Monday, January 16, 2017

More Insurance

Business Insurance Tips

   Before speaking with an insurance representative, write down a clear statement of your expectations.
   Do not withhold any important information from your insurance representative about your business and its exposure to loss. Treat the individual as a professional helper.
   Get at least three competitive bids using brokers, direct agents and independent agents. Note the interest that the representative takes in loss prevention and suggestions for specialty coverage.
   Avoid duplication and overlap in policies; you will be paying for insurance you do not need.
   Ask your insurance firm if it's an "admitted insurance company." If so, it should have a solvency fund should a catastrophe put the insurance company in danger of going under. An unadmitted carrier has no such solvency fund.
   The small businessperson should not consider any form of self-insurance. The pool of funds necessary to safely insure losses is extraordinarily large.
   Get your insurance coverage reassessed on an annual basis. As your firm grows, so do your needs and potential liabilities. Underinsurance ranks as a major problem with expanding firms. Get an independent appraiser to value your property; if it has been more than five years since it was last appraised, chance are you're in for a surprise.
   Keep complete records of your insurance policies, premiums paid, itemized losses and loss recoveries. This information will help you get better coverage at lower costs in the future.
       Business Insurance Tips II
       Premiums for fire, casualty and burglary insurance on business property are all deductible for tax purposes as trade or business expenses. If a business taxpayer has a self-insurance plan, however, all payments into the self-insurance reserve will not be tax-deductible for purposes; the actual losses incurred by the taxpayer would be the deductions.
       Premiums for life-insurance are tax-deductible. But premiums paid on a policy covering the life of an officer, employee or other key person are not deductible if the business is a direct or indirect beneficiary under the policy. Premiums paid on a life insurance policy of which the business is a beneficiary are not deductible, since life-insurance proceeds would not have to be included in taxable income when received by the company.
   Virtually all policies require notification of an accident within 24, 48 or 72 hours of the incident. The claim itself does not necessarily have to filed at this time. Failure to report the loss may nullify your right to recovery.
   There must be come proof of loss, though you will have a reasonable period to provide documentation if needed.
   The insurer usually has three options when it comes to fulfilling the terms of a replacement policy: paying cash, repairing the insured item, or replacing the insured item with one of similar quality. Don't hesitate to let the insurer know if you prefer one of these reimbursement methods.
   Disputes regarding the amount of the settlement are put to arbitration. Thus an independent appraiser acts as judge in the conflict Don't hesitate to use this system of resolving differences. If a compromise cannot be found, a lawsuit can be initiated.

Avoid Moving Fraud
While most moving companies are reputable businesses that do quality work, there are some that attempt to take advantage of clients through fraudulent practices. Follow these guidelines to protect yourself against moving fraud:
  • Get a written estimate from several movers. Some companies quote a low price to get a contract—and later ask for more money before they remove your belongings from their truck.
  • Make sure the mover has insurance and is licensed by the proper authority.
  • Check the mover's record. You can find out the mover's complaint history with local consumer advocacy organizations, such as the Better Business Bureau.
Prevent Identity Theft
Take steps to protect yourself from identity theft:
  • Secure your social security number. Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet or write your number on your checks. Only give out your social security number (SSN) when absolutely necessary.
  • Don’t respond to unsolicited requests for personal information (your name, birthdate, social security number, or bank account number) by phone, mail, or online. 
  • Watch out for “shoulder surfers.” Shield the keypad when typing your passwords on computers and at ATMs. 
  • Collect mail promptly. Ask the post office to put your mail on hold when you are away from home. 
  • Pay attention to your billing cycles. If bills or financial statements are late, contact the sender.
  • Review your receipts. Ask for carbon copies and incorrect charge slips as well. Promptly compare receipts with account statements. Watch for unauthorized transactions.
  • Shred receipts, credit offers, account statements, and expired cards, to prevent “dumpster divers” from getting your personal information.
  • Store personal information in a safe place at home and at work.
  • Install firewalls and virus-detection software on your home computer.
  • Create complex passwords that identity thieves cannot guess easily. Change your passwords if a company that you do business with has a breach of its databases
  • Order your credit report once a year and review to be certain that it doesn't include accounts that you have not opened. Check it more frequently if you suspect someone has gained access to your account information.

Internet Fraud
Scam artists in the U.S. and around the world defraud millions of people each year by using the Internet to trick victims into sending money or giving out personal information.
Types of Internet Fraud
Internet crime schemes target victims using various methods:
  • Internet auction fraud - This scheme involves the misrepresentation of a product advertised for sale on an Internet auction site, or non-delivery of merchandise.   
  • Credit card fraud - Through the unauthorized use of a credit or debit card, or card number, scammers fraudulently obtain money or property. 
  • Investment fraud - This is an offer using false claims to solicit investments or loans, or providing for the purchase, use, or trade of forged or counterfeit securities.
  • Nigerian letter or "419" fraud - Named for the violation of Section 419 of the Nigerian Criminal Code, it combines the threat of impersonation fraud with a variation of an advance fee scheme in which a letter, e-mail, or fax is received by the victim.
Tips to Avoid Internet Fraud
Take these measures before entering into transactions over the Internet:
  • Know your seller - If you don't know who you're buying from online, do some research.
  • Protect your personal information - Don't provide it in response to an e-mail, a pop-up, or a website you've linked to from an e-mail or web page.




Factors Affecting Car Insurance Costs

       Y­ou might want a sports car or a fancy SUV, but your insurance company may charge you more to protect you while driving it.
       Insurance premiums are based partly on the price of the vehicle, which affects the replacement cost if it is stolen or "totaled" in an accident. How expensive the vehicle is to repair -- including parts and labor -- can also affect the cost. In addition, surcharges may apply to vehicles that are frequently stolen or involved in accidents.
       Industry-wide information on injury claims, collision repair costs, and theft rates by vehicle model is available from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). You can write them at 1005 North Glebe Road, Arlington, VA 22201. HLDI is affiliated with the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
       According to HLDI, the lowest injury claims are from large vehicles -- cars, pickup trucks, and sport-utility vehicles. Small 2- and 4-door cars have the highest injury claims. Small cars also are among the highest in collision costs, along with sports cars.
       If you have your heart set on a sporty vehicle, you'll probably pay dearly. Insuring a high-performance car can easily cost two or three times the insurance amount for an ordinary model.

