Mid-year union dues increase: Hudson notice required, opt-in not opt-out

The US Supreme Court this morning held that “when a public-sector union imposes a special assessment or dues increase, the union must provide a fresh Hudson notice and may not exact any funds from nonmembers without their affirmative consent.”

Knox v. Service Employees Intl Union (US Supreme Ct 06/21/2012)

This is a remarkable decision for two reasons.

First, the Court has never before held that unions must issue a Hudson notice before changing the amount of dues. Hudson notices have always been based on an after-the-fact look-back based on the previous year’s audited accounts.

Second, the Court has never before held that unions cannot collect fees from nonmembers unless they affirmatively opt in. The Hudson notice system has always been based on the idea that nonmembers can get an after-the-fact refund.

The union representing California public sector employees has an agency shop agreement which requires nonmembers to pay an annual fee for “chargeable” expenses – nonpolitical costs related to collective bargaining. In June 2005 the union sent out its annual Hudson notice which estimated that chargeable expenses would be 56.35% of its total expenditures. After the 30-day period that nonmembers had to object, the union announced a 25% increase to fund a broad range of political expenses, but nonmembers were given no choice as to whether they would pay into this fund.

The US Supreme Court held (7-2) that

“when a public-sector union imposes a special assessment or dues increase, the union must provide a fresh Hudson notice and may not exact any funds from nonmembers without their affirmative consent.”

The Court described this case as one involving compelled funding of the speech of other private speakers or groups, which is akin to compelled speech and compelled association. Therefore, it is subject to “exacting First Amendment scrutiny.” In order to prevent the union from extracting a loan from unwilling nonmembers, the union must issue a fresh Hudson notice and must exempt nonmembers unless they opt in.

Two Justices, CONCURRING in the judgment, criticized the majority for adopting an opt-in system of fee collection which was “not contained in the questions presented, briefed, or argued.”

Two Justices, DISSENTING, pointed out that unions have always been allowed to calculate each year’s fee based on its expenses during the previous year. Although an imperfect system, it is not unconstitutional.

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Source: http://www.lawmemo.com/blog/2012/06/midyear_union_d.html



Lawyer: I Can’t Pay—By The Rules

A plaintiffs lawyer says he risks being disbarred himself if he shares a contingency fee with his disbarred co-counsel.

Source: http://www.law.com/jsp/law/sign_me_in.jsp?article=http://www.dailyreportonline.com/PubArticleDRO.jsp?id=1202608838392&rss=newswire

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Court technology fee starts Monday

Starting Monday the cost of a pack of cigarettes goes up and so too does the cost of filing something in state court

The technology infrastructure fee was part of the judiciary budget that passed the legislature last session. It tacks on $2.

The money collected will be deposited into a special revenue fund in the state Department of Management and Budget. And a committee appointed by the Supreme Cour will distribute the funds throughout the court system. The money can be used for things like computer systems, electronic records maintenance, and interactive video teleconferencing.

The fee sunsets on June 30, 2018.

Money will be collected on just about every kind of court action you can think of. The judicial branch has the full list.


Source: http://minnlawyer.com/minnlawyerblog/2013/06/28/court-technology-fee-starts-monday/

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There’s A New Cop In Town – Facebook


Yes people waste an insane amount of time on Facebook (that is, unless they’re going here.) That said, every now and then something very useful comes from Facebook use. This was posted on the Martin County Sherrif’s Office Facebook page on June 17, 2013:

********URGENT BOLO ALERT******PLEASE SHARE******* The Martin County Sheriff’s Office is asking you to Be On the Look Out for 48-year old Timothy Moriarty of Stuart. Moriarty is wanted for aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. We have information that he is still in our area. The suspect was driving a blue 1996 Dodge van, Florida tag number AHP4G. Timothy Moriarty is said to be armed and dangerous. If you see him, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Lo and behold, the following day, this was posted:

Moments ago, 48-year old Timothy Moriarty was located and arrested by our SWAT Team, Uniform Patrol Deputies and K-9 Units who were led to Sandsprit Park by your tips. The Martin County Sheriff’s office would like to thank our Facebook followers who led MCSO to Sandsprit Park, shortly after our BOLO posting. Moriarty was awakened by our SWAT Team and taken into custody without incident.

Bam! You can see the posts, and photos of Mr. Moriarty, here.

Source: http://rss.justia.com/~r/LegalJuiceCom/~3/BFPcpXuPqvc/post_703.html

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Obama administration issues final rules on contraceptive coverage

[JURIST] The Obama administration [official website] on Friday issued final rules [text, PDF] requiring health insurance plans to provide women with contraceptive coverage without cost sharing. According to the rules, these final regulations seek to protect public health and guarantee women equal access to health care and are narrowly tailored so that certain organizations with religious objections do not have to “contract, arrange, pay or refer for such coverage.” An exempt organization must be organized and operate as a nonprofit…

Source: http://jurist.org/paperchase/2013/06/obama-administration-issues-final-rules-on-contraceptive-coverage.php

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An Update on Long-Term Disability

Long-term disability insurance can be a complex area of insurance law for lawyers and consumers. On this edition of Ringler Radio, host Larry Cohen joins colleague Tony Robinson and guest, Deborah M. Nelson, Partner at Nelson Boyd PLLC, to give us a refresher course on long-term disability insurance. Deborah discusses the difference between other types of insurance policies, the application process for disability benefits and some of the common questions individuals have when it comes to long-term disability policies, especially when it comes to the areas of traumatic brain injury and insurance litigation.
Visit Ringler Associates to contact a consultant in your area about structured settlements.

Source: http://ringlerradio.com/podcasts/ringler-radio/2013/06/an-update-on-long-term-disability/

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