Amid discussions on how the Sequester will impact the country and reports of law firm downsizing, two recent surveys indicate that economic conditions in the legal industry are on an upswing.

First, on March 18, 2013, Citi Private Bank’s Law Firm Group released results from its Law Watch Managing Partner Index survey. The survey covers the fourth quarter of 2012 and is based on responses from 77 law firm leaders to questions about his or her overall confidence in business conditions in the legal industry. The leaders’ responses were plotted on a 200-point index, with 99 points or less representing a lack of confidence, 100 points representing a neutral response and 101-200 points representing complete confidence. Overall confidence in the industry rose 13 points from the third quarter of 2012, with 34% of respondents indicating his or her overall confidence is now “somewhat better.” Other topics in which leaders are increasingly confident are the economy at large, business conditions of the legal profession, profits and revenues, and demand. As one may expect, leaders also reported a continued increase in demand for discounts, cumulating in 73 points, which places this category in the “lack of confidence” portion of the scale; this index value represents a 4-point drop from Q3 2012 to Q4 2012, indicating that leaders still experience push-back from clients on fees.

Supporting the idea that economic conditions are improving, Robert Half Legal released its 2013 Salary Guide, stating that “an upturn in business activity has sparked renewed hiring at both law firms and corporate legal departments.” Law firms are focusing on hiring experienced lawyers; “hybrid paralegal/legal secretary positions” are also in demand as firms continue to streamline operations. Also, based on a survey of 200 lawyers in the largest firms and corporations in the United States, three key areas of law should experience the most growth in the next two years: healthcare, general business/commercial law, and litigation. Salaries for all legal positions in both law firms (all sizes) and corporations are expected to increase. The Salary Guide further indicates that the employment outlook for Canada also remains positive, with general business/corporate law expected to experience the most growth over the next two years. The Guide concludes with eight signs it’s time to start hiring additional staff (beyond the obvious “new work is coming in”), whether or not counteroffers should be made to departing employees, and eight low-cost employee perks that are inexpensive for employers to offer yet are highly appealing to employees.

Perhaps 2013 will be a banner year after all . . .

Bookmark and Share

 

Class Action Deemed to Be Improperly Certified by Lower Courts


CHICAGO – (March 27, 2013) The Supreme Court this morning reversed the judgment of the Third Circuit Court of Appeals in the case of Comcast v. Behrend, an opinion in alignment with the position of DRI – Voice of the Defense Bar in its amicus brief filed in August of last year. The majority held that the class action in Comcast v. Behrend was improperly certified under Rule 23(b)(3). 

In this case, subscribers sued Comcast Corp. and various Comcast subsidiaries, alleging that Comcast monopolized Philadelphia’s cable market and excluded competition in violation of federal antitrust laws. To constitute a class, plaintiffs proffered an expert damages model that purported to prove each class member’s damages by evidence common to all. Comcast responded that the plaintiffs’ model was incapable of calculating damages for the class because it was based on several erroneous assumptions about the asserted claims, and indeed that common proof of damages is impossible given significant differences among the class members. The district court nonetheless certified the class.

Comcast sought review in the Third Circuit Court of Appeals, which affirmed the certification order after expressly declining to consider Comcast’s contentions. While the Third Circuit acknowledged that, “[t]o satisfy . . . the predominance requirement, Plaintiffs must establish that the alleged damages are capable of measurement on a class-wide basis using common proof,” it nonetheless insisted that “[w]e have not reached the stage of determining on the merits whether the methodology [offered by Plaintiffs] is a just and reasonable inference or speculative.” The court concluded that Comcast’s “attacks on the merits of the methodology” have “no place in the class certification inquiry.” 

In his dissent, Judge Jordan stated in part, “not only have Plaintiffs failed to show that damages can be proven using evidence common to the class, they have failed to show . . . that damages can be proven using any evidence whatsoever—common or otherwise.” 

The Supreme Court held that the Third Circuit erred in refusing to decide whether the plaintiff class’s proposed damages model could show damages on a class-wide basis. Under proper standards, the model was inadequate and the class should not have been certified. The vote was 5–4 with Justices Breyer, Ginsburg, Sotomayor and Kagan dissenting.

Citing the Federal Judicial Center’s Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence, the majority held that “’The first step in a damages study is the translation of the legal theory of the harmful event into an analysis of the economic impact of that event.’ The District Court and the Court of Appeals ignored that first step entirely.”

