Robinson+Cole is pleased to launch its Environmental Law + blog. The latest addition to the firm’s network of blogs is dedicated to providing a timely and thoughtful forum for discussion of developments in the environmental, health and safety (EH+S), and energy landscapes.
The Environmental Law + blog is produced by Robinson+Cole’s Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group, one of the largest and most diverse in the Northeast, with Jonathan H. Schaefer serving as editor. To receive updates from the Environmental Law + blog, please subscribe. Read more in the press release.
A total of 42 Robinson+Cole attorneys were named to Super Lawyers® lists in the States of Connecticut, Delaware, Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, and Rhode Island for 2021. In addition, 29 attorneys at the firm were recognized as “Rising Stars.”
Bruce B. Barth and Jeffrey J. White were named to the Top 50: 2021 Connecticut Super Lawyers list. Linda L. Morkan appears on the Top 25: 2021 Women Connecticut Super Lawyers list and, similarly, Natalie D. Ramsey was included in the Top 50: 2021 Women Pennsylvania Super Lawyers list. Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole was again ranked as a “highly recommended” firm in Connecticut in the 2022 edition of Benchmark Litigation – the definitive guide to the world's leading litigation law firms and lawyers. The firm also received a “recommended” ranking in the area of labor & employment.
The following Robinson+Cole lawyers earned a litigation star honor: Wystan M. Ackerman, Bradford S. Babbitt, Patrick W. Begos, Joseph L. Clasen, Gerald P. Dwyer Jr., Edward J. Heath, Linda L. Morkan, Rhonda J. Tobin, Theodore J. Tucci, James A. Wade and Jeffrey J. White. This past August, Robinson+Cole Managing Partner Rhonda Tobin was also named one of Benchmark Litigation‘s Top 250 Women in Litigation for 2021 for the eighth consecutive year. She was the only female litigator chosen in the state of Connecticut for 2021. In addition, Stephen W. Aronson and Rachel V. Kushel received the “Labor & Employment Star – Northeast” recognition from the fourth edition of Benchmark Labor & Employment. Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole was recognized as one of The Hartford Courant’s Top Workplace 2021 winners, as published in a special section on September 26, 2021. The firm was the only law firm to receive a recognition. In addition, earlier this year the firm received a New York City Top Workplaces 2021 award by Schneps Media Top Workplaces and is listed among the top 20 businesses across New York City as published by amNY. The lists are based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey administered by employee engagement technology company Energage, LLC.
“Robinson+Cole is truly a special law firm,” said Rhonda J. Tobin, Managing Partner, Robinson+Cole. “Our culture of collaboration, civility and inclusion ensures that every voice is heard, that people work together while developing individually, and that everyone feels they are part of something meaningful. We are highly focused on professional development and mentoring at all levels, and our commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion is reflected in our daily decisions. All of this enables us to provide the very best service to our clients and to our communities.” Read more in the press release.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyer Emilee Mooney Scott was selected by the Hartford Business Journal for inclusion in its 2021 “40 Under Forty” class. The honorees were each profiled in a special section published in the August 23, 2021 edition of the Hartford Business Journal and recognized during a special event on September 21, 2021 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium/Rentschler Field commemorating the 2021 class and 40 Under Forty’s 25th anniversary.
The class showcases a diversity of up-and-coming professionals who are leading their organizations in sectors that include the legal, technology, insurance, real estate, banking and nonprofit arenas, and from organizations both small and large. They represent the promising future of the city, region, and state, and were selected from among more than 160 nominees. Read more in the press release.
For the second consecutive year, Robinson+Cole has achieved Mansfield Rule Certification after completing a year-long process that began in July 2020. Robinson+Cole is one of only 118 law firms to receive Mansfield Rule 4.0 certification. The certification is developed and facilitated by Diversity Lab in an effort to increase the representation of diverse lawyers in leadership positions by broadening the pool of women, lawyers of color, lawyers with disabilities, and LGBTQ+ lawyers who are considered for significant governance roles, partner promotions, lateral partner and senior associate hiring and inclusion in business development initiatives.
“Our Mansfield Rule 4.0 certification validates Robinson+Cole’s commitment to fostering a welcoming and inclusive work environment in which the diverse backgrounds of all our lawyers and other professionals are respected and each individual is empowered to succeed,” said Robinson+Cole Managing Partner, Rhonda J. Tobin. “Our continued participation enhances our ability to cultivate a culture in which our increasingly diverse group of lawyers and other professionals can bring their unique ideas and perspectives to the practice of law.” Read more in the press release.
65 Robinson+Cole lawyers were selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2022. Of the 65 lawyers from across the firm’s practice groups and offices named to the list, 49 are from Connecticut. The firm continues to have the highest number of recognized lawyers in the state. Robinson+Cole also has the highest number of listed lawyers in Connecticut in the areas of environmental law and insurance law.
