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Paul Zimmerman
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To Buy, Or To Form, An Insurance Agency . . . That Is The Question

Thinking about getting into the insurance agency business? If so, you are faced with an interesting choice: to purchase an agency and its licenses or start from scratch and apply for new licenses. As you can imagine, each of these options comes with its own benefits and pitfalls, and the best way to proceed is dependent upon your goals and circumstances. (Read More)

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Los Angeles Lakers Shoot Air Ball in TCPA Insurer Coverage Case

It’s halftime at a Los Angeles Lakers basketball game, and scrolling along the bottom of the Jumbotron suspended high above center court at Staples Center are messages from fans, sent to the Lakers via text for display: “Happy Birthday, Mike”; “It’s My First Lakers Game”; “Come on Lonzo, Hit a Three!).” Not to be excluded, you pull out your iPhone and tap in a text message of your own. In an instant, you receive an automated text message back from the Lakers which contained a solicitation. Which begs and interesting question: by receiving this reply text, has your privacy has been intruded upon? (Read More)

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Here’s a Tip: Be Mindful of Pending Changes in the Treatment of Gratuities

The U.S. Department of Labor (“USDOL”) has pulled the trigger on its plan to roll back its regulations put in place in 2011 under then-President Barack Obama expressly prohibiting employers from forcing tipped employees to share gratuities with non-tipped staff (the “Obama regulations”). Once finalized, the DOL’s newly proposed rule, widely hailed by employers in the hospitality industry, will permit employers who pay its workers at least the full federal minimum wage to require traditionally tipped employees like waitstaff, captains, bussers, bartenders and runners to share customer tips with so-called “back-of-house” workers – chefs, cooks, dishwashers and porters. (Read More)

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Insurtech and Cybersecurity Underwriting

The underwriting of cybersecurity insurance policies has long been a challenge. That seems to be changing. At-Bay, a new entrant to the cyber insurance space working out of Mountain View, California and Tel Aviv, promises to harness new technology to improve the process and help insureds better control their cyber risks. (Read More)

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Tip Credits and the Multitasking Hospitality Employee

There is good news for employers in the hospitality space coming out of the Ninth Circuit. The court in Marsh v. J. Alexander’s, LLC recently ruled that tipped employees who also perform non-tip-generating work cannot state a claim for violation of the tip credit provision of the Fair Labor Standards Act. As otherwise stated, employees, such as servers and bartenders, who occasionally handle “discrete related tasks” over the course of any given shift that are intermingled with duties directed at earning tips remain subject to tip credits (at least in those states that allow tip credits – California is not one of them). (Read More)

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Salary Inquiries Becoming A Thing Of The Past

Attention employers in California, you are the latest to be prohibited from asking questions about a job applicant’s compensation history, a move designed to close the gender pay gap. (Read more)

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And on the Seventh Day, We Rest...Sometimes

The Labor Code in California appears to be pretty clear where it states that employees cannot work more than six consecutive days without a day of rest. But as is so common in the law, even this seemingly straightforward rule is subject to interpretation. And that’s exactly what the Ninth Circuit has done – with the help of some guidance from the California Supreme Court – in Mendoza v. Nordstrom Inc. (Read More)

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With New York Cybersecurity Rules in Place, the NAIC Looks to Follow Suit

Michelman & Robinson has written extensively on the cybersecurity requirements for financial services companies that were issued by the New York Department of Financial Services and went into effect on March 1, 2017. These cyber rules, as codified, require insurance and insurance-related companies as well as brokers, agents and adjusters licensed in New York to assess their specific cyber risk profiles and design cybersecurity programs that address such risk in a “robust fashion.”

Now, in the wake of the passage of this law in New York, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) is on the doorstep of adopting an Insurance Data Security Model Law that closely mirrors it in some aspects. And if adopted, the model law will serve as a template for legislation to be enacted state-by-state. (Read More)

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The Ultimate Trade-Off Now Being Offered by Verizon

Verizon Wireless is offering a new reward program called Verizon Ups which allows customers to earn credits that can be redeemed for various offerings, including concert and movie tickets and smartphones. Of course, there’s a catch – being a Verizon customer isn't enough. Participants must also sign up for Verizon Selects, enabling the company to track customers and sell ads based on collected data. (Read More)

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The PAGA Saga: Expanded Discovery Rights for Plaintiffs

The scope of discovery just got a bit broader in cases brought under the Private Attorneys General Act of 2004. In so-called PAGA actions – by which an employee may pursue a private right of action on behalf of himself/herself and aggrieved third parties against an employer to collect penalties for particular labor violations – an employer is now generally compelled to produce the contact information of all its employees when asked for such information by an employee plaintiff. Such was the recent ruling in Williams v. Superior Court, in which the California Supreme Court determined that the latitude for discovery in PAGA actions is essentially the same as that in class actions. (Read More)