Public Finance Group lawyer and Partner in Charge of Robinson+Cole’s Hartford office Keisha S. Palmer was selected by the Hartford Business Journal for inclusion in its 2022 “Women in Business” recognition. Keisha is among 25 honorees who demonstrate business savvy, confidence in themselves and their organizations, and a strong track record of professional leadership. The honorees were each profiled in a special section included in the April 11, 2022 edition of the Hartford Business Journal and will be recognized during the publication’s annual event on May 4 in Farmington. Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole lawyers Alexandra Kritzman, Sandra Marin Lautier, Stephani A. Roman, and Annecca H. Smith have been named to the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) First 100 Plus Class of 2022 during the organization’s 11th Annual Breakfast & Awards Ceremony on April 8, 2022, at the Hartford Marriott Downtown in Hartford, Connecticut.
The First 100 Plus Class of 2022 is comprised of leaders working to improve the lives of domestic violence survivors and their families in Connecticut. These lawyers, with varied backgrounds and practices, have all made vital contributions to their state and local communities. Read more in the press release.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Britt-Marie K. Cole-Johnson has been elected by the firm’s partners to serve on its Managing Committee. Cole-Johnson was also recently appointed by Governor Ned Lamont to serve on the board of the Connecticut Paid Leave Authority and elected to the UConn Health Board of Directors. In addition, Cole-Johnson has recently been chosen as one of the honorees for The 100 Women of Color Gala & Awards and selected by the Connecticut Law Tribune for recognition as a Distinguished Leader during the annual Connecticut Legal Awards. The publication recently interviewed Britt-Marie for a feature article on her recent accolades. Law360 also issued a write-up highlighting Britt-Marie's election to the Managing Committee.
“Britt-Marie is a highly -respected lawyer in the firm and among her peers in the legal community,” said Rhonda J. Tobin, Robinson+Cole’s Managing Partner. “She is well-known for her talents as a legal advisor but also for her deep commitment to community organizations. She joined the firm thirteen years ago after law school and has been a true and constant champion for equitable and inclusive business practices within the firm, with her clients, and within the community. I look forward to her bringing that leadership and perspective to our Managing Committee.” Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole announces the addition of Kathleen G. Healy in its Health Law Group and Health Care Industry Team, and Matthew M. Burke in the firm’s Insurance + Reinsurance Group. Healy joins from Verrill Dana LLP and Burke joins from Robins Kaplan LLP. Both are partners resident in Robinson+Cole’s Boston office.
“We are excited to welcome Kate and Matt to Robinson+Cole,” said Rhonda J. Tobin, Robinson+Cole’s Managing Partner. “They are talented and successful lawyers who bring significant experience, expertise and depth to some of our most strategic practices. They are natural fits for our strong health care and insurance teams. Adding Kate and Matt furthers our strategic plan by continuing our growth in large commercial centers and in some of our most high-profile practices.” Read more in the press release and in articles published in the Boston Business Journal and Law360.
Robinson+Cole’s Capital Markets + Securities Team (the Team) represented Prime Number Acquisition | Corp., a newly organized blank check company, in completing its initial public offering on May 17, 2022 of 6,450,000 units at an offering price of $10.00 per unit, which includes 450,000 units issued pursuant to the partial exercise of the underwriter’s over-allotment option, for aggregate gross proceeds to the Company of $64.5M. The units began trading on the Nasdaq Global Market under the ticker symbol “PNACU” on May 13, 2022. The Team members advising on the offering were Arila Zhou, Tim Chen and Yang Xu. Read more.
Labor and Employment Group lawyers Abby Warren and Kayla West co-authored the article, “Review Pre-Employment Screening Processes Amid the Great Resignation,” published in Construction Executive’s “CE This Week” newsletter on May 13, 2022. The article points out that after nearly two years of managing through the COVID-19 pandemic, employers across a number of industries, including construction, are being impacted by another significant challenge: the “Great Resignation.” This term refers to the trend of workers voluntarily resigning from their jobs en masse that began in 2021 and continues today. Facing the pressures of recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and integrating job candidates to fill vacancies and meet a company’s operational needs, employers have been forced to rethink their recruiting and hiring processes, including pre-employment screening processes. In light of operational challenges, the shifting legal landscape and the pressure to hire quickly, employers reviewing their pre-employment screening process should weigh all applicable factors before making changes. For employers with multi-state workforces, they should ensure that their pre-employment screening processes are consistent with the applicable state laws. Read the full article.