The Third Circuit’s approach to class certification would have allowed plaintiffs to obtain certification without showing a reasonable likelihood that they will be able to prove their class-wide claims (predominately) by common evidence. This would have significantly lowered class plaintiffs’ burden under Rule 23 and resulted in the certification of many more non-meritorious class actions.
Brief author Jonathan F. Cohn of Sidley Austin LLP, Washington DC, is available for interview or for expert comment through DRI’s Communications Office.
For the full text of the brief, click here.

Bookmark and Share

 

The growing industry of litigation funding will be expanding further very soon.  Reuters reported last week that well known former federal prosecutor Andrew Stolper of Santa Ana, California, will open a litigation financing firm.  The new company will be based in Irvine, California and will specialize in funding plaintiffs in commercial litigation cases.  Firms like Stolper’s loan money to plaintiffs in exchange for a percentage of any recovery.  The loans typically do not have to be repaid if the plaintiff does not recover.  

Litigation financing is a very controversial practice.  In 2011 the New York City Bar Association issued a formal opinion stating that it is not unethical per se for a lawyer to represent a plaintiff with a non-recourse financing agreement.  However, the same opinion pointed out that there may be a loss of confidentiality due to sharing privileged information with the litigation finance company. The opinion states “a lawyer representing a client who is party, or considering becoming party, to a non-recourse funding arrangement should be aware of the potential ethical issues and should be prepared to address them as they arise.”

In addition to the various ethical concerns, one of the practical ramifications of litigation financing is that it can often complicate the resolution of a case by settlement since the funding company will typically have a lien against the proceeds, minimizing the plaintiff’s net recovery via settlement.  Many mediations fail because of such liens.

Stolper enters his new business with a history of having been strongly criticized by a federal judge in 2009 for engaging in a “shameful” effort to intimidate witnesses.  Further, his partner in the new venture, Peter Norrell, is a former FBI agent who pled guilty in 2010 to illegally accessing FBI records and threatening criminal prosecution to assist a friend in a debt collection matter.  He received two years of probation and three months of home confinement for that incident.  Apparently, Norrell and Stolper have worked together in the past and they bring their experience to the questionable litigation financing industry.   

Bookmark and Share

 

The constitutional design of our federal government requires an independent judicial branch to serve as a check on the executive and legislative branches.  That constitutional design, embodied in the separation of powers and dependent upon an independent federal judiciary is now being threatened by the automatic budget cuts to the judicial branch mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011.  The framers of the Constitution did not contemplate that our three branches of government would operate completely independent of one another.  However, implicit in the constitutional design of the federal government is the obligation to adequately fund the judicial branch to fulfill its constitutional role.  Unfortunately, however, we are nearing the point where additional funding cuts to the judicial branch will hamper its ability to carry out its constitutionally-assigned functions.  

In his 2012 year-end report, Chief Justice John Roberts explained the federal judicial branch stands in a markedly different position from the other branches of government when it comes to mandated funding cuts:

Virtually all of the Judiciary’s core functions are constitutionally and statutorily mandated.  Unlike executive branch agencies, the courts do not have discretionary programs they can eliminate or projects they can postpone.  The courts must resolve all criminal and civil cases that fall within their jurisdiction, often under tight time constraints.  A significant and prolonged shortfall in judicial funding would inevitably result in the delay or denial of justice for the people the courts serve.  

The sequester will require the federal judiciary to cut $332 million dollars, or approximately 5% from its operating budget for the current fiscal year.  Complicating the problem is that current fiscal year ends on September 30th, and the federal government was already five months into its fiscal year when the sequester went into effect.  

The Administrative Office of the United States Courts recently imposed emergency cost-cutting measures throughout the federal court system as a result of the sequester.  Those measures include a possible suspension of civil jury trials in September, a 30% cut in funding for court security systems and equipment, as well as a reduction in the hours worked by court security officers.  Additionally, up to 2,000 employees could be either laid off or face mandatory furloughs during the remainder of this fiscal year.  These staffing cuts would be in addition to the loss of 1,800 court staff over the last 18 months.  

The federal judiciary was already severely underfunded before sequestration’s mandated budget cuts went into effect.  For 2012, the federal judicial branch’s fiscal appropriation amounted to two-tenths of one percent of the total federal budget.  That means for every dollar of tax revenue received by the federal government, less than two-tenths of a penny was spent on our judicial branch.  

