Robinson+Cole welcomes 13 new lawyers who joined the firm over the last several months in its offices in Connecticut, Florida, Massachusetts, and New York. The lawyers bring additional breadth to a number of our corporate practices, including business transactions, data privacy, employee benefits and compensation, finance, health law, labor and employment, insurance and reinsurance, real estate and development, and tax.
"Robinson+Cole continues to draw high-caliber talent to our practices, and we are thrilled to welcome these latest additions to our firm," said Stephen E. Goldman, Robinson+Cole's managing partner. "They bring valuable and diverse experiences with them that will allow us to continue to provide the high level of service our clients expect and also to offer new insights and perspectives to the legal challenges our clients face."
The Connecticut Bar Foundation has elected Robinson+Cole partner Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson as a 2016 James W. Cooper Fellow. Ms. Cole-Johnson was honored at a reception at the New Haven Law Club on May 3, 2016, along with the other newly elected Fellows. The Connecticut Bar Foundation James W. Cooper Fellows Program was established to honor the leading members of the legal profession and the Judiciary in Connecticut, to promote a better understanding of the legal profession and the judicial system, and to explore ways to improve the profession and the administration of justice in Connecticut. Membership in the Fellows is by invitation only and is evidence of professional distinction. Forty-one Fellows were elected this year.
The number one worry of general counsel and corporate leaders is IT/cybersecurity according to the recent "Law in the Boardroom" study by Corporate Board Member and FTI Consulting. Richard M. Borden, who recently joined Robinson+Cole's expanding Data Privacy + Security Team in the firm's Hartford office, has an inside understanding of these concerns, as he previously served as the chief privacy officer and chief information security privacy counsel of Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) and senior vice president and assistant general counsel at Bank of America. Read more in the full release.
Kathryn M. Rattigan has been appointed vice chair of the Massachusetts Bar Association's (MBA) Health Law Section Council. The health law council is part of the Health Law Section, which works to enhance the professional competence of lawyers dealing with health care issues through seminars and publications.
Ms. Rattigan is a business litigation lawyer in Robinson+Cole's Providence office.
In the webinar "Airbnb & Zoning: A Planner & Lawyer's Guide to Short-Term Rentals," Dwight H. Merriam discussed the legal and economic issues surround Airbnb. As part of a panel discussion sponsored by the American Planning Association's Planning and Law Division, Mr. Merriam and his co-presenters provided insight into the common pitfalls that local governments run into when trying to regulate short-term rentals; the best practices for incorporating local housing and community development objectives into short-term rental regulation; the challenges of monitoring compliance with, and enforcing, short-term rental regulations; and the best ways to overcome the compliance and enforcement challenges. His co-presenters were Troy Flanagan of the American Hotel and Lodging Association; George Proakis, director of planning for the City of Somerville, Massachusetts; and Ulrik Binzer, CEO of Host Compliance. The moderator was Leonard Cohen of Pace Law School. Click here, here, here, and here to view the materials for the session.
In a blog post written for The Huffington Post, data privacy and security lawyer Richard M. Borden co-authored the post "Burning Down the House: Why is a Cyber Attack Different from a Fire Under the Law?" with Daniel B. Garrie, adjunct professor of law at Cardozo School of Law. Published on June 9, 2016, the article delves into the lack of urgency associated with the threat of a cyber incident, as opposed to the threat of a fire. Fire safety is regulated at the federal and state level; there is no clear guidance or regulation on how to prevent or respond to a cyber-attack. Please click here to read the article and find out what companies need to do to face cyber-attacks head-on.
Robinson+Cole finance lawyer Michael F. Maglio recently co-authored the "Connecticut Commercial Lending Law" chapter in the book Commercial Lending Law: A Jurisdiction-by-Jurisdiction Guide to U.S. and Canadian Law (Second Edition, 2016). The chapter provides commercial lenders and businesses doing business in the State of Connecticut with an overview of various aspects of Connecticut commercial lending law. The book is a publication of the Commercial Finance Committee of the Business Law Section of the American Bar Association and is the second edition of the book, which was originally published in 2009. Mr. Maglio co-authored the "Connecticut Commercial Lending Law" chapter of the first edition as well. Robinson+Cole lawyers W. Richard Smith, Steven J. Boyajian, and Christopher J. Hug provided valuable assistance to Mr. Maglio for the second edition.
