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Paul Zimmerman
pzimmerman@mrllp.com
310.299.5500

Showing 20 posts from March 2016.

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Employers Be Warned: California FEHA Amendments Take Effect April 1, 2016

On April 1, 2016, amended anti-discrimination regulations under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (“FEHA”) will take effect in California. The new regulations broaden the scope of FEHA, including the definition of covered employers and the legal requirements for those employers. They also expand the categories of employees protected by FEHA.

In order to ensure proper compliance with these amended regulations, employers should commit time and resources to bolstering written anti-discrimination policies and training employees regarding the amendments so that potential complaints are handled in a compliant fashion. (Read More)

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Vivian Seefeld © 123RF.com

Robocall Roulette: Federal Court Hands Significant Victory to TCPA Defendants

Businesses and organizations staring down lawsuits brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) have received welcome news from the federal courts.  In a decision with significant implications, a Florida district court recently entered summary judgment in favor of the Seminole County School Board, reasoning that it is not a “person” that is subject to suit under the TCPA. See Lambert v. Seminole Cty. Sch. Bd., No. 15-0078 (M.D. Fla. Jan. 21, 2016). The decision presents a sizable obstacle for individuals bringing suit against school districts or other governmental entities under the TCPA, which has become an emerging trend. However, the reach of the decision may extend well beyond that.  (Read More)

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Li Xuejun © 123RF.com

Omni Accuses Vacation Rental Site of Trademark Infringement

Omni Hotels Management Corp. (Omni) has recently filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against HomeAway.com Inc. (HomeAway), in the Northern District of Texas. HomeAway operates multiple websites that offer vacation home rentals, some of which are located on or near Omni’s properties. HomeAway allows users of its vacation rental network to advertise their own homes as vacation rentals, and Omni alleges that 29 listings improperly mention its California and Florida resort properties using its registered trademarks. Omni seeks a portion of HomeAway’s profits, as well as damages caused by the infringement and the removal of the listings in question. Online vacation rentals are a booming industry, and the outcome of this case promises to affect how rental companies monitor and approve third-party content. (Read More)

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Keith Bell © 123RF.com

How to Strengthen Your Agreements with Retail Producers

Do you have written agreements with your retail producers? Do your retail agreements address the key areas of potential exposure? It is highly recommended that Wholesale Insurance Brokers enter into formal written agreements with retail producers that identify key points in the relationship, including respective duties and obligations. It is alarmingly common for a Wholesaler to not have a formal written agreement in place with retail producers, which exposes the wholesaler to a range of liability. This article will identify the critical provisions that should be considered in an agreement with a retail producer. (Read More)

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Bakhtiar Zein © 123RF.com

Patient Privacy Audits Underway . . . Are You HIPAA Compliant?

Health care data security breaches have become increasingly common in recent months. These breaches are largely a consequence of old and out of date privacy technology systems, as well as inconsistent monitoring. However, the U.S. Government aims to change that. On Monday, March 21, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR) announced the launch of a new round of audits to monitor compliance with patient privacy provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). (Read More)

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Supreme Court Protects Health Insurers From Onerous State Claims Reporting

On Tuesday, March 1, 2016, the Supreme Court issued a ruling in Gobeille v. Liberty Mutual, finding that states do not have the authority to require self-insured plans (like Liberty Mutual Insurance Co.) to collect and report data on health care costs, prices, quality, and the use of services to the state. My colleague Andrew H. Selesnick, had earlier posted a blog spotlighting the oral argument before the Supreme Court in the case.  (Read More)

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FEDERICA TREMOLADA  © 123RF.com

Hospitality Industry Alert: DOL Delivers New Overtime Exemption Rule Ahead of Schedule

In July 2015, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) proposed changes to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (“FLSA”) overtime exemptions. Specifically, the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking introduced changes to the executive, administrative, professional, and highly-compensated employee exemptions from the overtime requirements of the FLSA. As noted in a previous blog post from August of 2015, these regulations, which are now one step closer to being finalized, will likely have a major impact on hotels and restaurants. (Read More

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enterline © 123RF.com

Promoters and Advertisers Beware: “March Madness” is a Trademarked Term

The NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is underway. As millions of Americans scramble to fill out their brackets and take strategically timed lunch breaks, it is critical that advertisers capitalizing on the frenzy proceed with caution. Just like the “Super Bowl,” “March Madness” is a trademarked term. (Read More

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National Retailer Settles FTC Charges It Deceived Consumers Through Paid Instagram Posts by “Fashion Influencers”

The national retailer, Lord & Taylor, has settled Federal Trade Commission (FTC) charges that it deceived consumers by paying for native advertisement, without disclosing that the posts were in fact paid promotions for the company’s 2015 Design Lab clothing collection.

The FTC's complaint alleges in late March 2015, Lord & Taylor launched a comprehensive social media campaign to promote its new private-label clothing line, Design Lab. The marketing plan included branded blog posts, photos, video uploads, native advertising editorials in online fashion magazines, and online endorsements by a team of specially selected “fashion influencers.” (Read More)

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Legal Storm Enveloping Trump “University” Highlights Potential Advertising Pitfalls

Among his many business ventures before seeking the republican nomination for President, Donald Trump created “Trump University,” a for-profit “school” that claimed its students would be empowered with the secrets of real estate success and “insider information.”  Among his many claims, Trump represented that he, or one of his “hand-picked professors,” would share this invaluable information with students that paid a fee for the course(s). Trump and his school have become the target of at least three lawsuits, including one filed by New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, alleging that the school was nothing more than a get-rich-quick scheme for Trump and that the advertising used to attract students was false and misleading. (Read More)