Washington Governor Jay Inslee recently signed Senate Bill 5935 into law, amending and expanding Washington’s statute restricting the enforceability of noncompetition covenants (Revised Code of Washington 49.2). The amended statute, effective June 6, 2024 and enacted to “facilitat[e] workforce mobility and protect[] employees and independent contractors,” follows a growing trend among states restricting the enforceability of noncompetition covenants and creates additional considerations for employers entering into non-compete agreements with Washington-based employees.

Continue Reading Washington’s Amended Non-Compete Law Creates New Considerations for Employers

Maryland’s new comprehensive data privacy law, the Maryland Online Data Privacy Act, was recently signed into law by Governor Moore. This brings the total number of state “comprehensive” privacy laws to 18, five of which have been passed in 2024. Maryland’s law will take effect in 2025 along with several others. Maryland’s effective date is October 1, 2025 (after Tennessee (July 1, 2025) and before Indiana and Kentucky (January 1, 2026)). For a full list of effective dates, as well as other details of these state privacy laws, visit our resource page.

Continue Reading Maryland, the Old Line State, Creates New Lines with Consumer Privacy Law

On May 17, the CFPB filed a lawsuit against a California-based fintech that operates a nationwide website and mobile-application based peer-to-peer lending platform through which consumers can obtain small-dollar, short-term loans. The Bureau alleges that while the company markets itself as offering 0% APR loans, its use of dark patterns ensures that almost every borrower pays a fee, in the form of a “tip” or “donation.” 

Continue Reading CFPB Sues Fintech for Deceptive Practices Surrounding Tipping Service

On May 3, a California resident filed a class action lawsuit in federal court accusing a Los Angeles-based credit union of discriminatory practices, and raised a civil rights claim under 42 U.S.C. § 1981, and violations of the California’s Unruh Civil Rights Act. In the complaint, the plaintiff alleges his automobile loan application was unfairly denied because of his immigration status as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipient.

Continue Reading DACA Recipient Accuses California Credit Union of ECOA Violations

On May 16, the United States Supreme Court, in a 7-2 ruling, held that the CFPB’s funding mechanism does not violate the Appropriations Clause of the U.S. Constitution. As we previously discussed in greater detail here, under the Dodd-Frank Act, Congress provided a standing source of funding for the CFPB outside the ordinary annual appropriations process—the Bureau draws from the Federal Reserve System an amount determined by its Director, subject only to an inflation-adjusted cap. Plaintiffs had argued the structure violated the Appropriation’s Clause as it did not go through an annual appropriations process and was effectively “double insulated” from congressional oversight. 

Continue Reading CFPB Wins at the Supreme Court

On May 14, 2024, the United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts granted a petition for interim injunctive relief under Section 10(j) of the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”) that was filed by the Regional Director for Region One. Among other things, the court’s order required I.N.S.A, a cannabis company (the “Employer”) to: 1) immediately recognize and bargain collectively with United Food and Commercial Workers International Union, Local 1445 (the “Union”) as the collective bargaining representative of its employees even though a majority of workers voted against unionizing; and 2) rehire two pro-union employees who were terminated during the organizing campaign.

Continue Reading U.S. District Court Grants 10(j) Injunctive Relief and Requires Employer to Bargain With Union That Lost Secret Ballot Election

On May 16, 2024, the United States Supreme Court resolved a circuit split regarding whether Section 3 of the Federal Arbitration Act (“FAA”) provides trial courts the discretion to dismiss a lawsuit when all claims are subject to arbitration. In Smith v. Spizzirri, a unanimous Court ruled trial courts do not have discretion to dismiss a lawsuit that involves an arbitrable dispute, and must instead stay the proceedings.

Continue Reading Supreme Court Rules Trial Courts Must Stay, Not Dismiss, Lawsuits During Arbitration

On May 10, 2024, the Ninth Circuit decided Yuriria Diaz v. Macy’s West Stores, after the employer appealed the district court’s decision ordering arbitration of both an employee’s individual and non-individual claims under the California Private Attorney Generals Act (PAGA). The Ninth Circuit held that even though the arbitration agreement made no mention of PAGA, an employee’s individual PAGA claim was still subject to arbitration because the parties’ intended to arbitrate all employment disputes between them. However the non-individual PAGA claims were not arbitrable, because the parties did not consent to arbitration of those claims.

Continue Reading Ninth Circuit Rules That Only Individual PAGA Claims Can Be Compelled to Arbitration

In a Final Rule issued on May 6, 2024, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“DHHS”) finalized regulations implementing Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (“Section 1557”). The Final Rule updates and strengthens protections for individuals who participate in health programs or activities that receive Federal financial assistance (“Covered Entities,” as further defined below).

Continue Reading DHHS Bolsters Non-Discrimination Protections for Recipients of Covered Health Care Services and Activities

On April 29, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”) issued a final rule (the “Final Rule”) rescinding the 2018 Association Health Plan rule (“2018 AHP Rule”), thereby marking a return to the more rigid pre-2018 regulatory framework governing association health plans. The 2018 AHP Rule, officially titled “Definition of Employer Under Section 3(5) of ERISA – Association Health Plans,” allowed these plans to bypass certain requirements under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). The Final Rule will take effect on July 1, 2024.

Continue Reading U.S. Department of Labor Rescinds Trump-Era Rule on Association Health Plans (AHPs)

Key Takeaways:  The Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) sent a resounding message to the telecommunications industry: the era of lax CPNI enforcement is over.  

  • Mobile network operators (MNOs), mobile virtual network operators, Internet Service Providers, and Voice-Over-IP providers, and other operators subject to the FCC’s CPNI rules should be aware of the FCC’s expansive view on the kinds of data subject to the CPNI rules.

Continue Reading Dialing Up Accountability: FCC’s Warning Shot to Mobile Network Operators on CPNI

The White House at 5 am this morning in DC released its decision on the new section 301 tariffs. There is a 100% tariff on Chinese EVs effective this year (which is in addition to the usual 2.5% import duty on cars). 

The tariff rate on Chinese lithium-ion EV batteries will increase from 7.5% to 25% in 2024, while the tariff rate on lithium-ion non-EV batteries will increase from 7.5% to 25% in 2026. The tariff rate on Chinese battery parts will increase from 7.5% to 25% in 2024.

Continue Reading The Sky’s the Limit – Yet More Section 301 Tariffs on China

A pending lawsuit raises an interesting copyright infringement question – does scraping an AI-generated database of job listings constitute copyright infringement?

In Jobiak v. Botmakers, Jobiak is an AI-based recruitment platform that offers a service for quickly and directly publishing job postings online and leverages machine learning technology to optimize third party job descriptions in real-time and generate an automated database for its job postings. Jobiak alleges copyright infringement (among other claims) because Botmakers scraped Jobiak’s proprietary database and subsequently incorporated its contents directly into its own job listings.

Continue Reading Court to Decide Whether AI-scraped Job Database Is Subject to Copyright Protection and Is Infringed?