Intellectual Property + Technology Group lawyer John Cordani and Business Litigation Group lawyer Trevor Bradley authored the article, “Mailer’s Remorse: Notice Letters and Personal Jurisdiction for Declaratory Judgment Lawsuits,” published in IPWatchdog on May 12, 2022. The article focuses on the issuance of notice letters and personal jurisdiction. While there are many reasons why patent holders might want to put potential infringers on notice of their rights by sending cease-and-desist letters, providing such notice could subject it to personal jurisdiction for a declaratory judgment suit in a remote and inconvenient forum. A single notice letter might not be enough to sufficiently establish minimum contacts with the forum where the letter is sent. But a letter in conjunction with emails, phone calls and/or in-person meetings that often follow a notice letter may suffice depending on the circumstances. This is especially true where the communications are substantive and discuss the validity and enforceability of a patent or threaten litigation. “Patentees must think strategically before firing off cease-and-desist letters and during follow-up correspondence or meetings, lest they ultimately find themselves defending against a declaratory judgment suit in a faraway forum.” Read the full article.
Business Litigation Group lawyer Seth B. Orkand has been appointed by the Justices of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to serve as a member of the Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services. Established in August 1999, the Standing Committee on Pro Bono Legal Services works to promote volunteer legal work in Massachusetts to help people of limited means who are in need of legal representation. Seth’s term will run through October 31, 2025. Learn more about the Committee.
Transactional Health Care Group co-chair Leslie J. Levinson was quoted in the article “Why Home-Based Care Dealmaking Was Historically Down in Q1” published in Home Health Care News on May 3, 2022. The article examines lower home care, home health and hospice M&A, deal volume at the start of 2022, which follows a record-breaking high in the preceding year. “A total of 26 home health, home care and hospice deals occurred in the first quarter of 2022 compared to over 50 transactions in both the third and fourth quarters of 2021…” Despite the lull, Les indicated that he remains optimistic about the remainder of the year. “’People continue to want to have their care provided in a non-congregate setting, at home, and in a lower-cost environment,’ he said.” “The appetite for consolidation seems to continue to be pretty strong, even if it’s taking a little bit longer to process some of those transactions. So I would think that you’re going to continue to have a pretty healthy amount of deal flow coming out of that.” Read the article.
Robinson+Cole, through its Wellness Committee, is pleased to support Well-Being Week in Law (WWIL) kicking-off Monday, May 2 in alignment with Mental Health Awareness Month. Presented by the Institute for Well-Being in Law (IWIL), WWIL aims to raise awareness about mental health and encourage action and innovation across the profession to improve well-being. The Committee circulated an email with additional information about the initiative and ways to participate. In addition, the firm will be sharing easy-to-do suggestions that align with a well-being dimension on its LinkedIn page. Learn more about WWIL.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team member, Kathryn Rattigan, and legal intern, Blair Robinson, co-authored the article “Flying Cameras: Gaps in Drone Regulation and How Courts Can Fill Them …at Least for Now,” published in the Journal on Emerging Issues in Litigation on April 28, 2022. Drones have rapidly transformed dozens of industries since hitting the commercial market, including agriculture, film and television production, and medical delivery services that can bring life-saving medications and vaccines to remote areas. However, as drones become increasingly commonplace, and in the absence of federal or state law or industry best practice in this emerging domain, lawmakers and policymakers are struggling with how to effectively regulate the unique privacy and cybersecurity risks posed by drone operations and the vulnerabilities they present for cyber-attacks. As the authors report, until federal regulation “catches up with the technology, lawyers could move courts to mitigate the issue by arguing for strict liability for drone operators and manufacturers.” Kathryn is a member of the Editorial Board of Advisors for the Journal on Emerging Issues in Litigation, a collaborative product from HB Litigation Conferences, Fastcase Full Court Press and Law Street Media, and the Emerging Litigation Podcast. Read the full article here.