Additionally, the following five lawyers were named the Best Lawyers® 2022 “Lawyer of the Year” in Hartford, Connecticut, in the noted practice areas: Patrick M. Birney in Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law, Michael F. Maglio in Banking and Finance Law, Robert S. Melvin in Environmental Law, Joey Lee Miranda in Energy Law and Jacqueline Pennino Scheib in Trademark Law. Peter V. Lacouture was also named a Best Lawyers® 2022 “Lawyer of the Year” in Providence, Rhode Island in the area of Energy Law.
The second edition of Best Lawyers: “Ones to Watch” was also released, of which 17 total Robinson+Cole lawyers are listed in. The “Ones to Watch” recognition is given to attorneys who are earlier in their careers for their outstanding professional excellence in private practice in the United States. Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole Managing Partner and past Litigation Section Co-chair Rhonda J. Tobin has been named one of Benchmark Litigation’s Top 250 Women in Litigation for 2021. Published on August 5, 2021, the guide focuses on the leading Top 250 female litigators from across the US who have earned their place by participating in some of the most impactful litigation matters in recent history, as well as by earning the hard-won respect of their peers and clients as top players in their respective fields. Tobin is the only female litigator chosen in the state of Connecticut. This is the eighth consecutive year she has received the distinction. Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole is pleased to announce the addition of Danielle H. Tangorre as a partner in the firm’s Health Law Group. Danielle represents and advises a broad range of health care providers and trade associations on transactional matters, litigation, operational and compliance issues, fraud and abuse, HIPAA, and regulatory matters. Her addition expands Robinson+Cole’s legal practice in Albany, New York, where the firm also has a significant government relations practice.
“Danielle has impressive experience and I’m delighted to welcome her to our team,” said Rhonda J. Tobin, Managing Partner, Robinson+Cole. “Continuing to expand the depth and geographical diversity of our health law practice is another step in the execution of our strategic plan to expand some of our strongest practices in our most strategic locations. The firm continues to look for growth opportunities in these practices, as well as in the large commercial centers where we have offices, including New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Wilmington and Miami.” Read more in the press release.
Robinson+Cole was ranked #12 among 50 law firms listed in the 2022 Best Law Firms to Work For category as part of Vault’s Law Firm Quality of Life Rankings. The rankings are derived from Vault’s Annual Associate Survey in which nearly 20,000 associates rated and commented on various aspects of their work lives. Robinson+Cole climbed 36 spots up the Best Law Firms to Work For list.
Vault’s Law Firm Quality of Life Rankings includes 16 subcategories. In addition to ranking #12 in the 2022 Best Law Firms to Work For category, Robinson+Cole was ranked #1 for Integration of Laterals & Clerks, #2 for Technology & Innovation, #4 for Wellness, and #5 for Firm Culture and for Associate/Partner Relations. In addition, the firm ranked #6 in Vault’s 2022 Best Law Firms For Diversity. Firm highlights from those rankings include #5 designations for Diversity for Individuals with Disabilities and for Diversity for Women as well as #8 for Diversity for LGBTQ+ Individuals and for Racial & Ethnic Diversity. Read more in the press release.
Intellectual Property + Technology lawyer John L. Cordani served as an intellectual property adviser for contestants during the Hartford, CT edition of Make48, the “world’s fastest invention competition." The nationwide invention documentary series gives teams exactly 48 hours to come up with an idea, build a physical prototype, sales sheet, and a one-minute marketing video based on a challenge. John assisted the competing teams with the intellectual property research for their idea at MakerspaceCT, 25,000 + sq. ft. of well-equipped working space in Hartford, on October 7 and October 9, 2021. Teams go on to present their working prototype and promotional video to a panel of judges with the winning team receiving a cash prize. Learn more about Make48.
