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- There are many internet forums on which disgruntled parties are initiating online reputation and brand attacks. This includes people publishing false and defamatory blog posts, which typically involves them creating a free blog through Google, WordPress or another easy-to-use blog-publishing platform for the sole purpose of disparaging other parties.
- Increasingly today, “extortionists” – given the significance of online reviews – are threatening businesses with potential harmful reviews or posting other damaging content online. For instance, if a business does not give that person a refund, produce replacement, or discount, he or she could make good on a promise to harm the company online.
- Securities Alert: SEC Amends Regulation A Exemption to apply to Offerings of up to $50 Million of Securities AnnuallyOn March 25, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) adopted amendments to Regulation A, which provides an exemption from the registration requirements of the Securities Act of 1933 (Securities Act) for smaller securities offerings by private (non-SEC reporting) companies.
- As 2015 gets under way, bank compensation committees are tasked with setting the bank’s executive compensation strategy for the year and effectively communicating that compensation structure to shareholders. Compensation committees need to strike a balance between a compensation program that attracts and retains employees and encourages those employees to take appropriate business risks while advancing the bank’s growth strategies and discouraging inappropriate risks.
- Maybe at one time your company was reporting to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and your company’s stock was listed on The NASDAQ Stock Market (NASDAQ). You were relieved when the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act allowed you to terminate your SEC registration, even though it meant that your stock could no longer be listed on NASDAQ.
- During the past three years, a significant number of community banks and their holding companies (collectively, banks) throughout the United States elected to “go dark” by taking advantage of a provision in The Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act). These banks were able to suspend their reporting obligations under Section 12(g) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act) and deregister with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) because they had fewer than 1,200 shareholders of record.
- Enhanced Opportunities for Community Banks: The Federal Reserve’s Proposal to Raise the Threshold for Qualifying as a “Small” Holding Company from $500 million to $1 billion in Consolidated AssetsIn December 2014, Congress modified portions of Dodd-Frank to provide additional opportunities to reduce the regulatory burden on community banks. In response to this legislation, on January 29, 2015 the Federal Reserve Board (FRB) requested comment on several related proposals (and an interim rule) focused primarily on increasing the number of holding companies eligible for the reduced reporting and other requirements under the “small” holding company exclusion.
- No company today is immune from negative reviews on websites such as My3Cents.com. In fact, My3Cents.com has received an aggregate 2.2 star rating (out of 5) on its own website.
- Adam Sherman, a partner in the Vorys Cincinnati office and a member of the litigation group, authored an article for Law360 titled “Not All That Is Public Should Be Publicized.”
- For decades, estate planners have been using trusts to help their clients save estate taxes.
- The IRS will need detailed information from employers to enforce three Affordable Care Act (ACA) tax provisions. The IRS must determine whether: (1) an employer owes a pay or play penalty for failing to offer affordable, minimum value health coverage to its full-time employees; (2) employees and/or their family members are entitled to tax credits (subsidies) for the purchase of health insurance in the public exchanges; and (3) employees and/or their family members owe penalties for failing to maintain health coverage.
- Businesses have a lot to gain from positive online reviews. Even a business that has overall strong reviews, however, can suffer if a disgruntled person publishes a false and defamatory post. Complaints.com is one website where businesses can become victims of internet defamation, and the website’s header – which reads “CONSUMERS IN CONTROL” – implies the difficulty of a business’s internet reputation being in the hands of other persons.
- There is no denying that online reviews are important for businesses. After all, customers regularly search them out and are increasingly relying them.
- Founded in 2007, Glassdoor.com is an online “career community” with a database consisting of several million company reviews, CEO ratings, salary reports, job interview reports and more. But as both the Associated Press and the Wall Street Journal phrased things – in articles published nearly three years apart – Glassdoor is a website where employees can “anonymously dish” on their companies and bosses.
- On February 9, 2015, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) proposed rules to implement Section 955 of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which directs the SEC to require, by rule, each public company to disclose in any proxy or consent solicitation material for an annual meeting of the shareholders of the company whether any employee or director, or any designee of such employee or director, is permitted to hedge the company’s equity securities.
- Courts continue to whittle away at the public disclosure bar, historically one of the best ways to dispose of parasitic qui tam lawsuits. Most recently, the Eleventh Circuit issued a ruling regarding the impact of the 2010 amendments to the False Claims Act’s (FCA) public disclosure rule. In its opinion in U.S. ex rel. Osheroff v. Humana, Inc., the Eleventh Circuitjoined the Fourth Circuit in holding that the public disclosure rule, as amended in 2010, is no longer a jurisdictional bar to an FCA action. Instead, under the amended version of the statute, defendants now must move to dismiss allegations that have been publicly disclosed under Fed. R. Civ. P. 12(b)(6).
- Whitney Gibson, the leader of the firm’s internet defamation practice, authored an article for Social Media Explorer titled “Strategies for Legally Generating and Monitoring Online Reviews.”
- Health Care Alert: Ninth Circuit Affirms Order Requiring Divestiture of a Hospital–Physician Group MergerIn a much anticipated opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld an Idaho district court’s order mandating the unwind of a merger between two health care providers in Nampa, Idaho after determining that the merger violated § 7 of the Clayton Act. In the wake of the FTC’s recent and heightened enforcement in the health care industry, St. Alphonsus Medical Center-Nampa, Inc. v. St. Luke’s Health System, Ltd., No. 14-35173, (9th Cir. Feb. 10, 2015), offers important insight into the hotly debated interplay between the integration encouraged under the Affordable Care Act and the operation of federal antitrust laws.
- Whistleblower Defense Alert: Sixth Circuit Affirms Importance of Government Witnesses in Materiality AnalysisA recent Sixth Circuit opinion provides defendants a valuable roadmap for using government witness testimony to defeat False Claims Act (FCA) claims on materiality grounds at the summary judgment stage. In U.S. ex rel. American Systems Consulting, Inc. v. ManTech Advanced Systems Int’l Inc., Case No. 14-3269 (6th Cir.), the court rejected the relator’s argument that materiality decisions should be left to a jury. Instead, the court expressly held that “a judge may decide as a matter of law whether a misrepresentation was material under the FCA.”
- Whitney Gibson, the leader of the firm’s internet defamation practice, authored a column, which was titled “Think You're Onto the Apps Your Kids are Into?,” for WCPO.com.