North America

Howard & Howard Congratulates New Partners

Rounding out another successful year, Royal Oak-based law firm Howard & Howard is pleased to announce that nine attorneys have become shareholders in the firm – the largest single-year class in firm history.

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California Court of Appeal Holds That An Employee’s “Imprecise Evidence” Can Provide a Basis for Damages When an Employer Does Not Keep Accurate Records of Hours Worked – But That an Employer is Not Liable for Missed Meal Periods of Which It Was Unaware

On December 12, 2018, in Furry v. East Bay Publishing, LLC, the California Court of Appeal held that if an employer fails to keep accurate records of an employee’s work hours, even “imprecise evidence” by the employee “can provide a sufficient basis for damages.”

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Disruptive change is here in the auto industry

While the 2008-2010 decline in the automotive industry occurred rapidly and was perceived by many participants as a surprise fall from a cliff, the cracks in the pavement were apparent well in advance of the collapse.  In fact, months before the cascade started, certain observers pointed to the general economic conditions, rising oil prices and the extreme over capacity in the supply base while predicting the industry was about to hit a wall.  Some suppliers realized the temperature of the water was rising. They consolidated, conserved cash, found better sources of supply and employed other strategies.  These companies survived the downturn and reaped profits as the industry rebounded to record levels.

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Michael Beals has been named chair of Howard & Howard’s Trust & Estate Planning Practice Group

“Mike Beals and his team of corporate, tax, and estate planning lawyers and para-professionals have refined and expanded the capabilities and services of our Trust & Estate Planning practice,” said Davis. “Mike has extensive background in corporate and business law, as well as in trust planning and asset preservation. He will leverage that multi-faceted experience in leading this important practice.”

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Melissa G. Powers Appointed Young Privacy Professional Leader for the St. Louis Chapter of the International Association of Privacy Professionals

Lewis Rice is pleased to announce that associate Melissa G. Powers has been appointed Young Privacy Professional (YPP) Leader for the St. Louis Chapter of International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). IAPP helps professionals manage the risks associated with the information economy and protect their organization’s data. In her role as YPP Leader, Melissa will plan networking activities for other young professionals pursuing and engaged in privacy careers. Only one YPP Leader is accepted per chapter and serves a one-year term.

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Suffolk County Enacts Law Banning Wage History Inquiries

On November 20, 2018, Suffolk County, New York’s Legislature passed the Restricting Information on Salaries and Earnings Act (“RISE Act” or “Act”). With limited exceptions, the Act will prohibit employers in Suffolk County with four or more employees from inquiring about or relying on a job applicant’s compensation history at any stage during the hiring process. Sponsored by County Executive Steve Bellone, the RISE Act amends the Suffolk County Human Rights Law. The Act will become effective on June 30, 2019.

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Shutts Team Involved in Top Bankruptcy Cases of 2018

Orlando partner James Timko and Tampa attorney Lauren Strickerrepresented parties in two cases listed as the top 10 bankruptcy cases in the Tampa Bay area in 2018. The report, provided by American City Business Leads, combined information collected from November 1, 2017, to November 30, 2018, for the Tampa area.

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Protecting Your Trade Secrets and Goodwill

Any company’s success relies in large part on the products, technologies, or processes it develops. For a smaller business, its “secret sauce” can be one of its most important competitive advantages and its most valuable asset. However, developing these coveted creations is only half the battle. The other half requires protecting a business’s goodwill and proprietary information to maintain its competitive advantage in the market and ensure customer loyalty. This half requires careful planning, as small businesses and entrepreneurs must navigate employee confidentiality agreements and restrictive covenants to protect these valuable assets.

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Illinois: Attorney general moves to dismiss tax case initiated by whistleblower on state’s behalf

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan recently moved to dismiss a tax case brought by a tax whistleblower and, in doing so, suggested that in-state actors soliciting orders in Illinois may not have triggered “substantial nexus” to tax. We have been following developments as one notorious lawyer who has been dubbed the “king of qui tam,” Stephen Diamond, filed suit under the Illinois False Claims Act (IFCA) to prosecute non-compliance with the State’s use tax.

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Good News for Lenders: Missouri’s Future Advance Deed of Trust Statute Can Cover Interest (But What about Late Fees?)

Under Missouri’s future advance statute, Mo. Rev. Stat. § 443.055, a deed of trust may secure future advances by a lender, the principal amount of which may not exceed the “face amount stated in the security instrument.” What else, besides the “principal” amount, may be secured by such a deed of trust? The statute specifically allows advances “incurred … for the reasonable protection of the lender’s security interest” to be included, and that amount can exceed the stated amount of the deed of trust. A Missouri Court of Appeals has now confirmed that interest also can exceed the stated amount and remain secured, and property taxes and attorney’s fees may also be secured as advances for the protection of the security interest. Late fees, however, do not qualify as expenses protecting the lien. Manns v. SB RE Properties, LLC, et al., ED105820 (Mo. Ct. App. E. D. Mo., Nov. 13, 2018).

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