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INTERESTING UPDATE: “Manufacturing” Law: Courts Join the States to Fill the Void

In a May 16 Blog Post, I reviewed several cases dealing with the question of whether Title VII’s ban on discrimination “because of . . . sex” included a ban on discrimination “because of sexual preferences.”  I summarized three recent decisions by the United States Courts of Appeal – the Eleventh Circuit holding Title VII … Continue Reading

Patent Litigation Development for Manufacturers: U.S. Supreme Court Limits where Corporations can be Sued for Patent Infringement

This week, we are pleased to have a guest post from James Nault, a patent attorney and member of Robinson & Cole LLP’s intellectual property litigation group. The United States Supreme Court just limited where corporations can be sued for patent infringement in a case called TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC, … Continue Reading

“Manufacturing” Law: Courts Also Move to Fill the Void

Last month, I wrote that in the absence of significant Congressional action on the labor and employment front, states and cities are increasingly willing to take steps to improve employment protections.  Some courts appear willing to join in – challenging longstanding precedent and finding protections and safeguards not previously recognized. Four separate decisions in the … Continue Reading

“Take-Home Toxins” Expand Duty of Care Imposed on Employers

Thank you to my colleague, Diana Neeves, for this post. Diana is an associate in our Environmental & Utilities Practice Group. A federal district court in Pennsylvania recently found that Accuratus Corporation (“Accuratus”), a ceramics manufacturer and supplier, could be liable under New Jersey law for chemical exposure injuries to the girlfriend and roommate of … Continue Reading

States (and Cities) Rush In Where Congress Fears to Tread

Some manufacturers may interpret the “Epic Fail” of Congress to repeal the Affordable Care Act as a sign of stability in the labor and employment landscape.  After all, one thing which the new Administration and Congressional Republicans had in common was their seven-year pledge to repeal “Obamacare.”  When compared to the divergent views on other … Continue Reading

Keurig Settlement An Expensive Reminder About Product Defect Reporting Obligations

This week, we welcome a post from Jim Ray, a partner in the Hartford office of Robinson & Cole LLP.  Jim’s practice includes environmental and product liability litigation and counseling, and he has assisted a number of clients implementing voluntary corrective actions under the CPSC Fast Track recall program. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission … Continue Reading

Lawsuit Proceeds Against Monsanto for Manufacture of PCBs

Last year, we told you about a lawsuit brought by three California cities against Monsanto Company, alleging that Monsanto is liable for PCB (polychlorinated biphenyl) contamination in San Francisco Bay. The cities—San Jose, Berkeley, and Oakland—sued Monsanto for allegedly creating a public nuisance not by discharging PCBs, but just by manufacturing them. In September 2016, … Continue Reading

Manufacturing Law Predictions for 2017:  Labor and Employment

As has been our tradition, January is the time to predict the big developments in the coming year which will impact on manufacturers.  Notwithstanding my “Lawyer’s Shrug,” here is my take on 2017. Minimum Wages.  Even though President Trump ran on a populist platform to raise wages for American Workers, I believe it unlikely Congress … Continue Reading

Things Manufacturers Should Be Watching In 2017 In The Areas of Corporate Compliance / Litigation

As is our annual tradition, this is the first in a series of posts that provide industry and legal outlooks for manufacturers as we head into 2017.  I will start with corporate compliance and litigation.  Matt will follow with labor/employment.  And, Megan will conclude the series with Environmental Health & Safety (EH&S). Here are issues … Continue Reading

The 2017 “Manufacturers’ Lawyer’s Shrug”

I am a really big fan of the NPR radio show, “Car Talk,” where two Boston auto mechanics took callers’ questions and tried to answer them.  Since the November 8 election, I have freely adapted one of their signature phrases – I call it the “Manufacturers’ Lawyers’ Shrug.”  Basically, when I attend any event and … Continue Reading

Court Dismisses Public Nuisance Claims Against Monsanto for Manufacture of PCBs

Last week, a federal court dismissed claims brought by three California cities against Monsanto that were aimed at forcing Monsanto to pay for polychlorinated biphenyl (“PCB”) contamination in San Francisco Bay. The cities—San Jose, Berkeley, and Oakland—each filed lawsuits against Monsanto alleging that Monsanto was liable for PCB pollution in the Bay, not because Monsanto … Continue Reading

