Corporate Counsel

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Day 2: Your First Five Questions (times four): A Practical Guide to the Amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedure – Early Case...

The current amended Federal Rules of Civil Procedure—and, in particular, those that address the practice of civil discovery—are the product of five years of development, debate, and, of course, dialogue. Now that the Rules...more

"Software" Claims Reciting No Structural Components and Having Questionable Novelty Struck Down under 35 U.S.C. § 101

Two recent District Court decisions show examples of "weak" claims, which in the past would likely be found invalid as lacking novelty or being obvious, but today are struck down as being unpatentable under § 101. The cases...more

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Delivers Clear Message to Employers Regarding Restrictive Covenants in Employment Agreements

In a case of first impression, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court recently held that an employee may challenge an employment agreement containing a restrictive covenant for lack of consideration, even though the agreement...more

The mountain that is Specialty Healthcare: Volkswagen case typifies employers’ steep climb in NLRB unit determination cases

In its 2011 Specialty Healthcare decision, the National Labor Relations Board revised the test it applies in determining whether a union’s petitioned-for unit is appropriate. In Specialty Healthcare, the NLRB explained that...more

Labor Department Provides Guidance on ERISA Coverage of State-Run Retirement Programs for Private Sector Employers

In recent years, a number of states have explored the idea of establishing state-run retirement plans for private sector employees who do not have access to employer-sponsored retirement plans. The preemption concerns under...more

Bankruptcy Court Order Compelling Surrender of Property Upheld on Appeal

On November 23, 2015, in the first appellate decision of its kind, the District Court for the Southern District of Florida affirmed a bankruptcy court order to compel chapter 7 debtors to surrender real property by directing...more

Sixth Circuit Rejects Clean Air Act Preemption of State Common Law Claims: Four Things to Know

In two decisions released on November 2, 2015, Merrick, et al. v. Diageo Americas Supply, Inc. and Little et al. v. Louisville Gas & Electric Company; PPL Corporation, the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit...more

DOL Issues Proposed Revisions to Disability Plan Claims Regulations

The Department of Labor published proposed changes to its regulations governing disability claims and appeals in the Federal Register on November 18, 2015, and invited comments. The stated purpose of the proposed changes is...more

Final Means Final: No Reconsideration in Arbitration

Recent decisions from the 3d and 11th Circuits drive home this point: an arbitration award is final and should not be revisited. In Robinson v. Littlefield, 2015 WL 5520017 (3d Cir. Sept. 17, 2015), the parties...more

Brother Can You Spare Some (Compliance) Advice?

Usually I have Houston professional sports teams to hold high as example of true bone headedness around compliance issues. However, as my beloved Houston Astros took the World Series Champions, KC Royals, to the 7th inning of...more

Pizza franchisee jailed for wage violations

Most employers know that failing to pay minimum wage or overtime pay to their employees can lead to serious consequences. When employees file lawsuits claiming unpaid overtime wages, they can bring in their co-workers,...more

Complicit in Sin: the Burden of the Opt-Out Form

Does filling out a form burden religious beliefs? We’re about to find out. On November 6, the Supreme Court agreed to review a group of seven cases (led by No. 14-1418, Zubik v. Burwell) brought by religious non-profit...more

Get It in Writing: Even Arguments Prompted by PTAB Questions Must Be in the Briefings

The Patent Trial and Appeal Board (PTAB) continues to strictly enforce its rule that "parties are not permitted to raise new arguments at oral hearing," including in situations where the "new" arguments are provided as a...more

Trend In The Courts: It’s Getting Harder To Obtain Preliminary Injunctions In Restrictive Covenant Cases

In recent weeks, courts almost routinely have been denying preliminary injunctive relief in cases alleging violation of non-compete and similar employment agreements. Three examples: Burleigh v. Center Point Contractors,...more

SEC Exam Staff Shares Observations on Outsourced Chief Compliance Officers

Firms that use third-party CCOs or that rely on financial intermediaries that have outsourced their compliance functions should consider taking a fresh look at their compliance structure in the wake of this guidance....more

Bankruptcy Beat: The Second Circuit Establishes a Binding Standard For Lien Extinguishment Under a Plan of Reorganization

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals recently issued an opinion, City of Concord, N.H. v. N. New England Tel. Operations, LLC (In re N. New England Tel. Operations LLC), 795 F.3d 343 (2d Cir. 2015), addressing an issue of...more

Envelope’s Display of Internal Tracking Number Does Not Violate FDCPA, New York Federal Court Rules

A federal district court in New York has ruled that a debt collector did not violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) by sending a collection letter in an envelope that allegedly revealed an internal tracking...more

Think you can keep your internal investigations confidential? Think again.

Many employers have rules or policies directing employees who are involved in a workplace investigation to keep their conversations with investigators confidential and to refrain from discussing the matter with colleagues...more

FCPA Compliance and Ethics Report-Episode 212-Stephen Martin on DOJ Compliance Counsel Metrics [Video]

In this episode, I visit with Baker and McKenzie partner Stephen Martin on the recently released metrics which the new DOJ Compliance Counsel will use to evaluate corporate compliance programs under and its implications for...more

Deadline Approaches to Execute a Cafeteria Plan Amendment for IRS Notice 2014-55

This is a re-issued advisory reminding health plan sponsors that if you have administered your cafeteria plan in accordance with this guidance, make sure to execute a formal plan amendment by the end of the 2015 plan year...more

Blog: Major Overhaul Of Federal Bankruptcy Forms, Plus An Accompanying Rule Amendment, To Take Effect December 2015

Almost every year, changes are made to the set of rules that govern how bankruptcy cases are managed — the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure. The changes address issues identified by an Advisory Committee made up of...more

Standing Issues Could Still Derail Google Cookie Placement Litigation

In a decision almost a year in the making, the Third Circuit’s recent opinion in In re Google Inc. Cookie Placement Privacy Litig. (3d Cir. Nov. 10, 2015), (“Google”), reversed a trial court order dismissing a lawsuit...more

5 tips for cutting patent litigation costs

Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court’s Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank decision, the number of patent litigation cases, which for years leading up to that case had been on the increase, have been on the decline. Projections are that the...more

FTC Blasted in LabMD Data Security Case

In a long-running and highly contentious data security enforcement action against LabMD, a small medical testing laboratory, the Federal Trade Commission was handed a stunning defeat late Friday. In a 92-page ruling, Chief...more

D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals May Limit the Board’s Standard for Evaluating Employers’ Confidentiality Policies

In Hyundai Am. Shipping v NLRB, No. 11-1351 (Nov. 6, 2015), the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals recently enforced a Board order with respect to a work rule that prohibited employees from discussing matters under investigation...more

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