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  • Elizabeth Adinolfi Featured in Spring 2024 NYSBA Journal
    04/30/2024

    Elizabeth A. Adinolfi, Partner in Phillips Nizer's Matrimonial and Litigation Practices, specializing in Elder Law, was published in Spring 2024 New York State Bar Association's Journalfor the article, "Chaos in the Courts: A Procedural Solution to Rein in Contested Article 81 Cases", Spring, 2024. The article provides an in-depth review of guardianship procedure and the difficulties those bringing Article 81 guardianship proceedings face.

    Click here to read full article.

  • Is This The End Of Non-Competes?
    04/29/2024

    On April 23, 2024, the Federal Trade Commission (the “FTC”) approved its final rule banning non-compete agreements, with some exceptions.  The FTC ruled that the use of non-compete agreements is an “unfair method of competition” in violation of Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission Act (“FTC Act”).  The FTC initially proposed a rule banning the use of non-compete agreements in January 2023, receiving numerous public comments regarding the proposed rule.  The final rule, which becomes effective 120 days after the date of publication in the Federal Register, effectively bans all existing and future non-compete agreements for all types of workers, with exceptions described below. 
    Phillips Nizer will provide further updates as developments occur. 

  • U.S. DOL Institutes a Change to the Salary Thresholds to FLSA Exemptions
    04/29/2024

    The United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a final rule on April 23, 2024,  “Defining and Delimiting the Exemptions for Executive, Administrative, Professional, Outside Sales, and Computer Employees,” revising certain salary thresholds under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”).  The final rule has an effective date of July 1, 2024, with further delineated changes on January 1, 2025.

    For background, the FLSA provides categories of employees that are “exempt” from overtime payments; relevant to the instant rule are the salary requirements for exemptions for executive, administrative, professional, as well as the highly compensated employees.

  • New York City Bans Discrimination Based on Height or Weight
    11/22/2023

    Effective Wednesday, November 22, 2023, the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”) has been amended to prohibit discrimination based on height or weight in employment, housing, and public accommodations.  New York City now joins the following seven jurisdictions that include height and weight as classifications protected from unlawful discrimination and harassment:
     
    (1) Binghamton, New York; (2) San Francisco, California; (3) Santa Cruz, California; (4) Washington, D.C.; (5) Urbana, Illinois; (6) Madison, Wisconsin; and (7) the State of Michigan.  Similar legislation presently is pending in New York State, New Jersey, Massachusetts, and Vermont.

  • Is Your Handbook a Liability? New Standards for Workplace Rules, Policies and Procedures
    11/20/2023

    As we get closer to 2024, employers should consider a review of employment practices and rules for the new year.  This is especially so given the National Labor Relations Board’s (“NLRB”) decision this year in Stericycle, Inc., 372 NLRB 113 (2023).  In Stericycle, the NLRB laid out a new legal standard for the evaluation of work rules, adopting a case-by-case review.  Stericycle overrules the categorical approach contained in The Boeing Co., 365 NLRB 154 (2017) and revises the standard in Lutheran Heritage Village-Livonia, 343 NLRB 646 (2004), presenting a change to a more employee-friendly approach to the evaluation of work rules.

  • New York State Pay Transparency Law Takes Effect September 17, 2023
    09/15/2023

    Effective September 17, 2023, New York employers with four or more employees must comply with certain statutory disclosure requirements when advertising for positions physically within and some outside the workplace or office.  The law applies to advertising for available jobs, promotions, and transfer opportunities.  “Covered employers” also includes employment agents, agencies, and recruiters regardless of size, excepting temporary help firms. “Advertise” is defined as “to make available to a pool of potential applicants for internal or public viewing, including electronically, a written description of an employment opportunity.” 

  • Real Estate Alert: NYS Takes Executive Action To Promote Housing Growth 
    07/21/2023

    On July 18, 2023, New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced a series of executive actions to address New York’s severe housing shortage by promoting housing growth:

    • Gowanus Neighborhood Mixed Income Housing Development Program
    • Executive Order No. 30 titled "Directing State Agencies, Authorities, and Entities to Prioritize the Allocation of Certain Discretionary Funds to those Localities that Promote the Construction of Housing".

  • Phillips Nizer Real Estate Alert: Mayor Adams Proposal “City of Yes: Zoning for Economic Opportunity” Outlined
    06/22/2023

    On June 14, 2023, New York City Mayor Eric Adams introduced his long-awaited proposal, City of Yes: Zoning for Economic Opportunity, intended to promote the City’s economic recovery from COVID-19 by focusing on four key areas.

