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Year in Review: Top Insurance Cases of 2018
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, January 2019

2018 was a busy year for courts deciding insurance coverage disputes. Many of those decisions will shape the coverage landscape for years to come. Policyholders enjoyed their fair share of the wins, including substantial victories in areas involving social engineering to disgorgement of corporate gain. We take this opportunity to reflect on some of the year’s most notable coverage decisions...

Lawyering Cashierless Technologies
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, October 2018

Brick and mortar retailers are rapidly diversifying checkout and payment methods to combat the erosion of sales to online channels and provide an improved shopping experience for consumers. From self-checkout kiosks, to store-specific mobile applications for payment, scan-as-you-go devices, and even ‘just walk out’ models, retailers are reinventing consumer’s notions of the traditional checkout line by going cashierless...

“No Rehire” Language in Settlement Agreement Found Unlawful Where Not Narrowly Tailored
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, October 2018

When negotiating a settlement agreement in an employment dispute, “no rehire” language is often a standard term. This language typically bars the litigating employee from seeking re-employment with the former employer. However, in California, at least one “no rehire” provision was invalidated because it was not narrowly tailored to the employer at issue. In Golden v. California Emergency Physicians Medical Group (“CEP”), CEP terminated Dr...

From Digital to Physical: New Considerations for Retail Leasing with the Rise of E-Commerce into Physical Spaces
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, October 2018

The rise of e-commerce and the struggle many brick-and-mortar retail stores face is nothing new.  Customers are increasingly choosing to shop for clothes, furniture and even groceries from the convenience of their own homes. More recently, however, this shift in the way consumers shop has given rise to new types of retail stores – small showrooms and “pop-up shops...

Impact of CA Prop. 65 on Manufacturers and How They Can Use the New "Safe Harbor" Warning Provisions That Became Operative
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, September 2018

California’s “Prop. 65”1 is the law responsible for the ubiquitous chemical warning labels and signs that California consumers encounter on a daily basis. At its core, Prop. 65 prohibits businesses with 10 or more employees from knowingly and intentionally exposing Californian’s to chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer or reproductive harm without first providing them a “clear and reasonable” warning...

Retail Industry on High Alert After $289 Million Glyphosate Verdict Against Monsanto
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, September 2018

Weeks after a federal judge called the science behind the alleged carcinogenicity of glyphosate “shaky,” a California state court jury hammered Monsanto with a $289 million verdict, connecting a former groundskeeper’s non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma to his exposure to the Roundup® chemical. Earlier this year the verdict in Johnson v. Monsanto Co., No...

OSHA Issues Proposed Rule Regarding Electronic Submission Requirements
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, August 2018

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) issued a final rule to “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses, “ which requires employers to electronically submit their injury and illness records to OSHA.  Specifically, establishments with 250 or more employees must annually submit their Forms 300, 300A, and 301.  And, establishments with 20 to 249 employees must annually submit their Form 300A...

EEOC Seeks to Capitalize on #MeToo Movement to Combat Harassment
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, August 2018

The #MeToo movement has galvanized many into taking action to fight workplace harassment. Since the movement began in the fall of last year, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)—tasked with enforcing laws prohibiting sexual harassment—has indicated it has seen an uptick in the amount of traffic to its website...

Supreme Court to Evaluate Critical Habitat Limits as Services Ramp up ESA Reform Efforts
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, July 2018

As the Trump administration is pushing forward on its deregulatory agenda and, in particular, its efforts to improve the Endangered Species Act (ESA) and its implementation by the US Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) and National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) (together, the Services), the Supreme Court is poised to hear a landmark case on designation of critical habitat under the ESA that could provide some guideposts for the Services’ new regulations...

Caught Between a Rock and a Hard Place
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, June 2018

The Corps Struggles to Balance Competing Constitutional and Statutory Duties Federal agencies must often balance competing policy concerns and legal requirements. This process may be difficult and fraught with intense public feedback, and frequently results in litigation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (the Corps) has found itself in the hot seat over how it manages the nation’s rivers, pitting its obligations under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) against private property rights...

From Talcum to Glyphosate: The Multi-Billion Dollar Battle to Define 'Risk'
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, April 2018

Activists are recasting risk in a way that can only damage industry Last August, a California jury awarded plaintiff Eva Echeverria a total of $417m in compensatory and punitive damages in a lawsuit against Johnson & Johnson (J&J). Her case was that the company should have warned consumers that studies had found an inconclusive correlation between ovarian cancer and talcum powder...

Is Agency Guidance the Low-Hanging Fruit for Regulatory Reform?
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, March 2018

Rolling back environmental regulations is a priority of the Trump administration, but revising or withdrawing guidance may be a faster and more effective means to achieve near-term change. The Trump Administration has pursued an ambitious goal to reduce federal regulation. The administration has slowed the promulgation of new rules, and in early 2017 a bevy of late-term Obama-era rules still subject to the Congressional Review Act were overturned by the GOP Congress...

Why Blockchain's Impact On The Retail Sector is Growing
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, February 2018

This was a breakout year for blockchain, the technology providing the platform for cryptocurrencies and the emerging market for initial coin offerings and token sales. With bitcoin capturing headlines because of its soaring price, blockchain’s impact is often misunderstood as narrowly affecting the financial sector...

