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Important Reminder – Special COBRA Notice Deadline is Approaching Fast

The deadline to send a new COBRA notice required under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (“ARPA”) is approaching quickly.  Employers and COBRA administrators will need to send those notices no later than September 15, 2021, to satisfy that obligation.

Essential Health Care Checklist for College Students

The dog days of summer are behind us, and National Back-to-School Month is well underway. Parents across the country are checking off tasks on their lists in order to get their college students ready to go back to school.  If it’s not already on the list, parents need to make sure that their college student has appropriate health care documents in place for anything that comes their way.

OSHA Assesses Significant Penalties for Alleged Asbestos Mismanagement at Missouri Nursing Facility

OSHA’s Kansas City Area Office recently cited three employers for allegedly exposing workers and residents to asbestos hazards and failing to ensure safe removal of the known carcinogen during a flooring replacement project at a Monett, Missouri, nursing facility.  Proposed penalties for the three employers totaled approximately $240,000.

EPA Fines Companies for Air Emissions from RCRA Waste Tanks and Equipment

Companies that store hazardous waste liquids with organics or other volatile and light vapors should ensure that the tanks, containers, and equipment used at those facilities satisfy the RCRA Organic Air Emission Standards in Subparts AA, BB, and CC under 40 CFR Parts 264 and 265.  Over the past month, EPA has announced at least five separate penalty enforcement actions for air emission violations under the Subpart BB and Subpart CC standards.  EPA promulgated the RCRA hazardous waste air emission standards to reduce the release of air emissions and organic vapors into the atmosphere from hazardous waste tanks, containers, equipment, and process vents, to prevent ozone precursors and other air toxics.

Missouri Supreme Court Upholds Non-Economic Damages Cap

On July 22, 2021, the Missouri Supreme Court issued its opinion in the matter of Ordinalo Velazquez v. University Physician Associates, et al. In a victory for health care providers, the Missouri Supreme Court rejected a constitutional challenge to non-economic damages caps in actions based on the provision of medical services.

Court Remands Mine’s ‘Synthetic Minor’ Air Permit for Findings on Whether Mine Intends to Comply With Operational Limits

The Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled this week that a mine’s “synthetic minor” air emissions permit failed to address contentions attributed to its parent company’s public securities filing that some said suggested the mine might not comply with the permit’s output restrictions.  The court ruled the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (“MPCA”) must make additional factual findings to address those contentions and issue a revised decision to support its conclusion that PolyMet Mining Inc. (“PolyMet”) is anticipated to comply with the terms of its synthetic minor source permit.

Name, Image, and Likeness: What Colleges and Universities Need to Know

For years advocates for collegiate athletes’ rights have argued that there should be compensation allowed for their participation in intercollegiate athletics.  At the very least these advocates have insisted that the athletes should be able to benefit from the use of their name, image, and likeness (NIL).  In September 2019, California enacted the first law granting NIL rights to collegiate athletes with an effective date of July 1, 2021.  A month later the NCAA Board of Governors unanimously agreed it was time to address its NIL regulations. Subsequently, 27 states have joined in enacting NIL legislation, including 15 that have become effective since July 1.  The remaining dozen will become effective between now and 2023.  Three other states have pending bills with a similar focus.

United States Supreme Court Holds That Plaintiffs Must Suffer Concrete Harm to Sue in Federal Court

As part of the flurry of its end-of-term opinions, the U.S. Supreme Court recently issued its opinion in TransUnion LLC v. Ramirez, 594 U.S. ____ (2021) confirming that plaintiffs who have suffered no concrete harm have no standing to sue in federal court under Article III of the U.S. Constitution.  As Justice Kavanaugh succinctly put it in writing for the five justice majority, “No concrete harm, no standing.”

OSHA Implements COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard for Healthcare and Updates COVID-19 Guidance for all Employers

On June 10, 2021, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (“OSHA”) announced an action OSHA has not taken in 38 years: issuing an Emergency Temporary Standard (“ETS”).  This ETS aims to protect “healthcare and healthcare support service workers from occupational exposure to COVID-19 in settings where people with COVID-19 are reasonably expected to be present.”  The ETS does not go into effect until publication in the Federal Register, which has not yet occurred but appears imminent (OSHA has submitted the ETS to the Office of the Federal Register for publication and codification in 29 CFR 1910 Subpart U).  The text of the ETS, as submitted to the Office of the Federal Register, is available here.  OSHA also launched a website with resources regarding the ETS.

Five Best Practices the White House Urges all Businesses to Take to Mitigate Risk of Ransomware Attacks

The threat of ransomware attacks against all American businesses is so great that on June 2, 2021, the White House issued a memo to all corporate executives and business leaders with the subject “What We Urge You To Do To Protect Against The Threat of Ransomware.” This is the first time such a memo has ever been issued. That is how serious the threat of ransomware attacks is to our nation.

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