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 is among the organizations selected for recognition by the Hartford Business Journal as 2022 Best Places to Work in Connecticut. The designation honors companies who rank highest in employee satisfaction as determined by a survey administered by third-party research firm, Best Companies Group. Robinson+Cole was honored during the annual Best Places to Work Awards presented on March 24, 2022, in Farmington, CT.
“Being recognized among the Best Places to Work in Connecticut is a reflection of the special community we’ve cultivated at the firm,” said Rhonda J. Tobin, Managing Partner, Robinson+Cole. “With our core values of collaboration, civility, and inclusion as our foundation, the firm focuses on supporting our employees through professional development, technology, and continuous communication. All of that, coupled with our commitment to a diverse, equitable, and inclusive culture enables us to provide the very best service to our clients and to our communities. But what really makes this the Best Place to Work is our people, who bring their best and work as a team each and every day.” Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole’s growth in its New York City-based Capital Markets and Securities Team was highlighted in a Law360 article published on March 4, 2022. The article, “Robinson & Cole Grows In NY With 3-Atty SPAC Team,” highlights the recent additions of partner, Arila Zhou, and associates Yang Xu and Tiange (Tim) Chen. The team handles capital markets and securities matters with an emphasis on special purpose acquisition corporation (SPAC) transactions and initial public offerings of foreign issuers, particularly from Asia. Zhou, Xu and Chen, all native Mandarin speakers fluent in English, were previously with Hunter Taubman Fischer & Li in New York.
Last month, the team represented the lead underwriter in the IPO of Meihau International Medical Technologies, a manufacturer of disposable medical devices with operating subsidiaries in China – the first such company to list in the U.S. since July 2021. Zhou said her decision to join the firm was influenced by positive feedback from clients at her previous position, noting that “Robinson+Cole provides a full-service offering, which makes things more efficient for our clients.” Read more about the team in the press release
Robinson+Cole represents the Official Committee of General Unsecured Creditors (Creditors’ Committee), in the Mallinckrodt plc Chapter 11 proceedings, which are pending in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. On March 2, 2022, U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge John Dorsey entered the Order confirming the global pharmaceutical company’s reorganization plan, including the settlement supported by the Creditors’ Committee and approved by an overwhelming majority of the company’s general unsecured creditors. Read more in the press release.
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.
Transactional Health Care Group Co-chair Leslie J. Levinson was quoted in the article “UnitedHealth’s deal with LHC highlights broader interest in home health industry,” published in STAT on March 29, 2022. The article focuses on UnitedHealth Group’s proposed buyout of home health and hospice provider LHC Group. The deal highlights the continuing interest in the home health industry as an attractive buyout sector by insurers and private equity firms as the over 65 population continues to grow and prefers to receive care in their homes. “That’s clearly been a theme for a long time: Getting people out of higher-cost settings and into the home where they’re more comfortable and costs are lower, said Les Levinson. I don’t think any of that has changed.” Read the article.
Construction Law Group lawyer Frederick E. Hedberg authored the article “The Engineer’s Role in Material Price Escalation on Construction Projects” published in the “Legal Beat” column of the Winter 2022 issue of PE magazine, the flagship publication of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE).
With the persistent spread and reoccurrence of COVID-19 and its variants, the construction industry continues to feel the effects of supply chain interruptions, acute labor shortages, and tariffs on raw material imports. Fred writes that these situations have resulted in delivery delays and increasingly-long lead times, which, combined with rising labor costs and price inflation “have led to significant increases and volatility in raw material prices over the past two years, which should be accounted for.”
