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CPSC Wins Decisively in Rare Decision Addressing Procedural Defenses to CPSA Enforcement Actions

On November 17, 2016, Judge William Conley of the United States District Court for the Western District of Wisconsin issued an opinion and order addressing rarely litigated procedural defenses to CPSA enforcement actions. The case, United States of America v. Spectrum Brands, Inc., No. 15-cv-371-wmc, involves allegations that Spectrum Brands, Inc. (“Spectrum”) violated the reporting requirements under section 15(b) of the CPSA by failing to immediately notify the CPSC of a potential defect in one of Spectrum’s coffee pot carafes that may pose a significant product hazard. The decision will be closely analyzed by product manufacturers, retailers, and legal practitioners alike, both because federal courts rarely issue opinions in CPSC enforcement actions and because Judge Conley roundly rejected Spectrum’s numerous procedural defenses. More >

DOL Overtime Rule Blocked by Federal Court

On Tuesday, November 22, a Texas federal district court judge entered a nationwide injunction blocking the U.S. Department of Labor from implementing a rule that would raise the salary threshold for the FLSA's “white collar” exemptions. This means that, unless there is an appeal and immediate ruling, the new salary threshold will not go into effect on December 1. More >

Webinar: Machine Learning and Big Data Analytics for Hiring

Increasingly, today’s employers rely on big data solutions—from resume screens to social media search tools—to source, recruit, and hire employees. While big data has the potential to reduce recruiting costs and streamline hiring, these tools also present a host of legal and other business risks. For example, a seemingly neutral algorithm could actually create or perpetuate discrimination based on protected characteristics. Before implementing these tools, employers need to understand how big data impacts the candidate selection process and how to recognize hidden risks that may exist. More >

CPSC Again Pursues Significant Penalties for Untimely Reporting

On November 14, 2016, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that PetSmart, Inc. has agreed to pay a $4.25 million civil penalty for failing to timely report that two of the fish bowl brands it sold had a defect that could create a substantial product hazard or that the fish bowls posed […] More >

Nilan Johnson Lewis Welcomes Lindsay McLaughlin

MINNEAPOLIS (November 1, 2016) – Minneapolis-based law firm Nilan Johnson Lewis is pleased to announce that Lindsay McLaughlin has joined its health care team. Lindsay will be providing advice to health plans and health-care providers on complex state and federal regulatory rules. Her background in health and public policy provides additional insight when working with […] More >

NJL Attorneys Rusert and Cornell Win Jury Trial

Nilan Johnson Lewis (NJL) lawyers, Scott Rusert and Jen Cornell, obtained a resounding defense verdict for their clients from a Washington County jury on a landlord-tenant dispute involving a claim for breach of habitability, along with claims for negligence and unjust enrichment. The case involved allegations of mold in the home. The plaintiffs were seeking a return of all rent paid, personal injury damages, and attorneys’ fees. More >

St. Paul City Council Adopts Paid Sick and Safe Leave Ordinance

On September 7, 2016, the St. Paul City Council adopted a new paid sick and safe leave ordinance. The ordinance was proposed by a special task force appointed by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman and the Council and vetted through the St. Paul Human Rights and Equal Economic Opportunity Commission and several City Council meetings. The ordinance will be effective on July 1, 2017, for employers with 24 or more employees, and on July 1, 2018, for employers with 23 or fewer employees. More >

Dispute Over Arbitration Agreement Deepens Wedge Between Circuit Courts. Supreme Court Next?

On Aug. 22, 2016, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in Morris v. Ernst & Young LLP, joining the 7th Circuit in holding that arbitration agreements precluding all forms of collective or representative actions are unenforceable because they are illegal under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Morris deepens a circuit split that already existed between, on one hand, the 7th Circuit and, on the other, the 2nd, 5th and 8th Circuits, all of which concluded that compulsory individualized arbitration is permissible. More >