Government Relations Group co-principal Susan J. Halpin has been selected for inclusion in the Hartford Business Journal’s (HBJ) 2021 Power 25 Health Care class. While the list identifies leaders who have had a significant impact on the industry and public health, it is not considered an awards section. HBJ’s Power 25 Health Care class was chosen and ranked by the publication’s news team. “To make the list, individuals must not only be in a position of power, they need to wield it in such a way to have an outsized impact on our community.” Susan was profiled in a special section of the HBJ published on October 18, 2021, which describes her lobbying efforts on behalf of the Connecticut Association of Health Plans (CAHP), the organization that directs the Connecticut lobbying interests of Cigna, Aetna and a handful of other major commercial health carriers operating in the state. This is the second consecutive year Susan has made the list. Read the full profile.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyer Jonathan H. Schaefer authored the article “OSHA retaliation complaints rising – Have you checked your anti-retaliation program lately?” published in ISHN (Industrial Safety & Hygiene News) on October 14, 2021. The article acknowledges the record number of retaliation complaints filed by employees for raising workplace health and safety concerns and for reporting work-related injuries or illnesses as a result of COVID-19. Given that “employee complaints are one of the major triggers for OSHA investigations, it is likely that a whistleblower complaint will lead to an OSHA inspection and investigation. For this, and other reasons, employers should be aware of OSHA’s anti-retaliation law and how to avoid triggering retaliation claims.” Jon offers background on the enforcement of Whistleblower Protection Program OSH Act Section 11(c), steps employers can take in an effort to prevent retaliation claims and recent developments with OSHA anti-retaliation. Read the article.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group member, Megan E. Baroni, co-presented the webinar "Microplastics: Small Particles, Big Consequences?" on October 14, 2021. As we know, plastics are everywhere—in our homes, our food supply, our oceans, and beyond. Microplastics—tiny plastic fibers, fragments, and particles—are particularly pervasive. But are they bad for us? Could they become the next big emerging contaminant? Hosted with Roux, the program explored the state of the science regarding the possible human health consequences as a result of exposure to microplastics and how regulators are using new data to potentially ground future regulations. The webinar also reviewed the potential pathways to liability associated with microplastics—from existing laws and regulations that can be used to address microplastics, to new scientific approaches and legal schemes that may have a direct or indirect impact on plastic producers and users.
Bankruptcy + Reorganizations Group lawyers Katherine M. Fix and Ryan M. Messina authored the article “Does Federal Common Law Define a Business Trust’s Eligibility for Chapter 11?” published in the October 2021 issue of the ABI Journal, the member publication of the American Bankruptcy Institute. Featured in the Journal’s “On the Edge” column, the article focuses on how courts have struggled to determine whether an entity is a “business trust” that is eligible to be a “debtor” under the Bankruptcy Code-the crux of which arises from the Code’s failure to define what a business trust is within the context of bankruptcy. Katherine and Ryan provide a history of business trusts in the bankruptcy code; examine the split of authority that exists as to which law governs: the law of the jurisdiction in which the trust resides, or federal common law; and offer insights into how a recent Delaware Bankruptcy Court decision regarding an offshore real estate investment trust may become the new standard. Read the full article.
Bankruptcy + Reorganizations Group co-chair Patrick M. Birney was part of the team recognized for “Distressed M&A Deal of the Year ($100MM to $250MM)” during The M&A Advisor’s 15th Annual Turnaround Awards hosted on September 29, 2021 in New York City. The award was presented for the sale of Rubie’s Costume Company, Inc. and its U.S. based affiliates. Headquartered in Long Island, NY, Rubie’s is the world’s largest costume provider, with a wide-ranging portfolio of licensed products including Marvel, Warner Brothers, Nickelodeon, Disney and Lucasfilm costumes, memorabilia, novelties and toys. Patrick represented TD Bank, a secured lender in the sale, which was effectuated through a Chapter 11 Section 363 process in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York. SSG Capital Advisors, LLC acted as the investment banker to Rubie’s Costume Company, Inc. The transaction closed in October 2020. The M&A Advisor’s Annual Turnaround Awards recognize those that reached the pinnacle of the distressed investing, bankruptcy, and restructuring industry over the past year. Read more about the awards.
Business Litigation Group lawyer Janet Kljyan has been elected to serve a three-year term on the Hudson River Housing, Inc. Board of Directors. Hudson River Housing provides a continuum of services that improves lives and communities through housing with compassion and development with vision. The organization creates pathways out of homelessness through empowerment, education, and advocacy and strengthens communities by developing and preserving affordable housing and creating opportunities for people and places to thrive. Learn more about Hudson River Housing.
Intellectual Property + Technology Group lawyer Kathleen M. Porter was recognized as a “Massachusetts Go To Lawyer” in the area of Intellectual Property by Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly (MLW) and profiled in a special section published in the September 27, 2021 edition. The “Massachusetts Go To Lawyers” feature was debuted by MLW in 2020 to showcase leaders in the Massachusetts legal community by practice area. A “Go To Lawyer” is: an expert in his or her field; a senior attorney well-versed in case law, statutes and regulations; experienced, with a record of success in cases and/or transactions; a lawyer to whom other lawyers make referrals because of his or her expertise and accomplishments; and a lawyer who can think creatively and identify all options for a client.
