Monthly Archives: July 2012

Howard J. Swibel and Nancy S. Harbottle secure win for the family of a disabled child

Arnstein & Lehr Attorney Howard J. Swibel

Howard J. Swibel

Arnstein & Lehr Attorney Nancy S. Harbottle

Nancy S. Harbottle

Arnstein & Lehr Chicago Partner Howard J. Swibel and Hoffman Estates Partner Nancy S. Harbottle successfully represented the family of an autistic child who required a variance to install a playground set in their front yard. Under the Northern Illinois villages zoning ordinance, playground equipment could not be placed in a front yard, however their home was positioned on a corner lot, containing two “front yards.” At the hearing before the zoning board of appeals, the child’s therapist testified that the equipment was necessary to provide the child with therapeutic opportunities, and due to a danger to others and himself, he could not play in a community park. Mr. Swibel and Ms. Harbottle spent many hours researching the zoning ordinance and preparing submissions, witnesses and their arguments. In an emotional victory, Mr. Swibel and Ms. Harbottle prevailed in a vote of 4 to 2.

To read more about the case, click here.

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ILN Today Post

Proposed Amendments to The Employment Act

From the desk of the Managing Partner — A lot is being said about the proposed amendments to the Employment Act. For those who are a bit behind the eight ball, here is a brief synopsis of the major proposed changes:

Section 8 (1) (c) – Each employee to enjoy a paid meal period of not less than one hour;
Section 9 (1) (a) – There must be a minimum 12 hours off between each shift;
Section 9 (1) (b) – the days off must comprise 24 consecutive hours;
Section 10 (a) – Implementation of a fixed day off upon commencement of employment;
Section 10A – Holiday pay now to be paid to hourly paid employees for Public Holidays not worked


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Fourth Circuit Adopts "Narrow Reading" of Authorization under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act

Common scenario: Employee plans to resign from employer and join competitor. Prior to resigning, employee uses his company computer to access confidential and proprietary information and then sends the information to his personal e-mail account to use for the benefit of his new employer. Employer sues former employee for misappropriation and other state law claims, and seeks federal jurisdiction by asserting a claim under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”).

Dilemma: Does CFAA state a claim when the employee had permission to “access” the computer and company documents, but not “use” it for an improper purpose such as to benefit a new employer?

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ILN Today Post

MGRA distinguida com 3 prémios de excelência atribuídos pela DealMakers Magazine: “Corporate Finance Firm of the Year in Portugal” “Tax Law Firm of the Year in Portugal” “Litigation and Insolvency & Restructuring Law Firm of the Year in Portugal”

A Mouteira Guerreiro, Rosa Amaral & Associados – Sociedade de Advogados, R.L. foi reconhecida pela DealMakers Magazine na edição 2012 dos Country Awards, nas categorias acima elencadas.

MGRA has been recognized by DealMakers Magazine in the Country Awards 2012 edition, in the above mentioned categories.

Os prémios atribuídos por esta conceituada publicação representam uma importante distinção para a Sociedade, reconhecendo a excelência dos serviços jurídicos prestados pelos seus profissionais aos Clientes.

This represents a great honour and raises MGRA as one of the leading law firms in the Portuguese market. MGRA is grateful both to its Clients and its team of professionals.


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Employees need more support in dealing with harassment

Recent research has found that employees feel they do not get sufficient support and guidance from their employers in dealing with bullying, harassment and discrimination in the workplace.

The study, by Canada Life Group Insurance, found that 64% of employees feel they have been left without official advice or support on how to handle sexism in the workplace, while only 45% have received guidance on dealing with racism. Both of these issues have the potential to escalate into extremely damaging litigation for employers, while causing significant stress for employees.

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Cyberfighting Takes Estate From “Bad” to Worse

And you thought your family had problems.

I’ve been reading about the estate of a musician named Michael. Michael tragically died at the young age of 42. He was survived by his mother Katherine, his four siblings, and his three minor children, Prince, Paris, and Blanket (that’s not a typo). According to reports, Michael left 40% of his estate in trust for Katherine, 40% to his kids and 20% to charity. Katherine was appointed guardian, and the executors are John and John, a lawyer and a music executive.

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Whoa Baby! Managing pregnancy in the workforce.

We’ve all been hearing a lot about Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer lately – and not just because, at 37 years old, she is the youngest CEO of a Fortune 500 company. Instead, much of the buzz is related to the revelation that she is expecting her first child this fall and her intent to work throughout her few weeks of maternity leave. Some have lauded Mayer’s commitment to her new job. Others have decried her naiveté about the demands that a new baby will place on her. We wanted to take a moment to comment on the employment law aspects raised by this discussion.

Although a pregnant employee who promises to minimize her leave and continue working during her leave may sound like an employer’s dream, it’s important to realize that Mayer’s situation is far from typical. She is the CEO and, as a result, has both the financial means and schedule flexibility necessary to oversee the development of both her company and her baby. That is not the case for the vast majority of working mothers.

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OSHA’s Final Rule Implementing Whistleblower Protections of Surface Transportation Assistance Act Impacts Employers That Own, Lease, or Operate Commercial Motor Vehicles

by Allen B. Roberts and Michael J. Slocum

Under a final rule (“Final Rule”) issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”), commercial motor carriers that own or lease a vehicle in a business affecting interstate commerce or assign employees to operate such a vehicle are impacted by Surface Transportation Assistance Act of 1982 (“STAA”) whistleblower protections available to drivers of commercial motor vehicles (including independent contractors when personally operating a commercial motor vehicle), mechanics, and freight handlers, as well as others who directly affect commercial motor vehicle safety or security in the course of employment. OSHA explained that the Final Rule, issued and published in the Federal Register on July 27, 2012, implements amendments to the STAA made by the Implementing Recommendations of the 9/11 Commission Act of 2007 (the “9/11 Commission Act”), and also seeks to “clarify and improve OSHA’s procedures for handling STAA whistleblower claims, as well as to set forth interpretations of STAA.”  

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Plaintiff’s Failure To Disclose Expert Prior To Summary Judgment Proves Fatal

In Akron Scott v. Westmore Fuel Company, Inc. (6/14/12), the Appellate Division, First Department, examined the timing of plaintiff’s tardy expert disclosure. In that case, plaintiff disclosed his expert for the first time when he submitted an affidavit of the expert in opposition to a motion for summary judgment. The First Department held that the New York County trial court properly rejected the expert affidavit as inadmissible because plaintiff had failed to disclose his expert until after the Note of Issue and Certificate of Readiness had been filed. The First Department also found that the trial court had properly denied plaintiff’s request to amend the Bill of Particulars to allege a statutory violation by the defendant because the request to amend was made after the Note of Issue was filed and was thus prejudicial.

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SCOTUS Decision on the PPACA – Potential Congressional Response

Last week, we talked about the implications of the Supreme Court’s decision for the states. Today, we’ll look at the potential Congressional response.

Lynn began by suggesting the panelists speak about the federal level, as she’s cynical about the 90% and 100% matching, when we’re going into a period of austerity. She said she would like them to talk about entitlement reform and deficit reduction, and asked whether the decision to expand Medicaid has a lot to do with people’s confidences that the 100% and 90% matching money will remain the law of the land at the federal level.  

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