Legal Updates

New Jersey: Gov. Christie terminates reciprocal agreement with Pennsylvania

Barely a month ago, we described the PA/NJ Reciprocal Income Tax Agreement (Agreement), pursuant to which employers in Pennsylvania and New Jersey were excused from withholding income tax from employees who live in one state but work in the other. In February, Gov. Christie ordered the state’s Treasurer and Acting Attorney General to determine what it would take to withdraw from the Agreement, and now has actually done so.
It is no secret that the Garden State has fallen on hard times and needs the revenue, despite already collecting a significant amount of tax revenue. For instance, its property taxes are among the highest in the country, it levies both an inheritance tax and an estate tax, and it maintains some of the worst-structured individual income taxes in the country, all reasons that the Tax Foundation gave for ranking New Jersey dead last in its 2016 State Business Tax Climate Index.
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‘I Agreed to What?’ – Federal Court Decision May Increase Scrutiny of Online Terms and Conditions

Can a consumer be bound by an arbitration agreement contained in online terms and conditions by merely signing in to an Internet-connected service? In a recent opinion that should strike a note of caution among businesses, a federal judge in New York held such an arbitration agreement unenforceable. This decision should serve as a reminder to businesses operating online to ensure that consumers are given clear, conspicuous notice of online terms and conditions, an opportunity – and encouragement – to review those terms, and, where possible, a manner of actively assenting to the terms.

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Non-Solicit Violation: $4.5 Million Punitive Damage Award Upheld

Our colleague Peter L. Altieri, a Member of the Firm at Epstein Becker Green, has a post on the Trade Secrets & Noncompete Blog that will be of interest to many of our readers in the financial services industry: “Non-Solicit Violation: $4.5 Million Punitive Damage Award Upheld.”

Following is an excerpt:

Rarely do we see punitive damages being awarded in cases involving the movement of employees and information between firms. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania last week affirmed a punitive damage award granted by a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in such a matter, albeit which also found tort liability against the new employer and the five former employees.

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FTC to Hold Disclosure Effectiveness Workshop

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) last month announced the agenda for its workshop “Putting Disclosures to the Test,” (Workshop) planned to take place on September 15 in Washington, DC.  The Workshop will focus on testing and evaluation of disclosures in both digital and traditional media.

Last summer, we noted that disclosures, especially for endorsements and testimonials,  were coming onto the FTC’s radar and would likely see heightened enforcement. Since then, the FTC has increased its scrutiny of advertising and privacy practices where it believes marketers are not adequately disclosing key details to consumers. 

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Non-Solicit Violation: $4.5 Million Punitive Damage Award Upheld

Rarely do we see punitive damages being awarded in cases involving the movement of employees and information between firms. The Superior Court of Pennsylvania last week affirmed a punitive damage award granted by a Judge of the Court of Common Pleas in such a matter, albeit which also found tort liability against the new employer and the five former employees.

The decision in B.G. Balmer & Co., Inc. v. Frank Crystal & Co. Inc., et al. sets forth a classic example of “bad leavers” and a complicit new employer. Confidential information concerning clients was copied and given to the new employer.  The senior employees, on Company time and using Company facilities, conspired with the new employer to hire the junior employees and solicit existing clients, including the largest and best clients of the Company.  Complete indemnification was provided by the new employer to the employees.  Personnel files were purloined and not returned upon request.

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‘I Agreed to What?’ – Federal Court Decision May Increase Scrutiny of Online Terms and Conditions

Can a consumer be bound by an arbitration agreement contained in online terms and conditions by merely signing in to an Internet-connected service? In a recent opinion that should strike a note of caution among businesses, a federal judge in New York held such an arbitration agreement unenforceable. This decision should serve as a reminder to businesses operating online to ensure that consumers are given clear, conspicuous notice of online terms and conditions, an opportunity – and encouragement – to review those terms, and, where possible, a manner of actively assenting to the terms.

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Exclusion clause for “care, custody and control” does not apply to the principal activities of the insured

By Chantal Noël, from our Insurance Law Practice Group.

September 13, 2016 — This was upheld by the Quebec Superior Court in 3457265 Canada inc. c. 9124-8948 Québec inc., 2016 QCCS 2462.

In this case, the activities of the insured were the repair and maintenance of aircraft in its workshops located at the airports of Saint-Mathieu-de-Belœil and Mirabel. The liability insurance policy issued by the insurer provided the following relevant provisions:

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EEOC Releases Retaliation Guidance – Employment Law This Week

Featured on Employment Law This Week:  The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has issued new guidance on workplace retaliation.

The EEOC’s final guidance on retaliation includes concrete examples of retaliation issues that the courts have largely agreed upon, as well as expanded definitions of “adverse action” and “causal connection.” The guidance also describes “promising practices” for reducing the possibility of retaliation, including anti-retaliation training and proactive follow-up with potential targets. Retaliation has become the most frequent form of employment claim across business sectors. The percentage of EEOC charges in this area has almost doubled since the last guidance was issued. Our colleague David Marden is interviewed.

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New immigration regulations and an employment department update

New Immigration Regulations – Self-paid personal income tax in advance using PND 93 will no longer be accepted for long-term visa and/or visa extension applications.

Thailand’s Immigration Bureau has changed the requirements for personal income tax documents that need to be submitted for long-term visa applications and/or extensions. The change applies to visa applications for both the regular process and rapid process at the One Stop Service Center (OSSC). The new Regulations became effective on September 5, 2016. The submission of self-paid personal income tax in advance using the PND 93 will no longer be accepted. Only the officially certified copy of the monthly salary withholding tax (PND 1) will be accepted.

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Massachusetts: Legislation regulating transportation network companies becomes law

In early August, Massachusetts’ Gov. Charlie Baker signed Bill H.4570 into law, promptly declaring that the legislation creates a modern statewide regulatory framework for transportation network companies, with a priority on public safety.

According to the governor, the measure includes support for the following, ensuring that Massachusetts remains a leader for innovative new technologies:

  • Transparent pricing
  • Properly marked and inspected vehicles
  • Clear insurance standards
  • Authorization of service at Boston Logan International Airport and the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center
  • The strongest state background check requirements in the nation

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