The Connecticut Bar Association's Energy, Public Utility, and Communications Law Section recently elected Alexander W. Judd to the position of secretary. The section consists of over 110 members and seeks to promote the educational and professional objectives of the Connecticut Bar Association within the general fields of energy, utility, and communications law. Specifically, it offers its members a forum for discussion and an exchange of ideas relating to energy, utility, and telecommunications law; educates the bar and the public on energy, utility, and telecommunications matters; and works to improve the public utility regulatory process.
Exempt organizations lawyer Carly Leinheiser, resident in Robinson+Cole's New York City office, has accepted an appointment to serve on the New York City Bar Association's Non-Profit Organizations Committee. She will begin a three-year term starting in September 2016. The committee focuses on the legal problems of not-for-profit corporations and other nonprofit organizations.
Ms. Leinheiser counsels public charities, private foundations, and social enterprises and advises clients on corporate formation and governance, tax-exempt compliance, business transactions, charitable solicitation and cause marketing, and strategies regarding unrelated business income tax, impact investing, and grant-making, among other areas.
Linn F. Freedman, chair of Robinson+Cole's Data Privacy + Security Team, was quoted in DataGuidance's Privacy This Week in the article "Illinois: "Pushback by privacy advocates halts BIPA amendments." The article addresses the hold placed on a proposal to amend the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act 2008 (BIPA) as well as Facebook's class action regarding facial recognition technology. In terms of two key changes proposed by the amendments and how they relate to the Facebook class action litigation, Ms. Freedman states, "The two changes […] make it crystal clear that photographs were not intended to be included in the definition of biometric information protected by the law and make it clear that the law protects biometric data derived from a scan and not a photograph …." To read the complete article, please click here.
Business litigation and bankruptcy and creditors' rights lawyers Patrick M. Birney and Andrew A. DePeau wrote the article "Unharnessing the Governmental-Unit Stay Exception: SEC v. Miller" for the May 2016 issue of the American Bankruptcy Institute Journal (ABI Journal). Overall, the article reviews the government exception to the automatic stay provision under § 326(a) of the Bankruptcy Code. In more detail, it provides a primer on the government exception, a discussion of the three-factor Brennan test, and an analysis of the Second Circuit's decision in SEC v. Miller. Please click here for more in-depth information on the topic.
Mr. Birney serves as a contributing editor of the ABI Journal.
Robinson+Cole was a sponsor of the 2016 Connecticut Green Circle Sustainability Awards. The winners of the awards were recognized at a presentation held at Infinity Hall in Hartford, Connecticut, on May 23, 2016. The Hartford Business Journal and the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection teamed up to present the awards, which recognize businesses that take a coordinated and holistic approach to reduce their environmental impact and the resource demands of their operations and activities. Firm lawyers in attendance were Joey Lee Miranda, Brian C. Freeman, Dwight H. Merriam, and Martin A. Onorato. Please click here to view the full list of winners and finalists listed on the Hartford Business Journal's website. Click here to view photos from the event.
Governor Dannel Malloy was on hand to break ground on Phase I of the Millport Apartments Project in New Canaan on June 1, 2016. The project, which adds 33 units of affordable housing to the Housing Authority (Authority) of the Town of New Canaan's property on Millport Avenue, is one of several housing projects financed by the Authority with the assistance of Robinson+Cole's Public Finance Group. This project included tax-exempt bond financing in the form of a direct placement with Bankwell Bank, low-income housing tax credits purchased by People's United Bank, and a contribution from the Town's Housing Fund, which is funded by a portion of developer permit fees. In his remarks, Authority Chair Scott Hobbs specifically mentioned the firm's efforts on this project. Click here to view a picture at the site's groundbreaking ceremony.
As part of its pro bono efforts to support affordable housing in Connecticut, Robinson+Cole has represented the Authority for approximately 20 years at reduced rates.