  • Fashion Industry Blog Post - Dealing With Trademarks In The Metaverse - Hermes Wins MetaBirkins Lawsuit
    05/17/2023

    As has been reported, the luxury design house of Hermès has prevailed in its trademark infringement lawsuit against the artist Mason Rothschild over his “MetaBirkins” NFT  project, providing much-needed guidance on how to find a balance between trademark protection under the Lanham Act and artistic freedom of expression guaranteed by the First Amendment.  

  • The U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) Issues Final Rule Establishing Beneficial Ownership Information Reporting Requirement, Effective 2024
    02/02/2023

    The U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) has issued a final rule  (Final Rule) establishing a beneficial ownership information reporting requirement, pursuant to the Corporate Transparency Act of 2019 (CTA), that will require most corporations, limited liability companies, and other entities created in or registered to do business in the United States to file beneficial ownership interest reports (BOI Reports) with FinCen, which will contain information about their beneficial owners—the persons who ultimately own or control the company.
     

  • Alan Behr Co-edits Luxury Law, The Law Over Borders Comparative Guides 2022
    07/01/2022

    Mr. Behr, a partner in the Corporate & Business Law Department and Intellectual Property Practice, and chairman of the Fashion Practice at Phillips Nizer LLP, co-edited The Law Over Borders, a published work of comparative guides providing essential information on law and legal practice across the world comparing the legal frameworks of different jurisdictions.

  • Fashion Industry Law Blog Post - NFTs and Birkin Bags You Kind of Just Look At (Virtually)
    04/01/2022 | Fashion Industry Law Blog

    A lawsuit involving fashion and NFTs that is now in its early stages may help clarify what the law will consider an NFT to be. The case, Hermès v. Mason Rothschild, 22 cv 983 (S.D.N.Y.), was recently filed by Hermès International and an affiliate to halt the marketing and sale of NFTs of images of the brand’s signature Birkin handbag. 

  • Phillips Nizer Practical News Legal Alert: Good News for Co-op Boards and Managing Agents for the New Year: Changes to Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act Benefit Co-op Corporations, January 2022
    01/04/2022

    Good News for Co-op Boards and Managing Agents for the New Year: Changes to Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act Benefit Co-op Corporations.  On December 22, 2021, Governor Hochul signed legislation exempting co-ops from many of the onerous restrictions in the Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019. These revisions will allow boards and their agents to represent the shareholders’ interests more effectively in operating their buildings.  

  • Phillips Nizer Family Law Alert: New York’s New Law on Pet Custody in Divorce Proceedings: Who Gets the Family Pet?  
    11/01/2021

    On October 25, 2021, Governor Kathy Hochul signed into law a new statute, requiring that the “best interest” of a divorcing couple’s pet or companion animal be considered when awarding custody to a spouse, and applying many of the same factors considered in determining child custody. 

  • Habitat Magazine: Co-op Boards Getting Ready for the Reopening of Housing Court, by Mark N. Axinn
    08/19/2021

    The national debate on evictions is set to play out in New York, where the Civil Court’s residential landlord and tenant section, commonly known as housing court, is scheduled to reopen next month for the first time since March 2020. Co-op boards looking to enforce their proprietary leases must grapple with two questions: What if the courts do not reopen in September, despite this month’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling invalidating the current moratorium on evictions? And even if housing court does reopen, how much of a delay will co-ops face due to the severe backlog of cases after a 17-month hiatus brought on by COVID-19?

  • PN Labor Alert - Important Reminder for Employers - Compliance Deadline for NY HERO Act is August 5, 2021
     
    07/30/2021

    NYS DOL has provided guidance to employers on the immediate requirements for compliance with the NY HERO Act, as previously covered in our last alert.  By August 5, 2021, employers must have adopted airborne infectious disease exposure plans.  Employers face a $50 per day penalty in place for failure timely to adopt a plan.  Employers can create a plan following NYSDOL standards or use a Model Plan created by the NYSDOL.

  • The New York Health and Essential Rights (HERO) Act 
    05/09/2021

    On May 5, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO Act), which is intended to protect workers from airborne infectious diseases in the workplace.  The law will require employers to comply with minimum standards for workplace safety, which are to be developed, implemented and enforced by the NYS Department of Labor (NYSDOL) and the New York Department of Health (NYSDOH).  These standards, once implemented, will address testing, PPE, social distancing, hand hygiene, disinfection, and engineering controls. 