Real Estate + Development Group lawyers Candace M. Cunningham and Deirdre M. Robinson were among those selected by the New England Real Estate Journal to be featured in the publication’s “Women in Commercial Real Estate” spotlight, which recognizes the achievements of women across all facets of the real estate industries. The Q&A spotlight of each honoree offers key insights on “what it takes to achieve success.” Candace focuses on the benefits of being and having a mentor. Deirdre shares what led her to becoming a lawyer, a characteristic she believes every woman in commercial real estate should possess, what trends she thinks may dominate her industry in the coming months, and a project from the last year that she is most proud of.
Insurance + Reinsurance Group lawyer John F. McCarrick was quoted extensively in the article “SPAC Boom Begets A New Breed Of Insurance Coverage Spat” published in Law360 Insurance Authority on September 1, 2021. The article focuses on the risks and insurance coverage considerations faced by companies formed via special purpose acquisition companies (SPACs), which raise funds to make an initial public offering before purchasing a private target company. “Also called blank-check companies, SPACs are required to obtain a target and merge within two years or return investors' money.” The article references a recent lawsuit filed by Alta Mesa Resources (AMR) seeking coverage for claims that a defunct energy company's former executives caused it to collapse to suggest that a precedent could be set for insurance disputes involving other ventures that, like AMR, were created through increasingly popular SPACs. John said the “case could be a good litmus test to determine if D&O policies are currently structured to actually address the liabilities that may arise when deSPACs are created. He also said the case will demonstrate if the prior acts exclusion represents the right approach for insurers to bar coverage.” Subscribers can read the article.
Immigration Group lawyer Jennifer L. Shanley authored the article “H-1B and Beyond: What are the Options for Hiring Foreign Nationals?” published in Industry Week on September 15, 2021. In the article, Jen discusses the extraordinary workforce gap that manufacturers are facing today, with more than 800,000 vacant jobs currently. To fill those jobs, manufacturers are turning to foreign nationals who can be sponsored through a variety of different work-authorized status categories, each with its own requirements and limitations. Read the article.
Health Law Group lawyer Danielle H. Tangorre was quoted in the article “Recent Prosecutions Give Labs Insight Into DOJ's Use of Opioid Bill's Anti-Kickback Statute,” published in 360Dx on August 19, 2021. The article examines whether the passage of the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (EKRA) of 2018, which was meant to outlaw patient brokering in the addiction treatment industry, criminalized common lab business practices such as paying sales staff on commission or placing phlebotomists in physician offices for sample collection. Danielle noted that while EKRA was written with the opioid crisis in mind, a recent case of a New York physician who was indicted for violations of several laws including EKRA as part of a scheme in which he solicited payments in exchange for referring pharmacogenetic testing to a pair of laboratories suggests it will be used to prosecute fraud in other areas, as well — genetic testing, for instance. "We were hoping for regulations or a fix for [the law] to be made more narrow, but we haven't seen that, and, instead, the cases are showing a broader applicability of how the [US Department of Justice] is using EKRA," [she] said. Danielle added that “while some labs outside the toxicology space might have been on the fence as to whether they needed to change their practices to comply with the law, ‘we can now point to these cases and say, you're a clinical lab, you need to be concerned about EKRA and how you conduct your business, whether it is how you structure your sales and marketing or how you address your pricing models. Labs need to think about it as they would any other statute.’" Launched in 2016, 360Dx covers emerging economic and technological trends in the clinical diagnostic market. Subscribers can read the article.
Construction Group lawyer Frederick E. Hedberg authored the article “Mitigating the Risks of Materials Price Escalation: Better Now Than Never!” published in Construction Executive on September 9, 2021. Fred discusses how dramatic increases in the prices of raw building materials over the past year have jeopardized constructions projects that did not mitigate the risks of material price escalation. The article counsels construction stakeholders on the importance of considering different strategies to mitigate the risks of price escalations during all phases of a project. During the bidding phase, owners might want to require bids to be submitted pursuant to a universally accepted cost index. Conversely, contractors and downstream subcontractors and suppliers might want to define the time period during which their bids are valid and to include language in their bids to account for price increases that occur after a certain date. The article also discusses drafting and negotiating different types of contractual provisions, including threshold or delay and mutual or bilateral price escalation clauses, which fairly and equitably allocate the risks of volatile price fluctuations often driven by economic and political forces outside the control of the parties. Read the full article.
