Perez & Morris Funds Water Wells Through Thirst Relief International in 2014

Perez Morris_61452_Christmas Card_PROOF

 

As an update on our 2014 well project, Perez & Morris was able to fund the construction of 60 Biosand Filters in each of Tanzania and Uganda and 6 wells in India in 2014 through Thirst Relief International (TRI), taking steps toward providing clean and safe water for the people in the surrounding areas.  According to TRI’s website, nearly 1 billion people still lack access to clean and safe water and nearly 1 million children die each year due to water-related illnesses.  Perez & Morris is passionate about this cause and has taken action. To learn more about how you can help too, visit thirstrelief.org.

Troy B. Morris Receives AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell

Troy BioPerez & Morris, LLC is pleased to announce that Co-Founder and partner Troy B. Morris has earned an AV® Preeminent™ rating fromMartindale-Hubbell Peer Review Ratings.

An AV® Preeminent™ Rating is a distinct achievement and considered to be “the pinnacle of professional excellence earned through a strenuous Peer Review Rating process.”  The rating signifies the “Highest Possible Rating in Both Legal Ability & Ethical Standards,” to any individual lawyer and places Mr. Morris among the elite of fellow legal professionals.

Martindale-Hubbell, the legal industry’s leading and most respected rating organization, has been conducting peer-review ratings for over acentury to identify and recognize lawyers with the highest legal ability and ethical standards.  Lawyers are rated by their peers—attorneys and judges— in the categories of legal knowledge, analytical capabilities, judgment, communication ability and legal experience as well as a high level of ethical standards.

Mr. Morris’s AV® Preeminent™ Rating indicates that other lawyers and judges rank him at the highest level of professional and ethical excellence.

Troy joins John Perez, Bob Nichols and Angela Savino as earning this AV Rating from Martindale-Hubbell.  Troy’s primary practice is business, construction and large property loss litigation.  John’s primary practice is complex business transactions and business litigation; Bob (also an accountant) practices complex business litigation and trucking defense; and Angela’s practice is transportation and logistics, cargo contract negotiation (including international contracts), and litigation.

Data Security Risk Should Rank High on Retailers’ Priority Lists

Identity Theft

A recent study suggests data security is very low on many executives’ priority lists of perceived risks to their businesses.  Over 800 executives in Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Norway, Sweden, UK and the US were asked what the greatest risk to their companies were, and data security finished 8th. http://enterpriseinnovation.net/article/few-business-decision-makers-see-poor-data-security-greatest-business-risk-549396326.   Business competition, finding talented people, maintaining profits, growing the business, attaining and maintaining a great reputation, deployment of new technology, and supporting legacy infrastructure all come before protecting one’s data. Additionally, while 63% of the executives expected to suffer a security breach at some point, only 44% believe their critical data is completely secure.  Even less (37%) believe their consumer data is completely secure.  Yet only 1% of the executives saw data security as the greatest risk to their business.

Is this lack of fear crippling any movement toward widespread change in policy regarding data protection? A recent study has found that 70% of executives believe that their organizations do not even understand the full risks associated with data breaches (Study). Only 45% of executives believed that their own company’s response to data breaches was proactive or well-developed.

So what can be done? According to the 2014 Executive Breach Preparedness Research Report, in order to control and respond to data breaches, a company must start taking into account the importance and value of their data in their business operations.  “Without a well thought out plan in place, and without the proper guidance, training and process instituted throughout the organization, executives can stumble when dealing with the public outcry once sensitive data has been compromised,” said Arthur Wong, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Enterprise Security Services at HP (http://www.computerweekly.com/). Wong also notes that while no amount of money can completely protect companies from highly sophisticated cyber attacks, with proper preparedness, an attack can become a “speed bump in the road” rather than a “catastrophic business event”.

Therefore, the first step towards being prepared involves executives understanding that data security is critical. It should be considered at the same challenge level as finding talented people, maintaining profits, and growing the business.  As the holiday shopping season approaches, retailers should be mindful that it only takes one data breach to push customers through the doors of a competitor.  Looking through that lens, data security should be quickly on par with concerns like business competition, maintaining profits and overall business growth.

 Post by Sarah Crabtree Perez and Daniel Broidy

Highlights of President Obama’s Executive Actions on Immigration

Immigration Rally In Washington

President Obama announced yesterday, on November 20, 2014, a series of executive actions focusing on enforcement priorities and providing deferred action to ensure family unification. Generally, the actions include:

  • Expand the population of those eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. The current age cap is removed and applicants must demonstrate continuous presence in the U.S. since January 1, 2010. DACA approval will be valid for 3 years.
  • Establish the Deferred Action for Parental Accountability (DAPA) program which allows deferred action for parents of U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents who have continuously resided in the United States since before January 1, 2010.
  • Expand the use of provisional waivers of unlawful presence to include spouses and sons and daughters of lawful permanent residents and sons and daughters of U.S. citizens.
  • Determine enforcement priorities to include (1) suspected terrorists, convicted felons (including aggravated felonies), convicted gang members, and persons apprehended on the border; (2) persons convicted of serious or multiple misdemeanors and very recent border crossers (those who entered after January 1, 2014); and (3) those who, after January 1, 2014, failed to leave under a removal order or returned after removal.
  • Allow individuals with an approved employment-based immigrant petition subject to the quota backlog to obtain the benefits of a pending adjustment of status application.
  • Expand parole-in-place to include certain investors and families of individuals trying to enlist in the armed forces, as some branches of the military ban applicants who have undocumented family members.
  • Replace Secure Communities with the Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) which allows Immigration and Customs Enforcement to seek notification and transfer of those convicted of certain offenses or who pose a danger to national security.

