NEBRASKA PARALEGAL ASSOCIATION
VOLUME MMXVIII ISSUE 1
IN THIS ISSUE: From the President ..... 1 Save the Dates ............ 2 Relay for Life ............... 3 New Members ............. 5 District I News ............ 7 Spring Seminar............ 8 Getting to Know Your Officers .................10-11 Law Day..................... 12 A Review of 2017 Personal Jurisdiction Decisions .....................15-17 2018 New Years’ Resolution: Examine Your Sexual Harassment Training ................20-21
FROM THE PRESIDENT: BRIDGET STUHR, ACP Happy Spring Everyone!! I’d like to begin by saying THANKS SO MUCH for participating and supporting the Nebraska Paralegal Association!! We are so blessed to have such a wonderful group of members and it was great to see so many of you at Mahoney State Park for our Mid-Year Meeting and Spring Seminar. As I have said before and will say again, our strength lies in our numbers. It is truly encouraging to see our most experienced members as they interact and network with those newest to the membership, sharing stories, offering advice, and providing the promise of additional support and information. That is what being part of an association is all about. As we continue to be active in our association, we continue to grow as a group and as individuals. By coming together, we are given an opportunity to learn from and create bonds with one another, to exchange ideas and failures, so that we can improve ourselves and the association along the way. We can also strengthen our association and develop those relationships by volunteering to run for office or serve on the Board of Directors. I know elections and nominations are more than three months away, but this is the perfect time to start asking questions of the seasoned members to find out more about NePA and what it takes to be part of the leadership team. Our Board meetings are always open to all members, and with the next one coming up soon (June 5th), don’t be afraid to reach out to me or any other Board member if you’d like to attend. The Board meetings are a great way to learn about the on-goings of NePA, as we discuss the current issues and events, as well as plan for the future.
With more people involved in the committees and the Board, we have a better chance to represent the members and a bigger pool to disburse the tasks to. If you are not yet ready to run for office or chair a committee, simply express your interest to be a committee member. I challenge you to take the steps to become more familiar with NePA and help us grow. I promise, by becoming active in our association, not only will you experience personal growth, but you will gain a great group of friends as well. Please don’t shy away from the opportunity to be an even bigger part of this amazing organization and help us to continue to strengthen the Nebraska Paralegal Association.
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SAVE THE DATES June 5th - BOD Meeting (Whitmore Law Office, 5:30pm) June 27th - District I Luncheon (Johnathan Burlison presents A Paralegal’s Guide to Medicare) June 30th - Relay for Life (City Park, West Lincoln Street, Papillion from 5-10 pm) July 11-13th - NALA Convention (St. Louis) August 7th - BOD Meeting (Teri Gibbon’s Home, 5:30pm) August 8th - District II Luncheon (Johnathan Burlison presents A Paralegal’s Guide to Medicare) September 13-14th - Fall Seminar and Annual Meeting (Scott Conference Center, Omaha)
RELAY FOR LIFE June 30, 2018
October 24th- District I Luncheon (Scott Moore presents a Labor & Employment Legal Update) November 28th - District I Luncheon
Interested in Becoming an Officer? Elections aren’t until September, but if you’re interested in learning more about the different positions or what might be open, contact Bridget Stuhr at email@example.com or Amber Roberts at firstname.lastname@example.org. Positions to consider are: President Elect, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, NALA Liaison, District I Director, District II Director, Publications Editor, Website Administrator and Parliamentarian.
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RELAY FOR LIFE The American Cancer Society Sarpy County Relay for Life event will be held on June 30, 2018, from 5:00 to 10:00pm at the City Park, West Lincoln Street, in Papillion, NE. We need more team members, and we certainly need more donations from members, their friends, families, and co-workers. Our goal is to raise at least $2,000. You can simply contact me or go to the website 2018 Relay for Life of Sarpy County, find our team (“Legal Beagles”) or an individual team member, and register your online gift or purchase a luminary. No gift is too small and we have an anonymous donor who will donate $.50 for each $1 donated before the event up to $750! The money raised will be used to further cancer research and make medications, treatments, and other support programs available for those struggling with cancer in whatever form. We are selling raffle tickets for a great handmade shawl again this year (see picture below). Finally, I invite you to attend the event on June 30th if possible, whether you are on the team or not. You need not attend for the entire time and it is a wonderful and inspiring event! Thank you for your support of NePA and Relay for Life.
Teri Gibbons Captain – Legal Beagles Teri.Gibbons@koleyjessen.com
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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Quote
Do you like what youâ€™ve seen in this issue? Do you have questions or comments? Notice an error? Let us know at: email@example.com.
