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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…
MILWAUKEE, WI – von Briesen & Roper, s.c., today announced the promotion of Attorney Adam R. Finkel and Attorney Ryan T. Siehr to Shareholders of the firm. Adam R. Finkel is a member of the firm’s Real Estate Group. He focuses his practice on commercial real estate matters, representing clients in the purchase, sale, development, and leasing of real property. Finkel is also an experienced litigator who has represented clients in landlord/tenant, business disputes and commercial litigation. He is recognized as a Rising StarSM by Wisconsin Super Lawyers®.  Finkel is a member of the Public Policy Committee for NAIOP-Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Bar Association,…
On Sunday, December 27, 2020, President Trump signed the legislation providing government funding and a long-anticipated coronavirus relief package (the “Bill”). The wide-sweeping Bill contains a number of key provisions that will impact both public and private sector employment in 2021. Of particular significance to employers is that: The Bill does not extend the mandates of the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act (“EFMLEA”) or the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act (“EPSLA”) enacted under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (“FFCRA”). The Bill allows tax credits to employers for “FFCRA like” paid leave benefits paid to employees through March…
With the continuing effect of COVID-19 on the workplace and the recent roll-out of the first COVID-19 vaccine across the country, employers are increasingly concerned with how the equal employment opportunity (EEO) laws will be applied to them in their efforts to encourage or mandate employee use of the vaccine. While many questions still remain, on December 16, 2020, the Equal Employment Opportunities Commission (EEOC) issued critical updates to its COVID-19 FAQ guidance. The EEOC guidance confirms that employers may maintain mandatory COVID-19 vaccination policies as a safety-based qualification standard in the workplace. However, as with any mandatory vaccination program,…
In recent weeks, the prospect of an approved, widely available COVID-19 vaccine has become much more tangible as several pharmaceutical companies have presented promising preliminary data regarding the effectiveness of their vaccine trials. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has received two applications for emergency use authorization within the last month with meetings scheduled to begin this week. On December 2, 2020, Britain authorized a COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, making it the first western nation to do so.1 In light of these developments, the CDC has indicated the possibility of one or more COVID-19 vaccines becoming available for public…
On December 2, 2020, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published updated guidance that relaxes its requirements for quarantine periods for people exposed to COVID-19 through “close contacts.” Previously, people with close contacts—generally defined as having been within 6 feet of someone who has COVID-19 for a total of 15 minutes or more in a 24-hour period—were required to quarantine for 14 days after the last date of contact. The new guidelines offer options to reduce the recommended quarantine period. While the CDC continues to recommend that individuals with “close contact” with someone who is COVID-19 positive quarantine for 14…
Following publication of our recent Legal Update discussing the statewide surge of workplace safety grievances, we have received many questions regarding which grievance procedure provisions deserve immediate attention to best prepare for a potential grievance. While each district’s grievance procedure may contain procedures or provisions unique to itself, there are a few core provisions that should be included within all grievance procedures for purposes of providing a fair, effective, and efficient grievance process. The first grievance procedure section deserving of immediate attention is the definitions section. It is critical to clearly define the individuals eligible to invoke the procedure, limiting…
School districts continue to navigate the challenges associated with delivering educational instruction during a pandemic. Wisconsin’s status as a COVID-19 “hot spot” continues, leaving districts in the position of having to closely monitor local data and make difficult decisions, oftentimes pivoting between instructional delivery models. Many school districts have seen a rash of workplace safety grievances filed pursuant to Wis. Stat. § 66.0509(1m) by district employees or union leadership raising workplace safety concerns and, in many instances, seeking relief demanding that districts move exclusively to a virtual instruction environment. This development is disappointing, considering the extensive time, effort, expense, and…
The 2017 federal tax reform legislation included a limitation on the individual itemized deduction for state and local taxes (“SALT”). The limit is $10,000 per joint return and $5,000 per return for married taxpayers that file separately. Some high individual tax states attempted to help their taxpayers blunt the effect of this new limitation by allowing them to make charitable contributions to the state in exchange for a corresponding credit against their individual state taxes. The expectation was that individuals doing so would be able to deduct the full charitable contribution on their federal income tax returns, and thereby reduce…
Healthcare providers are subject to a vast array of privacy laws but, until recently, still had discretion in fulfilling requests for information. Now, new rules governing “information blocking” will curtail this discretion and impose new compliance risks in fulfilling requests for healthcare information. “Information blocking” is the prohibited practice of interfering with access, exchange, or use of electronic health information (“EHI”). This Legal Update will outline (1) who must comply with the new rules, (2) the basic requirements of the new information blocking rules, (3) the relevant exceptions to these requirements, and (4) practical considerations for health care providers seeking…