Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Businesses Beware: Don't Get Hooked into Paying for Forms You Don't Need



By: John “Jack” G. Sestak, Jr., Member, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C.




Over the years, I have come across what appear to be “official” correspondences from companies portraying themselves as state-related representatives. Their purpose is to “scare” a business into hiring them to prepare form corporate documents, stating that all corporations must file annual reports with the Arizona State Corporation Commission; however, many businesses, such as limited liability companies, are not required to file annual reports. In addition, the letters offer to prepare annual director and shareholder meeting minutes at fairly significant rates. 

The bottom line – understanding your business structure and its reporting requirements is extremely important to ensure you are compliant. It is also prudent to prepare and retain annual director and shareholder meeting minutes; however, do not get hooked into paying “service” firms for forms you may not need, or that may be substandard or simply false. It is in a company’s best interest to confer with its attorney, or seek experienced legal counsel, regarding business filings, compliance and other legal needs.

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John “Jack” G. Sestak, Jr. represents small, medium and large companies in all areas of business and commercial litigation. He advises clients with matters related to corporate, administrative, creditors' rights, securities litigation, real estate, employment, professional negligence, and environmental matters.

Mr. Sestak is an experienced litigator and has assisted with a broad range of commercial litigation issues, including general contract disputes, shareholder and partner disputes, employment issues, and arbitration proceedings. In addition, Mr. Sestak handles business and commercial transactions of all kinds, providing counsel and advice on business planning, as well as dispute resolution. He has also represented major financial institutions in dispute resolution and litigation matters. Mr. Sestak can be reached at 602.262.5827 or jsestak@jsslaw.com

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Arizona Supreme Court Upholds Arizona Prop 206




By: Otto S. Shill, III, Attorney, Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C.
 

The Arizona Supreme Court has unanimously upheld Arizona Proposition 206, which, effective January 1, 2017, increased Arizona's minimum wage to $10.00, and requires employers to provide paid sick leave to employees beginning July 1, 2017.

The statute, known as the Fair Wages and Healthy Families Act, is the result of a 2016 voter proposition. It has been highly contested by numerous business organizations; however, with this decision, employers must take immediate steps to ensure that they (i) are compliant with the minimum wage requirement already in effect, and (ii) prepare for the policy and recordkeeping changes that will be required for the addition of paid sick leave benefits beginning July 1.

While legislative efforts may be forthcoming to make changes to this law, permissible changes are limited because it was passed by voter initiative. So, a higher minimum wage, as well as paid sick leave for all Arizona employees, is now a reality that employers must acknowledge. The labor and employment team at Jennings, Strouss & Salmon is available to help evaluate your current plans and assist with the creation and implementation of new or revised policies to ensure your business is compliant.

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Employers have many options for hiring labor and employment legal representation; however, unlike Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, few encompass the reputation, history, experience, and full-service functionality under one roof.

Minimum wage and overtime issues under the Fair Labor Standards Act create unique challenges for employers. We offer creative solutions and swift litigation support. From internal compliance audits to Department of Labor investigations, we guide clients through the maze of regulations to ensure they comply with the ever changing laws, and defend clients facing wage and hour litigation in both individual and collective claims.

Our labor and employment attorneys are also experienced at handling the wide-range of employment issues that challenge businesses, big and small. They regularly assist clients in hearings before numerous administrative agencies, such as the EEOC, OSHA, NLRB, OFCCP, U.S. Department of Labor, Arizona Civil Rights Division, and the Arizona Department of Economic Security. In addition, our labor and employment attorneys are skilled litigators, defending clients in all types of lawsuits brought before state and federal courts (both trial and appellate). They also assist our clients in resolving disputes through negotiation, mediation, arbitration, early neutral case assessment and other alternative dispute resolution techniques.

