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- On March 13, 2014, President Barack Obama signed a presidential memorandum directing the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to “propose revisions to modernize and streamline the existing overtime regulations” related to the overtime exemptions for executive, administrative and professional employees. The memorandum does not specify exactly what the new rules should include. However, the administration’s intent to narrow these overtime exemptions is apparent from President Obama’s statement that, “Because these regulations are outdated, millions of Americans lack the protections of overtime and … the minimum wage.”
- Combating the Sale of Counterfeit Goods Online: Don’t Let Someone Get Away with Selling Knockoffs of Your ProductsTrademark counterfeiting, in general, refers to the placement of a trademark on a product that is not the legitimate product offered by the trademark owner. Meanwhile, the Lanham Act – the U.S. federal trademark statute – defines a counterfeit as “a spurious mark that is identical with, or substantially indistinguishable from a registered mark.”
- On March 10, 2014, U.S. EPA published proposed revisions and confidentiality determinations for the petroleum and natural gas source category of the Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Reporting Rule, 40 CFR Part 98, Subpart W. The proposed revisions to Subpart W include amendments of general applicability, revised calculation methods and reporting requirements for specified emission sources within the source category, and confidentiality determinations for the new and substantially revised data elements associated with the proposed amendments to the rule.
- State and Local Tax Alert: One Small Step Closer To Some Guidance on the CAT’s “Bright Line Presence” Nexus Standard: The Ohio Board of Tax Appeals Finally Rules in L.L. BeanOn March 6, the Ohio Board of Tax Appeals (BTA) issued its long-awaited decision in L.L. Bean, Inc. v. Levin, Case No. 2010-2853 (Ohio BTA March 6, 2014), the lead “test case” on Ohio’s controversial commercial activity tax (CAT) nexus standard. Although this is the first case in a long line of CAT nexus challenges, the BTA’s decision offers very little in the way of any meaningful guidance.
- For several years now, news outlets have grappled with how to civilize the comments sections on their online articles. Some have chosen the path of requiring users to sign in through their Facebook accounts, while many still permit readers to comment anonymously on their websites.
- Internet Defamation Removal and the Known Defamer: How Knowing the Identity of a Defamer Changes the Court Order TechniqueDefamatory content posted online can significantly harm the reputation of a business or individual, especially when it is listed among top search engine results.
- Two appellate cases were recently decided by the Seventh District Court of Appeals enforcing arbitration clauses within oil and gas leases. There are two major questions Ohio courts must answer when they evaluate arbitration clauses and their applicability to disputes involving parties to an oil and gas lease.
- In a recent decision in a Delaware Chapter 11 case, the court took the unusual step of capping the amount of a secured lender’s loan that could be used in the lender’s credit bid in a Section 363 sale.
- At the beginning of each fiscal year, which for the federal government starts October 1, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) makes available an allocation of new H-1B visa numbers.
- The problem for the individuals upset with TheDirty.com (that want to sue the owner) is that ythe owner is not the speaker of these controversial statements. Rather, other people (members of the so-called “Dirty Army”) submit the content to him directly through his website or via email.
- All too often, dishonest companies damage their competitors’ reputations online by making a series of false statements on review-based websites. Competitors regularly seek refuge on websites such as Ripoff Report, Pissed Consumer and Yelp, which are structured such that users can anonymously post false reviews.
- Health Care Alert: Aggressive Federal Health Care Fraud and Abuse Actions Result in Record $4.3 Billion Recovery in 2013The Department of Justice (DOJ) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) recently announced that 2013 was a record breaking year for health care fraud recovery. In total, $4.3 billion was returned to the federal government, primarily to the Medicare and Medicaid health care programs.
- Since launching the internet defamation group, we have encountered several misconceptions about the removal of information from the internet. If you or your company has been disparaged online, realize you are not helpless and have several options on how to deal with your potential internet crisis.
- Ohio Statehouse Update: Governor Kasich Announces New Initiatives at Ohio State of the State AddressGovernor John R. Kasich announced new policy initiatives relating to education, workforce development and tax reform at his Monday night State of the State address in Medina. His proposals will be presented to the legislature as part of the Mid-Biennial Budget Review (MBR). The timetable for introduction of the MBR remains uncertain.
- Based on the negative impact on its business, a company may initially believe certain statements or information posted about it online are defamatory. Although the content may be very damaging, it might not be defamatory at all.
- Pissed Consumer, as the name suggests, has become a destination for disgruntled consumers to share their unpleasant experiences with various products or services. In fact, the website reports having more than a quarter million reviews about 40,000-plus companies spanning 120 industries.
- The employer pay or play penalties were originally scheduled to apply in 2014 but the IRS gave employers a one-year reprieve. Final regulations and FAQs published February 10, 2014 explain how the penalties will work in 2015 and provide several helpful transitional rules.
- Companies often instruct individual employees to register domain names for the construction of a website on the companies’ behalf. In these instances, the employee will enter his or her own name as the domain registrant, thereby giving the employee administrative control over the domain.
- This past year proved active for Ohio’s oil and gas industry. We saw exploration and drilling operations increase substantially and migrate further south (there are currently 44 rigs operating in Ohio, and some operations have extended further south into Washington County). We also saw the first quarterly production report issued by the Division of Oil and Gas Resources Management (“Division”), showing strong production results for the third quarter of the year (33.6 Bcf of natural gas and 1.33 MMbbls of oil). And we saw significant midstream infrastructure growth throughout the year, including the opening of the Momentum processing and fractionation plant and the opening – and temporary closing – of Dominion’s Natrium processing and fractionation plant right across the Ohio River near Natrium, W.Va.
But the activity hasn’t been only on the operational side – there have been several substantial developments on the legal side of Ohio’s oil and gas industry as well. To assist our clients and friends, we have summarized a number of those developments.
- In 1878, the nation’s first commercial natural gas well was drilled in Murrysville, Pennsylvania. Since then, oil and natural gas have played a vital role in Pennsylvania’s economy. Despite this history of oil and natural gas production, the Commonwealth has relatively little case law and legislative regulation to guide the industry. Due to the recent surge in production of Marcellus Shale gas, Pennsylvania’s production of natural gas increased by 72% from 2011 to 2012. According to a report issued by the U.S. Energy Information Administration on December 17, 2013, Pennsylvania is the fastest-growing natural gas-producing state, and preliminary data suggests that Pennsylvania may have been the second-largest producer of natural gas in 2013. Not surprisingly, the current state of oil and gas law in Pennsylvania reflects the Commonwealth’s attempts to manage this rapid increase in natural gas production.
The judiciary, legislature and regulatory agencies have attempted to balance the benefits of natural gas production against the concerns of the public. However, many issues remain unresolved. To assist our clients and friends in navigating this quickly developing area of the law, we have summarized a number of the important decisions and enactments of the past year.