Fred outlines various considerations that could prove helpful to engineers in protecting owners from unforeseen price escalations while designing and executing a successful design-bid-build project. These fundamentals include: understanding the owner’s requirements; preparing detailed plans and specifications for contractors; and determining whether the project should be undertaken in phases. He also recommends preparing requests for proposals (RFPs) that address material cost escalation and define “the form and method of payment and include a well-drafted mutual or bilateral escalation clause.” He notes that “[e]ngineers can play a crucial role in the success of a project by accounting for and allocating the risks of material price volatility in today’s uncertain economic times.” Read the full article here.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Abby M. Warren was quoted in the article “In weeks ahead, many CT companies expected to implement long-term return-to-office strategies,” published in the Hartford Business Journal on March 28, 2022. The article focuses on challenges employers may face as employees return to working in centralized offices as a result of the warm weather and COVID-19 abating. “With COVID-19 waning and flu season ending, there is little reason left for companies to delay implementing more permanent work models, Warren said, whether that means requiring workers to be in the office full or part time, or not at all.” Abby emphasizes the importance for employers to have clear guidelines for work expectations and ongoing precautions. Especially, consistency among employees. Read the article.
The Connecticut Law Tribune will recognize Robinson+Cole lawyers Norman Roos, Britt-Marie Cole-Johnson, Dan Brody, Emily Deans, Choity Khan, Sandra Marin Lautier, Kathryn Mullin and Stephani Roman during the publication’s annual Connecticut Legal Awards on May 11, 2022. The awards honor those attorneys and judges who have made a remarkable difference in the legal profession in Connecticut - whether in shaping the law, achieving outsized results for their clients, being an outstanding jurist or assisting those in need of legal services. View the complete list of honorees.
Norm will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, which recognizes a lawyer “who has left a lasting imprint on the legal community of Connecticut.” Britt-Marie is to receive the Distinguished Leader Award for achieving “impressive results in 2021 and demonstrating clear leadership skills that helped achieve those results.” In addition, Dan Brody has been named as one of the three finalists for the Diversity Initiative Award, which will be announced at the ceremony. A recognition added to the awards slate in 2021, the Diversity Initiative distinction honors a lawyer or firm who has made a significant contribution to diversity and inclusion efforts in Connecticut’s legal community. Emily, Choity, Sandra, Kathryn and Stephani will be recognized as “New Leaders in the Law,” a distinction that spotlights lawyers under the age of 40 who have excelled in the courtroom, in client service and cultivation, in service to bar associations, and in performing pro bono work or community service in a volunteer capacity.
Education Industry Team Chair Kate Dion and Business Litigation Group lawyer Janet Kljyan authored the article, “Avoid ‘deadnaming’: How universities and colleges can get ahead of preferred name usage,” published on March 21, 2022, in University Business. The article covers challenges facing universities and colleges around the country from growing requests by students to identify themselves by a preferred or chosen name in place of the student’s legal name. The authors suggest that having a clear and thoughtful policy in place to address preferred name usage will help avoid “ad hoc or case-by-case determinations to grant such requests for a few reasons.” Universities and colleges may want to review a number of considerations as develop their policies, including: “(1) the logistics of establishing and utilizing a preferred name, (2) matters requiring the use of a legal name, and (3) identifying instances that may warrant rejecting a student’s request to use a preferred name.” Read the full article.
Construction Group lawyer Lisa B. Andrzejewski was selected for inclusion in the New York Real Estate Journal’s (NYREJ) “2022 Women In Construction Spotlight,” published on March 22, 2022. The Spotlight profiled more than 50 women professionals from across the construction industry. In the Q&A feature, Lisa offers advice to other women entering the construction industry and discusses who within R+C has helped her succeed in her area of practice. Read Lisa’s feature, click here.
Robinson+Cole Managing Partner Rhonda Tobin was interviewed for the article “Mid-Law's Female Firm Leaders Reflect On Making History” published by Law360 Pulse on March 15, 2022. Published in recognition of Women's History Month, the piece acknowledges the recent “wave of women making history at their firms, becoming the first woman to rise to firm head or other senior leadership positions.” Rhonda is among the four female law firm leaders interviewed about how the legal world has progressed and what the industry's next milestones will be. Rhonda said “she was ‘of two minds’ about the barrier-breaking aspect of her election, which likewise came after a long history of leadership roles at the firm, going back to her days as an associate. Her initial reaction was that she'd much rather she weren't the first and that her gender weren't as noteworthy as it was; it wasn't until she started getting messages that she saw it as something more meaningful.” "’If you can see someone on that path, then you know you can do it. I got just so many messages from junior women saying what it meant to them,’ she said.” Read the full article.
