June 20, 2013, in American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, the U.S. Supreme Court held that, under the Federal Arbitration Act, courts cannot invalidate a class arbitration waiver on the ground that the plaintiffs'…more

American Express, American Express v Italian Colors Restaurant, Arbitration, Arbitration Agreements, Class Action

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Business As Usual: Supreme Court Upholds ACA Subsidies

The United States Supreme Court recently held in King v. Burwell that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) permits individuals to receive health insurance premium subsidies through federally-facilitated exchanges (in addition to…more

Affordable Care Act, Employer Group Health Plans, Health Insurance, Health Insurance Exchanges, Individual Mandate

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Construction Law Alert: Minnesota Supreme Court Acknowledges "Trap" For Subcontractors In Safety Signs Ruling

Subcontractors and suppliers take careful note. Last week, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued a ruling in which it admitted that a statute created "a trap for the unwary" subcontractor or supplier that files a claim under the…more

Bonds, Contractors, Payment Bonds, Statutory Interpretation, Subcontractors

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Immigration Related Action Items for Employers

E-VERIFY USERS TAKE NOTE: USCIS DELETING OLDER RECORDS FROM E-VERIFY SYSTEM - E-Verify is notifying its participants that effective January 1, 2015, E-Verify transaction records more than 10 years old will be deleted from…more

E-Verify, Employer Liability Issues, ICE, Immigration Records, USCIS

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CFTC Proposes Order to Exempt Southwest Power Pool Products

Recently, the CFTC issued a Proposed Order in response to a 2013 request by the Southwest Power Pool (SPP) for exemption of certain SPP electric energy products from CFTC regulation. Scope of Exemption - The…more

CFTC, Comment Period, Commodities, Energy Sector, Exemptions

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FDA Attempts to Clarify Enforcement Position Regarding Evolving Health Technology

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a flurry of guidance and draft guidance in an effort to better define the types of products that the FDA will choose to actively regulate. In one of these…more

Distributors, FDA, Healthcare, Manufacturers, Medical Device Accessories

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Minnesota Session Ends With Governor Threatening Veto

The Minnesota legislature concluded its business last evening with Governor Mark Dayton threatening to veto a $17 billion public education funding bill – a threat he carried through with earlier today. The governor issued the…more

Child Protective Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Education Budget, Healthcare, Infrastructure

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CFTC Taking Action on Inaccurate Reporting

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) is increasingly taking action on inaccurate reporting by market participants. In the past year, the CFTC has entered into three settlements with market participants for filing…more

CFTC, Enforcement Actions, False Reporting, Reporting Requirements

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Estate Planning Insight: Governor Dayton Proposes New Minnesota Snowbird Tax

In his recent budget recommendations, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton proposed a drastic change in Minnesota income tax law that will affect residents of so-called snowbird states—such as Florida, Arizona, California and…more

Domicile, Income Taxes, Residency Requirements, State Budgets

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EEOC Addresses Interplay Between Pregnancy Discrimination Act and ADAA: The First Detailed Update to Pregnancy Bias Guidance Since 1983

On July 14, 2014, the EEOC issued Updated Enforcement Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination, as well as a set of Questions and Answers and a Fact Sheet related to that Guidance. This is the EEOC's first detailed update to its…more

ADAAA, Discrimination, EEOC, Employer Liability Issues, Enforcement Guidance

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FCC's IP Decision Might be Good for Providers and Bad for Business

On August 6, 2015, in a series of rulings and tentative decisions that will afford telecommunications providers more flexibility in transitioning to IP networks while at the same time may serve to impose unanticipated costs on…more

911 Calls, FCC, Internet Service Providers, Networks, Telecommunications

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Minnesota Public Benefit Corporation Act

In This Issue: - Introduction - Minnesota Public Benefit Corporation Legislation - Effective Date - Types of Public Benefit Corporations - Establishment of a Public Benefit Corporation - Name -…more

Choice of Entity, Public Benefit Corporation

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Energy Law Alert: FERC Approves New CIP Reliability Standards Despite Concern Over Ambiguity In Multiple Areas

On April 18, 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking recommending approval of the Version 5 Critical Infrastructure Protection Reliability Standards proposed by the North American…more

Critical Infrastructure Sectors, Cybersecurity, Data Protection, FERC, NERC

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How to Respond to a CFPB Civil Investigative Demand

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (“CFPB”) was created to enforce the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 (“Dodd-Frank”) and various consumer finance laws (e.g., Equal Credit Opportunity Act,…more

