Business Litigation Group lawyer Benjamin C. Jensen was selected by the Hartford Business Journal for inclusion in its 2019 “40 Under Forty” class. Ben was honored during a special event at East Hartford’s Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field on September 26, 2019. The Hartford Business Journal's 2019 “40 Under Forty” class showcases a diversity of up-and-coming professionals who are leading their organizations in sectors that include the legal, technology, insurance, real estate, banking and nonprofit arenas, and from organizations both small and large. They represent the promising future of the city, region, and state, and were selected from among more than 175 nominees. Read more and view a photo in the press release.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group Chair Kenneth C. Baldwin has been elected to the board of directors of SCG Legal, an international network of leading law firms. Ken will serve a three-year term ending in 2022. Robinson+Cole is a founding member of SCG Legal, an association of more than 140 independent law firms with nearly 12,000 lawyers serving businesses in all 50 U.S. state capital cities and in capital cities and major commercial centers around the world. Read more in the press release.
Finance Team lawyer Norman H. Roos has been elected president of the American College of Mortgage Attorneys (ACMA) for the 2019-2020 term. Norm was installed during the ACMA Annual Meeting on September 7, 2019 in Monterey, California. Also in attendance were Real Estate + Development Group lawyers Candace M. Cunningham and Amanda S. Eckhoff. Candace was appointed co-chair of the ACMA Title Insurance Committee. She also served as the moderator and a panelist for a program titled "The New (and Improved?) ALTA Title Policies: Are You Ready for Them?" Mandy was installed as an ACMA Fellow. Read more and view a photo in the press release.
57 Robinson+Cole lawyers were selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2020. Of the 57 lawyers from across the firm’s practice groups and offices named to the list, 44 are from Connecticut. The firm continues to have the highest number of recognized lawyers in the state. Robinson+Cole also has the highest number of listed lawyers in Connecticut in the areas of environmental law, insurance law, and litigation-construction.
Additionally, the following four lawyers were named the Best Lawyers® 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” in Hartford, Connecticut, in the noted practice areas: Thomas P. Cody in Real Estate Law, Michael R. Enright in Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law, John B. Lynch Jr. in Mergers and Acquisitions Law, and Theodore J. Tucci in Insurance Law. Kathleen M. Porter was also named a Best Lawyers® 2020 “Lawyer of the Year” in Boston, Massachusetts, in the area of Information Technology Law. Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole is pleased to announce the addition of Kenneth A. Sherman and Virginia K. Trunkes as counsel in the firm’s Construction practice. Mr. Sherman joins the firm’s Boston office and Ms. Trunkes is resident in the firm’s New York office.
“Ken and Virginia are welcome additions to our accomplished group of skilled construction litigators and transactional lawyers. Especially, in two highly active markets where our Group, and the firm, is focused on continuing to strengthen its presence,” said R+C Construction Law Group Chair, Gregory R. Faulkner. “Their hands-on experience is an added value to our practice and further enhances our collective ability to provide the best service to our clients in both of these strategic markets.” Read more in the press release.
Litigation Section Co-chair Rhonda J. Tobin has been named one of Benchmark Litigation’s Top 250 Women in Litigation for 2019. In this national list published on August 1, 2019, Ms. Tobin is the only female litigator chosen in the state of Connecticut. This is the fifth consecutive year she has received the distinction. Read more in the press release.
Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Group lawyer Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson, has been selected for inclusion among the Lawyers of Color’s inaugural Nation’s Best in the Eastern Region. Honorees were selected for their prominence and distinction in their field, their noteworthy accomplishments, and their commitment to advancing diversity and inclusion in the legal profession. Read more in the press release.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team Chair Linn F. Freedman provided comment to Providence Business News and Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly on recent ransomware attacks and GDPR compliance. In the Providence Business News article published on October 4, 2019, “Hackers targeting municipalities, states” Linn acknowledges that municipalities are in an “especially vulnerable space” for ransomware attacks. “’They just don’t have the appropriate resources,’ using money instead on technology that will provide defensive measures in hopes hackers will be caught before they get to employees,” she said. Read the article.