Publications Committee Members Shannon Persoma, Chair Jill Lorkovic Kimberly Brown, ACP Amber Roberts, ACP Kim Hansen Nicole Day, ACP
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Brett Baalhorn - Active Kristin Behounek - Active Cory Cardiff - Active Amy Eber - Active Stephanie Fosbinder - Active Tyson Girard - Active Gisella Munoz - Active Sarah Oâ€™Callaghan - Active Casey Ochs - Active Victoria Plum - Active Bridgett Sanne - Active Debbie Stoll - Active Sarah Williams - Active Neely Aldy - Student Monique Bailey - Student
Elizabeth Borer - Student Skylar Finch - Student Kelsey Jackson - Student Marquita Jones - Student Yesica Lara-Reyes - Student Linda Liske - Student Sabrina Montanez - Student Marilyn Pereyra - Student Emily Plambeck - Student Krystena Scott - Student Clarissa Shada - Student Sarah Simmons - Student Kendra Stachum - Student Nora Staudenmaier - Student Kelsey Van Patten - Student
Couldn’t do it without you! - Laurie B, Orlando Your team has been incredible so far and we couldn’t be any happier. - Lisa F, Tulsa You have provided above and beyond wonderful customer service...again. - Kristen F, Portland
Registered Agent Annual Representation Annual Report Management Specialty Agreement & Agency Representation Corporate Filing Services Document Retrieval UCC (State & Local) Filing Services Search Services Document Retrieval Real Estate Filings Client Access Portal
Basic service companies are a dime a dozen. We’re not simply a service company; we’re a service provider. One thing that we’re particularly proud of is our specialized service teams. Our client service representatives are trained on all of the ins and outs of their respective fields. This individualized skill set, which is paired with industry experience and delivered with top-notch service, can make the most complicated transactions look easy-breezy (and under-budget, to boot). This makes our clients, and their clients, very, very happy. When you’re ready for better service, we’re ready for you.
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DISTRICT I NEWS NePA's District I provided several fantastic speakers this year! In January, Ann Atkinson, retired Paralegal from Kutak Rock, presented 10 Essential Soft Skills for Paralegals. Ann's presentation covered those skills not taught during traditional schooling. Her Top 10 Essential Soft Skills include: communication and listening, enthusiasm and positive attitude, creative thinking and problem solving skills, flexibility and adaptability, conduct, accountability, details, calmness, confidence, and professionalism. In February, Lance Kotschwar, former Chief Ethics and Compliance Officer with Gavilon presented True Stories of a Former Washington Lobbyist. Lance described the positions he held while in Washington DC, his various duties for each, and interactions with many of the legislators and senators. He even shared the story of George Bush holding his son during a church service! Lance ended with approximately twenty minutes of great questions from the attendees. In March, Bryan Sloan and Brian Purcell of Koley Jessen provided a Tax Reform 2018 Update which described all the changes we can expect next year when we file our personal taxes as well as for our companies. It was very well received and the presenters were great. In May, Nicholas Lesiak of Koley Jessen presented It's 11:00pm – Do You Know Where Your Employees Are?: Chipping, Wearable Technology & BYOD. 1 hour of CLE was offered and we all got a wealth of knowledge especially related to policies we should have in place. The January luncheon included 44 members and 4 non-members; the February luncheon included 49 members and 6 non-members; the March luncheon included 31 members and 1 non-member; and the May luncheon included 23 members and 2 non-members. We appreciate the increased attendance at the luncheons and hope you are enjoying the speakers and CLE opportunities! Our surveys reflected the top reasons for attending were the presentation topic, speaker, and CLE opportunity. Most attendees were informed of the lunch through email; however, 6% learned through a co-worker. We appreciate the word of mouth advertising! We did receive constructive feedback with the lunch portion sizes (too much food), desire for a copy of the speaker's presentation, and name tags. We will work on these issues in the future. Thank you again for your attendance and your feedback! Please feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have any questions, concerns, suggestions, or additional feedback. Future Meetings: •
June 27, 2018 Jonathan Burlison of the Nebraska Department of Insurance Senior Health Insurance Information Program (SHIIP) will present A Paralegal’s Guide to Medicare.
