Legal Updates

Erki Kergandberg and Elmer Muna publish an article in the guide Public Procurement 2012

The International Comparative Legal Guide published a fourth edition of the guide Public Procurement 2012. The guide provides corporate counsel and international practitioners with a comprehensive worldwide legal analysis and a broad overview of common issues in public procurement laws and regulations in 29 jurisdictions. The guide is divided into two main sections. The first chapter outlines public procurement rules in the EU and the second is a country Q&A chapter.

The Estonian Q&A chapter is written by TARK GRUNTE SUTKIENE partner Erki Kergandberg and senior associateElmer Muna. Please click HERE to read the Estonian chapter.

The International Comparative Legal Guide series is also available online at www.iclg.co.uk. Publisher Global Legal Group Ltd, London.

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More social media worries for employers

Whether through Facebook or Twitter, LinkedIn or GooglePlus, social networking is changing the way the world communicates and how business is conducted.  Employers should already be aware of the benefits and pitfalls of employee social media use. For more information on social-media-related issues for employers, our previous social media blog posts are listed below:
NLRB GC outlines federal protections for employee social media activity
NLRB posts two complaints in May regarding employee activity on Facebook
Is Social Media On Your Mind? The top 5 questions you should be asking

A recent decision highlights yet another wrinkle.

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Monas v Perpetual Trustees Victoria Limited [2011] NSWCA 417

In Monas v Perpetual Trustees Victoria Limited the NSW Court of Appeal considered whether a combined default notice was invalid because it failed to provide the borrower with all of the information set out under s 80(3) of the Consumer Credit Code.            read more…

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Gaga about the FLSA

Lady_Gaga_on_Fame_Ball_Courtesy of Wikipedia.org.jpgEmployment lawyers don’t often get a chance to write about pop superstars, but as it turns out the Fair Labor Standards Act is providing just such an opportunity.

In December 2011, Lady Gaga’s personal assistant, Jennifer O’Neill, filed a lawsuit against Lady Gaga’s touring company claiming that she is owed more that $350,000 in unpaid overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York State Labor Law.

What’s the crux of the dispute?  

Well, really it’s not much different than those faced by many “more traditional” employers.  The former personal assistant claims that she was misclassified as an “exempt” employee when she was actually non-exempt.  As a result, she alleges that she is owed over 7,000 hours of overtime compensation for time that she spent attending to Lady Gaga at “stadiums, private jets, fine hotel suites, yachts, ferries, trains, and tour buses.”  

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Environmental Alert: Ohio EPA’s New Industrial Storm Water General Permit

The State of Ohio has issued the final version of its revised National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) Industrial Storm Water General Permit (http://www.epa.ohio.gov/dsw/permits/GP_IndustrialStormWater.aspx). This is the fifth version of the State’s general permit that governs storm water discharges from industrial facilities. Like its predecessors, this version of the permit requires parties seeking coverage to file a Notice of Intent with the Ohio EPA. And as with its predecessor version, this permit requires those parties seeking and obtaining its coverage to prepare and maintain a Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan which describes the facility, the facility’s potential pollutant sources and the control measures the facility will take to prevent those potential pollutant sources from impairing water quality and storm water run-off. The new permit became effective on January 1, 2012. Those facilities having coverage under the prior version need not take immediate action to file a new Notice of Intent. Ohio EPA will be issuing to all facilities covered by the prior permit written instructions for the submittal of a new Notice of Intent for coverage under the new permit. Existing facilities must submit their Notice of Intent for coverage under the new permit within 90 days.

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Labor and Employment Alert: Based on NLRB’s latest ruling, review your arbitration agreements

On January 3, 2012, the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) ruled in D.R. Horton, 37 NLRB No. 184, that certain mandatory arbitration agreements which prohibit the arbitration of class and collective actions are a per se violation of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). The long-awaited decision applies to all employers, union and nonunion alike.

D.R. Horton’s background facts

Richard Cuda was employed as a superintendent by D.R. Horton Nationwide Homebuilder, Inc., a nonunion employer. In 2008, he sent D.R. Horton a notice of his intent to arbitrate, on behalf of himself and all similarly-situated superintendents, the issue of whether D.R. Horton misclassified its superintendents as exempt employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (and, consequently, whether superintendents were owed overtime pay). When D.R. Horton informed Cuda that he could not arbitrate these claims as a class, he filed an unfair labor practice charge with the Board relating to the arbitration agreement’s prohibition of collective and class actions. 

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Data Privacy and Network Security Alert: Zappos announced today it is the latest target of a massive data breach

Move over Sony. The Amazon-owned online shoe retailer Zappos is in the process of notifying 24 million customers that hackers may have gained access to their personal information from online accounts at zappos.com. Customers’ names, email addresses, billing and shipping addresses, phone numbers, the last four digits of their credit card numbers, and their scrambled passwords may have been illegally accessed by hackers.

Zappos has not yet indicated when the breach occurred, but its CEO, Tony Hsieh, has informed its employees that it has recently been “the victim of a cyber attack by a criminal who gained access to parts of our internal network and systems through one of our servers in Kentucky.” Hsieh indicated, however, that “critical card data and other payment data was not affected or accessed.” 

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Jason Tremblay authors, “7 ways to protect your company when hiring from a competitor”

Arnstein & Lehr attorney E. Jason Tremblay

E. Jason Tremblay

Arnstein & Lehr Partner E. Jason Tremblay authored the article, “7 ways to protect your company when hiring from a competitor,” which appeared in the January 9 edition of Inside Counsel. The article discusses litigation by HR professionals and the problems companies face when HR is involved in litigation. In the article, Mr. Tremblay offers tips for the hiring process and how to behave once they start working.

Mr. Tremblay’s article appearing in Inside Counsel:

7 ways to protect your company when hiring from a competitor
Tips for the hiring process and how to behave once they start working for you

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Week of January 9, 2012 on ILNToday – A Roundup

It has been one busy week on ILNToday, with some excellent contributions from our members around the world! My top five posts for this week are:

  • Intellectual Property Bulletin of Kochanski Zieba Rapala & Partners: Our Polish experts at Kochanski Zieba Rapala & Partners delve into IP issues covering the question of whether opposition proceedings in a European patent case would have an impact on the Polish equivalent patent, and single color protection as trademark protection, which considers the details of the Louboutin case in the US.
  • International Litigation in London: Paul Howcroft of Fladgate is best known for his commentary on art law, but here, he gives us his litigation roundup for 2011 in London. 
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No Liability for Others’ Asbestos Products

The Bloomberg BNA Toxics Law Reporter reported this morning concerning an important new decision from the Supreme Court of California in O’Neil v. Crane Co., Cal., No. S177401, 1/12/12
In summary, California’s high court reaffirmed the principle that a product manufacturer may not be held strictly liable or negligent for harm caused by another maker’s product, except where the defendant has some direct responsibility for the harm.  In so holding, California refused to open the floodgates in the asbestos litigation to permit suits against manufacturers that never manufacturer or marketed asbestos-containing products.

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