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Paul Zimmerman
pzimmerman@mrllp.com
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Showing 21 posts from January 2015.

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U.S. Supreme Court Divided on Medicaid Reimbursement

After hearing oral arguments in Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center Inc. on January 20, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court seemed split over whether health care providers should be allowed to sue Medicaid over reimbursement rates. In Armstrong, a group of Idaho providers sued in 2009, alleging the state was keeping Medicaid reimbursement rates at low levels set in 2006, despite research showing they should be higher. Providers are arguing that the courts are the right venue for challenging low rates, while states say that there is no Congressional authority for these kinds of lawsuits. (Read more)

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New York AG Proposes Strict Data Security Legislation

As businesses continue to demonstrate grievous security failings, New York has joined a growing number of states that have ramped up their data security laws. Recently, President Obama urged Congress to pass federal legislation that would establish a uniform federal data breach notification requirement. New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman has proposed even stiffer legislation that would make the state’s data security laws the strictest in the country and require “unprecedented safeguards” for personal data. (Read more)

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"Tipping" the Table

While tipping is not customary (and even considered offensive) in some Asian and European Countries, it has long been a tradition in American dining.The practice of providing gratuities for good service was brought back from Europe by wealthy Americans who upon returning, wanted to show their elevated social status. In the early 20th century there was actually an anti-tipping movement in America, as people thought it was inconsistent with the values of an egalitarian democratic society.  In fact, six states made tipping illegal during the Temperance Movement, but by 1926, these laws were repealed. The “anti-tipping” movement did not gain traction again until recently. (Read more)

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House Passes Bill to Protect 40-Hour Work Week

On Thursday, January 8, the U.S. House of Representatives passed legislation that will change the health care law’s definition of full-time from 30 to 40 hours per week. Under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), large employers are required to provide health insurance to employees who work at least 30 hours a week, or pay a fine. The “Save the American Workers Act” passed by a vote of 252 to 172, with 12 Democrats voting in favor of the bill. The National Restaurant Association (NRA) joined more than 300 other organizations in sending letters to legislators in hopes of officially changing the definition.  (Read more)

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Lawsuit Over “Just Mayo” Swiftly Dropped

On December 18, 2014, Unilever, the multinational food giant, dropped its lawsuit against startup Hampton Creek, Inc. Unilever had filed the suit only a month and a half earlier, suing over Hampton Creek’s, egg-free, vegan spread product called Just Mayo. (Read more)

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Strategizing Legal Defenses In Vapor Intrusion Lawsuits

A few years ago, there was an uptick in litigation involving mold infestation and damage claims related to the use of Chinese drywall.Today, the environmental phenomenon causing a rash of lawsuits is vapor intrusion.Vapor intrusion happens when soil and groundwater that contain pollutants permeate buildings. This generally occurs when properties are located down gradient from old gas stations (that emit benzene) or from dry cleaners (that emit PCE). The contaminants and toxic fumes rise up, affecting neighboring properties. (Read more)

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Insurance Regulatory Update

Bill Gausewitz provides regular regulatory updates to the State Bar Insurance Law Committee. Check out the January 2016 report. (Read more)

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FTC Cracks Down on Social Media Deceptive Advertising

On December 2, 2014, the Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) published a proposed consent order for public comment, regarding a settlement agreement reached with advertising agency Deutsch LA, Inc.  Deutsch LA was hired by Sony Computer Entertainment America LLC to develop an advertising campaign for the Sony PlayStation Vita (“PS Vita”), a hand held gaming console. As part of the social media ad campaign, Deutsch LA encouraged the public to tweet positive reviews or statements about the PS Vita using the “#gamechanger” hashtag. According to the FTC Complaint, Deutsch LA also disseminated an e-mail to all employees, requesting they tweet about the PS Vita using the same hashtag. As a result, certain employees posted positive comments regarding the PS Vita on their personal Twitter accounts, including:  “PS Vita [ruling] the world.  Learn about it!”  “This is sick. . . .See the new PS Vita in action.”  “Got the chance to get my hands on a PS Vita and I’m amazed how great the graphics are.  It’s definitely a #gamechanger!” (Read more)

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CA Department of Insurance Proposes Increased Regulation of Health Insurer Provider Networks

On January 12, 2015, the California Department of Insurance (CDI) published emergency regulations which would impose new rules upon health insurance provider networks. According to CDI, the regulations are necessary “to assure that health insurers promptly establish and maintain adequate medical provider networks to meet the health care needs of their policyholders, maintain accurate provider directories, and avoid surprising consumers with huge charges for out-of-network providers who provide planned care, without prior disclosure to the insured person.”  (Read more)

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M&R Expands Breadth of Expertise with Crowdfunding Practice

Crowdfunding is the practice of raising monetary contributions for a business or venture from a large number of investors via the Internet. Since 2010, crowdfunding has experienced explosive growth, and become a $5 billion industry. $5 billion industry and are gaining investor acceptance—offering developers and owners a new way to finance projects, and start-up entrepreneurs an inexpensive way to raise capital. (Read more)