Appraisal, Banking Sector, Banks, CFPB, Check Cashing

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Energy Alert: Big Impacts Of Obama’s Broad Climate Plan

The main goals for President Obama’s “Climate Action Plan” are to cut carbon emissions (and cut greenhouse gas emissions in general to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020), prepare the country for the impacts of climate change and…more

Barack Obama, Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Infrastructure, Renewable Energy

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IRS Announces 2015 Benefit Plan Limits

The Internal Revenue Service has released the 2015 cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limits on benefits and contributions under qualified retirement plans…more

COLA, Employee Benefits, IRS, Retirement Plan

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John Young, Jr. and Neal Griffin Help Desloge, Missouri, Win Court of Appeals Case Against KKK

Stinson Leonard Street LLP attorneys John Young, Jr. and Neal Griffin recently scored a win for a Missouri city in a high-profile case at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Young and Griffin represented the…more

ACLU, Appeals, First Amendment, Local Ordinance, Municipalities

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FTC Announces Annual Adjustments to HSR Premerger Notification and Clayton Act Interlocking Directorate Thresholds

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced on January 15, 2015, that the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (HSR Act) thresholds will be increased. The FTC also announced that it has revised the thresholds…more

Filing Fees, FTC, Hart-Scott-Rodino Act, Pre-Merger Filing Requirements, The Clayton Act

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Minnesota Supreme Court Recognizes New Private Right Of Action Against Residential Mortgage Loan Servicers

On April 2, 2014, the Minnesota Supreme Court in Gretsch v. Vantium Capital, Inc. recognized a new private right of action against residential mortgage loan servicers who breach their servicer participation agreements with…more

Borrowers, Contracts Clause, Fannie Mae, Foreclosure, HAMP

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ISS 2015 Proxy Voting Guidelines Include New "Scorecard" Evaluation Policy for Equity Plan Proposals

This month, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS) issued its 2015 Proxy Voting Guidelines for the upcoming proxy season, which include the new "Equity Plan Scorecard." As stated by ISS in connection with its October 15,…more

Equity Plans, ISS, Proxy Season, Proxy Voting Guidelines

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Tronox: The Weed that Choked a Flower – Lessons for Buyers on Remedies

As we noted in Parts 1 and 2 of this series, any buyer of assets from a company in any degree of financial stress should be concerned about the transaction being attacked as a fraudulent transfer. Officers and directors of a…more

Bankrtupcy Code Section 550, Commercial Bankruptcy, Fraud, Fraudulent Transfers, Remedies

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Reminder: Minnesota Legislature Tweaks on Responsible Contractor Act Take Effect 7/1/2015

The Minnesota legislature recently passed a bill amending Minnesota’s Responsible Contractor Act. Going into the session, contractor lobbyists knew they could not expect of the law to be repealed. Their goal was to reduce…more

Bids, Construction Industry, Contractors, Material Suppliers, Motor Carriers

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Proposed Treasury Regulations Eliminate 36-Month Testing Period as a Trigger for Reporting COD Income - Removing the Non-Payment Testing Period Should Provide Clarity to Borrowers, Banks, Credit Unions and Other Financial Institutions

On October 15, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of the Treasury proposed to remove the deemed 36-month non-payment testing period from the list of identifiable events that trigger the requirement to…more

Banking Sector, Banks, Debt, Dischargeable Debts, IRC

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SEC Continues Crackdown on Unregistered Broker-Dealers

A New York man has agreed to pay almost $4.5 million to settle charges by the SEC that he violated Section 15(a) of the Exchange Act by acting as an unregistered broker-dealer. According to the SEC, starting in 2010 Joshua A…more

Acquisitions, Broker-Dealer, Dodd-Frank, Enforcement Actions, Financial Markets

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Colorado Supreme Court: Construction Lender's Subsidiary Is Not a Subsequent Purchaser - Negligence Claim May Not Be Asserted Against Subcontractors

Lenders and contractors may want to take additional precautions before they take title to a newly constructed home through foreclosure (or deed in lieu of foreclosure) following a recent decision by the Colorado Supreme Court…more

CO Supreme Court, Construction Defects, Construction Industry, Construction Loans, Contractors

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Alert Update: CFPB Issues Proposed Amendment to Delay Know Before You Owe Rule

On June 24 the CFPB published its proposed rule for extending the effective date for implementation of the Know Before You Owe Rule to October 3, 2015. The public has until July 7 to submit comments…more

CFPB

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Recent NLRB Retail Rulings Muddy the Micro-Unit Waters

