FAST Act Update: SEC Adopts Amendments to Modernize and Simplify Public Disclosure

Businessman looking at complicated street sign

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By Blake Baron and Nimish Patel

 What Happened?

On March 20, 2019, the SEC adopted amendments to modernize and simplify disclosure requirements for public companies. Specifically, the SEC adopted amendments to modernize its disclosure requirements for public filings in a way that the SEC believes will minimize the costs and burdens on public companies while continuing to provide all material information to investors.

Why It Matters

Investors will benefit from these new amendments as they eliminate out-of-date, repetitive and unnecessary disclosure, and should simplify the process by which they assess material information. The SEC hopes investors will benefit from its work to improve disclosure, as they focus on modernizing their disclosure system to meet the expectations of today’s investors while eliminating unnecessary costs and burdens. (more…)

Don’t Let the IRS Yank Your Passport

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By Jeffrey Davine

The IRS has in a recent news release (IR-2019-23) reiterated its warning that individuals who owe federal taxes may not be able to renew their passport or obtain a new passport.

As we recently reported, taxpayers who have a “seriously delinquent tax debt” may be prevented from obtaining a new passport or renewing a current passport.  This means that, if someone owes taxes to the federal government, he or she might be unable to travel outside of the U.S. (more…)

Is the West Coast the Best Coast?

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Should You Organize Your LLC in California or Delaware? Part 1- Voting Rights

By Daniel M. Cousineau

We are often asked whether a new limited liability company (“LLC”) that will be active in California should be organized in California or Delaware. In the next several posts we will explore different topics relating to this threshold question, since an LLC operating in California may have its internal affairs governed by Delaware law if it is organized and properly maintained under Delaware law. And while the answer depends on the facts of each case, there are important common factors that all parties involved in this decision making process must carefully consider.

One of the most important factors in picking between California and Delaware are the default voting rights given to members in California that cannot be waived or altered by agreement. These fundamental voting rights shift a certain amount of power and control away from the managers, who are often the founders or initial investors, and towards the other members. (more…)

I’ll See Your Minimum Wage and Raise You

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By Jeremy Mittman and Carly Epstein

Late last week, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued its proposed overtime rule, proposing changes to the federal minimum salary requirements needed to fall within the exemptions to the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (the “FLSA”) minimum wage and overtime pay regulations.

It is important to note that the proposed changes would apply at the federal level, with many states already having salary requirements that exceed the proposed changes for exemption.  For those of you in California, for example, the state’s minimum wage and overtime regulations require that employees make at least twice the state’s minimum wage for full-time employment, or a total of approximately $47,000 – $50,000 per year (depending on the applicable minimum wage based on employer size), to be exempt from the state’s overtime provisions.  California also has its own duties test.  Exempt employees in California must satisfy both the state and federal tests to qualify as exempt. (more…)

The Definition of Film Fest Success – For Financiers and Filmmakers

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By Steve Krone

The familiar annual rhythm of the major film festivals – Sundance in January, Berlin in February, Cannes in May and so on through Toronto in September – is well underway. And with Sundance and the Berlinale already in the rear-view, and SXSW right around the corner, it’s fair to say the 2019 sales environment looks to be very buoyant.

Although the single-film Sundance sale record was not eclipsed in 2019, the number of films that sold for eight figures was the highest ever, with numerous films racking up paydays in the $10-15 million range. Understandably, press reports out of Sundance tend to focus on these lofty (and once dreamlike) selling prices. It makes sense: the big numbers make great headlines, and the selling price is often the only deal information made publicly available.

But filmmakers – and in some situations, even film financiers – are not always best served by selling to the highest bidder. From a filmmaker perspective, the largest upfront payment, as great a thrill as it may be, does not necessarily translate into the best support for the film or most effectively accomplish the short- and long-term goals of the filmmakers. And even from a financier perspective, the biggest initial return does not always equate with maximizing the profitability of the film and the long-term interests of the financiers. (more…)

I’ll Need a Copy of Your Copyright

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By Eric Schwartz, Jennifer H. Cho and Louise E. Conner

