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Paul Zimmerman
pzimmerman@mrllp.com
310.299.5500

Showing 55 posts from 2021.

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Department of Justice Targets Fraud and Corruption within Substance Abuse Disorder Treatment Industry

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Justice announced criminal charges against 10 defendants for alleged kickback schemes at substance abuse disorder treatment facilities in Orange County. These charges are part of “The Sober Home Initiative”—a coordinated effort among federal and state law enforcement to investigate and prosecute fraud and corruption within licensed rehab and sober living facilities. In connection with the DOJ’s announcement, a lead prosecutor ominously told the Orange County Register, “This is the beginning, not the end.” (Read More)

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Cryptocurrency Rage Sparks SEC Action in the Era of Celebrity Endorsements 

While cryptocurrency remains a new concept for many investors across the globe, more and more people are becoming familiar with the digital asset class. This is not only a result of the constant drumbeat of crypto-related headlines in the media, but also because of the personalities touting the potential for riches from Bitcoin, Ethereum and the like.

In fact, a much younger audience of would-be crypto tycoons is being reached by virtue of the individuals being paid to advertise digital coins and exchanges. These include TikTok stars such as the D’Amelio sisters and Tana Mongeau, who have been retained to endorse cryptocurrency to their millions of followers. Even Kim Kardashian West has jumped on the bandwagon. She has posted ads for Ethereum Max—a speculative digital token created by unknown developers—on her Instagram stories, and these have been viewed tens of millions of times. (Read More)

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The Business and Practice of Law: Five Emerging Legal Trends to Watch

Law firms are dynamic and ever-changing, as is the marketplace for legal services. That being said, in my capacity as the Los Angeles Office Managing Partner at Michelman & Robinson, LLP, I am hyper aware of shifting behaviors and technological advancements that move the needle relative to the business and practice of law.

With 2022 fast approaching, I have identified five trends emerging within the legal industry that will shape law firm operations, recruitment and the client experience in the new year. The good news is that M&R has been well ahead of the curve when it comes to all of them, allowing the firm to differentiate itself among its peers, Big Law included, here in L.A. and throughout the country. (Read More

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It’s Beginning to Sound a Lot Like Christmas: A Brief Overview of Holiday Songs and Their Copyright Implications

The holidays are just around the corner, which means the Christmas songs we know and love are soon to be heard over and over again. No doubt about it, it’s the most wonderful time of the year when it comes to the holiday standbys about to permeate the airwaves.

The month of December is especially wonderful for the lucky few cashing in on the music that brings such joy to the world. (Read More)

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California Enacts Sweeping Amendments to the Insurance Code

Assembly Bill 1511 was recently enacted in California. The omnibus bill, which is a consolidation of multiple legislative efforts, amends, among other things, certain provisions of the California Insurance Code relating to (1) notices of renewal or nonrenewal concerning residential property insurance policies, (2) insurer investments, (3) claims against insurers, (4) the Insurance Commissioner’s authority in enjoining persons who violate the Insurance Code, (5) the Insurance Adjuster Act, and (5) the State Compensation Insurance Fund.

By way of this alert, Michelman & Robinson, LLP provides an overview of the law that goes into effect on January 1, 2022. (Read More)

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Wage And Hour Audits: A Preparedness Primer for Employers

Being an employer is no easy feat. Between the imposition of business regulations at the local, state and federal levels, legal obligations that differ from state-to-state, and ever-changing demands of employees and customers alike, the job of an employer is a challenge, to say the least.

Federal and state wage and hour laws are an area particularly rife with potential pitfalls for employers. These rules vary by jurisdiction, but typically provide employees the legal right to compensation if their employers fail to pay the minimum wage or overtime earnings, require work to be conducted “off the clock,” overlook meal and/or rest breaks during the workday, or misclassify employees as independent contractors or as being otherwise exempt from wage and hour requirements. (Read More)

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SPACs: Their Current Status and the Future of Regulation

Just last month, the special-purpose acquisition company craze that hit its stride in 2020 began to show signs of slowing down. According to Dow Jones Market Data, as of early October, a market selloff erased approximately $75 billion in value of companies that went public using SPACs since mid-February.

But that correction may be just a hiccup, as these so-called “blank check companies” look to be storming back as 2021 marches to a close. In fact, the number of new deals now being rushed to market by year end is exploding—this despite the issuance of strict accounting guidance on SPAC warrants issued by the Securities and Exchange Commission last spring. (Read More)

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Federal Authorities Have Their Eyes on Treatment Facilities, Sober Living Home Operators and Marketers, Especially in Orange County

Federal prosecutors are aggressively targeting the substance use disorder treatment space—an industry that some believe has been permeated with fraud and abuse. This is particularly the case in Orange County, California, referred to by some as part of the “Rehab Riviera” on account of the dense concentration of treatment facilities and sober living homes in Costa Mesa, Laguna Beach and San Juan Capistrano.

Just last week, on November 15, a marketer pleaded guilty in Orange County federal court to accepting nearly $2 million in kickback payments in return for referring patients to treatment facilities. And, by all indications, further indictments and charges are coming. (Read More 

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Attention Illinois Employers: Your Use of Restrictive Covenants Is About to Be Severely Limited

Meet Jane Doe, owner and operator of Chicago-based XYZ Corporation. Though business is booming at XYZ, not everything is as it should be. That’s because John—Jane’s top-performing salesperson—just departed for a cross-town competitor.

When John left XYZ, he took with him a large client base and a mountain of contact information developed over time, potentially a crushing blow to XYZ’s business. In response, and to assure this won’t happen again, Jane decided to present her remaining salespeople with agreements restricting them from competing with XYZ after the termination of their employment. She plans on requiring them to sign within ten days . . . or else. (Read More)

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Binance De-Platforms Suex Exchange Amid Groundbreaking Sanctions: Potential New Standards in Cryptocurrency Compliance

Last month, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) levied sanctions against Russian-based cryptocurrency exchange Suex. This move represents the first time the U.S. has sanctioned a digital currency exchange, signaling a major shift for cryptocurrency exchanges and their potential exposure to liability.

The news gets even worse for Suex. Around the same time that OFAC announced the sanctions, cryptocurrency exchange Binance announced that its compliance program had identified issues with Suex, de-platformed the exchange, and shared information from its investigation with law enforcement. Binance’s success may set a new standard for digital asset compliance programs, but time will tell whether it has set a new gold standard or will become the bare minimum. (Read More)