Robinson+Cole was a sponsor of the George W. Crawford Black Bar Association's 2016 Annual Dinner, held on May 19, 2016, in Hartford, Connecticut. The Honorable Alvin W. Thompson, a former managing partner at Robinson+Cole, was presented with Crawford's Trailblazer Award. Firm turnout marked an all-time high, with the following people in attendance: Stephen E. Goldman, Keisha S. Palmer, David M. Panico, Kelly Frye Barnett, Joshua S. Mirer, Joey Lee Miranda, Andrea Donovan Napp, Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson, Dwight H. Merriam, Christie D. Jean, Sandra Marin, John B. Lynch, Jr., Michael R. Enright, incoming summer associate Je’Quana Orr, Richard Martinez, Brian C. Freeman, and Natale v. Di Natale.
The George W. Crawford Black Bar Association, a statewide volunteer organization of attorneys, judges, and law students in Connecticut, represents the collective body of black attorneys in the state, including both the criminal and civil bar, public and private sector employees, law firms, and corporate and nonprofit affiliations.
Environmental and utilities lawyer George W. Watson III has been elected to Grow Smart RI's Board of Directors for a three-year term. Grow Smart Rhode RI's mission is to promote equitable economic growth by advocating for compact development in revitalized urban, town, and village centers balanced with responsible stewardship of the region's natural assets. The Board of Directors are charged with helping Grow Smart RI achieve its mission.
As part of the 70th anniversary of the University of North Carolina's (UNC) Department of City and Regional Planning (DCRP), land use lawyer Dwight H. Merriam participated in the panel discussion "Planning for a Digital Age" on April 16, 2016. His co-panelists were Christa Wagner Vinson of the City of Charlotte's Office of Energy & Sustainability; Corey Teague, assistant zoning administrator of San Francisco's Planning Department; and Matt Tomasulo, entrepreneurial designer, civic instigator, and founder of Walk [your city], all DCRP alums. Also attending the anniversary celebration as an alum was land use lawyer Matthew J. Lawlor.
Mr. Merriam received his master of regional planning from UNC DCRP in 1974. Mr. Lawlor received his degree in 1994.
Linn F. Freedman presented at the Massachusetts Bar Association's 16th Annual Health Law Symposium, held on May 20, 2016. Her presentation, entitled "Data Breach Class Action Litigation Update," covered the history of class action case law, recent cases that have changed the landscape of data breach class action lawsuits, and trends and predictions going forward. Also in attendance was Kathryn M. Rattigan, who was the program co-chair.
Ms. Freedman is chair of Robinson+Cole's Data Privacy + Security Team.
Land use lawyer Sorell E. Negro presented at the World Jurist Association Conference in Barcelona, Spain, on May 20, 2016. The conference's theme was "The Internet: Challenges to Peace and Freedom." Ms. Negro discussed opportunities and challenges related to the use of electronic information and social media in international land use cases and recent developments in case law regarding government regulation of social media in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 decision in Reed v. Gilbert. Also on Ms. Negro's panel were Ben Griffith of the Griffith Law Firm in Oxford, Mississippi; Sven Kohlmeier, attorney and member of the Deputy's Chamber of Berlin; and Agustin Cerrillo, professor of administrative law at Universitat Oberta de Catalunya. Click here for Ms. Negro's PowerPoint and here for her paper on the topic.
Land use lawyer Evan J. Seeman published the article "Defining Religious Exercise" in the Legal Lessons column of the May 2016 issue of Planning magazine, a publication of the American Planning Association (APA). In the article, Mr. Seeman asks the question: What establishes religious exercise under the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA)? The answer is not always apparent, especially when mixed-use proposals combine clear religious uses with secular uses. Mr. Seeman examines the case Chabad Lubavitch of Litchfield County, Inc. v. Borough of Litchfield to find answers for planners and local zoning agencies facing difficult situations that relate to that question. His conclusion is to closely scrutinize religious entity projects and use caution in defining religious uses. Please click here to view the entire article.
Mr. Seeman is secretary-treasurer of the APA's Planning and Law Division.
