Business and Corporate Law

Whistling Past the Pandemic: The Increasing Trend of Whistleblower Reports during COVID-19

Whistling Past the Pandemic: The Increasing Trend of Whistleblower Reports during COVID-19

One of the collateral impacts of employee anxiety due to COVID-19 has been an increase in whistleblower reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). According to Steven Peikin, Co-Director of the Division of Enforcement, the SEC received 35% more tips, complaints and referrals for investigation between mid-March and early May 2020 than during the […]

Well, Actually, Everyone Has Questions About IP: The Difference Between Trademarks, Copyrights, and Patents

Nobody likes a ‘well, actually.’ Obviously, I don’t interrupt strangers when they’re having a nice time, but I sure would like to.  I once overheard a man at a cocktail party say, “I really should trademark my songs.” Well, actually, you need to copyright those.  I also overheard someone else comment on how much she […]

COVID-19 and Social Justice on Non Profit Corporate Governance

Potential Impact of COVID-19 and Social Justice Issues on Non-Profit Corporate Governance

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the resurgence of social justice movements are likely to have lasting repercussions on how non-profit entities approach corporate governance. The very-intense national conversations about the following issues should cause non-profit boards of directors to expect certain traditional governance practices to change in response to the lessons and experiences gained […]

PPP Loan Program and Certification Guidance

PPP Loan Program: Am I in Trouble? What the New Certification Guidance Means for You *********Update 5/06/2020*********

Information regarding PPP loans are constantly changing. New updates are highlighted in red. Last week, an additional $310 billion in funding was approved for the Paycheck Protection Program. Given that the initial $349 billion was used within weeks, it’s likely the second tranche will go quickly as well. Meanwhile, though SBA updates its Frequently Asked […]

Wanna Be An Influencer? A Legal Guide to Social Media

With some of the top influencers reportedly making $250,000 for a single Instagram post, snapping selfies has become a career. Since the emergence of social media platforms, companies have been using influencers as a tool in their marketing and advertising strategies. In response to the growing prevalence of influencer marketing, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) […]

Hemp and CBD legal obstacles

The Legal Obstacles of Hemp and CBD Retail Sale in Texas

Texas has legalized hemp and cannabidiol oils (CBD) this year by passing House Bill 1325 (Texas Hemp Bill). However, the new legislation is not a blanket legalization of hemp products.  For example, the bill outlaws all hemp products designed for smoking.  The Texas Hemp Bill classifies CBD as a consumable hemp product, making it a […]

Five Key Internal Investigation Considerations

Internal investigations are used by companies to learn the facts, identify legal and compliance issues, and resolve concerns across a number of areas, ranging from employment practices to health and safety to financial reporting.  When a company determines to conduct an internal investigation, thinking through these five key issues will help assure a thorough and […]

Data Breach? Your Obligations under the Texas Identity Theft Enforcement and Protection Act

For any business – big or small – customer confidence is critical for success in today’s competitive marketplace.  But in the event your company’s security is breached and consumer information is stolen, you may have a legal obligation to notify your customers.  Admitting a data breach can be embarrassing, but failure to comply with the […]

Farrow-Gillespie Heath Witter

The CCPA: California’s Follow-up to the GDPR

Following the enactment of the European Union’s GDPR, California has passed the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA) that will go into effect January 1, 2020. The CCPA is intended to protect California residents’ personal information, which is defined as any information that identifies, relates to, describes, is capable of being associated with, or […]

The IRS’s Trust Fund Recovery Penalty: A Perilous Trap for the Unwary

Under the Internal Revenue Code (the “IRC”), employers must withhold certain taxes from employee pay.  These monies are referred to as “trust fund taxes” because they are held in trust on behalf of the government, and employers must turn these withheld amounts over to the government on a regular basis. For various reasons, employers sometimes […]

How the EU’s New Privacy Law Affects You

The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) is the European Union’s (EU) new privacy law set to go into effect on May 25, 2018. For the EU’s single market countries, the GDPR establishes protection for the privacy and security of an individuals’ personal data. However, because of extraterritorial jurisdiction, United […]