At the end of July, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued two decisions under its controversial Specialty Healthcare standard, approving of one “micro unit” and disavowing another in the retail context. The NLRB’s…more

Bargaining Units, Collective Bargaining, Employee Rights, NLRA, NLRB

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FERC Announces Plan To Change Open Access And Priority Rights Governing Generator Lead Lines - Interconnection Only Transmission Owners Directly Affected

On May 15, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission proposed to modify its policy concerning open access and priority rights to capacity for interconnection only transmission facilities. This proposal, if implemented, will…more

FERC, Interconnections, Rulemaking Process, Safe Harbors, Waivers

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OIG Guidance on Board Oversight of Compliance Program

On April 20, 2015, the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OIG), together with the Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors (AHIA), the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA)…more

Board of Directors, Chief Compliance Officers, Corporate Governance, Health Care Providers, Healthcare

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Unvacated: 11th Circuit Finds Repeat Arbitrator Not Biased

The Eleventh Circuit has a lesson for future litigants: the presence of a repeat player is not enough to show the evident partiality needed to vacate an arbitration award under the Federal Arbitration Act. In Johnson v…more

Advertising, Arbitration, Breach of Contract, Federal Arbitration Act, Motion to Vacate

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Minnesota Passes Gift Tax Repeal And Estate Tax Revisions

On March 21, Minnesota made multiple gift tax and estate tax revisions. Those include: - Retroactively repealing the Minnesota gift tax that had been imposed since July 1, 2013..…more

Capital Gains, Estate Tax, Gift Tax, Gift-Tax Exemption, Portability

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Survivors of Clergy Abuse Must File Claims by Aug. 3 in the Minnesota Archdiocese Bankruptcy Case

The unsecured creditors committee in the bankruptcy case of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis today released a video inviting survivors of clergy abuse to file a claim before the August 3, 2015, deadline…more

Child Abuse, Clergy Members, Commercial Bankruptcy, Religious Institutions, Unsecured Creditors

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Proceed With Caution: Factoring Construction Invoices - Recent Indiana Case Highlights The Risks To Contractors Who Verify Invoices

Invoice “factoring” is a financing arrangement in which a subcontractor sells outstanding invoices to a factoring company. Here’s how it works…more

Construction Contracts, Contractors, Estoppel, Factoring, Financing

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Supreme Court Rejects EPA's Rule Regulating Hazardous Air Polluntants from Power Plants

On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was wrong not to consider the cost of compliance when it decided to regulate mercury and other air toxic substances emitted from power…more

Chevron Deference, Chevron v NRDC, Clean Air Act, EPA, MATS

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Executive Order Requires Government Contractors to Monitor Human Trafficking by Vendors and Subcontractors

Existing human trafficking-related prohibitions for federal contractors and subcontractors were strengthened recently by the Obama Administration. While there has been an Executive Order outlawing certain "human trafficking…more

Executive Orders, Federal Contractors, Foreign Suppliers, Human Trafficking, Obama Administration

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Construction Alert: Insuring Contractual Indemnity Obligations—A Lesson In Careful Contract Drafting

The Minnesota Supreme Court issued a decision last week in the case of Engineering & Construction Innovations, Inc., v. L. H. Bolduc Co., interpreting a subcontractor's agreement to indemnify a contractor, the subcontractor's…more

Anti-Indemnification Statutes, Construction Contracts, Indemnity Agreements, Liability Insurance, Negligence

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Energy Alert: IRS Identifies Two "Begun Construction" Standards To Qualify For Two Tax Credit Opportunities

The renewable electricity production tax credit and the energy investment tax credit currently offer taxpayers a tax credit for energy produced from qualified facilities. For the PTC, the tax credit covers a ten-year period. For…more

American Taxpayer Relief Act, Begun Construction Test, Investment Tax Credits, IRS, Production Tax Credit

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Construction Law Insight: Minnesota Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Contractors In Government Data Practices Act Case

On November 20, 2013, the Minnesota Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in the case of Helmberger v. Johnson Controls, Inc. The Court ruled in favor of Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) and its subcontractor, Architectural…more

Architects, Contractors, Disclosure Requirements, School Districts, Subcontractors

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Sending Fax Advertisements that Comply with the TCPA and FCC Opt-Out Notice Requirements

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) clarified on October 30, 2014, that, pursuant to the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA), senders of fax advertisements must comply with specific FCC opt-out notice requirements,…more

Class Action, FCC, Opt-Outs, Privacy Laws, TCPA

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Construction Alert: Minnesota Supreme Court Decides Best Value Bid Protest

