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On April 21, the Chicago City Council (“City Council”) passed the Vaccine Anti-Retaliation Ordinance (the “Ordinance”) establishing protections for Chicago workers who take time off of work to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. The Ordinance broadly applies to individuals, including independent contractors, who perform work in the City of Chicago. It is effective immediately and remains in effect until further notice. Overview of the OrdinanceUnder the Ordinance, employers must allow workers to take time off to obtain the COVID-19 vaccine without retaliation against them in their terms and conditions of employment—whether the worker voluntarily chooses to get vaccinated or whether vaccination…
You’ve heeded the expert advice and created an estate plan. Your plan includes a revocable trust as its cornerstone. In preparing your plan, you’ve thought long and hard about who to appoint for all the important decision making roles – including who will serve as successor trustee of your revocable trust. Your thoughtfully selected family members or friends are now asking you, “What do I have to do?”. Though every plan is different this Legal Update is intended to give you and your trustee an overview of their role. The Successor Trustee’s Job During Your Lifetime.A successor trustee’s duties typically…
In an April 14, 2021 decision, the Wisconsin Employment Relations Commission (the “WERC”) departed from a nearly 30-year-old legal standard governing raffles conducted during general employee bargaining unit elections and adopted the current standard used by the National Labor Relations Board (the “NLRB”). In the Matter of the Petition of: United Lakewood Educators-Kettle Moraine Chapter, WEAC Region 7, Dec. No. 38585-A (WERC, 4/21). Specifically, the WERC adopted the standard created by the NLRB in 2001 via Atlantic Limousine, which bars employers and unions from conducting a raffle during an election if: (1) eligibility to participate in the raffle or win…
The scope and complexity of arrangements being presented by device vendors to hospitals is expanding, making compliance with federal health care program rules increasingly more challenging. While at first blush the rules related to discounts and warranties seem fairly straightforward, many manufacturers offer complex, multi-prong arrangements that can be difficult to evaluate against the rules.  For example, some vendors offer discounts and/or warranties on a bundle of products or on a bundle of products and services.  In some cases, a device is offered with free equipment. To help hospital representatives evaluate the legitimacy of these types of arrangements, this article…
A subcontractor recently learned the hard way that it is not enough to simply write “partial” on the top of a lien waiver in order to limit the waiver to the amount of money received. The subcontractor claimed it was owed more than $200,000 for work performed on a project due to various change orders. The general contractor said it could pay only about $33,000 based on the original contract amount, and asked the subcontractor to sign a lien waiver titled “Waiver of Lien to Date” in exchange for the payment. According to the subcontractor, the general contractor agreed to…
Merger and acquisition agreements contain many “boilerplate” clauses that rarely receive the same attention as the more heavily negotiated deal terms. To the extent they are considered at all, it would be as a post-closing afterthought and only when a deal has taken a turn for the worse. At that point, the parties are almost always surprised to find that their dispute resolution clauses are ambiguous. This Legal Update will help reconsider the boilerplate language associated with an alternative dispute resolution provision, and its importance, in order to do better deals. Part I: Alternative Dispute Resolution Oftentimes parties desire to…
In a 4-3 Decision written by Justice Brian Hagedorn, the Wisconsin Supreme Court struck down Governor Tony Evers’ mask mandate intended as a use of the emergency powers of a governor under Wisconsin Statutes Chapter 323 to combat the emergent threat of the Coronavirus. The Court held that Governor Evers violated state law by unilaterally issuing multiple emergency orders to extend the emergency declarations and mask mandate beyond an initial 60 day period. The Court found that the statute contemplates an end to such orders (60 days after the declaration) and that the decision to extend such orders resides with…
On Friday, March 12, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) launched a National Emphasis Program (“NEP”). The NEP will focus new inspection and enforcement efforts on “companies that put the largest number of workers at serious risk of contracting coronavirus.” The purpose of the NEP is to substantially reduce or eliminate coronavirus exposure for workers in companies where risks are high. This program entails both new inspections and follow-up inspections at worksites that were inspected in 2020 to make sure conditions either were corrected or need to be corrected. The NEP suggests that OSHA enforcement efforts will increase…
