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Human Trafficking: Corporate Responsibility For Modern Day Slavery
Husch Blackwell LLP, May 2014
Missouri

 

Eight years ago, a human trafficking case had never been prosecuted in Missouri. Today the state has the highest number of federal prosecutions nationwide. This statistic is not a reflection of the Midwest being more prone to human trafficking, but rather a demonstration that the issue is no longer a coastal or border state problem: the epidemic has spread across the country.  Human trafficking is the fastest growing and second largest criminal industry in the world today...

Planes, Trains and Automobiles…And Factories, Refineries, And Power Plants? Court to Hear Challenge to Expansion of Greenhouse Gas Regulations
Husch Blackwell LLP, March 2014
United States of America

 

As you’ve likely heard, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has now officially taken the position that greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are fair game for regulation and in fact are required to be regulated under the Clean Air Act. While this development may be cheered by environmental conservation groups and climate scientists, those who will actually have to implement the technology necessary to comply with EPA’s new regulations are less thrilled...

Manufacturing Jobs Return to US - Skilled Workforce Missing (Maybe)
Husch Blackwell LLP, February 2014
United States of America

 

Here is the good news, more than ever manufacturers are looking at reshoring manufacturing jobs to the U.S.  A few years ago only 14% were looking at reshoring as a viable option.  That number has climbed to 21% of large manufacturers actually reshoring or preparing to do so, according to a recent article in the Financial Times...

2014 Farm Bill: Organic Checkoff Program and Organic Crop Insurance
Husch Blackwell LLP, February 2014
Missouri

 

Finally! On February 7, 2014, the President signed the “Agricultural Act of 2014,” or what most of us simply call the 2014 “Farm Bill.” What does the Farm Bill’s passage means for sustainable and organic operations? A lot. But this post focuses on two major “game changers” for organic producers. First, the Bill establishes what has been referred to as the “Organic Checkoff Program,” but what is more technically an amendment to the USDA’s Federal Research and Promotion Program...

Whistleblower Law Protects Truck Drivers Who Report Safety Violations
Husch Blackwell LLP, January 2014
United States of America

 

The Surface Transportation Assistance Act (“STAA”) is a federal law that prohibits employers from discharging or discriminating against truck drivers for reporting safety violations.  29 U.S.C. § 31105.  The STAA also protects an employee from termination for refusing to operate a motor vehicle that violates a safety regulation or because the employee has a reasonable apprehension of serious injury to him or herself or the public due to an unsafe condition with the vehicle...

The Story of Metcalf Construction and Why it's Bad for Federal Construction Contracting
Husch Blackwell LLP, December 2013
Missouri

 

Metcalf Construction Company and the Navy argued their positions today in the appeal of Metcalf’s $27-million claim on its contract to design and build military housing in Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii. The appeal focuses on the December 9, 2011 decision by Judge Susan G. Braden of the United States Court of Federal Claims, which addresses the liability issues presented by Metcalf’s claim. See Metcalf Constr. Co. v. United States, 102 Fed. Cl. 334 (2011) (Metcalf I)...

Pfizer Appeal Targets Fraudulent Drug Marketing Claims Brought Under Civil RICO Statute
Husch Blackwell LLP, October 2013
Missouri

 

Pfizer, Inc. recently petitioned the Supreme Court, seeking review of three companion decisions from the First Circuit Court of Appeals.  These decisions found against Pfizer and in favor of multiple third-party payors (TPPs)—the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. (an HMO), Aetna, Inc...

SCOTUS Doubles Down on Design Defect Labeling Preemption and Rescues Generic Drug Manufacturers From the “Stop-Selling” Abyss
Husch Blackwell LLP, July 2013
Missouri

 

On June 24, the United States Supreme Court announced its decision in Mutual Pharmaceutical Co., Inc. v. Bartlett that state law design-defect claims focusing on labeling of generic drugs are preempted by federal law. In many ways, the Bartlett decision can be seen as a major victory for generic drug manufacturers, which now enjoy far more protection from state law product liability suits. However, the Court did leave open some questions about tort liability for generic drug manufacturers...

Local Patent Rules Do Not Require Priority Date Position In Invalidity Contentions
Husch Blackwell LLP, February 2013
Missouri

 

When defending a patent infringement case, an accused infringer often needs to provide many details concerning its patent invalidity contentions under the local patent rules.  Whether the accused infringer’s contentions also should include the priority date to be used for prior art invalidity purposes is an open question.  A priority date may be important in determining whether patent claims are invalid as anticipated by the prior art...

