GT’s Client OSG Announces Significant Expansion in Virginia

Posted in Corporate, Firm News

As recently reported by the Virginia governor’s website (September 2017), Greenberg Traurig’s client Oran Safety Glass (OSG) announced a $4.45 million expansion through its  Emporia plant located in Virginia, adding 55 jobs to the plant. Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe joined the company leaders in making the announcement last month in Virginia. OSG was founded in Israel in the late 1970’s and specializes in glass manufacturing. The company expanded its operations to Virginia in 2006.

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Greenberg Traurig Advises Intec Pharma on $57.5M Offering

Posted in Corporate, Health Care & FDA

A team of Greenberg Traurig attorneys recently represented Intec Pharma Ltd. (NASDAQ and TASE: NTEC) on the closing of its offering of approximately 12.2 million of its ordinary shares, at a public offering price of $4.70 per ordinary share, which included a full exercise by the underwriters of their over-allotment option in the amount of 1,594,500 ordinary shares, for gross proceeds of approximately $57.5 million, before deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and other estimated offering expenses.

Intec Pharma intends to use the net proceeds from the offering to fund its Phase III clinical trial for Accordion Pill Carbidopa/Levodopa, the company’s leading product candidate for the indication of treatment of Parkinson’s disease symptoms in advanced Parkinson’s disease patients, for working capital and for general corporate purposes.

The GT Deal Team included:

Robert Grossman, Corporate & Securities, (Miami); Joshua Samek, Corporate & Securities (Miami); Ilya Ross, Corporate & Securities (Boston); Eliott Rimon, Corporate & Securities, (Miami); Barry Schindler,  IP-Prosecution, (New Jersey); Natalie Salem, IP-Prosecution, (Boston); Seth Entin, Tax, (Miami); and  Ephraim Schmeidler, Corporate & Securities, (Tel Aviv).

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Greenberg Traurig Advises Israeli Institutional Investor Group on EUR 236 million Acquisition of Landmark Office Building Eschborn Plaza

Posted in Investments, Mergers & Acquisitions, Real Estate

Greenberg Traurig’s Tel Aviv and Germany offices jointly advised a group of Israeli institutional investors who acquired the Eschborn Plaza office complex in a joint venture lead by Aurec Capital. The group was comprised of Migdal Insurance Group, Bank Leumi Pension Fund, and IDI Insurance Company as well as a leading Israeli provident and pension fund.

The landmark building, located near Frankfurt am Main, Germany, was purchased for EUR 236 million from two closed-ended funds managed by Commerz Real. The property includes approximately 42,000 square meters of office space and its main tenant, a large auditing firm, has  a lease term until 2030.

Greenberg Traurig  represented the Israeli institutional investors in all legal matters regarding the joint venture, acquisition and financing.

Our Tel Aviv office’s International Real Estate Practice led by Lawrence Sternthal regularly advises the Migdal Group and represents a number of Israeli institutional investors (pension funds and insurance companies) in cross-border real estate activities.  This transaction marks GT’s first major Israeli-German cross-border real estate acquisition.

GT legal team to advise on this matter:

Shareholders: Lawrence Sternthal (lead attorney, Israel, Real Estate/Joint Venture), Dr. Christian Schede (lead attorney, Germany, Real Estate/M&A), Claudia Hard (Finance)

Associates: Devora Y. Snyder (Israel, Real Estate/Joint Venture), Martin Dobias, Dr. Johannes Steinfort (both Germany, Real Estate/M&A)

GT’s Lawrence Sternthal Addresses Israeli Real Estate Investments in Hurricane Struck Locations

Posted in Investments, Israel, Real Estate

Israelis with real estate investments in Florida are now beginning to assess the damage caused to their properties by Hurricane Irma.  Lawrence Sternthal, International Real Estate Shareholder in Greenberg Traurig’s Tel Aviv office, shared with TheMarker Magazine what Israeli investors should consider when examining their home insurance coverage and the challenges foreign investors will face in repairing their properties from overseas.

