USLAW DigiKnow
Welcome to USLAW DigiKnow      

On behalf of everyone involved with USLAW NETWORK, I'd like to extend a very Happy New Year to you. We have a full line-up of events for you in 2014, so we hope you are rested and ready to engage, attend, participate and network at any one of the myriad events we have on the calendar. 

Of particular note is our Driving the Dialogue Series that will kick-off in Dallas on Feb. 12, 2014. As a recipient of this e-mail, you are invited to Dallas for this impactful one-day event. Registration is free and please note that expense reimbursement scholarships are available, too. We have created this COMPLIMENTARY series to promote in-depth dialogue on today's hottest legal issues. For Dallas, we have two specific tracks for this event -- USLAW Corporate Counsel Exchange and USLAW Product Liability Exchange -- that will feature a very interactive, five (5) CLE credit, single-day program for each Exchange. Attendees and industry stakeholders will roundtable specific issues, come together in topic-specific discussions with attorneys and learn about the critical legal issues facing today's corporate and legal marketplaces. We also will be hosting a customized reception and tour of AT&T Stadium/Dallas Cowboys Stadium, on Feb. 11. You're invited. Registration is FREESign up today!

Through our bi-weekly USLAW DigiKnow, we share legal, legislative and jurisdictional news as well promote upcoming USLAW events, webinars and podcasts that might be of interest to you and your colleagues. We hope USLAW DigiKnow serves as a beneficial legal and business resource for you, your colleagues and your business through 2014.


Thank you for your continued support of USLAW NETWORK and we look forward to seeing you at one or more of the USLAW events throughout the year. 
Roger Yaffe



Illinois Supreme Court Clarifies "Traveling Employee" Exception  

The Illinois Supreme Court issued its much anticipated decision in Venture-Newberg-Perini, Stone & Webster v. Ill. Workers' Compensation Comm'n., No. 115728 (Ill. 2013).   Claimant Ronald Daugherty accepted temporary employment 200 miles from his home at Respondent Venture's Cordova plant.  Daugherty and coworker Todd McGill chose to stay in a hotel 30 miles from the plant rather than make the 400 mile/day roundtrip commute after their 12-hour shifts.  On what was to be their second day of work, McGill, driving his own truck, skidded on ice while crossing an overpass, resulting in serious injuries to Daugherty.  Daugherty sought workers' compensation benefits. An arbitrator (i.e., administrative law judge) found the accident did not arise out of and in the course of employment, and denied all benefits.  A divided Workers' Compensation Commission panel acknowledged that, in general, an employee injured on the way to or from work was not entitled to benefits, but nonetheless reversed the arbitrator's decision.  The Commission found two exceptions applied: 




Tenth Circuit rules that New Mexico's limits on contributions to independent groups violate First Amendment   

In Republican Party of New Mexico v. King (Dec. 18, 2013), the Tenth Circuit upheld an injunction against enforcement of a New Mexico statute (NMSA 1978, 1-19-34.7(A)(1)) which prevents individuals from making contributions to political committees in excess of $5,000. The opinion, written by Judge Timothy Tymkovich, states that under the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (2010), the only constitutional basis for campaign finance restrictions is to prevent actual or apparent quid pro quo corruption. Citizens United also held that there was no anti-corruption interest in limiting independent expenditures by groups (such as political action committees) that do not coordinate with any candidate.  





PA's Highest Court Strikes Down Controversial Fracking Law  

In August 2012, Shale Watch reported on a challenge to Pennsylvania's controversial Act 13, a natural gas development law that prevented municipalities from utilizing zoning restrictions to limit where natural gas drilling could take place within their boundaries and granted state agencies sole authority to determine where fracturing should occur.  Last Thursday, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court affirmed the Commonwealth Court's ruling and found that Act 13 unconstitutionally restricted the power of municipalities to govern gas drilling in their own jurisdictions. The most divisive provision of Act 13 mandated that drilling be allowed in all zoning districts, even residential areas, although with certain buffers.





Highest State Court in Wisconsin Upholds Asbestos Exclusion   

In this matter, plaintiffs purchased a building from seller-defendants who failed to disclose the building's heating ducts likely contained asbestos. The plaintiffs eventually lost the building in foreclosure after evacuating the entire building and being unable to finance the building.The preceding court held that the insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify the seller-defendants because the matter fell squarely within the asbestos exclusion.  Stating that the policy required "a causal relationship between the loss and the asbestos" in order for the exclusion to apply, and noting that such a relationships did exist between the loss claimed and the asbestos (i.e., the dispersal of asbestos throughout the building), it found the asbestos exclusion barred coverage.


National (Employment & Labor Law, Trade Secrets)

When Departing Employees Keep Their Work Computers . . . And Falcons   

On the day before Christmas, a New York trial court delivered a discovery opinion that was for the birds. Literally. At issue was the extent, if any, a business could review the contents of a work computer that was retained by a recently departed employee. The employee, allegedly, had been using confidential information to unfairly compete with the former employer, and the computer may have contained evidence of his wrongdoing.


