Ballard Spahr LLP: Supreme Court To Decide Class Action Fairness Act Case - Can Plaintiff Limit Class Damages To Avoid Removal?

By the Consumer Financial Services Group On August 31, 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court granted a petition for certiorari in Standard Fire Insurance Co. v. Knowles (11-1450). The question presented by the petition is whether a named plaintiff in a state court class action can avoid removal to federal...

Ballard Spahr LLP: 2nd Circuit Says Online Agreement Did Not Bind Plaintiffs To Subsequent Arbitration Provision

By Alan S. Kaplinsky and Mark J. Levin Although much attention has been paid in the past few years to the enforceability of class action waivers in consumer arbitration agreements, a recent federal appeals court opinion is a stark reminder that there must be an enforceable "agreement" to...

Ballard Spahr LLP: Race to the Patent Office – Start Your Engines!

By Mary Anthony Merchant, Ph.D. The race to the Patent Office begins March 16, 2013, when the new first-to-file patent system takes effect. Start your engines, or at least think about the consequences of this system for current and future patent portfolios. Before March 16, actions can be taken...

Ballard Spahr LLP: Proposed eDiscovery Rule Would Bring Relief From Specter Of Sanctions

By Philip N. Yannella and Arash Micaily | The Rules Advisory Committee has recommended proposed amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that would set guidelines for courts to follow when evaluating a request for sanctions for spoliation of discovery information, both paper and electronic...

Ballard Spahr LLP: Maryland Defendants Can Recover Attorneys' Fees Paid By Insurance Company

By Robert A. Scott Litigants that have been forced to defend groundless litigation are entitled to recover their attorneys' fees even if those costs were paid by an insurance company, Maryland's highest court has ruled. In Worsham v. Greenfield [ enhanced opinion available to lexis.com...

Ballard Spahr LLP: 5th Circuit Rejects NLRB Ruling Invalidating Class Action Waivers In Arbitration Agreements

By Steven W. Suflas, Mark J. Levin and Erin K. Clarke On December 3, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit rejected the National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB) ruling that an employer violates the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) by requiring employees to waive their rights...

Ballard Spahr LLP: Caveat Venditor (Let the Seller Beware): Consumer Protection Procedures Act Strikes Again in the District of Columbia

By Roger D. Winston, Shelah F. Lynn and Timothy P. Martin A recent court decision emphasizes the need for real estate developers to proceed with caution when making representations to potential home buyers in the District of Columbia, as well as in other jurisdictions with similar consumer protection...

Ballard Spahr LLP: ACA Employer Mandate Final Regulations Released; Enforcement Delays Provided for Mid-Sized Employers

By Brian M. Pinheiro, Jean C. Hemphill and Jonathan M. Calpas | Very large employers will be required to offer health care coverage to their full-time employees or pay a penalty to the federal government beginning January 1, 2015. Under the final regulations released by the U.S. Department of Treasury...

Ballard Spahr LLP: Supreme Court Rules That Severance Payments Are Subject To FICA Taxes

By Wendi L. Kotzen, Timothy F. McCormack, and Christopher A. Jones The U.S. Supreme Court has unanimously held that payments of supplemental unemployment benefits (SUB payments) are taxable wages subject to FICA tax withholding. The Court’s decision in United States v. Quality Stores, Inc. ...

Ballard Spahr LLP: 11th Circuit Agrees Employees Can Waive FLSA Collective Action Rights

By Steven W. Suflas, Donna D. Page, and Mark J. Levin The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit has become the fifth appellate court to hand down a victory for employers in the fight over enforceability of class action waivers. The court ruled that an arbitration agreement that waives an...

Ballard Spahr LLP: Federal Court Ruling In Pa. Narrows Computer Fraud And Abuse Act

By Robert R. Baron, Jr., David S. Fryman, Corinne Militello, and Philip N. Yannella A Pennsylvania federal magistrate judge has tossed an employer’s claims under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), holding that the CFAA does not extend to punish employees for the misuse of information that...

Ballard Spahr LLP: Delaware Supreme Court Deals Blow To Merger Litigation Plaintiffs

By M. Norman Goldberger and Laura E. Krabill On [March 14], theDelaware Supreme Court adopted the business judgment rule standard of review for some controlling stockholder freeze-out mergers and potentially other interested party transactions. In Kahn, et al. v. M&F Worldwide Corp. , et al. ...

