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  • Kevin Mattessich, managing partner of the New York City office, was quoted in National Underwriter Property & Casualty on the impact of the Brexit vote on the insurance industry.

    Rosalie L. Donlon reported:

    Although the United Kingdom has voted to leave the European Union, it will take some time to understand the complete ramifications, especially for the property and casualty insurance industry.

    In a historic vote on June 24, the U.K. electorate voted to leave the European Union by a narrow margin: 51.9% to 48.1%. The immediate result is that Prime Minister David Cameron plans to resign, and financial markets around the world are jittery.

    The longer-term effects of the vote are unknown at this point. It’s likely to take several years for the United Kingdom to repeal EU legislation and regulations, and there are several treaties to take into account as the process moves forward. It’s also not yet clear how the U.K.’s actions will affect its relations with such non-EU countries as Switzerland and Norway.

    For insurance companies, the implications are similarly not yet clear. Lloyd’s of LondonChairman John Nelson said in a statement, “I am confident that Lloyd’s will stay at the center of the global specialist insurance and reinsurance sector, and I look forward to continuing our valuable relationship with our European partners.

    Law firms weigh in:

    Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck: Kevin Mattessich, managing partner of Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck’s New York City office (who concentrates his practice on U.S. and London Market insurers), notes that change always roils financial markets. Stocks of financial institutions and insurance companies will suffer, he says, and London insurance markets doing business in the EU will have to step back and readjust their plans after determining whether trade barriers go up.

    The long term, Matessich says, could be interesting for the U.S. insurance market: “If London faces increased tariffs and barriers to doing business in the EU, then London could look to do more business in North and South America and the Far East, where it has already a long-established presence.” That could have the effect of further softening the U.S. insurance market conditions. At the same time, if London pulls out of the EU market, those carriers now doing business abroad may have a more localized market to focus on. “Like any market change, the immediate turmoil provides opportunities with money to be made for those who think it all through,” he adds.

  • Jul 26, 2016

    Join Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck (KDV) attendees at the 1st Annual Title IX ExecuSummit.

    More information to come.

  • Jun 23, 2016

    An Update on the U.S. Department of Labor’s Final Rule Setting a Uniform Fiduciary Standard for Advisers to Retail Retirement Investors

    By Stefan R. Dandelles, Esq. and Brendan P. McGarry, Esq.

    On April 6th, 2016, the US Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued its final fiduciary rule (the “Rule”). The highly anticipated, and debated, Rule will render much of the advice from broker dealers, banks and other financial organizations to individual retirement accounts (“IRAs”) and other Retirement Investors subject to ERISA’s fiduciary standards. The impact of the Rule in the near term, and the debates surrounding it, will largely be focused on the compensation practices at broker-dealers and other Financial Institutions, including the fee and revenue sharing arrangements among funds, fund sponsors and the Financial Institutions that offer investment advice to Retirement Investors, via the Best Interest Contract Exemption (the “BICE”).

    The Rule will require new client contracts, new internal best interest policies and procedures, new websites and additional disclosures to investors and the DOL. The Rule may also increase the risk of litigation for Financial Institutions in providing investment and other services to Retirement Investors, and has already prompted multiple lawsuits challenging the DOL’s authority to enact the Rule. This update to our White Paper series will focus on the most relevant provisions of the Rule and its potential effects on the investment industry.

    The attorneys in the Financial Services Practice of Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck, LLP have been closely following the progression of the Rule from proposal to this final version. You can find our prior analysis of the Rule (here) and (here). We are ready to assist in the understanding and implementation of the requirements under the Rule.

    Please contact Stefan Dandelles or Brendan McGarry with any questions.

    Click below to read the Final White Paper:

  • Jun 21, 2016

    By Keith J. Gutstein,  Ellen R. Storch and Aaron Solomon

    The New York State Division of Human Rights (“NYSDHR”) has adopted regulations clarifying that employers cannot discriminate against applicants or employees because of their relationship or association with members of a protected class. For example, New York employers cannot refuse to hire an applicant because their spouse is transgender.

    Specifically, the new regulations expand the definition of “unlawful discrimination” to include discrimination on the basis of an “individual’s known relationship or association with a member or members of a protected category.” 9 N.Y.C.R.R. § 466.14.

    The purpose of the regulations is to prevent employers from discriminating against workers or potential workers based on the race, color, creed, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or other protected characteristic of their family members, friends, or associates.

