Get updates by email

Select Specific Blog Updates

Paul Zimmerman
pzimmerman@mrllp.com
310.299.5500

Showing 14 posts from August 2016.

Photo of M&R Blog

rojoimages /depositphotos.com

Drug Treatment Centers Must Walk a Fine Line With Respect to Marketing

A recent New York Times article entitled “How Staten Island’s Drug Problem Made It a Target for Poaching Patients,” details how recruiters for treatment centers as near as Long Island and upstate New York, and as far away as Arizona, California and Florida are soliciting recovering addicts from addiction treatment centers on Staten Island to leave and go to other centers. Recruiters allegedly find addicts, or in some cases even call patients while they are receiving treatment from other centers, and offer them money to seek treatment at a different facility. They also routinely pay for these individuals to travel to a new treatment center, where presumably they are enrolled and the marketer is paid a fee. This story brings to national attention an issue that has been building within the behavioral health community for years. (Read More)

Photo of M&R Blog

Hans-Jörg Nisch © 123RF.com

No Relief in Sight: Ninth Circuit Refuses to Block LA Hotel Minimum Wage Ordinance

Unfortunately for Los Angeles hotel owners, the Ninth Circuit has affirmed a lower court’s refusal to block the Los Angeles Citywide Hotel Worker Minimum Wage Ordinance (Hotel Ordinance) which, among other things, raises the City’s hourly minimum wage for hotel workers to $15.37.  The unanimous ruling by a three-judge panel affirms a May 2015 decision to deny preliminary injunctive relief to hotel industry groups American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) and the Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA). The groups appealed to the Ninth Circuit, claiming that the ordinance interferes with labor—management relations and is thus pre-empted by federal labor law. For hotel properties that have been clamoring to comply with this union-backed ordinance since its passage in 2014, this decision deals a further blow to their business model, and means that full legal compliance is now an absolute necessity. (Read More)

Photo of M&R Blog

©Thanapol Mongta /123RF.COM

UPDATE: Airbnb Sues Anaheim Over Law That Makes Website Liable for Illegal Short Term Rentals

Update (8.23.16):

On Monday, August 22, 2016, Airbnb announced that it has dropped its federal lawsuit against the City of Anaheim, California over a municipal ordinance that, in part, imposes fines on short-term rental websites. The voluntary dismissal came after an Anaheim official sent a letter to Airbnb’s legal counsel informing them that the city would not enforce the ordinance against websites such as Airbnb. The city advised that “no criminal or civil penalties will be issued against hosting platforms under the ordinance.”

While the case has now been dismissed, the issue may not be fully resolved. Of importance, the City Attorney’s one-paragraph letter did not rule out the city’s future passage of an ordinance “that is determined to be consistent with the Communications Decency Act and any other laws deemed to be applicable to hosting platforms.” M&R will stay abreast of this issue, and report on the various ways that municipalities are seeking to regulate and manage the booming short-term rental industry. (Read More)

Photo of M&R Blog

Alexander Raths © 123RF.com

SoCal Sober Living Homes Face an Array of Regulatory and Zoning Obstacles

The subject of residential sober living homes and other treatment centers located in residential neighborhoods continues to attract substantial media attention in Southern California. The topic has become a lightning rod within many Southern California coastal communities. Arguments over residential treatment centers have recently evolved into litigation as the issue continues to spur local regulatory challenges and incite great passion. The effect that these cases may ultimately have on state law and city zoning codes remains in flux, all while the state considers various proposed bills on the topic, including AB 2255 and AB 2403. For owners and providers in the sober living and residential treatment space, the time is now to ensure strict compliance with applicable licensing requirements and zoning laws. To play fast and loose with local and state regulations is to invite dire consequences. (Read More)

Photo of M&R Blog

© Tetiana Vitsenko/123RF.COM

Controversial Federal Court Ruling Could Shape Future of Computer Trespass Prosecution

In a controversial decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that it is a federal crime to access a website after being specifically instructed not to by the site’s owner. The court ruled largely in favor of a now-defunct social networking business—Power Ventures, Inc. (“PV”) – finding that the internet startup did not violate an anti-spam statute. However, most strikingly, the court found that PV did violate an anti-hacking law when it tried to circumvent Facebook’s IP block during a promotional campaign. PV was adjudged to have violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) by accessing Facebook's site after the company told the startup to stop doing so. This decision has potentially massive implications going forward, as it clearly announces that social media companies, not users, ultimately control information shared on their platforms. Furthermore, it sets significant precedent regarding unauthorized access of websites. (Read More)

Photo of M&R Blog

scanrail © 123RF.com

Significant Drop-Off in California Hotel Investments: Why, and What Lies Ahead?

There has been a significant drop off in hotel investments and acquisitions in 2016 as compared to 2015 levels. 2015 was an exceptionally strong year in terms of hotel investment volume, as California experienced a record year by almost any measure. However, as with most sales trends, there has been a regression to the mean. Closer inspection of the current hotel market and the availability of capital reveals a few of the reasons for this shift. (Read More)

Photo of M&R Blog

© ginasanders/123RF.COM

Ninth Circuit: Manipulation of Risk Adjustment Data Subjects Insurers to False Claims Act Liability

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has revived a whistleblower suit against Aetna, UnitedHealthcare and WellPoint for allegedly submitting false data for Medicare Advantage payments. Some of the nation’s largest health insurers must face a False Claims Act (FCA) suit accusing them of turning a blind eye to improper diagnoses. The unanimous Ninth Circuit opinion reversed a lower court decision to dismiss the suit. (Read More)

Photo of M&R Blog

Timur Arbaev © 123RF.com

Brexit: The Knowns and The Known Unknowns

On June, 23, 2016, the UK population voted by 51.9% to 48.1% to leave the European Union (EU). Turnout was 72%, with a record 46.5 million people eligible to vote. Then Prime Minister David Cameron led the “Remain” campaign and immediately after the “Leave” result it was announced he would resign.

In voting to leave the EU, the UK has made probably its most profound economic and political decision in 60 years. In doing so, the UK electorate has registered its dissatisfaction with the EU economic and legal model, rejected European integration and globalization, and, perhaps most significantly of all, has registered its dissatisfaction with the “establishment.” But what happens next? (Read More)

Photo of M&R Blog

Le Moal Olivier 

Duty to Defend: Surplus Line Brokers and Professional Liability

Negligent solicitation and placement of insurance policies and failure to conduct due diligence into the admitted insurance market are covered under E&O policy

In a decision with significant implications for surplus line brokers, and which offers clarity regarding the breadth of certain professional liability policies, the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit has ruled that an insurance company has a duty to defend a suit by another insurance agency alleging unfair competition and interference with economic opportunities where the facts underlying those claims also support claims of professional negligence. (Read More)

Photo of M&R Blog

hxdbzxy  © 123RF.com

Pokémon Oh No! Augmented reality raises specter of personal injury claims

Article was originally published on GeekWire on August 6, 2016

There’s no denying it—Pokémon have taken over the country and, as of the popular app’s launch in more than 30 countries over the past few weeks, the world.  As the media is eager to point out, the game’s launch has not been without certain glitches (i.e. server errors), publicity mishaps (Poké Stops on graves and in Holocaust museums), and security concerns (apparently Niantic Inc., developer and publisher of Pokémon Go, had full access to users’ Google accounts). But perhaps the most frequently discussed incidents are the minor, and sometimes major, physical injuries occurring as players hunt high and low in the hope of catching ‘em all. (Read More)