Under its decentralized management system, each federal court has some discretion over how the required funding cuts will be implemented.  So, for instance, several months ago the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois announced that if the sequester went into effect he would be forced to close the federal courts in Chicago and Rockford one day a week until the end of September.  In the Southern District of New York, the Chief Deputy Clerk recently explained that the District’s Bankruptcy Courts have started to re-use the blank sides of legal briefs as copier paper so that money normally spent on office supplies can be used for wages and salaries of court staff.  This is just the start of the sequester’s impact on the operations of the federal court system.

We may not feel the full squeeze of the budget sequester immediately, but the longer it remains in place, the greater will be its impact on those who seek access to justice.  The size of the automatic cuts mandated by the sequester increases in future years.  Sequestration threatens the protection of fundamental constitutional rights by hampering the ability of federal courts to protect those rights and deliver justice in a timely manner.  Backlogs and delays are now inevitable.  Federal speedy-trial requirements in criminal cases means those matters will be given priority over civil lawsuits.  Citizens seeking to vindicate their constitutional rights and businesses hoping for a timely resolution of complicated disputes will be put on hold.  

Access to justice, an independent federal judiciary, and the separation of powers may seem like abstract concepts. However they are the bulwarks on which our federal court system was built.  In a democracy, justice simply cannot be treated as an expendable luxury in tough economic times.  As one court explained:

[T]he availability of constitutional rights does not vary with the rise and fall of account balances in the Treasury.  Our basic liberties cannot be offered and withdrawn as “budget crunches” come and go, nor may they be made contingent on transitory political judgments regarding the advisability of raising or lowering taxes, or pragmatic or tactical decisions about how to deal with the perennial problem of the national debt.  In short, constitutional rights do not turn on the political mood of the moment, the outcome of cost/benefit analyses or the results of economic or fiscal calculations. Rather, our constitutional rights are fixed and immutable …. The constitutional mandate that federal courts provide civil litigants with a system of civil jury trials is clear.  There is no price tag on the continued existence of that system, or on any other constitutionally-provided right. (Armster v. U.S. Dist. Court for the Cent. Dist. of Cal. 792 F.2d 1423, 1429 9th Cir. 1986.)

Under our democratic system of government, the federal courts stand as the guardian of the rights of all citizens.  Because the sequester threatens the ability of our federal courts to protect the rights of citizens, and to serve as an effective check on the legislative and executive branches of federal government, we are seeing the first signs of a constitutional crisis looming on the horizon.  Critical to the ordered liberty of American democracy is an independent judiciary.  That independence is now challenged by mandatory budget cuts.  If the legislative and executive branches of the federal government refuse to fund the federal judiciary to a level needed to adequately fulfill its constitutional function, then the separation of powers mandated by our Constitution will be fractured.

Steven Puiszis is a member DRI’s Board of Directors and Chair of the DRI Judicial Task Force.  He is a partner in the Chicago office of Hinshaw & Culbertson LLP.  He was Editor of DRI’s latest publication on judicial independence, Without Fear or Favor in 2011, available at: http://www.luc.edu/law/media/law/news/pdfs/1794745.pdf.
Bookmark and Share

 

On March 11, 2013, the National Football League and the General Electric Co. announced that they are teaming up to create a Head Health Initiative that will provide $60 million dollars to assist leading neurologists in researching traumatic brain injuries and developing technology able to monitor these ailments.  $40 million will go towards developing imaging technologies, and the remaining $20 million will be available to others who seek to prevent, identify, and develop treatments for brain injuries.  Athletic apparel company Under Armour will also be providing $5 million dollars in support for the cause.

Jeff Immelt, GE Chairman and CEO, indicated that scientific support for the research would be top-notch.  “We’re trying to do this with the best minds anywhere in the world,” he noted in a news conference.  He declared that the funds would utilize GE’s expertise in sophisticated diagnostic imaging technology to increase general scientific knowledge on brain functions, noting “With this initiative, we will advance our research and apply our learning to sports-related concussions, brain injuries suffered by members of the military and neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.  Advancing brain science will help families everywhere.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell also expressed satisfaction with the initiative, stating: “The NFL has made tremendous progress in making the game safe and more exciting.  But we have more work to do.  Our collaboration with GE and Under Armour . . . puts us on an accelerated path to progress . . that will benefit athletes, the military, and all members of society.”

