PLDO Law Blog

Deadline for Comments to RI DOH For Proposed Cannabis Testing Laboratories is Jan. 18, 2018

The Rhode Island Department of Health (DOH) intends to stand up cannabis testing facilities, according to the agency's notice on Licensing Analytical Laboratories for Sampling and Testing Medical Marijuana. The public has until the close of business on January 18, 2018 to submit comments on the new proposal, which will also add a new licensing fee of $5,000 per laboratory once the proposed rule becomes law. Comments should be submitted to Paula Pullano at the DOH at 3 Capitol Hill in Providence or by email at paula.pullano@health.ri.gov.

TOP 10 IRS TAX CODE CHANGES YOU CAN EXPECT WITH THE HISTORIC TAX REFORM BILL

To heighten an already exciting time of year, yesterday both Houses of Congress passed a substantial re-write of major portions of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. All that awaits now is the formality of President Trump's signature, which as of this writing has not occurred. However, once the President signs the landmark legislation, Americans can expect changes to the Internal Revenue Code. Only time will tell if the controversial1 and historic tax reform bill will result in a gift to the United States in the form of tax simplification, job creation and a strengthened economy or as some fear, a lump of coal for middle class and low wage earners. With homage to David Letterman, what follows is a summary of 10 of the most significant provisions taxpayers should pay attention to under this new law.

RI Marijuana Cultivators License Application Process Will Not Reopen in 2018

Late last week, the Rhode Island Department of Business Regulation (DBR) announced that the agency will not reopen the licensed cultivator application process in 2018. In the notice, the DBR stated that under its authority it "may modify the licensed cultivator application period each year based on patient and program need. Having considered patient and program need, the Department has determined not to reopen the licensed cultivator application period during the months of January, February and March, 2018."

WORKPLACE SEXUAL HARASSMENT: A PARADIGM SHIFT?

With the seemingly daily news reports of sexual harassment scandals, business owners and investors are starting to realize an inconvenient fact: leaving the problem of workplace sexual harassment to the human resources department or middle-managers may no longer be adequate. Instead, owners and investors are beginning to recognize that they should - and must - use their enormous leverage over companies to demand accountability from the top down.

Family Business Disputes...Like An Awkward Thanksgiving?

Family gatherings at Thanksgiving often bring a mix of emotions: happiness at being re-united with loved ones who may live far away, but also sometimes stress over strained family relationships caused by a myriad of reasons.

Stay Ahead of the Constant Innovations in Cybercrime

Most business owners have been exposed to cybercrime during the past ten years and the rate of attack by these criminals increases daily. Cybercrime includes phishing and spamming, and those performing the criminal act are referred to as "hackers." Cybercrime is sometimes referred to as "computer crime." Although cybercrime is a relatively new phenomenon, many of the same offenses that can be committed with a computer or smart phone, including theft, were formerly committed in person prior to the computer age.

Intern or Employee? Second Circuit Court of Appeals Weighed 7 Considerations In Recent Ruling

A very recent federal case highlights the rules of the road when employers utilize interns. Wang v. Hearst Corp., No. 16-3302, (2d Cir. Dec. 8, 2017). The case was brought by a group of unpaid interns that participated in a for-credit internship program that Hearst operated at its various magazine offices. The interns alleged that they should have been paid minimum wage for the hours worked, pointing to the "menial and repetitive" nature of their tasks, Hearst's failure to provide close supervision or guidance, and the absence of much formal training. However, the Court of Appeals rejected the claim that the interns should have been paid for time spent at the employer's various work sites. In doing so, the court weighed the following seven considerations:

IS MORBID OBESITY A "DISABILITY" UNDER THE ADA?

The answer to the question of whether morbid obesity is a disability continues to be: "sometimes." Because a Chicago Transit Authority bus driver who weighed over 500 pounds offered no evidence of any underlying physiological disorder or condition that caused his severe obesity, a federal district court in Illinois denied his motion for partial summary judgment on the issue of whether his obesity constituted a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA"). And because he did not allege a physical impairment within the meaning of the ADA, he failed to show that the transit authority regarded him as having a qualifying physical impairment. Richardson v. Chicago Transit Authority, C.A. No. 16-cv-3027 (N.D.Ill. November 13, 2017).

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION LIKELY TO PROPOSE CHANGES TO THE FLSA'S SALARY BASIS TEST

While the Trump Administration has effectively blocked the Obama Administration's plan to increase the salary standard for exempt status, its next moves are far from clear. In Nevada v. Dep't of Labor, C.A. No. 4:16-CV-731-ALM (E.D. Tex 2017 Aug. 31, 2017), the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas granted summary judgment against the Department of Labor ("DOL") in a claim challenging the Obama Administration's proposed changes to the salary basis test required for an employee to be exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act ("FLSA") overtime requirement. The Obama Administration had proposed raising the minimum salary threshold for exempt status from $455 per week to $913 per week. The State of Nevada and twenty other states successfully challenged DOL's proposed changes and ultimately succeeded in blocking their implementation. On August 31, 2017, the District Court granted summary judgment and held that the DOL's proposed final rule regarding the salary basis test exceeded the DOL's authority, and was therefore invalid.

TRUE DEADLOCK: A LESSON IN DODGING BULLETS

Deadlock. Impasse. Stalemate. There are few words more dreaded to a corporate director (except maybe "SEC investigation"). What to do when the power brokers in a company just can't agree is a problem that plagues business planning experts and litigators alike. Spoiler alert: there are ways to dodge the bullet of corporate deadlock by way of savvy business planning. But what happens when directors are already at the point of no return?

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