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Paul Zimmerman
pzimmerman@mrllp.com
310.299.5500

Showing 25 posts from April 2016.

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Protecting Agency/Brokerage Trade Secrets Amidst High Industry Turnover

Today’s workforce is more mobile than ever.  The average worker will change employers eight times over the course of his or her career. This increased workforce fluidity highlights the need for employers to protect their company's assets from being raided by a departing employee and potentially used by a competitor.

The lifeblood of every insurance agency/brokerage is the competitive edge they maintain by doing things better, smarter, faster and more efficient than the competition. That edge is often built upon the company's "trade secrets."  (Read More)

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Short-Term Rentals Spur Discord at Neighborhood Level

The debate over short-term vacation rentals is increasingly pitting neighbor against neighbor. Despite the failure of San Francisco’s high-profile Proposition F, which would have limited short-term rentals to 75 days per year per unit, the dispute is far from over. Even in cities where short-term rentals are already restricted or banned, residents are growing increasingly flustered with local governments’ failure to enforce the legislation that is in place. (Read More)

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In Rush to Comply With Minimum Wage Ordinance, Remember Your Vendors

As Los Angeles hotel operators brace for a minimum wage hike, those that fail to account for third party vendors will be in for a rude awakening. In September 2014, the Los Angeles City Council approved a minimum wage hike for hotel employees, requiring that all workers be paid at least $15.37 per hour. This law went into effect for hotels with more than 300 rooms on July 1, 2015. However, for hotels with 150 or more rooms, the law takes effect on July 1, 2016. (Read More)

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Guest Privacy a Hot Button Issue in Wake of $55 Million Erin Andrews Verdict

On March 7, 2016, a Nashville, Tennessee jury awarded sportscaster Erin Andrews $55 million in a civil lawsuit against Marriott related to the secret recording of a nude video filmed during her stay at one of their hotels. This verdict is groundbreaking in several respects. First, there are very few circumstances in which the victim of a stalker video actually sees vindication in civil court. Second, it is exceedingly uncommon for an emotional distress case to merit a verdict of this size, especially against a hotel. Ultimately, this verdict sends a clear signal to hoteliers that practices related to guest privacy must be reviewed and fortified, especially as they pertain to disclosing a guest’s presence in the hotel, providing room number information and handling requests for specific rooms. (Read More)

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TIME OFF: LA Hotel Worker Ordinance is About More Than Just Wages

As has been widely publicized within the hospitality industry, the Los Angeles City Council approved the Citywide Hotel Worker Minimum Wage Ordinance (Ordinance) in September 2014. The Ordinance required hotels with at least 300 guest rooms to raise their minimum wage to $15.37 by July 1, 2015. Those with 150-300 rooms have until July 1, 2016 to comply. In addition to an increase in the minimum wage for hotel workers in Los Angeles, however, the Ordinance also requires hotel employers to provide hotel workers with paid time off as well as unpaid time off. Los Angeles is part of a growing list of cities in California that includes San Francisco, Oakland, Emeryville, and most recently, Santa Monica, to enact local laws requiring employers to provide a minimum amount of paid time off or paid sick leave. (Read More)

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“Indirect Control” — New NLRB Joint Employer Rule Headed for Appeal

Hoteliers still reeling from the National Labor Relation Board’s (NLRB’s) dramatic change to the legal test for joint employer liability may find some solace in the fact that this issue is destined for appellate review. In August 2015, the NLRB threw a mammoth monkey wrench in the traditional hotel franchisor/franchisee model when, in its highly controversial Browning-Ferris Industries of California (BFI) decision, it revised the test for the joint employer doctrine, dramatically easing the criteria for a company to be considered a joint employer. Then, in January 2016, the NLRB found that both BFI and its sub-contractor, Leadpoint, violated the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by refusing to bargain with their employees’ union (the Teamsters). BFI has now filed an appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in an attempt to overturn the NLRB’s new joint employer standard. (Read More)

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New Law Aims to Ensure Updated and Accurate Physician Directories

An effort is underway to offer patients more accurate and complete provider information so that they may identify which providers are within their health plan and make educated decisions regarding treatment. On July 1, 2016, a new law (SB 137) will take effect that requires health plans and insurers to provide timely updates to their physician directories. Similarly, physicians will be under an obligation to ensure that all of their information is up-to-date and accurate; providers should be diligent in maintaining a detailed and current, public profile. (Read More)

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Federal Court Paves Way for TCPA Defendants to Attack Class Actions on Constitutional Grounds

A recent, seemingly innocuous decision out of the Western District of New York sheds new light on a compelling constitutional argument against high-dollar class action lawsuits brought under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). In Hannabury v. Hilton Grand Vacation Co., LLC, No. 14-cv-6126, 2016 WL 1181789 (W.D.N.Y. Mar. 25, 2016), the Court held that a named plaintiff’s TCPA claims did not survive his death.  While the decision appears, on its face, limited to a narrow issue, it may in fact have far-reaching significance. In its reasoning, the Court held that the TCPA’s damages provision is “disproportional" to actual damages suffered. This would suggest that (as detailed below), when the disproportionate remedy is aggregated exponentially in the context of a class action lawsuit, the TCPA’s statutory damages provision violates the U.S. Constitution – a finding that should have significant ramifications for ongoing and future TCPA litigation. (Read More)

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Federal Court Rejects Hospitals’ Challenge to Medicare Wage Rule 

In a decision with far-reaching implications within the health care industry, on February 22, 2016, a federal judge rejected a challenge to how Medicare reimbursement is adjusted based on local labor costs, dismissing assertions that regulators retroactively changed the applicable formula. Under the Medicare program, the government reimburses health care providers for certain expenses incurred in treating Medicare beneficiaries. The Medicare wage index reflects regional variations in hospital wage costs which is one factor used to determine the amount of reimbursement.  (Read More

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Coalition of Ad Industry Orgs Asks for More Time to Review FCC Privacy Proposal

Update (4.29.16)The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has rejected the ad industry's request to extend the comment period on proposed privacy rules that would limit some forms of behavioral targeting. The decision means that initial comments on the controversial privacy proposal are still due by May 27, 2016.

Originally Published April 25, 2016

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC’s) privacy proposal targeting internet service providers is continuing to draw a strong response from the advertising industry. Recently, the FCC voted 3-2 to move forward with Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) that would require broadband providers to obtain subscribers' explicit consent before using data about their online activity to serve them targeted ads. A coalition of advertising industry organizations, including, among others, the Interactive Advertising Bureau, American Association of Advertising Agencies, Direct Marketing Association, and the self-regulatory group Network Advertising Initiative have argued in a new filing that they need more time to gather input from their members, and to evaluate the FCC’s proposed regulations. This comes on the heels of a similar request from the Association of National Advertisers, lodged in early April. The public comment period on this unprecedented privacy provision will no doubt garner significant attention from advertisers, brands, technology companies and consumer advocates. (Read more)