Dennis Rhodes focuses his practice on the defense of insurance companies in life, health and disability litigation involving individual policies as well as group policies held by employee benefit plans under ERISA. Dennis handles such matters from initial case analysis through settlement or bench trial. He practices regularly before federal and state courts in California and assists with the defense of cases in Nevada, Washington and Oregon as needed. He is a member of the firm's Diversity Committee.
In the life insurance area, Dennis regularly represents insurers in misrepresentation claims, disputes over life insurance proceeds and rescission actions. He also handles litigation arising out of the use of life insurance policies and annuities to fund 412(i) and 419(a)(f)(6) benefit plans. In addition, Dennis has extensive experience defending insurance companies in denial of disability benefits claims under ERISA. Another component of his practice involves defending long term care insurers in litigation and counseling them with regard to their long-term care products. Dennis previously represented securities broker-dealers in customer disputes before the former National Association of Securities Dealers.
Dennis recognizes that the client is not simply part of a lawsuit but rather is part of a multi-faceted business. He is attentive to the unique needs of each of his clients, getting to know their practices in order to understand each company's particular business model so he can provide them with the best possible representation.
Practical Explanations of New Laws and How They Impact Business
December 9, 2014
The Wilson Elser & National Human Resources Association Employment Law Summit
Robinson, Rhodes and Fannon Obtain Summary Judgment for Bay Area Law School in Dispute over Interpretation of Student Handbook
January 29, 2015
2014: The Affordable Care Act Is Alive and Well - Are You Ready?
Compliance with the Affordable Care Act, 2014-2015
February 13, 2014
Employers and insurers need to be in compliance with the 2014 ACA mandates and understand how compliance with the final regulations just issued by the U.S. Department of the Treasury regarding the Employer Shared Responsibility provisions can best be ensured. Many are overwhelmed by the volume and impact of ACA regulations and other issues relative to adherence to the ACA requirements.
Medical Marijuana Law versus Employment Law
Nontraditional Tactics in Labor-Management Disputes
December 6, 2013
Incognito No Longer: Workplace Bullying Legislation Again at the Forefront
November 21, 2013
U.S. Supreme Court Defines “Supervisor” under Title VII
October 25, 2013
As the “NY State of Health” Enters Its Third Week, a Look at the Role of Navigators
Navigators in the “NY State of Health” Marketplace
October 18, 2013
Navigators provide in-person assistance to individuals, families and small businesses interested in applying for health insurance coverage through the New York Marketplace. At present, New York has nearly 500 trained and federally regulated Navigators dispersed throughout the states 62 counties, with 48 different languages represented.
ACA Not Enough to Save Penn State's Employee Wellness Program
Penn State Employee Wellness Program Falls Short
October 9, 2013
Penn State followed the ACA requirements and, so it believed, implemented an effective tool to fight health care inflation. But it lost the public relations battle as opponents of the university's wellness program claimed that certain aspects of the program violated a number of privacy and civil rights laws.
Evaluating Employer Insurance Coverages to Defend against Claimed Violations of the Affordable Care Act
Defending against Claimed Violations of the ACA
October 4, 2013
Evaluating Employer Insurance Coverages to Defend against Claimed Violations of the Affordable Care Act
Employers should review their professional lines insurance policies along with outside benefits consultants and attorneys to determine whether additional or different coverage may be appropriate to guard against the new ACA risks. Additionally, employers should become educated as to any new insurance products that may be available or in development to address ACA liabilities.
Administration Delays Launch of Federally Facilitated Small Business Health Insurance Exchanges
35 Small Business Health Insurance Exchanges Delayed
September 27, 2013
Small businesses will be required to wait until November to complete their online purchases of health coverage at federally facilitated health insurance exchanges. Paper applications will be manually processed on schedule, beginning October 1, 2013.