Full Hebrew article

GT Attorneys in Tel Aviv and Other GT Offices Represent Medical Tech Company in $280M Deal

Posted in Health Care & FDA, Media Coverage

A Greenberg Traurig team of attorneys in Tel Aviv, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Boston, and New York recently represented BioTelemetry Inc., a publicly traded company based in Pennsylvania, in its $280 million purchase of Switzerland’s LifeWatch AG, a health care technology company.

LifeWatch AG began its way as an Israeli entity in the 1990s and became a public Swiss company in 2001. As such, some of the company’s shareholders resided in Israel. To read more about the deal, click here to read the full article in Daily Business Review (subscription only).

Greenberg Traurig’s Hilarie Bass Takes Over as President of the American Bar Association

Posted in Attorney Spotlight, Firm News, General, Media Coverage

The end of August was a special time for Greenberg Traurig, as we celebrated Hilarie Bass taking over as the President of the American Bar Association. Hilarie is a shareholder in our Miami office and is the Co-President of the firm. Hilarie has visited our Tel Aviv office a numbers of times since its opening in 2012, including in 2015 when the firm was a co-sponsor of the Israel Bar Association annual conference in Eilat and in 2016 when she led ACC’s Israel Chapter’s Women’s Parliament meeting. Hilarie intends to focus her presidency on a number of key initiatives including reforming legal education; advancing women in the law; establishing a legal fact check program; and addressing the legal needs of homeless youth.Click here to watch her inspiring speech to the ABA House of delegates during the ABA annual meeting in New York.

Click on the links below for a small sampling of the many media outlets that have been writing about Hilarie and her initiatives :

Miami lawyer is named president of American BarMiami Herald

ABA creates fact checker website for legal issues in the newsBloomberg Big Law Business

New ABA President Takes on Gender Equity in the LawLaw 360

Problems Plaguing Law Schools Are Focus for New ABA PresidentALM/

New ABA President Sets Sights on Access to Justice, Diversity and Young LawyersNY Law Journal

The ‘Global Financial City Tokyo’ Initiatives

Posted in Banking & Financial Services

Tokyo used to be one of the biggest global financial centers rivaling New York and London. Now, being far behind Hong Kong and Singapore, Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) aims to return as a top global financial center. In its attempt to once again become a global financial city, TMG appears to be willing to accommodate demands from foreign financial players.

In June 2017, TMG released the interim report on the “Global Financial City Tokyo” Initiatives (the Initiatives). While discussions are currently ongoing to determine specific policies or measures to be included in the Initiatives, below are key items that are proposed in the interim report. TMG widely solicits ideas on how to revitalize Tokyo’s financial city function and restore its shine as a global financial center.

For more information on the Initiatives, please read our GT Alert, “The ‘Global Financial City Tokyo’ Initiatives.”

Employment Law Changes Leave Employers In Limbo

Posted in Labor & Employment

Over the last 12 months, employment lawyers who advise companies who do business in the United States may have begun to feel some unease about guiding their clients through a changing legal environment. Even those who have been practicing for years have been at a loss as to how to predict what may be coming next. In addition to the many questions that remain for dealing with US immigration issues, we are left scratching our heads with respect to several areas where US agencies have taken great interest of late, including overtime, joint employment, the persuader rule and tip pools, just to name a few. In this environment, how should employment lawyers guide their clients forward during these uncertain times in the United States?

In summer 2016, many attorneys were busy helping companies restructure, as necessary, positions that were likely to become subject to overtime rules with major increases in the minimum salary test for exemption purposes. Raising the minimum threshold for exemption to almost $47,000, about double what it was previously, would surely impact many employees around the country. Suddenly, a federal district judge in Texas put a stop to the implementation of those rules and issued a preliminary injunction, which the U.S. Department of Justice then appealed.

Under the current administration, it is unclear what will come next. The DOJ recently filed its reply brief before the court of appeals and took the position that changes may still be made to the salary test, but that it is unlikely to be as high as the previously proposed change. The DOJ’s brief called for the Fifth Circuit to reject the notion that the U.S. Department of Labor cannot set any minimum salary test and that its previous regulations violated the 10th Amendment. But it also noted that the DOL would undertake further rulemaking to determine the correct minimum salary level, expressly stating it was not going to advocate for the previous level set by the Obama administration. If the Fifth Circuit reverses the district court, it is possible that the new rules from last year, which were supposed to start on Dec. 1, 2016, will take effect immediately.