As orignally published at www.sportslawinsider.com March 13, 2013.
Bookmark and Share

 

An important federal appeals court has determined that a Connecticut court has jurisdiction over a Canadian citizen whose only act in Connecticut was accessing information on a computer server located in Connecticut.  In MacDermid, Inc. v. Deiter, 702 F.3d 72 (Dec. 26. 2012), a Connecticut-based company, MacDermid, Inc., sued its former employee, Deiter, a Canadian citizen who worked from Canada, in federal court in Connecticut for misappropriation of MacDermid’s trade secrets.  MacDermid alleged that Deiter sent confidential company information from her company email account to her personal email account.  The lower court dismissed the case, saying that Connecticut courts did not have jurisdiction over Deiter because she never set foot in Connecticut and only used a computer terminal in Canada.  MacDermid appealed.  The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, in New York, reversed, holding that it was proper for a Connecticut court to exercise personal jurisdiction over a Canadian employee of a Connecticut company because, even though she was located in Canada and physically interacted only with a computer in Canada, she “used” a server in Connecticut.


Background

MacDermid is a chemical company located in Connecticut.  Dieter, a resident of Ontario, Canada, worked for MacDermid’s Canadian subsidiary.  The email system for both MacDermid and its Canadian subsidiary is located on a server in Waterbury, Connecticut.  Just before Dieter was about to be fired, she forwarded what MacDermid claims is confidential information from her MacDermid email account to her personal email account.  In doing so, Dieter accessed MacDermid’s email server in Connecticut, even though she did so while located in Canada and physically interacting only with her computer terminal in Canada (albeit a company computer).  MacDermid sued Dieter in Connecticut for trade secrets misappropriation, and Dieter moved to dismiss, arguing that Connecticut courts did not have jurisdiction over her, as she had never left Canada.  The issue was whether the Connecticut “long arm” statute gave Connecticut courts jurisdiction over someone outside of Connecticut, and whether such jurisdiction would be constitutional.  One section of the “long arm” statute gives Connecticut courts jurisdiction over someone who “uses a computer” or “a computer network” located in Connecticut.  Therefore, the issue became whether accessing email via a server located in Connecticut constituted “using” a Connecticut computer or network.

Analysis

The lower court dismissed the case because it found that Dieter had not “used” a Connecticut computer or Connecticut computer network, but had only sent email from one computer in Canada to another computer in Canada.  The Second Circuit court disagreed.  It concluded that “using” a computer or network may involve more than just the act of physically interacting with a computer.  While Dieter had physically interacted only with her terminal in Canada, she had “used” MacDermid’s network in Connecticut by accessing it electronically when she sent an email from her company account to her personal account.  The Second Circuit pointed out that the “long arm” statute does not require that user be located in Connecticut, but only that the computer or network – i.e., the thing that is “used” – be located there.  In other words, the “long arm” statute extends to people who access Connecticut computers or networks remotely.

But, having determined that Connecticut’s “long arm” statute extended to Dieter, the Second Circuit still had to determine whether exercising jurisdiction over Dieter would be  constitutional.  It found that it was.  The court found that Dieter knew that, in using MacDermid’s email system, she was accessing a server in Connecticut.  Even though Dieter would have to travel from Ontario to Connecticut to defend herself in the lawsuit, that would not be an unreasonable burden on her.  Furthermore, according to the court, Connecticut has a significant interest in interpreting its misappropriation laws.  The Second Circuit concluded that it was proper for Dieter to be sued in Connecticut for the wrong she was alleged to have committed.

Implications

While this decision was based on Connecticut law, the Second Circuit federal appeals court covers New York, Connecticut, and Vermont.  Moreover, it is considered an important authority on commercial law.  So its analysis on personal jurisdiction could be persuasive in other courts.

Lesson

The lesson here is that if you think you are safe from suit in a particular state in the U.S. just because you access a computer from the comfort of a faraway state – or even, as in this case, another country – you might be gravely mistaken.

Walter Judge is a litigation partner at Downs Rachlin Martin PLLC who blogs on intellectual property litigation topics
Bookmark and Share

 

Nevada Gambles on Online Poker

Posted on March 6, 2013 02:12 by Joseph M. Hanna

On February 21, 2013, the Nevada State Legislature passed Assembly Bill 114, a measure which allows state Governor Brian Sandoval to enter into contracts with other states permitting individuals to gamble in online poker games across state lines.

In theory, the law was passed to protect consumers and reduce the amount of illegal online gambling.  In pertinent part, the bill states: “A comprehensive regulatory structure, coupled with strict licensing standards, will ensure the protection of consumers, including minors and vulnerable persons, prevent fraud, guard against underage and problem gambling, avoid unauthorized use by persons located in jurisdictions that do not authorize interactive gaming and aid in law enforcement efforts.”  Later, it reads, “The state of Nevada leads the nation in gaming regulation and enforcement, such that the state … is uniquely positioned to develop an effective and comprehensive regulatory structure related to interactive gaming.”