For assistance with any of your labor and employment needs, please contact one of our experienced labor and employment attorneys:

John J. Egbert - johnegbert@jsslaw.com - 602-262-5994
Chris M. Mason - cmason@jsslaw.com - 602-262-5817
Otto S. Shill -  oshill@jsslaw.com - 602-262-5956
John "Jack" G. Sestak, Jr. - jsestak@jsslaw.com - 602-262-5827
Lindsay G. Leavitt - lleavitt@jsslaw.com - 602-262-5825
 

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Norma Izzo Featured in Maricopa Lawyer


Jennings, Strouss & Salmon attorney, Norma Izzo, is featured in February's edition of Maricopa Lawyer.

Read the full article: From my perspective (p. 2)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Do You Know Where the Data Is?




By: JSS eDiscovery Team

Even with new rules governing proportionality and relevance, preserving and collecting electronically stored data remains an issue in many litigations. Virtually all modern communication is electronic; not just conversations, but all facets of business and personal exchanges.  And the sources of that electronic data continue to evolve. 

Just when the eDiscovery industry got a handle on collecting Outlook Exchange Servers, the tech savvy corporations migrated toward cloud based solutions and put another wrench in the preservation and collection processes necessary for litigation. Recent estimates show that 80-90% of businesses use some form of instant messaging platform on their networks, such as Skype or Lync, and mobile device collaboration tools like Slack, to simplify business deals and team communication, while giving Information governance professionals another headache. As people gravitate away from traditional email to app-based communication, preservation of data for litigation remains an issue, and collecting data in a usable format can be even trickier. 

Many predict that email will soon become a secondary form of communication, being replaced by messaging tools.  The theory makes sense as we see schools take cursive handwriting out of curriculums and issue laptops or tablets to elementary children. The millennial generation, and beyond, expect instant and constant gratification. Emails simply aren’t quick enough. This is an app-based generation where text messaging is already being replaced with Snap Chats and similar “storytelling” communication tools. Moreover, those using text messaging or another app-based messaging product are far more likely to type something they otherwise wouldn’t consider when using the more “formal” email communication, circling back to the issue of preserving data from these sources. 

With the constant emergence of new smart devices, things get even more complicated in the technology arena. For example, privacy issues have become more complicated and precedence as to expectation of privacy has not been clearly set for many new information recording devices. While users are excited about new technology from a quality of life standpoint, they may not be fully aware of the amount of personal data that is being captured. For example, the Fitbit was a huge leap from typical fitness trackers, such as pedometers. Now, wearable data collection technology, such as shoes, tops, and sports bras, come with a built in fitness tracker that syncs back to a mobile app. Today, it seems that every facet of life is being tracked, right down to the cars we drive. Nearly every automobile manufactured for sale in the United States is equipped with a black box, event data recorder, or other telematics system of some sort, recording much more data than a vehicle owner may realize. And now, with the emergence of Amazon Echo, Google Home, and other “smart home” devices, not only is data being recorded, the devices are learning our daily habits. These are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to technology that compiles data.

So, what does all this mean for you?  Well, that depends.  If you are a plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit, or an employee under investigation, it may mean a lot to access data revealing your fitness activity over the past few months, or your vehicle records and driving patterns.  But, you might be in the clear if opposing counsel doesn’t know what to ask, or where to look for this potentially relevant data that could cinch their case.  A forward thinking legal team can win cases when they stay current with new technologies, and know the right questions to ask and locations to seek and vet out data from relevant sources.  Corporations can reap the benefits of amended FRCP 37, by keeping a repeatable and defensible preservation plan in place, so long as they know their own data sources and contain employees messaging habits.  While these new data sources may not be relevant in every case, and may not always be at the core of corporate litigation, thinking proactively about issues such as these will benefit legal departments and avoid issues in the future.  Staying on top of tech and how it impacts the legal industry is a far better plan for success than waiting for an incident and reacting to it once it’s too late.  A proactive legal team that is able to navigate eDiscovery methods and align with clients to assist with repeatable and defensible processes can position their clients well in litigation whether on the plaintiff or defense side.  Knowing what to ask, where to look while considering rules of proportionality, and relevance are key ingredients to saving client’s money and minimizing risk of sanctions or other adverse rulings.