Robinson+Cole’s Capital Markets and Securities Team (the Team) represented Prime Number Capital LLC, the lead underwriter in an initial public offering of Meihua International Medical Technologies (Nasdaq ticker symbol “MHUA”), a manufacturer and provider of disposable medical devices with operating subsidiaries in China. At the closing of the IPO on February 18, 2022, a total of 3,940,000 ordinary shares of MHUA, listed on Nasdaq Global Market, were sold at a public offering price of $10.00 per ordinary share (the "Ordinary Shares"), including 340,000 Ordinary Shares issued pursuant to the partial exercise of the underwriters' over-allotment option, for aggregate gross proceeds of $39.4 million before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and offering expenses. The successful share sale makes MHUA the first China-based company to list in the U.S. since July 2021. The Team members advising on the offering were Arila Zhou, Mitchell Lampert, Anna Wang, Yang Xu and Eve Mao. Read more.
Business Litigation Group and Intellectual Property + Technology Group lawyer Trevor L. Bradley has been elected to serve on the McGivney Community Center Board of Directors. Founded 30 years ago, the McGivney Community Center is dedicated to fostering academic success and self-esteem in Bridgeport’s youth. The Center provides stimulating and enriching programs that help nurture their intellectual, creative, and physical growth to promote academic success and expand their feelings of confidence, integrity and character. Today, the McGivney Community Center annually serves more than 400 children on the east side of Bridgeport, with the dedicated purpose of lifting them up both now and in the future, providing a safe place in which to grow, discover their talents, and create long-lasting, positive changes in their lives and the community.
Robinson+Cole Managing Partner Rhonda Tobin was listed in the Hartford Business Journal’s 2022 Power Players section highlighting the region’s most influential leaders. The third annual “Power 50” features leaders from the private- and public-sectors, nonprofit, higher education, real estate and health care professionals who are identified as “not only top leaders within their organizations but also of the broader business community.” Rhonda’s profile notes that in 2021 she became the first woman to lead Robinson+Cole when she was named Managing Partner, “joining the growing ranks of women assuming top leadership positions in Greater Hartford’s legal sector.” Rhonda emphasized the presence and importance of a culture of consistent philosophy and values within the firm. “There is a commitment to collaboration, inclusion, and civility,” she said. View the full profile.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Partner, Megan Baroni, authored the article “Coca-Cola Sued for Deceptive Sustainability Claims,” which was named one of JD Supra’s most popular stories in the Food and Beverage category for all of 2021. The story, initially posted to the Manufacturing Law Blog last June, highlights a lawsuit brought against Coca-Cola, “the world’s leading plastic waste producer,” by Earth Island Institute, a not-for-profit environmental organization. The suit alleges that Coca-Cola is deceiving the public by marketing itself as sustainable and environmentally-friendly, while “polluting more than any other beverage company and actively working to prevent effective recycling measures in the U.S.” Read Megan’s full article here.
JD Supra’s 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards have recognized Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team lawyers Linn F. Freedman, Deborah A. George and Kathryn M. Rattigan as Top Authors and Robinson+Cole as a Top Law Firm in 2021.
Linn was announced as the #1 author in the area of Cybersecurity for the seventh consecutive year. She is the editor of the firm’s Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Insider blog. Deborah was recognized as a Top Author in the category of Data Privacy, while Kathryn was named a Top Author in the area of Cybersecurity for a second time. Deborah and Kathryn also contribute to the Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Insider blog. Additionally, Robinson+Cole was recognized as a Top Firm in the area of Cybersecurity.
