Appeal Court Confirms Litigation Privilege In Regulatory Investigations

In a recent decision, the Alberta Court of Appeal concluded that litigation privilege may be properly claimed by a target of a regulatory investigation.  In TransAlta Corporation v. The Market Surveillance Administrator (2014 ABCA196), the court allowed an appeal from a decision of a chambers judge of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench which held that the term “solicitor-client privilege” in section 50 of the Alberta Utilities Commission Act (“Act”) referred only to the privilege dealing with obtaining legal advice and did not extend to litigation privilege. 
 
In its ruling, the court reaffirmed the importance and protection afforded to litigation privilege claims, recognizing that there is a need for both legal advice and protection of an associated zone of privacy when a party is facing an investigation that could result in a prosecution with serious consequences. 
 
The facts of this case first arose in the 1990s, when Alberta decided to de-regulate its electricity and natural gas industries.  Alberta established an independent body, the Market Surveillance Administrator (“MSA”) to oversee both industries. 
Read full article

All NLRB Decisions and Actions From August 27, 2011 Through July 17, 2013 Are Invalid or in Doubt

By: Adam C. Abrahms, Kara M. Maciel, Steven M. Swirsky, and Mark M. Trapp

The U.S. Supreme Court today held that the US Senate was not in recess on January 4, 2012, when President Obama made three “recess” appointments to the National Labor Relations Board under the Constitution’s Recess Appointment Clause. In simple terms that means that the recess appointments were not proper and s decisions in which the recess appointees participated were not valid.

Read full article

“MommyShorts” is Blogging Her Way into Hearts, Homes, and Brands

Maybe you’ve seen them on Instagram or Facebook – pictures of babies dressed up in grown-up suits like so many chubby-cheeked David Byrnes. It’s called “baby suiting,” and it’s the latest photo craze instigated by mom blogger Ilana Wiles, who just a year ago launched a surge of “baby mugging,” which is just what it sounds like (well, maybe not) – taking pictures of babies as though they’re sitting in coffee mugs.

Read full article

Case Review: McCormick v. Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP

By Heather Hettiarachchi

In the much anticipated decision of McCormick v. Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP issued today, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that Mr. McCormick, previously an equity partner of Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP (“Fasken”), could not avail himself of the protection afforded to employees pursuant to s. 13 of the British Columbia Human Rights Code (the “Code“), as his relationship with the firm was not that of an employee.

Read full article

Law Firm Partner and Client Discussion: Creating the Win-Win

After lunch on the first day of the P3 Conference, we had the opportunity to listen to a client discussion – which, if you read Zen regularly, you know is a favorite of mine!  Moderator Vince Cordo (@vcordo), the Global Director of Client Value at Reed Smith led a panel that included Nick Bagiatis, the COO of Reed Smith, Lesley Garafola (@plgarafola) of Duke Energy, Gonzalo Frias of Duke Energy, and Kimberly Levinson of PNC. 

Read full article

California Supreme Court Opens the Door to Class Action Waivers, Shuts Door to Waiver of Representative Actions

By Marisa S. Ratinoff and Amy B. Messigian

One of the main battlegrounds between employers and employees relates to the ability of employers to preclude class actions by way of arbitration agreements containing class action waivers. In California, the seminal case of Gentry v. Superior Court (“Gentry”) has had the practical effect of invalidating class action waivers in employment arbitration agreements since 2007. Gentry held that an employment class action waiver was unenforceable as a matter of California public policy if the class action waiver would “undermine the vindication of the employees’ unwaivable statutory rights” under the Labor Code. Thus, California financial services employers and national financial services employers with a business presence in California have found it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to enforce class action waivers in their employment arbitration agreements over the past seven years and have seen scores of California wage and hour cases proceed in court under the harsh hand of Gentry.

Read full article

AMA Adopts Telemedicine Guidelines

On June 11, 2014, the American Medical Association (“AMA”) approved a list of guiding principles regarding the practice of telemedicine.  The AMA’s adoption of the telemedicine guiding principles follows the trend of position statements, guidelines, and other policy statements addressing the practice of telemedicine already adopted by other medical specialty societies and state medical associations, […]

The post AMA Adopts Telemedicine Guidelines appeared first on OMW Health Law.

For more information please visit www.omwhealthlaw.com or click on the headline above.

Read full article

Multistate Tax Update — June 26, 2014

On June 18, 2014, the House Judiciary Committee of the U.S. Congress passed the Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act bill by a 30 to 4 vote, moving it forward to be considered by the House of Representatives. The Permanent Internet Tax Freedom Act bill seeks to modify the Internet Tax Freedom Act by permanently banning state and local governments from taxing access to the Internet and from imposing multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce. (See prior Multistate Tax Update articles on June 12, 2014 and October 24, 2013, in which the Illinois courts and legislature dealt with the impact of the Internet Tax Freedom Act on certain tax laws aimed at remote sellers.) Currently, the Internet Tax Freedom Act only places a temporary moratorium on state and local government taxing access to the Internet or imposing multiple or discriminatory taxes on electronic commerce. This ban has been extended three times and is set to expire on Nov. 1, 2014.

Read full article

Driving Profitability through Pricing and Client Value

The second breakout session that I attended on Thursday morning at the P3 conference was “A Case Study on Profitability through Pricing and Client Value,” presented by Redwood.

The program told us:

For years the legal profession’s main focus with respect to ‘profit’ has been on driving productivity and revenue. Well before the boom in alternative fees this perception had changed drastically. Now in a new world with heavier client demands, budgeting needs, alternative pricing, and changing structures the true drivers of profitability have come under additional scrutiny.”

Read full article
ILN Today Post

ARBITRATION CLAUSE SURVIVES EXPIRATION OF CONTRACT (WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18, 2014)

The Hilltop Companies, LLC hired Cynthia Huffman and others to review files for mortgage loans originated by PNC Bank.

Plaintiffs later filed a class action in federal court. Plaintiffs claimed they regularly worked in excess of forty hours per week, but were not compensated at the overtime rate because Hilltop classified them as independent contractors. Hilltop filed a motion to dismiss and to compel arbitration. The district court denied Hilltop’s motion, and Hilltop appealed.
Each employment relationship was governed by a professionalservices agreement. The agreement contained an arbitration clause and a survival clause. The arbitration clause read in relevant part as follows: More…
Read full article