“Fiscal Cliff” Agreement Changes Gift and Estate Tax Law
Husch Blackwell LLP, January 2013
Missouri

 

The last-minute “fiscal cliff” agreement enacted on January 2, 2013, contains important provisions that affect estate, gift and generation-skipping transfer taxes. Further changes could be ahead as Congress debates the debt-ceiling issue and the president releases the next federal budget.Highlights of the transfer tax provisions of the new law – known as the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 – are as follows:Transfer tax exemptions...

Digital Doctor Visits Coming to a Computer Screen Near You
Husch Blackwell LLP, January 2013
Missouri

 

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that virtual physician visits are on the rise, and more payors are viewing such visits as a way to reduce the cost of care while also making care more convenient for patients.  UnitedHealth, Aetna, and most recently, WellPoint are now offering such services or will be soon...

Ten Simple Suggestions for Drafting Better Real Estate Documents
Husch Blackwell LLP, January 2013
Missouri

 

While the primary focus in drafting real estate documents is to ensure that the substance of the document captures the intent of the parties, this should not be the drafter’s onlyfocus.  For example, details often considered “minor” could affect the substance of the document, frustrating the parties’ intent...

Amended Patent Invalidity Contentions Disclosed by Letter Held Insufficient When Accused Infringer Did Not Seek to Formally Amend Invalidity Contentions Until Ten Weeks After Letter
Husch Blackwell LLP, November 2012
Missouri

 

When defending a patent case, an accused infringer often becomes aware additional prior art even after serving its original invalidity contentions.  Questions often arise as to when an accused infringer should disclose this new prior art and in what form.  Some litigants feel comfortable informally disclosing the new prior art in letter form while others immediately seek formal amendments to their invalidity contentions...

Unsupported Fraud Allegations Don't Support a Determination of Nonresponsibility
Husch Blackwell LLP, November 2012
Missouri

 

Does an unproven allegation of fraud or an improper termination for default limit a contractor’s ability to seek and obtain new contracts? Not automatically. According to the decision in Afghan American Army Services Corp. v. United States, No. 11-520C (Fed. Cl. Oct...

Consultant and Attorney Costs are Recoverable Under Change Proposals
Husch Blackwell LLP, November 2012
Missouri

 

Contractors are entitled to recover consultant and attorney costs reasonably incurred in preparing, pricing, and negotiating a change order under federal government contracts, including U.S. Postal Service contracts. That’s the holding in Tip Top Construction, Inc. v. Donahoe, No. 2011-1509, issued on September 19, 2012...

Guess What? Making Money is Not Inherently Unlawful Under the False Claims Act
Husch Blackwell LLP, November 2012
Missouri

 

The Sixth Circuit recently made some interesting findings related to the knowledge standard in the False Claims Act (“FCA”) and whether maximizing profits is evidence of fraud...

Big Changes Likely Coming to Local Patent Rules for the Northern District of Illinois
Husch Blackwell LLP, October 2012
West Virginia

 

On October 2, 2012, Chief Judge Holderman of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois published the Court’s proposal to amend its local patent rules (.pdf).  Public comments to the proposed rules are due December 3, 2012 and may be emailed to ilnd_localrules_comments@ilnd.uscourts.gov.   The purpose of this post is to highlight some of the most significant changes proposed by the Court...

Precise Combinations of Prior Art Rendering Patent Invalid Not Required Under Local Patent Rule
Husch Blackwell LLP, October 2012
Missouri

 

When defending a patent infringement claim, an accused infringer often possesses dozens of prior art references that could render the patent claims obvious...

Federal Government Threatens to Prosecute Providers Who Use Electronic Health Records to Commit Fraud
Husch Blackwell LLP, September 2012
United States of America

 

The heads of both the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) sent a joint letter on Monday, September 24, to five hospital industry groups, including the American Hospital Association, threatening to prosecute providers that use electronic health records (EHR) to “game” the system and improperly obtain federal monies for which they are not entitled...

Issues with Rooftop Wireless Leases
Husch Blackwell LLP, September 2012
United States of America

 

With the recent success of the iPhone and similar smart-phones and tablets, the demand for wireless data service is skyrocketing across the country, especially in high-traffic areas. This means that the owners of busy shopping centers and mixed use developments will see more opportunities to lease rooftop space for mini cell towers and antennas...

