Legal Updates

Oct. 2: Webinar on Workplace Violence and Active Shooter Scenarios – Protecting Your Employees

We’d like to recommend an upcoming complimentary webinar, “Addressing and Responding to Workplace Violence and Active Shooter Scenarios to Protect Your Employees” (Oct. 2, 2:00 p.m. EDT), by our Epstein Becker Green colleagues Kara M. Maciel, Susan Gross Sholinsky, and Christopher M. Locke, with Daniel Hess and Lynne Cripe of The KonTerra Group, an employee assistance program provider that regularly counsels employees undergoing stressful life events that can lead to violence. 

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Support for idea of specialist personal injury court

The Scottish Government has published details on the responses received to its consultation on proposals to restructure the way civil cases and summary criminal cases are dealt with by the courts in Scotland.

The Government apparently received 115 responses, and said that there was a very clear majority support for almost all proposals and concepts detailed in the consultation.

One of the proposals included in the consultation exercise was the creation of a specialist personal injury court with an all-Scotland jurisdiction.

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When It Comes To Defence Costs, First Layer Is Usually The Payer

In a world of increasing business risks, insureds often purchase one or more layers of excess coverage to secure additional protection from the unknown. Such layering of coverage, however, can trigger disputes between primary insurers and excess insurers.

In the recent decision of ACE INA Insurance v. Associated Electric & Gas Insurance Services Ltd., 2012 ONSC 6248, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice considered the issue of when an excess liability insurer would have an obligation to contribute to defence costs which are often borne by the insurer at the primary layer.

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What is a streaming agreement?
A streaming agreement is a specialized agreement of purchase and sale for gold, silver or other precious metals pioneered by Franco- Nevada Mining Corporation in the early 1980′s. In general terms, a purchaser financing company will agree to purchase a specific percentage interest in the precious metal production (typically gold or silver) from a mine at a discounted price and for a specific time period (often the life of the mine). The financing company will make an upfront cash payment and then will purchase the commodity on an on-going basis at a price equal to the lower of a fixed price and the prevailing market price of the commodity. More…

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A recent High Court decision in the United Kingdom offers a cautionary tale to those producing waste and relying on outside contractors to dispose of that waste without internal systems for verifying that the waste is being disposed of lawfully. In Mountpace Ltd. v. The London Borough of Haringey [2012] EWHC 698, Mountpace contracted for a renovation of a London property. Part of the work included the removal and disposal of waste created in the course of renovation. Mountpace’s contractor transferred the waste to an independent waste contractor which dealt with its disposal. The
independent waste contractor illegally dumped the waste in contravention of the 1990 Environmental Protection Act. The contractor was convicted of knowingly causing controlled waste to be deposited on land without an environmental permit . Mountpace was subsequently charged with reaches of the duty of care relating to transferring waste only to an authorized person or to a person for authorized transport purposes. Mountpace argued at trial that it had reasonably relied upon the same contractor with whom it had successfully dealt previously without problem. Mountpace submitted that there was no need in the circumstances to spell anything out and that it had no reason to foresee that the contractor would use an unauthorized dumper, or “fly tipper”, as they are known in the U.K. The company defendant suggested further that it was an implied term of the contract that the contractor would dispose of the waste lawfully and that nothing which Mountpace would have done by way of spelling out in the contract or some other document more precisely by way of instruction could have, or would have, prevented this particular unauthorized dumping. The evidence disclosed that there was no clear audit trail or internal procedures to deal with contractors which took lawful waste management into account . There were no checks and balances operated by Mountpace to ensure that its contractors complied with their statutory obligations. More…

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MEPs call for equal property rights

International couples in registered partnerships should have the same right as married ones to choose which member state’s national law will govern their property rights if the relationship ends, according to a resolution passed by the European Parliament. MEPs have therefore called for draft legislation produced by the European Commission to be amended to this end.

The draft legislation sets out rules for identifying which national law applies and which court has jurisdiction in property disputes that arise during the ending of an international marriage or registered partnership.  These rules will not apply to the UK, Denmark or Ireland.

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New inquiry into helicopter safety

The House of Commons Select Transport Committee has announced that it is to hold an inquiry into helicopter safety.

The announcement follows the crash of a Super Puma helicopter into the sea off the Shetland Islands in August, in which four people were killed, and other recent incidents involving helicopters carrying oil and gas industry personnel to and from offshore installations in the North Sea.

“Any fatal accident is a cause for concern but there have been five helicopter accidents involving personnel from the oil and gas industry in the last four years, two of which caused multiple fatalities,” commented Committee Chair Louise Ellman MP.

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Administration Rejects Labor’s ObamaCare Demands

by: Adam C. Abrahms, Kara M. Maciel, Adam C. Solander, and Steven M. Swirsky

On September 13, 2013, the Obama Administration rejected the union movement’s intense  lobbying efforts to seek a waiver, so that their members would be able to receive tax subsidies in the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) Marketplaces for those of their members who will be offered “affordable coverage” from their employers.

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Complaint lodged over failing to give equal pay to agency workers

The TUC has lodged a formal complaint with the European Commission against the UK government for failing to implement the Temporary Agency Workers Directive properly, leading to tens of thousands of agency workers being paid less than permanent staff despite doing the same job.

The TUC complaint says that the UK government’s flawed implementation of the EU Directive has allowed the abuse of the so-called ‘Swedish derogation’ – where employment agencies routinely pay agency workers far less than permanent staff doing the same job.

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Are you ready for the privacy amendments? Hope is not enough!

The Privacy (Enhancing Privacy Protections) Act 2012 (‘privacy amendments’) commences on 12 March 2014 and will bring about significant amendments to the current Privacy Act 1988.

The amendments will not just affect those that undertake credit reporting,  they will affect all businesses that collect and use personal information. More…

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