Comma Case Settles. Period. Scratch Comma; Law Now Uses Semicolons

(February 11, 2018) The lack of a serial comma in a statute has cost a Maine dairy $5 million in a settlement with truck drivers who originally were denied overtime pay.

The case gained the attention of English majors because the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit devoted 17 pages of its 29-page opinion to discussing the proper use of a serial comma in the Maine overtime law. The requirement for overtime pay does not apply if the ...

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Court Finds Grubhub Driver Was Independent Contractor

(February 9, 2018) A Grubhub driver was an independent contractor and not an employee of the online food ordering and delivery service because the company lacks control over the driver’s work.

The California district court noted it is an “all-or-nothing proposition” whether a person is an employee or an independent contractor. “With the advent of the gig economy, and the creation of  a low wage workforce performing low skill but highly flexible episodic jobs, the legislature may want to address this ...

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A Comma or Not a Comma Can Turn a Case

(March 20, 2017) The comma may be a small punctuation mark but its presence, or absence, can have a huge impact, as shown in an overtime dispute involving delivery drivers and a dairy.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit devoted 17 pages of a 29-page opinion to discussing the lack of a comma and its effect on the outcome of the case before finally deciding that the discussion “has, to be candid, not gotten us very far.”

The ...

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DHS and FBI Urge Organizations to Boost Cybersecurity to Avoid Russian Hackers

(January 3, 2017) The Joint Analysis Report on the Russian cyber activity in the recent election also serves as a warning to others of the need to implement best cybersecurity practices to protect computer systems.

The report by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) found activity by Russian civilian and military intelligence services (RIS) “is part of an ongoing campaign of cyber-enabled operations directed at the U.S. government and its citizens. These cyber ...

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Jimmy John’s Abandons Non-Compete Agreements for Low-Paid Workers

(December 8, 2016) A settlement agreement with the Illinois Attorney General has torpedoed submarine sandwich maker Jimmy John’s non-compete agreements with low-paid workers and drivers.

Under the agreement, Jimmy John’s Enterprises LLC and Jimmy John’s Franchise LLC agreed to drop its requirement that all employees and drivers sign a non-compete. The non-compete had prohibited the low-wage employees from working for two years for another business earning more than 10 percent of its revenue from selling “submarine, hero-type, deli-style, pita, and/or wrapped ...

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FTC Issues Guide for Responding to a Data Breach

(October 25, 2016) Need guidance when your business suffers a data breach?ftc-guideline

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has released Data Breach Response: A Guide for Businesses both as a pamphlet and a video. It outlines the steps a business should take after a data breach. The booklet also includes a model notification letter to send when personally identifiable information is stolen.

The ...

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Balough Uses Autonomous Vehicles to Explain IoT Intellectual Property Issues

(October 11, 2016) The intellectual property issues associated with autonomous vehicles provides a timely case study to assist business lawyers in advising their clients on use of the Internet of Things (IoT).

In a presentation entitled “Autonomous Vehicles A Stalking Horse for Intellectual Property Rights in the Internet of Things,” Richard C. Balough explained how elements of the IoT—the hardware, the applications, and the data—may be protected under intellectual property law.

For the hardware, from “a legal perspective, there is nothing ...

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FTC Report Raps Patent ‘Troll’ Litigation Practices

(October 7, 2016) In its report of a new study on patent assertion entities (PAEs), the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) carefully avoids the term patent troll while finding that “Litigation” PAEs account for 96 percent of patent infringement lawsuits but generate only about 20 percent of patent license revenues of those PAEs studied.

The report, “Patent Assertion Entity Activity,” issued October 6, 2016, also finds that the Litigation PAEs’ royalty settlements were less than the lower bounds of early stage ...

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FAA Issues Final Rule for Commercial Drone Use

(June 22, 2016) The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has issued a final rule governing the commercial use of small drones.

The rule, which goes into effect in late August, covers only the operation of drones, referred to by the FAA as Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS), that weigh less than 55 pounds. The rule is silent as to the privacy implications of images or information gathered by the drones.

The FAA says the rule “will provide the opportunity to substitute small UAS ...

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Balough Pens Article on Driverless Car Legal Issues

(May 27, 2016) What advice attorneys need to give their clients on driverless cars is explored in an article by Richard C. Balough published by the American Bar Association’s Business Law Today.

The age of autonomous vehicles is coming soon. You may soon be seeing vehicles on the road with no drivers as part of today’s road testing of autonomous vehicles. This technology will require business attorneys to reinterpret existing laws, to re-examine privacy and data protection laws and rethink liability ...

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