Robinson+Cole welcomes the following members of our fall class: Katherine R. Ballington (Fordham Law School), Joshua L. Coker (Cornell Law School), Katherine Dute (Temple University Beasley School of Law), Julia F. Fountain (Georgetown University Law Center) and Eric J. Rigoli (University of Notre Dame Law School), and congratulates them on their recent graduation.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Abby M. Warren was quoted in the article “New seniority rehire law creates hurdles for companies looking to rebound from pandemic” published by the Hartford Business Journal on September 6, 2021. The article focuses on a new Connecticut law aimed at giving certain workers laid off because of COVID-19 “first crack at their old jobs when their former employers rehire.” The statute requires restaurants, food service companies and hotels with 15 or more workers to contact any employees they laid off because of COVID-19 when they rehire and offer them their former positions. It includes numerous provisions and empowers workers to sue if their former employers fail to comply – effectively setting aside at-will employment, which is standard throughout the United States. “If you told me a year ago that this would be a law in Connecticut, I would have been shocked,” Abby said. She went on to acknowledge that it may be a challenge for businesses not used to dealing with union contracts and expressed surprise that the statute allows workers to go straight to court, noting that employment laws are filed with an agency prior to a lawsuit being filed. Read the article.
Bankruptcy + Reorganizations Group Co-chair Patrick M. Birney was selected to be one of Turnaround Management Association’s (TMA) featured members for the month of September. Patrick was chosen to be highlighted by the Connecticut Turnaround Management Association (CTTMA) and will appear in the “Featured Members” section found on TMA’s homepage. According to its website, TMA “is the most professionally diverse organization in the corporate restructuring, renewal, and corporate health space.” The organization is comprised of turnaround practitioners, attorneys, accountants, advisors, liquidators, consultants, as well as academic, government employees, and members of the judiciary with nearly 10,000 members in 54 chapters worldwide. Patrick is a longtime member of TMA and CTTMA serving in several leadership roles. He has previously served as a TMA Director and Vice President of Public Relations. Visit TMA’s website to view the Featured Members section.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Abby M. Warren was quoted in the article “Here’s why one CT employer mandated vaccines. Will others follow?” published in the Hartford Business Journal (HBJ) on September 6, 2021. A follow-up to an earlier HBJ article on Connecticut employers mandating employee COVID-19 vaccinations published on June 14, 2021, the latest article notes that the previously unpopular vaccine requirements “seem to be one of the few tools left to employers to insulate themselves from an increasingly unpredictable pandemic.” Abby acknowledges that “[f]or the most part, courts and government agencies charged with arbitrating employment matters have largely sided with employers when it comes to mandates.” She also points out that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s recent decision to officially approve the Pfizer vaccine definitely weakens “[t]he argument against employer mandates because the vaccines may be unsafe...” In addition, Abby comments on exemption policies and the related nuances that need to be worked out when formulating those policies because the courts have to balance legal protections with safety concerns. Read the article.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Emily A. Zaklukiewicz has been reappointed to serve as co-chair of the Connecticut Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Section (CBA-YLS) Women in the Law Committee for the 2021-2022 bar year. The role is among those that comprise the CBA-YLS Executive Committee. The Young Lawyers Section has as its primary goals the promotion of justice, the encouragement of public service, and the promotion of diversity and education of young lawyers and newly admitted practitioners. The Section serves a valuable social and networking role in fostering connections among young lawyers and assisting them in their transition into the legal practice in Connecticut. It includes all members of the CBA who are 37 years old or younger or who have been admitted to the Bar for less than six full bar years.
The Women in the Law Committee of the Young Lawyers Section monitors the progress and works to enhance the status and opportunities available to women in the legal profession; provides women attorneys in Connecticut an opportunity to share concerns, communicate, and network with one another in a supportive forum; and promotes the participation of the CBA in substantive areas of law and legislation that present issues of particular concern to women in the profession, and to those who seek legal services.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyer Jonathan H. Schaefer was quoted in the article “OSHA Calls on Employers to Protect Workers from COVID-19” published under the “Employment Law” category of the Society for Human Resource Management’s (SHRM) online resources web page. The article stresses the importance of employers’ remaining vigilant in their adherence to COVID-19-related safety measures under OSHA’s general-duty clause, which entitles employees to a workplace free of known health and safety hazards. Jon acknowledges that in addition to the risk of violating the general-duty clause, employers are facing citations for violation of specific OSHA regulations relative to COVID-19, such as violation of standards related to respiratory protection, bloodborne pathogens, sanitation and PPE. Jon also addresses OSHA’s liability for employee side effects from a vaccine. "This may have been a valid concern earlier in 2021 when OSHA's enforcement guidance compelled those employers requiring employees to be vaccinated as a condition of employment to record adverse reactions to the vaccine if the adverse reaction met the other recordability criteria," he said. OSHA has since indicated it will not enforce the recordability requirements as related to the effects from COVID-19 vaccination—at least through May 2022. Read the article.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyer Jonathan H. Schaefer is among the honorees selected by the Environmental Business Council of New England, Inc. (EBC) to receive its 2021 EBC Ascending Leader Award. The EBC recognizes young professionals in the energy and environmental sectors demonstrating exceptional leadership and industry involvement early in their careers with the annual presentation of the EBC Ascending Leader Award. Recipients are leaders within their own organizations, often acting as mentors to junior staff, providing thought leadership on critical issues, and leading teams on difficult or large projects. They also represent their organizations through participation in industry associations and committees, supporting the growth of the environmental and energy sectors. Early career success and rapid advancement in the industry are hallmarks of award recipients, who are often involved civically as well. The award recipients will be presenting at the EBC Spotlight on Success: A Panel Discussion with the 2021 EBC Ascending Leader Award Recipients on September 22, 2021. Currently, Jon serves as Vice Chair of EBC’s Connecticut Chapter and is a member of the EBC Site Remediation and Redevelopment Committee.
