Clients and Friends, On March 18, Congress passed the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (the “FFCRA”), and the President signed it into law. It will become effective on April 2. FFCRA significantly impacts businesses and your employees. To help our clients and broader network of business owners and advisors navigate the law, we have prepared the attached summary of many of the pertinent provisions of FFCRA. As you review our summary, please keep in mind that the legal landscape is shifting almost literally hour-by-hour, and new federal legislation is expected in the immediate future. We wish you and your loved ones good health and safety as we navigate these uncharted waters together.
Seasoned litigator and business lawyer Michael Lentz has joined Lawrence Law, a boutique business law firm focused on solving legal issues for businesses and businesspeople.
When attorney Greg Lawrence decided to leave the Baltimore firm where he'd worked for 14 years to create his own practice, it dawned on him that he knew the perfect person to be his next law partner: his sister Kate Lawrence. On Nov. 1, the two siblings will-move into their new offices in the B&O Warehouse next to Camden Yards, where they will run Lawrence Law, the firm that Kate previously operated on her own. Greg will leave Conti Fenn & Lawrence LLC the same day.
The Wall Street Journal, August 19, 2016: In Rare Ruling, SEC Throws Out Own Short-Selling Fraud Case
The Securities and Exchange Commission threw out a case against a Maryland banker, in a rare break with its enforcement staff and one of its in-house judges who had found the banker liable for a short-selling fraud.
Reversing a ruling by one of its own judges, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has cleared a Pikesville man of charges he participated in a short-selling scheme with the online brokerage optionsXpress.In an administrative case brought in 2012 by the SEC’s enforcement division, a judge ruled in 2013 that Jonathan Feldman, a former senior vice president at Eastern Savings Bank, violated SEC rules and committed fraud by engaging in so-called “abusive naked” short-selling. The SEC accused optionsXpress, now owned by Charles Schwab, of helping him sell shares of stock he did not borrow first and had no intention of closing out as required under SEC rules.But after reviewing the judge’s ruling, the commission determined that the SEC’s division of enforcement had not met its burden in proving the case against Feldman. In an opinion issued Aug. 18, the commission said the case lacked evidence that Feldman intended to defraud, mislead or manipulate prices with his investment strategy, and that he did not violate rules regulating naked short selling.
Daily Record Legal Affairs, August 19, 2016: SEC vacates securities fraud violations levied against Pikesville man
The Securities and Exchange Commission has dismissed fraud charges against a Pikesville man three years after an administrative law judge ruled his trading strategy was illegal.The commission found Thursday there was insufficient evidence that Jonathan Feldman broke any laws when he engaged in a short-selling practice through the brokerage firm he used, optionsXpress.
For the third year in a row, Benchmark Litigation designated Conti Fenn & Lawrence LLC partner Greg Lawrence as “Local Litigation Star (2016) – Maryland.”Benchmark Litigation is a guide to leading litigation firms and attorneys across America, and it has published its rankings since 2007. Benchmark compiles its rankings based on interviews, evaluation of outstanding case results, and feedback from clients and peers. More information on Benchmark Litigation can be found at www.benchmarklitigation.com.
Conti Fenn & Lawrence is a law firm created by three experienced litigators who had previously practiced at large law firms: Anthony Conti, who established The Law Firm Conti in 2002 after spending several years at DLA Piper; Paul Fenn, who joined Conti as a partner in 2004 after several years at DLA Piper as well; and Gregory Lawrence, who joined as a partner in 2005 after spending six years as senior counsel in the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Division of Enforcement and two years as a litigator at Saul Ewing LLP.
UBS AG has been ordered to pay 10 times the amount a Maryland marketer of cellphones originally invested in auction-rate securities, in another sign of the reckoning still dogging Wall Street for its role in investor losses during the meltdown.UBS was ordered to reimburse Kajeet Inc., which markets cellphones for kids, $80.8 million for damage to its business when Kajeet’s cash was frozen in auction-rate securities in early 2008. Kajeet had invested only $8 million in the securities through UBS, according to people familiar with the case.
A judge in Baltimore has thrown out the shareholder derivative claims in a $79 million-plus lawsuit against several directors and officers of Telos Corp., an information technology contractor for the military.Telos convinced the court that its Special Litigation Committee, made up of two disinterested directors advised by outside counsel, acted reasonably when it concluded that the suit was not in the company’s best interest.An attorney for plaintiff Costa Brava III L.P., a Boston-based hedge fund, said it plans to pursue the last two counts in the lawsuit, which seek to dissolve the corporation or put it into receivership.“The court did not say our claims did not have merit,” said the attorney, Harry Levy, of Shumaker & Williams in Towson. “It said that the Special Litigation Committee could reasonably reach the conclusion it did.”
Showing it is making good on a promise six months ago to crack down on spam intended to take advantage of unsuspecting investors, the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday suspended trading in three stocks it said were “susceptible” to e-mail promotion schemes.The stocks, all listed on the Pink Sheets market, were Alliance Transcription Services, Prime Petroleum Group and T.W. Christian. Each displayed traits making them likely candidates for spam campaigns, says John Reed Stark, chief of the SEC’s Office of Internet Enforcement.Financial spam campaigns are classic pump-and-dump operations. The perpetrators buy a stock, spread false promotional information about it in unsolicited e-mails in an attempt to boost the price, then sell into any resulting rally.
Former U.S. Foodservice Chief Financial Officer Michael J. Resnick, who faces criminal charges related to U.S. Food’s 2003 accounting scandal, is suing his former employer for bonuses, vacation pay and other benefits he says are owed him.Resnick claims Columbia’s U.S. Foodservice violated a May 2003 severance agreement.In the lawsuit, Resnick claims that after the fraud was discovered, Anders Moberg, head of U.S. Foodservice parent Ahold, told him Ahold would hire a new U.S. Foodservice CFO. Moberg told Resnick that he would be transferred to a senior operations position with U.S. Foodservice in the western United States because of his good work for the company, the suit says.But soon after, U.S. Foodservice told Resnick it had decided to terminate his employment instead of transferring him, the suit claims. U.S. Foodservice allegedly agreed to pay Resnick’s salary through September 2003, pay him any bonuses he was entitled to for 2002 and 2003 and give him other benefits including four weeks’ vacation pay. Resnick agreed to resign as CFO, according to the suit.
Federal regulators may have intensified their probe of ChoicePoint Inc., the data broker under fire for disclosing sensitive information about at least 150,000 people to scam artists.On Monday, Alpharetta, Ga.-based ChoicePoint said in a quarterly filing that it had been notified that the Securities and Exchange Commission was conducting “an investigation” related to the unintended disclosures as well as stock sales by top executives.In its quarterly filing to shareholders three months earlier, the company said it had been contacted as part of an “informal inquiry” by the agency.Although that might appear to be a trivial change in wording, former SEC attorneys and other experts said it probably signaled an upgrade to a formal investigation authorized by the SEC commissioners.
In 1997, a young law student named Gregory Todd Lawrence concluded in a 35,000-word analysis that faulty legwork by a state court had plunged a Maryland insurance case into the “dreaded Serbonian bog.The poetic flourish, immortalized in Milton’s “Paradise Lost,” describes a legendary Egyptian marshland “where armies whole have sunk.”Now the challenge facing Lawrence is to avoid slipping into just such a swamp — and perhaps taking AOL Time Warner Inc.‘s legion of shareholders down with him.