October 24, 2018 Scott S. Moore of Baird Holm LLP will provide a Labor & Employment
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SPRING SEMINAR RECAP We had another great Spring Seminar at Mahoney State Park this year. Over 60 members, non-members and sponsors were in attendance. The day started with a light continental breakfast which led into a presentation from Rachel Meyer and Sarah Maresh, both associates at McGrath North Mullin & Kratz, PC LLO. It was on the “Ins and Outs of Being a Corporate Secretary.” I found it particularly interesting that pretty much anyone can be a corporate secretary and often times, a paralegal has the requisite knowledge and skills to operate in this capacity. It might be beneficial at your organizations to learn about this key function and make the case that you should be given the responsibilities. Our next presenter was Jason Linder, Biology Unit Manager at the Rachel Meyer Nebraska State Patrol. His session “Will the Real McCoy Please Stand Up?: Modern DNA Testing,” was an attendee favorite and there were many questions from the audience. His presentation was mostly from the criminal side of things. His humor turned what could have been a very boring science lesson into something really valuable. I was excited to hear about the technology changes that make this field better every year. Next on the agenda was the Mid-Year Membership Meeting. Our esteemed president, Bridget Stuhr, did a fantastic job of presiding over the meeting. Of particular note were amendments to the Bylaws which were approved. I’d encourage all members to take a look at the seminar packet as well as the updated Bylaws when they are published to the website. The Board of Directors will also update the Standing Rules to be consistent with the Bylaws. Included in that update will be changes to the qualifications for active membership to be in line with NALA’s requirements. Jason Linder
After the meeting, lunch was served. Mahoney provided a salad buffet and attendees got a chance to network and catch up with old friends as well as enjoy the beautiful weather. Our third presentation of the day was John Evans, VP of Digital Forensics at D4. Most of you are familiar with Sam DelSenno of D4 who attends many of the NePA events. Sam did a great job introducing John who presented on “Proving Your Case: Digital Forensics in 2018 and Beyond.” He also provided humor from the back of the room as he John Evans questioned John throughout the presentation to make sure attendees were getting a good view of all sides of the issues. Luke Holst, a patent attorney at McGrath North Mullin & Kratz, PC LLO, presented “My Meme is Better than Yours: Internet IP Considerations.” He used the Star Wars® franchise for examples of his points and was a very engaging speaker. I particularly liked how he used his real life experience working for the United States Patent and Trademark Office to offer great advice to attendees for navigating these tricky waters. He also provided valuable information for use in our personal lives as we share things on social media. Our final presenter of the day was Kara Stockdale, an associate at Baird Holm LLP. She presented “#MeToo: Harassment in the Workplace and Luke Holst Employer Liability.” The end of the presentation was particularly revealing as we went through recent cases regarding sexual harassment. It’s nearly impossible to believe what some employers/employees have experienced in this area! Kara Stockdale
All in all, this was another great seminar and I’m looking forward to the Annual Meeting and Fall Seminar scheduled for September 13 and 14, 2018 at the Scott Conference Center in Omaha.
A Paralegal's Guide to Medicare June 27, 2018
Speaker: Jonathan Burlison
Nebraska Department of Insurance
Cost: $12 Member $17 Non-Member Anthony's Steakhouse 7220 F, Street Omaha, NE 68127 11:00-11:30 Networking 11:30-12:30 Education & Lunch RSVP:Â http://www.nebraskaparalegal.org/ by June 22, 2018
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GETTING TO KNOW YOUR OFFICERS - CARYN REDDING What is your current position on the board? Treasurer How long have been on the NePA board? Off and on since October 1, 2012. Have you served on the Board in different positions? Yes, as the District 1 Director and Secretary. Do you work at a law firm, government or a business? Whitmore Law Office, LLC How long have you been a paralegal? Since 1993, 25 years. Why did you choose to become a paralegal? I accidentally fell into it. I was working as a legal secretary at the time and was researching requirements for attending the Denver Paralegal Institute for my sister who was interested in the profession. She did not qualify, but I did. I felt it was a chance to advance at the law firm I was working at. What was your experience like when attending college as a paralegal student? Since I already had 5 years of legal secretary experience, I felt I had a better foundation at the start than most of my classmates and that helped with my classwork. I loved it! What tasks or projects do you enjoy working on the most at your law firm? I like preparing the documents that are filed with the Court. I also like the fact that 25 years later, I still learn something new, not just the changing laws, but the different scenarios present with each client. What is a normal day as a paralegal like for you? Ha! I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a “normal” day. That said, I typically start the work day with reviewing emails and voice mails. Next, I get to work on whichever file is next in line or a “now” project. The fun part is being able to concentrate with the constant interruptions one has throughout the day, e.g. phone calls, computer issues, drop ins, questions from co-workers, conferences with attorney, and so-on. What advice would you give to new paralegals who want to reach a high level of success in the paralegal field? You are never too old to learn something, whether it is CLE or on the job. Get involved with NePA. I’ve met many friends and they are always willing to help. A couple “intangibles” are honesty, trustworthy, and leaving the “drama” out of the office. Attorneys really don’t want drama in the office.
