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    Ben Lewis is the Co-Chair of the Fiduciary Litigation Practice Group. He focuses his practice on complex business litigation matters, particularly disputes involving breach of fiduciary duty claims against trustees ...

Posted in Estate Planning

The South Dakota Supreme Court recently decided a unique case which may be persuasive to jurists in many other states that have adopted the Uniform Trust Code, particularly as it relates to literal compliance with shortened time frames for beneficiaries to take action under the Code. In doing so, the Court ruled that an informal objection to a revocable trust did not constitute an effective contest of the trust’s validity under their trust law, because it was not a timely filed suit. 

Posted in Estate Planning

Kentuckian John G. Stoll was, among other things, a well-regarded philanthropist and the former owner of the Lexington Herald Newspaper. When he died in 1959, he left behind a significant fortune, and dozens of heirs. By 2013, approximately 55 years after Mr. Stoll’s death, the two trusts he settled for his heirs were valued at over $100 million, and had 151 beneficiaries.

Posted in Litigation

In the new Legal Forum Column, BGD attorney Benjamin J. Lewis discussed succession and estate plans.

On Nov. 6, 2012 an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for the National Labor Relations Board (Board) ruled that an employee arbitration policy, which purported to prohibit class actions by employees who did not opt out, violated the National Labor Relations Act.  Consequently, the ALJ found that the employer had engaged in an unfair labor practice.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration recently expressed concern that some workplace policies could discourage employee reporting, constitute unlawful discrimination and also violate recordkeeping regulations. OSHA also expressed its concern that the potential for unlawful discrimination may increase when management or supervisory bonuses are tied to lower reported injury rates. Most employers know that it is unlawful to discriminate or otherwise retaliate against employees who report workplace injuries and illnesses. Nevertheless, employers should be aware of OSHA’s newly published concerns in order to avoid or minimize the potential for being subjected to scrutiny or investigation.

In response to decisions by the United States Supreme Court in 2005 and 2008, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has published a new rule, effective April 30, 2012, which affects most employers. 

After the U.S. Supreme Court decided in favor of class action waivers in AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion on April 27, 2011, many employers considered adding these waivers to arbitration agreements with employees.

On June 20, 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, a class action case which Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (Wal-Mart) fought for 10 years against approximately 1.5 million past and present female employees nationwide (the “Class”). The Class alleged that Wal-Mart’s female employees received less pay and fewer promotions than their male counterparts. The trouble for the Class, however, was in sufficiently identifying a common, unlawful cause for the pay and promotion disparities.

A recent decision from the United States Supreme Court, which effectively overrules a recent decision from the Kentucky Supreme Court, will likely change class action litigation for years to come.

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