Of Interest: Fantasy Sports Legalization, Tax Reform, Kaye v. Cartoon Network

Members of the Sports & Entertainment Law Section found the following recent third-party articles to be of potential interest to the Section.

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The Kissing Defense: Professional Athletes, Drugs and the ‘No Fault/No Significant Fault’ Tests in Arbitration

By Martin Maloney

Arbitration and Reducing a Suspension Under the No Fault/No Significant Fault Tests

In 2014, Major League Baseball (“MLB”) and the MLB Players Association (the “MLBPA”) agreed to a joint drug prevention program aimed at strengthening the detection and enforcement against players’ use of prohibited recreational and performance-enhancing drugs (“PEDs”).[1] As part of the agreement, MLB incorporated a “no fault/no significant fault” tests, whereby an arbitration panel may vacate a player’s mandatory suspension for testing positive to the use of banned substances if the player can demonstrate that “the presence of the Prohibited Substance in his test result was not due to his fault or negligence,” or reduce the length of the suspension if the player can provide “clear and convincing evidence that he bears no significant fault or negligence.”[2] For instance, Raul Mondesi Jr.’s eighty-game suspension for a first time violation of MLB’s drug policy in 2016 was reduced to fifty-games after Mondesi was able to demonstrate that his positive test of a banned substance was inadvertent and the result of taking an over-the-counter cold and flu medicine he had bought while in the Dominican Republic.[3]

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House Bill 707: What’s New With Lien Agents?

By Nan Hannah

In late June 2017, the North Carolina General Assembly passed legislation revising the Lien Agent statutes. Because these changes involve upgrades and changes to the www.LiensNC.com website, the effective date for the new law is October 1, 2018.  So, what’s new?

44A-11.1(f) now provides for a designated lien agent to accept renewals and cancellations of Notices to Lien Agents.  What should catch your attention is the fact the original statute did not provide for either renewal or cancellation of such notices.

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Secretary of State News Flash: Big Changes to Business Annual Report Laws

During the 2017 long session, the General Assembly enacted laws making two major changes to business Annual Reports filed with the Secretary of State (SOS). The short version is that effective on January 1, 2018:

  • ALL corporate Annual Reports must now be filed directly with the Secretary of State’s office, and
  • Annual Report forms will be changed to include voluntary reporting of small business ownership by veterans and service-disabled veterans.

For a more in-depth explanation of these big changes, please continue reading below. Thank you to Ann B. Wall, Secretary of State’s General Counsel, Cheri Myers, Business Registration Division Director, and Keith West, Annual Reports Supervisor, for their contributions. 

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Bart Goodson: N.C. House Speaker’s Chief of Staff on Serving the Public

By Skye David

“There is no greater challenge and no greater honor than to be in public service.”
                                                                                                                                                                            — Condoleezza Rice

The words of Condoleezza Rice ring true when speaking with the North Carolina House Speaker’s Chief of Staff Bart Goodson.  In a political environment that is seen as incredibly polarized, Goodson’s stabilizing demeanor and passion for the people of North Carolina is both noticeable and enviable.

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KORUS Renegotiation Update

By Patrick Togni

North Carolina maintains deep economic ties with the Republic of Korea. In fact, the State of North Carolina maintains a trade-facilitation office in Seoul that is designed “to support export activity” and “to facilitate foreign direct investment into North Carolina.” This article provides you with a primer on recent developments regarding the renegotiation of the U.S.-Korea Free Trade Agreement (KORUS). United States Trade Representative (USTR) Robert Lighthizer formally notified Korea in July that the U.S. requested a special Joint Committee meeting under KORUS to start the process of negotiating to remove barriers to U.S. trade and consider amendments to the agreement. USTR’s action was consistent with the Trump Administration’s stated objective of reducing the trade deficit. KORUS entered into force in March 2002 and, from 2011 to 2016, the U.S. trade deficit in goods with Korea more than doubled from $13.2 billion to $27.6 billion.

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Our Firm Let Insurance Providers Compete and Wound Up Saving 13% On Our 2018 Healthcare Costs

By Michael R. Epperson

Remember the good old days when healthcare benefits were provided at a premium level for a small additional cost to the employer?  Many of us have not been around long enough to enjoy that recollection!

Today, healthcare costs are a major line item in most law firms’ budgets and these costs are growing at an alarming rate, motivating firms to work hard to find ways to reduce rates.  Healthcare costs are also an important consideration for recruiting and hiring.  New employees are scrutinizing a firm’s offered healthcare benefits during their job decision-making process.  Let’s face it, most mid-size law firms pay attorneys and staff within a similar range.  So, many firms are trying to attract the same top talent, and those candidates take a careful look at not only salary, but also at other financial benefits of their employment such as the existence of a 401K, bonus potential, and, importantly, the cost to them of healthcare coverage.

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Paralegal Potpourri Friday

Happy Friday!  We hope you enjoyed our last edition of Potpourri Friday! Read on to find out what’s in this week’s edition!

Real Estate Paralegals Needed for Real Estate Section Project

The Real Property Section needs assistance in compiling data for all 100 counties across the state by those who handle real estate. The information will be collecting via spreadsheet and volunteers need only complete for the counties they are most familiar.

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Gov. Cooper’s Executive Order On LGBTQ Employment Rights: An Effective Mandate For State Agencies and Contractors Or a Toothless Tiger?

By Logan H. Shipman

On Oct. 18, 2017, Gov. Roy Cooper signed Executive Order No. 24, and he tweeted that North Carolina was taking “another step forward” in making North Carolina a more “welcoming place to all.”  The EO prohibits discrimination, harassment, or retaliation on the basis of any of the following protected classes:

race, color, ethnicity, national origin, age, disability, sex, pregnancy, religion, National Guard or veteran status, sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression.

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Managing Misclassification: What You Should Know About the Employee Fair Classification Act

By Rachel Hairr

The Employee Fair Classification Act (EFCA), adopted by the North Carolina General Assembly in August, goes into effect on December 31, 2017. Here’s what employers and employees need to know.

The EFCA’s Purpose

The EFCA was enacted to address the practice of misclassifying employees as “independent contractors,” an issue which gained state-wide, and later national, attention in 2014. By classifying workers as independent contractors, employers can avoid paying state and federal payroll taxes, unemployment taxes, and providing worker’s compensation insurance, which would be legally required if the worker were classified as an employee. The practice of misclassification is particularly rampant in such industries as the construction industry.

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