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GETTING TO KNOW YOUR OFFICERS - SANDI ARMSTRONG Short introduction about you: I have been married to my husband Don for almost 36 years. I have three sons, Michael (Haley), Matthew and Marcus, and two grandsons, Caleb and Connor. I enjoy traveling with my husband and spending time with my family. I have been a member of NePA since at least 1999. What is your current position on the board? Vice President. How long have been on the NePA board? Since September 2014. Have you served on the Board in different positions? Yes. I was Vice President 2014-2015 and District 1 Director in 2016. Do you work at a law firm, government or a business? Law Firm â€“ Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O. How long have you been a paralegal? Since 1997. Why did you choose to become a paralegal? I started working as a secretary in a law office shortly after graduating from high school. I was encouraged by my employers, specifically Glenda Pierce, who helped develop the paralegal program at College of St. Mary and was an associate dean of UNLâ€™s College of Law. I like helping people and the step from being a legal secretary to paralegal just seemed like the right fit for me. What was your experience like when attending college as a paralegal student? That was a long time ago (started in 1996). Although I was working full time, had a husband who worked 10+ hours per day, and 3 young children, I was enrolled at MCC as a full-time student and took classes in the evenings, on weekends and by telecourse. It was a great experience and I met a lot of very fun and dedicated teachers and students, some of whom I am still in contact with. What tasks or projects do you enjoy working on the most at your law firm? I like pretty much every aspect of my job. I like organizing documents, speaking with clients, interviewing witnesses, documenting/photographing accident scenes and drafting correspondence and pleadings. What is a normal day as a paralegal like for you? Every day is something new. I draft correspondence to clients, defendants and opposing counsel, draft pleadings and documents, speak with clients, opposing counsel, witnesses, court personnel and healthcare providers, etc. I perform research and review court rules and procedures. I help prepare cases for mediation or trial. I prepare and organize documents to be produced in discovery and/or used as exhibits in depositions, mediations and trials. What advice would you give to new paralegals who want to reach a high level of success in the paralegal field? Be prepared and willing to put in long hours. Never stop learning. Pay attention to detail and listen. Do what is right.
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LAW DAY Congratulations to Ellie Melton of Gretna Elementary School who took First Place in the Poster Contest! Law Day is held on May 1 every year to celebrate the role of law in our society and to cultivate a deeper understanding of the legal profession. The 2018 Law Day theme, Separation of Powers: Framework for Freedom, enables us to reflect on the separation of powers as fundamental to our constitutional purpose and to consider how our governmental system is working for us and our posterity. This yearâ€™s Guest Speaker was The Honorable William Jay Riley. Events leading up to Law Day: 1) Mock Trial which has members of the OBA, Omaha Public Schools and actors from the Rose Theatre using fairytales to demonstrate the judicial world to students. 2) Lawyers in the Classroom which has over 40 attorneys in the Omaha area visit classrooms of more than 1200 4th, 5th and 6th grade students. 3) Law Day Poster Contest which is open to 5th graders in Omaha area schools and is judged by NePA. This year we had close to 130 entries. The winning poster (shown below) is displayed on a billboard on the south side of Dodge Street at approximately 78th Street.
4) Law Day Essay Contest which is open to 8th graders in Omaha area schools and is judged by the Omaha Legal Professionals Association.
NEBRASKA. THEREâ€™S NO BETTER PLACE TO THRIVE
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1331 Capitol Ave | Omaha, NE 68106 | T 402.889.4000
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VOLUME MMXVIII, ISSUE 1
A Review of 2017 Personal Jurisdiction Decisions In 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court in cases such as BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell, 137 S.Ct 1549 (2017), and Bristol-Myers
Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California,
137 S. Ct. 1773 (2017) continued the trend that began in Goodyear and Daimler and reaffirmed its limits on personal jurisdiction for corporate defendants. Lower courts have followed suit, emphasizing that constitutional limits on state courts exercising jurisdiction over out-ofstate defendants must be respected. For businesses that find themselves sued outside of their home state or in states considered to be more plaintiff-friendly, these limitations are critical and underscore the importance of preserving jurisdictional challenges, especially when facing plaintiffs from states across the nation. Challenges to personal jurisdiction may generally be preserved through a motion to dismiss or in the answer. Proceed with caution, however, because in jurisdictions such as Illinois, an affirmative defense in an answer is not sufficient to preserve a personal jurisdiction defense.
