Regions

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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Lidings announces the launch of its new bankruptcy and restructuring practice

Lidings law firm proudly announces the launch of a new practice area: Bankruptcy and Restructuring. The practice consolidates the firm’s existing expertise in providing legal support during bankruptcy procedures conducted within the scope of dispute resolution. The new area is being headed by Lidings’ Partner Stepan Guzey, whose activities are focused on managing major projects in the area of restructuring, insolvency and bankruptcy.

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A Plaintiff’s ATM & Cell Phone Records May Be Discoverable When There Is a Particularized Showing of Relevance

Michael D. Thompson

Michael D. Thompson

In Gonzalez v. Allied Concrete Industries, Inc., thirteen construction laborers filed suit in the Eastern District of New York.  The plaintiffs claimed they worked in excess of forty hours per week, but were not paid overtime in violation of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the New York Labor Law.

To obtain information regarding the plaintiffs’ activities during hours they claimed to have been working, the defendants sought an order compelling discovery of their ATM and cell phone records.

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“Some other substantial reason” and the ACAS Code of Practice

Can employees claim an uplift of up to 25 percent in the circumstances of a dismissal for “some other substantial reason”, such as an irretrievable breakdown in the relationship between employee and employer? 

Not according to the Employment Appeal Tribunal’s decision in Phoenix House Ltd v Stockman and another. 

Although the employee’s dismissal was found to be both procedurally and substantively unfair, the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance matters does not apply to dismissals for “some other substantial reason”.  This meant that the successful Claimant was not entitled to receive an uplift of up to 25% on the compensation awarded to her because of the employer’s failure to follow the ACAS Code.

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UK residential properties held through offshore structures: a call to action

Owners of UK residential property held through offshore structures, including non-UK companies and partnerships, should urgently review their structures following the publication of a further consultation by the UK Government on 19 August 2016. The consultation confirms that residential properties in these structures will be exposed to UK Inheritance Tax (IHT) from 6 April 2017. The aim of the changes is to bring all UK residential properties within the charge to IHT.

The Government first announced its intentions as part of its Summer Budget in 2015 but limited details have been available until now. However, the consultation confirms that the new rules will apply from 6 April 2017, which gives very little time to consider the implications and reorganise the structure if necessary.

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Fladgate boosts sports practice with appointment of specialist sports business team

Fladgate LLP is delighted to announce the appointment of a specialist sports sector team.  Partner James Earl has joined from Pinsent Masons, together with senior associate David Quinlan and associate Muhammed Bhaimohmed.  It is anticipated that the client base of the incoming team will add significantly to Fladgate’s extensive sports practice.

James joins as head of Fladgate’s Sports Business Group and will lead the next phase of development as the team targets areas of high value and investment in the sports sector.  The enlarged team of ten partners and associates will focus on the following key areas:

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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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