Legal Updates

Seventh Circuit Holds That Maintaining A Trade Secrets Suit In Bad Faith Can Subject The Plaintiff To An Award Of Attorneys’ Fees

The Uniform Trade Secrets Act, which has been adopted in some form in every state except New York, Massachusetts, and North Carolina, provides that if “a claim of misappropriation is made in bad faith . . . the court may award reasonable attorney’s fees to the prevailing party.” Uniform Trade Secrets Act, § 4 (emphasis added). One question under this provision is whether it only applies to lawsuits filed in bad faith, or whether it also applies to lawsuits that are maintained in bad faith (i.e., lawsuits that continue to be prosecuted – even after it becomes clear that there was no trade secret misappropriation).

Read full article

Texas Health Care Provider’s Miscalculation of Overtime Pay Proves Costly

By: Kara Maciel and Jordan Schwartz

On September 16, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) announced that Harris Health System (“Harris”), a Houston health care provider of emergency, outpatient and inpatient medical services, has agreed to pay more than $4 million in back wages and damages to approximately 4,500 current and former employees for violations of the Fair Labor Standards Act’s overtime and recordkeeping provisions. The DOL made this announcement after its Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) completed a more than two-year investigation into the company’s payment system prompted by claims that employees were not being fully compensated.   

Read full article

Further draft Australian Privacy Principles guidelines released for comment

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) has issued further draft guidelines detailing how it will interpret and apply the Australian Privacy Principles (APPs) when exercising its functions under the amendments to the Privacy Act which come into effect on 12 March 2014.

The second tranche of draft guidelines can be accessed here.  The third and final tranche is expected to be issued next month. More…

Read full article

A dress code is justified if standards are slipping

This article was previously published in The Financial Times on
11 September 2013.

Q: We have never before had a written dress code policy but, perhaps due to the extremely hot summer, standards seem to have dropped recently and it has prompted more than the odd comment from clients. How should we go about implementing a dress code policy without causing upset to people who have become accustomed to a more casual wardrobe?  More…

Read full article

ENVIRONMENTAL & ENERGY LAW

The Chair of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC), Allison MacFarlane, found no basis for disqualifying herself from sitting as a tribunal panellist for the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) licence application hearing for the construction of a geologic repository for the storage of high level nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain in Nevada. Nye County, which is in Nevada, filed a Motion for Recusal which Chair MacFarlane denied on September 9,  2013. More…

Read full article

Healthcare Alert: Medicare Proposed 2014 Physician Fee Schedule: Payment cuts for the technical component of pathology codes

On July 8th, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued the proposed rule for the 2014 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule, which included significant cuts to the technical component (TC) of certain pathology codes. The proposed fee schedule would cap the TC payment for many pathology codes at the hospital outpatient prospective system rates. Some reimbursement rates will be cut by 75 to 80 percent. The cuts will not affect the professional component of pathology services. 

Read full article

Healthcare Alert: Attention CLIA/CLIA-exempt laboratories: Enforcement delay for notice of privacy practices revisions

The Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights, has indicated that they will not enforce the requirement in the Final Omnibus Rule to revise the Notice of Privacy Practices by September 23, 2013 for certain HIPAA-covered laboratories which are subject to or exempt from the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA). These laboratories are not currently required, under HIPAA, to provide individuals with access to their laboratory test reports. The Department of Health and Human Services is expecting to publish amendments to the HIPAA Privacy Rule and to the CLIA regulations regarding the right of individuals to receive their test reports directly from these laboratories. The proposed amendments would materially change the privacy practices for such laboratories, and therefore would require that the laboratories update their notice of privacy practices. In order to avoid requiring two revisions to the notice of privacy practices in such a short amount of time, the Office for Civil Rights will delay its enforcement. All other covered entities, including laboratories operating as part of a larger entity, are still required to update their Notice of Privacy Practices by September 23rd. 

Read full article

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Issues Warning To Employers Who Use Payroll Cards

By Lisa M. Watanabe

On September 12, 2013, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) issued a bulletin warning employers that they cannot require their employees to receive wages on payroll cards. The CFPB’s bulletin was issued amid the growing unrest among workers about the high and unexpected fees often associated with payroll cards.  Critics say that the fees may be so high that employees end up making less than the minimum wage.

Read full article

FACEBOOK MAKES IT EASIER TO ADMINISTER PROMOTIONS ON ITS PLATFORM

Facebook recently updated its Page terms to make it easier for businesses to create and administer promotions on Facebook. Facebook hopes that these changes will enable more businesses to launch sweepstakes, contests and other promotions on its platform. More…

Read full article

Erstatning for værditab efter opstilling af vindmøller

Oftest tales der om erstatning for tab af herlighedsværdi. Der foretages en konkret vurdering af, om generne overskrider det, som må tåles i henhold til den almindelige samfundsudvikling (tålegrænsen).

Vestre Landsret har den 10. september afsagt 2 domme i sager om erstatning for værditab som følge af opstilling af vindmøller.

Read full article