Connecticut Limits Arbitrator's Discretion in Interpreting CBAs
September 26, 2013
Protection of Employer Trade Secrets and Goodwill
August 14, 2013
The Impact of Federal-State “Worksharing Agreements”
June 14, 2013
Utah Enacts the Internet Employment Privacy Act: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly
Workplace Rights and the Expansion of Social Media
May 13, 2013
Utah's enactment of HB 100 simultaneously contracts and expands employers' rights to access their employees' social media presence and, importantly, represents a growing trend among state legislatures taking an affirmative position on the assessment of the rights of both employers and employees/job applicants in the expanding world of social media.
New I-9 Employment Eligibility Verification Form
May 2, 2013
Affordable Care Act: Health Insurance Exchanges and Other Issues for Small Employers
April 29, 2013
Affordable Care Act: Shared Responsibility for Applicable Large Employers
April 29, 2013
Second Circuit Upholds Arbitration Agreement Blocking Title VII Class Claims
Recent Federal District Court Case Highlights the Importance of “Individual” FMLA Notices to Employees on FMLA Leave
Challenges to NLRB Authority after Recess Appointments
Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Compliance
U.S. Supreme Court Poised to Rule on Factors Governing the Definition of Supervisor under Title VII
Filings of Wage and Hour Collective Actions under FSLA at an All-time High
Although federal courts apply Rule 23 certification standards in Title VII employment discrimination cases, many courts have used a relaxed application of these standards. This article lists some of the decisions rendered after the Dukes case that reflect both the effectiveness of the “localized” policy argument and the ever-increasing rise of successful class-certification motions.
Social Media in the Workplace
The proliferation of social media in the workplace has increased the risk of potential liabilities for companies. Specifically, there is a growing amount of litigation arising out of the use of confidential or proprietary information shared on social media websites.
Weight Bias in Employment
Courts are responding to the broader scope of coverage afforded to individuals, including obese individuals, under the ADAAA.
Reevaluating Employment Background Checks
The EEOC's recent guidance provides that employers may violate Title VII if they treat criminal history information differently for applicants or employees. This does not mean that employers should abandon background screening altogether. In fact, to do so could run afoul of an employer's obligation to use reasonable care when hiring employees and lead to liability if third parties are harmed by an employee.
Retaliation Claims by Employees Increasing
In the past few years several U.S. Supreme Court cases have effectively expanded the scope of retaliation claims and lowered the requisite standard for a retaliation charge. The EEOCs latest enforcement and litigation report confirms that claims of retaliation against employers are significantly increasing.
Employers Access to Employees' Social Media Accounts
Two U.S. senators and Facebook, Inc. express outrage at the practice by some employers in requesting social media passwords from applicants for employment. The senators have asked for an investigation to determine the potential for a violation of discrimination laws, and Facebook asserts that the practice is a violation of Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.
California Employers Need to Evaluate Meal and Rest Break Policies
April 24, 2012 Because the California Supreme Court has provided some specific guidance regarding employers' obligations in reference to meal and rest breaks, it is very important that employers review their policies and practices to ensure they are in compliance with the requirements set forth in a recent decision.
FLSA's Overtime Requirements
Two of the most misapplied exemption categories to the FLSA's overtime requirements are the executive and administrative exemptions, which are often referred to as the “supervisory” and “managerial” exemptions. To avoid DOL audits and fines, employers need to determine whether an employee is exempt under the FLSA, which is a function of analyzing individual employees' actual job duties.
Twitter and Labor Issues
Along with the marketing benefits inherent in using social media, management should realize the stakes may be too high to sit on the sidelines when it comes to dealing with the labor issues arising from increased employee social media usage.
NLRB Employer/Union Process Overturned
The National Labor Relations Board in 2007 established a process by which an employer's voluntary recognition of a union could be challenged promptly. That decision was recently overturned, making it easier for unions and employers voluntarily to enter into exclusive bargaining relationships that are not subject to quick challenge and without a secret ballot election to determine the employees' choice.
Employee Leave of Absence Requirement
In a decision published on August 8, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled that a requirement that an employee notify his employer directly of the need for a leave of absence under the FMLA is in direct conflict with the less stringent notification requirements of the FMLA.
Delivery driver classification
Delivery drivers are often misclassified as independent contractors, which has led to claims for failure to comply with the obligations owed to this class of employees under the FLSA, including tip credit and expense reimbursement. Various lawsuits brought by pizza delivery drivers exemplify the challenges to employers in properly compensating this type of worker.