The Readers’ Choice Awards acknowledge authors for “their thought leadership” and consistently high readership for all of 2021 in covering 28 key, cross-industry topics (10 authors per category) chosen for their timeliness as well as their proven, ongoing importance. Firms are highlighted “for their visibility and engagement” in the 28 topic areas covered by the awards (one firm per category). The Awards reflect a deep dive into JD Supra’s 2021 readership data. The outstanding authors were selected for their excellence from among more than 65,000 professionals whose published insights and commentary were read by C-suite executives, in-house counsel, media, and others across many industries highlighted on the JD Supra platform and who are interested in the defining topics impacting business today.
Bankruptcy + Reorganizations Group members Patrick Birney (co-chair) and Annecca Smith co-authored the article “Litigation-Settlement Financiers, a Secured Claim Might Be Illusory,” published in the March issue of the ABI Journal, the member publication of the American Bankruptcy Institute. The article offers a brief overview of the Bankruptcy Code sections related to property of the estate and exemptions, and presents a primer on litigation funding agreements. They also analyze the decision of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York in In re Reviss, in which the Court forewarns litigation-settlement financiers that their security interest in settlement proceeds could be in peril when the proceeds are not yet attached and a Chapter 7 debtor attempts to exempt the same proceeds from property of the debtor’s bankruptcy estate. Read the full article here.
Real Estate + Development Group member, Evan Seeman, wrote the article “Connecticut Supreme Court Finds Zoning Enabling Act Permits Planned Development Districts,” published in the most recent edition of the Case Law Digest of the Planning & Law Division of the American Planning Association. The Digest presents summaries of recent federal and state court decisions addressing issues at the intersection of planning and law, with takeaway lessons to assist planners and land use attorneys in their practice. Evan’s article takes a close look at Tillman v. Planning and Zoning Commission of the City of Shelton, 341 Conn. 117 (2021). The case considered whether the Connecticut Zoning Enabling Act authorizes municipalities to permit planned development district (PDDs). A PDD is a zoning tool that is generally used to permit a mix of uses and dimensional elements that may not otherwise be allowed in a standard zoning district. The Supreme Court upheld the use of PDDs as flexible zoning techniques. Evan is the immediate Past Chair of the Planning & Law Division. Read the article here.
Construction Law Group member, Doug Mackin, authored the article, "Recent Court Decision Warns of Dangers of Using Outdated Construction Contracts," published as a blog on the website of the National Association of Surety Bond Producers (NASBP) on February 10, 2022. The article examines two key takeaways from a recent case, Hillhouse v. Chris Cook Construction, LLC, 325 So. 3d 646 (Miss. 2021), before the Supreme Court of Mississippi. First, carefully review form contracts to make sure they are up to date and address any changes that might have been made to applicable law since they were drafted. Second, pay close attention to any alternative dispute resolution provisions outlined in the contract. Doug writes that in the Mississippi case the court found that "the arbitration provision was unenforceable and the parties would have to spend the time and resources to resolve any claims before the appropriate court." Read the full article here.
Congratulations to Melissa (Lisa) Thompson, a member of the firm’s Health Law Group, Government Investigations, and Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team, who has been selected to the American Arbitration Association’s (AAA) Master Mediator Panel. The unique panel was established several years ago by the AAA in conjunction with lawyers who handle large complex disputes and is comprised of top mediators as rated by counsel. Master Mediators are selected utilizing a rating committee made up of a diverse group of advocates and in-house counsel who represent clients in complex, high stakes disputes. Lisa is currently an international and domestic arbitrator on the AAA’s Commercial, Life Sciences, and Health Care panels. She also serves on the Dispute Resolution Council of the American Health Law Association and is on its arbitration and mediation panels.
Congratulations to Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Team Chair Linn Freedman, who is listed in the Chambers Global Guide 2022 ranking in the area of Privacy & Data Security – USA. Produced by Chambers and Partners, the Chambers Global Guide ranks the top lawyers and law firms in more than 200 jurisdictions across the world. The rankings are based on assessments that include technical legal ability; professional conduct; client service; commercial astuteness; diligence; and commitment. In its recognition of Linn, Chambers wrote that she “counts data breach response and defending privacy claims as important pillars of her practice.” A client testimony says Linn is “knowledgeable and someone who works really hard for her clients.”