Investment | Farrow-Gillespie & Heath

Uncertainty Continues Around “Fiduciary Rule” Protections for Retirement Investors

The last 40 years have seen a marked change in retirement benefits, with fewer employer-sponsored defined benefit plans, more defined contribution plans (including 401(k) plans and Simplified Employee Pension (SEP) plans), and a proliferation of individual retirement accounts (IRA).  These changes have raised questions among regulators about the protections available to employees who are now […]

Two Major Developments for Employers

Employment law has seen two recent major developments that affect employers.  The first involves nondisclosure limitations in sexual harassment settlements.  The second rewards employers who conduct internal wage and hour audits. Recent Development #1: New Tax Law Nondislosure Limitations One of an employer’s primary motivations in resolving an employment claim is to obtain the employee’s promise […]

The 5 Most Important Decisions in a Physician Employment Agreement

    Over the years, physician employment agreements have become very standardized. However, there are several provisions in such agreements that the to-be-employed physician must review carefully with his/her attorney.  The following is a brief summary of what I consider to be the 5 most important provisions for a physician to understand and negotiate with […]

Luxury Property | Yacht | SPE | Special Purpose Entities

Luxury Property Special Purpose Entities

Portions of this article were originally printed in Dallas Bar Association Headnotes, December 2017. When it comes to luxury property, such as beach houses, lake houses, ski condos, hunting leases, aircraft, watercraft, limousines, and the like, two rules almost always apply:  First, they are expensive to own and operate.  Second, they tend to sit dormant […]

What you need to know about copyrights

Most people have heard the word “copyright” or at least have seen the symbol “©” – but what exactly is a copyright? Overview of Copyrights A copyright protects an original work of authorship that is fixed in a tangible form of expression or medium, including literary, dramatic, musical, and artistic works. Copyrighted materials may include […]

Health Law | Farrow-Gillespie & Heath LLP | Dallas, Texas

$2.5M settlement shows that not understanding HIPAA requirements creates financial risk

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), recently announced a Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) settlement based on the impermissible disclosure of unsecured electronic protected health information (ePHI).  In 2012, CardioNet, a company that remotely monitors patients at risk for cardiac arrhythmias, reported to the HHS Office […]

Puttering on about drones

Subsequent to the posting of this article, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, in a case styled John A. Taylor v. Michael P. Huerta and the Federal Aviation Administration vacated the requirement that drones flown for recreational purposes must be registered with the FAA. Therefore, the new requirements referenced in the […]

Mary O'Connor | Farrow-Gillespie & Heath LLP | Dallas, TX

The SEC’s reach may be longer than you think

Privately-owned businesses and individuals can be surprised to receive a subpoena from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission requiring them to produce extensive documents or give testimony. What does the SEC do, and how does it touch on private companies and private individuals? The Role of the SEC in Enforcing Securities Laws By its own […]

A big phish is in the water – BEC

That flowery email from a Nigerian Prince who can’t spell has been supplanted by a far more dangerous phish — the Business Email Compromise (“BEC”). According to the FBI, in the past two years over 8,000 businesses, small and large, have been victimized by BEC attacks for combined losses of over $1.2 billion. What is […]

It’s time to make your 663(b) trust and estate distributions!

Trusts and estates often pay more tax than individuals in like circumstances.  This is not because they are taxed at higher rates, but rather because the same rates applicable to individuals are “compressed,” meaning that each marginal rate increase happens at a lower level of income than it does for individuals.  For example, the highest […]

Fooling Mother Nature requires a Texas license

By Maria Folkerth July 27, 2016 Maria Folkerth is a summer intern at Farrow-Gillespie & Heath. She will begin classes at the University of Arkansas in the fall. Section 301.11 of the Texas Agricultural Code provides that a person must have a license and fill out an application for a permit to modify the weather. Cloud […]