Ballard Spahr LLP: EB-5 Program Reforms Proposed

By Debbie A. Klis and Ellen Jerrehian Legislation has been introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives to reform and make permanent the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program (EB-5 Program). The American Entrepreneurship and Investment Act of 2014 (the Act) seeks to provide certainty to investors and...

Ballard Spahr LLP: Supreme Court’s Campaign Contribution Decision To Have Substantial Impact

By Joseph A. Kanefield, Brunn (Beau) Roysden, and Lindsay D. Breedlove | Pundits have alternatively saluted and denounced the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision last week striking down aggregate campaign contribution limits as unconstitutional. Few, however, have addressed the decision’s impact...

Ballard Spahr LLP: Supreme Court To Decide Evidentiary Requirements for Removal Notices in Class Actions

By Burt M. Rublin and Jonathan E. Selkowitz The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to review the issue of what, if any, evidence a defendant must present in a notice of removal to remove a case to federal court based on the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA). In granting the petition for a writ of certiorari...

Ballard Spahr LLP: IRS Issues Draft ACA Reporting Forms

By Jonathan M. Calpas and Edward I. Leeds The Internal Revenue Service recently released draft versions of the forms that will be used to meet the shared responsibility reporting requirements under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). These draft forms have been released for comment and may not be used...

Ballard Spahr LLP: 3rd Circuit Holds That Courts, Not Arbitrators, Should Rule On Classwide Arbitration

By Steven W. Suflas, Alan S. Kaplinsky, Mark J. Levin, Burt M. Rublin, and Michelle M. McGeogh In Opalinski v. Robert Half International, Inc. [ enhanced opinion available to lexis.com subscribers ], the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit held that where an arbitration clause is...

Ballard Spahr LLP: Massive Hacking Operation Further Reveals Weakness Of Passwords

By the Privacy and Data Security Group A small private cybersecurity firm recently revealed that a Russian computer hacking organization amassed more than 1.2 billion username and password combinations. The data was collected across a wide swath of websites, from both large companies and small independent...

Ballard Spahr LLP: NCAA Cannot Bar Compensation of Student-Athletes for Use of Their Names and Likenesses, Federal Court Says

By Stephen J. Kastenberg and Marcel S. Pratt A recent California federal court decision has further lifted the thumb on the scales that has historically benefited collegiate athletics in weighing whether their association rules violate the federal antitrust laws. In so doing, the court ruled that...

Ballard Spahr LLP: Calif. Law Does Not Bar Recording of Cell Phone Calls by Participants, Federal Court Rules

By the Consumer Financial Services Group A California federal court recently ruled that the state’s call recording statute does not apply to cell phone call participants. This decision should help companies that record consumer calls for monitoring purposes defeat class actions brought under...

Ballard Spahr LLP: Caveat Venditor (Let the Seller Beware): Consumer Protection Laws Can Have Significant Implications

By Roger D. Winston, Shelah F. Lynn, Timothy P. Martin and Katherine M. Noonan A decision by the District of Columbia Court of Appeals emphasizes the need for real estate developers to proceed with caution when making representations to potential home buyers in jurisdictions with consumer protection...

Ballard Spahr LLP: HUD Notice Has Potential To Encourage Broad PHA Renewable Energy Rollout

By Sharon Wilson Géno and Darin M. Lowder In an effort to support President Obama's July 2013 Climate Action Plan, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has issued Notice PIH-2014-18 (HA) . The notice offers guidance on federal incentives for public housing authorities...

Ballard Spahr LLP: Website Hyperlink Alone Does Not Establish User’s Assent to Arbitration Agreement, 9th Circuit Holds

By the Consumer Financial Services Group In a case intersecting the 89-year-old Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and the digital era, the Ninth Circuit has ruled that a consumer who did not read the company’s terms of use when ordering a product on its website was not bound by the terms’...

Ballard Spahr LLP: Government Agencies Release Further Accommodations to Organizations Opposing Mandated Contraceptive Coverage

By Jean Hemphill and Brian Pinheiro In response to the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby, Inc., [ enhanced opinion available to lexis.com subscribers ], the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Labor (DOL) published proposed rules on August 22, 2014, expanding...

Ballard Spahr LLP: 3rd Circuit Rejects Class Certification in Yet Another Consumer Case

By Burt M. Rublin and Joel E. Tasca Consistent with its recent emphasis on the stringency of class certification requirements in consumer cases, the Third Circuit recently affirmed the denial of class certification in a consumer case involving alleged overbilling practices, which implicated differing...