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Stephen W. Aronson was quoted in the article “ESPN’s Sage Steele sues network, claims it sidelined her over vaccine comments” published in The Washington Post on April 28, 2022. The article focuses on a lawsuit filed by Sage Steele against ESPN and its parent company, Disney, alleging her right to free speech was violated and she was retaliated against for comments she made on a podcast last year. Steele, a prominent ESPN personality and “SportsCenter” host, alleges in the lawsuit that the sports network stripped her of assignments and did not protect her from harassment from colleagues who, she alleges, criticized her on social media as a result of insensitive comments made during the September 29, 2021 episode of the podcast “Uncut With Jay Cutler.” “The lawsuit, multiple legal observers said, could pose a compelling legal question because of a quirk in Connecticut law. [Section 31-51q], which Steele’s suit cites, extends the protections of the First Amendment to the private sector.” Steve acknowledged skepticism of “of Steele’s case because of what Steele will have to prove: that her speech is protected, that she suffered adverse job action because of that speech and that the speech did not materially interfere with her job performance.” Read the article.
Robinson+Cole, through its Diversity, Equity + Inclusion Committee, is pleased to join the 16th annual YWCA Stand Against Racism campaign taking place April 28 – May 1, 2022. The theme for the 2022 campaign is “We Can’t Wait: Equity and Justice Now,” with a focus on the myriad of racial justice issues that impact the quality of life for communities of color. The theme is led by the Stand Against Racism Challenge, which offers anyone the chance to participate in and help foster a virtual community of growth and learning around social, systemic, and institutional racial inequity. The Stand Against Racism takes place annually in April and is a signature campaign of YWCA USA to raise awareness about the negative impact of institutional and structural racism in our communities and to build community among those who work for racial justice. Robinson+Cole is pleased to once again support the campaign as part of the firm’s ongoing efforts to promote diversity and inclusion and challenge racial and social inequities. Join in our commitment with the YWCA and hundreds of thousands of people across the country against racism. Sign the pledge, take the challenge, learn about upcoming events, and receive tools to address institutional and systemic racism in your community at standagainstracism.org.
Robinson+Cole’s Health Law Group received a ninth place ranking in the Northeast region among the 2020-2021 Top 10 Law Firms as recognized by the American Bar Association (ABA) Health Law Section. The Ninth Annual Regional Law Firm Recognition List highlights those firms “answering the call to professionalism and addressing the complex issues of their clients through their attorney involvement in the Health Law Section.” The top ten health care law firms are listed by geographic region based on Section lawyer membership as of August 31, 2021. More information on the Section's web page.
Transactional Health Care Group co-chair Leslie J. Levinson was quoted extensively in the article “Humana’s Intriguing $2.8 Billion, 60% Sale of Kindred’s Hospice, Personal Care Assets,” published in Home Health Care News (HHCN) on April 21, 2022. The article examines Humana’s decision to move to a partnership model for the delivery of palliative and hospice services as opposed to fully owning those service assets. Les suggested while this might be a developing trend, it’s too soon to tell. “I think we’re all going to just keep our eyes open to see if this is the beginning of a trend,” Levinson said. “A trend where you’re seeing these transactions happening, and happening more frequently. These transactions clearly stand out due to their financial terms, with numbers that are different than ones we’ve been seeing before.” After acquiring all of Kindred at Home in 2021, Humana announced that it would be looking to divest Kindred’s hospice and personal care assets, although it is retaining a 40 percent stake. As Les sees it, “[Humana] still has a fairly sizable minority stake here.” “It’s hedging its bet a little bit and keeping a foot in the door.” From Humana’s perspective, the deal is bringing in cash. Les explained that “[t]hey’re able to bring in cash… and improve their balance sheet, while still maintaining a sizable minority investment.” “They may have felt, given current valuations, that it was a good time to sell. Usually when you hold out to get the best possible price [for an asset], it doesn’t usually work out. Selling at an attractive price profit is not a bad strategy.” Read the article.