Employee benefits lawyer Virginia E. McGarrity presented at the Connecticut Society of CPAs' (CTCPA) Employee Benefit Plans Conference on May 25, 2016, in Rocky Hill, Connecticut. In the session "Fiduciary Update: Best Practices in Light of Recent Court Cases," Ms. McGarrity spoke about the impact of recent court decisions and government actions on retirement plans and their fiduciaries. In addition, she discussed the lawsuits relating to 401(k) plan investment options and the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule.
Linn F. Freedman, chair of Robinson+Cole's Data Privacy + Security Team, is featured in the Brown University Executive Master in Cybersecurity podcast "Rise of the Third-Party Vendor Threat," released on May 12, 2016. Her insights in the session confirm the recent release of a Ponemon Institute report, Risk in the Third-Party Ecosystem, which found that a shocking number of companies do not think that a third-party vendor would notify them of a data breach. In the podcast, Ms. Freedman discusses the magnitude of the third-party vendor threat and the need for every business to develop and implement a vendor management program.
Health law lawyers Meaghan Mary Cooper and Conor O. Duffy wrote the article "New Guidance for Health Care Program Exclusions" for the May 2, 2016, edition of the Connecticut Law Tribune's special Health Law Section. In the article, Ms. Cooper and Mr. Duffy discuss the new policy statement that the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) published on April 18, 2016, that outlines the OIG's authority to exclude individuals and entities from participating in Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal health care programs because of fraudulent or abusive conduct. In particular, the article covers these topics: the exclusion presumption, alternative remedies, OIG risk factors, and takeaways for providers. To find out more about their analysis, please click here to view the article.
Finance lawyer Norman H. Roos published the article "It Is Time For the Mortgage Industry and Its Regulators to Move On and Leave the Crash Behind," featured in the Hartford Courant's HomeFinder supplement, published an May 13, 2016. The article may be of interest to people who are thinking of buying or selling a home. Mr. Roos analyzes the good and bad news for the mortgage industry. He states that, in his view, legislators and regulators need to change their focus from fixing the problems of 2008 to looking to the future "to sustain a healthy mortgage market that will allow consumers—especially Millennials—to participate in the dream of homeownership." To find out more, click here to read the article.
Mr. Roos is chair of Robinson+Cole's Finance Group and counsel to the Connecticut Mortgage Bankers Association.
Linn F. Freedman's article "Sharing cyber vulnerabilities with the government" was published in the May 2016 issue of Financier Worldwide. The article examines the pros and cons of private industry sharing cyber intrusion information with the government in light of the recent increased sophistication of cyber intrusions. Ms. Freedman concludes that companies need to consider the pros and cons of sharing cyber intrusion information with the government in each instance before deciding whether to provide data security incident information and vulnerabilities with the government. Overall, the more the government and private industry can work together and learn from each other, the better we can combat the widespread problem of cyber intrusions and help prevent others from becoming victims. Please click here to read the article.
Ms. Freedman is chair of the Data Privacy + Security Team at Robinson+Cole and lead author of the Data Privacy + Security Insider blog.
Land use lawyers Evan J. Seeman and Brian R. Smith wrote an article for the Spring 2016 issue of Connecticut Planning, a publication of the Connecticut Chapter of the American Planning Association, based on their experience representing a Connecticut soup kitchen in the local zoning process and subsequent federal litigation. In the article "Five Tips for Planners and Planning Commissioners Reviewing Religious Land Use Applications," Mr. Seeman and Mr. Smith discuss lessons learned in their experience and provide a handful of tips for land use agencies reviewing applications for proposed religious uses. Click here to read the entire article.
Litigation partner Daniel F. Sullivan was invited by representatives of the Connecticut Office of the Chief State's Attorney to present at the Connecticut Fire Academy's annual Advanced Fire Training Session on May 4, 2016. Mr. Sullivan spoke on "Cross Examination of Experts" to a group of state and local fire marshals as part of a day-long session on various aspects of the litigation process. He shared his experience in cross-examination of experts in fire cases, offered insight into his thinking as he prepares for this cross-examination, discussed various grounds on which expert opinions are challenged, and offered advice for preparation and testimony in a fire case.
