A Decision Right Up an Employee’s Alley: Recent Virginia Federal Court Opinion Weakens Protections for Companies Utilizing Consultants and Independent Contractors

Government contractors and commercial businesses alike frequently retain consultants and independent contractors to perform certain types of work, particularly in the construction, healthcare, and information technology industries. This is so because utilizing independent contractors, as opposed to employees, can offer some attractive benefits to companies. For instance, utilizing independent contractors may reduce company overhead, general and administrative, and fringe benefit expenses; it may allow for flexible work schedules, particularly on projects with indefinite schedules or workloads; and it may permit . . . Read More

Return to Work: Employer-Mandated COVID Vaccination Policies and Accommodating Employee Disabilities and Religious Beliefs

With over 50% of the adult population in the United States having received at least one dose of a vaccine to combat the novel coronavirus (COVID), many businesses and employers are looking forward to a “return to normal” and their employees coming back to the workplace. One common consideration is whether an employer should implement mandatory COVID vaccination requirements as part of their return-to-work policies. Employers must be mindful of ensuring that their return-to-work policies, including any vaccination mandates, comply . . . Read More

Do Corporations Have Fifth Amendment Rights Against Self-Incrimination? The Corporate Designee’s Rights in a FRCP 30(b)(6) Deposition

Anyone who has watched a courtroom television drama is aware of their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. But “pleading the Fifth” is not something a witness can invoke blanketly to avoid answering questions, especially where a witness is testifying on behalf of a corporation as a corporate designee under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 30(b)(6). In those circumstances, knowing your available options when preparing a corporate designee witness is key to managing any risks of potential self-incrimination. Rule 30(b)(6) allows . . . Read More

Protecting Your Company Against Revenue Clawbacks: Preference Actions (Part 2 of 3)

This is part two of our three-part series on revenue clawbacks. Once again, the scenario: a customer goes bankrupt, and then they (or a trustee) demand you return money you were already paid for services or goods duly rendered. In this three-part series, we discuss strategies for protecting your company against these revenue “clawbacks” and how to implement these strategies before and after a customer’s or teaming partner’s bankruptcy filing. In part one , we discussed the definition of preferences and the . . . Read More

Healthcare Blog Series: CMS and HHS-OIG Issue Final Rules Updating the Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law

***This is an update to the second installment of the blog series, which detailed proposed revisions to the Anti-Kickback Statute and the Stark Law.*** On November 20, 2020, over one year after releasing proposed changes to the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and the Physician Self-Referral Law (Stark Law), the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Inspector General (HHS-OIG) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued two final rules, revising the AKS and Stark Law safe . . . Read More

D.C. Expands False Claims Act Liability to Tax-Related Claims: What District Taxpayers Should Expect

Earlier this month, the District of Columbia Council passed an amendment to its False Claims Act, which extended the Act to include tax-related claims. Under the amended D.C. False Claims Act, violations may be alleged against persons and entities filing taxes in D.C.: (1) that report at least $1 million in income and (2) that understate tax liability or seek a tax refund resulting in damages of $350,000 or more. D.C. joins only two states—New York and Illinois—that authorize tax fraud . . . Read More

Unsure Whether You’ll Lose Tax Deductions for a Forgiven PPP Loan? Wait Until 2021 to File for Forgiveness

As it hashes out the details of the next COVID-19 relief package, Congress is facing pressure from business groups to allow businesses to write off expenses covered by forgiven Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. The groups explain that, without write offs, “millions of small businesses . . . will face a surprising, and, in many cases, insurmountable tax bill next year.” We have received questions about the quagmire of regulations covering tax treatment for businesses when PPP loan balances are forgiven. . . . Read More

Hiring? Recent Amendments to Equal Pay for Equal Work Act Impose New Limits on Employers

Almost thirty years ago, Maryland’s General Assembly passed the Equal Pay for Equal Work Act (Act), imposing an obligation on Maryland employers to pay employees equal amounts for the same work, regardless of the employee’s sex. Effective October 1, 2020, the General Assembly amended the Act, imposing new restrictions on employers both during and after the hiring process. Companies employing workers in Maryland should review and adjust their interviewing and hiring policies to comply with the new law and avoid . . . Read More

Errors to Avoid When Moving State Litigation to Federal Court

Depending on the claims, parties, and preferences, there are multiple forums where litigants can choose to file suit. The majority of cases start in state courts, as they are courts of general jurisdiction. However, for defendants, moving a state court case to a federal court offers certain tactical benefits. Before moving your state court case to a federal court, know that federal courts can only hear cases that have at least one claim arising under federal law or disputes between . . . Read More

Healthcare Blog Series: “Safe Harbor” Exceptions, Common Infractions, and Legislative Updates to the Anti-Kickback Statute and Stark Law

***This is the second installment in a blog series examining the regulatory environment and key concerns for persons or businesses operating in the healthcare industry.*** The first installment of this series introduced the Anti-Kickback Statute (AKS) and the Physician Self-Referral Law (Stark Law), two of the most well-known anti-fraud and -abuse statutes in the healthcare industry. It examined their main differences and respective effects on business relationships and transactions for government contractors and commercial businesses operating in the healthcare sector. This installment . . . Read More