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May 2016 Archives

OSHA Turns to Technology In Hopes of Safer Workplaces

It can be easy to forget when we all go to our jobs day in and day out that there is a complex web of laws and regulations that are at work regarding our employment rights. If you are fortunate, you've never had to question whether your employer has paid you what you deserve for hours worked, for example.

Is Snapchat Responsible for How Users Engage with its Mobile Apps?

Have you ever marveled at the seemingly obvious warning labels that adorn some of the common household products you use? While such labels may appear to state the obvious, they exist largely to protect the product's maker from liability. In cases where a company fails to take action to warn individuals who use a product of any possible harm or danger that may arise from its use, a company may be held liable for any resulting harm, injuries or deaths.

'Unfair' Noncompete Agreements Can Harm Workers

A report was recently released by the Obama Administration illustrating a link between "unfair" noncompete agreements and low worker job mobility, worker bargaining power and entrepreneurship. The administration highlighted concerns regarding the unnecessary use of noncompete clauses in situations in which workers already have less bargaining power, or when the policies are so broad that the intent is often unclear.

FCPA Violations By Third Parties: What To Watch For

The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977 ("FCPA") was created to make payments to foreign government officials, in order to obtain or retain business, unlawful. More often than not, the third parties, including agents, consultants and distributors, that assist with these transactions are pursued by the DOJ and SEC for their involvement in FCPA violations.

Study Shows That Investors Profit off of Macroeconomic Announcements Before Their Release

            A working paper recently published on the European Central Bank's website suggests that investors have made millions of dollars by trading according to macroeconomic announcements prior to their release. The paper provides evidence indicating that stock prices shift in the expected direction in response to large-scale United States economic news, but that they do so prior to the release of such news, providing cause to strengthen release procedures to ensure that some investors are not unfairly advantaged by the premature release of non-public economic information.  

Enforcing Online Arbitration Clauses is Losing in Courts

Arbitration clauses have changed significantly as online transactions have become even more ubiquitous. In a consumer transaction, arbitration clauses dictate the venue and means by which a consumer complaint may be brought. While traditionally easy to enforce, the "clickwrap" or "browsewrap" formatting of online consumer agreements create new legal questions surrounding enforceability that have not existed before.

Some Debt Collection Tactics Aren't Just Annoying, They Are Also Illegal

According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, 80 percent of U.S. adults are in debt. This number includes debts related to mortgages, auto loans, credit cards, medical services and student and personal loans. A 2015 Nerdwallet analysis of Americans' debt revealed that, on average, U.S. households carry debts of roughly $130,000 with those related to mortgages and student loans being the most costly.

CFPB to Issue Proposal on Class Action Bans in Consumer Contracts

Later this week, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau ("CFPB") is expected to issue a proposal that would prevent the use of class action bans in contracts between consumers and banks, as well as other firms. This proposal may, in fact, prove tantamount to a ban on arbitration clauses altogether, because it doubly burdens affected businesses with the costs of both defending against class actions and covering the costs of arbitration proceedings in individual cases, which may prompt them to remove arbitration clauses from their contracts. Proponents believe that the effects of this action will better equip consumers to seek and receive recompense from businesses, particularly in situations in which the individual damages would be too small to justify the costs of arbitration.

Supreme Court Decision May Increase in Medicare and Medicaid Qui Tam Lawsuits

Through Medicare and Medicaid, The U.S. government provides and subsidizes medical care for individuals who meet certain qualifying criterion. Doing so, comes at a hefty cost and during 2014 federal Medicare spending topped $618 billion while Medicaid spending totaled more than $495 billion.