The Minnesota Supreme Court decided Rochester City Lines, Co. v. City of Rochester last week, applying the "unreasonable, arbitrary, or capricious" standard to the best value bidding of public contracts, describing how that…more

Bad Faith, Competitive Bidding, Construction Industry, Public Contracts

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ISS 2015 Proxy Voting Guidelines Include New "Scorecard" Evaluation Policy for Equity Plan Proposals

This month, Institutional Shareholder Services Inc. (ISS) issued its 2015 Proxy Voting Guidelines for the upcoming proxy season, which include the new "Equity Plan Scorecard." As stated by ISS in connection with its October 15,…more

Equity Plans, ISS, Proxy Season, Proxy Voting Guidelines

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Exercising Registration Rights Did Not Violate Fiduciary Duties

Molycorp, Inc. is a publically traded Delaware corporation engaged in a the production and sale of rare earth oxides. Private equity investors held 44% of Molycorp’s stock, appointed certain directors and had demand…more

Breach of Duty, Derivatives, DOE, Fiduciary Duty, Investors

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The Easiest Arbitration Agreement To Avoid May Be The One Between Attorney And Client

The First and Ninth Circuits recently issued opinions concerning the validity of state laws requiring “informed consent” to, or “full disclosure” of, arbitration clauses in attorney retainer agreements. Although the First…more

Arbitration, Arbitration Agreements, Federal Arbitration Act, Mandatory Arbitration Clauses

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FDA Attempts to Clarify Enforcement Position Regarding Evolving Health Technology

Recently, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a flurry of guidance and draft guidance in an effort to better define the types of products that the FDA will choose to actively regulate. In one of these…more

Distributors, FDA, Healthcare, Manufacturers, Medical Device Accessories

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Federal Government Can Revoke Acceptance Years Later and Demand Replacement of Work

Many contractors mistakenly think that once the government accepts work and pays for it, that the work is, well, "accepted." Some also believe that the one-year warranty provided in the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) means…more

Construction Industry, Contractors, FAR, Federal Acquisition Regulations, Government Contractors

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Labor, Employment And Employee Benefits Executive Briefing - April 2014

In This Issue: - Employers Should Review Internship Programs for Legal Compliance ..The Department of Labor’s Six-Factor Test ..Unpaid Internships in the News ..Practical Guidance - Developments in Equal…more

DOL, Employer Liability Issues, Employer Mandates, Equal Pay, Flexible Spending Accounts

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Energy Alert: Minnesota Legislature Creates New Solar Energy Mandate

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed into law today an Omnibus Energy Bill that includes a series of provisions directed at encouraging investment, development and use of solar energy in Minnesota…more

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Energy Alert: Minnesota Legislature Creates New Solar Energy Mandate

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed into law today an Omnibus Energy Bill that includes a series of provisions directed at encouraging investment, development and use of solar energy in Minnesota…more

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FinCEN Proposes Extending Anti-Money Laundering Compliance Requirements to Investment Advisers

On Tuesday, the United States Department of Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) proposed a rule that would require SEC-registered investment advisers, including private equity and hedge funds, to comply with…more

Anti-Money Laundering, Bank Secrecy Act, Banking Sector, Banks, Broker-Dealer

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Supreme Court Decision Eliminates Defense to Claim of Inducing Infringement

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Tuesday, May 26 that a good-faith belief that a patent is invalid is not a defense to a claim of inducing infringement. Commil USA, LLC v. Cisco Sys., Inc., No. 13-1986 (May 26, 2015). The Supreme…more

Cisco v CommilUSA, Good Faith, Infringement, Intellectual Property Litigation, Patent Infringement

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Firm Wins Victory for BMO Harris at Minnesota Supreme Court

Stinson Leonard Street attorney Keith Moheban led a team of attorneys that won an important decision for firm client BMO Harris Bank at the Minnesota Supreme Court Feb. 18, 2015. Construing Minnesota’s Uniform Fraudulent…more

Commercial Bankruptcy, Fraudulent Transfers, Ponzi Scheme

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Proposed Treasury Regulations Eliminate 36-Month Testing Period as a Trigger for Reporting COD Income - Removing the Non-Payment Testing Period Should Provide Clarity to Borrowers, Banks, Credit Unions and Other Financial Institutions

On October 15, 2014, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and the Department of the Treasury proposed to remove the deemed 36-month non-payment testing period from the list of identifiable events that trigger the requirement to…more