Your Customer Just Declared Bankruptcy: Recent Decision That All Suppliers/Vendors Should Be Aware Of

This week, we thank members of Robinson+Cole’s Business Reorganizations and Bankruptcy Group (Patrick Birney, Steve Boyajian and Mike Enright) for this post: Suppliers and vendors sometimes find themselves unpleasantly surprised by the bankruptcy of a customer, leaving a trail of unpaid invoices and little hope of recovery. To make matters worse, after licking their wounds … Continue Reading

New Wage and Hour Requirements for Certain Employees of Manufacturers

In May, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) published its amended regulation regarding the so-called “White Collar” exemption from the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  As a result, manufacturers may either have to boost the wages of some employees or radically change the manner in which those employees are compensated. Under the FLSA, employees must … Continue Reading

How Passage of Trade Secrets Act Will Help Manufacturers: An Update

Last month, we posted about the United States Senate’s passage of the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016.  Breaking news:  It passed.  Thanks to members of our Labor & Employment (Ian Clarke-Fisher) and Intellectual Property Litigation groups (Jim Nault) for this guest post. On May 11, 2016, President Barack Obama signed the Defend Trade Secrets … Continue Reading

Employment Law Developments for Manufacturers:  Predictably Unpredictable!

Manufacturers should take note of two recent developments in the human resources world.  One expected.  The other not. Frequent readers of this blog may recall that in January I predicted the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) would make good on its goal of updating the “Persuader Rule.” By way of background, the Persuader Rule … Continue Reading

How Passage of Trade Secrets Act Will Help Manufacturers

We welcome a guest post this week from Nuala Droney and James Nault, who are members of Robinson + Cole’s Intellectual Property Litigation Practice Team. This week, the United States Senate passed the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016, which, if passed by the House and signed into law by President Obama, would give trade … Continue Reading

EEOC Retaliation Guidance Ups the Stakes for Manufacturers

I ended my January 21 “employment law predictions” post by writing, “One thing I can count on as these ‘Years of Change’ continue, [I]  expect something unexpected.”  The EEOC made that prediction come true the same day when it published for comment a wholesale revision of its policy guidance on retaliation claims under federal civil … Continue Reading

Never too Late for Some 2016 Employment Predictions!

  While we are still saying “Happy New Year” (I checked and was told that January 21 was still “not too late” to wish good tidings for 2016), and as we get ready for the Great East Coast Blizzard of 2016, I thought it would be a good time to add my own predictions for … Continue Reading

DOJ to Increase and Strengthen Criminal Worker Safety Prosecutions

With the new year comes a new focus on increasing criminal prosecutions against employers for worker safety violations.  In the end of December, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) and the Department of Labor (“DOL”) announced a plan to deter workplace safety violations through more stringent criminal prosecution.  Under the new plan, the DOJ will work … Continue Reading

Why The Recent Indictments of Nutritional Supplement Executives Matter To All Manufacturers/Distributors

Our firm has substantial experience in representing nutritional supplement manufacturers.  For that reason, the news that the Justice Department and federal agencies (such as the FTC) is engaged in a nationwide sweep of such companies is newsworthy.  This sweep has consisted of both criminal and civil/regulatory actions that will take years to unravel. Other manufacturers/distributors might … Continue Reading

Manufacturing a Troubling Future Part Two:  Recent Decision

This is the second of two posts regarding the “troubling” state of multi-employer pension plans.  My October post provided an overview of the recently published Teamsters’ Central States Pension “Rescue Plan” and discussed some of its implications.  This post will review the recent  decision of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in Resilient Floor Covering … Continue Reading

CERCLA Update: Court Reverses Divisibility Ruling

Earlier this year, we reported on a case that seemed to breathe new life into the divisibility defense under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA).  Under CERCLA, a party that causes or contributes to contamination, or even just owns contaminated property, can be held liable for the entire cleanup.  In May 2015, … Continue Reading

Can Air Emissions Lead to CERCLA Liability?

The Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act, 42 U.S.C. § 9601 et seq. (“CERCLA”) imposes fairly broad liability on potentially responsible parties (“PRPs”) to pay for the investigation and remediation of a release of a hazardous substance.  Typically, we think of a “release” as spilling or dumping on land, or discharging to water.  A … Continue Reading
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