The law effectively acts as an end-around certain laws prohibiting the practice – previously, the Nevada Gaming Commission was not allowed to issues licenses for operating online poker facilities without some form of permission by the federal government (i.e. through explicit legislation allowing the practice or by seeking approval from the U.S. Department of Justice).  Now, the commission can not only issue these licenses, but is given the authority to regulate and vary license renewal rates.  A.G. Burnett, chairman of the Nevada Gaming Board, believes that the move could be very profitable for the state – he estimates that a global market for licensing online poker games could amount to tens of billions of dollars.

As originally published at www.sportslawinsider.com

Bookmark and Share

 

To successfully assert a claim under New York General Business Law § 349 (h) or § 350, "a plaintiff must allege that a defendant has engaged in (1) consumer-oriented conduct that is (2) materially misleading and that (3) plaintiff suffered injury as a result of the allegedly deceptive act or practice" 

A claim is brought under GBL § 349 to allege misleading and deceptive trade practices and under GBL § 350 to allege false advertising.  Typically, these two sections are pled in tandem, both in single plaintiff cases and in class action litigation seeking relief from consumer fraud. 

In their NYLJ article (12/28/12) looking back at the significant New York State class action decisions that were handed down during 2012, authors Thomas A. Dickerson, Jeffrey A. Cohen (both Second Department judges) and Kenneth A. Manning devote special attention to the Court of Appeals decision in Koch v. Acker, Merrall & Condit, in which the court clarified that justifiable reliance is not an element of a GBL § 350 claim. Prior decisions had already done away with any reliance requirement on a GBL § 349 claim

The element of reliance had always seeming been an important defense weapon in deceptive trade practice class action litigation. In Koch, plaintiff alleged that the auction house described its wines as "extraordinary, " "absolutely stunning," and among the "greatest wines...ever experienced"  when, in fact, these wines were undeniably nothing of the kind. But the First Department made short shrift of plaintiff's claims.  The court gave considerable deference to the disclaimer language in the auction house's brochure which provided an "as is" disclaimer.

In addition to the "as is" caveat, the "Conditions of Sale/Purchaser's Agreement" made "no express or implied representation, warranty, or guarantee regarding the origin, physical condition, quality, rarity, authenticity, value or estimated value" of the wine.  Should not a  reasonable consumer, the appellate court reasoned, been alerted by these disclaimers, would not have relied, and thus would not have been misled, by defendant's alleged misrepresentations concerning the vintage and provenance of the wine it sells?  In this instance, according to Decanter.com, the plaintiff was Florida billionaire, William "Bill" Koch, who apparently believed that the auction house had sold him the proverbial "bill of goods".  If anyone was to read and understand the "fine print" in the disclaimer, surely a sophisticated investor like Mr. Koch would.

In answer, the  Court of Appeals held that the "as is" provision does not bar the claim (at least at the pleading stage) and does not establish a defense as a matter of law. 

As Messrs. Dickerson and  Cohen explained in an earlier NYLJ article (4/19/12), the Koch ruling may be a "game changer" in deceptive and misleading business practices class action litigation.  They cite a long series of prior appellate cases, which had established reliance as a basis for obtaining a recovery under GBL § 350, which clearly is no longer good law. In the past, New York courts were reluctant to certify GBL § 350 claims because they found that reliance was not subject to class wide proof. 

When the Appellate Division issued its decision, wine industry attorney Brian Pedigo in Irvine California expressed concern to Decanter.com that it would set bad precedent if all prospective bidders had to satisfy themselves by inspection rather than to trust in the auction house's represenations.  In pertinent part, he commented, "A regular Joe consumer is not going to fly overseas [or across the country] to inspect wine. A reasonable consumer will rely on the representation of the seller, and will not read or understand the fine print disclaimers".  An adverse decision for the auction house, he believed, would be "horrible for consumer trust in the online auction environment; it could possibly destroy this niche market sector".  Would  internet commerce beadversely affected if the e-consumer was not able to trust the e-seller?

The Court of Appeals apparently agreed with Mr. Pedigo that the risk of authenticity should not entirely shift to the consumer, regardless of whether the consumer is Joe consumer or Bill Koch. 
The claim against Acker Merrall is not Mr. Koch's only wine-related lawsuit.  He previously brought a RICO claim against Christie's, another auction house, after purchasing four bottles of wine that he believed were connected to Thomas Jefferson, but turned out were not really that old.  That Koch wine auction case ended up in the Second Circuit; but that's a story for another time. 
At the end of the day, Koch serves to harmonize GBL § 349 and GBL § 350; there is no reliance pleading requirement under either statute. 

