Andrews Myers Monthly Law Alert


June 2017

Employment Round-Up
By Tony Stergio 

2017 Employment Poster.  If you don’t have a 2017 Federal Employment Law Poster up, you are out of compliance.  The required postings for the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Employer Polygraph Protection Act changed for 2017.  So, your 2016 Federal poster needs to be changed out, order a new one here.
Heat Safety.  It’s June in Texas.  If you don’t have a Heat Hazard Preparedness Plan in place for your outdoor workers—you should.  Contact Tony Stergio if you need a hand in drafting a compliant plan.
OSHA Suspends Rule Requiring Electronic Injury & Illness Reporting.  In May, OSHA indefinitely suspended the rule requiring employers to electronically report injuries and illnesses to OSHA (300 log reportables).  Employers were supposed to have submitted summary data by July 1, but now it is unclear when, if ever, OSHA will require e-reporting.
Movement on Joint Employer and Worker Misclassification at the DOL.  The U.S. Department of Labor said, earlier this month, that it is withdrawing two guidance letters issued during the Obama administration that sought to limit the misclassification of workers as independent contractors and expressed a desire for tighter standards for determining joint employment.  This action by the DOL may signal a significant change of direction which could limit contractor liability for the temporary workers and the actions of subcontractors for wage violations, alleged discriminatory acts and OSHA violations.  This may also give contractors a firmer basis to argue that small hourly contractors are independent contractors and not employees.  More to follow.

Texas Reins in Costly E-Discovery
By Lauren Scroggs

Litigation can be costly.  Depending on the nature of the case, a large portion of that cost can emanate from discovery.  Ideally, parties to a suit will agree on reasonable limitations to discovery, including what documents should be exchanged and the format the documents should be produced in.  But, in reality, parties often disagree on both counts.  Read more...

That Out of State Construction Clause Still Sticks
By Mike Schiff

Savvy Texas contractors may be aware that Texas Business and Commerce Code Section 272.001, titled “Voidable Contract Provision,” provides that a construction contract provision making itself subject to the laws of another state is voidable by the contractor.  There was a time this provision could help a contractor, subject to a binding arbitration provision applying another state’s law, rest easy; the contractor would have the option to void the entire arbitration clause, if they so desired.  Read more...

COMMERCIAL REAL ESTATE                                            
Landlords be Sure to Perfect Your Contractual Landlord's Lien
By Scott McKaig

One of the more significant ways landlords try to protect themselves against the risk of a tenant defaulting in its rent obligations is by including a contractual “landlord’s lien” provision in the lease. This gives the landlord contractual rights in various property owned by the tenant that it could foreclose upon if the tenant defaults. Some landlords make the mistake of assuming such a lien is valid as soon as the lease is signed, but there are additional steps a landlord should take to better protect its interests against other creditors. Read more...
FIRM CELEBRATIONS                                                            
Congratulations are in Order
Seth Russell was recently listed as a Recognized Practitioner in Texas Construction Law in the 2017 edition of Chambers USA, America's Leading Lawyers for Business. Seth's inclusion in the prestigious directory affords Andrews Myers the distinction of having the largest group of Chambers' recognized construction attorneys (there are five) in the State of Texas!  Click here to see the list.  Congratulations to Seth and to the Firm!

Brittany Cooperrider recently joined the Houston office as an Associate in the Litigation practice group, where she'll be working primarily in the areas of construction, employment and real estate.  Brittany is a four-year attorney who joins us from a boutique litigation firm, prior to which she worked for The Office of the Attorney General in Washington, D.C., and the State of Texas Attorney General.  Please join us in welcoming Brittany!  

Stephanie Hayes Cook, Senior Counsel and litigator in the Austin office, was recently elected to the 2017-2018 Board of Directors of the Austin Chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC). Congratulations Stephanie! 

The Summer Law Clerk Program includes four 2L, J.D. candidates this year, the most law clerks we're had to date!  A continued warm welcome to: (L to R) Justin Swearingen, St. Mary's University School of Law; Claire Dykeman, Baylor Law School; Manny Schoenhuber, University of Houston Law Center, and Clayton Trice, South Texas College of Law.  We're glad you're here.  

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