Disability Law & Leave Obligations
Effective May 24, 2011, the final regulations under the ADA Amendments Act increase employers challenges in meeting their obligations under both federal and state laws governing disability determinations and leave obligations.
U.S. Supreme Court Rules Against Class Action in Wal-Mart Case
Employers across the nation breathed a sigh of relief as the U.S. Supreme Court found that the Ninth District Courts certification was not consistent with Rule 23s requirements that a class action must have common questions of law and fact.
Arizona Law Imposes Stiff Sanctions on Employers for Hiring Illegal Workers
Arizona employers were placed on alert as the U.S. Supreme Court, amid challenges from the business community, upheld an Arizona law that (1) mandates use of the federal E-Verify program and (2) uses language in the Legal Arizona Workers Act of 2007, which relies on an exception in the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act, to impose the business death penalty on employers who employ, or recruit or refer for a fee for employment, unauthorized aliens.
National Origin Discrimination
When foreign companies operating in the United States employ personnel from their own countries in key positions, U.S. workers may file discrimination lawsuits.
Whether and when English-only rules in the workplace are discriminatory
May 2010 The population of the United States is becoming increasingly diverse. Recent surveys reflect that Hispanics currently comprise more than 15 percent of the population - more than 46 million people - making them the country's largest minority group. As such, employers should make it a priority to become more knowledgeable about issues pertaining to Hispanic-Americans and other non-native English speakers in the workplace in order to avoid potential legal problems now and in the coming years.
Important ruling on New York Workers Compensation Law for GSITs
April 2010 A recent ruling by the New York Supreme Court, Albany County, in Held v. State of New York Workers Compensation Board regarding Group Self-Insured Workers Compensation Trusts is a decision that all providers of workers compensation insurance in New York should pay special attention to. In particular, the court addresses important issues of liability, constitutionality, and relatedness in connection to Group Self-Insured Trusts.
Rollout of updated policies with the new year
January 2010 After the frenzy of the holiday season, January is the perfect time to reassess employment policies. This includes making modifications to comply with changes in the laws and implementing any updates appropriate for the ever-changing needs of the workplace.
Caretaker coverage extended under new law
November 2009 Recently, President Barack Obama signed into law the National Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010, which extends military caregiver leave provisions to veterans. Under the new law, a worker will be able to take up to 26 weeks of leave from employment to care for a veteran for up to five years after the service member leaves the military. The leave could be taken by the caregiver if the veteran suffered a qualifying injury or illness in the line of active duty (or had an existing injury or illness aggravated in the line of active duty). The injury or illness could manifest itself before or after the service member became a veteran.
California Employment Newsletter
September 2009 This California Employment newsletter discusses employment claims on the rise, employees waiver of class action rights, an interview with Debra Mellinkoff, a prominent California employment mediator, and more.
Swine Flu and the Americans with Disabilities Act
July 2009 Concern over spread of the H1N1 flu virus ( swine flu ) in the workplace does not relieve employers of their obligations under employee protection laws, including the federal Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). Indeed, as the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) recently noted, swine flu raises a number of potential disability discrimination issues of which employers must be aware.
California Employment Newsletter
May 2009 This California Employment newletter discusses California Supreme Court review of meal and rest period rules, discrimination lawsuits, increasing retaliation claims, Military families leave time and additional protection under new Final Rules and Regulations, and more.
April 2009 This California Employment newsletter discusses the broadened ADA expands 504 and employee accommodation exposure. A recent change in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) will expand school district obligations to accommodate students and employees. Addressing case law that narrowly interpreted disability, effective January 1, 2009, the ADA has been broadened (Public Law, 110-32s, September 25, 2008) to enlarge the universe of disabled individuals.
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act extends filing deadlines for pay-bias complaints:Employers need to review compensation policies to limit liability
February 2009 With the recent signing of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, President Obama effectively overturned a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in 2007 that severely restricted the amount of time an employee had in which to assert a pay discrimination claim. An employee can now file a complaint of pay discrimination long after learning of any pay discrepancy.