News

It’s never too early to begin evaluating your strategy for addressing current upcoming issues. Topics covered this week include: ADA and alcoholism NLRB guidance on unlawful handbook terms Understanding the intricacies of state and local ban-the-box laws Physicians and employers, take note See more
BP is trying to get back some of the money it paid out to businesses and individuals under the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill settlement. BP’s attorneys are claiming, “a wrong was done” and that the settlement does not preclude BP from seeking restitution for overpayments. Attorneys representing the more than 790 businesses involved  claim that those who receive settlement payments had a right to expect that they could keep the money and get on with their lives. Learn more here.  
When I recently reviewed the photo of Abraham Lincoln on DRI’s recent announcement admonishing us all to “register early,” nostalgia flowed.   It reminded me that my mother often used to say “the early bird gets the worm.” Now that never made much of an impression on me.  Why would I want such a thing?  But, ahem! As the worm has turned and I am older now, I appreciate more what mom was trying to say to these young, however large, ears.  But for a baseball, football, etc.
The Mississippi Supreme Court had previously held that all exclusions were invalid due to Mississippi's mandatory liability policy which holds that all vehicles operating in Mississippi must have at least the minimum coverage at all times regardless of who is driving.
The U.S Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that a student at Itawamba Agricultural High School, who was disciplined for posting a rap video to Facebook and Youtube, (off campus) which, among other things, “threatened” two coaches, was not protected by the First Amendment.  Bell was suspended for “threatening, harassing, and intimidating” the teachers. http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/12/12-60264-CV2.pdf
After Kenneth McGowan was injured while working for Tractor Supply Company of Texas, Ironshore Specialty Insurance Company commenced an action under the Declaratory Judgement Act against TSCLP and Safety National. Ironshore provides an umbrella policy for TSCLP and sought a declaration that Safety National's bodily injury policy insured TSCLP and any indemnity owed by Ironshore would be excess. A federal district court dismissed this declaratory judgment action, but the Fifth Circuit court has reversed and remanded it.
After Bollinger Shipyards Inc. won a multimillion dollar contract to update United States Coast Guard cutters, it withheld preliminary calculations that the 110-foot patrol boats would not withstand an extension to 123 feet and went ahead with the modifications. As a result, all eight boats suffered structural damage and were deemed “unusable.” After the United Stated sued Bollinger, Bollinger sued XL Specialty Insurance Company and Continental Insurance Company for not defending them.
The US Fifth Circuit Court has decided that a nursing home employee’s rights were not violated when she was discharged after refusing to pray the Rosary with one of the tenants. The court claims that Kelsey Nobach did not give sufficient evidence that Woodland Village Nursing Center knew that her religious beliefs needed accommodations. http://www.ca5.uscourts.gov/opinions/pub/13/13-60378-CV1.pdf
When Jeffrey Dugas and Cylie Blevin’s son was injured by ingesting a toxic substance left in the laundry room of a Regal Inn, they sued Sohum L.L.C. for damages. Century Surety Company had issued a general liability insurance policy to Sohum and agreed to defend Sohum in subject  to a complete reservation of rights. Sohum claims that the Reservation of Rights letter they received from Century was in bad faith and accused Century of unfair commercial practices.
The US Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals rules against former employee of PHM Corporation (Oak Nursing Home) who claims she was discriminated against because of her race. When Brenda McElroy, former Activities Director of the nursing homes new Alzheimer’s unit, complained to her Administrator Megan Terrell that she was suffering from severe menstrual cramps and bleeding and  asked if could leave for the day, Terrell told her to say until 3 PM or she would be fired.
Small businesses face many challenges and changes as they grow. As small businesses grow, they require different corporate structures. If you have already incorporated your business, how do you change your status? Find out here. http://blogs.findlaw.com/free_enterprise/2015/08/can-i-change-my-corporation-status.html
Two construction companies and two supervisors were charged with manslaughter of worker Carlos Moncayo who was crushed in a construction site collapse. According to New York District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr., Moncayo’s death was “tragic, but it was foreseeable and avoidable.” Vance claims that ample warnings were issued about the safety of the site to the Sky  Materials Corp and Harco Construction LLC supervisors William Cueva and Alfonso Prestia even minutes before the collapse.
Amarin Corporation PLC of Dublin, Ireland maker of Vascepa, a prescription fish-oil pill, achieved First amendment rights to publicize unapproved used for its drug against the FDA.
Businesses are relying more and more on text messaging to keep in contact with colleagues  and customers, but it's causing headaches for company lawyers. Texting is alluring because of it’s convenience. almost everyone who owns a cell  phone carries it around with them everywhere they go which makes collaboration much easier. Unlike emails however, text messages cannot be received from servers.
A Minnesota appeals court has ruled that flies and insects fall under the absolute-pollution exclusion policy after neighbors of Excel Dairy filed suit claiming “[o}ffensive and noxious odors, particulate matter, flies and other insects” coming from the dairy were ruining their quality of life. The appeals court held that that “[t]he absolute-pollution exclusions also encompass appellants’ claims regarding flies and other insects. Under the exclusions, ‘pollutants’ encompasses ‘any solid, liquid, gaseous or thermal irritant or contaminant,’ not just contaminants dispersed through the air.
The Mississippi Supreme Court reversed the Court of Appeals’ decision to expand Mississippi’s employment “at will” exception policy. TheMcArne “at will” exception policy prevents the termination of employees that report any criminal conduct of the employer. Steven Edward Galle brought a case against former employer Isle of Capri Casino claiming he had been wrongfully discharged under the McArne policy.
Debbie Kopszywa filed suit against her former employer Home Depot claiming she was terminated due to age and gender discrimination when her position was filled by a younger male. Home Depot claimed she was released due to poor work performance. Kopszywa admitted to committing a number of violations warranting discipline but felt she was being targeted for termination due to discrimination.
School is back in session, and your kids have probably already brought home a mountain of homework for you in the form of legal documents. We want our kids to be safe and protected at school. Know your school’s policies on these issues as the year get started.http://blogs.findlaw.com/law_and_life/2015/08/5-back-to-school-legal-reminders.html  
There’s been a recent trend in the workplace to monitor employees through wearable devices like smartglasses or wristbands and even microchips implanted under the skin. Employers use the data collected from these devices to monitor employees’ health, safety, and productivity, but are they overstepping their bounds on employee privacy?
Did you know that three of the four women who have served on the highest court in the land were all confirmed by the Senate on the first week in August? Earlier this month, Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, and Elena Kagan all celebrated the anniversaries of their entrance into the court.

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