Transactional Health Law Group co-chair Leslie J. Levinson was quoted in the article “How Geriatric Care Management Businesses Can Accelerate Growth for Home Care Operators” published in Home Health Care News on September 2, 2021. The article discusses the potential boost in organic growth for home care businesses achieved through their acquisition of geriatric care management companies. Despite some recent deals of this type, Les said he’s not noticing a clear uptick in care management transactions. “Honestly, it’s not something that we are hearing one way or the other from clients who have been acquisitive. And as you know, we have been handling a lot of deals,” Les told HHCN’s Robert Holly. “Thatʼs not to say that it hasnʼt gone into the mix of thinking as buyers are evaluating an acquisition opportunity.” Read the article.
Construction Law Group lawyer Choity R. Khan has been elected to the Professional Women in Construction Connecticut Chapter (PWC CT) Board of Directors for the 2021-2022 term. The PWC CT Chapter is a community of professionals in the architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) industry that provides an opportunity for connection and engagement that leads to business opportunities. Choity currently serves on PWC CT’s Mentorship Committee and was elected to the Board by PWC CT Chapter members. Learn more about the organization.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Emily A. Zaklukiewicz was quoted in the article “Lawyers advise employers on handling vaccine exemptions” published in New Haven Biz on August 25, 2021. The article references a webinar Emily co-presented on “COVID-19 Information & Protocols Webinar” on August 25, 2021. Hosted by the Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce (GNCC), Emily was among the panel of professionals that shared the latest information on Connecticut state guidelines, mask policies, vaccine information and mobile access, and other related updates and news to help businesses prepare for operation in the coming weeks. As quoted in the article, Emily emphasizes of the importance of employers clearly communicating vaccination and masking policies while being mindful of accommodating those seeking or granted exemptions. The firm is pleased to be a GNCC Chamber Partner. Read the article.
Data Privacy + Cybersecurity Insider Team lawyer Kathryn M. Rattigan was a guest on an episode of the “Emerging Litigation Podcast” that was posted on August 24, 2021. During the discussion with host Tom Hagy, Kathryn talks about some of the use cases for drones across multiple industries as well as drone compliance and privacy issues. The “Emerging Litigation Postcast” is the audio companion to the Journal on Emerging Issues in Litigation, a collaborative project between HB Litigation Conferences and the Fastcase legal research family. Listen to the podcast episode.
Health Law Group lawyer Danielle H. Tangorre has been named to the 2021 Upstate New York Super Lawyers® Rising Stars list. The Super Lawyers® designation is based on regional balloting by attorneys, third-party research, and a peer review process encompassing myriad practice areas. The selection process for the Rising Stars list is the same as the Super Lawyers selection process, with one exception: to be eligible for inclusion in Rising Stars, a candidate must be either 40 years old or younger or in practice for 10 years or less. While up to five percent of the lawyers in the state are named to Super Lawyers, no more than 2.5 percent are named to the Rising Stars list. An explanation of the Super Lawyers methodology can be found here.
Business Litigation Group lawyer Dan A. Brody was the focus of the article “The Last 12 Months Were Good for Case Resolution, Litigator Dan Brody Says” published in the Connecticut Law Tribune on August 19, 2021. In the Q&A feature, Dan discusses the impact the pandemic has had on government enforcement case resolution as well as the potential for an increase in government enforcement opportunities for lawyers. Dan also observes current litigation trends and describes the biggest lesson he learned as a litigator in 2020. Read the article.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyer Emilee Mooney Scott was profiled in a special issue of the Hartford Business Journal commemorating the publication’s 2021 “40 Under Forty” winners. In addition to providing a brief bio, Emilee’s profile shares reasons why she deserves the 40 Under Forty designation and a "fun fact" about her. View the profile.
The Hartford Business Journal's 2021 “40 Under Forty” class showcases a diversity of up-and-coming professionals who are leading their organizations and represent the promising future of the city, region, and state. This year’s class will be recognized during a special event on September 16, 2021 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium/Rentschler Field. The reception will be a special celebration honoring the 2021 class and 40 Under Forty’s 25th anniversary.
