News

March Madness Department of Labor-style

While the rest of us were busy filling out our NCAA tournament brackets, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) was engaged in another kind of March Madness. In a flurry of activity during the month of March, the DOL issued two notices of significant Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) rulemaking along with three new Opinion Letters on Fair Labor Standards Act (FMLA) and FLSA issues.

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FDA Commissioner Gottlieb Says Agency Will Not Tolerate Deceptive Marketing of CBD Products; Issues Warning Letters

On April 2, 2019, FDA issued a press release featuring a statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announcing the Agency’s latest enforcement actions taken against companies engaging in unlawful marketing of cannabidiol (CBD) products.  Coming just days before Gottlieb’s anticipated departure from the Agency, this news otherwise is unsurprising given recent events on the federal and state level.  In a December 2018 press release issued on the heels of the Farm Bill’s passage, FDA forecast its intention to step up enforcement against CBD products, and earlier this year state and local governments initiated seizures of CBD products from store shelves.  For manufacturers, retailers, and consumers, the takeaway from these recent statements and actions is that it remains unlawful under the Federal Food Drug and Cosmetic (FD&C) Act to market conventional foods or dietary supplements containing CBD.

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Howard & Howard Expands Royal Oak Office; Welcomes Esshaki and Lee

Royal Oak-based law firm Howard & Howard is pleased to announce that Eric S. Esshaki and Timothy D. Lee have joined the firm. They will both practice out of the firm’s Royal Oak office.

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Cleaver Fulton Rankin assists Lakeland Dairies in its merger with LacPatrick Dairies

Cleaver Fulton Rankin played an integral role in today’s merger between two major dairy processing co-operatives that operate on the island of Ireland – Lakeland Dairies and LacPatrick Dairies.

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Chambers Europe 2019 Recognition

We are proud to be recognised as European leaders in Dispute Resolution, Insurance Dispute Resolution and Corporate/M&A by Chambers Europe 2019 which has just been published.

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Statutory Dues are ‘Operational Debt’ under Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code

The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 (“Code”) is one of the most dynamic legislations in the recent times and is being interpreted by the courts to expand the ambit of the Code and also possibly provide maximum benefit to both financial and operational creditors whose dues are long outstanding. One of the recent changes was to include home buyers within the definition of ‘financial creditors’. The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (“NCLAT”) has now upheld the view that statutory dues are included within the definition of ‘operational debts’(though much to the despair of statutory authorities).

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No-Poach Clauses in Franchise Agreements: Four More Franchisors Agree to Drop Them and the DOJ Weighs In on Class Actions Alleging Antitrust Violations

On March 12, 2019, Dunkin’ Donuts, Arby’s, Five Guys Burgers and Fries, and Little Caesars agreed to stop including “no-poach” clauses in their franchise agreements and no longer to enforce such clauses in existing agreements. A no-poach clause is an agreement between employers not to hire each other’s employees. The franchisors agreed to end this practice following an investigation by a coalition of attorneys general from 14 states into the use of no-poach clauses in fast food franchise agreements.[1] In a press release announcing the settlement, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh explained his concern “that no-poach provisions make it difficult for workers to improve their earning potential by moving from one job to another or seeking a higher-paying job at another franchise location, and that many workers are unaware they are subject to these no-poach provisions.”

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Ask and You Shall Receive: Straws and Soda with Kids’ Meals Only Available upon Request

Over the past few years, cities have enacted laws to mandate the default drink sold with kids’ meals and only give plastic straws to consumers upon request. In September 2018, when then-Governor Jerry Brown signed SB 1192 and AB 1884 into law, California became the first state to enact these types of measures statewide. In the current legislative session, other states are following suit and proposing statewide legislation to mandate certain default drinks for kids’ meals and to ban or limit single-use plastic straws. Most of these laws define a “single-use plastic straw” as a straw predominantly made of plastic derived from either petroleum or a biologically based polymer that is designed to be used once. The following is a brief summary of the enacted and proposed laws.

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Maryland General Assembly Overrides Veto to Enact Bill Increasing Minimum Wage to $15

On March 22, 2019, we wrote that the two houses of the Maryland General Assembly had agreed on a conference report adopting the Senate’s version of a bill that would increase the state-wide minimum wage to $15 by 2025 or 2026, depending on the size of the company, with two minor changes. We also discussed the bill on March 18, 2019.

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Predictive Scheduling is Becoming the New Normal for Hospitality and Retail Industry

Taking the guesswork out of scheduling for wage workers is an attractive proposition for regulators. Laws that require employers to publish employee work schedules a certain amount of time in advance so that employees (especially those in the hospitality and retail industries) can have greater flexibility and work-time predictability to deal with family and other events and responsibilities are becoming more common in several cities, and the state of Oregon currently has predictive scheduling laws on the books, and the trend is growing, with proposed legislation in many jurisdictions across the country.

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