Notable U.S. Supreme Court Decisions BNSF Railway Co. v. Tyrrell In BNSF, despite the fact that BNSF was neither incorporated in Montana nor had its principal place of busi-
ness in the state, two employees that were injured out of state attempted to bring suit against BNSF in Montana on the basis that the railroad was “doing business” in the state by maintaining approximately five percent of its work force and six percent of its total track mileage in the state. The U.S. Supreme Court reaffirmed its prior holding in Daimler and made clear that if a defendant is neither incorporated in a state nor has its principal place of business there, general jurisdiction will not be appropriate except in “exceptional cases” where the defendant has contacts “so substantial and of such a nature” that the defendant is “at home” in the state. See our full coverage on this issue here.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court of California In Bristol-Myers Squibb, the U.S. Supreme Court turned its attention to specific personal jurisdiction, holding that under the Fourteenth Amendment due-process clause, each plaintiff in a multi-plaintiff case must establish personal jurisdiction over a defendant for his or her individual claim. Here, a group of plaintiffs most from outside of California - sued a pharmaceutical company in California state court alleging that the company’s medication had harmed them. Bristol-Myers Squibb (“BMS”) is not incorporated in California and California is not its principal place of business, even though it engages in significant business in California. None of the marketing strategy or regulatory compliance work for the drug at issue was done in California and BMS had not developed, manufactured, labeled, or shipped the drug from California. Most importantly, the out of state plaintiffs had not purchased the drug from California sources nor alleged that they were injured in California. Consequently, the U.S. Supreme Court held that the state court lacked specific jurisdiction over the out of state individuals whose injuries had no connection with the forum state. See our full coverage on this issue here.
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A Review of 2017 Personal Jurisdiction Decisions Continued Notable Lower & State Court Decisions
Illinois and Missouri courts had several key decisions on personal jurisdiction issues this year. Eastern District of Missouri
Siegfried v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharm., Inc. & Jordan v. Bayer Corp. In two very similar cases, Siegfried v. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharm., Inc., 2017 WL 2778107 (E.D. Mo. Jun. 27, 2017) and Jordan v. Bayer Corp., 2017 WL 3006993 (E.D. Mo. Jul. 14, 2017) ninety-four plaintiffs, only a handful of which were residents of Missouri, filed complaints alleging injuries allegedly sustained from drugs and devices manufactured by the defendants. Plaintiffs alleged that the courts had specific jurisdiction over all defendants because the same conduct that gave rise to the cause of action as a whole and defendants’ contacts with Missouri constituted part of the same series of transactions for all plaintiffs. Critically, however, none of the non-Missouri plaintiffs acquired the drugs or devices in Missouri or allege to have suffered injuries in Missouri. Relying on Bristol-Myers Squibb, both courts concluded that they lacked personal jurisdiction over the nonresident plaintiffs and granted defendants’ motion to dismiss. Missouri
State ex rel. Norfolk Southern Ry. v. Dolan In State ex rel. Norfolk Southern Ry. v. Dolan, the Missouri Supreme Court, relying on Daimler, held that
Missouri had neither general nor specific personal jurisdiction over Norfolk Southern. Plaintiff alleged that he had sustained injuries while working for Norfolk Southern in Indiana. His claim had no connection to Missouri other than that the railroad operated trains in Missouri and was registered to do business there. Plaintiff first attempted to argue that Missouri had specific jurisdiction over his claims because his injuries arose from the railroad’s operation of its business in Indiana and it engaged in the same type of conduct in Missouri. The court, recognizing that this would subject a national corporation to litigation anywhere in the country, rejected the argument. Plaintiff argued in the alternative that Missouri had general jurisdiction over Norfolk Southern because the railway had continuous and systematic contacts with Missouri by virtue of its 400 miles of track in the state. The court also rejected this argument as inconsistent with Daimler because Norfolk Southern was not incorporated in Missouri and did not have its principal place of business in the state. Moreover, with only two percent of its track in and two percent of its revenue coming from Missouri, Norfolk Southern could not be said to be “at home” in the jurisdiction. The court also rejected plaintiff’s argument that the railway had consented to jurisdiction by registering to do business in the state. See our full coverage on this case here.
Estate of Fox v. Johnson & Johnson
In October, the Missouri Court of Appeals in Estate of Fox v. Johnson & Johnson, 2017 WL 4629383 (Mo. Ct. App. Oct. 17, 2017) applied Bristol-Myers Squibb to vacate a $72 million judgment against Johnson & Johnson based on the fact that Missouri lacked personal jurisdiction over the out-of-state plaintiff whose injury did not arise from Johnson & Johnson’s activities in Missouri. See our full coverage on this case here.