Read More  from Poyner Spruill LLP    

National (Employment & Labor Law, Trade Secrets)

NLRB Gives Up Poster Rule Fight 

On January 6, 2014, the National Labor Relations Board ("NLRB") threw in the towel on its fight to require all employers to post an official notice informing employees of their right to unionize. The NRLB announced it would not seek a review of two appeals court decisions that struck down the "poster rule," which was originally issued on August 26, 2011 and originally set to take effect on November 14, 2011. 


Read More  from Roetzel & Andress     

National (Intellectual Property)

What's the Big Deal About Trademark Registration    

In most U.S. states, merely using a trademark confers trademark rights to the owner.  As such, many companies question why they should spend time and money registering their trademarks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office (PTO).  There are many reasons to register a mark, but one of the most important reasons was recently highlighted in a case from the First Circuit Court of Appeals (the federal appellate court whose rulings cover Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire and Puerto Rico).  That case is Dorpan, S.L. v. Hotel Melia, Inc., 728 F.3d 55 (1st Cir. 2013).  


Read More  from Lewis Roca Rothgerber LLP     

National (Life, Health, Disability, and ERISA)


Life, Health, Disability, and ERISA provides a summary of decisions from across the country concerning life, health, and disability policies, including those governed by ERISA.


Read More  from Goldberg Segalla LLP    

National (Transportation)
State Anti-Indemnity Motor Transportation Statutes Overview

As 2013 comes to a close thirty-nine (39) states have some type of anti-indemnity statute in place with respect to the transportation industry. Following in the footsteps of the construction industry, these statutes generally prohibit contractual indemnification that attempts to shift risk to one party, irrespective of fault. With almost eighty percent of the states now enacting anti-indemnity litigation with respect to transportation, and more expected to follow, it is imperative that the impact of these laws on litigation be considered in entering transportation contracts. While the anti-indemnity motor transportation statutes are relatively similar in overall effect, they generally fall into one of four categories, depending on the statute's language. The categories, and the particular states that fall into each category, are as follows:  


Read More  from SmithAmundsen LLC      

National (Transportation)
PHMSA Issues Safety Alert for Crude Oil Shipment Classification

The USDOT's Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration (PHMSA) issued a Safety Alert on January 2, 2014 following recent crude oil fires from train accidents where Bakken crude oil was involved. The Safety Alert is attached here. The Agency states that initial tests from the recent North Dakota accident involving two BSNF trains, and Lac Megantic Quebec in June 2013, indicate Bakken crude "may be more flammable than traditional heavy crude oil."  


Read More  from Huddleston Bolen LLP      


USLAW recently launched a Member Firm Evaluation survey that will reside on and be available to the client community to provide feedback regarding their experience/ interaction with any USLAW member firm.  For more information about this survey, click   


Jan. 21, 2014
USLAW Employment & Labor Law Webinar
Medical Marijuana at Work - The Grass isn't Always Greener
Jan. 28, 2014
A USLAW Internet, Media & Privacy Webinar 
Recent State/ Federal Court Cases Involving Privacy & Defamation Claims on the Internet

Feb. 12, 2014
DALLAS, Texas 
Driving the Dialogue Series
kicks off in Dallas with the USLAW Corporate Counsel Exchange and the USLAW Product Liability Exchange 

Additional 2014

Driving the Dialogue events will take place in New York and Las Vegas

April 9, 2014
USLAW Client Dinner at Lon's at the Hermosa in conjunction with DRI Product Liability Conference

May 15, 2014 
USLAW Client Dinner at Paris Club Chicago
in conjunction with DRI Retail and Hospitality Litigation and Claims Management Seminar

The Real Deal About Structured Settlements     

MSP Compliance Today and the Impact on Litigation and Claim Handling 


Retail CCTV Systems: Avoid Shooting Yourself in the Foot


False Claims Update 

Red Alert: Premises security litigation is on the rise


Employment policies and agreements to minimize risk in a BYOD Program



The USLAW NETWORK Rapid Response Online Searches secure USLAW attorneys quickly when timeliness is critical for you and your company. Offered for Transportation, Construction Law and Product Liability, this resource provides client's cell and home telephone numbers along with assurance that USLAW will be available 24/7 with the right person and the right expertise.

Jurisdictional awareness of the court and juries on a county-by-county basis is a key ingredient to successfully operating legal challenges throughout the United States. Knowing the local rules, the judge, and the "gossip" provides a unique competitive advantage. In order to best serve clients, USLAW NETWORK offers a judicial profile that identifies counties as Conservative, Moderate or Liberal and thus provides you an important Homefield Advantage.

USLAW regularly produces new and updates existing Compendiums providing a multi-state resource that permits users to easily access state common and statutory law. Compendiums are easily sourced on a state-by-state basis and are developed by the member firms of USLAW. Just some of the current Compendiums include: Transportation, Construction Law, Nullum Tempus, Offers of Judgment, and a National Compendium addressing issues that arise prior to the commencement of litigation through trial and on to appeal.

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USLAW NETWORK Inc.'s DigiKnow is a bi-weekly digital update on national and state case and legislative news and developments as well as important USLAW event and educational opportunities provided as a service to USLAW member firms and  their clients. USLAW NETWORK is an international organization composed of more than 100 independent, defense-based law firms with nearly 6,000 attorneys covering the 
United States, Canada, Latin America, Europe and Africa.

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