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  • New Minneapolis Ordinance Guarantees Paid Sick and Safe Time Leave for Employees

    07/20/2016 / Phyllis Karasov and Victoria M. Dutcher

    On May 27, 2016, the Minneapolis City Council unanimously approved the Minneapolis Sick and Safe Time Ordinance, which guarantees paid sick and safe time leave for employees working within Minneapolis city limits. The new ordinance will take effect July 1, 2017. While a year remains before affected businesses and organizations must comply with the new ordinance, its sweeping changes will require employers to begin planning in short order. Employers should review existing paid time off and sick leave policies in light of this ordinance.

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  • Drug and Alcohol Testing May be Considered Employer Retaliation

    07/20/2016 / Phyllis Karasov and Victoria M. Dutcher

    On May 12, 2016 the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) implemented changes in work-related injury and illness reporting, and retaliation by employers after injury or illness reports. These changes will take effect in two stages, with the anti-retaliation policies effective Nov. 1 and the reporting rule effective Jan. 1, 2017.

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  • Supreme Court Decides on Enhanced Damages and Attorney’s Fees in IP Cases

    06/29/2016 / Katherine Muller

    When considering lawsuits, parties often ask about getting enhanced damages or attorney’s fees if they prevail. Although many of the issues are similar, the answer recently changed for patent cases while it stayed the same for copyright cases. As its term comes to an end, the Supreme Court recently issued two decisions regarding a losing party’s objective reasonableness in intellectual property cases, reaching seemingly different conclusions.

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  • Federal Circuit Upholds Database Patent

    06/29/2016 / Todd Fronek

    Software patent applicants and patent holders were provided with a boost to their portfolios with a recent Federal Circuit decision in Enfish v. Microsoft. Those who follow software patents are no doubt aware of the large number of patents that have been invalidated since the Supreme Court issued its 2014 decision in Alice v. CLS. Prior to the Enfish ruling, only one Federal Circuit case addressing Section 101 patent eligibility pertaining to computer inventions had upheld a patent in view of the Alice decision. As more cases are evaluated in view of Alice, more clarity and certainty are provided to those evaluating validity of issued patents and preparing new applications for filing.

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  • DTSA Legislation Opens Federal Courts for Pursuit of Trade Secret Claims

    06/29/2016 / James Quinn

    New legislation will now give companies an opportunity to pursue claims in federal court in cases of trade secret disclosure. On May 11, President Obama signed the Defense of Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (the “DTSA”), which Congress passed in April. Before the legislation was signed, trade secret claims were only heard at the state court level.

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  • Supreme Court to Review Lost Profits for Design Patent Infringement

    06/29/2016 / Katherine Muller

    Design patents may be unfamiliar to many businesses, but in certain situations they can be extremely valuable. In the long-standing smartphone battle between Apple and Samsung, Apple has been awarded millions of dollars in damages for Samsung’s infringement of several Apple design patents, covering the ornamental design of the phones’ face, bezel and grid of icons. This has prompted other businesses to consider design patents when developing their competitive strategies.

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  • Blight and Abandoned or Unattended Vehicles

    06/16/2016 / Inga Schuchard

    Abandoned motor vehicles constitute a hazard to the health and welfare of the people of Minnesota. According to the state of Minnesota, and many local municipalities, abandoned vehicles can harbor noxious diseases, furnish shelter and breeding places for vermin, and present physical dangers to the safety and well-being of children and other citizens. Minnesota law declares abandoned motor vehicles and other scrap metals to be a blight on the landscape and a detriment to the environment. Minn. Stat. § 168B.01. A “blight” is something detrimental to the safety, health, morals, or welfare of the community. In April 2016, the Minnesota Court of Appeals decided a matter concerning a vague municipal blight ordinance, and reversed Renee Anita Vasko’s misdemeanor conviction of violating the same. State v. Vasko, No. A15-1172, 2016 WL 1551666 (Minn. Ct. App. April 18, 2016).

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  • Court of Appeals Clarifies Good Faith Purchaser Priority Protections for Lenders

    06/16/2016 / Jason Tarasek

    A lender does not lose its status as a “good faith purchaser” under Torrens law even though it is aware of facts that later give rise to an allegation that a quitclaim deed is actually an equitable mortgage. So says the Minnesota Court of Appeals in a recent decision involving a woman trying to save her home.

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  • Do Not Waive Your Right to Arbitrate

    06/16/2016 / David Hammargren

    Employers may have a contractual right to arbitrate claims, but that right can be waived. In the context of an alleged wrongful termination, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit recently concluded that an employer had done just that – waived its right to arbitrate. Contractors and employers can learn a great deal from the court’s decision in Messina v. North Central Distributing, Inc. (dba Yosemite Home Décor), which would apply to any contractual dispute which involves an arbitration clause.

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  • Employers Receive New Federal Protection for Trade Secrets

    05/20/2016 / Daniel Ballintine

    Trade secret protection has become a huge issue for employers over the past two decades, as the Internet and changes in technology have made it easier for employees (and others) to steal information and use it with competitors. Until May 12, 2016, employers had to rely upon state law for protection of their trade secret information. Forty-eight of the fifty states, including Minnesota, have already adopted statutory trade secret protections. In Minnesota, for example, this law is embodied in Chapter 325C of the Minnesota Statutes. Effective May 12, however, the “Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016” (DTSA), an amendment to the Economic Espionage Act (18 U.S.C. § 1831), provides employers with a federal cause of action for trade secret misappropriation.

