North America

Counsel 2U: Marketing & Advertising Series

We are thrilled to introduce our inaugural Marketing & Advertising quarterly seminar series. Each seminar will focus on a different aspect of how the latest legal developments are affecting marketers, agencies and ad tech companies, paying particular attention to how innovative and leading-edge changes in law, cases and regulations are shaping today’s market.

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Bipartisan Group of Six Senators Seeks GAO Review of Non-Competes

On March 7, 2019, a bipartisan group of U.S. Senators sent a letter to the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”), requesting that the agency perform a review of the effect of non-competition agreements “on workers and on the economy as a whole.” The six signatories to the letter were Chris Murphy (D-CT), Todd Young (R-IN), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Tim Kaine (D-VA), and Ron Wyden (D-OR). In particular, they asked the GAO to assess:

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Four new lawyers joined RSS in February

RSS fought the “February blahs” very aggressively by recruiting four lawyers, who will be joining the firm’s vitality:

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Compliance with the New Proposed DOL Salary Threshold May Create Challenges for Many Employers

As we wrote in this space just last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) has proposed a new salary threshold for most “white collar” exemptions.  The new rule would increase the minimum salary to $35,308 per year ($679 per week) – nearly the exact midpoint between the longtime $23,600 salary threshold and the $47,476 threshold that had been proposed by the Obama Administration.  The threshold for “highly compensated” employees would also increase — from $100,000 to $147,414 per year.

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Pennsylvania District Court Concludes Ex Parte Communications between Defense Counsel and Putative Class Members Are Improper

In putative class action lawsuits, it is not uncommon for counsel for the employer to interview putative class members about the claims in the lawsuit. A new decision from the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania has concluded that such communications could be improper, at least in that state.

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Even If “Secret,” Information Will Not Qualify As a “Trade Secret” Unless Adequate Measures Were Taken To Protect That Secrecy

A federal judge in Chicago recently taught a painful lesson to an Illinois employer: even if information is sufficiently sensitive and valuable that it could qualify as a “trade secret,” it won’t unless the owner of the information took adequate steps to protect its secrecy.

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Can Employers Now Thwart Forum Shopping by Plantiffs in FLSA Class & Collective Actions?

The U. S. Supreme Court established limitations on personal jurisdiction over non-resident corporate defendants in state court “mass” actions in Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California, San Francisco Cty., 137 S. Ct 1773 (June 17, 2017) (hereafter “BMS”).  BMS’s key holding was that the necessary nexus between an appropriate court for a mass action and a corporate defendant required more than just the company’s connections in the state and the alleged similarity of claims by resident plaintiffs and non-resident plaintiffs.  The practical effect is to limit forum shopping by plaintiffs in large state mass or class actions and to require such suits be maintained only where a corporate defendant has significant contacts to support general jurisdiction.

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EEO-1 “Part 2” Pay Data Report Roars Back to Life

In a stinging rebuke of the Trump Administration’s attempt to remove burdensome regulations on employers, Judge Tanya Chutkan, a District Court judge in the District of Columbia this week reinstated the EEO-1 “Part 2” wage data/hours worked reporting form for all employers who file annual EEO-1 demographic reports with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) and the U.S. Department of Labor. (This includes all companies employing more than 100 people, or 50 people if they are a US federal contractor.)

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Dominique Poulin appointed a judge of the Superior Court

RSS is proud to announce that Dominique Poulin, a long-time partner in its Insurance Law Practice Group, has been appointed a judge of the Superior Court of Quebec.

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Overtime: DOL Proposes to Raise Salary Level for Overtime Exemption to $35,308

The U.S. Department of Labor has released a proposal to update the overtime rules under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Employers should be prepared to raise salaries to meet the minimum thresholds, pay overtime when appropriate, and otherwise adhere to the new rules if they go into effect.

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