Additionally, Linn was interviewed for the Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly article “Companies lagging in GDPR compliance, survey finds” published on October 10, 2019. The story focused on a recent survey of more than 1,200 organizations in the U.S., Europe, China and Japan which found that an average of one out of four companies in each country reported having a “low degree of confidence in their readiness to respond to a data breach covered by GDPR.” Although General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect May 25, 2018, Linn says “’myths’ about the reach of GDPR have confused company decision-makers in making a commitment to compliance with the EU regulation.” “I’ve been finding that some companies assume that GDPR doesn’t apply to them, so they don’t even check if they have to comply,” she said. Read the article.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyers Earl W. Phillips Jr. and Jonathan H. Schaefer co-authored the article “Don't Let a Nuisance Claim Become a Nuisance,” published in the September/October 2019 issue of Scrap, the bimonthly magazine of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries. The article covers what a nuisance is, how to avoid nuisance claims, and handling a nuisance claim in a non-adversarial manner.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team lawyer Linn Freedman was quoted in the article “Smaller Medical Providers Get Burned by Ransomware“ published in The Wall Street Journal on October 6, 2019. The article covers the increase in ransomware attacks on doctors, dentists and community hospitals around the U.S., causing some to turn away patients and others to shut down permanently. "Some small health-care organizations don’t have the money to bounce back from a cyberattack,“ said Linn. Read the article.
Business Litigation Group lawyer John F. X. Peloso Jr. and Real Estate + Development Group lawyer Evan J. Seeman co-authored the article “Avoiding and Defending Against RLUIPA Claims” published in the “Government Practice” special issue of Practical Law’s The Journal. The feature article explains how municipalities can effectively avoid and defend against RLUIPA claims. In particular, it provides an overview of regulation of religious land use, examines claims made against municipalities under RLUIPA, describes RLUIPA’s safe harbor provision, and offers guidance on counseling municipal officials on RLUIPA’s requirements. View the full article. © 2019 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyers Megan E. Baroni and Jonathan H. Schaefer co-authored the article “OSHA approves new respirator fit testing protocols,” published by Industrial Safety & Hygiene News on October 2, 2019. The piece focuses on the recent final rule issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which approves two additional quantitative fit testing protocols for inclusion in appendix A of the Respiratory Protection Standard. “Both protocols are variations of the original OSHA-approved ambient aerosol [condensation nuclei counter] CNC protocol, but have fewer test exercises, shorter exercise duration, and a more streamlined sampling sequence.” Read the full article.
Insurance + Reinsurance Group lawyer Denis J. O’Malley authored the article “The Southern District Finds Unambiguous Policy Language Controls NYU’s Superstorm Sandy Claim,” published in the October issue of Insurance & Risk Management, a quarterly newsletter from the Society of Financial Service Professionals. The article, republished from Robinson+Cole’s Property Insurance Coverage Insights blog, covers the March 2019 decision from the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York granting an insurer’s motion for summary judgment in a case arising from Superstorm Sandy based on unambiguous policy language providing a significantly lower limit of liability for losses resulting from flood damage. “The decision demonstrates how unambiguous policy language may literally make a billion dollar difference in coverage.” Read the full article.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyer James P. Ray was quoted in the article “Limited Legal Impact Predicted From Court’s OK of PFAS Case” published by Bloomberg Environment on October 2, 2019. The article covers a recent decision from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio denying motions to dismiss filed by 3M Co., DowDuPont, and other manufacturers of PFAS-containing fire-fighting foam to which the plaintiff, a former firefighter, was exposed. While the plaintiff’s claims survived the motions to dismiss, the bigger issue still to be decided is whether the case will be certified as a class action, given the broad definition of the proposed class, including anybody in the United States “with detectable levels of PFAS materials in their blood serum.” “Parts of the decision will be relevant, but I don’t know that I would characterize them as so significant as to have huge implications in the other cases,” said Jim. Read the full article.
Intellectual Property + Technology Group lawyer Maria A. Scungio was quoted in the article “‘Never rest’: strategies for handling trademark fair use” published by Managing IP on September 17, 2019. The article covers the panel discussion titled “Describe your best defense: trade mark infringement or not?” presented during the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property (known as AIPPI) World Congress in London. Ms. Scungio was among the panelists who shared case studies and strategies for brand owners when faced with a claim of fair use as a defense, and for asserting the defense persuasively. During the program, she talked about the “factors that the court considers,” which include whether products have been competing with each other, how pervasive the presence of the respective products is in the market and how long each product has been available. Read the full article.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyers Megan E. Baroni and Jonathan H. Schaefer co-authored the article “Falling Down on the Job: OSHA Violations Carry Tremendous Costs,” published by Construction Executive on September 5, 2019. The piece focuses on the Occupational Safety and Health Act’s (OSHA) fall protection standard for construction, the most cited OSHA violation in the country, which in some recent years, has accounted for more than one-third of workplace deaths. The article covers fall protection requirements, including training; recent notable citations; multi-employer worksite policy; and offers standard fall protection tips. Read the full article.