Factors Affecting Car Insurance Costs Part II

       Sport-utility vehicles, the hottest market segment, often have higher insurance rates than mid- and full-size cars, but some SUV models are relatively cheap to insure. SUVs are "hot" for other reasons: They are among the most frequently stolen vehicles, and they are more expensive than most cars. Cadillac's Escalade is currently the most popular model sought by thieves, but it's followed by the Nissan Maxima sedan. SUVs also can cost more to fix after an accident if the 4-wheel-drive system is damaged.
       However, insurance companies set rates based on their own experience. If Company A has more collision and theft claims for a particular vehicle than Company B, then A will charge more for the same coverage. It all boils down to a company's actual experience with a particular vehicle or category of drivers. That is why it pays to shop around for insurance.
       Factors that you can least control may have the greatest impact on your insurance costs. Your age, gender, and driving record are key factors that affect your insurance premium.
       Single males under the age of 25 pay the highest rates. Statistics show they are involved in the most accidents, so insurance companies charge young men higher premiums than women of the same age. Married men, who statistically have fewer accidents, pay less than single men. A handful of states do not allow rates based on sex or age, but that prohibition has tended to result in higher rates for women, not lower rates for men.

Factors Affecting Car Insurance Costs III

       If you are convicted of moving traffic violations or of causing an accident, your premiums will likely go up, no matter what your age. Drivers with clean records -- no tickets, no accidents -- pay the lowest rates.
       Where you live also plays a big role in how much you pay. Urban areas, with their greater population densities and heavier traffic, get higher rates than rural areas. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the average insurance expenditure in mainly urban New Jersey -- traditionally the most expensive state -- in 2002 was more than double that of North Dakota, a rural state with the lowest average premiums. High costs in states such as Florida, Massachusetts and New York are attributed to growth in fraud and theft.
       In most states, too, insurers set rates by zip codes. If you live in a major city like Chicago or Los Angeles, you will probably pay more than if you lived in a nearby suburb.

Saving Money on Car Insurance

The biggest difference you can make is to buy a vehicle that qualifies for a discount or at least doesn't carry a surcharge. Ask your insurance agent about the cost of insuring vehicles you are interested in before you make your purchase decision. Here are several other ways that you can save money on your car insurance:
   Most companies give a break to those who drive less than 7500 miles a year. If you take public transportation instead of driving to work, your premium will go down. Out of the question? Try carpooling.
   Make sure you get all the discounts you are entitled to. You might qualify if your vehicle has an alarm, for example. Discounts used to be given for such safety features as airbags, but they're fading away as those items become more commonplace. Discounts might also be available if you insure your vehicles and your home with the same company. People who pass a defensive-driving course or don't smoke or drink often get discounts.
   Review the status of all the drivers in your family with your agent. Most discounts apply only to one portion of the policy, so don't expect dramatic savings.
   Increase your deductible for collision and comprehensive. Switching from a $100 deductible to $1000 can reduce the collision portion of your premium by 30 percent. You'll still be covered for catastrophes, but you foot the bill for fender-benders. Also, think twice about filing small claims with your insurance: Why risk a premium increase?
Saving Money on Car Insurance II

   Instead of just renewing your policy, study the fine print of your policy to see if its terms -- or your situation -- have changed.
   Drop collision coverage on older cars. Claims are limited to "book" value, so you're not likely to get much anyway if you car is more than seven years old. A good rule of thumb is to drop collision when the annual premium reaches 10 percent of your car's value.
   Be a good driver. Avoid accidents and traffic violations and you will be rewarded with good-driver discounts. Bad driving is expensive. The "safer you can be" on the road, Luedke said, "the lower your premiums."
   Drop coverage for such extras as towing costs or the expense of renting a car while yours is in the shop. The savings are probably small, but your new-car warranty's roadside assistance provision may provide them at no cost.
   Have your teenager share the family car instead of owning his or her own. Be sure to tell your agent if your son or daughter makes the honor roll or moves away to college. Both qualify for discounts with most companies.
   If your group health insurance provides generous coverage, consider dropping the medical-payments portion of your policy.
   Keep your credit rating healthy. A growing number of insurers are considering a person's credit score when setting rates.

June is Healthy Home Month
Not feeling well, but can’t figure out what is wrong? Some people have health issues and may not realize their personal wellness and the health of their home are interconnected.
By giving your home a health check-up, you may be preventing diseases and other hazards from hurting you and your family. Poor indoor air quality, mold, radon, carbon monoxide, and lead paint are just a few of the home health issues that could potentially trigger asthma, possibly cause lung cancer or lead poisoning.
The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) has designated June as Healthy Home Month and is encouraging everyone to do a home review. You may already use smoke detectors as one safety measure, but there are other ways to improve the wellbeing of your living space without breaking the bank:
·       Ordering a radon test kit to see if you need to install a radon mitigation system. Radon is a naturally occurring dangerous gas that enters homes through soil, crawlspaces, and foundation cracks
·       Using a carbon monoxide device to detect CO gas
·       Checking to make sure air vents go outside and are not clogged
·       Sealing cracks to prevent bugs and animals from entering

Seven Tips for Keeping a Healthy Home

1.Keep it Dry

Prevent water from entering your home through leaks in roofing systems, rain water from entering the home due to poor drainage, and check your interior plumbing for any leaking. 

2.Keep it Clean Control the source of dust and contaminants, creating smooth and cleanable surfaces, reducing clutter, and using effective wet-cleaningmethods.

 3.Keep it Safe Store poisons out of the reach of children and properly label. Secure loose rugs and keep children’s play areas free from hard or sharp surfaces. Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and keep fire extinguishers on hand.

4.Keep it Well-Ventilated
Ventilate bathrooms and kitchens and use whole house ventilation for supplying fresh air to reduce the concentration of contaminants in the home.

5.Keep it Pest-free
All pests look for food, water and shelter. Seal cracks and openings throughout the home; store food in pest-resistant containers. If needed, use sticky-traps and baits in closed containers, along with least toxic pesticides such as boric acid powder.

6.Keep it Contaminant-free Reduce lead-related hazards in pre-1978 homes by fixing deteriorated paint, and keeping floors and window areas clean using a wet-cleaning approach. Test your home for radon,a naturally occurringdangerous gas that enters homes through soil, crawlspaces, and foundation cracks. Install a radon removal systemif levels above the EPA action-level are detected.

7.Keep it Well-Maintained Inspect, clean and repair your home routinely. Take care of minor repairs and problems before they become large repairs and problems.

Emotional upset and heavy exertion may trigger a heart attack

Being angry, emotionally upset or engaging in heavy physical exertion may trigger a heart attack, according to new research in the American Heart Association's journal Circulation.

In a large international study, researchers found an association (more than twice the risk) between anger or emotional upset and the onset of heart attack symptoms within one hour. The same was true for heavy physical exertion during the hour before their first heart attack.