Robinson+Cole is proud to affirm its continuing commitment as a program participant and financial supporter of the Pro Bono Partnership, which offers business and transactional legal services to nonprofits, as the organization celebrates its 25th Anniversary by launching the “Make Your Mark” Pledge (PBP25 Pledge). Robinson+Cole and other pledging firms can achieve the volunteer initiative’s goal in one of three ways: logging 25 total volunteer hours on Partnership matters; having 25 volunteers who work on Partnership matters; or an individual volunteer working on 25 or more Partnership matters in 2022. Read more about the PBP25 Pledge.
Since its founding in 1997, the Pro Bono Partnership has assisted more than 4,000 nonprofits in Connecticut, New Jersey and New York on over 19,000 legal matters. These efforts have helped the Partnership’s clients more effectively serve their constituencies and communities, providing essential programs that feed the hungry, house the homeless, promote the arts, and protect the environment.
Robinson+Cole is proud to be a key sustaining ally in this critical work and thanks each of the dedicated volunteers who give their time and talents to offer crucial legal support. The firm currently has 50 percent of its lawyers logging some manner of pro bono hours as well as paralegals who receive billable hour credit for their pro bono work, underscoring Robinson+Cole’s longstanding commitment to this important contribution to the communities it serves. For nearly 15 years, the Partnership’s Hartford program resided within Robinson+Cole’s downtown Hartford offices. In addition, firm Partner Lauren Sigg serves as a member of its Hartford Advisory Board.
Employee Benefits + Compensation Group members Virginia McGarrity and Alisha Sullivan authored the article “Here’s what employers need to know about CT’s mandatory worker retirement plans,” published in the “Experts Corner” section of the Hartford Business Journal on April 8, 2022. The article focuses on the Connecticut Retirement Security Authority (CRSA), which was enacted by legislation in 2016. Virginia and Alisha write that the CRSA was charged with “designing and implementing a state-sponsored retirement savings program through which private-sector employees can participate if their employer does not offer a retirement savings plan.” The CSRA’s response was to create MyCTSavings, the retirement savings program that assists the more than 600,000 employees in the state who have no access to employer-sponsored retirement savings plans. The program requires both nonprofit and for-profit private-sector employers with five or more employees - each of whom has been paid more than $5,00 in the calendar year - to participate if they do not offer a qualified employer-sponsored retirement plan. Read the full article.
Class Action Team chair, Wystan Ackerman, authored the article “Certification of Legal Questions to State Courts,” published in the Spring 2022 issue of Practical Law The Journal, which covers current developments in litigation practice and procedure. Many states allow federal courts to certify a question to the state’s highest court when faced with a significant but unsettled question of state law, which affords the benefits of upholding principles of comity and increasing efficiency in the judicial process. However, while certification empowers those courts to provide an authoritative ruling on key state law issues, it is neither appropriate nor advantageous to seek certification in every case. In the Q&A-format article, Wystan explains the certification process, highlighting the procedure and practical considerations for parties seeking to obtain or prevent certification, and addresses the standard federal courts typically apply when considering an application to certify question to a state court, and the types of questions that are most – and least – appropriate for certification. Read the full article.
Manufacturing Law Industry Team Chair Jeffrey J. White is among 22 new and continuing members elected to serve on the Women in Manufacturing® Association (WiM) National Board of Directors. With more than 11,000 members, WiM is the only national association specifically dedicated to supporting, promoting and inspiring women who have chosen a career in the manufacturing sector. Jeff was first elected to a three-year term on the WiM Board effective April 1, 2021. He is significantly involved with manufacturing industry issues on both a national and international level.
“WiM’s Board includes outstanding leaders from some of our nation’s most prestigious manufacturing companies,” said WiM President, Allison Grealis. “I look forward to working with them to further WiM’s mission of supporting, promoting and inspiring women in the manufacturing industry.” Read more.