Legal Updates

NY High Court Opts Not To Expand Liability For Health Data Confidentiality Breach

The New York Court of Appeals ruling that came down last week in Doe v. Guthrie Clinic , 2014 NY Slip Op 00138 (Court of Appeals 1/9/14), should prove helpful in evaluating the liability of medical corporations in cases involving the disclosure of confidential patient information where the breach of confidentiality is unrelated to the patient’s treatment. In Guthrie Clinic, a nurse at the clinic treating the plaintiff for sexually transmitted disease recognized the plaintiff as the boyfriend of her sister-in-law, prompting the nurse to send her sister-in-law a series of text messages concerning the boyfriend’s medical condition (i.e. his STD).  The ruling came in response to the certification of a question to the New York Court of Appeals from the Second Circuit, which had earlier disposed of other of plaintiff’s claims. 

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Top 5 Issues for Financial Services Employers in 2014

My colleague Jason Kaufman and I put together “Five Hot Topics for Financial Services Industry Employers” in this month’s Take 5 newsletter.  Below is an excerpt:

The economy may be improving, but challenges remain for employers in the financial services industry. From ever-increasing whistleblower claims to new diversity and inclusion regulations and recent IRS determinations affecting bonus payments, financial services industry employers will have to navigate a number of new developments and potential pitfalls in 2014. Here are five issues to keep an eye on in the new year. …

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Intellectual Property Advisory

Happy New Year!
Thank you for taking the time to read this Howard & Howard Intellectual Property Advisory. We are pleased to provide our clients and friends with periodic updates on issues, industry developments, and changes in the law to help you address the challenges facing businesses. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to contact any of the H&H Intellectual Property Attorneys More…

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GST and Leases – ATO issues interim guidance

As reported during November 2013 the Full Federal Court decision in the case of MBI Properties Pty Limited v Commissioner of Taxation [2013] FCAFC 112 created uncertainty regarding the GST treatment of property that is sold subject to an ongoing lease. The Australian Taxation Office (ATO) has issued an Interim Decision Impact Statement to provide guidance on the interim treatment pending a final resolution of the matter.

As expected, the Commissioner of Taxation filed an application for special leave to appeal to the High Court on 15 November 2013. As yet, no decision on this application has been made. More…

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Environmental compliance a key focus for 2014

As we enter a new year, it is timely to review environmental compliance to manage the risk of significant enforcement and prosecution actions being taken for non-compliance.

Environmental Compliance

The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection (DEHP) is increasingly focussed on environmental compliance and enforcement.  As the ‘regulator’ under the Environmental Protection Act (EP Act) and other environment related legislation, DEHP is placing greater emphasis on policing and enforcement. More…

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Disability services worker convicted for breach of safety laws

What happened?

A Disability Services Officer, responsible for providing support to residents with intellectual and physical disabilities, has been convicted of breaching safety laws following a “serious departure” from the requirements of her role as a carer after a resident with epilepsy and limited communication skills received serious burns from bathing in very hot water in a bath run by the employee. More…

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Gadens boosts Banking and Finance team with partner appointment

Sydney, 20 January 2014: Leading independent Australian law firm Gadens is pleased to announce the appointment of Banking & Finance specialist Anthony Walsh to partner, effective 1 January 2014.

Gadens Sydney office Chief Executive Officer Ian Dardis congratulated Anthony’s on his promotion: “Anthony first joined Gadens as a summer clerk in November 2004 and has made an outstanding contribution to the firm’s Banking & Finance practice.  He has been particularly instrumental in the firm’s work on the Personal Property Securities Act 2009 and continues to play a lead role in our pro bono initiative with the Arts Law Centre of Australia, the National Indigenous Art Registration Service. On behalf of the firm I would like to congratulate Anthony on his promotion.” More…

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Rush to curb use of synthetic drugs leaves some in legal limbo

This article was first published in the Sydney Morning Herald on 13 January 2014

The Wikipedia entry for whipped cream chargers begins thus: “A whipped cream charger (also called whippits, whippets, nossies, or nangs) is a steel cylinder or cartridge filled with nitrous oxide that is used as a whipping agent in a whipped cream dispenser. The nitrous oxide in whipped cream chargers is also used by recreational drug users as an inhalant for its psychoactive effects.”

A simple statement of fact about something that is common knowledge. Maybe, but under new laws introduced in NSW, repeating that statement could land me in prison for two years. More…

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D.C. Area Minimum Wage Increases

by Brian Steinbach

However, each jurisdiction phases in the increase in different amounts and at different times, starting July 1, 2014.  Employers in the D.C. area will now face several different local minimum wage requirements in addition to those imposed by federal law. They will have to be careful to ensure that each of their employees is paid the proper wage for the area in which they work.

Under the D.C. law, the general minimum wage for employees working in D.C., currently $8.25, will increase to $9.50 on July 1, 2014; to $10.50 on July 1, 2015; and to $11.50 on July 1, 2016. Thereafter, it will be adjusted on each July 1 in proportion to any increase in the CPI-U for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area published by the BLS, rounded to the nearest nickel. The D.C. law also added new quarterly reporting requirements for employers who take the tipped credit and provides for random reporting audits, but makes no change in the current $2.77 minimum wage for tipped employees.

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D.C.Area Minimum Wage Increases

by Brian Steinbach

However, each jurisdiction phases in the increase in different amounts and at different times, starting July 1, 2014.  Employers in the D.C. area will now face several different local minimum wage requirements in addition to those imposed by federal law. They will have to be careful to ensure that each of their employees is paid the proper wage for the area in which they work.

Under the D.C. law, the general minimum wage for employees working in D.C., currently $8.25, will increase to $9.50 on July 1, 2014; to $10.50 on July 1, 2015; and to $11.50 on July 1, 2016. Thereafter, it will be adjusted on each July 1 in proportion to any increase in the CPI-U for the Washington Metropolitan Statistical Area published by the BLS, rounded to the nearest nickel. The D.C. law also added new quarterly reporting requirements for employers who take the tipped credit and provides for random reporting audits, but makes no change in the current $2.77 minimum wage for tipped employees.

The Prince George’s County law increases the minimum wage for employees working for any employer in the county, currently under federal and state law set at $7.25, to $8.40 on July 1, 2014; to $9.55 on July 1, 2015; to $10.25 on July 1, 2016; and to $11.50 on July 1, 2017. However, the law exempts individuals under the age of 19 who are employed not more than twenty hours in a week. It also provides for tipped employees to receive a minimum wage of at least half the applicable county  minimum wage.

The Montgomery County law increases the minimum wage for employees working in the county for the county or for non-governmental employers with two or more employees in the County, also currently under federal and state law set at $7.25, to $8.40 on October 1, 2014; to $9.55 on October 1, 2015; to $10.75 on October 1, 2016; and to $11.50 on October 1, 2017. As in Prince George’s County, the law exempts individuals under the age of 19 who are employed not more than twenty hours in a week. However, it allows tipped employees to be paid the same minimum as under state law, currently $3.63 (half the state/federal minimum wage).

In addition, there are bills currently pending in the Maryland legislature that would increase the state-wide minimum wage, and efforts are underway or have already passed to increase the minimum in other states.

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