Banking Sector, Banks, Debt, Dischargeable Debts, IRC

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Tenth Circuit Confirms That a Single Payment on New Purchase Contract May Satisfy Ordinary Course Defense Under 11 U.S.C. § 547(c)(2)

In Jubber v. SMC Electrical Products, Inc. et al. (In re C.W. Mining Co.), Case No. 13-4175 (Aug. 10, 2015), the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals confirmed that a single payment made by a debtor within the 90-day preference period…more

Appeals, Commercial Bankruptcy, Debtors, Mining, Ordinary Course of Business Defense

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Employment And Labor Law Alert - It's Official: Michigan's "Right-To-Work" Law Takes Effect

On March 28, 2013, Michigan's "right-to-work" law, the Workplace Fairness and Equity Act, went into effect. The law prohibits any requirement that an employee pay union dues or join a union as a condition of employment. The…more

Collective Bargaining, Right to Work, Union Dues, Unions, Wages

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HHS Issues Fraud Alert on Medical Directorship Relationships - Hospitals and Physicians Need to Review Agreements to Prevent a Violation Under the Anti-Kickback Statute

On June 9, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a Fraud Alert regarding recent settlements with 12 individual physicians who were party to questionable medical…more

Anti-Kickback Statute, Civil Monetary Penalty, Fair Market Value, Fraud Alerts, Healthcare

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HHS Issues Fraud Alert on Medical Directorship Relationships - Hospitals and Physicians Need to Review Agreements to Prevent a Violation Under the Anti-Kickback Statute

On June 9, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a Fraud Alert regarding recent settlements with 12 individual physicians who were party to questionable medical…more

Anti-Kickback Statute, Civil Monetary Penalty, Fair Market Value, Fraud Alerts, Healthcare

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Minnesota Supreme Court Recognizes New Private Right Of Action Against Residential Mortgage Loan Servicers

On April 2, 2014, the Minnesota Supreme Court in Gretsch v. Vantium Capital, Inc. recognized a new private right of action against residential mortgage loan servicers who breach their servicer participation agreements with…more

Borrowers, Contracts Clause, Fannie Mae, Foreclosure, HAMP

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Disclosure, Internal Controls, Cooperation - The SEC Continues Anti-Corruption Enforcement Themes

On December 15, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Bruker Corporation with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by making $230,000 in improper payments to Chinese government officials to win business…more

Bribery, Bruker, China, Enforcement Actions, FCPA

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New Rule Defining Spouse Under the FMLA - Becomes Effective March 27, 2015

The Department of Labor has enacted a final rule updating the regulatory definition of “spouse” under the FMLA. This rule will provide the same benefits to any employee in a legal same sex marriage, if the marriage was legal in…more

DOL, DOMA, Final Rules, FMLA, Same-Sex Marriage

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Privileged Status Of Internal Investigations At Risk - Court Finds Reports From Company's Internal Investigation Are Not Privileged, Must Be Produced In Litigation

A recent ruling by the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia puts the privileged status of internal investigations conducted by internal resources at risk.In U.S. ex rel. Harry Barko v. Halliburton Company, the court…more

Attorney-Client Privilege, Corporate Counsel, Internal Investigations, Professional Liability, Work Product Privilege

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Multiple Departments Issue Guidance on Wellness Programs

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) made headlines during the second half of 2014 by attacking employers' wellness programs that require employees to undergo certain medical testing or be penalized. In three…more

ADA, CMS, Compliance, Corporate Counsel, DOL

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Trends, Pitfalls and Opportunities in Celebrity Philanthropy

Athletes and celebrities have a long and storied track record with charitable causes. A celebrity can turn an otherwise unknown cause into a charitable powerhouse simply by lending a high profile name and likeness. Today,…more

Athletes, Celebrities, Celebrity Endorsements, Philanthropy, Private Foundations

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Energy Law Insight: Twist In The Tale Of The Term B Loan

The institutional debt market for energy projects is fired up, particularly for Term B Loan refinancing…more

Ben Bernanke, Borrowers, Debt Market, Federal Reserve, Lenders

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States File First Brief in Regulation A+ Challenge

Montana and Massachusetts have filed their first brief in their Regulation A+ challenge. They are not happy because Tier 2 offerings under Regulation A+ preempt state review of the offering. Under the text of the rule Tier 2…more

Chevron Deference, Financial Markets, Financial Sector, Investors, JOBS Act

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ISS Commences 2016 Proxy Voting Policy Survey

ISS has commenced its 2016 proxy voting policy survey. Some of the issues ISS seeks comment on include: - Is it appropriate to use non-GAAP or adjusted GAAP metrics for compensation programs? - What types of equity…more

