North America

ACCORDING TO THE COURT OF APPEAL, TRAFFICKING AND POSSESSION OF MARIJUANA CONSTITUTES A CRIMINAL ACTIVITY WITHIN THE MEANING OF A RESIDENTIAL POLICY

On January 12th, 2011, the Court of Appeal of the district of Montreal rendered a judgment in the case of Promutuel Bagot c. Lévesque (published at EYB 2011-184931 (C.A.)), regarding the scope of a clause included in a residential insurance policy which excluded constructions used in whole or in part for criminal activities. The three judges analyzed the factual circumstances of the case, but did not conclude in the same manner.

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COMMON LAW COUPLES: ADJUSTING TO THE CHANGING SOCIAL REALITY OF QUEBEC FAMILIES

A November 3, 2010 Quebec Court of Appeal decision has been touted as a significant victory for the rights of common law spouses living in Quebec. The case of Droit de la famille-102866, 2010 QCCA 1978, focused on the constitutionality of Article 585 of the Civil Code of Quebec (CCQ), which provides that “[m]arried or civil union spouses, and relatives in the direct line in the first degree, owe each other support”. Unlike all other Canadian provinces, unmarried cohabitants (“de facto” or “common law” spouses) in Quebec do not have rights under Article 585 CCQ or any other law to claim spousal support upon the termination of their relationship.

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H-2B Reimbursements

 

By Robert S. Groban Jr

On February 15, 2011, the United States District Court for the Western District of New York denied a motion to dismiss a complaint by foreign H-2B workers that alleged that their employer violated the minimum wage provisiosn of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) by refusing to reimburse the workers’ transportation, visa and recruitment expenses. See Teoba v. Turgreen Landcare LLC, No. 10-6132 (W.D.N.Y. Feb. 15, 2011).  In Teoba, the plaintiffs seek to represent a class of H-2B workers who were recruited over a three-year period by Trugreen, a landscape services company, but not reimbursed for the recruitment, visa and transportation costs they incurred to accept employment. The district court recognized that there was a split of authority on this issue in the circuits but sided with the courts that found FLSA violations for the failure to reimburse these challenged expenses. 

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Keyword Advertising Appeal Discounts Trademark Analogies

Canada continues to await its first Court decision on the use of trademarks in keyword advertising.  The British Columbia Court of Appeal issued its decision this week in the case of Private Career Training Institutions Agency (the Agency)  v. Vancouver Career College (Burnaby) Inc. (VCC).  While the Trial Judge’s decision, that the use of keyword advertising in this case was not misleading in the context of the applicable Bylaw, was upheld, the reasoning of the Trial Judge, to the extent it relied on an analysis of confusion under trademark law, was overruled.

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Awaiting the Medicare Shared Savings Program Regulations: Progress on the Road to Accountable Care?

by Douglas A. Hastings

According to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), Dr. Donald M. Berwick, the long-awaited proposed regulations implementing the Medicare Shared Savings Program should be out soon. Given the incredible proliferation of policy, business, and legal thinking about accountable care organizations (“ACOs”) that has taken place since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) less than a year ago, CMS’s initial effort to describe a program of payment and delivery reform built around the ACO “model” will contribute importantly to the national dialogue on accountable care and will give providers a first look at CMS’s detailed requirements for the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

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HEALTH REFORM: Awaiting the Medicare Shared Savings Program Regulations: Progress on the Road to Accountable Care?

According to the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), Dr. Donald M. Berwick, the long-awaited proposed regulations implementing the Medicare Shared Savings Program[1] should be out soon. Given the incredible proliferation of policy, business, and legal thinking about accountable care organizations (“ACOs”) that has taken place since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) less than a year ago, CMS’s initial effort to describe a program of payment and delivery reform built around the ACO “model” will contribute importantly to the national dialogue on accountable care and will give providers a first look at CMS’s detailed requirements for the Medicare Shared Savings Program.

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Just the Stats Please (Round II)! New Study Provides Statistical Snapshot of State Court Trade Secret Litigation

Last year, the Gonzaga Law Review published an exhaustive study of federal court trade secret litigation. This week, it published a companion study of state appellate court decisions involving trade secrets during the period between 1995 and 2009.

Among the state study’s more interesting findings are these:

  • “In the vast majority of trade secret cases, the alleged misappropriator was someone the trade secret owner knew. Specifically, the alleged misappropriator was an employee or a business partner 93% of the time in this state study.”
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Ninth Circuit Holds That Pharmaceutical Sales Representatives Are Covered

by Michael S. Kun, David W. Garland, Douglas Weiner

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has become the latest Circuit Court to weigh in on the subject of whether pharmaceutical sales representatives are covered by the FLSA outside sales exemption. The result, in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham, No. 10-15257 (9th Cir. Feb. 14, 2011), is a resounding victory for employers in the pharmaceutical industry.

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Five Wishes for the Medicare Shared Savings Program Regulations

As the health care world awaits the Medicare Shared Savings Program regulations expected to be issued soon by CMS, below is a wish list for key attributes that I hope the regulations evidence:

1. Flexibility.

 

“Transforming health care everywhere starts with transforming it somewhere.” I hope that CMS takes Atul Gawande’s advice and avoids being too proscriptive in launching the Share Savings Program. To me, the biggest risk to the program is being deemed a failure for having gone down too narrow a path that turns out to be unsuccessful.

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New Regulations Implement Health Reform’s Enforcement Tools: Providers and Suppliers in Focus

by George B. Breen, Carrie Valiant, Emily E. Bajcsi, Anjali N.C. Downs, and Amy F. Lerman

On February 2, 2011, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published new rules (“Final Rule”) authorized by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) creating a vigorous screening process for new and existing Medicare, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (“CHIP”) providers and suppliers; giving CMS authority to temporarily stop enrollment of new providers and suppliers; expanding the ability of CMS and States to temporarily suspend payments to providers and suppliers; establishing requirements for States to terminate providers from the Medicaid and CHIP programs; and adding several other enrollment-related provisions. Generally, the new rules are effective March 25, 2011.

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