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Verrill Dana, LLP

Verrill Dana, LLP is one of New England's preeminent regional law firms. With offices in Portland and Augusta, ME; Boston, MA; Westport, CT; Providence, RI; and Washington D.C. Verrill Dana provides sophisticated legal representation to businesses and individuals in the traditional areas of litigation, real estate, business law, labor and employment law, employee benefits, environmental law, intellectual property and estate planning.  The Firm also has industry-focused specialties including higher education, health care and health technology, energy, and timberlands. 

Disclaimer:  The content presented in this blog is for general information only, is not intended to constitute legal advice and cannot be relied upon by any person as legal advice. While we welcome you to contact our blog authors at hrlawupdate@verrilldana.com, the submission of a comment or question does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Firm and you. 

Thursday
Sep222016

Despite Recent Challenges to Overtime Rule, Employers Should Continue Preparing for Implementation on December 1

On September 20, two lawsuits were filed in federal court seeking to stop the new overtime regulations from going into effect on December 1.  One lawsuit was filed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with a number of other business groups.  The other lawsuit was filed by a coalition of 21 states (Nevada, Texas, Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Utah, Wisconsin, Kentucky, Iowa, Maine, New Mexico, Mississippi, and Michigan).  Both lawsuits were filed in the Eastern District of Texas and seek an injunction to block the overtime rule from going into effect.

Click to read more ...

Monday
Sep192016

Calling All Workers' Compensation Attorneys!

As the sole Maine representative to the National Workers' Compensation Defense Network, Beth Smith, will be attending the NWCDN Annual Conference in Chicago later this week. Why? Fellow NWCDN member Bob Wilson explains in a blog post entitled "The NWCDN Road Show Hits Chicago and I Won't Miss It This Year": http://www.workerscompensation.com/compnewsnetwork/from-bobs-cluttered-desk/24536-the-nwcdn-road-show-hits-chicago-and-i-won%E2%80%99t-miss-it-this-year.html

See you in Chicago!

Monday
Sep192016

Will The New Maine Opiate Control Law Impact the Workers’ Compensation System?

Stories of the horrors of opiate over-prescription and abuse are abundant, and Maine has not been spared the ravages of that epidemic.  In response to the growing problem, Governor LePage, in April of this year, signed into law a bill intended to place some limits on the prescription of opioids in situations involving both “acute pain” and “chronic pain”.  Under the new law, health care providers will be limited to prescribing no more than a 30-day supply of opioid medication in any 30-day period for patients with chronic pain.  However, there is no limit on the number of times that a 30-day prescription can be written by a provider.  The practical impact on chronic pain patients in the workers’ compensation system will be one of two outcomes:  either, patients will now have to visit their providers every thirty days rather than the every three to six months schedule typical in long-term workers’ compensation chronic pain cases; or providers will be decreasing the number of opioid prescriptions issued to chronic pain patients as their practices suffer from limits on the ability to accommodate every-thirty-day appointments for medication renewal.

Click to read more ...

Wednesday
Aug312016

NLRB Blurs the Lines Between Being a Student and Being an Employee

As reported by my colleague Erik Peters last week, the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) has again reversed course and held that graduate students at private universities may unionize.  See Columbia University, 364 NLRB No. 90 (2016). 

Until 2000, the NLRB consistently held that graduate students working at the universities in which they were enrolled as students were not “employees” within the meaning of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) and therefore could not unionize. The NLRB reversed its precedent in 2000 by holding that graduate students are employees under the NLRA. A change in Presidential Administration, and with it changes to the composition of the NLRB, resulted in the NLRB reverting to its prior precedent in 2004, i.e. graduate students are not employees. The NLRB, again altered by the change in Presidential Administration, has now again reversed course. While future changes to the composition of the NLRB may again bring about a ruling that graduate students are not employees, private universities should begin preparing for the consequences of this significant change.

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Thursday
Aug252016

Mass SJC: Failure to Adequately Investigate Sexual Harassment has Consequences - Hundreds of Thousands of Them

Talk about sending a message! Massachusetts’ Supreme Judicial Court just reinstated a $540,000 jury verdict in favor of a finance manager at a Lexus dealer who alleged that her supervisor sexually harassed her and that the dealer then failed to sufficiently investigate her claims. (Slip opinion here.)

At trial, Emma Gyulakian alleged a litany of offenses conducted by her supervisor, Emmanuel Ferreira.1 The jury found for her on her sexually hostile or offensive work environment claim and awarded $40,000 in compensatory damages and a whopping $500,000 in punitives. Lexus of Watertown then filed a Motion for judgment notwithstanding the verdict (jnov) on the punitives award, which the trial court granted, concluding that an employer may not be vicariously liable for punitive damages under Massachusetts law based purely on the actions of its supervisory personnel, and that Gyulakian did not provide the jury with sufficient evidence of outrageous or egregious behavior by Lexus.

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug232016

NLRB: Grad Students at Private Schools Can Join Unions

Well, law school certainly felt like a job to your humble correspondent, and now it appears that the National Labor Relations Board agrees.

Actually, it’s not quite that simple; however, on Tuesday, the NLRB ruled that grad students working as teaching and research assistants at private universities (specifically Columbia University) are entitled to collective bargaining. In so doing, the Board reversed its 2004 decision concerning a similar push for unionization at Brown University. Pending a challenge to the decision, the UAW will represent the Columbia grad students.

Decision accessible here; story containing a timeline of efforts at graduate student unionization here and here.

Also, stay tuned for follow up post by my colleague, Joanna Bowers, with her take on the dissent.