Equity Compensation, GAAP, ISS, Net Operating Losses, Non-GAAP Financial Measures

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Federal Appeals Court Upholds New FCC Rules Revamping Rural Telephone Rate Structures and Directing Expansion of Rural Broadband Access

In a pair of opinions issued late last week, a federal appeals court in Denver affirmed in its entirety a landmark Federal Communications Commission rulemaking that expands the availability of broadband internet access in rural…more

Broadband, FCC, Rural Development, Telecommunications, Utilities Sector

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Pregnancy Accommodations After Young v. UPS: What Does the Decision Really Mean For Employers?

On March 25, 2015 the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Young v. United Parcel Service. It was anticipated that the decision would provide clarity regarding the extent to which an employer must provide accommodations to…more

ADA, Disparate Treatment, PDA, Pregnancy Discrimination, Reasonable Accommodation

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DOT Proposes Increased Safety Measures for the Transportation of Crude Oil, Ethanol and Other Flammable Materials

In response to several recent high profile incidents involving crude by rail, the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a comprehensive rulemaking proposal on July 23, 2014, related to improving…more

Department of Transportation, Energy, Hazardous Substances, Oil & Gas, PHMSA

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A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words - and Maybe $150,000!: Helpful Hints and Guidelines on the Use of Internet Images

A bank manager decides to update the bank’s website. The IT manager assigned the project wants to include photographs and images to enhance the information on the website. The IT manager uses several photographs from the…more

Copyright, Photographs, Popular, Public Domain, Right of Publicity

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Minnesota Public Benefit Corporation Act

In This Issue: - Introduction - Minnesota Public Benefit Corporation Legislation - Effective Date - Types of Public Benefit Corporations - Establishment of a Public Benefit Corporation - Name -…more

Choice of Entity, Public Benefit Corporation

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Employment And Labor Law Alert: Summary Of Minnesota Labor And Employment Laws Enacted In 2013

During the 2013 legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature considered and passed a number of bills affecting Minnesota employers…more

Assistive Animals, Good Faith, Medical Leave, Minimum Wage, New Legislation

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OIG Guidance on Board Oversight of Compliance Program

On April 20, 2015, the Office of Inspector General in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OIG), together with the Association of Healthcare Internal Auditors (AHIA), the American Health Lawyers Association (AHLA)…more

Board of Directors, Chief Compliance Officers, Corporate Governance, Health Care Providers, Healthcare

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Employment And Labor Law Alert: Summary Of Minnesota Labor And Employment Laws Enacted In 2013

During the 2013 legislative session, the Minnesota Legislature considered and passed a number of bills affecting Minnesota employers…more

Assistive Animals, Good Faith, Medical Leave, Minimum Wage, New Legislation

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Diagnosing the Risk: Affirmative Action Obligations for Health Care Providers

Health care providers have long lived in a world of acronyms, but in recent years, a new acronym has arisen in connection with many health care-related headlines: OFCCP. The OFCCP is the Office of Federal Contract…more

DOL, Employer Liability Issues, Federal Contractors, Healthcare, OFCCP

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Eighth Circuit Says Focus is on the Intent of the Debtor in Fraudulent Transfer Law, Does Not Address Ponzi Scheme Presumption

This case is the product of yet another dispute in the extensive, multi-billion dollar fraud perpetrated by Tom Petters. In 2005, as the sole board member of Petters Group Worldwide, LLC (“PGW”), Petters directed the acquisition…more

Commercial Bankruptcy, Fraud, Fraudulent Transfers, Ponzi Scheme, Trademarks

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NERC Posts Draft Physical Security Reliability Standard: CIP-014-1

On April 10, NERC posted for industry comment CIP-014-1, a draft Physical Security standard developed in response to FERC's March 7, 2014 order directing NERC to prepare a standard addressing physical security issues facing the…more

Infrastructure, NERC, Power Grid, Utilities Sector

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Health Care Law Insight: HIPAA Final Omnibus Rule Contains New Requirements For BAAs

On January 25, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published the long-awaited HIPAA final omnibus rule (Final Rule)…more

Covered Entities, Final Rules, HHS, HIPAA, HIPAA Omnibus Rule

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Trends, Pitfalls and Opportunities in Celebrity Philanthropy

Athletes and celebrities have a long and storied track record with charitable causes. A celebrity can turn an otherwise unknown cause into a charitable powerhouse simply by lending a high profile name and likeness. Today,…more

