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Hartford Business & Commercial Law Blog

Switching to Biometrics May Increase Data Exposure

Passwords and PINs require ever more complexity and become difficult to recall.  As a result, many people take actions that could give rise to a data security concern:  they write them down on a paper near their computer.  Thus, there has been a call from many to switch to biometric data, e.g., fingerprints.  Apple iPhones, for example, have the capacity to let one log in without entering a PIN, by using a fingerprint, and then that fingerprint can also authenticate apps.  [There is a caveat that the PIN must be entered the first time after the phone is restarted.]

L+M Medical Office Building Employees Not Permitted to Join L+M Hospital Union

On October 6, 2014, the NLRB Region 1 Director issued a decision in a matter involving employees of Lawrence & Memorial Hospital and Lawrence & Memorial Medical Group in New London, Connecticut.  See 01-RC-134298.  AFT Connecticut had been seeking to add a group of LPNs and a group of Medical Assistants employed at the nearby L+M Medical Office Building to exiting bargaining units at the hospital.  The Regional Director found that there were sufficient distinctions, including separate human resources departments, different scheduling requirements, separate supervision and little overlap to warrant these groups joining the hospital units.  This is notwithstanding the fact that certain functions, such as payroll administration, were shared or that both entities have a common owner.

Second Circuit Upholds FLSA Class Action Waiver

Connecticut employers should take note that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit on August 9, 2013, issued a ruling upholding a class-action waiver in an employment agreement. In the case in questions, Sunderland v. Ernst & Young, LLP, the employee was making a claim for unpaid overtime wages, asserting that the employer improperly classified her as "exempt" for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act. The district court denied the employer's effort to compel individual arbitration, which had been agreed to by the employee in her original hiring. While on appeal, the U.S. Supreme Court decided American Express Co. v. Italian Colors Restaurant, 133 S.Ct. 2304 (2013). That decision compelled the Second Circuit to reverse the District Court's decision.

The long, winding road of Macy's v JC Penney should soon end

The attorneys for Macy's Inc. and J.C. Penney Co. made their final arguments recently in their contract dispute over rights to Martha Stewart Living merchandise. The parties reconvened after the last of many breaks in the trial that opened in February. While scheduling issues caused most of the delays, the court halted the proceedings at one point -- in March -- so that the retailers could attempt to mediate the matter.

From the tone of the testimony and the behind-the-scenes drama at Penney, though, mediation looked like a long shot to analysts tracking the suit. The interference with contract claim has not only drained Penney's coffers but it has kept the retailer from moving forward with a major in-store merchandising shift, specifically, opening Martha Stewart Living boutiques within the department stores.

Connecticut company sued for breach of contract

A large construction project on a university campus fell behind and cost more to complete because of the actions of a Connecticut subcontractor, a general contracting company claims in recent court filings. The general contractor is suing the Connecticut company for breach of contract and negligence.

The subcontractor cost the project $1.1 million in a number of ways, the complaint asserts. For example, the subcontractor twice caused major property damage, the plaintiff says. The subcontractor's workers dropped one steel column from an upper floor in August 2012 and another in November 2012. While no one was injured, the first incident resulted in damage to a trailer and the second in damage to the sidewalk. Both incidents were indicative of the subcontractor's negligence and failure to follow industry practices, the plaintiff asserts.

Cruise lines will make crime stats public

With the Port Authority of New York/New Jersey's plans to host more big cruise ships at its Bayonne facility, Connecticut residents will be just a short drive away from luxury cruises to exotic locations. That is, of course, if the prospective vacationers can get past the cruise industry's reputation for underplaying the number of crimes and suspicious mishaps that occur aboard their floating hotels.

The January 2012 Costa Concordia disaster sparked renewed interest from the public and Congress in cruise ship safety. A Senate bill would rquire that cruise lines report all crime data to the Department of Transportation; it would also make the department responsible for consumer protection activities related to cruises.

Connecticut businesswoman provides outlet for other entrepreneurs

When a Connecticut woman was laid off from her full-time job, she was given severance pay but needed more. She decided to start her own small business, a line of purses and accessories called Thirty-One Gifts. Expecting this side project to be a part-time gig, she was surprised when the business took off. As more and more work came in, it grew increasingly difficult to continue working out of her home, where her family also lived. She needed a space of her own.

The entrepreneur realized that she was probably not alone. Many women, she thought, were probably in her same position, trying to run a business from their homes while juggling kids, laundry and other tasks. That's when she came up with the idea to open a workspace where women could rent a desk for a few hours or more to focus on work without the distractions that a home can bring.

Legal Liability for Cyber Bullying : Tennessee Case Seeks $1.1 Million in Damages

A case filed in the U.S. District Court in Tennessee illustrates the growing liability risks associated with cyber bullying. The parents of a middle school boy have filed a complaint against the Williamson County Board of Education and thirty-one of their son's classmates.

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