Construction Law Group lawyer Virginia K. Trunkes was among those selected by the New York Real Estate Journal to be featured in the publication’s annual “Women in Real Estate” spotlight, which recognizes the achievements of women engaged in specialized real estate industries. In the Q&A spotlight, Ginger discusses her favorite motivational quote, one of her biggest accomplishments in the last 12 months, and the podcasts and books she recommends to women. Read the full article.
Transactional Health Law Group co-chair Leslie J. Levinson was quoted in the article “Well Care Health CEO: We’re Pushing the Envelope of Care Innovation” published in Home Health Care News on September 12, 2019. The article uses Well Care Health as an example of how “a number of previously one-dimensional companies have evolved into ‘one-stop shops,’ or integrated businesses that offer an array of complementary services” in order to stay "competitive in today’s post-acute care landscape." “For somebody who’s been in the space a long time, this trend is very interesting,” said Les. “Twenty or so years ago, you had one-stop-shop models that people were trying to promote, pitching to managed care companies. But the market just wasn’t quite in tune enough to make that succeed.” Read the full article.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team Chair Linn F. Freedman provided comment to The Wall Street Journal, Connecticut Public Radio, and OneTrust DataGuidance regarding a number of recent data breaches and ransomware attacks. In the article “Delta Sues Chatbot Provider Over 2017 Breach” published by The Wall Street Journal on August 16, 2019, Linn comments on the decision made by Delta Air Lines Inc. to file a lawsuit against an artificial-intelligence company that powered a chatbot on the carrier’s website, accusing it of lax cybersecurity that caused a 2017 data breach. “You can’t just come out with both barrels pointed because in the immediate aftermath of a security incident, everybody is trying to figure out what happened,” she said.
Additionally, Linn was among the guests on Connecticut Public Radio’s (WNPR) call-in talk show, Where We Live on September 3, 2019. In the wake of Wolcott Public School system computers being attacked by ransomware, she discussed how municipalities and school systems are more susceptible to cyber risk. “…It’s well-known that counties, municipalities, and school systems have not put the budget in effect and upgraded systems, so they have legacy systems or they have systems that are unable to be patched, so hackers know that the resources are limited and therefore, these governmental entities are at high risk.”
She also provided comment in the article “International: Capital One data breach shows companies 'can’t put their data in the cloud and then wash their hands of it'” published in the OneTrust DataGuidance Privacy This Week newsletter on August 8, 2019. "Configuring firewalls for data storage, either on premises or in the cloud, is one of those basic security measures to consider and implement," said Linn.
Transactional Health Law Group co-chair Leslie J. Levinson was quoted in the article “Lack of Scalable Home Care Assets Means Buyers May Have to Get Creative'” published in Home Health Care News on August 25, 2019. The article uses the recent agreement between Amedisys Inc. and ClearCare Inc., which allows Amedisys to grow a personal care network through a partnership model instead of direct acquisition, as an example of how buyers are getting creative in their approach to growing their home care footprint. “This certainly may be an alternative way [to] sort of get deeper into the personal care space when there’s a lack of acquisition targets out there,” said Les. Read the full article.
Insurance + Reinsurance Group lawyer Gregory P. Varga recently authored the article “When Wind and Flood Unite – The Anti-Concurrent Causation Clause,” published in the Summer 2019 issue of The Brief, a publication of the American Bar Association Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section (ABA TIPS). The article covers the evolution of the anti-concurrent causation (ACC) clause in a typical property insurance policy. Greg then examines how the interpretation and application of the ACC clause have evolved in litigation arising from hurricanes and other natural disasters. He also offers insight on what may lie ahead as coverage lawsuits arise from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria. The full article will be available to ABA TIPS members on the section’s website.