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  • Employer Wellness Programs are Validated

    05/20/2016 / Phyllis Karasov

    On Monday, May 16, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) finalized rules regarding permissible elements of employer wellness programs. The EEOC published two rules, one of which amended agency regulations implementing Title II of the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) and the second of which amended the agency’s regulations for implementing Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

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  • Court Watch: Franchise Alert - May 2016

    05/10/2016 / Bryan J. Huntington and R. Henry Pfutzenreuter

    In the May 2016 issue of the Law Journal Newsletter’s Franchising Business & Law Alert, Bryan Huntington and Henry Pfutzenreuter contributed two articles, "Third Circuit Affirms Denial of Injunctive Relief to Franchisor, Concluding Concessions of Counsel Disproved Irreparable Harm" and "Fifth Circuit Issues Cautionary Note to Franchisees That Plead Their Claims Haphazardly."

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  • California Franchise Relations Act – Are Your Franchise Transfer Standards Ready to Hand to Franchisees?

    05/10/2016 / Charles Modell

    In the last issue of this newsletter, Henry Pfutzenreuter wrote a detailed article outlining the recent ‎Amendments to the California Franchise Relations Act (the “CFRA”).[1] The Amendments addressed ‎issues that were already covered in the franchise relationship laws of several other state statutes. ‎Thus, when we went through the franchise filing renewal season, the only change we needed to make ‎to our clients’ Disclosure Documents was to expand the language of the California addenda to confirm ‎our clients would comply with the transfer provisions of the amended law, since the existing version of ‎the CFRA had not addressed transfers. However, as we look to the future, there is one requirement of ‎the CFRA transfer provision that is already keeping franchisors awake at night, and you want to get ‎ahead of the issue.‎

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  • What We've Been Up To

    05/10/2016

    What do resins, mold remediation, remodeling, REVPAR and FPRs have in common? They are all terms ‎you would have heard in the Larkin Hoffman Franchise Department in March and April, our peak ‎season for franchise registration renewals. This is the time of year when franchisor attorneys who ‎write disclosure documents and franchise agreements must become industry insiders in the ‎businesses they represent – possessing knowledge of how each company operates, keeping up with ‎industry standards, acronyms and jargon, and keeping a pulse on the competition – not to mention ‎changes in the law and political climate. This was especially true for us this year.‎

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  • The Defend Trade Secrets Act: What the New Federal Trade ‎Secrets Law Means for Franchisors and Other Businesses

    05/10/2016 / Ryan E. Strom

    Franchisors will soon have a new way to protect their confidential information. The Defend Trade ‎Secrets Act of 2016 (the “DTSA”), passed by the Senate in March and by the House in April, is expected ‎to be signed into law soon. Once enacted, the DTSA will provide a private right of action under federal ‎law for theft of trade secrets.‎

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  • Remote Employees, Remote Jurisdictions?

    04/14/2016 / Henry Pfutzenreuter

    Henry Pfutzenreuter's article, "Remote Employees, Remote Jurisdictions," appeared in the Spring 2016 edition of Hearsay, from the Minnesota State Bar Association.

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  • Misclassifying Employees as Independent Contractors Just Became Much Riskier

    04/01/2016 / John Kvinge

    Last year, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) announced that it was increasing its enforcement activities regarding misclassification of employees as independent contractors. Minnesota construction companies that have misclassified their employees might now be forced to pay back wages (including any overtime pay), additional taxes, and other penalties as a result of the misclassification. Any business that regularly pays individuals as independent contractors should carefully examine the nature of the working relationship, and ensure that proper classifications are made going forward.

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  • Not so Fast: You Can’t Prevent Employees From Discussing Their Wages

    04/01/2016 / Andrew Moran

    On September 10, 2015, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) issued its final rule implementing Executive Order 13665, which prohibits federal contractors from firing or otherwise discriminating against employees or job applicants for discussing their pay or the pay of their coworkers. Minnesota construction companies that perform work for the federal government must immediately incorporate this prohibition into their contracts. Under state law, Minnesota employers are already prohibited from taking any adverse action against an employee for sharing information about his/her own wages or discussing another employee’s wages which have been voluntarily shared. Minnesota law requires employers who use employee handbooks to include in the handbook a notice of employees’ rights under this statute.

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  • Valuing Your Special Purpose Properties for Purposes of Property Tax Appeals

    03/23/2016 / Timothy A. Rye and Mark R. Geier

    The deadline for filing a property tax appeal this year is fast approaching: April 30. This article addresses a specific type of property that assessors have difficulty valuing and that is very common to manufacturers, processors and platers: special purpose properties.

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  • Four Things Contractors Must Know to Ensure Proper Compensation

    03/10/2016 / David Hammargren

    In a recent unpublished decision, the Minnesota Court of Appeals dealt with a common pitfall facing contractors in the form of contractual “notice of claim” provisions. In Contractors Edge, Inc. v. City of Mankato, the court held that a contractor’s claim for additional compensation was properly denied because the contractor did not follow the claim notice requirements in his contract. 

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Showing Results 41 - 60 of 610