Labor and Employment Group lawyer Abby M. Warren was a featured guest on WNPR's flagship afternoon news program, All Things Considered, for a segment titled “Labor Attorney Explains Employer Vaccine Mandates,” that aired on August 9, 2021. During the interview, Abby addresses some of the legal issues surrounding employer mandated COVID-19 vaccinations with host, John Henry Smith. Their discussion covers vaccination incentives, higher education institutions mandating vaccinations for faculty and staff, health privacy considerations for employers managing employee vaccination records, and more. Listen to the interview.
Employee Benefits + Compensation Group lawyer Virginia E. McGarrity updated the article “ACA Employer Shared Responsibility Mandate,” published as a practice note in LexisNexis Practical Guidance® in August 2021. Virginia authored the note originally published in March 2019, which describes the shared responsibility rules for so-called applicable large employers (ALE) implemented by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Commonly referred to as the employer mandate or pay-or-play provisions of the ACA, the rules were designed to promote employers’ traditional role in providing access to health insurance for their employees despite rising health care costs, and to complement the ACA’s individual mandate, which requires individuals to obtain health coverage or pay an excise tax. Read the practice note.
Construction Law Group lawyers Joseph A. Barra and Niel P. Franzese authored the article “Are You on the Hook for a Busted Budget?” published in the “Legal Beat” column of the Summer 2021 issue of PE Magazine, the flagship publication of the National Society of Professional Engineers (NSPE). Given labor challenges and skyrocketing material costs resulting from the COIVD-19 pandemic, the obligation for a design professional to “design to budget” can be an unsuspected and sometimes overlooked source of exposure. Joe and Niel cover how some of the industry standard contract forms address a designers’ exposure for construction cost overruns. One of the article’s risk-mitigation recommendations seeks to balance this exposure by empowering the owner to track such volatility: “As the volatile construction market continues to impact the predictability of a project’s ultimate construction cost, designers would be best served to encourage owners to retain the services of a qualified cost engineer in order to keep pace with market fluctuations.” Read the article.
Health Law Group member Conor O. Duffy and Business Litigation Group member Seth B. Orkand authored the article “Telehealth confusion could create issues for physicians” published in Medical Economics on July 27, 2021. The article addresses measures the federal government and states enacted in response to COVID-19 to promote adoption of telehealth, and how inconsistent regulations across states have created compliance challenges for telehealth providers and health systems. As the government now commences audits of telehealth services, providers who practiced across state lines may be subject to heightened scrutiny. As COVID-19 emergency measures begin to be rescinded or expire, health systems and providers are now working hard to implement compliant telehealth structures that maintain access to care in accordance with the latest guidance. Conor and Seth address those efforts and identify potential fraud and enforcement risks for telehealth providers and mitigation strategies for such providers. Read the full article.
Insurance + Reinsurance Group lawyers Audrey E. Goldman and Gabrielle R. Mercadante authored the article “At the Crossroads of COVID-19 and Business Interruption Claims: A Florida Update” published in Volume 40, No. 2 of Trial Advocate, the professional journal of the Florida Defense Lawyers Association (FDLA). The article is a follow-up to an earlier one on the same topic of business interruption insurance coverage published last winter, which was especially timely given the impact of COVID-19 health restrictions on many businesses and uncertainty as to whether there is coverage for their losses. At that time, there was a great deal of litigation taking place nationwide to determine whether coverage exists under their policies. In this piece, Audrey and Gabrielle offer an update referencing Florida federal court decisions from the past year, holding that COVID-19-related losses are not covered under commercial property insurance policies. While policies differ in the specific provisions and exclusions they contain, for the most part, federal courts in Florida have ruled in favor of carriers in finding that there is no coverage for business interruption claims. Trial Advocate is circulated to FDLA members, all Florida judges, and industry professionals statewide and is published by Westlaw as a legal resource. Read the article.
Environmental, Energy + Telecommunications Group lawyer Joey Lee Miranda has been appointed Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Liaison of the Connecticut Power & Energy Society (CPES), the state’s leading association of energy professionals. CPES is dedicated to generating information, sharing ideas and educating Connecticut about energy. Joey Lee has served on the organization’s board of directors since 2009 and also led CPES as President from 2015 to 2017.
Employee Benefits + Compensation Group lawyer Virginia E. McGarrity was the focus of the article “Robinson & Cole's McGarrity on Some of the 'Toughest Workplace Challenges' Her Clients Have Ever Faced” published in the Connecticut Law Tribune on July 29, 2021. In the Q&A feature, Virginia discusses some challenges faced due to the new climate amid the COVID-19 pandemic, trends in employee benefits and compensation and anticipated opportunities in 2022. She also describes her “biggest concern right now” and offers insight on the biggest lesson with regard to diversity in the legal profession in 2020. Read the article.