Athletes, Celebrities, Celebrity Endorsements, Philanthropy, Private Foundations

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Energy Alert: Big Impacts Of Obama’s Broad Climate Plan

The main goals for President Obama’s “Climate Action Plan” are to cut carbon emissions (and cut greenhouse gas emissions in general to 17% below 2005 levels by 2020), prepare the country for the impacts of climate change and…more

Barack Obama, Climate Change, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Infrastructure, Renewable Energy

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FERC Stakes Out New Position on Return on Equity - Votes Out Major Orders Affecting Electric Utility Rate of Return Determinations

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission today issued a series of orders that collectively represent a significant change to its policy on utility rate of return on equity and will reshape the landscape for electric transmission…more

Electricity, FERC, ISOs, Transmission Grid, Utilities Sector

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Radioactivity In The Oilfield: North Dakota Issues Material Handling Regulations Impacting Oil And Gas Operations

On April 10, 2014, the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) announced new permit requirements for oil, gas and saltwater disposal wells. The new regulations, which go into effect on June 1, are targeted at the proper…more

Disposal Wells, NORM, Oil & Gas, Permits, Radioactive Drilling Waste

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Illinois Court Of Appeals: Non-Competes Unenforceable Without At Least Two Years Of Continued Employment

In Fifield v. Premier Dealer Services, Inc., the Illinois Court of Appeals covering Chicago held that as a matter of law, an at-will employee must remain employed for at least two years to receive consideration sufficient to…more

At-Will Employment, Employee Rights, Employer Liability Issues, Hiring & Firing, Non-Compete Agreements

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Energy Alert: FERC Hits Entergy Hard For Violations Of NERC Reliability Standards: Orders $975,000 Penalty

On March 28, 2013, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an Order Approving Stipulation and Consent Agreement between FERC's Office of Enforcement and Entergy Services, Inc. The Agreement settles an investigation…more

Audits, Civil Monetary Penalty, Compliance, FERC, NERC

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Industry Tells FERC To "Slow Down" On Filing Zero Rate Reactive Power Rate Schedules

As we previously reported, FERC hosted a workshop December 11 on filing reactive power rate schedules for which there is no compensation. The clear message to FERC from the industry panelists was: "Slow down the train, there are…more

Energy, FERC, RTO

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EPA Launches Proposed Measures to Cut Methane and VOC Emissions from Oil & Gas Industry: Agency Clarifies Permitting Requirements and Issues 60-Day Comment Period

Draft New Source Performance Standards to Reduce Methane and VOC Emissions - The oil and gas sector is the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) latest target regarding the reduction of GHG emissions. The White House and…more

Carbon Emissions, Clean Air Act, Climate Action Plan, Climate Change, Energy Sector

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The Fluid State of Delaware Fee-Shifting Bylaws

On May 8, 2014, the Delaware Supreme Court held in ATP Tour, Inc. v. Deutscher Tennis Bund that a bylaw provision that shifts "all fees, costs and expenses of every kind and description (including, but not limited to..…more

ATP Tours, Attorney's Fees, Bylaws, Delaware General Corporation Law, Fee-Shifting Statutes

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Is a Disability Lawsuit Coming to Your Property?

If you own or lease commercial property in Minnesota, you may be at risk of being named in a series of lawsuits targeting Minnesota business owners. Why Lawsuits Are Being Filed - Commercial property owners and tenants…more

ADA, Commercial Property Owners, Compliance, Failure to Accommodate, Parking Lots

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Estate Planning Alert: New Civil Marriage Law Could Increase Income Tax Costs, May Offer Estate Tax Benefits

On May 14, 2013, Governor Dayton signed a bill modifying Minnesota Statutes Sections 517 and 518. The bill enacts changes in Minnesota's marriage law, effective August 1, 2013…more

Estate Planning, Estate Tax, Income Taxes, New Legislation, Same-Sex Marriage

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Minnesota Supreme Court Recognizes New Private Right Of Action Against Residential Mortgage Loan Servicers

On April 2, 2014, the Minnesota Supreme Court in Gretsch v. Vantium Capital, Inc. recognized a new private right of action against residential mortgage loan servicers who breach their servicer participation agreements with…more

Borrowers, Contracts Clause, Fannie Mae, Foreclosure, HAMP

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Ambush Elections and Access to Email - A Bad Combination for Employers

Late last week, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) made a combination of moves that present significant challenges for employers. First, the Board issued its decision in Purple Communications, Inc., allowing employees to…more