The rise in COVID-19 vaccinations and the slowing of new cases in the U.S. offer hope that a sense of pre-pandemic normalcy may be on the horizon, but the way we live our lives will never be quite the same. While one’s personal wellbeing and productivity may be best-served by embracing the “new normal” as it emerges, health care providers can ill afford to operate under a wait-and-see strategy given the complex and ever-changing health care regulatory environment. Despite the uncertainty that looms, there are many actions providers can take now to strengthen compliance and position themselves for a smooth…
On February 4, 2021, House and Senate Democrats introduced the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act of 2021. The PRO Act is supported by key members of the Senate’s leadership, including Majority Leader Chuck Schumer. The PRO Act would be the most significant labor law reform in the United States since the World War II-era Taft-Hartley Act and the 1935 Wagner Act, which created the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) and first granted private sector employees the right to form and join labor organizations (“unions”). The United States House of Representatives passed an earlier version of the PRO Act…
The law firm of von Briesen & Roper, s.c. announced today the formation of their Sports Law Section. The firm’s Sports Law Section is led by Shareholder Megan L.W. Jerabek. Attorney Jerabek is a member of The Sports Lawyers Association and also serves as co-chair of the firm’s Trusts and Estates Section and a member of its tax, real estate and business sections.   von Briesen’s Sports Law Section is focused on providing legal services to athletes and coaches and is comprised of thirteen attorneys with expertise in a wide range of legal specialties often required by sports professionals. The Section…
Ask any project manager or general contractor on a major construction project in Wisconsin how much time is spent navigating the bureaucratic maze to obtain necessary permits, complying with permit conditions, and rectifying any alleged failure to meet permit conditions, and the answers may be both surprising and disappointing. The myriad of requirements imposed by state agencies add to the regulatory burden, including environmental regulations by the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP), workforce requirements by the Department of Workforce Development (DWD), and professional licensure expectations imposed by the Department of…
In 2016, the Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Trade Commission (FTC) jointly issued anti-trust guidance treating no poach or wage fixing agreements as possible criminal violations of the Sherman Act. Two health care related entities have now become the first to face criminal prosecutions under the 2016 Guidance. Sherman Act Very broadly, the Sherman Act, which was passed in 1890, is one of the core federal antitrust laws. It prohibits “every contract, combination, or conspiracy in restraint of trade” and “any monopolization, attempted monopolization, or conspiracy or combination to monopolize”. In practice, the Sherman Act doesn’t prohibit every restraint…
The law firm of von Briesen & Roper, s.c. announced that two attorneys were named Client Service All-Stars 2020 by The BTI Consulting Group, Wellesley, MA. Jeffrey E. Mark is named as a BTI Client Service All-Star MVP, one of only 61 attorneys named in the MVP category for making a consecutive repeat appearance on the list. Susan E. Lovern is named as a BTI Client Service All-Star. The BTI Client Service All-Star awards are based solely on more than 350 in-depth interviews with top legal decision makers at large and Fortune 1000 organizations. BTI’s 2020 report states, “Clients identify…
One of the hallmarks of an effective compliance program is the incorporation of current trends in fraud and abuse into the risk assessment process that drives a provider’s compliance activities. This review of notable trends in fraud and abuse from 2020 is intended to inform that risk assessment process for health care providers. While 2020 was not a typical year in many, many ways, the pursuit of fraud and abuse in the health care industry by the United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) did not veer off course. Because fraud and abuse cases can be in the investigative pipeline for…
Susan E. Lovern, President and CEO of von Briesen & Roper, s.c., today announced that the firm opened an office in Eau Claire at 310 Pinnacle Way, Suite 201. The Eau Claire location marks von Briesen’s first office in northwest Wisconsin. The following lawyers and professionals are located in the firm’s Eau Claire office: Michael J. Happe, Shareholder Bryan T. Symes, Shareholder Mindy K. Dale, Counsel Lindsey S.M. Minser, Principal Associate David A. Richie, Associate Janet M. Starck, Paralegal Lovern said, “We are pleased to open an office in Eau Claire and to welcome Mike Happe and Bryan Symes to…