More information will be provided in the coming months as the programs are implemented.  For questions, contact Laura Jurcevich, immigration attorney at Perez & Morris.

What is the H1-B Program? Attorney Laura Jurcevich Explains.

Laura Jurcevich

November is Family Stories Month.  For many in this country, immigration is a large piece of the family story, including tales of navigating our country’s complex immigration system.  At Perez & Morris, we are privileged to have assisted countless individuals, companies  large and small, universities and hospitals through the process of immigrating to the United States, in large part due to the experience and knowledge of attorney Laura Jurcevich.  Laura has been practicing immigration law for 9 years and has considerable experience assisting employers in obtaining H1-B visas for employees in specialty occupations.

The H-1B Program: What Is It?

The H1-B program allows US employers to obtain employment authorization for their employees who are in a specialty occupation. A specialty occupation is one in which a bachelor’s degree or higher degree is normally the minimum requirement for the position. The H-1B process is a 2-step process. Step 1 involves obtaining a labor condition application (LCA) from the Department of Labor (DOL). Through the LCA, the employer informs the DOL of the position, prevailing wage, offered wage, place of employment, and length of expected employment. The employer agrees to pay the employee the higher of the prevailing wage or actual wage and has notified the collective bargaining representative, if applicable, or other similarly situated employees of its intent to fill the position with an H-1B nonimmigrant, i.e. posted legal notice at place of employment. This step requires some preliminary steps, such as obtaining a prevailing wage determination and compiling the public inspection file. Once the LCA is approved and certified, then step 2 requires the employer file the I-129 petition with USCIS, former INS. This petition requests the position be classified as a specialty occupation and the employee’s status be changed to H-1B status or, in the alternative, a H-1B visa be provided to the employee if outside the US. Once approved, the employee can begin working for the employer in H-1B status in accordance with the validity period.

Contact Laura for advice on the H1-B process or any of your other immigration-related questions.  We would be honored to be a part of the family story.

Bob Nichols of Perez & Morris Successfully Represents Quest Diagnostics Inc. before First District Court of Appeals

Urine SampleOn November 12, 2014, the Court of Appeals issued its decision in favor of Quest holding that Plaintiff’s request to do DNA testing on a urine sample was preempted by The Federal Omnibus Transportation Employee Testing Act of 1991 (“FOETA”).  Plaintiff was a school bus driver subject to mandatory drug testing under FOETA.  Urine samples submitted by Plaintiff tested positive for cocaine, and he alleged negligence against the collection facility.  Plaintiff alleged the urine was not his and demanded DNA testing.  The Court of Appeals overturned the trial court’s ruling mandating production of the urine sample, and held no DNA testing was allowed under FOETA.  See App. No. C-130810, 1st Dist. Ohio.

Perez & Morris regularly counsels and represents employers on issues related to drug and alcohol testing, including drafting policies and procedures to protect employers and best position them to be able to defend against claims.  Contact Bob Nichols, John Perez or Sarah Perez for more information regarding our experience in this area.

P&M Welcomes Attorney Andrew Arbeit to its New York Office

Andrew-Arbeit-201

Attorney Andrew Arbeit recently joined Perez & Morris’ New York office, practicing workers’ compensation defense. A 2007 graduate of New York Law School, Andrew brings more than 7 years’ experience in workers’ compensation defense on behalf of self-insured employers, insurance carriers and third party administrators. Welcome, Andrew!

Laura Wedekind: A Woman You Should Know

Perez & Morris extends heartfelt congratulations to Laura Wedekind of Steiner + Associates, honored by WELD as one of 12 Central Ohio Women You Should Know for 2015. We also congratulate the other 11 honorees on their stellar achievements and contributions to the community. For more information about WELD and specifically, Women You Should Know both past and present, visit https://www.weldoh.org/news-events/women-you-should-know-tm/.

Photo taken by Abby Walters, Thirty One Gifts, and featured in WELD’s 2015 Women You Should Know Calendar, Creative Director Dara Schwartz.

P&M Attorney Josh Rockwell Puts “Service Above Self” as President of Polaris Rotary

This month, we would like to shed special light on the community service of P&M attorney, Josh Rockwell.  Josh is the current President of the Lewis Center/ Polaris Rotary Club, a leadership and community service group whose motto is “Service Above Self.”  Josh has been a member of the club for several years and has recently taken on responsibilities as President.  In this role, he will lead the club’s annual holiday fundraiser, Best of Polaris, a raffle of gift baskets filled with gift cards and other goodies from Polaris-area businesses.  All proceeds from the raffle benefit People in Need in Delaware County, an organization that provides food, clothing, medical and dental assistance, rent, utilities and other critical aid.  We are proud of Josh and his commitment to giving back!

The Lewis Center/Polaris Rotary Club meets for breakfast almost every Friday at 7:45am in the Ohio Building of the NorthPointe Hotel and Conference Center, 100 Green Meadows Drive South, Lewis Center, OH, to exchange ideas and plan future service projects.  You can find more information here: http://lewiscenterrotary.org/blog/.