However, all is far from lost for the defendants in these cases.  As discussed at the outset of this article, plaintiffs must prove  (1) consumer-oriented conduct that is (2) materially misleading and that (3) plaintiff suffered injury as a result of the allegedly deceptive act or practice".  Accordingly, although reliance need not be shown, the plaintiff must still prove causation.  Proof of causation remains plaintiff's critical hurdle in succeeding in these claims.  

Republished with permission from  www.toxictortslitigationblog.com
Bookmark and Share

 

It is a deposition question that too often surprises lawyers and corporate-witness deponents.  Upon return from a water or lunch recess, the deposing lawyer asks the witness: “So, tell me what you and your company’s lawyer discussed during the break?”  Can the deposing lawyer ask that?  Does the defending lawyer have an attorney-client privilege objection?

In-House and outside counsel focus their deposition preparation on reviewing the notice-of-deposition topics, selecting the most appropriate corporate employee for the deposition task, and preparing that witness with the boilerplate deposition ”dos and don’ts.”  And while many lawyers defending depositions see every break as an opportunity to consult with the witness, they neglect to consider whether these in-deposition consultations are privileged and, importantly, to prepare the witness how to answer an out-of-the break question about those consultations.

Unfortunately, there is no uniform rule on whether lawyers may have privileged conversations with witnesses during deposition breaks.  Some jurisdictions prohibit all during-the-break consultations except when necessary to assert an evidentiary privilege.  Other jurisdictions reject this draconian rule for the more practical approach of permitting break-time discussions except when a question is pending.  In my recent article, Protecting Attorney-Corporate Witness Consultations During Deposition Breaks, published by Inside Counsel, I explore the various rules on this issue and provide practical tips for preparing lawyers and witnesses for this inevitable happening.

You may access the article at this link.  How does your jurisdiction–state or federal–handle this situation?  Place your comments in this post–perhaps we can gather the local rules, judicial rulings, and local practices so that others may find answers in a single forum.

As originally published at presnellonprivileges.com 
Bookmark and Share

 

On January 25, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia held that the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) lacked a sufficient quorum of members when it issued a finding that Noel Canning had violated the National Labor Relations Act.  See Noel Canning v. NLRB, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 1659 (D.C. Cir. Jan. 25, 2013).  On the date that the NLRB issued its findings against Noel Canning, three of its five members were sitting after appointment by President Obama, without Senate confirmation, under the Recess Appointment Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  The problem, according to the court, was that the “recess appointees” had been appointed while the Senate was in pro forma session, not recess, thereby making the appointments invalid.  With only two validly appointed members sitting on the NLRB, the Court of Appeals held that the NLRB lacked the necessary quorum to take any action against Noel Canning.

The court’s ruling potentially invalidates all NLRB rulings since January 4, 2012, the date of the recess appointments.  And because two of the unconfirmed appointees continue to sit on the NLRB, all NLRB decisions going forward may be called into question.  The NLRB does not appear phased by the court’s ruling, however, and continues to issue decisions.  It is expected that the NLRB will continue with business as usual until the Supreme Court weighs in on the issue.

On February 13, 2013, President Obama asked the Senate to confirm his re-nomination of NLRB Members Sharon Block and Richard Griffin.  That same day, various Republican House of Representatives leaders sent a letter to President Obama and NLRB Chairman Mark Pearce, requesting that the President nominate “four qualified individuals” to the NLRB and that the NLRB cease all activity until confirmation of the requested appointments.  While each branch of the government weighs in on this issue, employers and their attorneys are left with the challenge of interpreting the current state of labor law.

We look forward to gaining insight on the recess appointee controversy, as well as the NLRB’s recent decisions and agendas, from Lafe Solomon, Acting General Counsel for the NLRB, during DRI’s 36th Annual Employment and Labor Law Seminar, to be held May 1-3, 2013, at the Arizona Biltmore, in Phoenix, Arizona.  If you have not already registered for this exciting event, please access the registration information here to secure your spot today.

Bookmark and Share

 
 

Submit Blog

If you wish to submit a blog posting for DRI Today, send an email to today@dri.org with "Blog Post" in the subject line. Please include article title and any tags you would like to use for the post.
 
 
 

Search Blog


Recent Posts

Categories

Authors

Blogroll



Staff Login