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- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- On the popular business review website Yelp, it is no secret that many individuals post fake reviews and sometimes defamatory content. Under Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, Yelp cannot be held liable for false or defamatory statements made by its users.
- A positive about Yelp is that content can be removed and, thus, the impact it may have on businesses can be mitigated. This alert outlines the options available to businesses.
- Whistleblower Defense Client Alert: What Government Contractors Should Know About Fraud-In-The-Inducement CasesA recent holding from the Eastern District of Pennsylvania contains some helpful analysis for defendants facing a fraud-in-the inducement False Claims Act (FCA) case. A fraud-in-the-inducement case is a rare sub-species of FCA cases, with different rules. Unlike a traditional FCA case, there is nothing “false,” factually or legally, on the face of the claims for payment at issue in a fraud-in-the inducement case. Instead, the otherwise unobjectionable claims are false by virtue of the fact that they were submitted under a contract that was procured through the use of false statements.
- Wikipedia is home to more than 30 million articles and has nearly 80,000 active contributors, according to the website. These figures are a product of its “openly editable model,” where virtually anyone with internet access can add or edit content on the website. The online encyclopedia’s strength relies in its founders giving their power to the people, but in doing so they opened the door to abuse.
- Whistleblower Defense Client Alert - Fourth Circuit: Amended Public Disclosure Bar No Longer JurisdictionalRecently, the Fourth Circuit became the first court of appeals to address whether the public disclosure bar, as amended in 2010 by the Affordable Care Act, remains a jurisdictional defense to False Claims Act allegations. The opinion in U.S. ex rel. Radcliffe v. Purdue Pharma L.P. is significant because the district courts are divided on whether the public disclosure bar remains jurisdictional after the amendment.
- Labor and Employment Alert: Dental and Vision Coverage as an Excepted Benefit and Other Employee Benefit NewsSummary: ACA mandates don’t apply to health plans classified as “excepted benefits.” The government has proposed regulations expanding the definition of excepted benefits to include self-insured dental and vision coverage even if that coverage is provided without employee contributions.
- Lisa Babish Forbes, a partner in the Cleveland office and Elizabeth E.W. Weinewuth, an associate in the Cincinnati office, authored this article on Fiduciaries Under Fire for the Winter 2014 issue of The Bankers' Statement.
- Labor and Employment Alert: Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act Parity Analysis is Fine TunedNew final regulations under the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 (MHPAEA) apply to group health plans in plan years beginning on or after July 1, 2014 (January 1, 2015 for calendar year plans). The regulations generally incorporate the 2010 interim final regulations and subsequent FAQs, with some notable clarifications.
- The IRS has added a second exception to the use-or-lose rule for health flexible spending accounts (FSAs). Employers now have three alternatives for end-of-year health FSA credit balances...
- Statutory protections, indemnification and director and officer liability insurance (D&O insurance) all combine to provide some level of comfort and protection to bank directors in the proper performance of their duties as directors. The hope is that directors can begin and complete their terms of office knowing that these protections exist, but never having to call on the protections or their potential limitations.
- The IRS and DOL issued new guidance prohibiting the application of pre-tax funds to the payment of individual health insurance premiums and imposing new conditions on health flexible spending accounts and health reimbursement arrangements.
- Labor and Employment Alert: IRS Guidance on Employment Tax Refunds for Health Benefits Provided to Same-Sex SpousesOn September 23, 2013 the IRS issued Notice 2013-61. The Notice sets forth streamlined refund procedures for overpayments of federal employment taxes paid by employers and employees relating to health benefits provided to legally married same-sex spouses. The Notice addresses health benefits provided both in 2013, and prior open years. The IRS had previously released Revenue Ruling 2013-17 setting forth its position that same-sex partners legally married under the laws of any state would be considered married for federal tax purposes regardless of where the couple resides. Under this state of celebration standard, the laws of the state where the marriage was celebrated (rather than the state of domicile) governs marital status for federal income tax purposes.
- Whitney Gibson, a partner in the Vorys Columbus office and leader of the firm’s internet defamation group, authored column for the Eastern Hills Journal. The column outlined the impact that false reviews can have on a company’s reputation. Gibson also outlines the steps consumers can take to identify fake reviews and prevent faulty purchasing decisions.