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Androvett NewsWire: September 15, 2011: Social Gaming / Wildfire Insurance Help / Defending Dublin
 
September 15, 2011 11:15 am

Social Game Success Leading to Lawsuits
The social gaming market will pass $1 billion this year, with almost 70 million Americans expected to be playing social games such as "Farmville" and "Zuma Blitz" by 2012. While still a fraction of the overall $25 billion video game industry, the lower development costs and increased accessibility on smart phones presents a bright future for online game companies. "Based on a rising number of users and advertisers, and willingness of players to purchase virtual items that enhance the gaming experience, there is an economic model for success," says Holt Foster of the Dallas office of Thompson & Knight. But the sector is experiencing a corresponding rise in litigation, with industry giants such as Zynga facing patent infringement claims. "As we've seen with other technology sectors, there are broadly defined patents affecting the social gaming space and legal challenges are inevitable. The outcome will have a significant effect on the industry."  For more information, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or barry@androvett.com.

First of Its Kind Ruling on Social Media in Workplace
More than once, employees have found themselves holding pink slips because of something they said about their jobs on Facebook, Twitter or other social media outlets. But Audrey Mross of Munck Carter in Dallas says employers should be very careful with such terminations. Last week, for the first time, an administrative law judge with the National Labor Relations Board ruled that a Buffalo, N.Y., company wrongfully fired five employees because of what they said on Facebook. "Basically, the NLRB is saying even disparaging comments about terms and conditions of employment among co-workers can be protected speech, whether it happens at work or after hours, via Facebook," Mross says. The NLRB reports an increasing number of charges related to employees' use of social media to discuss their employer and each other. For more information, contact Mark Annick at 800-559-4534 or mark@androvett.com.

Insurance Tips for Wildfire Victims
Texas wildfires could end up causing more than $200 million in property damage for hundreds of homeowners and businesses. While insurance companies may do their best to help those affected, the amount of damage is sure to cause a significant backlog in claims, says Houston attorney Phillip Sanov, head of The Lanier Law Firm's Bad Faith Insurance Practice Group. "The influx of claims likely will cause delays that can be costly for home and business owners," says Sanov. "The number one tip I can give to those affected is to document everything, from every conversation with adjusters to every dollar spent on essentials during evacuations. This information can help speed the claims process and ensure that you get paid what you're owed." For more information, contact Alan Bentrup at 800-559-4534 or alan@androvett.com.

International Deals Face Increased Scrutiny
Increased security measures in the post-9/11 business environment have resulted in tighter monitoring and potential sanctions for cross-border deals. "Over the last decade, we have witnessed a more rigorous and disciplined process in federal oversight that has impacted certain international transactions," says Andrew Derman of the Dallas office of Thompson & Knight. He notes that effective transnational transactions focus attention on the details and terms of the agreement and due diligence matters early in the process, better avoiding any additional delays, risks and additional costs that can come with regulatory review. "New sanction rules require parties to be more knowledgeable and careful about who they elect to do business with, where the business is located and the full scope of the business relationship." For more information, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or barry@androvett.com.

Lawyer Advises Young Women to Embrace Ambition
Rather than downshifting their careers in anticipation of needing balance, young women professionals should step on the gas and maximize their work life so that, when they need to make a choice whether or not to stay home to raise children, they won't be so bored at work that their choice is already made for them, advises Andrews Kurth partner Kathleen Wu. Echoing the sentiments of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg (whose Barnard College commencement speech inspired the column), Wu wrote in a recent column in Texas Lawyer newspaper, "Don't downplay your abilities or your ambition because you want to be a mommy someday. I promise, you can do both. But you'll only want to do both if you've started today, right now, to lean in." For more information, contact Amy Hunt at 800-559-4534 or amy@androvett.com.

Legal Defense Fund Launched in Bottler Battle
The world's oldest Dr Pepper bottler has established a legal defense fund to help defend a lawsuit filed by a division of Dr Pepper Snapple Group Inc. The Dublin Industrial Council made an initial donation of $25,000, and now other supporters can contribute through the Dublin Dr Pepper website, https://www.olddocs.com/fund.asp. "Our customers treasure our product and recognize that we're a small business that's been drawn into an expensive fight against a corporate giant," says Bill Kloster, president and CEO of Dublin Dr Pepper. While contributions of any level are accepted, supporters who contribute $50 or more can receive Dublin Dr Pepper merchandise, including a new "Save Dublin" Lawsuit Edition T-shirt. For more information, contact Bruce Vincent at 800-559-4534 or bruce@androvett.com.


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