On March 4, 2019, the Supreme Court issued a unanimous decision in Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wallstreet.com LLC holding that, under §411(a) of the Copyright Act, a copyright claimant may file an infringement suit only after the Copyright Office renders a final decision on a copyright application, subject to limited exceptions. Prior to this ruling, circuit courts were split on whether the text of §411(a) granted standing to sue based on the so-called “application approach” (adopted in the 5th, 6th and 8th circuits) or the “registration approach” (adopted in the 10th and 11th circuits). The “application approach” permitted a copyright claimant to commence a lawsuit once a completed application with all three elements (i.e., the application, fee and deposit copy) was properly filed with the Copyright Office. The “registration approach” requires the Copyright Office to render a final decision (either to register or deny a registration) before a claimant may file suit. Justice Ginsburg, writing for the Court, concluded that the plain text of §411(a) “permits only one sensible reading”: the “registration approach.”

(more…)

California Court of Appeals Dials in on Call-In Practices

By Jeremy Mittman and Louise Truong

Recently, the California Court of Appeals ruled in a 2-1 split decision that employees who are required to call in two hours prior to the start of their shifts to ask whether they needed to report to work are entitled to reporting time pay.  In Ward v. Tilly’s, Inc., the Court held that Tilly’s on-call policy triggered the “Reporting Time Pay” provision of California’s Wage Order 7, which applies to the retail industry. The Ward majority held that Wage Order 7’s Reporting Time Pay provision applied because Tilly’s workers “reported” for work when they called-in.

Under the Reporting Time Pay provision, employers are required to pay employees reporting time pay, as follows: “Each workday an employee is required to report for work and does report, but is not put to work or is furnished less than half said employee’s usual or scheduled day’s work, the employee shall be paid for half the usual or scheduled day’s work, but in no event for less than two (2) hours nor more than four (4) hours, at the employee’s regular rate of pay.” For example, if a sales clerk is scheduled to report to work for an eight-hour shift and only works for one hour, the employer is still obligated to pay the employee four hours of his or her regular rate of pay.  (more…)

No Further Shutdown; List 3 Exclusion Process Coming

USA and Chinese flags on mountain signpost.

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By Susan Kohn Ross

The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2019 was signed into law on Friday, February 15, 2019, so the potential for another shutdown was averted, but there was a hidden gem buried in a related document. This new law contains a specific appropriation for the U.S. Trade Representative’s office which reads: “For necessary expenses of the Office of the United States Trade Representative, … $53,000,000, …” (more…)

No Payday for Plaintiffs

By Jeremy Mittman and Samuel Richman

Last week, in Goonewardene v. ADP, LLC, the California Supreme Court addressed the question of whether, when an employer hires an independent payroll service provider (or “payroll company”) to take over all the payroll tasks that would otherwise be performed by an internal payroll department, the employee may bring a civil action against not only his or her employer but against the payroll company as well.  The Court held that an employee who believes he or she has not been paid the wages due under the applicable labor statutes and Wage Orders may not maintain causes of action for unpaid wages against a payroll service provider for: (1) breach of contract, (2) negligence, or (3) negligent misrepresentation.  In reaching this holding, the Court reversed the Court of Appeal’s ruling that the employee may maintain those three causes of action for unpaid wages against the payroll company even though a payroll company cannot properly be considered an employer of the hiring business’s employee. (more…)

Website Accessibility – Americans with Disabilities Act Impact

hands of business person working on computerBy Jonathan Turner and Susan Kohn Ross

Background

Title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) mandates that public accommodation must be provided to disabled persons to allow for the “full and equal enjoyment” of the related privileges, goods, services, advantages and accommodations as those provided to able bodied persons. The owner of any business is responsible for making sure those accommodations are made with “reasonable modification.” The ADA makes it very clear that a business that does not provide for that accommodation is engaging in unlawful discrimination 42 U.S.C. section 12182(b)(2)(A)(iii).

The statute provides for various examples of where public accommodations must be provided, including locations such as an inn, a restaurant, a theater, an auditorium, a bakery, a laundromat, a depot, a museum, a zoo, a nursery, a day care center, and a gymnasium. Noticeably absent from that list are websites. That’s because websites did not exist at the time the statute was passed, and Congress has not expressly addressed the issue in the interim. (more…)