Linn has been ranked as a leader in Chambers USA: America's Leading Lawyers for Business in the area of Privacy & Data Security nationwide since 2012 and global-wide since 2019. She was named one of the “Women to Watch in Health IT” by Becker’s HOSPITAL REVIEW and recognized by National Law Review as a Go-To Thought Leader. Linn also has been selected by her peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© in the areas of Commercial Litigation and Privacy and Data Security Law, and as a JD Supra Readers' Choice Top Author and the #1 author in the category of Cybersecurity. Linn serves as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Roger Williams University School of Law. For Chambers Global information, go here.
Megan Baroni, a partner in the firm’s Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group, was a featured interview guest in the February 24, 2022 episode of the LexBlog podcast “This Week in Legal Blogging,” hosted by Bob Ambrogi. Megan spoke about the practice of dedicating useful content to the manufacturing sector, the power of an interdisciplinary blog to cater to a niche clientele, and the origin of Robinson+Cole’s Manufacturing Law blog. Listen to the podcast here.
Business Litigation Group member, Amanda Phillips, authored the article “The Future of Remote Proceedings,” published in the January/February issue of the Massachusetts Bar Association’s (MBA) online “Section Review.” The article presents a summary overview of a panel discussion featuring experienced commercial litigators, including Robinson+Cole lawyers Kendra Berardi and Danielle Andrews Long, convened by the Complex Commercial Litigation Section Council of the MBA. As reported in Amanda’s detailed article, the panelists responded to a request from the Hon. Brian A. Davis for feedback on a wide range of areas of interests and concerns as the legal profession emerges from the pandemic, including the advantages and disadvantages of remote proceedings, such as efficiency, economics and quality of life; civility and interactions with opposing counsel; differences across courts; depositions, trials and witnesses; and appellate arguments. Read the full article here.
Labor, Employment, Benefits + Immigration Group (LEB+I) member, Abby Warren, co-authored the article, “Who’s calling the shots? A look at the current status of COVID-19 vaccine mandates,” published on February 16, 2022, in Industrial Safety & Hygiene News (ISHN) Magazine. Attorneys Jon Schaefer, a member of the Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group, and Kayla West, a member of the LEB+I Group, also contributed to the article.
The article points out that since the COVID-19 vaccination was made available to the public in late 2020, the topic of vaccination has been widely discussed across the country, in daily news media, by governments and agencies, in the courts, in communities, and in the workplace. This led to various legal challenges, court decisions and rulings, opposition, publicity, and the implementation of various state laws prohibiting or restricting businesses’ and employers’ ability to mandate vaccination. Heading into 2022, companies have been left to face the challenge of implementing policies that are both legally-compliant under the patchwork of laws, guidance and rules regarding vaccination as well as practical. The authors remind employers “to ensure that they are up-to-date at the local, state, and federal level; understand changes that may be on the horizon with regard to applicable laws in their industry; and remain flexible in terms of their policies and procedures.” Read the full article here.
Robinson+Cole was pleased to continue to promote insights and understanding about diversity, equity and inclusion, commemorating Black History month with the presentation of the program “The History Behind the Movement” on February 15, 2022. In the format of our ongoing DE+I Town Hall event programming, the National Civil Rights Museum at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee joined us virtually for an incredibly moving and educational presentation of key episodes in the American civil rights movement, featuring a chronological tour of some of the museum’s permanent exhibits. Among many highlights, the video spoke to the Civil War and the subsequent rise of resistance to the era of Jim Crow segregation; the Supreme Court’s historic 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision; the Montgomery bus boycott of 1955, inspired and made famous by Rosa Park’s refusal to give up her seat to a white person, as required by law at the time; the “Freedom Rides” of the early 1960s; and the March on Washington in 1963, the centennial year of the Emancipation Proclamation. More than 150 people attended this important forum for learning about critical perspectives on American history.