North America

Class Action Mooted When Class Representative Settles, Ninth Circuit Rules

On June 3, 2020, the Ninth Circuit dismissed a wage and hour class action on the grounds that once the class representative plaintiff settled his individual claims and no longer had any financial stake in the litigation’s outcome, the entire litigation was moot.

In Brady v. AutoZone Stores, Inc. and Autozoners, LLC, Plaintiff Michael Brady brought a class action suit against AutoZone Stores, Inc. and Autozoners LLC for allegedly failing to provide its nonexempt employees with meal breaks in accordance with Washington state law.  After several years of litigation, Brady settled his individual claims and simultaneously waived any right to recover attorney’s fees and costs.  Even though Brady settled his individual claims, the settlement agreement included a provision explicitly stating that Brady did not intend to settle or waive his class claims.

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Special Immigration Alert: President Trump Expands Immigration Restrictions, DHS Extends Flexibility for Verifying Forms I-9, and More

Presidential Proclamation Temporarily Suspends New H-1B, H2B, J-1, and L-1 Visa and Travel from Abroad

On June 22, 2020, President Trump issued a proclamation (“Proclamation”) suspending and limiting the entry of individuals into the United States in the following employment-based nonimmigrant visa categories:

  1. H-1B or H-2B visas, and their H-4 family derivatives;
  2. J-1 visas, and their J-2 family derivatives; and
  3. L-1 visas, and their L-2 family derivatives.
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Virginia Prohibits Non-Compete Agreements with “Low-Wage” Workers

Virginia may be for lovers, but it no longer loves non-compete agreements.  Starting on July 1, 2020, employers may not “enter into, enforce, or threaten to enforce” a non-compete agreement with any “low-wage employee.”  As previously reported, this law is just one of the many new employment laws enacted during the 2020 legislative session.

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On the Verge of CCPA Enforcement: What Should Companies Do to Comply?

On January 1, 2020 California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”) largely came into effect, albeit with several last-minute modifications and a need to promulgate regulations.  As our colleagues have discussed previously here, CCPA joins other California laws safeguarding California residents’ privacy rights under the California Constitution.  Despite uncertainty around the final regulatory parameters of the law, CCPA grants the California Attorney General (AG) the authority to begin enforcement on July 1, 2020. Further, there have been no indications that such enforcement will be delayed.

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Video: SCOTUS Decision on LGBTQ Employees, EEOC on Older Workers Returning to Work – Employment Law This Week

As featured in #WorkforceWednesday: This week, we saw a landmark employment law decision and received clarifications on return-to-work issues involving older workers.

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DTC Pricing Disclosure Rule Invalidated

On Tuesday June 16th, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit upheld a District Court decision that invalidated a Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) rule requiring pharmaceutical companies to include the wholesale prices of their drugs in direct to consumer TV advertising.  See Regulation to Require Drug Pricing Transparency, 84 Fed. Reg. 20732 (May 10, 2019) (the “Disclosure Rule”).  Ruling in favor of Merck & Co., Inc., Eli Lilly and Company and Amgen, Inc., the Appeals Court held that HHS lacked statutory authority to establish the Disclosure Rule.

The Court found that HHS “acted unreasonably in construing its authority to include the imposition of a sweeping disclosure requirement that is largely untethered to the actual administration of the Medicare or Medicaid programs.  Because there is no reasoned statutory basis for its far-flung reach and misaligned obligations, the disclosure rule is invalid and is hereby set aside.”

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Supreme Court Rules that Federal Law Protects Gay and Transgender/Transitioning Employees from Workplace Discrimination

On June 15, 2020, the Supreme Court issued a landmark decision in a L.G.B.T. civil rights case that is important for employers to note, as it is likely to apply broadly to gender-based policies in the workplace.

In one of the three cases decided by the Supreme Court, it ruled in favor of Aimee Stephens, an employee who claimed that her former employer, R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes, Inc. (the Funeral Home), had fired her in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) when the Funeral Home prohibited her from representing herself, and dressing, as a woman while at work, as she transitioned from male to female. Read more…

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Supreme Court Holds Defined Benefit Plan Participants Lack Standing to Sue Over Allegedly Imprudent Investment Decisions

In a recent 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court, in Thole v. U.S. Bank N.A., 590 U.S. __ (2020), held that participants in defined benefit pension plans lack standing to sue plan fiduciaries for allegedly imprudent plan investments where the participants continue to receive their full benefits and no imminent risk that they will cease receiving their full benefits appears.

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ILN Bankruptcy, Insolvency & Rehabilitation Proceedings Guide

The members of our Restructuring & Insolvency Group have finalized their 2020 edition of the Bankruptcy, Insolvency & Rehabilitation Proceedings Guide, which can be found here.

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Marcel-Olivier Nadeau Elected Bâtonnier of the Barreau du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean

June 15, 2020 — Marcel-Olivier Nadeau, from our Saguenay office, and a member of our Insurance Law Practice Group, has just been elected bâtonnier (Chair) of the Barreau du Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, one of the 15 local sections of the Bar of Quebec. This election is an eloquent demonstration of the esteem in which he is held by the region’s lawyers.

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