Leslie J. Levinson moderated the webinar "Health Care Services M&A 101 Round Table" on May 5, 2016. The panelists, Darby Anderson, chief business development and strategy officer at Addus HealthCare; Burk Lindsey, managing director at Raymond James; and John Pouschine, co-founder and managing member of Pouschine Cook Capital Management, discussed the current state of the M&A market for health care services, focusing on valuation, regulatory compliance, and due diligence; where most deals are impeded; and where to invest the most time and effort to close a deal.
Mr. Levinson is a health law and business transactions partner in Robinson+Cole's New York office.
Real estate development lawyers Brian W. Blaesser and Sorell E. Negro have published an article in the Spring 2016 issue of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) publication, Shopping Center Law & Strategy, entitled "Electric Vehicle Charging Stations—Retail Primer Update." The article is an update from a two-part article the attorneys had published in the Retail Law Strategist in 2013. This new article discusses subsequent developments in state policies toward EV charging stations and the types of zoning permits typically required for installing EV charging stations. It also provides tips on how to navigate these regulatory requirements and to take advantage of benefits and incentives that might be offered. The article also discusses the importance of estimating consumer demand for EV charging stations and considerations relevant to deciding what level of charging station to provide, as the answer may not be the same for every retailer. Both Mr. Blaesser and Ms. Negro are members of the firm's Sustainability Practice Group. Mr. Blaesser is a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP BD+C). To read the article, please click here.
To celebrate its 95th anniversary serving the Greater Hartford community, the Junior League of Hartford held its first-ever JLH Volunteerathon Friday, May 6, through Saturday, May 7, 2016. For 26.2 hours around the clock, JLH members volunteered in shifts at various local nonprofit agencies, helping with everything from organizing books and historical records, to painting, planting gardens, setting up events, and working directly with the clients the organizations serve. Robinson+Cole lawyers Meaghan Mary Cooper and Taylor A. Shea, and staff member Jessica Gagnon, are members of the Junior League of Hartford and participated in the event that not only served local agencies but also was a fundraiser for the JLH's community programs and projects, currently focused on Empowering Women and Girls to Overcome Obstacles.
Ms. Cooper volunteered at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore late Friday night and at HARC on Saturday morning, Ms. Shea did two shifts at My Sister's Place on Friday evening, and Ms. Gagnon volunteered at Hartford's Riverfront Recapture, HARC, and The Clothes Horse on Saturday. Other organizations benefiting from the Volunteerathon included Gifts of Love, Hartford's Camp Courant, Junior Achievement, the New Children's Museum, the John J. Driscoll United Labor Agency's Labor of Love Backpack Program, and YWCA Hartford. Click here to see pictures.
A total of 12 Robinson+Cole lawyers were recognized in the inaugural Women in the Law issue of Best Lawyers Spring Business Edition.
Joey Lee Miranda, environmental and utilities lawyer in the Hartford office, was recognized as the 2016 Best Lawyers® "Lawyer of the Year" in the area of Environmental Law. This award is bestowed on individual lawyers with the highest overall peer feedback for a specific practice area and geographic location, with just one lawyer recognized for each specialty and location.
The "2016 Women in the Law" listing features the women lawyers honored as 2016 Best Lawyers® by practice area and location. Those recognized in this special feature include the following:
Real estate development partner Brian W. Blaesser was invited by the National Association of Homebuilders (NAHB) to present at NAHB's annual LANDS (Legal Action Network for Development Strategies) Conference in Washington, DC, on April 15, 2016. Mr. Blaesser spoke on "Mandatory Inclusionary Zoning," a local government regulatory technique that requires housing developers to dedicate a certain percentage of their constructed projects to low- or moderate-income housing. A mandatory inclusionary zoning (IZ) program may couple its mandate with incentives such as density bonuses and reduced parking requirements but typically requires that the developer either dedicate a percentage of the number of units in the development project to low- or moderate-income households, construct the equivalent number of affordable units off-site, or pay a fee in lieu of constructing the units. State homebuilder associations and other real estate development organizations have challenged mandatory IZ as an unconstitutional exaction. Mandatory IZ became particularly controversial in the past year in light of the California Supreme Court's decision in California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose, 351 P.3d 974 (2015), holding that the city's mandatory IZ ordinance was not an exaction but rather a form of price control imposed for the general welfare and therefore subject only to the rational basis standard applicable to legislatively imposed land use regulations. Mr. Blaesser discusses the San Jose case in the most recent edition of his book Discretionary Land Use Controls (Thomson-Reuters: 18th ed. 2015).