NLRB’s Controversial Election Rules Take Effect
Husch Blackwell LLP, May 2012
Missouri

 

UPDATE — May 16, 2012 Federal Judge Voids New NLRB Union Election Rules On May 14, 2012, a U.S. District Court issued a decision that effectively voids the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) new election rules that went into affect on April 30, 2012. Judge James Boasberg of the District Court for the District of Columbia granted a motion for summary judgment filed by the U.S...

FAA Changes the BARR Program to Allow Access to Private Flight Data
Husch Blackwell LLP, July 2011
Missouri

 

  Current Participants Must Apply for Continued Participation by July 14th Beginning August 2, 2011, the Federal Aviation Administration’s Block Aircraft Registration Request program will undergo significant changes that may subject private aircraft operators to unauthorized monitoring of information concerning an aircraft’s flight plan...

Assessing Cost-Shifting for Electronic Discovery in Federal and State Court
Husch Blackwell LLP, July 2011
Missouri

 

Introduction The plaintiff files an action against the defendant, her former employer, alleging gender discrimination and retaliatory firing.  During the course of discovery, the plaintiff requests the production of e-mails relating to discrimination against the plaintiff and other women employed by the defendant.  The cost of producing the e-mails is approximately $225,000.00...

Can You See Yourself in The Mirror? Patent Litigation Costs Can Drain the Lifeblood From a Business
Husch Blackwell LLP, February 2011
Missouri

 

Patent litigation is often regarded as an excessively expensive process. The costs of discovery, experts and lengthy trial preparation accumulate very quickly. Nonetheless, a number of actions may be employed to try to prevent costs from skyrocketing. Importantly, controlling costs need not result in sacrificing any of the potential of the case in order to succeed in litigation...

Accountable Care Organizations: Physician Participation Required
Husch Blackwell LLP, February 2011
Missouri

 

Significant increases in healthcare costs, ongoing reimbursement cuts, and increased operating costs, coupled with the passage of the healthcare reform bill, which requires greater cooperation between providers, are fueling a new wave of integration between physician practices and hospitals. 2 A variety of models exist to create clinical and strategic integration...

Property Division at Divorce or Death for Married Couples Migrating Between Common Law and Community Property States
Husch Blackwell LLP, October 2010

 

  Editor’s Synopsis: This article identifies and explores the property disposition issues that can arise upon dissolution of marriage or death of a spouse when a married couple has resided in more than one state. As explained in the article, particularly difficult problems may exist when the couple has migrated from a common law state to a community property state or vice versa...

Chief Pilot or Chief Accounting Officer?
Husch Blackwell LLP, June 2007
Missouri

 

John Smith, a veteran of corporate aviation for more than 15 years, now has the added responsibility of confirming passengers' positions with the company, their relationships to the other passengers, and the specific purpose each passenger has for being on the flight...

Foreign Direct Investment in China
Husch Blackwell LLP, April 2007
Missouri

 

As Midwestern businesses' interest in the Chinese market continues to grow, we are providing this quarterly publication of helpful egal information. Our China Law Brief is intended to inform you of common legal issues companies doing business in China should know about and important changes in Chinese laws that may influence your investment or business decisions. Featured TopicForeign direct investment in ChinaA foreign company is not permitted to directly operate a business in China...

The Band Agreement Should be Negotiated Toward the Beginning of the Relationship, When Everyone is Happy with Everyone Else.
Husch Blackwell LLP, November 2006
Missouri

 

A band agreement is to a band what a prenup is to a marriage or a will is to an individual. It addresses some important (and sometimes difficult) issues so a plan is in place—outlining how things will go, who is responsible for what, and who gets what—just in case the unexpected or unimaginable happens. The band agreement should be negotiated toward the beginning of the relationship, when everyone is happy with everyone else...

Changing Tide of Missouri Law
Husch Blackwell LLP, November 2006
Missouri

 

The Missouri Court of Appeals has held there is individual liability under the Missouri Human Rights Act (MHRA) in Cooper v. Albacore Holdings, Inc. and Gordon Quick. This decision, along with the decision handed down by the Missouri Supreme Court in 2003 that provided that individuals suing under the MHRA are entitled to jury trials, is going to bring about changes. The plain result of this opinion is that individuals will now have to defend against claims of employment discrimination...

Flexible Spending Accounts and the New Grace Period: Look Before You Leap
Husch Blackwell LLP, July 2006
Missouri

 

Two potential issues should be considered by employers in deciding whether to add the newly allowed "grace period" to their medical and dependent care flexible spending arrangements. The “use it or lose it” rule provides that any unused balance remaining under a flexible spending account at the end of an applicable plan year must be forfeited...