However, the association was stronger (more than triple the risk) in those patients who recalled being angry or emotionally upset while also engaging in heavy physical exertion.

These triggers appeared to independently increase a person's heart attack risk beyond that posed by other risk factors, including age, smoking, obesity, high blood pressure and other health problems.

Both extreme emotional and physical triggers can raise blood pressure and heart rate, changing the flow of blood through blood vessels and reducing blood supply to the heart. "This is particularly important in blood vessels already narrowed by plaque, which could block the flow of blood leading to a heart attack.

People who are at risk for a heart attack would do best to avoid extreme emotional situations, One way many cope with the emotional ups and downs of a health condition is through peer support, talking with others who are facing similar challenges can be very helpful in better managing your own emotions."

Statins are a common class of drug often used to prevent cardiac arrest and other such conditions. Even though it has long been known that statins are anti-inflammatory, it is unclear whether the immune system is more specifically affected, the assumption having been that statins are so effective because they reduce levels of cholesterol in the blood. A new study published in The Journal of the American Heart Association, shows that it is the immunological effects of statins that explains why statins are effective at preventing heart attacks.
Advanced head and neck cancer has very poor survival rates. In a trial of more than 350 patients with head and neck cancer, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, 36% treated with the immunotherapy drug nivolumab were alive after one year compared with 17% who received chemotherapy. In another study, combining nivolumab with another drug shrank tumors in advanced kidney cancer patients. Immunotherapy works by harnessing the immune system to destroy cancer cells.
While some previous studies have indicated that taking erectile dysfunction (ED) drugs may reduce the likelihood of developing prostate cancer, new research published in The Journal of Urology® found that these drugs do not play a role in preventing prostate cancer. ED is a common problem with a prevalence of 20% to 40% in the sixth decade of life and approaching 75% in the seventh decade. Drugs such as tadalafil, sildenafil, and vardenafil are phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE-5is) commonly used to treat ED. Since PDE-5is were first introduced in 1998, their durability, safety, and efficacy for treating ED have been clearly demonstrated.
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Psychiatrists nearly always responded with prescriptions for antidepressants when clients complained of bad marriages, according to a new study published in the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine. The assumption that people struggling with their marriages or other domestic issues are suffering from depression is not supported by the way depression is defined medically, said the study’s lead author.  The researchers report that this pattern became particularly prominent after the advent of Prozac and other SSRI antidepressants and widespread pharmaceutical advertising in the 1980s and 1990s.
A new retrospective study, published in JAMA Oncology, of patient medical records suggests that men with prostate cancer who are treated with testosterone-lowering drugs are twice as likely to develop dementia within five years as prostate cancer patients whose testosterone levels are not tampered with. Testosterone can promote the growth of prostate tumors, and so clinicians have used androgen deprivation therapy to lower testosterone and other androgens in prostate cancer patients since the 1940s. In the United States, about a half-million men currently receive ADT as a treatment for prostate cancer.
Metformin is an inexpensive treatment that is often used for Type 2 diabetes to lower blood sugar levels by reducing glucose production in the liver. The drug is not regularly given to patients with Type 1 diabetes. However, for the first time, a clinical trial published in the journal Cardiovascular Diabetology has revealed metformin can promote patients’ ability to repair their own damaged blood vessels by increasing vascular stem cells. Heart disease is the leading cause of illness in diabetic patients, accounting for more than half of all fatalities. Metformin may be used to lower Type 1 diabetic patients’ risk of developing this complication.
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A new scientific statement from the American Heart Association  warns that statins could interact with their other heart disease medications. The types of cardiovascular medications the writing committee examined included:
   antiarrhythmic drugs, used to treat abnormal heart rhythms;

   medications used in treating congestive heart failure;

   antiplatelet agents and anticoagulants that are used to thin the blood;

   immunosuppressive agents, for patients who have undergone a heart transplantation;

   non-statin cholesterol lowering agents; and

   calcium channel blockers, commonly used to treat high blood pressure.
The statement identifies specific doses at which certain heart disease medications can be used safely with statins as well as the combinations of statins and certain cardiac medications that may be potentially harmful.
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Kidney cancer accounts for 129,000 deaths worldwide each year, and patients with locally advanced kidney cancer face a 50 per cent risk of it returning within five years once they have had the operation to remove a kidney. While adjuvant treatments are routinely used on patients with other types of cancer (such as breast and bowel cancer), until now there has been no such treatment capable of improving outcomes for kidney cancer patients. This is despite numerous studies being carried out in this field over the past 20 years. Recent ground-breaking research demonstrates that by taking the oral tablet Sunitinib for one year, patients are able to reduce the likelihood of their cancer returning. Sunitinib is a tried and tested drug which has been used on patients with metastatic (widespread) renal cancer for around eight years.
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Recently postmenopausal women who were highly symptomatic with hot flashes and night sweats had a significant improvement in frequency and intensity of hot flashes when using lower doses of either oral conjugated estrogen or transdermal estradiol, with sustained improvement over 4 years, according to a study published in the journal of The North American Menopause Society, Menopause.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Lartruvo (olaratumab) with doxorubicin to treat adults with certain types of soft tissue sarcoma (STS), which are cancers that develop in muscles, fat, tendons or other soft tissues. Lartruvo is approved for use with the FDA-approved chemotherapy drug doxorubicin for the treatment of patients with STS who cannot be cured with radiation or surgery and who have a type of STS for which an anthracycline (chemotherapy) is an appropriate treatment. The National Cancer Institute estimates that 12,310 new cases of STS and nearly 5,000 deaths are likely to occur from the disease in 2016. The most common treatment for STS that cannot be removed by surgery is treatment with doxorubicin alone or with other drugs. STS includes a wide variety of tumors arising in the muscle, fat, blood vessels, nerves, tendons or the lining of the joints.

Physicians should use corticosteroids, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or colchicine to treat patients with acute gout, the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends in a new evidence-based clinical practice guideline for the management of gout published in Annals of Internal Medicine. ACP recommends that if colchicine is used, it should be at a low dose, as evidence suggests that lower doses of colchicine are as effective as higher doses but are associated with fewer gastrointestinal adverse effects.

Tamsulosin is normally used to treat an enlarged prostate, but recent research published in the Annals of Emergency Medicine found the medication could also assist the passage of large kidney stones. 1 in 11 people in the United States suffer from kidney stones, which range in size from a grain of sand to a pearl or even larger, and can be excruciating to pass through the urinary tract.

Treatment with the drug prazosin effectively reduces symptoms of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) for many people, but about one third of patients don't respond to the treatment at all. Attempts to understand why people respond differently, based on symptom type or severity, have fallen short. A new study published in Biological Psychiatry reports that those with higher blood pressure before beginning prazosin treatment see better results from the medication.

