Miscellaneous

LGBT flag waving

Employment Law: Title VII Protects LGBTs From Discrimination, Says 7th Circuit

In a ground-breaking ruling this week, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ruled in an en banc opinion that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation.  In Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, the plaintiff was fired from her teaching …

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Splitting Headaches for Slack-Fill Plaintiffs

“Take two Advil® and don’t call me in the morning.” That might be the “prescription” that lawyers at a New York plaintiffs’ firm gave to their clients after reviewing an October 18, 2016, decision by Senior District Court Judge Sterling Johnson, Jr. dismissing a nationwide slack-fill class action lawsuit brought in federal court in Brooklyn.   Slack-fill …

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CPSC Enforcement Action Against Michaels Highlights Importance of Proper Reporting

By Elliot Belilos The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recently filed an action in federal court against Michaels Stores, Inc., seeking civil penalties for allegedly untimely reporting injuries from a vase sold in the stores and, notably, for allegedly falsely reporting the incidents as a retailer rather than as the manufacturer of the product.  According …

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Don’t Rush the Holiday Preparations – Make Certain the Meat is Properly Cooked

Getting ready for holiday “get togethers”, one often finds themselves in a rush or behind on preparing the food for the party.  Don’t let tardiness be the reason the party attendees end up with a case of foodborne illness.  Don’t rush cooking of product; I am certain the guests would rather wait a few minutes …

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Big Data and Your Privacy

Note: John authors a regular column in Farm Journal magazine, the most widely-circulated farm publication in the United States. Agriculture is officially entering the era of big data. Prescriptive planting relies on historical weather trends and satellite mapping coupled with soil sampling, yield monitoring and soon whatever a drone can glean from flying over a …

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John Block Reports: FDA’s New Nutrition Label—Proposal to Demonize Sugar

OFW Law founding principal Richard L. Frank fills in for former USDA Secretary John R. Block on John Block Reports. Several weeks [ago], the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued its first major proposal in 20 years to amend the Nutrition Facts panel. The anticipated price tag – a whopping 2 billion dollars. There are two major changes – …

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John Block Reports: FDA 2014 – Busy Busy Busy

OFW Law founding principal Richard L. Frank fills in for former USDA Secretary John R. Block on John Block Reports. While often the subject of criticism for delay or inaction on important regulatory matters, FDA has been busy, busy, busy as we start 2014.  With Barack Obama no longer running for President and a dysfunctional Congress unable to  influence …

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John Block Reports: How Lucky We Are

OFW Law founding principal Richard L. Frank fills in for former USDA Secretary John R. Block on John Block Reports. August in Washington, D.C. – 100 degrees, 100 percent humidity…and I’m still grateful to be here. Have you seen the headlines lately? Syria: “100,000 dead; 2.5 million displaced; chemical weapons used against their own population.” Egypt: “Military takeover; Civil …

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Supreme Court Draws the Line on Genes and Patentability

The discovery and isolation of a naturally-occurring gene is not eligible for patent protection.  Such was the holding issued by the U.S. Supreme Court in a unanimous opinion in Association for Molecular Pathology v. Myriad Genetics, Inc.  While the Court’s decision has drawn both praise and ire from different pockets of the biotech community, the …

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John Block Reports: Bowman v. Monsanto—The Decision

OFW Law founding principal Richard L. Frank fills in for former USDA Secretary John R. Block on John Block Reports. In a remarkable 9-0 decision, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Vernon  Bowman, an Indiana soybean farmer, violated Monsanto’s patents by planting “bin-run”  commodity beans purchased from a grain elevator. Because 94% of soy beans planted in Indiana  …

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“Alcohol Facts” Becomes a Reality: FTC Requires Four Loko To Label Its Product