     

  • PN Practical News - New York Health and Essential (HERO) Act - May 9, 2021
    05/09/2021

    On May 5, 2021, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law the New York Health and Essential Rights Act (NY HERO Act), which is intended to protect workers from airborne infectious diseases in the workplace.  The law will require employers to comply with minimum standards for workplace safety, which are to be developed, implemented and enforced by the NYS Department of Labor (NYSDOL) and the New York Department of Health (NYSDOH). These standards, once implemented, will address testing, PPE, social distancing, hand hygiene, disinfection, and engineering controls.

  • PN Practical News - The Biden Labor Agenda - April 2021
    04/28/2021

    When former Boston Mayor and construction trades union member and leader Marty Walsh was confirmed as the 29th U.S. Secretary of Labor on March 22, 2021, he became the first union member Secretary since the 1970s.  Walsh’s background, priorities and experience point to a significantly more pro-labor agenda than in recent years, and early action on a number of major labor initiatives, including rollbacks of Trump labor regulations. 

  • Trust & Estates Legal Alert - Proposed Legislation May Bring Sweeping Changes to the Estate Planning World - April 2021 
    04/22/2021

    The “For the 99.5% Act” (introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders) and the Sensible Taxation and Promotion (STEP) Act (introduced by Sen. Chris Van Hollen) collectively propose broad Equity changes to federal estate, gift and income tax laws that, if enacted, would significantly impact common estate planning strategies and transfer taxation. 

  • Phillips Nizer Intellectual Property Legal Alert - Fake News, Fake Invoices (March 2021) 
    03/25/2021

    You've heard of fake news, but what about fake invoices?  Beware of bogus notices and invoices from imposters. 

    Recently, there has been a proliferation of companies that pose as the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO) which try to fool trademark owners into paying to them amounts needed to maintain or renew their trademarks.  These fraudsters mail trademark owners phony notices with names and typefaces so realistic that even sophisticated clients have been fooled.  

  • Legal Alert - Securities Law - SEC Adopts Amendments to Exchange Act Rule 15c2-11 - February 2021
    02/13/2021

    On September 16, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC” or the “Commission”) adopted amendments to Rule 15c2-11 (the “Rule”) under the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”), which governs the publication of quotations for securities in a quotation medium other than a national securities exchange, i.e., over-the-counter (“OTC”) securities. Among other matters, the amendments require information about issuers to be current and publicly available for broker-dealers to quote their securities in the OTC market; narrow reliance on certain exceptions from the Rule’s requirements, including the piggyback exception; add new exceptions for the quotations of securities that may be less susceptible to fraud and manipulation; and remove obsolete provisions.

  • Legal Alert - Securities Law - SEC Adopts Amendments to Rules Governing Exemptions from Registration - January 2021
    01/27/2021

    On November 2, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) adopted a number of significant amendments to the rules under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), which govern the manner in which securities may be sold without registration under the Securities Act. The amendments will be effective commencing on March 15, 2021.

  • In Defense of Constitutional Democracy
    01/07/2021

    We are proud to partner with our colleagues at Crowell & Moring LLP in calling upon all law firm leaders and all lawyers in government to join in this call.

  • Legal Alert - Securities Law - Revisions to SEC MDA Rules - December 2020
    12/23/2020

    On November 19,  2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted significant amendments to the financial disclosure rules under Regulation SK of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”).

  • Legal Alert - Environmental Law: President-elect Biden Names John Kerry Special Presidential Envoy for Climate, Signaling Increased Attention to Climate Change
    12/04/2020

    In a sign of the critical importance that the Biden Administration attributes to global climate control, President-elect Biden, in one of his first announcements, named former Secretary of State John Kerry as Special Presidential Envoy for Climate. In this role, Secretary Kerry, who was one of the architects of the Paris Climate Agreement during the Obama Administration, will assume a seat on the National Security Council, the first time that the Security Council will include an official dedicated to combatting climate change. While Secretary Kerry’s responsibility will primarily focus on international strategy, it is expected that President-elect Biden will soon designate a domestic climate official to complement Secretary Kerry’s efforts. Shortly after the announcement, Secretary Kerry tweeted: “America will soon have a government that treats the climate crisis as the urgent national security threat it is.”

  • Legal Alert - SEC Adopts Amendments to Shareholder Proposal Rules
     
    10/20/2020

    On September 23, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), adopted amendments to Rule 14-8 under the federal proxy rules, which govern the manner in which shareholders may seek to include a proposal in a company’s proxy statement to shareholders. Rule 14a-8 requires companies that are subject to the federal proxy rules to include certain shareholder proposals in their proxy statements, subject to certain procedural and substantive requirements.       
      