    As a result of the new regulations, the NYSDHR will now investigate and prosecute complaints of “unlawful discrimination” by individuals who are associated with someone who is a member of any of the wide range of categories protected under New York law. In order to establish a claim of associational discrimination, complainants must prove that they suffered an adverse action because of their association with someone in a protected class.

    Associational discrimination claims have long been recognized under a variety of other statutes including Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Americans with Disabilities Act, and the New York City Human Rights Law. However, the new regulations now extend the prohibition against such discrimination to all employers in the State of New York covered by the New York State Human Rights Law.

    New York employers should update their policies to ensure that they prohibit associational discrimination. Also, employers should ensure that management is trained to make employment decisions for legitimate business reasons and not because of an employee’s relationship or association with a member of a protected category.

    KDV’s employment attorneys can assist employers in avoiding and minimizing the likelihood of liability for allegedly discriminatory practices.

  • Jun 1, 2016

    By Philip R. Voluck, Esq., Jeffery S. Matty, Esq. and Rina Bersohn, Esq.

    On May 23, 2016, the Supreme Court of the United States issued a decision in Green v. Brennan, Postmaster General, 578 U.S. ___(2016), in which it held that the statute of limitations for a constructive discharge claim begins to run on the date that the employee resigns from his or her position.   In reaching this decision, the Supreme Court resolved a split among the federal Circuit Courts of Appeal regarding whether the limitations period begins to run from the date of an employee’s resignation or from the date of the final discriminatory act to which the employee was allegedly subjected.

    Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 78 Stat. 253, as amended, 42 U.S.C. §2000e et seq. prohibits employers from discriminating against their employees on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin, or retaliating against their employees for opposing or seeking relief from such discrimination.  Before a federal employee can sue his or her employer for violating Title VII, he or she  must “initiate contact” with an Equal Employment Opportunity (“EEO”) counselor at his agency “within 45 days of the date of the matter alleged to be discriminatory.”  29 CFR § 1614.105(a)(1)(2015).  Similar rules apply for private sector employees. However, the timeframe for initiating a complaint is much longer,  as a discrimination charge must be filed within either 180 or 300 days[1] “after the alleged unlawful employment practice occurred.”  42 U.S.C. § 2000(e)e-5(e)(1).  The Supreme Court noted that if an employee is fired for allegedly discriminatory reasons, the “matter alleged to be discriminatory” includes the termination itself, and the 45 day limitations period begins to run from the date of the termination.  The Court reasoned that when an employee feels compelled to resign as a result of experiencing allegedly discriminatory treatment, the “matter alleged to be discriminatory” should also include the employee’s resignation, and as such, the Court held that the limitations period on such a “constructive discharge” claim begins to run from the date of the resignation.

    In Green v. Brennan,, Marvin Green complained to his employer, the United States Postal Service, that he was denied a promotion because he was African-American, and his supervisors later accused him of committing the crime of intentionally delaying the delivery of mail.  The parties signed an agreement on December 16, 2009 in which the US Postal Service agreed not to pursue criminal charges against Green, and Green in turn agreed to either retire or accept a position in a remote location, earning much less than his current salary.  Green chose to retire and submitted his resignation paperwork on February 9, 2010, with his resignation becoming effective on March 31, 2010.  On March 22, 2010, 41 days after he tendered his resignation and 96 days after he signed the agreement, Green reported an unlawful constructive discharge claim to an EEO counselor, as required by Title VII.  He eventually filed a lawsuit in Federal District Court for the District of Colorado, which dismissed his lawsuit as untimely because he had not contacted the counselor within 45 days of the “matter alleged to be discriminatory,” i.e., being forced to choose between retiring or being relocated to a rural office with a significant decrease in salary. The Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, following the minority rule that the filing period runs from the employer’s final alleged discriminatory act, affirmed the District Court’s decision on the grounds that the 45 day period began to run on December 16, 2016, the date upon which Green signed the agreement.

    In resolving this circuit split, the Supreme Court analogized a claim for constructive discharge to one for wrongful termination, concluding that whether the discharge was constructive or actual, the indispensable element of the employee’s claim was the discharge itself. The Court  reasoned that the employee’s resignation is an essential part of the “complete and present cause of action,” which requires that the limitations period not begin to run until such time as the discharge occurs. This development represents a change in existing law in the Seventh and Tenth Circuits, which include Illinois and Colorado, respectively. These circuits had previously held that the last discriminatory act was the event that triggered the running of the limitations period.

