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The Dept. of Justice announced in a press conference that, since May, it has charged 57 businesses and individuals with fraud related to the Paycheck Protection Program. The PPP is a $670 Billion program intended to provide assistance to small businesses in order to prevent layoffs and help them stay afloat during the Coronavirus pandemic. To no one's surprise, there were immediate claims of fraud, and law enforcement officials have made numerous arrests - including that of Joshua Bellamy, an NFL player charged after he received $1.2 million from the PPP program which he used to gamble and purchase luxury goods, among other things.

The EEOC has found that IBM committed age discrimination to the tune of thousands of employees throughout 2013-2018. The determination follows a similar finding to a ProPublica report from 2018. EEOC found evidence of a pattern of workers 40+ being forced out and told their skills were obsolete, only to be brought back later as contract employees at a lower pay rate. EEOC must attempt to mediate a settlement between IBM and the former employees, otherwise IBM may find itself faced with a federal lawsuit.

United Airlines Sued for Discrimination in Sports Charter Crews

United Airlines has been sued by two flight attendants who claim that the dedicated crews selected for the chartered flights for the MLB, NFL, and NCAA are 'unlawfully based on race and ancestry, age, and gender,' leaning towards young, white, and blonde. For their part, United has stated that they are 'proud of our track record on diversity, equity and inclusion,' and that the staff for chartered flights is based solely on performance and attendance.

Tiffany & Co. filed suit in Delaware Chancery Court, asking them to enforce a deal with luxury brands company Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, commonly known as LVMH. LVMH broke off the $16.2 billion deal after the French foreign affairs minister sent a letter on 8/31, asking the brand to delay until after January when the U.S. implementation of additional customs duties on the import of French luxury goods goes into effect. Tiffany has stated that it believes LVMH is attempting to use the French government as cover to back out, a claim that is being lent some credit by a Bloomberg report that notes LVMH chairman Bernard Arnault "asked for help from the French government in an effort to pull out of [the deal]."

On Working Parents Day, Pasha Law celebrates the amazing parents who work hard for their families! Check out our blog article about the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and what it could mean for your business, including Employer Tax Credits for paid leave:

The ink is drying on the signature line and things are looking great for our buyer. After so much hard work, the finish line is in sight and the cheering within ear shot.  

Though the landlord is still serving friction, things seem safe to move forward and for now, our buyer will be keeping on the entire team. With the closing just around the bend, will all of our efforts and close attention to detail finally pay off? They say dot your I's and cross your T's, lets hope there isn't one more wrench looking for an engine.

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Need a contract drafted or reviewed? Need to terminate an employee? Need business legal advice on structuring your business or maintaining regulatory compliance? Whatever your legal needs, General Counsel Select has your business covered, all with a commitment to no hidden fees and no surprise bills.

Governor Gavin Newsome signed AB 2257 this month, allowing for additional exemptions to the controversial AB 5, which reclassified many contractors as employees. Though predominantly aimed at the app gig economy, the 2019 bill unintentionally reclassified many independent professionals running their own businesses, including franchise business owners and freelance creatives, among others. The law could see additional changes by the end of the year, as Proposition 22 is on the November ballot to ensure gig workers can remain independent contractors.

The federal government proposed 16 Stark and Anti-Kickback rule changes in October 2019. The policy behind the changes was to make healthcare more accessible to patients and allow physicians to enter into arrangements to allow patients to get better care that would normally be prohibited under Stark and Anti-Kickback Statutes. The main proposed changes are related to making value-based arrangements and coordinated care between providers easier. As healthcare providers move away from fee-for-service arrangements towards value-based arrangements, it is likely that the new proposed exceptions will increase the need for value-based arrangements if passed. 

In August, a federal judge overturned a lower court ruling in a case brought by Tiffany & Co. against Costco. Costco sold rings described as having a "Tiffany setting.” The judge determined the description is commonly used enough to negate the trademark claim for this instance. "Tiffany setting" has achieved "Kleenex status," meaning that the phrase is so commonly used to describe the product that it causes little to no consumer confusion. Trademark law exists to prevent consumer confusion about the source of a good or service, so if a trademarked brand name becomes common enough to classify an entire product or service category, the trademark becomes irrelevant.

Amazon Held Liable for Third-Party Products

A California appeals court ruled in August that Amazon is liable for a defective laptop battery sold by a third-party seller, but warehoused, marketed, and shipped by Amazon. Amazon claims that the case was "wrongly decided" and that the decision is contrary to "well-established law." Pending an appeal to the state Supreme Court, the ruling could open Amazon to additional lawsuits, unless it more strictly regulates third-party sellers.

The Securities and Exchange Commission Updates Definition of “Accredited Investor”

The SEC announced yesterday that it is amending the qualifications that define an "accredited investor" to include certain financial certifications and credentials, or knowledgable employees of a fund, among others. The "accredited investor" title is required to participate in certain private capital markets, and the more inclusive definition is expected to expand the pool of qualified accredited investors beyond the previous specific income or net worth requirements.

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