    The amendments will apply to any proposal submitted for an annual or special meeting to be held on or after January 1, 2022.  The amendments also provide for a transition period with respect to the ownership thresholds that will allow shareholders meeting specified conditions to rely on the current $2,000/one-year ownership threshold for proposals submitted for an annual or special meeting to be held prior to January 1, 2023.

  • Sports Law Chair Edward Schauder is quoted in Law360: Big Money On Campus: Athletes Seek Cut Of NCAA's Riches
    09/17/2020

    "There will be a lot of people who will take money and they will regret that they did," said Edward Schauder, a corporate and sports attorney handling licensing and marketing issues at Phillips Nizer LLP. "No matter how much money these guys make, they are really going to need professional guidance that they really don't fall for a common pitfall."

  • Legal Alert - SEC Modernizes Business, Legal and Risk Factor Disclosure Items of Regulations S-K
    09/09/2020

    On August 26, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) adopted amendments to modernize the business (Item 101), legal proceedings (Item 103), and risk factor (Item 105) disclosure requirements of Regulation S-K under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”), which are applicable to periodic reports and registration statements filed by public companies. 
     
     

  • Securities Law and Practice Legal Alert - Amendments to SEC Accredited Investor Definition
    08/31/2020

    On August 26, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), adopted  amendments to the definition of “accredited investor” in Rule 501 of Regulation D under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended (the “Securities Act”) to add new categories of qualifying natural persons and entities and to make certain other modifications to the existing definition. According to the SEC, the amendments are intended to update and improve the definition to identify more effectively investors that have sufficient knowledge and expertise to participate in investment opportunities that do not have the rigorous disclosure and procedural requirements, and related investor protections, provided by registration under the Securities Act.

  • Alan Behr is quoted in IP Manager: Booking.com SCOTUS victory raises survey status
     
    07/02/2020

    This week’s US Supreme Court decision that Booking.com is not generic might lead to a larger use of consumer surveys. 

    Alan Behr, partner at law firm Phillips Nizer in New York City, points out that in the oral arguments the attorney for Booking.com said marks like the brand are relatively weak. Weak marks in the fashion industry aren’t a good idea, Behr says.

    He notes that someone could theoretically register a domain name like menssocks.com and have a basis for protection. But he says this would still be a weak basis because someone else could register menssocks.info.

    “Then you get into a lawsuit involving survey evidence and experts about whether that’s confusingly similar or not.”

    Because of this, companies in fashion should be wary of picking a generic name, even if a marketing person really loves it, Behr says.

    “When in doubt in fashion, go for a strong mark. It will pay itself back many times over in benefits. The fact that the court had concurring and dissenting opinions shows that when you have a mark that’s just over the line, like Booking.com, you’re going to have questions.”

    Most brand owners would undoubtedly prefer not to have to argue in front of the Supreme Court to get a trademark registration in the first place. But those that do have to fight for their marks would be wise to take advantage of any evidence, including consumer surveys, that’s available to them.

  • Alan Behr is quoted in IP Watchdog:The Consumer is King: High Court Sides with Booking.com, Rejecting Per Se Test for Generic.Com Trademarks

    07/01/2020

    “Interestingly, the owner of the mark BOOKING.COM admitted in oral argument before the court that it is a ‘weak mark,’ but  the court found it to be a mark just the same.  In my experience, marketers are rarely daunted by legal evaluations of the relative strength of marks. If a marketer loves a mark, whether it is as strong as titanium or as weak as tissue paper, he or she will usually go for it and let the law follow along as best it knows how. In this case, the law did just that.

    What the case likely means is that there can be no automatic rejection of an application to register a mark that is simply a combination of a generic term such as ‘booking’ and a familiar top-level domain extension such as ‘.com.’  It does not, however, mean that any such combination would necessarily be registered as a trademark.  That is, you cannot take any generic term and add “.com” to it and say you definitely have a registrable mark for any goods or services.  Each case would still need to be examined on its own merits.  The Supreme Court noted, for example, that ART.COM is already registered as a trademark but did not make a new rule that all such combinations are automatically registrable.  What the case signifies is that, in the Internet age, top-level domain extensions, when added to generic terms might well create registrable marks.  And that is news—an important clarification from the Supreme Court of how old law applies to the new tricks of electronic commerce.”