    Private employers should be aware that the law on this point is now settled and that once an employee resigns, the employer may still be subject to a constructive termination claim if the employee files a discrimination charge with the EEOC within 180 or 300 days from the date of his or her resignation. Employers should also note that it is the date of the employee’s resignation that starts the clock running on the expiration of the limitations period (i.e. it is not the last date of employment or the effective date of resignation).  Employers should carefully document significant events and conversations with employees regarding their employment status in order to avoid questions that may arise later regarding an employee’s resignation date.

    [1] The usual 180 calendar day filing deadline is extended to 300 calendar days if a state or local agency enforces a law that prohibits employment discrimination on the same basis. For age discrimination claims, the deadline is extended to 300 calendar days only if a state agency enforces a state law prohibiting age discrimination in employment.

     

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Dean Herman and Hee Young Lee Join Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck as Partners in Firm’s Los Angeles Office; Senior Counsel and Three Associates Also Join LA Office

(June 3, 2013, Los Angeles, CA) — Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck, LLP (KDV), a leading national law firm, today announced that Dean B. Herman, who has more than 30 years of experience in insurance industry and business litigation, and Hee Young Lee, who has represented insurers and policyholders for more than a decade, have joined the firm as partners in its Los Angeles office. They will be accompanied by Craig D. Aronson as senior counsel and Steven S. Son, Andrew C. Johnson and Mikhaile P. Savary as associates.

Dean Herman defends and advises insurers and professionals on liability, first and third party insurance coverage issues, bad faith, and errors and omissions issues. His experience also includes sophisticated business and commercial litigation in state and federal trial and appellate courts on issues across a broad range of industry sectors and a diversified array of issues, ranging from IP to employment and contract disputes, executive risk exposures,  entertainment, wine industry,  as well as professional liability claims involving lawyers, insurance agents and brokers, real estate agents and brokers, directors and officers, business managers, financial advisors among others. He has also served as an expert witness and consultant and acts as a mediator in complex insurance coverage and other disputes. He comes to Kaufman Dolowich & Voluck from Mendes & Mount where he was a partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office.

Hee Young Lee also joins from Mendes & Mount, where she was a partner and her practice is focused on advising and defending insurers and their insureds in federal and state courts in matters involving intellectual property, environmental, construction defect, agribusiness, privacy, and personal lines claims. She also defends insureds in professional liability claims.

“Dean and Hee Young are preeminent insurance attorneys who will enhance not only our West Coast but our national presence in this field, which has always been a core strength of the firm,” said Ivan J. Dolowich, co-managing partner of KDV.  “This group enhances our practice on the West Coast providing insurance coverage, business litigation, professional liability, labor & employment and financial services for our clients.”

Herman will also be working out of the KDV San Francisco office due to the considerable work he does in the Bay area for clients based there.  He earned his B.A.  from California State University at Fullerton, his J.D. from Loyola Law School and his Master of Laws from the University of California, Berkeley. He is admitted to practice in California, and regularly handles matters in many other states either on a pro hac vice basis or an advisory or national coordinating counsel basis.

Lee will have a leadership role in the Los Angeles office. She earned her B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles and her J.D. from the University of California Hastings College of the Law. She is admitted to practice in California, and also handles insurance coverage matters in many other states.

“Hee Young and I are excited to be joining a firm whose key practice areas are so compatible with our strengths,” said Herman. “We look forward to the opportunity to helping to grow KDV’s already strong insurance, professional liability and litigation practices on the West Coast and nationally.”

Craig Aronson, who has been practicing law for 30 years and whose practice focuses on coverage and professional liability, joins KDV from Gaglione, Dolan & Kaplan (Los Angeles) where he was a partner. He is admitted to practice in California. Aronson graduated summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Dartmouth College and earned his law degree from the University of Chicago Law School.

Steven Son, Andrew Johnson and Mikhaile Savary are litigation attorneys joining KDV from Mendes & Mount where they were all associates. Son, admitted to practice in California, earned his B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles and his J.D. from the University of Illinois College of Law.  Johnson, admitted to practice in California and Nevada, received his B.F.A. from the University of Kansas and his J.D. from St. John’s University School of Law. Savary, admitted to practice in California and New York, received his B. A. from Cornell University and his J.D. from Columbia Law School.

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