Ambush Election Rules, Email, Email Policies, Employer Liability Issues, FLSA

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North Dakota Orders Limits on Gas Flaring

On July 1, 2014 the North Dakota Industrial Commission (NDIC) imposed new rules that will significantly limit the flaring of natural gas at all existing and future wells. Order 24665 will allow wells completed in the…more

Bakken Shale, Fracking, Natural Gas, Oil & Gas, Underground Injection Wells

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Right of Contractor to Stop Work Upheld by Board of Contract Appeals

In an extraordinary decision, the U.S. Civilian Board of Contract Appeals upheld the right of Kiewit-Turner, JV, to stop work and walk off a VA hospital project in Colorado…more

Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, Construction Industry, General Contractors, Public Projects, Stop Work Orders

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Minnesota Session Ends With Governor Threatening Veto

The Minnesota legislature concluded its business last evening with Governor Mark Dayton threatening to veto a $17 billion public education funding bill – a threat he carried through with earlier today. The governor issued the…more

Child Protective Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Education Budget, Healthcare, Infrastructure

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Multiple Departments Issue Guidance on Wellness Programs

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) made headlines during the second half of 2014 by attacking employers' wellness programs that require employees to undergo certain medical testing or be penalized. In three…more

ADA, CMS, Compliance, Corporate Counsel, DOL

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Missouri Supreme Court Redefines Adequate Consideration for Enforcing Arbitration Agreements

Continued at-will employment is no longer sufficient consideration to enforce arbitration provisions in Missouri. In Baker v. Bristol Care, a recent decision of the Missouri Supreme Court, a slim majority of the Court struck…more

Arbitration, Arbitration Agreements, At-Will Employment, Consideration, Mandatory Arbitration Clauses

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Supreme Court Rejects EPA's Rule Regulating Hazardous Air Polluntants from Power Plants

On June 29, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was wrong not to consider the cost of compliance when it decided to regulate mercury and other air toxic substances emitted from power…more

Chevron Deference, Chevron v NRDC, Clean Air Act, EPA, MATS

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U.S. Department of Labor's New Guidance on Independent Contractors Highlights a Key Risk Area for Employers

Businesses should carefully assess any independent contractor arrangements in light of an “Administrator’s Interpretation” issued on July 15, 2015 by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (DOL). While the DOL’s…more

Compliance, DOL, EBSA, FICA Taxes, FLSA

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Summary of Revised AAA Construction Industry Rules Effective July 1, 2015

The American Arbitration Association recently revised its Construction Industry Arbitration Rules and Mediation Procedures. The revised Rules, which became effective on July 1, "further align the AAA Construction Rules with most…more

American Arbitration Association, Arbitration, Case Consolidation, Construction Industry, Dispute Resolution

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SEC Charges Audit Committee Chair for Failing to Investigate Red Flags

The SEC recently brought an enforcement action against the Chairman of the Audit Committee of AgFeed Industries, Inc. The Director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement, called the AgFeed action “a cautionary tale of what happens…more

Accounting Fraud, Enforcement Actions, Internal Audit Functions, Internal Investigations, Personal Liability

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IRS Clarifies and Expands "Beginning Construction" Tests for Production Tax Credit and Investment Tax Credit

In 2013, the Internal Revenue Service established two “beginning construction” tests – a physical work test and a 5% safe harbor test – to determine eligibility for the production tax credit (PTC) and investment tax credit (ITC)…more

Begun Construction Test, Construction Site, Energy Projects, Investment Tax Credits, IRC

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John Young, Jr. and Neal Griffin Help Desloge, Missouri, Win Court of Appeals Case Against KKK

Stinson Leonard Street LLP attorneys John Young, Jr. and Neal Griffin recently scored a win for a Missouri city in a high-profile case at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. Young and Griffin represented the…more

ACLU, Appeals, First Amendment, Local Ordinance, Municipalities

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Department of Labor Proposes Regulations Expanding Overtime Eligibility

On June 30, 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued highly anticipated proposed regulations that would make it harder for employers to classify employees as exempt from overtime pay requirements. The proposal is in…more

Compliance, DOL, FLSA, Minimum Salary, NPRM

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Debtors’ Ability to Appeal Denial of Plan Confirmation is Limited by New Supreme Court Decision

On May 4, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Bullard v. Blue Hills Bank, holding that an order denying confirmation of the debtor’s proposed chapter 13 plan is not a “final” order that the debtor can immediately…more

Appeals, Chapter 11, Chapter 13, SCOTUS

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Contact

150 South Fifth Street Suite 2300
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