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Paul Zimmerman
pzimmerman@mrllp.com
(310) 564.2670

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Hoteliers Taking Aim at Airbnb

No doubt, Airbnb has found its way prominently onto the radar screens of those occupying the hospitality space. But the question remains: how much of a threat is the short-term rental platform to hotels and resorts? (Read More)

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Early Halloween Scare For New York City Employers: Salary Inquiries Will Be A Thing Of The Past

New York City employers must be on the lookout for more than just ghosts and goblins this coming Halloween. According to a new law signed by New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio on May 4, 2017, which goes into effect on October 31, companies in New York City will be prohibited from inquiring about or relying upon the salary history of job applicants – including prior wages, benefits or other compensation – during the hiring process, including the negotiation of a contract. (Read More)

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Arbitration Agreements: Do Yours Include All Necessary Carve Outs?

Attention employers, including those of you in the hospitality space. The California Supreme Court issued a ruling within the last week significantly impacting your ability to arbitrate certain disputes with employees. Consequently, if you have entered into any stand-alone arbitration agreements with employees or employment contracts with arbitration provisions – or should you plan on doing so going forward – read on. (Read More)

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Direct Response Marketers Beware

A word of caution to the direct response marketing industry: the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) remains on high alert for deceptive sales practices. Exhibit A: a lawsuit initiated late last month against a group of online marketers stemming from purported violations of the Restore Online Shoppers’ Confidence Act (“Confidence Act”). (Read More)

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Jump Ball: The Surprising Impact of College Basketball on Company Social Media Policies

This time of year, our collective attention turns to...basketball. College basketball to be exact. That’s because the annual rite of passage known as March Madness – which culminates on the first Monday in April with “one shining moment” for the NCAA champion – has begun. With it comes office pools; games streaming from noon to midnight; internet searches to check scores or glean intel about that obscure school from Northern Iowa; and social media postings to brag about bracket successes (or admit dreaded defeat). (Read More)

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Paul McCartney Sues Sony/ATV to Reclaim Copyrights to Beatles Songs

Sir Paul McCartney has filed suit against Sony/ATV Music Publishing in New York Federal Court, seeking a declaration that he can exercise his termination rights under the Copyright Act of 1976 in order to reclaim the rights to many of his musical compositions for The Beatles. The songs, which McCartney either wrote, or co-wrote with John Lennon, and which were once owned by pop music star Michael Jackson, are immensely valuable. It is anticipated that Sony/ATV may challenge the former Beatle’s termination notices in order to preserve its rights. (Read More)

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Regulators Rebuffed: CA Court Rejects $27 Million “Broker Fees” Fine

For decades, the California Department of Insurance (CDI) has interpreted the California Insurance Code in a manner that recognizes broker-charged fees as part of a “premium” that may be imputed to the insurer for purposes of rate-setting and rate-filing regulations. This position has long been a roadblock for brokers in the non-standard automobile insurance industry. However, in a considerable setback for the CDI, an Orange County Superior Court has invalidated this interpretation in its review of a CDI enforcement action against an insurer. On August 12, 2016, in Mercury Insurance Company v. Jones, the court ruled that broker fees charged for services other than the procurement of insurance should not be considered a component of “premium” for purposes of rate regulations. On these grounds, the court reversed the CDI’s imposition of a record-breaking $27 million civil penalty against Mercury Insurance Company. (Read More)

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Anticipating Trump’s Impact on Labor Relations in the Hotel Industry

Unlike his oval office predecessor, President-elect Donald Trump is expected to limit federal labor and employment agency activism in wage and hour and other employment-related matters. Hotel owners and franchisors, which in recent months have experienced numerous workforce-related challenges, are likely to witness significant labor and employment policy shifts, a few of which are detailed below. (Read More)

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Second Circuit Rejects Double Recovery of Liquidated Damages for Wage Claims

A recent federal appeals court decision is a welcome one for employers facing federal and state wage and hour claims in federal court. New York employers may only be found liable for liquidated damages once in wage and hour cases, and plaintiffs cannot effectively double-up on liquidated damages awards by seeking such relief under both the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and New York Labor Law (NYLL) in the same matter. (Read More)

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Zenefits Settlement a Forceful Reminder of Importance of Licensing Compliance

On Monday, November 28, 2016, the California Department of Insurance (“CDI”) announced that its enforcement action against Zenefits, a human resources software company, had resulted in a $7 million penalty. This penalty is documented in a Stipulation and Waiver agreed to by Zenefits as part of the settlement. The enforcement action involved the transaction of insurance without a license and violations of the pre-licensing education requirements for California licensees. (Read More)