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Paul Zimmerman
pzimmerman@mrllp.com
310.299.5500

Showing 19 posts from April 2015.

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Change is Coming for the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (“TCPA”)

Legitimate businesses nationwide continue to face costly litigation brought under the TCPA, at the great expense of companies making legitimate telephone calls to customers to convey important information. The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) continues to receive petition after petition from businesses seeking clarification over numerous aspects of the TCPA. In fact, in 2008, there were 14 TCPA complaints filed in U.S. courts; in 2013 and 2014, there were 3,770 complaints filed. The increasing flood of litigation over a statute that was enacted to stop telemarketing harassment, as well as the backlog of petitions, has not been lost on the FCC. (Read more)

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Rate Parity Agreements in Flux

In response to pressure from legislators in the European Union, Booking.com announced this week that it would accept amendments to its rate parity agreements with hotels located in France, Italy and Sweden. Booking.com explained in its press release that it is dropping its “price, availability and booking conditions parity provisions” with respect to other Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), but that it will continue to “require a minimum allocation, or some availability, from hotels” and will also retain its rate parity conditions with respect to hotels. The impact of this change in Booking.com’s policies has yet to be seen, but it represents a step closer to the demise of rate parity clauses.  However, it is at most a half-step, given that parity with a hotel’s own website is still required. (Read more)

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State Bar Insurance Law Regulatory Update

The information below is current as of the date of the report.  Additional information about any of these proposals may be obtained from the California Department of Insurance (CDI) web site at http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0250-insurers/0500-legal-info/0200-regulations/proposed-regulations.cfm (Read More)

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Taxing Times May Be Ahead for Online Vacation Rental Sites

In recent years, online vacation rental sites have made great inroads into the hospitality industry. Given their infancy and business model, however, they have gone largely unregulated, particularly when it comes to taxes. This is because they serve merely as a broker (i.e., they take a cut from both the host and guest), leaving the tax duties to the host and guest. Through his introduction of Senate Bill 593, California Senator Mike McGuire seeks to change all that. (Read more)

How to Avoid and Respond to a Cyber-Attack

Lara Shortz presented on “How to Avoid and Respond to a Cyber-Attack” at the 2015 AAHOA Annual Convention & Trade Show on April 23. She discussed why hotels, resorts and restaurants are particularly vulnerable targets for data breach incidents, and she reviewed cases that have recently dominated headlines. In this video segment, Lara discusses what the Federal Trade Commission takes into consideration when determining whether or not to fine a business for negligence after a data breach has taken place.

Best Practices for Avoiding and Responding to a Cyber-Attack

David Lee presented on “Best Practices for Avoiding and Responding to a Cyber-Attack” at the 2015 AAHOA Annual Convention & Trade Show on April 23. He discussed why hotels, resorts and restaurants are particularly vulnerable targets for data breach incidents, and he reviewed cases that have recently dominated headlines. In this video segment, David discusses why state laws regulating data breach notifications add greater complexity for business owners in the aftermath of a cyber-attack.

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Advertisers and their Agencies Must Disclose Material Connection between Endorsers and Products/Services

Advertisers be warned: Failure to disclose a material connection between “endorsers” and advertised products/services can run afoul of Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules. (Read more)

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California Department of Managed Care Denies CAPG’s Petition for Rulemaking Amendments Regarding Reimbursements

On August 12, 2014, the California Association of Physician Groups (CAPG) petitioned the Department of Managed Care (Department). On the action requested by CAPG, it was concerned with the considerations relevant to the reasonable and customary value of services performed by non-contracted providers. CAPG requested (for the third time – its previous two times had been rejected) amendment or repeal of subdivision (a) (3) (B) of Title 28, section 1300.71, known as the “Gould factors,” contending: (Read more)

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Medical Marijuana Regulations for New York are Here!

The Department of Health (DOH) issued a notice of adoption of regulations for the implementation of medical marijuana (or “marihuana”) cultivation and dispensing in New York State. The regulations include provision of the following: (Read more)

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IRS Rejects Gymnastics Booster Club's 501(c)(3) Application and Orders It to Pay Back Taxes

The IRS's increasing scrutiny over parent-run booster clubs added a new twist on February 13, 2015 when the agency rejected a gymnastics booster club's ("Booster Club") Internal Revenue Code (“IRC”) 501(c)(3) application, and ordered it to pay back taxes for prior tax years, identifying potential tax liability for the gym as well. In IRS Private Letter Ruling PLR 201507023(IRS PLR),the agency determined that the Booster Club failed to establish that its income did not inure to the benefit of private individuals and shareholders, which is prohibited by section 501(c)(3). (Read more)