In any event, on July 25, 2017, the DOL announced its intent to start the rulemaking process to determine the correct minimum salary for exempt employees. The agency’s goal is to lower the “regulatory burden.” In particular, the DOL is seeking responses to several important questions, which now remain uncertain, including the appropriate measure for the inflation factor; the question of using multiple levels depending on the region and position; using different levels depending on the specific exemption claimed; whether the short and long tests should be reinstated and/or updated; the importance of salary level versus the duties test; evaluating the response and impact to the 2016 final rule; and determining whether the various salary levels should automatically update based on changes to the inflation rate/consumer price index. Those desiring to submit written comments must send them to the DOL by Sept. 25, 2017.1

Additionally, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta withdrew the prior administration’s administrative interpretations (AIs) from 2015 and 2016 relating to Fair Labor Standards Act issues, but cautioned generally that employers must still obey the FLSA. This may also signal a change in practice at the DOL, which used to issue opinion letters in response to specific requests for guidance on particular questions. Opinion letters may once again become the norm.

And then there is the issue that seemed to be spreading throughout many different agencies, not just the DOL: the question of what constitutes a joint employer. Employment lawyers, with the more expansive view started first by the National Labor Relations Board, cautioned employers to review and consider changes to agreements in a variety of contexts: franchises, management services agreements and joint ventures. It seemed that the definition of joint employment would be so broad that it would cover employers far beyond what was originally imagined when using temporary staffing agencies or other types of workers to supplement their regular workforce or partnering with other entities on joint ventures or projects. On June 7, 2017, the DOL withdrew its guidance that many employers were already implementing or in the process of implementing. It remains unclear when the DOL will issue new guidance on this topic. Moving forward, employers may be dealing with different standards in DOL investigations compared to civil actions. Additionally, there are also differences among agencies that are also cause for confusion. These conflicts will continue until all relevant agencies adopt a clear, uniform statement.

Another area that garnered much attention last year is the persuader rule, which was set for expansion until those changes were enjoined from taking effect. The rule would have obligated those consultants (even attorneys) involved in union elections to disclose their relationships and payments related to such services, among other things. The proposed changes were set back further on June 12, 2017, when the DOL announced proposed rulemaking in this arena, too.

Likewise, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had proposed a rule mandating electronic reporting of certain information relating to accidents, which was supposed to go into effect on July 1, 2017. That too has been postponed, until Dec. 1, 2017, to give OSHA additional time to consider and review the rule.

The DOL also announced on July 20, 2017, that it intends to repeal the 2011 regulations that severely limited tip pooling. Some employers use tips received to offset the amount they must pay the employees to reach minimum wage requirements. The DOL required all tips to be distributed to employees even if beyond minimum wage and even if they did not take any credit. A recent federal appellate decision from the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals decided that the DOL exceeded its authority when it promulgated rules that required employers who pay above minimum wage to distribute tips to employees even if they are not using the tip credit to offset payment of their employees’ wages. It now appears the DOL is reversing its position. The DOL has announced that its investigators may not enforce the Obama-era rule, which limited an employers’ ability to use tips to offset its minimum wage obligations. The DOL is expected to embark on new rulemaking in this area sometime this month.

All these changes mean that companies with operations in the United States remain in limbo on some key employment issues that had been the subject of much discussion over the past 18 months and, in many cases, had already started them on paths of change. Many states had changed their rules to track federal standards. Now that these areas have become murkier, to be safe, employers can choose to comply with the stricter prior guidelines until more definite standards are issued. Failure to do so is a riskier path forward, and more definite guidance upon which to base some fairly significant policy positions, is not likely to come in the near future.

1 For more details on the reasoning behind this request for information and its parameters, see up

A version of this article was originally published in Law360 on Aug. 11, 2017.