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A Review of 2017 Personal Jurisdiction Decisions Continued
M.M. ex rel. Meyers v. GlaxoSmithKline LLC In M.M. ex rel. Meyers v. GlaxoSmithKline LLC, 2016 IL App (1st) 151909, an appellate court in Illinois con-
firmed the right of state courts to regulate the conduct of pharmaceutical manufacturers who perform clinical trials in the state. The Illinois court rejected GlaxoSmithKline’s (“GSK”) argument that specific jurisdiction in Illinois was improper because GSK conducted clinical trials on the drug at issue in over 40 other states as well. It held that whether a manufacturer’s in-state contacts are meaningful for purposes of specific personal jurisdiction “depends entirely on their relation to the Plaintiffs’ causes of action, and not at all on the percentage-based comparison between how much related conduct occurred outside of Illinois.” Consequently, the court found that personal jurisdiction was proper over GSK with respect to the out -of-state plaintiffs’ claims. The U.S. Supreme Court denied GSK’s petition for a writ of certiorari. GlaxoSmithKline LLC v. M.M. ex rel. Meyers, 138 S. Ct. 64 (Mem) (2017).
Aspen American Ins. Co. v. Interstate Warehousing, Inc. Addressing general jurisdiction in Illinois in the wake of Daimler, a unanimous Illinois Supreme Court in Aspen American Ins. Co. v. Interstate Warehousing, Inc., 2017 WL 4173349, (Ill. Sept. 21, 2017) held that the presence of a facility in the state and registration to do business in the state were insufficient to permit the exercise of general jurisdiction over a foreign corporation.
CONCLUSION Post-BNSF and Bristol-Myers Squibb, limitations on personal jurisdiction are becoming clearer, reigning in plaintiffs’ ability to forum shop and providing added predictability for corporations engaging in business on a national scale. This post first appeared January 17, 2018 on the legal blog TMT Industry Insider, written by Taylor Concannon, copyright© 2018, Husch Blackwell LLP. Reprinted with permission. Get more information at www.huschblackwell.com or https://www.huschblackwell.com/professionals/ taylor-concannon.
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VOLUME MMXVIII, ISSUE 1
2018 New Years’ Resolution: Examine Your Sexual Harassment Training In a 2005 episode of NBC's workplace comedy The Office, the show’s fictional paper supply company, Dunder Mifflin, is required to hold sexual harassment training due to allegations of misconduct by the company’s CFO. Titled “Sexual Harassment,” the episode was reportedly based on the writer’s experience with workplace sexual harassment training. Effectively summing up her fellow employees’ views on the issue, receptionist, Pam Beezley, lamented: "[u]sually the day we talk about sexual harassment is the day that everyone harasses me as a joke." Preceded by a mature content warning, but mostly played for laughs when it debuted, the episode might have trouble making it on the air today (especially on NBC) given the current spotlight on sexual harassment due to recent reports of sexual misconduct by high-profile figures in business, media, sports, and politics, including, former FOX News host Bill O'Reilly, comic Lewis C.K., Hollywood movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, Academy Award winners Kevin Spacey, Casey Affleck and Dustin Hoffman, and NBC’s Matt Lauer, among many others. This environment of increased awareness has caused many employers to examine how they are addressing sexual harassment in the workplace. In doing so, some are recognizing the dangers of treating anti-harassment compliance, particularly with respect to training practices, as a “check the box” item, which reduces its effectiveness and ultimately puts employees and employers at risk. For the sake of all involved, taking a hard look at your anti-harassment training is now more advisable than ever. Although the recent high-profile cases of sexual misconduct make for sensational news stories, how this issue directly affects employers often gets lost in the media chatter. Under current law, employers can be held vicariously liable (i.e. legally responsible) for the harassment of their employees by a supervisor, co-worker or even a vendor or client. Although the outcome of each case depends on the specific facts of such case, in certain circumstances, the employer might have an available "Faragher-Ellerth Defense" (named after two landmark U.S. Supreme Court cases) to defeat vicarious liability involving supervisors, provided no tangible employment action has been taken against the offended employee (e.g. termination, demotion, or reassignment (etc.)). Notably, effective training of the employer’s workforce is a key element of such a defense. To establish this defense, the employer must demonstrate that: (1) it used “reasonable care” to prevent and correct any harassment; and (2) the employee “unreasonably” failed to take advantage of any prevention or corrective opportunities provided by the employer. As part of the analysis of the first prong of the defense, courts often look to whether the employer has adequately trained its employees on its anti-harassment policy and practices. Indeed, one federal court in the Eighth Circuit (of which Nebraska is a part) has specifically noted that the “gravamen” (i.e. the essence) of an effective anti-harassment policy includes training on such policy. As a result, failure to provide effective training could mean significant exposure for the employer, as it did for an International House of Pancakes restaurant in Wisconsin when an appeals court upheld a six-figure verdict against the restaurant due in part to the ineffectiveness of the training for employees and supervisors. Reportedly, the training program included employees watching videos on sexual harassment and reading and signing the restaurant’s anti-harassment policy, which the court of appeals stated was “ineffective” and described the protection purportedly offered by the policy and the training as “illusory”.