Giving severely depressed patients the arthritis drug celecoxib (Celebrex®) dramatically boosted the effectiveness of their antidepressant medication, a new study presented at the Fifth International Congress on Psychiatry has found.

Cholesterol-lowering drugs help prevent heart attacks and strokes in adults with cardiovascular risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and smoking, but have not yet had a heart attack or stroke, according to a large-scale analysis of clinical trial data published in JAMA. Drugs that lower fat levels in the blood, called statins, were effective in reducing risk of death, heart attacks and strokes, across a broad range of patient groups. The benefits were largest in people at highest risk for heart attacks and strokes. But, those at lower risk also realized some preventive benefits. In addition, the drugs did not prove to have significant harmful effects. Compared with a placebo, statins were not associated with increased risk of muscle pain or myopathy, cognitive decline or liver damage. Overall, there was no increased risk of diabetes with statins, though one trial that used a high dose of statins found an increased risk. One trial found an increased risk of cataract surgery.

Chronic kidney disease patients who take urate-lowering therapy and achieve target urate levels show improvement in kidney function, according to new research findings presented at the 2016 ACR/ARHP Annual Meeting in Washington. Chronic kidney disease (CKD) is a gradual loss of kidney function that can lead to fluid, electrolyte and waste build-up in its advanced stages. Gout, a condition marked by high levels of uric acid that can crystallize through the body, can lead to CKD in some patients. First-line therapies for lowering urate levels are allopurinol and febuxostat.

Extending the number of pregnant women given the common drug levothyroxine to boost thyroid hormone levels may lead to a reduced number of stillbirths, early caesarean sections and low-weight babies, according to a new study presented at the Society for Endocrinology annual conference. The thyroid gland is an organ found in the base of the neck. It produces essential hormones that control the body's metabolism -- the way we use energy. Thyroid hormones are also critical for fetal brain development, but babies cannot make any of their own until the second trimester and have to source all of it from their mothers.

A 10-year trial involving osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis patients in 13 countries reveals new insights on the cardiovascular safety of widely used nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and COX-2-specific inhibitors, The study, published in the New England Journal of Medicine, finds that Celebrex poses no greater risk of heart attack, stroke, other cardiovascular problems or death than naproxen or ibuprofen. More surprisingly there is evidence that Celebrex is less likely than the other two to cause  kidney and gastrointestinal problems associated with NSAIDS. Osteoarthritis, or OA, is the most common joint disease affecting middle-age and older people. It is characterized by progressive damage to the joint cartilage--the cushioning material at the end of long bones--and causes changes in the structures around the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic disease that causes pain, stiffness, swelling, and limitation in the motion and function of multiple joints. Though joints are the principal body parts affected by RA, inflammation can develop in other organs as well.

Giving severely depressed patients the arthritis drug celecoxib (Celebrex®) dramatically boosted the effectiveness of their antidepressant medication, a new study presented during the International Congress on Psychiatry and the Neurosciences has found. Celecoxib is used to treat pain, redness, swelling and inflammation from arthritis. It also can manage acute pain and menstrual cramps. By itself, it does not treat depression.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Intrarosa (prasterone) to treat women experiencing moderate to severe pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia), a symptom of vulvar and vaginal atrophy (VVA), due to menopause. Intrarosa is the first FDA approved product containing the active ingredient prasterone, which is also known as dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA). During menopause, levels of estrogen decline in vaginal tissues, which may cause a condition known as VVA, leading to symptoms such as pain during sexual intercourse.

Women who undergo hormone therapy for menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes can not only increase bone mass, but also can improve bone structure, according to a new study published in the Endocrine Society's Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. Osteoporosis is a progressive condition in which bones become structurally weak and are more likely to fracture or break. Menopause, which usually occurs when a woman is in her 40s or 50s, significantly speeds bone loss. Over time, the human body is constantly breaking down and building new bone tissue. The imbalance between bone breakdown and formation causes bone mass to decrease, so osteoporosis can develop and fractures can occur more easily.

Researchers have shown that ustekinumab, a human antibody used to treat arthritis, significantly induces response and remission in patients with moderate to severe Crohn’s disease, according to a report in the New England Journal of Medicine. Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory disease of the gastrointestinal tract that affects approximately 700,000 people in the United States. It can affect any part of the GI tract but it is more commonly found at the end of the small intestine (the ileum) where it joins the beginning of the large intestine (or colon). Crohn’s disease can dramatically impact a person’s quality of life. Patients suffering from this disease may go to the bathroom up to 20 times a day and experience abdominal pain, ulcers and a reduced appetite.

Proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) and histamine receptor-2 (H2) blockers, medications commonly used to treat heartburn, acid reflux, and ulcers can have damaging effects on the kidneys according to two studies presented at American Society of Nephrology’s Kidney Week 2016.

Persistent pain is common among the nearly 4 million Americans who arrive each year at hospital emergency departments (EDs) after car crashes. A new study in the journal Pain that compared the two most common pain-relief drugs -- NSAIDs such as ibuprofen and opioids such as oxycodone -- found that the risk of reporting persistent pain six weeks after a crash was not statistically different among patients prescribed either medication at the ED. What did differ significantly was the likelihood that people initially prescribed opioids, which can be addictive, would still be using them by that time.

In a study published online by JAMA, rearchers have determined  that human papillomavirus (HPV) type-specific antibody responses would be noninferior (not worse than) among girls and boys ages 9 to 14 years after receiving 2 doses of the 9-valent HPV vaccine compared with adolescent girls and young women ages 16 to 26 years who received the standard 3 doses.

An already available drug can help patients get back on their feet more rapidly after a hip fracture, according to an international study published in the Journal of Bone Joint Surgery. The results suggest that treatment with the drug accelerates the healing process in broken bones. The drug tested by the researchers, teriparatide, is based on a naturally occurring hormone, parathyroid hormone (PTH). Teriparatide is the active ingredient in human PTH and is currently used to treat osteoporosis (brittle bones). The hormone influences bone structure.

Two commonly prescribed statins appear to be associated with a higher risk of bleeding than others when combined with dabigatran, a drug often used for preventing strokes in patients with atrial fibrillation, according to a study published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. Hemorrhage, or bleeding in a critical area or organ, is a possible side effect of dabigatran (brand name Pradaxa) and occasionally can be severe enough to warrant hospital admission or emergency department visits. Cholesterol-lowering statins such as lovastatin and simvastatin may increase the amount of dabigatran absorbed by the body and thereby increase the risk of bleeding, something other statins would not be expected to do.