  • Alan Behr is quoted in WTR: “A victory for any brand owner that has invested to build a brand”: Booking.com and legal experts react to Supreme Court decision
    07/01/2020

    “You cannot take any generic term and add ‘.com’ to it and say you definitely have a registrable mark”

    What the case likely means is that there can be no automatic rejection of an application to register a mark that is simply a combination of a generic term such as ‘booking’ and a familiar TLD extension such as ‘.com’. It does not, however, mean that any such combination would necessarily be registered as a trademark. That is, you cannot take any generic term and add ‘.com’ to it and say you definitely have a registrable mark for any goods or services. Each case would still need to be examined on its own merits. The Supreme Court noted, for example, that ART.COM is already registered as a trademark but did not make a new rule that all such combinations are automatically registrable. What the case signifies is that, in the internet age, TLD extensions, when added to generic terms might well create registrable marks. And that is news – an important clarification from the Supreme Court of how old law applies to the new tricks of electronic commerce.

  • Legal Alert: SEC Adopts Amendments to Financial Disclosures about Acquired and Disposed Businesses
    06/29/2020

    In May 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted major changes (the “Amendments”) to its rules and forms relating to the historical and pro forma financial statements and information that must be provided by public companies in connection with business acquisitions and dispositions. 
     
    The Amendments are effective on January 1, 2021. Voluntary early compliance with the Amendments is permitted in advance of the mandatory compliance date provided that the Amendments are applied in their entirety from the date of early compliance.

  • Phillips Nizer Employment & Labor Chair, Regina E. Faul, is quoted in Business Insurance, Some work issues still unclear after Supreme Court's LGBTQ ruling

    06/24/2020

    Higher EPLI rates are possible, but not in places such as New York State and New York City where these individuals were already protected, said Regina E. Faul, New York-based partner who chairs Philip Nizer LLP’s employment & labor practice.

  • NJ Family Law Coronavirus Series: Love and Domestic Violence in the Age of Coronavirus: Online Dating Relationships
    05/29/2020

    Now, more than ever, dating relationships are formed by electronic communications.  A new dating “app” appears every other day and there are seemingly infinite amounts of online dating websites.  In the current climate, with the national stay-at-home directives caused by the Coronavirus Crisis, people are even more reliant on technology and electronic communications to form dating relationships.   Unfortunately, while methods of communication may have changed, domestic violence has not.  This is the Fourth Article in our continuing series of Family Law Issues and the Coronavirus Crisis. 

  • Law Firm Leaders: Phillips Nizer Managing Partner Marc Landis is featured in Law360
    05/28/2020

    Marc Landis Landis chats with Law360 about how the firm has evolved since its inception, its operation during the coronavirus pandemic and his goals for the firm's future.

  • Legal Alert - New SEC Mining Disclosure Regulations
    05/28/2020

    Major changes to SEC Disclosure Rules For Mining Companies Will Become Mandatory in 2021.  In October 2018, the Securities and Exchange SEC (“SEC”) adopted major changes (the “New Mining Disclosure Rules”) to the SEC’s disclosure regulations for public mining companies.  Registrants have been permitted to comply with the New Mining Disclosure Rules on a voluntary basis since 2019, but they will become mandatory for fiscal years beginning on or after January 21, 2021.  For mining company registrants that have not already begun to comply with the New Mining Disclosure Rules on a voluntary basis, it is not too early to become familiar with the new Rules.
     

  • Phillips Nizer Managing Partner Marc Landis is quoted in Law360 article: Law Firm Succession Ins't New, So Why Is It So Hard?
    05/22/2020

    As the firms are plotting their future, Marc Landis, managing partner of roughly 70-lawyer Phillips Nizer LLP, wanted to remind the firm leaders that succession planning is not a "one-time exercise."

    The New York-based firm, which was founded in 1926 by attorneys Louis Phillips and Louis Nizer, has already gone through several generations of leaders, Landis said.

    "Succession planning, particularly in the law firm setting, is very much an art rather than a science," Landis said.  "The relationships among attorneys at a firm, relationships between attorneys and clients, are all very personal and very specific nad need to be treated as such."

    Landis said a law firm is not like an automobile factory where if all the workers left one day, the new employees would be immediately able to pick up the work by using the same machines and making the same cars. 

    "The attorneys' relationships with their clients are based on the clients having confidence in their knowledge, their brainpower, their judgment and a willingness to really understand the client's needs," he added. 

  • Phillips Nizer COVID-19 Message from Managing Partner Marc A. Landis
    04/15/2020

    By now, you’ve undoubtedly heard from many businesses who have switched to remote operations, cancelled unnecessary in-person meetings and business travel, etc. We’ve been implementing our plan in stages over the last two weeks, and have done the same. The health of our attorneys and staff, as well as our clients, contacts and friends, always comes first.

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