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2018 NEW YEARS’ RESOLUTION CONTINUED Taking a similar position, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently weighed in with its own guidance highlighting the central place that anti-harassment training should occupy in an employer’s compliance efforts and providing an outline of effective training practices. The November 22, 2017 bulletin titled “Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment” identifies “five core principles that have generally proven effective in preventing and addressing harassment”: leadership, accountability, strong policies, accessible complaint procedures, and regular training. Notably, the bulletin places particular emphasis on effective harassment training, stating: “[l]eadership, accountability, and strong harassment policies and complaint systems are essential components of a successful harassment prevention strategy, but only if employees are aware of them”. The bulletin further notes that training “may help ensure that the workforce understands organizational rules, policies, procedures, and expectations, as well as the consequences of misconduct.”[i] Most importantly, the EEOC noted that not all training is created equal, and the bulletin suggests that the most effective employee harassment training is “conducted by qualified, live, interactive trainers…” and is tailored to the specific workplace and workforce with examples of unacceptable conduct, identification and contact information for those in the organization responsible for addressing harassment, discussion of the employer’s complaint process (including what information may be requested during an investigation), and explanations of the range of possible consequences for misconduct. In other words, training curriculum should not be one-size-fits-all and might best be developed and presented in conjunction with trainers who can combine their subject matter expertise with their familiarity with your organization to clearly communicate these important concepts with your employees. Although not legally binding, the EEOC’s guidance clearly signals its position on the importance of effective anti-harassment training and serves as a good guide for employers attempting to create and/or implement sound training practices to best serve their employees and to stay out of the EEOC’s crosshairs. Last year, the EEOC received approximately 13,000 charges alleging sex-based harassment and that number could be higher next year given the increased awareness of the issue and willingness of victims to come forward. This post first appeared on KoleyJessen.com on 12/29/2017 written by Nicholas Lesiak copyright © 2017, Koley Jessen P.C., L.L.O. Reprinted with permission. Get more information at www.koleyjessen.com or https://www.koleyjessen.com/teamnicholas-f-lesiak. [i] The bulletin is available at: https://www.eeoc.gov/eeoc/ publications/promising-practices.cfm.
CONFERENCE & EXPO 2018
July 11-13 St. Louis, MO Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark
NALA welcomes you to the 2018 Conference & Expo The 2018 NALA Conference & Expo will be held in St. Louis, MO at the Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark conveniently located in the center of downtown. Our featured speakers bring an abundance of educational information to help you learn and develop your professional skills. We appreciate our members and those who support the paralegal profession. Join us at the nation’s largest paralegal conference!
Conference Rates Best Rate (Ends May 31st)
Hotel Accommodations Hilton St. Louis at the Ballpark 1 S. Broadway, St. Louis, MO 63102 1-314-421-1776 Reservations can be made at: www.nala.org/conferences/nala-conference-expo Single/Double Room Rate: $139 per night (plus tax)
If you wish to extend your stay after the conference, please contact the hotel directly for pricing.
Check-in is at 4:00pm Check-out is at 11:00am Room Rate Cut-off is June 18, 2018 Please note that these rates are guaranteed until the cut off date or until the block is full. If special accommodations are necessary, please inform hotel during reservation. All reservations must be guaranteed with a deposit for the first night’s guest-room and tax charge. This will be billed immediately. Hotel allows individual cancellations without penalty up to 72 hours prior to arrival date. Hotel will charge one night’s guaranteed guest-room rate plus tax for cancellations within 72 hours. If you call the hotel to reserve your room a $15 fee will be assessed.
The 2018 NALA Election will take place at this year’s conference. All members with an Active type membership 45 days prior to the Annual Meeting will be able to vote for NALA’s Board of Directors and any Bylaw changes. If you will not be able to attend this year’s conference but would still like to vote, please visit www.nala.org and search for NALA Election Information.