The use of benzodiazepines and related drugs increases the risk of hip fracture by 43% in persons with Alzheimer's disease, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association. Benzodiazepines are a class of psychoactive drugs used to treat a range of conditions, including anxiety and insomnia. They are one of the most widely prescribed medications in the United States, particularly among elderly patients. Benzodiazepines possess sedative, hypnotic, anti-anxiety, anticonvulsant, and muscle relaxant properties.

An oral anticoagulant drug given to some heart disease patients may actually enhance blood clot formation, according to a new study published in SCIENCE TRANSLATIONAL MEDICINE. The surprising discovery may help explain why some individuals taking the drugs, called oral thrombin inhibitors or OTIs, have a slightly higher risk of heart attack. OTIs are often prescribed to prevent venous blood clots and reduce the risk of stroke resulting from atrial fibrillation. They are sometimes preferred over another class of anticoagulant drugs called vitamin K antagonists because they work more swiftly and require less frequent monitoring.

Heart medication taken in combination with chemotherapy reduces the risk of serious cardiovascular damage in patients with early-stage breast cancer, according to results from a new landmark clinical trial. Existing research has shown some cancer therapies such as Herceptin greatly improve survival rates for early-stage breast cancer, but come with a fivefold risk of heart failure -- a devastating condition as life-threatening as the cancer itself. A new five-year study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology shows that two kinds of heart medications, beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, effectively prevent a drop in heart function from cancer treatment.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration today approved a new indication for Jardiance (empagliflozin) to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death in adult patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, death from cardiovascular disease is 70 percent higher in adults with diabetes compared to those without diabetes, and patients with diabetes have a decreased life expectancy driven in large part by premature cardiovascular death.

Nearly one in 11 Americans will have a kidney stone in their lifetime, causing pain, sometimes missed work and, often, a lot of money.
And for the two-thirds of kidney stone patients who need more than just extra hydration to pass their stones, physicians are eager to find non-surgical ways to help. Contemporary practice guidelines recommend off-label use of drugs called alpha blockers to facilitate stone passage. These include drugs such as such as tamsulosin, known as Flomax. However, a recent multicenter study of 1,136 subjects in the U.K. questioned the effectiveness of alpha blockers for this purpose. Now, a new review of the medical literature suggests alpha blockers may be useful in some cases. It's published online December 1 in The BMJ (link is external), formerly known as the British Medical Journal.

Patients with a chronic type of leukaemia could safely reduce the side effects of life-long treatment by cutting their dose in half, according to the results of a study presented at the American Society of Hematology Annual Meeting. Drugs known as tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) have drastically improved the prognosis for patients with chronic myeloid leukaemia (CML), essentially turning what was a deadly cancer into a chronic disease that can be managed with a daily pill. Common side effects include chronic headaches, stomach problems, and fatigue, and women are typically advised not to conceive children while taking the drugs due to the high risk of birth defects.

Duloxetine, a drug typically used to treat depression and anxiety can significantly reduce joint pain in postmenopausal women being treated for early stage breast cancer, according to new research presented at the San Antonio Breast Cancer Symposium. Tens of thousands of postmenopausal women each year are treated with aromatase inhibitors (AIs), pills that stop the production of estrogen and essentially starve hormone receptor-positive breast cancer cells. Many women - as many as 50 percent -- experience joint pain and stiffness as a side effect of AI therapy. About 20 percent experience significant pain. This can affect knees, hips, hands, and wrists, and make it difficult for women to walk, climb stairs, do simple tasks like type, or sit for an extended period of time. The pain is so common it has a name: AI-Associated Musculoskeletal Syndrome (AIMSS).

A new study published in JAMA Neurology has found that men and women who took statins two years or more had a lowered risk of Alzheimer's disease. Simvastatin was linked to a reduced risk of Alzheimer's for white women, Hispanic women and black women, as well as for white men and Hispanic men. Atrovastatin was associated with a reduced risk of Alzheimer's for white women, Hispanic women, black women and Hispanic men. Pravastatin and rosuvastatin results showed a statistically significant reduction of Alzheimer's risk for only white women.

Antipsychotic drug use is associated with a 60 percent increased risk of mortality among persons with Alzheimer's disease, shows a recent study published in the Journal of Alzheimer's Disease. The risk was highest at the beginning of drug use and remained increased in long-term use. Use of two or more antipsychotic drugs concomitantly was associated with almost two times higher risk of mortality than monotherapy. The results were. Haloperidol was associated with highest risk of mortality, and the use of higher doses of haloperidol and risperidone were associated with an increased risk of mortality compared with low-dose risperidone use.

Impulsive behavior is a factor in leading to food addiction. A drug called Modafinil, usually used for narcolepsy, shift work disorder and excessive daytime sleepiness, can reduce impulsivity and thus food addiction according to a study published in Personality and Individual Differences.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved Eucrisa (crisaborole) ointment to treat mild to moderate eczema (atopic dermatitis) in patients two years of age and older. Atopic dermatitis, a chronic inflammatory skin disease, is often referred to as "eczema," which is a general term for the several types of inflammation of the skin. Atopic dermatitis is the most common of the many types of eczema and onset typically begins in childhood and can last through adulthood. The cause of atopic dermatitis is a combination of genetic, immune and environmental factors. In atopic dermatitis, the skin develops red, scaly and crusted bumps, which are extremely itchy. Scratching leads to swelling, cracking, "weeping" clear fluid, and finally, coarsening and thickening of the skin.

A new study published in journal JAMA Oncology discovered that proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), which are very common medications for heartburn and gastrointestinal bleeding, decrease effects of capecitabine, a type of chemotherapy usually prescribed to gastric cancer patients, as well as early stage colorectal cancer patients. PPIs are very popular for their efficacy and many of them are over-the-counter drugs (some common brands are Nexium, Prevacid and Protonix).

Anticholinergic medications, a class of drugs very commonly used by older adults, are linked to an increased rate of emergency department and hospital utilization in the United States, according to a new study published in the peer-reviewed journal Phamacotherapy. Anticholinergics block acetylcholine, a nervous system neurotransmitter. Drugs with anticholinergic properties are frequently prescribed or purchased over the counter for chronic conditions including depression, anxiety, pain, allergy, incontinence or sleep problems. These drugs are used by as many as half of older adults and it is not unusual for an older individual to be taking two or more anticholinergic medications regularly. Taking a drug with mild anticholinergic effect daily increased the likelihood of inpatient admission by 11 percent over a year. Many drugs used to treat heart failure and hypertension fall into the mild group, such as diuretics. Taking a drug with a strong anticholinergic effect daily increased the likelihood of inpatient admission by 33 percent over a year. Sleeping pills, one of the most common medications used by elders, are in this category as are antihistamines, which are available without prescription.

