What Does Daylight Saving Time Mean to Employers?

At 2 a.m. on Sunday, March 10, 2013, people all across the United States set their clocks forward one hour to start Daylight Saving Time. Daylight Saving Time (DST) is intended to place more sunlight into “daytime” hours in order to seemingly stretch the day longer and conserve energy. 2013 marks the seventh year DST was expanded by four weeks pursuant to the Energy Policy Act of 2005. For many, the change simply means one less hour of sleep, but for employers, the …

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Attorneys in the Crosshairs: Limits of the Litigation Privilege

A recent decision helps to define the limitations of the absolute litigation/judicial privilege and serves as a reminder that attorneys are not immune from defamation suits.  Notably, attorneys may be on the wrong end of a defamation claim for out-of-court statements concerning ongoing litigation.  The litigation privilege and the judicial privilege provide an absolute defense from defamation suits relating to certain in-court statements.  However, the protections may not apply outside of formal court proceedings according to a recent decision by the Florida Supreme Court.…

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When Negligence is a Crime: Part II

In a prior post, we discussed When Negligence = Murder and profiled a building defect dispute which resulted in the death of a firefighter.  In a similar vein, a nurse’s refusal to perform CPR on a collapsed woman dying in a California independent living complex has launched a criminal investigation and sparks new concerns about protocols at independent living facilities.  State officials in California are taking a close look at the nurse’s conduct and at retirement facility policies after a lengthy 911 call was released …

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The Yahoo! Decision: Telecommuting Issues Facing All Employers

Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer recently made headlines for doing away with the company’s telecommuting policy and requiring all employees to report for work at their respective offices.  Reportedly, Yahoo! was suffering from “productivity” issues with many of its employees who were working from home.  While employee productivity is always of paramount importance to employers, telecommuting also poses a variety of legal risks that can similarly affect an employer’s bottom line.  Some of the most common legal issues will be addressed here.

 Different Laws in

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Lindsay Lohan’s Legal Lesson

Last week Lindsay Lohan provided a valuable lesson for the professional liability community.  It’s true.  The lesson arises from Lohan’s recently dismissed lawsuit against rapper Pitbull.  Adding insult to injury, the court tossed the suit and sanctioned Lohan’s lawyer for improperly submitting a brief that contained plagiarized, “cut-and-paste” content.  

In the underlying lawsuit, Lohan alleged that Pitbull violated her right of publicity and caused emotional distress via the following lyric: “So, I’m tiptoe-in’, to keep flowin’, I got it locked up, like Lindsay …

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Yeah, But I Didn’t Read My Insurance Policy…

A recent decision confirms that failure to read the fine print is not a valid defense. The Mississippi Supreme Court recently ruled that the owner of two nursing homes was required to pay a $1.25 million deductible despite claiming it was unaware of the high deductible. The insurance policy issued by Lloyd’s of London contained a $250,000 per-claim deductible.  Since the nursing homes were named in five separate professional liability suits, and each of which was considered a separate “claim,” the policyholder was forced …

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When Negligence = Murder: Building Defects Result in Manslaughter Charges

An architect faces criminal manslaughter charges arising from the death of an LA firefighter who died attempting to control a blaze that engulfed the defendant architect’s multi-million dollar home.  This case raises an unprecedented issue: Can defective design lead to criminal liability?  Apparently, the answer is “yes” if the defect is the result of gross negligence.

 A judge recently ruled that an architect/builder, Gerhard Becker, will stand trial for involuntary manslaughter after the home he designed and built went up in flames killing a …

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Clients of a Certain Age: Particular Issues when Representing the Elderly

A recent South Dakota Supreme Court decision serves as a reminder of some of the ethical issues and pitfalls when representing an elderly client.  Unlike some of our posts which apply to a particular specialty, the potential for hiccups arising from representing the elderly impacts all professionals: accountants and attorneys, real estate professionals, brokers of all sorts, to name a few.  The lesson is often the same: be particularly wary when representing an elderly client to avoid a potential malpractice suit or ethical problem.


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An Unsavory Brew: Yuengling Sued for $6.6 Million in Back Taxes

With tax season upon us, tax professionals may cringe at another example of the potential for malpractice arising from questionable tax advice.  However, America’s Oldest Brewery is in the midst of a very public dispute with the City of Brotherly Love regarding allegedly unpaid taxes. The City of Philadelphia recently sued Yuengling in an attempt to recover $6.6 million in back taxes, interest, and penalties allegedly owed to the City. Although Yuengling is located outside of Philadelphia, the City contends that the brewery failed …

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ABA says Attorney-to-In-House Attorney Consultation should be Privileged

In a recently published amicus opinion, the ABA took a stand for its position that the attorney-client privilege should protect from disclosure communications between an attorney and her in-house counsel, even if the two attorneys are colleagues.  In most scenarios, inter-office communications are discoverable.  Privilege may not apply when attorneys consult amongst themselves.  On the other end of the spectrum, consultation between client and outside counsel is usually protected from disclosure.  However, the ABA’s recent amicus opinion focuses on the narrow situation when an …

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