Five Things Your Business Needs to Know about the Updated Mass Equal Pay Act

On July 1, 2018, the updated Massachusetts Equal Pay Act (“MEPA”) went into effect. Nearly all employers in the Commonwealth are subject to MEPA, as well as those out-of-state businesses with employees whose primary place of work is in Massachusetts. Employers who fail to comply with the new provisions face liability for double the amount of impermissible disparate pay, plus attorneys’ fees and costs.

The Most Overlooked Key to Good Contracts

There is a saying in building, “measure twice, cut once.”  This same principle applies when drafting and negotiating contracts.  Too often, businesspeople and corporate lawyers draft dispute resolution clauses without fully appreciating their implications – – because they are not the ones enforcing or defending them in court.  As a trial lawyer, I have exploited contract provisions that the other side thought were bullet proof.  I also have had to break the bad news to clients that their contract doesn’t protect them on certain issues.  Based on these experiences, I advise all my clients to have a litigator review their contracts before they are signed.  Let me give you a few examples of how doing this can save you a lot of time and money if a dispute arises.

This lesson cost $23 million

We follow orders, son.  We follow orders or people die.  It’s that simple. - Colonel Nathan R. Jessep, A Few Good Men While the consequences are not nearly as dire, debtors in bankruptcy proceedings and litigants in general would be well-advised to heed Colonel Jessep’s admonition.  Such obvious lessons should go without saying.  But occasionally, litigants and attorneys need a reminder.

How Quickly Can You Spend $108 million?

New York financier Andrew Caspersen recently pled guilty to a scheme in which he defrauded investors – including close friends and family members – out of tens of millions of dollars.  Caspersen’s pitch was that he had access to a “practically risk-free” investment in which loaned money would sit in a bank account as collateral for a credit facility.  The investors would then receive quarterly interest payments of 15 to 20 percent in return.  The supposed fund and investment were fake.  Caspersen instead used “new” money to pay “old” investors, spent some of the money himself, and gambled away the rest of it.  In its charging document the government alleged that Caspersen lost a staggering $108 million in stock option trading between February and March 2016.

The Thin Line Between Cryptocurrencies and Ponzi Schemes

"I'm sure that many crypto offerings are simply Ponzi schemes.” These words from a cryptocurrency expert reverberated throughout a large meeting room at an alternative investment conference we attended recently. As lawyers who spent the last ten years zealously fighting to recover monies for victims of Ponzi schemes, this caught our attention. The comments from this crypto expert echoed sentiments that Warren Buffett expressed recently when he said: “Cryptocurrencies will come to a bad ending” largely because they “draw in a lot of charlatans.”

Dana Zakarian Elected to the American Board of Trial Advocates

NBP is pleased to announce that Dana Zakarian has been elected to the American Board of Trial Advocates.  ABOTA is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the civil jury trial right provided by the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  Membership in ABOTA is by invitation only – – extended to attorneys with honorable reputations and significant jury trial experience.  To learn more about ABOTA, please visit their website.

Ninth Circuit Reinstates Claims Against Major Law Firm For Alleged Role In $11.25 Million Pre-IPO Facebook Scheme

On July 11, 2016, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued a published decision substantially reinstating claims of a private investment limited partnership (ESG Capital) and its partners, who were victimized in an $11.25 million fake stock purchase scheme.  The suit against the Venable law firm and its former partner David Meyer alleged that the firm committed securities fraud and aided and abetted a client in promoting the fictitious sale of pre-IPO Facebook shares.  In the decision, the Appeals Court ruled that plaintiffs satisfied the heightened pleading standards under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act (“PSLRA”), and that “[c]ertainly, ESG Capital has pled facts sufficient to show a cogent and compelling inference of scienter.”   Venable’s former client, Troy Stratos, has already been convicted of wire fraud and money laundering charges, for his role in the fraudulent scheme.  The case now returns to the United States District Court in Los Angeles for discovery and trial.

Dairy Farmers Pursue Antitrust Violations

On May 13, 2016, the United States District Court for the District of Vermont (Reiss, J.) will conduct a fairness hearing on the 2015 proposed class action settlement in the matter of Allen, et. al. v. Dairy Farmers of America, Inc., et. al., 5:09-cv-230.