Monthly Archives: November 2011

"Take-home" Toxic Tort Exposure Claims

The concepts of “duty” and “foreseeability” figure prominently in any discussion of “take-home” toxic tort exposure claims. In an insightful article appearing in BNA Toxics Law Reporter, dated November 3, 2011, Christine G. Rolph,Arthur F. Foerster andHans H. Grong of Latham & Watkins discuss “take-home” exposure claims in asbestos litigation. The typical “take-home” plaintiff is a bystander such as the child who claims she was exposed to asbestos while playing in the basement where her father’s work clothes were laundered.

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Minimum Wage in Florida Set to Increase

Arnstein & Lehr attorney E. Jason Tremblay

E. Jason Tremblay

Effective January 1, 2012, the minimum wage in the State of Florida will increase from $7.31 to $7.67 per hour. Minimum wage for tipped employees, such as waiters and waitresses, will increase from $4.29 to $4.65 per hour. This $0.36 per hour increase comes on the coattails of a previous minimum wage increase in Florida in June 1, 2011. Florida employers should therefore be prepared to again increase the hourly pay of any employees on minimum wage as of January 1, 2012. For further information, please contact your labor and employment attorney at Arnstein & Lehr LLP.

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CMS Releases Final Rule on Accountable Care Organizations

CMS issues final rule on Accountable Care Organizations, with signficant changes.

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

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Companies may be subject to double-dipping in ERISA benefit fund contribution cases

As a federal court in Ohio recently confirmed, companies that are obligated to make benefit contributions pursuant to union collective bargaining agreements may find themselves liable for twice what they bargained for under some circumstances.

In Trustees of the Northwestern Ohio Plumbers and Pipefitters Pension Plan v. Helm & Associates.pdf, the court held that it would take a full-blown trial to decide whether the company had unwittingly obligated itself to pay benefit fund contributions not only for the workers who actually performed its work but also for the workers who claim that the work should have been assigned to them.  In particular, the company assigned certain work to members of a local Laborers’ union and made contributions to the benefit plans maintained by the Laborers.  Later, when the Plumbers and Pipefitters’ benefit plans audited the company, they claimed that some of the work assigned to the Laborers members should have been assigned to members of the Plumbers and Pipefitters.  The benefit funds further claimed that, because the work was incorrectly assigned, the company was obligated to make contributions to the Plumbers and Pipefitters funds notwithstanding the fact that the company had already made contributions on behalf of the Laborers members who actually performed the work.

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Partner Hannes Vallikivi chairs session at the International Bar Association Annual Conference

This year’s Annual Conference of the International Bar Association (IBA) was held in Dubai from 31 October till 4 November, attracting record participation of over 5,000 lawyers all over the world. TARK GRUNTE STUKIENE partner and head of Banking and Finance Practice Group in Estonia, Hannes Vallikivi, chaired a panel discussion regarding legal opinions and related client communication and the duty of care of lawyers who give legal opinions. Speakers at the popular session included Peter R. Dawson from United Arab Emirates (HSBC), Michael Kutschera from Austria (Binder Grösswang), David Dali Liu from China (Jung He), Stephen Powell from England (Slaughter and May) and Timothy E. Powers from the U.S.A. (Haynes and Boone). Lawyers have better acknowledged their liability involved in issuing closing legal opinions during the years of financial crisis and the opinion practice has therefore considerably changed. The session dealt with those changes and also gave practical hints on opinions givers’ risk management.

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McDonald Hopkins attracts six attorneys in six months: Former Circuit Court Judge, Jorge J. Perez, joins the law firm’s Miami office

Cleveland, Ohio, (November 7, 2011) – Former Circuit Court Judge, Jorge J. Perez, who was appointed to the bench by Governor Jeb Bush and most recently was a partner at Gordon & Rees LLP, has joined the Miami office of McDonald Hopkins LLC as a Member and Chair of the newly formed National Receivership Practice Group at the business advisory and advocacy law firm.

Perez is among six attorneys who have joined the firm’s Miami office since it opened six months ago. South Florida is a strategic business market for McDonald Hopkins, which has had an office in West Palm Beach since 2004.

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New California Laws Increase Penalties for Employee Misclassification and Wage Theft

by Michael S. Kun, Eric A. Cook, and Jennifer A. Goldman

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed two employment-related bills into law, raising the stakes for employers doing business in California. The two laws, which increase the penalties for employers that wrongly classify employees as independent contractors or engage in “wage theft,” both go into effect on January 1, 2012.

Misclassification of Workers as Independent Contractors

The first of the new laws, SB 459, directly impacts employers that classify workers as independent contractors. Referred to by critics as the “Job Killer Act,” the legislation adds Sections 226.8 and 2753 to the California Labor Code (“Labor Code”). Section 226.8 prohibits the “willful misclassification” of an individual as an independent contractor, and also prohibits an employer from charging fees to a misclassified individual for items that an employee is not normally required to purchase, such as equipment, space rental, services, or licenses. Section 2753 imposes joint and several liability on any person who, for money or other valuable consideration, knowingly advises an employer to treat an individual as an independent contractor simply to avoid the employee designation. (Attorneys who advise employers are exempted from Section 2753.)

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Twitter Tutorials – Anatomy of the Home Page Part III

We have looked at a LOT of information about Twitter this week, and we’ll finish out the week with our final post on the anatomy of the home page.

Yesterday, we continued our conversation about the left hand column, which focuses on the tweets in your stream, replies, retweets, searches, and lists (which I’ll cover in a later post). So today, we’re going to take a look at the right hand column.  

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Health Care Innovation in the Medicare Program: Value-Based Initiatives Beyond Accountable Care Organizations

by René Y. Quashie and Lynn Shapiro Snyder

As the health care industry analyzes the recently released final rule and related guidance regarding the Medicare Shared Savings Program (“MSSP”) for accountable care organizations (“ACOs”), it is important for the industry to also pay attention to key deadlines related to initiatives being implemented by the Center for Medicare and Medicare Innovation (“CMMI” or “Innovation Center”) within the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”).

While the MSSP ACO initiative is a permanent Medicare program, CMMI is developing and promoting other initiatives—some related to the MSSP, others not—which should be part of any provider’s considerations related to the “Medicare Menu” of options now available to customize an entity’s Medicare payment methodologies. This alert will address a number of key Medicare initiatives currently under way at the Innovation Center and another to be implemented by the Center for Medicare within CMS.

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New California Laws Increase Penalties for Employee Misclassification and Wage Theft

by Michael S. Kun, Eric A. Cook, and Jennifer A. Goldman

California Governor Jerry Brown has signed two employment-related bills into law, raising the stakes for employers doing business in California. The two laws, which increase the penalties for employers that wrongly classify employees as independent contractors or engage in “wage theft,” both go into effect on January 1, 2012.

Read the full advisory online

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