Nutrition Facts, Supplement Facts, Drug Facts…… Alcohol Facts?  For a number of years, alcoholic beverages have been the only category of consumable product that does not bear basic product information in a consumer-friendly form.  Conventional foods have Nutrition Facts; dietary supplements have Supplement Facts; and OTC drugs have Drug Facts.  But, alcoholic beverages have…. mystery. …

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John Block Reports: FDA – Coming to a Farm Near You

OFW Law founding principal Richard L. Frank fills in for former USDA Secretary John R. Block on John Block Reports. Just last week, marking the second anniversary of Congress’s passage of the Food Safety Modernization Act, FDA proposed comprehensive regulations for the growing, harvesting, packing, and holding of produce. FDA acknowledged this is the first effort by the agency …

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New CDC Study of Calories from Alcohol Supports Alcohol Beverage Label Reform

Alcohol accounts for a large portion of the daily calories consumed by many American adults, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) study concludes. The study found 19 percent of men and 6 percent of women take in more than 300 calories daily from alcoholic drinks. “I think people may be aware that …

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John Block Reports: California’s Preposterous Prop 37

OFW Law founding principal Richard L. Frank fills in for former USDA Secretary John R. Block on John Block Reports. On Election Day, California voters will decide on another food labeling ballot initiative, one that is being watched intently by the food industry. If it passes, the California Right to Know Genetically Engineered Food Act, popularly known as Prop …

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John Block Reports: A Visit to St. Petersburg / Back in the USSR

OFW Law founding principal Richard L. Frank fills in for former USDA Secretary John R. Block on John Block Reports. We just returned from summer vacation to the Baltic, including St. Petersburg, Russia. Mother Russia hasn’t really changed all that much since the Soviet days. There are beautiful palaces, exquisite waterways, and art treasures galore. There are security cameras …

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John Block Reports: Tabloid Journalism – ABC News Slimes Lean Beef

OFW Law founding principal Richard L. Frank fills in for former USDA Secretary John R. Block on John Block Reports. Reaching new lows in broadcast television journalism, ABC News several weeks ago ran an investigative report unfairly and inaccurately disparaging a safe and wholesome lean beef product by repeatedly referring to it as “pink slime.” They sent out their …

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John Block Reports: The Case for Obama

OFW Law founding principal Richard L. Frank fills in for former USDA Secretary John R. Block on John Block Reports. Remember, I’m Jack’s moderate Democrat colleague. We support the same priorities – a healthy and prosperous agricultural sector. With the Presidential election beginning to heat up, I thought I would lay out the case for why President Barack Obama …

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John Block Reports: Holiday in Europe – Food Safety Gets Personal

OFW Law founding principal Richard L. Frank fills in for former USDA Secretary John R. Block on John Block Reports. Over the past 35 years, I have acted as food safety counsel to a wide array of agriculture interests in the United States including producers, processors, distributors and retailers. The concepts of food poisoning and food borne illness were …

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John Block Reports: Don’t Cut the FDA Budget

OFW Law founding principal Richard L. Frank fills in for former USDA Secretary John R. Block on John Block Reports. Recently, Congress enacted new laws to bolster food safety and to require calorie labeling for restaurant foods. Both of these laws had broad industry and consumer support. Now, Congress is debating FDA’s budget for 2012 and some in the …

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John Block Reports: Food Safety Legislation Enhances Already Safe Food Supply

OFW Law founding principal Richard L. Frank fills in for former USDA Secretary John R. Block on John Block Reports. Last week the President signed the Food Safety Modernization Act. It was passed by a united lame-duck Congress in the waning days of 2010. The new food safety law enhances FDA’s authority to make an already safe food supply …

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John Block Reports: Time for Leadership

OFW Law founding principal Richard L. Frank sits in with former USDA Secretary John R. Block on John Block Reports. The election is now over. Yes, Republicans have made significant gains, reclaiming the House and gaining a virtual tie in the Senate. Nancy Pelosi is out and John Boehner is in. Harry Reid’s already weakened authority has been further diminished and …

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