Katherine C. Bailey moderated a panel of planning ethics professionals at the webinar "Planning Ethics – Dealing With Problem Boards and Board Members," sponsored by the American Planning Association's (APA) chapters and divisions, on April 29, 2016. The speakers, Nancy Letendre, AICP; Bob Mitchell, FAICP; and Kristin Kassner, AICP, discussed situations where a board member or an entire board "goes rogue," acting unethically or even illegally. The session explored such instances through video scenarios, discussion among the panelists, and audience participation through interactive polling. The panel also discussed recent changes to the AICP Code of Ethics.
Ms. Bailey is a land use lawyer in Robinson+Cole's Boston office.
Health law lawyer Theodore J. Tucci wrote the article "The New Frontiers of Healthcare Batchclaim Liability," published in the April 2016 issue of PLUS Journal. Along with his co-author, Kristin McMahon, chief claims officer at IronHealth, Mr. Tucci discusses types of batch claims and legal theories that support them, a case study about the New England Compounding Center, regulatory fraud and abuse, macro trends, financial batch claims, and risk management strategies.
PLUS Journal, a publication of the Professional Liability Underwriting Society, is a source for professional liability education and networking.
Construction lawyer Keane E. Aures recently attended two Construction Institute (CI) events. He participated in the CI's Young Professional Event, held on March 10, 2016. Attendees worked with the executive director to formulate and shape the direction of the organization's Young Professionals section.
On April 21,2016, Mr. Aures took part in the Construction Institute's 7th Annual Visionaries Forum, held at Yale University. Click here to see him introducing one of the speakers for this event. This forum celebrates innovation by bringing together pioneers who are shaping the future of design, construction, and management for the A/E/C industry.
Lawyers in Robinson+Cole's Land Use Group attended the American Planning Association's (APA) National Planning Conference in Phoenix, Arizona, held from April 2 to 4, 2016. Evan J. Seeman, Dwight H. Merriam, FAICP, and Brian R. Smith served as panelists.
The April 3 sessions included the following:
The April 4 sessions included the following:
On the lighter side, Robinson+Cole and the Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Northern New England chapters of the APA jointly hosted the New England Planning Reception on April 3. Held at Mother Bunch Brewing in Phoenix, conference attendees had a chance to network and relax. Karla L. Chaffee and Katherine C. Bailey helped to plan the event.
Linn F. Freedman, chair of Robinson+Cole's Data Privacy + Security Team, presented on cybersecurity at Brown University's School of Professional Studies on May 3, 2016, in Providence, Rhode Island. In the session "Recent Trends in Cyber Intrusions — A View from the Insiders," Ms. Freedman, along with her co-panelists, Peter F. Neronha, U.S. attorney for the District of Rhode Island; David C. Aaron, trial attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice National Security Division, Counterintelligence & Export Control Section; an FBI cybercrimes agent; and a Secret Service agent discussed calls for public-private partnerships to share details about cyber intrusions to combat aggressive and overwhelming compromises of government and private company data.
The Connecticut Hispanic Bar Association (CHBA) recently announced its new board members for the 2016–2017 year. Labor and employment lawyer Sandra Marin was elected and employee benefits lawyer Virginia E. McGarrity was reelected to the association's Board of Directors. Ms. Marin served as treasurer of the CHBA board for the 2015-2016 year. Ms. McGarrity is a former CHBA president.
The CHBA's goal is to enhance the visibility of Hispanic lawyers throughout Connecticut, to facilitate communication and sharing of information and resources among its members, to mentor new attorneys and law students, and to help the public and private sectors achieve diversity in their law firms and legal departments. In addition, the CHBA assists the Hispanic community in gaining access to the courts, achieving judicial diversity, and facing social challenges.