Insurance + Reinsurance Group lawyer Dana M. Horton wrote the chapter “Discovery from Out of State and Foreign Nonparty Witnesses” in the recently published two-volume set A Practical Guide to Discovery and Depositions in Rhode Island. The 33-chapter manual is described as a go-to resource for experienced litigators and beginning lawyers alike for creating a discovery plan, drafting effective interrogatories and requests for production, conducting depositions, and taking on other challenges in modern-day discovery practice. Both the complete, updated 2019 guide as well as individual chapters - including downloadable, individual checklists and forms - are available for purchase here.
Business Litigation Group lawyer John L. Cordani was interviewed by the Connecticut Law Tribune for an article on the favorable Connecticut Supreme Court decision resulting from a case he handled pro bono. Published on August 16, 2019, the article outlines the outcome of State of Connecticut v. Eugene L. Walker, in which the Connecticut Supreme Court ruled 6-0 to order a new trial for convicted murderer, Eugene Walker, based on improper forensic DNA evidence. View the article.
Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Group lawyer Abby M. Warren was appointed as a member of the State Bar Examining Committee by the Judges of the Superior Court on June 13, 2019. Her three-year term of service in this key position within Connecticut’s bar admission process commences on September 1, 2019 and reflects the highest standards of the profession.
The committee acts under the authority of the Judicial Branch to regulate the practice of law in Connecticut. In their announcement, the Judges cited Ms. Warren’s “exemplary record of conduct in conformance with the law and of respect for the legal system” as an essential consideration in her selection, and underscored the fundamental belief that the legal profession should be self-governing.
Construction Group lawyer Virginia K. Trunkes authored the article “Court Allays Tensions in Underpinning Dispute” published in the New York Law Journal on August 13, 2019. The piece examines a new dispute involving the practice of underpinning in New York, a method used by developers to reinforce and stabilize a foundation and enable it to withstand heavier weights above ground. “Despite the strict liability imposed on a developer, until recently Appellate Division precedent indicated that a statute commonly used to compel licensed access to neighboring properties could not be used to compel a neighbor’s consent to underpinning. A new dispute has prompted the Supreme Court to give a much-needed fresh, new look at the case law and relevant statutory and regulatory framework. But whether this new Supreme Court decision serves as a victory for every developer is now a new question.”
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyers Megan E. Baroni and Jonathan H. Schaefer co-authored the article “Drones: OSHA's Newest Inspection Tool,” published by Construction Executive on August 4, 2019. The piece covers the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) newly formalized internal drone policy for inspection activities, which could be especially important at constructions sites “where OSHA may feel the use of a drone is safer than sending inspectors into an active site or to significant heights.” The article also encourages employers to prepare an OSHA drone strategy plan before an OSHA inspector arrives and offers some concepts to consider when developing such a strategy. A link to the full article is available on the firm's LinkedIn page. Please be sure to like and/or share the article with specific clients/contacts who may be interested in the content.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team lawyer Linn Freedman was quoted extensively in the article “International: Capital One data breach shows companies 'can’t put their data in the cloud and then wash their hands of it'” published in the OneTrust DataGuidance Privacy This Week newsletter on August 8, 2019. The article covers the Capital One Financial Corporation data breach in which an individual had gained unauthorized access to certain personal information of approximately 100 million individuals in the U.S. Linn offered insight on risks posed by third party cloud computing vendors. "The takeaway from this specific incident is that companies need to understand that they are still responsible for data security when they store their data in the cloud...They must use security measures in all situations where they are storing data, on premises or in the cloud." Read the full article.
Intellectual Property + Technology Law Group lawyers Brian E. Moran and Benjamin C. Jensen co-authored the article “Designing Around a Patent as an Alternative to a License,” published on IPWatchdog.com on July 30,2019. The piece offers insight into re-designing a product or service as an approach to avoiding patent infringement, which is “encouraged under the law as being beneficial to further innovation.” A link to the full article is available on the firm’s LinkedIn page. Please be sure to like and/or share the article with specific clients/contacts who may be interested in the content.
Employee Benefits + Compensation group lawyers Virginia McGarrity and Alisha Sullivan co-authored the article “Terminating a Defined Benefit Plan Checklist,” published in Lexis Practice Advisor. Following strong market returns and larger-than-expected employer contributions in anticipation of future corporate rates from tax reform, many employers are finding now to be an optimal time to terminate their pension plans. This checklist provides a detailed and centralized list of the necessary requirements to be used by the various actuarial, legal, and plan administration practitioners tasked with advising an employer through the plan termination process. View the full article.