Receptions The Opening Night Reception and Affiliate Showcase will be held on Wednesday, July 11 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm. It will feature hors d’oeuvres, and a cash bar will be available. This is a great opportunity to network and greet old friends! The reception for the Installation of Officers will be held on Friday, July 13 from 5:30pm to 6:30pm. This event is welcome to anyone who wishes to attend. It will also feature hors d’oeuvres, desserts, and a cash bar.
Photos & Videos By registering for this conference you grant NALA permission to take, use, reuse, and publish: photographs and/or videos of attendees in any and all of its publications and in any and all other media, including but not limited to use and publication on the Internet, web-pages, magazines, and social media accounts.
Upon arrival at the conference, attendees will check-in at the NALA registration/help desk. You will receive your name badge and event bag which includes important information relevant to the conference. If, at any time, you have a question please stop by the help desk. Our team will be happy to assist you!
All conference registration cancellations received after June 11, 2018, will be assessed a $100 processing fee.
RECORDINGS The sessions of the 2018 Conference & Expo will be recorded as part of the NALA Playback Works Collection. These session presentations include the presenters PowerPoint with synced audio for visual re-creation of each presentation. Pre-order your subscription package now and SAVE $100! Regular pricing will take effect after conference.
On demand (6) months of streaming ONLY access.
On demand (12) months of streaming and offline download access.
USB Flash Drive and (12) months of streaming + download offline access.
NO CLE PROVIDED
EXPO HALL At the 2018 Conference & Expo, you have the opportunity to meet with many different businesses and organizations from around the United States. Vendors at the Expo Hall are there to offer paralegals products and/or helpful information to help them advance their careers. Any time you enter the Expo Hall you will be required to show your name badge.
Expo Hall Map
WEDNESDAY, JULY 11 7:30am - 2:00pm THURSDAY, JULY 12 7:30am - 2:00pm *DISCLAIMER: Your interactions with vendors associated with the NALA Expo Hall, including payment and delivery of goods or services, and any other terms, conditions, warranties or representations associated with such dealings, are solely between you and such organizations and/or individuals. You should conduct whatever research you feel necessary or appropriate before proceeding with any online or offline transaction with any of these third parties. By registering for conference you agree that NALA–The Paralegal Association is not responsible or liable for any loss or damage of any sort incurred as the result of any such dealings. If there is a dispute between you and a vendor, you understand and agree that NALA–The Paralegal Association is under no obligation to become involved. In the event of dispute, you hereby release NALA–The Paralegal Association, and its officers and employees, in rights from claims, demands and damages (actual and consequential) of every kind of nature, known or unknown, suspected or unsuspected, disclosed and undisclosed, from any such disputes.
NALA CONFERENCE REGISTRATION FORM Name ____________________________________________________________________________________ Address ___________________________________________________________________________ City ______________________________________________________________________ Check ALL that apply to you: ☐ NALA Member
Daytime Phone _____________________________________
State __________________________ Zip code ___________________________
Affiliated Association Member (Name of Association) ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Special Diet or Accommodations Required ________________________________________________________________________________________________________
REGISTRATION DETAILS Full Conference registration includes (All 3 days): 14 CLE, access to the expo hall, attendance to receptions, and two complimentary lunches. Student registration includes: Full conference registration, see above. (In order to register at the student rate, you must either currently be a student member of NALA or submit documentation to support your status as a full-time student with registration.) Social registration includes (Day 1 ONLY): 2 CLE on Day 1, access to receptions and meetings, and complimentary lunch.
REGISTRATION OPTIONS Type
Best Rate (ends May 31)
Enter Applicable Fee(s)
Full Conference Full Conference Full Conference Day 1 ONLY
NO CLE PROVIDED
6 - Month Fast Pass
Streaming ONLY Access 6 months
12 - Month Season Pass
Streaming + Download Offline Access 12 months
USB Works Package
Season Pass + All Files Shipped on USB Flash Drive
Six Flags St. Louis
One Day Park Ticket
$35 (includes tax)
☐ Enclosed is my check number: ______________________________________ Charge my fees to: ☐ VISA
☐ AMERICAN EXPRESS
Card Number: __________________________________________________________________________ Expires: __________________________________________ Name on card: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Billing address: ____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Signature ______________________________________________________________________________________ Date: _____________________________________ Contributions or gifts to NALA are not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes; however, payments may qualify as ordinary and necessary business expenses.
Return this form with payment to: NALA Headquarters, 7666 E. 61st Street, Suite 315, Tulsa, OK 74133 or register online at www.nala.org
This is the e-zine of the Nebraska Paralegal Association (NePA).