Monthly Archives: May 2013

Litigation Alert: Florida’s statutes of limitation apply to arbitrations

For the second time in as many months, the Supreme Court of Florida has handed down an important opinion of broad application to Florida’s business community. In the wake of restricting the economic loss rule to only products liability cases in Tiara Condominium Association, Inc. v. Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc., No. SC10-1022 (March 7, 2013), the Supreme Court of Florida held last week inRaymond James Financial Services, Inc. v. Barbara J. Phillips, et al., No. SC11-2513 (May 16, 2013) that Florida’s statutes of limitation apply to arbitrations.

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David Austin in the News

David Austin was quoted last week in a Vancouver Sun article which discussed an Alberta electricity provider looking to provide power to gas fields in BC. He was also on Global News on Monday night on the topic of LNG development (click here to see the video).

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Are Environmentalists Who Oppose Wind Farms Environmentalists?

Wind power can help address the nation’s compelling demand for electric power without increasing greenhouse gas emissions or enlarging our carbon footprint. Environmental activists, who are critical of the use of fossil fuels due to their perceived negative impact on the environment, are generally supportive of developing wind power as an alternative energy source. Wind is renewable, sustainable and non-polluting.

Why is it then that environmental groups sometimes oppose the development of wind power in the courtroom? From a global or even regional perspective, environmentalists should be rallying behind wind power, not opposing.

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Canadian Securities Regulators Grant Exemptions from Wrapper Requirements for Foreign Offerings

On April 23, 2013, Canadian securities regulators agreed to allow certain dealers selling securities of foreign issuers to make private placement offerings to permitted clients in Canada as part of a global offering without having to add supplemental prescribed Canadian disclosure, usually called a “wrapper”. The intended effect of removing the requirement for a Canada-specific wrapper is to provide sophisticated Canadian investors with increased access to foreign offerings. The relief from Canadian wrapper requirements for certain foreign offerings becomes effective June 22, 2013, and is scheduled to expire in June 2016, by which time it is expected that the relief will be continued through rule-making.

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Temporary Moratorium on Uranium Exploration and Development in Québec

On March 28, 2013, Québec Environment Minister Yves-François Blanchet announced that no authorization certificates for uranium exploration or mining projects in Québec will be issued until theBureau d’audiences publiques sur l’environnement (“BAPE”) has completed an independent study on the uranium sector and issued a report. However, limited exploration work which does not require a permit can still go ahead. BAPE is expected to hold public hearings on the uranium sector in Québec in Fall 2013. These public hearings will focus on the environmental and social impacts of exploration and mining of uranium in Québec.

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Québec Introduces Minimum Mining Taxes

On May 6, 2013, the Government of Québec unveiled its new mining tax regime. Starting in 2013, all mining operations will be required to pay a royalty or a tax on profits, whichever is greater under the regime.

All mine operators active in Québec will now have to pay a minimum royalty to the Government, that is applied to the value of the ore extracted at the mine shaft head. In consideration of smaller operations and to make it easier to start a mining project, the royalty rate will be set at 1% for the first $80 million of ore extracted. For the excess, the rate will be 4% of the value of ore extracted. This royalty does not consider whether the operation is profitable. Also, this royalty does not permit deductions for other royalties that may also be payable on the same ore extracted.

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With No Guaranteed Minimum, Employee That Received Unvarying Base Pay Was Not Exempt Under California Law

By Andrew J. Sommer

There has been a lack of clarity in California wage and hour law on how compensation must be structured to meet the “salary basis test,” particularly where an exempt employee is paid based on hours worked. However, in Negri v. Koning & Associates, the California Court of Appeal addressed this very issue and concluded that a compensation scheme based solely upon the number of hours worked, with no guaranteed minimum, is not considered a “salary” for the purpose of state overtime laws. 

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Sharp rise in deafness claims

In the last few years the number of deafness claims made on commercial insurance policies has been rocketing.

In 2012 alone, AXA Business Insurance saw a year on year rise of 75% in the number of deafness claims and had more claims for deafness than any other type of workplace injury or illness. The company attributes the rise as a primary reason for an overall increase of over 30% in Employer Liability claims.

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McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies Advisory: Immigration reform advances

Late last night, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted to move comprehensive immigration forward to the floor of the Senate after a long and somewhat contentious five-day markup. Three Republicans joined 10 Democrats in voting to move the bill forward. Five Senators – all Republicans – voted against the measure. Senator Orrin Hatch (R-UT), who had been heavily courted by supporters of immigration reform, voted in favor of the bill.

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OIG’s Special Advisory Bulletin on the Effect of Exclusion—Continuing the Focus on Individual Accountability

On May 8, 2013, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) released an Updated Special Advisory Bulletin on the Effect of Exclusion from the Participation in Federal Health Care Programs (“2013 Exclusion Update”),[1] which supersedes the original bulletin released in September 1999 (“1999 Exclusion Update”).
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