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July 2016




“Occurrence” v. “Offense”: Understanding the Trigger of Coverage under the Standard CGL Policy



By:  Mandy Proctor

It is commonly understood in the insurance industry that the standard CGL policy provides coverage for bodily injury and property damage, which is caused by an “occurrence” resulting in loss during the policy period, as well as personal and advertising injury caused by an “offense” committed during the policy period.  “Occurrence” in this context means an “accident, including continuous or repeated exposure to substantially the same general harmful conditions.”  An “offense,” by contrast, generally connotes an intentional act.  

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New EEOC Guidance on Employer-Provided Leave Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

By:  Michael Hill

The EEOC recently issued new guidance on employer-provided leave under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which contains useful information on the EEOC’s focus relating to providing reasonable accommodations for employees with disabilities.  Employers should review their leave policies in light of this new guidance to ensure compliance. For instance, most employers that offer leave have a certain maximum number of days or weeks that an employee may apply towards leave.

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There Is Too Much Foam In My Latte

By:  Seth Kirby

A federal judge in California recently has ruled that a class-action lawsuit against Starbucks can proceed.  The lawsuit alleges that the company has systematically cheated its customers by under filling its latte based beverages.  The plaintiffs argue that Starbucks is deceiving its customers, and saving money in ingredient costs, by failing to fill its latte beverages to the brim with liquid.  Specifically, they allege that a 16 ounce grande latte does not actually contain 16 ounces of liquid, but rather a lesser amount of liquid topped by foam.  

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Hair Follicle Testing for Truck Drivers

By:  Marc Bardack and Matthew Grattan

In December 2015, President Obama signed The Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act, a law allowing motor carriers to test a driver’s hair follicles during pre-employment and random drug screens.  Although some companies, including J.B. Hunt and Schneider National, already test their drivers using this method, DOT regulations currently require these tests to be used in conjunction with traditional urine samples.  Under the new law, motor carriers who choose to use hair follicles for drug testing must do so in accordance with scientific and technical guidelines.

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Firm and Attorney News 

Phil Savrin, Wayne Melnick, Parker Green, and Matthew Grattan were all published in the 2016 GDLA Journal.  Mr. Savrin authored Are Claims for Attorney Fees in Tort Cases Covered by General Liability Policies? The Answer is Not So Simple addressing little-known case law that finds attorney fees are not covered as “damages” even if the underlying tort itself caused a covered loss. Mr. Melnick, Mr. Green, and Mr. Grattan co-authored A Double-Edged Sword: The Defense of Trucking Claims After the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Mandate for Electronic Logging Devices summarizing the current law on ELDs, the changes to those laws being imposed by the FMCSA, and the legal issues expected to result from those changes.  Mr. Savrin’s article can be viewed here, while Mr. Melnick/Green/ Gratton’s article can be viewed here.

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Dennis Strazulo will be speaking at ACI’s Wage & Hour Conference on September 26, 2016 in San Francisco. California.  The presentation titled “Pay Equity: Staying Ahead of the Curve on this Hot Button Issue, Tips for Ensuring Equal Pay Compliance, Pitfalls to Avoid for Employers Operating in California, New York and Other States, and Strategies for Defending Litigation” will discuss the recent equal pay movement and an overview of the latest key legislative and regulatory developments that employers should familiarize themselves with to stay ahead of the curve.

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Dennis Strazulo will also be moderating a presentation at the EPLI ExecuSummit Conference on September 28, 2016 in Uncasville, Connecticut.   The presentation titled “New DOL Rules: Guiding Employers Through the New Overtime Regulations and Other Wage and Hour Emerging Issues” will discuss the legal impact of the Department of Labor’s latest wage and hour initiatives.

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About Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP

Freeman Mathis & Gary, LLP is a leading national litigation firm, serving clients through its practice groups in CGL and Business Liability, Commercial and Complex Litigation, Construction and Design Law, Financial Services and Transactions, Government Law, Government Relations, Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith, Labor and Employment Law, and Professional Liability. With offices in Georgia, California, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina and Florida, FMG attorneys serve as trusted counsel to corporations and governments throughout the country, providing practical, efficient, and cost-effective solutions for legal issues. For more information about FMG, visit www.fmglaw.com.




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