A new study in JAMA Cardiology.shows that the drug fenofibrate might reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with type 2 diabetes who have high levels of triglycerides and low levels of "good" cholesterol, despite being treated with statins.  Fenofibrate is primarily used to help reduce elevated levels of triglycerides, or fat, in the blood. But the researchers wanted to know if the drug, when combined with statin treatment, could also reduce the risk of heart disease in people with type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes are at high risk of cardiovascular-related events, such as heart attacks, stroke, and even death, often because their levels of triglycerides are so high, and their high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol levels are low.

Physicians should prescribe metformin to patients with type 2 diabetes when medication is needed to improve high blood sugar, the American College of Physicians (ACP) recommends in an evidence-based clinical practice guideline published in Annals of Internal Medicine. If a second oral medication is needed to improve high blood sugar, ACP recommends that physicians consider adding either a sulfonylurea, thiazolidinedione, SGLT-2 inhibitor, or DPP-4 inhibitor to metformin.The American Academy of Family Physicians has endorsed the guideline. Diabetes is a leading cause of death in the U.S. The disease can affect other areas of the body and can cause retinopathy, nephropathy, neuropathy, and coronary artery, cerebrovascular, and peripheral vascular disease complications. Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of the disease (affecting 90 to 95 percent of persons with diabetes), affecting about 29.1 million people in the U.S.

Taking certain omega-3 fatty acid supplements during pregnancy can reduce the risk of childhood asthma by almost one third, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. One out of five young children suffer from asthma or a related disorder before school age.

In a population-based study published in the British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology, use of commonly-prescribed acid suppression medications such as proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) was linked with an increased risk of intestinal infections with C. difficile and Campylobacter bacteria, which can cause considerable illness. Users of these medications should be particularly vigilant about food hygiene as the removal of stomach acid makes them more easily infected with agents such as Campylobacter, which is commonly found on poultry.

Despite recommendations, less than 45 percent of adults younger than 40 years with an elevated low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) level of 190 mg/dL or greater receive a prescription for a statin, according to a study published online by JAMA Cardiology.  Cardiovascular disease affects 1 in 3 patients and remains the leading cause of death in the United States. Severe elevation of LDL-C levels is a modifiable risk factor for developing premature cardiovascular disease. Treatment with statins is recommended for all adults 21 years or older with an LDL-C of 190 mg/dL or greater, with treatment appearing to reduce the risk of death and result in cost savings for health systems.

A new study published in PLOS ONE has found that people who take proton pump inhibitors (PPIs), had a 70 per cent increase in the risk of being admitted to hospital with infectious gastroenteritis.

Federal courts in different parts of the country do not always agree on their interpretation of U.S. laws. The U.S.  Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals recently joined the circuit split interpreting the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act The Third and Eighth Circuits have taken a more restrictive view of the FDCPA by holding that a debt collector is permitted to seek a debtor’s voluntary repayment of a debt ton which the statute of limitations had run rendering the debt unable to be collected through litigation. so long as the communications to the debtor do not initiate or threaten litigation. However, the Sixth and Seventh Circuits have taken a more expansive view of the FDCPA in favor of debtors by holding that collection letters offering to settle time-barred debts which do not disclose that the debt is legally unenforceable can violate the FDCPA even without threatening litigation. In a recent decision, the Fifth Circuit joined the Sixth and Seventh Circuits’ expansive view.

Under a new law in California businesses with 26 or more employees must pay a minimum wage of $10.50 per hour; the rate increases to $15.00 per hour in 2022.

The Kentucky Supreme Court has ruled 6-1 that local governments in Kentucky lack the authority to establish their own minimum wage rates.

The U.S, Supreme Court has ruled that a national bank had been defrauded when the accused had used a customer’s personal details to transfer more than $275,000 from that bank’s customer’s account to his own PayPal account. The Court held that: (i) the bank had a property interest in the customer’s deposits; (ii) the defendant’s ignorance of the that property law was not a defense; and (iii) the bank fraud statute does not require the government to prove that the defendant intended that the bank would suffer a loss.

To be liable for insider trading in violation of the federal securities laws, the insider “tipper” who discloses the inside information must personally benefit, directly or indirectly, from his disclosure to a “tippee” who trades on the inside information. The government must also prove that a “downstream tippee” knew the information upon which he traded came from an insider or that the insider tipper received a personal benefit in exchange for the tip. The U.S. Second Circuit of Appeals held in 2014 that it was not a sufficient “personal benefit” to a tipper to provide only a “gift” of insider information to a “trading relative or friend” without the tipper also receiving “at least a potential gain of a pecuniary or similarly valuable nature.” Unlike the Second Circuit, the Ninth Circuit ruled that simply providing inside information to a relative or friend was a sufficient personal benefit to the tipper to trigger liability. On December 6, 2016, a unanimous U.S. Supreme Court sided with the Ninth Circuit.

How the state of Oklahoma deals with criminal cases that include mental illness or insanity defenses has changed. A new law allows a defendant to be found guilty with a mental defect, as opposed to not guilty by reason of insanity or mental illness. A guilty with mental defect plea will have the same sentence opposed on him or her as someone else would if convicted of the same crime. Those found guilty with mental defect are required to be examined by the state’s Department of Mental Health prior to release on probation. The department then has 45 days to make a recommendation for treatment.

A U.S. district court in New Jersey has dismissed a claim brought under the Fair and Accurate Transactions Act (“FACTA”)  that defendant violated FACTA by displaying the first six digits and last four digits of his credit card on the electronically printed receipt. FACTA, which was passed in part to curb credit card fraud and identity theft, prohibits printing more than five digits of a credit card number on a sales receipt. The plaintiff alleged that he became more susceptible to fraud as a result of the defendant’s violation of FACTA. The court’s decision joins a growing body of case law which refuses to give credence to technical statutory violations without some allegation or indicia of real harm.

William “Bud” Abbott and Lou Costello first performed their iconic “Who’s On First?” comedy routine in 1938, centered on a fictional baseball team filled with players named “Who,” “What” and “I Don’t Know.” Pursuant to license agreements with Universal Pictures Company in 1940, Abbott and Costello performed the routine in two movies which were registered for copyright and renewed. Abbott and Costello separately registered the routine for copyright in 1944, but failed to timely renew the registration, leading the Copyright Office to later conclude that the routine had fallen into the public domain. In 1984, Universal transferred all of its rights, title and interest in the comedic routine by quitclaim deed to a partnership formed by the heirs of Abbot and Costello. When the routine was incorporated into a recent Broadway play, the heirs sued. The U.s, The Second Circuit of appeals affirmed the trial courts dismissal of the plaintiffs’ claim, saying that Universal did not own the copyright to the routine. It had only licensed it, and the routine is indeed in the public domain.

The Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), the most sweeping reform of U.S. food safety laws in over 70 years. Under this new framework, FDA requires preventive controls for food facilities and mandatory produce safety standards for a broad range of farming activities. Importers must verify that food produced on foreign farms and facilities is produced under standards at least as rigorous as those that apply to domestic food, and an accreditation program will regulate certain audits of foreign foods and foreign facilities. Regulations to minimize food safety risks during transport will apply to persons involved in the transportation of food by motor or rail carrier, including shippers, carriers, receivers, loaders and even brokers. And larger facilities will be required to protect against intentional adulteration intended to cause wide-scale public harm. In some of the most challenging provisions of the new rules, FDA imposes obligations on covered parties to verify and to provide or receive documentation regarding food safety risks to other parties in their food supply and distribution chains. In some instances, these requirements even require covered entities, such as importers, to obtain verifications from entities multiple steps back in the supply chain.

A U.S. company has paid almost $766,000 in penalties and disgorgement to settle Securities and Exchange Commission charges that it had violated the record-keeping and internal accounting controls provisions of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act in connection with a charitable donation made by the company’s Chinese subsidiary to avoid paying a fine to local authorities.

A new law makes it illegal for anyone in New York state to advertise the use of an apartment for rentals lasting fewer than 30 days, which were banned by a 2010law. The law specifies that anybody violating the new law faces civil penalties of up to $1,000 for the first violation, up to $5,000 for the second violation, and up to $7,500 for the third and subsequent violations. 

The Georgia Supreme Court has ruled that a law that makes it a crime to insult or abuse a public school teacher, administrator or bus driver in front of students at school or on a bus. is "unconstitutionally overbroad" and violates the First Amendment right to free speech.

A new law in Tennessee requires students in grades 2-6 to have two 20-minute periods of “non-structured” activity at least four days a week, and students in 7th-12th grades to have a minimum of 90 minutes of physical activity per week.

Washington D.C. has become the sixth jurisdiction in the U.S. to approve so-called death-with-dignity legislation. It allows medically assisted death for those expected to live six months or less. Candidates for the treatment cannot suffer from depression and must request the assistance multiple times.

The U.S. Supreme Court has reinstated a new Arizona law that makes it a felony to collect early ballots, overturning an appeals court decision a day earlier that blocked the law from being enforced.

Many lease provisions in Pennsylvania place the liability upon the estates and surviving family members of deceased tenants to pay rent and penalties anywhere from one month to the full-year balance of the lease. A new law in Pennsylvania has removed from financial liability the estate of a deceased tenant for any rent accruing from one month after the tenant’s death, or upon surrender of the rental unit and removal of all personal property, whichever is the later.

For 12 years, the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) law had the federal government telling states what to do to improve failing schools. Congress has now passed a new education law, the Every Student Succeed Act (ESSA), It still requires schools to test students in math, literacy and science in grades 3 through 12. Under the 2002 law, states had until 2014 to bring all students up to 100 percent proficiency. The new law allows states to set their own goals and timelines for reaching them. Under NCLB, the U.S. Department of Education told states and districts how they would transform their lowest-performing schools. Districts had to choose among four options for helping failing schools whether they fit or not. The new law leaves this up to the states but it says each state must have an intervention plan. ESSA requires every state to identify the bottom 5 percent of schools and develop plans to improve them. The revised law also eliminates a NCLB requirement that teacher evaluations include student improvement over time, based on test scores.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit has reversed a district court decision that held American Express (Amex) liable for violating the antitrust laws because it prevented merchants that accepted Amex from encouraging cardholders to use other credit cards with lower fees. In response to ad campaigns highlighting Amex’s smaller merchant-acceptance network, Amex began including strong “nondiscriminatory provisions” in its merchant contracts to ensure that merchants could not state a preference for another method of payment at the point of sale. These provisions, and similar contractual language in Visa and MasterCard merchant contracts, prompted the instant dispute..

A New York-based hedge fund has agreed to pay approximately $412 million to resolve charges brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) and Department of Justice (“DOJ”) on September 29, 2016. The charges related to the company and its subsidiaries violating the anti-bribery, record-keeping and internal accounting controls provisions of the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") in connection with illicit payments made to government officials in various countries in Africa.

The U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has held that merely enforcing a security interest is not “debt collection” under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”). In so holding, the Ninth Circuit disagreed with earlier decisions by the Fourth and Sixth Circuits, creating a split that might eventually be resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A new law in New Jersey allows people who served in the military to apply for their unemployment benefits online. State law had previously mandated that anyone who served in the military, worked for the federal government, or worked outside the state, had to file their benefit applications via the telephone or in person. However, the new law requires the Department of Labor and Workforce Development to accept their online applications.

The U.S. Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed that a title insurance policy did not cover a loss caused by an assessment levied against the insured property after the policy was issued, even if the assessment was based on a Notice of Intention to levy assessments that pre-dated the policy. The municipality involved levied assessments against a number of properties within an “improvement district,” including the insured property.

The days of having an electric car suddenly appear out of nowhere next to you will soon be gone, as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHSTA) just finalized its “Quiet Car” rule – a law designed to make sure pedestrians don’t get hurt by near-silent electric cars they can’t hear coming. As of 2019, electric vehicles will have to make enough noise at low speeds to let you know they’re coming.

In a decision relevant for any school that provides services to the public as a means to provide training for its students, the United States District Court for the District of Colorado recently ruled that such students are not employees for purposes of the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
The case, was brought by massage therapy students who attended the defendants’ vocational schools. The schools’ curriculum required the students to participate in clinical training under supervision, and the school operated a massage clinic open to the public. Students performed roughly 100 massages during the clinical program. Their clients were paying customers to whom the schools publicly advertised discounted massages. Enrollment documents and the schools’ catalog informed students that as unlicensed student massage therapists, they could not and would not receive compensation from the schools during this clinical component of their education. Despite this, the students argued that during the clinical curriculum they functioned as the schools’ employees under the FLSA and were entitled to unpaid wages for the time they were in the clinical program.

A written contract, payment within 30 days, and statutory damages for non-payment of wages are among the provisions of New York City’s new freelancer protection law.

