News

Is an elected official’s Facebook page their private page or a public site? A federal appellate court says it depends on how it’s used. Phyllis Randall, the Chair of the Loudoun County, Virginia Board of Supervisors, set up a Facebook page identifying herself as a government official and listing her public title as well as contact information for her office on the page. Her posts from the page are addressed to her constituents and she encouraged conversation between her constituents on her page until one of them, Brian Davison, posted content with which she disagreed.
 “Unreasonable” administrative expenses and a failure to monitor investment options will cost Duke University $10.65 million. Duke settled the claim with participants in the University’s 403(b) plan who alleged the University breached their ERISA duties. Schlichter Bogard & Denton, the St.
Federal Arbitration Act § 1 does not cover “contracts of employment” with “workers engaged in foreign or interstate commerce.” Dominic Oliveira and a group of other drivers relied on this exception when New Prime Inc., an interstate trucking company, sought to compel arbitration in their claim for owed wages. The Supreme Court determined § 1’s  “contract of employment” applies broadly to any agreement to perform work.
What’s a reasonable accommodation for absences due to disability? For a Cargill Meat Solutions employee, it was 194 days of missed work over a twelve month period. Cargill accommodated employee Sheena Lipp’s needs due to an incurable lung disease for more than two years. Her accommodations included lifting assistance, limited work hours and a clean working environment. Cargill allowed her additional time off work for sick days and allowed her additional leave time of nine months to care for her ailing mother.
The credibility of a witness sways jurors decisions. A witness’s account of events is so important Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 32(a)(4)(E) only allows a deposition to be used in place of a live witness when “exceptional circumstances make it desirable”. When Chelsea Swearingen sued her former employer, Gillar Home Health Care. L.P., for wrongful termination, Gillar filed a motion to use a key witness’s deposition instead of requiring her to appear in person.
Following much study and years of test flights and pilot programs, State Farm received the Federal Aviation Administration’s first national waiver to conduct drone operations over people and flights beyond the pilot’s visual line of sight. State Farm received short term waivers limited to specific geographic areas to survey damage from hurricanes in 2018.
The Supreme Court reversed Fifth Circuit precedent in one of its first decisions of 2019, Henry Schein, Inc. v. Archer & White Sales, Inc. Archer sought monetary damages and injunctive relief when it sued Henry Schein for violation of federal and state antitrust laws.
“Magical unicorn poop” made an appearance in Los Angeles federal court with toy maker MGA entertainment’s Pooey Puitton toy purse. MGA sought a declaratory judgment that consumers are not likely to confuse their Pooey Puitton product with products from luxury handbag maker Louis Vuitton. Compare images of the two products for yourself here.  
When Allina Health System merged the Courage Center into their operations they implemented their well-documented policies on pre-employment health exams and vaccinations for client-facing staff. Janice Hustvet, a fifteen-year employee of the Courage Center, failed to submit to a Respirator Medical Evaluation and to take an MMR vaccine since her health exam showed she did have immunity against rubella, both requirements of keeping her job.
Palin Enterprise, Associated leased a portion of its commercial business to Agile Trade-Show Furnishings. In the lease agreement, Palin required Agile to procure a liability insurance policy but did not require the policy to be the primary liability coverage. When an Agile employee was injured using a freight elevator on the leased property, Agile’s insurance company Wausau declined to defend Palin because the policy provided excess insurance only.
A Risk Alert issued by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations calls out specific electronic messaging covered by the Advisers Act Rule 204-2. The rule requires investment advisors and personnel to keep “originals of all written communications received and copies of all written communications sent” related to specific business activity. In addition, the alert draws attention to advisors who links to information on their social media pages.
Imitation is the highest form of flattery . . . until it crosses the line into trademark and trade dress infringement. Off-White, labeled by Lyst magazine as the “hottest fashion brand in the world”, alleged a Brooklyn children’s clothing company, Brooklyn Lighthouse, has been selling products with identical or very similar logos and marks as Off-White.
Doral Juvenile Group faced a lawsuit by Nicole and Cameron Hinson when their one-year-old child suffered injuries while seated in a forward-facing car seat allegedly designed, marketed and sold by Doral. Schiff Hardin, L.L.P, a law firm, represented Doral who was self-insured for up to $6 million. Doral carried a policy of excess insurance for liability from $6 million to $25 million with Ironshore Europe DAC.
When Dave & Buster’s reduced hours for 1200 full-time employees in an attempt to avoid the ACA employer mandate, an employee filed a class action lawsuit in a federal district court in New York 
This year we’ve linked to multiple cases sorting out the consequences for not maintaining an ADA accessible website. The U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) set website accessibility requirements for U.S. or foreign air carriers with a website and at least one aircraft seating more than 60 passengers.
For more than two years, a technology analytics company defended itself from litigation filed by a plaintiff alleging deceptive practices and unjust enrichment. In that time, t
The University of Maryland, College Park, negotiated a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the Union representing its employees. The CBA provides guidelines and time limits for discipline of employees but specifically states the time limits do not apply to the University’s Notice Termination Policy. As an at-will employment state, Maryland allows the employer or employee to terminate employment at any time. The University followed the CBA’s guidelines for disciplining an employee who was terminated in accordance with the Notice Termination policy three months later.
According to a recent article in Bloomberg, male financial sector leaders revealed their plan to
In addition to resolving 141 lawsuits in 2018, the EEOC also reduced its backlog of discrimination charges and facilitated approximately $505 million in compensation. The organization didn’t focus entirely on litigation this year, however. It also conducted over 300 Respectful Workplace training programs which reached nearly 400,000 people.
Jacob Kent, a former sales representative for Great American Opportunities (GAO), allegedly solicited business from GAO’s customers after he left the company. GAO brought claims against Kent under Defend Trade Secrets’ Act (DTSA). Kent argued the DTSA claims, as well as the tortious interference claim, were barred by the economic loss rule.

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