Unpaid Interns’ Win in “Black Swan” Lawsuit May Be Reversed on Appeal

Posted by Jeanine Gagliardi on Tue, 01/21/2014 - 05:00

The use of unpaid interns will remain at the forefront of disputes faced by businesses in the new year. The "Black Swan" case we previously reported on is now under review on appeal. And, it is going to be heard in tandem with another lawsuit for interns’ unpaid wages.

Creating a Policy to Protect Against Data Breach

Posted by Edward Sharkey on Tue, 01/14/2014 - 05:00

Back in May, we wrote about a data breach case and a decision by the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. The Court allowed the case to proceed, even though the plaintiffs had no evidence that they suffered harm from the data breach. We speculated that it could signal a shift in the way courts are thinking about data breach lawsuits.

In that case, a laptop belonging to a health care provider was stolen from the provider’s office. The laptop contained customers’ personally identifiable information (“PII”), and the company was sued for the data breach. The court ruled that the plaintiffs, some of whom later became victims of identity theft, could proceed with a negligence claim against the business, despite the lack of evidence that the theft of the laptop, and the breach of PII that followed, caused the identity theft.

Can Another Business Use My Name?

Posted by Jeanine Gagliardi on Thu, 01/02/2014 - 05:00

A recent case reminds us that another business may not use your name, as long as you used the name or registered it as a trademark first.

A trademark is any word(s) and/or symbol(s) used to identify and distinguish one’s goods. Because trademarks make goods easier to identify, they give businesses an incentive to invest in the quality of their goods. Trademark law developed to protect these investments. It regulates the proper use of trademarks and, if you own a mark, it gives you the exclusive right to use it in connection with a particular type of goods.

Prediction for the New Year - Target a "Target" of Major Data Breach Lawsuit

Posted by Edward Sharkey on Wed, 12/18/2013 - 05:00

Target has just been hit by a massive data breach. Evidently, the culprits installed software in machines customers use to swipe cards when paying for merchandise. They may have been collecting credit card data for weeks, beginning on Thanksgiving. It is likely millions of credit and debit cards. We do not yet know all of the details. We do know, however, what happens to a business in these shoes next . . .

Maryland’s High Court Overturns Law Antagonistic to Businesses Providing Services for Children

Posted by Jeanine Gagliardi on Thu, 12/12/2013 - 05:00

There was a big win for businesses that provide services for children in litigation concerning the enforceability of a parent’s release of a child’s potential injury claim. We previously posted about the litigation, which arises out of a child’s fall in a play center at BJ’s Wholesale Club (“BJ’s”).

Can Someone Copy My Website?

Posted by Jeanine Gagliardi on Mon, 11/25/2013 - 05:00

No, because you have copyrights in the original works posted there. A copyright is a property right that gives the owner the exclusive right to, among other things, reproduce and display his works of authorship. A recent action by Apple is a good reminder of an easy step you can take to have a copycat website removed or disabled.

Business's Failure to Preserve Evidence When Suit is Filed Brings Sanction

Posted by Edward Sharkey on Fri, 11/15/2013 - 05:00

Recently, another federal court emphasized the importance of issuing an effective "litigation hold" when a lawsuit is filed. This most recent case arose out of a dispute between a former employee and her employer, a supermarket chain. The employee, who was suing for wrongful termination, claimed that the business failed to preserve relevant evidence once it knew of the lawsuit.

Data Breach: Is It Covered by Insurance?

Posted by Jeanine Gagliardi on Wed, 11/06/2013 - 05:00

We previously posted about a grocery chain that was sued for a data breach that compromised its customers’ credit and debit card information. The grocer has agreed to a settlement without a trial. In the settlement, the grocer agreed to, among other things:

SEC Issues Draft Rules for Equity Crowdfunding

Posted by Edward Sharkey on Tue, 10/29/2013 - 21:02

The Securities Exchange Commission finally issued the long-awaited rules to govern equity crowdfunding. Under the JOBS Act, the SEC was mandated to promulgate the rules – primarily meant to protect new and unsophisticated investors from fraud – by the end of 2012. For many cash-strapped small businesses, the phrase ‘better late than never’ has never been more apropos.

Crowdfunding experts and small business advocates had previously voiced concerns that the delay in the SEC’s rulemaking process was a bad omen, signaling a potential for over-regulation and the possible neutering of the JOBS Act’s titular goal: to “Jumpstart Our Business Startups.” We are happy to report that this does not appear to be the case.

May An Employer Use Criminal and Credit Background Checks in Hiring?

Posted by Jeanine Gagliardi on Tue, 10/15/2013 - 04:00

There was recently a big win for employers in litigation concerning the use of criminal and credit checks in the hiring process. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) has been aggressive in suing employers to try to stop what it perceives as discriminatory use of background checks. We previously discussed the EEOC’s reasoning in this post.

In a 2009 lawsuit filed in the U.S. District Court for Maryland, the EEOC sued an employer, claiming that its use of criminal and credit histories in hiring had an unlawful discriminatory impact. In a recent opinion that has gained national attention, Judge Titus summarily rejected the EEOC’s claim.

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