In the Race to Win the Autonomous Vehicle Market, Covering Risk Is Key
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, October 2017

 The autonomous vehicle industry is pressing forward, full speed ahead. The conveniences and efficiencies created by shifting to self-driving vehicles are expected to drive vast economic growth and generate widespread consumer demand. Given the potential benefits, it is no wonder that autonomous technologies are now being embraced by a variety of market players— ranging from small start-up tech companies to perennial automotive giants...

Preparing for Hurricane Irma: Insurance May Help Weather the Storm
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, September 2017

Types of Weather-Related Losses for Which Insurance May Be Available Different businesses are affected differently by the same storm, and even the same physical damage. For instance, a physical loss to a part supplier caused by flooding or a lost roof might impact that business as a physical property loss and as a consequential loss of business income. That same event might also indirectly impact a product manufacturer that relies on the part supplier for components to its product...

3D Printing and Its Uncertain Products Liability Landscape
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, June 2016

There is general consensus that 3D printing has potentially revolutionary implications for industry and, along with it, for the law. In terms of products liability law, its consequences for industry and consumers injured by 3Dprinted products are potentially just as far-reaching.  Consider a fact pattern under which an auto parts manufacturer makes CAD files available to auto parts stores so that they may 3D print replacement auto parts on demand and on-site in response to customer needs...

How Your CGL Policy May Help with Trademark Infringement Litigation
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, June 2016

Historically, looking to a commercial general liability (CGL) policy in the face of a trademark infringement suit has proven to be the wrong target for policyholders hoping to recover attorney’s fees or fund settlements. Insurers often raised successful defenses to covering trademark infringement cases under CGL policies, or policyholders would avoid CGL insurance altogether in favor of intellectual property (IP) insurance, which usually covers legal costs when enforcing or defending IP rights...

Insurance May Help Weather the Blizzard of 2016
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, January 2016

Winter Storm Jonas has finally departed the mid-Atlantic, leaving behind snow depths best measured with a yardstick and, now, mounting reports of significant damage to property and resulting interruptions to businesses near and far from the path of the storm...

The hidden trigger of Paris: why the climate battle will now be taken to the courts
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, January 2016

What will happen if the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement are not achieved? Most people assume that since the agreement is non-binding, failure to reach the targets will necessitate new political action, writes Lucas Bergkamp, Partner at the Brussels-based law firm Hunton & Williams LL.P. But according to Bergkamp, what is likely to happen is that climate activists will instead turn to the judiciary to enforce the treaty...

Insurance Planning for 2016: Top Ten Real Estate Liability Concerns
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, January 2016

Real estate professionals, owners, managers, investors and lenders, as well as anyone else involved in today’s real estate market, face a variety of risks of loss. Here are ten ways insurance can help mitigate potential liabilities. 1. Additional Insured Coverages. Real estate transactions are complex, with multiple parties with diverse roles and durations of involvement. This means multiple policies of insurance...

Congress Encourages Foreign Investment in REITs and Enacts Other REIT Reforms
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, January 2016

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the “Act”). The Act encourages foreign investments in REITs and ends certain tax-free REIT spin-offs. The Act also includes a largely helpful set of technical revisions to the REIT tax rules.Continue reading a summary of the more significant REIT provisions of the Act...

The Shifting Landscape in M&A Litigation
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, January 2016

Recent reports indicate that the number of mergers that were challenged by stockholders during the fourth quarter of 2015 dropped significantly, with estimates ranging from 34% to 21%.1 This is a seismic shift from prior years, when almost 95% of public company transactions resulted in litigation. The drop in lawsuits is attributable to a series of rulings by the Delaware Court of Chancery during the second half of last year...

New Federal Regulations for All-Cash Purchases of High-End Real Estate
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, January 2016

The Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) of the United States Department of the Treasury issued a “Geographic Targeting Order” on January 13, 2016, aimed at curbing money laundering in the real estate sector. The targeting order is an expression of the Treasury’s power under 31 U.S.C. § 5326 of the Bank Secrecy Act and will affect all-cash purchases of real estate valued at $3 million or more in Manhattan and $1 million or more in Miami-Dade County...

JUST ANNOUNCED: Financing by US Depository Institutions of Export Transactions to Cuba and Further Loosening of Exportation and Travel Restrictions
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, January 2016

In a continued effort to implementthe policy change announced by President Obama on December 17, 2014 to engage and empower the Cubanpeople, the Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) and the Bureau of Industryand Security (“BIS”) have announced additional amendments to the Cuban AssetsControl Regulations (“CACR”) and the Export Administration Regulations (“EAR”),respectively, which will be published and effective in the upcoming days...

First Amendment Protects Hurtful Speech, Even Hurtful Trademarks
Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP, December 2015

On Tuesday, December 22, 2105, the US Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit issued a much- anticipated opinion regarding the constitutionality of the prohibition against “disparaging” trademarks. In an 9-3 en banc opinion, the Federal Circuit held that the exclusion of disparaging trademarks under Section 2(a) of the Lanham Act violates the First Amendment.Many of the marks rejected as disparaging convey hurtful speech that harms members of stigmatized communities...

 

 

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