Education industry team chair Kathleen E. Dion and member Seth B. Orkand co-presented the R+C-hosted education webinar, "A Discussion on Reopening Campuses for the Fall Semester" on July 29, 2021. Joined by Meredith Ainbinder, Vice President and General Counsel at Emerson College and Destinee Waiters, Associate General Counsel at Suffolk University, the roundtable panel addressed numerous challenges that in-house counsel may face with students returning to campus in the fall and how members of the community may respond. Topics covered included whether or not policies on vaccines should be applied equitably to faculty and staff; if professors may be allowed to require masks in their classes; how schools will handle non-compliance with COVID-related rules and requirements; and addressing student mental health concerns with the addition of non-instructional wellness days.
On July 29, 2021, Robinson+Cole recognized 14 lawyers and staff members for their pro bono work, mentoring, community service and efforts to promote a diverse and inclusive work environment as part of the firm's annual awards. The Pro Bono Award is presented by the firm’s Pro Bono Committee and honors individuals for their outstanding commitment to Robinson+Cole’s pro bono initiative. This year’s honorees were Charles E. Janson, Choity R. Khan and paralegal Albina Yaikbaeva. The Robinson+Cole Mentor of the Year Award recognizes outstanding guidance, support, and encouragement of fellow lawyers and staff in their pursuit of professional growth. This year’s award was presented to IT Services Manager Joel M. Easley, Katherine M. Fix, Dana M. Horton and Christopher J. Hug. In addition, Linn F. Freedman, Jennifer L. Shanley and Business Center Specialist Sandra M. Strate were all recognized with the Community Service Award for their continued volunteerism. Lastly, Robinson+Cole's Diversity and Inclusion Awardees Lisa B. Andrzejewski, Dan A. Brody, Chief Marketing Officer Gina L. Carriuolo and John B. Lynch, Jr. were honored for their ongoing dedication and support of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts.
Health Law Group lawyer Danielle H. Tangorre presented during the client, Lighthouse Lab Services', webinar, "How to Keep Your Lab EKRA Compliant" on July 28, 2021. The program offered an overview of compensation arrangements barred under the Eliminating Kickbacks in Recovery Act (EKRA), including safe harbor exceptions, how the law interacts with and differs from the Anti-Kickback Statute, and alternative compensation strategies for sales and marketing employees.
Construction Law Group member Joseph A. Barra was quoted in the article “Condo collapse prompts calls to fix flaws in laws” published in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly on July 22, 2021. With regard to the recent collapse of the Champlain Towers South high rise apartment building in Miami, FL, the article discusses how Florida’s Statute of Repose could shield design professionals from liability should it be found that the collapse was caused, in part, by a design error.
In the article, Joe explains how statutes of repose generally apply in such situations and describes the differences between its applicability to the design of a building and the design of a manufactured product. Barra states, “’In product liability cases, a manufacturer has many, many chances to get the design of its product correct’ adding, “In some instances, courts will not even permit evidence at trial of subsequent remedial measures. In contrast to the building construction industry,” he states, “a building designer has only one opportunity to get it right. As a result, the law holds [building] designers not to a standard of “perfection”…rather, the designer must meet the professional standard of care.” Subscribers can read the full article.
Labor and Employment Group lawyers Alisha N. Sullivan, Abby M. Warren and Emily A. Zaklukiewicz authored the article “What the EEOC Says about Requiring Vaccines at Work” published in Industry Week on July 21, 2021. Referencing the updated technical-assistance guidance issued by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) in May, Alisha, Abby and Emily cover mandatory vaccination policies, reasonable accommodations, employee medical information, the potential for disparate impact of vaccination policies and vaccination incentive programs. Read the full article.
Manufacturing Industry Team Chair Jeffrey J. White was quoted in the article “Biden faces headwinds bringing critical drug manufacturing to U.S.” published in POLITICO Pro on July 7, 2021. The article focuses on President Joe Biden’s desire to have more essential drugs made in the United States and examines the notion from experts that reshoring production “would require spending billions of dollars for research and development and workforce training, and a revamp of quality control incentives.” For example, there is an emphasis by federal agencies for U.S.-based drug companies to invest in advanced or continuous manufacturing, which produces less waste and has less potential for contamination for lower costs. However, the research and development necessary to reconfigure manufacturing lines is expensive and time consuming. “If you say to a manufacturer, ‘Go invest in a new machine,’ [it will] respond, ‘How will that help me compete on cost?” said Jeff White, a lawyer at Robinson+Cole in Hartford, who works with manufacturing and distributing companies nationally. “Cost is a significant barrier, second is the ability of skilled labor and third is making the business case.”