Part of the California Fair Employment Housing Act is the anti-retaliation provision which forbids an employer from discharging or otherwise discriminating against any person because the person has “opposed any practices forbidden under this part.” To qualify for protection under this “opposition clause,” an employee must have opposed a practice that FEHA makes unlawful. The Court of Appeal decided that an employee’s action taken in opposition to an employer’s allegedly discriminatory conduct toward against members of the general public with disabilities does not qualify as protected activity, because actions towards the general public are not employment practices.

A panel of three federal judges this week found that Wisconsin’s legislature went too far in redrawing State Assembly district lines in 2011, creating an unconstitutional gerrymander.  Federal courts in the past have struck down gerrymanders for being racially motivated, but the ruling marks the first time such a ruling was based on unfair advantage given to one political party. According to the lawsuit, in the 2012 elections for the Assembly Wisconsin Republicans won 48.6 percent of the two-party vote, but took 61 percent of the Assembly’s 99 seats.

A new Illinois state law makes it clear; Schools can share their unused food with food banks or homeless shelters.

A Connecticut court has ruled that misrepresentations of costs were sufficient to allege violation under the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The Defendants were the exclusive distributors of the Plaintiff’s products in the United Kingdom and Ireland. Per their arrangement, the Plaintiff would ship products to the Defendants, and receive in return the net revenues from Defendants’ sales, minus expenses and commission. However, after the Plaintiff noticed that the warehousing and shipping costs claimed by the Defendants had increased over a two-year period, the parties agreed to set up separate accounts for those expenses. It was then the Plaintiff observed the costs suddenly reverted back to levels consistent with past charges. The Defendants argued that a misrepresentations of costs amounted to a mere breach of contract claim. The court agreed with the Plaintiff that the false representations the Defendants were alleged to have made regarding the storage and shipping costs were adequate to state a claim under the CUTPA.

A new law in California mandates that anyone selling a signed book for more than $5 must vouch for the autograph's authenticity.

Currently, five states prohibit the use and possession of stun guns.These states are Hawaii, Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, and Rhode Island. The District of Columbia also bans the use or possession of stun guns, as do various cities and counties throughout the United States.I llinois and Michigan require the stun gun owner to apply for a license before he or she can legally possess a stun gun. Wisconsin allows an owner to possess a stun gun while he or she is located on his or her own property, but a permit is required to carry a stun gun in public unless the stun gun is enclosed in a carrying case.

In a recent decision, the  U.S. Fifth Circuit of Appeals has ruled in favor of Markel American Insurance Company in a Director &Officer liability coverage dispute centering on the application of the policy’s “Creditor Exclusion.” That exclusion pertinently stated that the D&O policy did not cover “any Claim brought or maintained by or on behalf of . . . [a]ny creditor of [the insured company] in the creditor’s capacity as such[.]”The underlying case involved a claim brought by a bank syndicate that issued a credit facility loan agreement to a flower distributor, Color Star, which soon afterwards swent bankrupt and defaulted on its obligations under the credit facility loan. The banks filed suit against Color Star’s officers, alleging that they fraudulently induced the banks to issue the loans by misrepresenting the financial condition of their company. The court also found it “immaterial” that the banks were no longer asserting rights as creditors following the liquidation because the plain language of the Creditor Exclusion relied on the banks’ status at the time the claim was asserted.

The Illinois Supreme Court Has held that Illinois’”Snow and Ice Removal Act provides immunity to residential property owners from claims of liability for injuries allegedly caused by icy sidewalks that result from negligent snow and ice removal efforts, but it does not extend to immunize them from claims of liability for injuries allegedly caused by icy sidewalks that result from an otherwise negligent failure to maintain the premises."

Holocaust survivors and their descendants will likely have an easier time reclaiming art that the Nazis stole decades ago, thanks to a new law. The Holocaust Expropriated Art Recovery (HEAR) Act erodes some of the legal technicalities that art museums have used to hold on to Nazi-looted art when faced with claims.

The 1980s pop group Duran Duran has lost a court battle to reclaim the US rights to some of its biggest hits. The band, which had major successes with songs including The Reflex and Rio, was trying to terminate a contract they signed over three decades ago with music publishing company Gloucester Place, now owned by the US group Sony/ATV. They argued they were entitled to take back the rights to three of their best-selling albums and the title track to the James Bond movie A View To A Kill under US law, which automatically gives artists an “inalienable right” to claim back their copyright in the US after 35 years. However,  an English court has ruled in favour of Gloucester Place, saying English laws of contract prevented the band from reclaiming the rights. The judge said the language of the copyright agreements signed at the start of the 1980s “would have conveyed to a reasonable person having the relevant background knowledge that the parties’ intention was that the ‘entire copyrights’ in the compositions should vest, and remain vested, in the claimant (Gloucester Place) for the ‘full term’ of the copyrights.”

Washington State University and 26 other Washington public colleges and universities must begin using a more comprehensive adjudication process in cases where a student faces expulsion from school for violating rules of conduct, the state Court of Appeals has ruled. Only the University of Washington and 11 other Washington schools are giving students faced with expulsion a chance to fully defend themselves, the court found in its ruling.

The new Consumer Review Freedom Act, prohibits companies from having non-disparagement clauses in their contracts or terms of service, forbidding making negative comments about the company public. The Federal Trade Commission and the states can enforce the new law by taking legal action against companies that continue to use non-disparagement clauses.

The U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that student athletes were not employees under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) and thus were not entitled to minimum wage. Former student athletes at the University of Pennsylvania sued Penn, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (“NCAA”) and over 120 other colleges and universities that have Division I (the division that covers the largest schools) athletic programs, arguing that student athletes were employees entitled to the minimum wage. The court held that college athletes participate in these programs for reasons wholly unrelated to immediate compensation and without any expectation of earning an income. Viewing student athletes as employees also would undermine what the court recognized as a “revered tradition of amateurism in college sports.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit recently affirmed the Southern District of New York’s order on summary judgment that My Other Bag’s canvas tote bags do not dilute or infringe Louis Vuitton’s trademarks for its luxury handbags. Instead, the court ruled, inexpensive canvas tote bags are a parody and unlikely to mislead purchasers into thinking that Louis Vuitton sponsors or otherwise approves of the My Other Bag totes. The founder chose the “My Other Bag” moniker to evoke the well-known bumper stickers that drivers of inexpensive cars place on their bumpers that jokingly state “my other car is a Mercedes” or another luxury car. Louis Vuitton was not amused and filed suit in 2014 claiming that the inexpensive totes were diluting its famous mark, and infringing its trademarks and copyrights.

The California Supreme Court has ruled that state law prohibits on-duty and on-call rest periods. It stated that employers must (1) relieve their employees of all duties during rest periods and (2) relinquish any control over how employees spend their break time.