Fast-Approaching Deadline for HIPAA Security Standards
Husch Blackwell LLP, February 2006
Missouri

 

Effective April 20, small group health plans must comply with the "security standards" under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). The compliance deadline for large group health plans (i.e., plans with annual receipts in excess of $5 million) was April 20, 2005. The security standards are similar in many respects to HIPAA's privacy rules, but focus exclusively on electronic protected health information (ePHI) received, transmitted and stored by covered entities...

New Restrictions on Charitable Deductions for Inventors
Husch Blackwell LLP, October 2005
Missouri

 

The American Jobs Creation Act of 2004 includes a new restriction on the deduction allowed for charitable contributions of patents. This applies to all types of intellectual property, but the impact on inventions seems to be almost exclusive...

Federal Government Announces Waivers to No Child Left Behind
Husch Blackwell LLP, September 2005
Missouri

 

The federal Department of Education recently granted waivers to school districts in Chicago and Virginia, the first time the government has waived requirements under the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law. However, Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings emphasized that these waivers are part of a pilot program to improve tutoring services for eligible students and do not signal a relaxing of the NCLB standards...

Media & Creative Arts Review Issue #2
Husch Blackwell LLP, July 2005
Missouri

 

Welcome to our summer issue. We could nickname this issue “The Border Patrol,” since all four articles explore recent skirmishes along the borders of copyright law. Indeed, border wars are the essence of copyright law, dating back to its origins in Article I of the Constitution, which authorized Congress to give authors a limited monopoly in their creations to fulfill the sole purpose of copyright: “to promote the Progress of Science and the Useful Arts...

Undisclosed Bankruptcies: Are You Litigating or Settling With the Right Party?
Husch Blackwell LLP, July 2005
Missouri

 

Undisclosed Bankruptcies: Are You Litigating or Settling With the Right Party? Many sexual harassment, employment discrimination or contractual disputes are settled before trial. In order to achieve its goal of finally resolving the claim through settlement, however, the defendant must know that the plaintiff has the authority to enter into a settlement agreement and that the proceeds are being paid to the right party...

The New Chapter 15 To The U.S. Bankruptcy Code
Husch Blackwell LLP, May 2005
Missouri

 

In October 2005, the amendments to the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, will become effective. (Title 11, U.S.C. (2005)). The Revised Act adds Chapter 15 to the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. (11 U.S.C. § 1501, et seq.) Chapter 15 will govern cross-border insolvencies and replaces or amends former provisions governing cases ancillary to foreign proceedings...

Disparate Impact Claims under the ADEA are Viable but Fairly Defensible Based Upon the U.S. Supreme Court’s Holding in Smith v. City of Jackson
Husch Blackwell LLP, April 2005
Missouri

 

Resolving a split among the U.S. Courts of Appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court held March 30 that disparate impact claims are viable under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act ("ADEA"). Azel Smith et al. v. City of Jackson, Mississippi, 03-1160 (Mar. 30, 2005). Importantly, though, the Court held that the employer’s burden to defeat ADEA disparate impact claims is substantially less onerous than with Title VII disparate impact claims...

Eighth Circuit Decision Further Supports Interests of ISPs
Husch Blackwell LLP, January 2005
Missouri

 

In a recent decision, the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals was the second appeals court to rule that the recording industry cannot utilize the subpoena powers under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 to force Internet service providers to identify subscribers accused of copyright infringement for alleged illegal music downloading (see Recording Industry Association of America vs. Charter Communications Inc.)...

SEC Takes Surprising Position on Disclosure of At-Will Employment Arrangements With Executives
Husch Blackwell LLP, January 2005
Missouri

 

Recent remarks by Alan Beller, Director of the SEC’s Division of Corporation Finance, emphasize the importance Corp Fin places on the rapid disclosure of the terms under which publicly-held companies employ named executive officers...

SEC Postpones Final Phase-In of Filing Dates
Husch Blackwell LLP, November 2004
Missouri

 

The SEC adopted amendments that will postpone for one year the final phase-in of rules that further shorten the time period that “accelerated filers” will have to file their annual reports on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q...

Open Source Software: Wave of the Future or Disappearing Ripple?
Husch Blackwell LLP, September 2004
Missouri

 

Many large and small organizations have made the decision to utilize open-source operating systems or other open-source applications rather than traditional licensed software. It has been estimated that 70 percent of all web servers are powered by open-source software. The Open Source Initiative (OSI) is a not-for-profit organization that acts as an engine pushing the open-source concept and movement...