SEC Cracks Down on ICO social media influencers

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

By: Kevin O’Brien

On November 29, 2018, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) announced settled charges in the first cases ever brought by the SEC alleging touting violations involving Initial Coin Offerings (“ICOs”). The SEC Orders found that professional boxer Floyd Mayweather Jr. and music producer Khaled Khaled, better known as DJ Khaled, received promotional payments from Centra Tech Inc. (“Centra”) to tout Centra’s ICO and that both did so on their social media accounts without disclosing that they were paid promotions. Centra’s ICO has previously come under scrutiny – in April 2018, the SEC filed a civil action against Centra’s founders alleging that the ICO was fraudulent, and criminal authorities separately charged and arrested both defendants. The SEC further found that Mayweather failed to disclose promotional payments he received from two other ICOs.

This result is consistent with two separate releases issued by the SEC in 2017: (1) A July 2017 report indicating the SEC’s position that coins sold in ICOs could be considered securities; and (2) a November 2017 release warning investors about celebrity endorsements of ICOs.

Here is a link to the SEC press release:


Elon Musk and Other Securities Law Lessons for Entrepreneurs

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

By: Kevin O’Brien

It is no secret that Elon Musk is a regular contributor on social media and that he has recently invited legal scrutiny into his social media habits both professionally (See and personally (See Given Mr. Musk’s high profile, there has been no shortage of commentary on these events, and the over the top nature of the communications make the lessons to be learned fairly straight forward: (1) don’t claim that you have secured funding to take your publicly traded company private at a specific price if you can’t support that claim (and, as a secondary lesson, I thought my girlfriend would laugh at my drug reference is not a compelling defense to an allegation of securities fraud); and (2) don’t call someone “pedo guy” to your 22 million closest friends unless you want to be a defendant in a defamation lawsuit. I’m sure most people – including Mr. Musk himself – are aware of the potential consequences of such actions.

Times They Are a Changing: New York Expands Marijuana Laws

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

By: Robert Townsley

Last Monday, governor Cuomo signed legislation (S8987A/A 11011-B) that amended public health law “allowing for the use of medical marijuana as an alternative to opioids for pain management and substance use disorder.”[i] This law allows a registered practitioner to certify patients for medical marijuana as an alternative to prescribing opioids. The registered practitioner needs to sign off on the prescription of medical marijuana by agreeing that a patient’s pain degrades health and functional capability, along with other requirements.

What You Need to Know about New York’s New Sexual Harassment Policy

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News



By: Christina Kennedy

New York Employers Must Act Before October 9, 2018 to Implement Sexual Harassment Policy

On October 2, 2018, New York State issued final guidance on how the new anti-sexual harassment legislation signed on April 12, 2018 must be implemented by employers. This article will summarize the new obligations for employers in New York State.

BLJ – Ruling in Colorado bakery case prompts look at bigger picture

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

The Supreme Court ruled in favor of a Colorado baker last week, handing down a 7-2 decision. The ruling, however, was a narrow victory for those in favor of the baker, as it was dependent on the specific facts of the case. The wide precedent expected in the case was not realized.

In the case, Masterpiece Cakeshop owner Jack Phillips, who cited his beliefs as a Christian, refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple in Colorado. At the time, same-sex marriage was legal in Colorado but the Supreme Court had yet to weigh in nationally.

The Reason You’re Getting So Many Privacy Policy Update Emails

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

By Robert Townsley and Shawn Roche

You’ve probably noticed all the notifications about it popping up on your phone and in your email. It’s not just you. Inboxes everywhere are experiencing a flood of emails for privacy policy updates or requests to opt-in to different types of data collection. Spotify, Etsy, Instagram, NVIDIA, Reddit, Yahoo!, and websites across the globe have been updating their privacy policies and terms of service.

Legalized Sports Gambling – Coming to a state near you?

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

By Robert Townsley

On Monday, the Supreme Court ruled 6-3 to strike down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act. This 1992 law prohibited states from authorizing sports gambling with Nevada being the sole exception.

As a result, states can now “sponsor, operate, advertise, promote, license, or authorize” sports gambling.” Meaning each state can now independently introduce legislation that would legalize sports betting. The specific questions such as must the gambling be done in person or can it be online? Will there be the option to place wagers in the middle of a game? What are the compliance and regulatory restrictions?—will be determined by each state.[i]

No Snakes on a Plane (or Dogs or Cats)? – Breaking Down United Airlines New Pet Policy

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

By Rob Townsley

After a week in March in which United Airlines loaded three dogs onto the wrong planes and a fourth died in an overhead bin, United decided to review its PetSafe program for pets traveling in the cargo compartment. Of the nearly 507,000 animals that flew on U.S. commercial carriers in 2017, 24 died, with 18 of those deaths happening on United, according to the Department of Transportation.

Effective June 18, 2018, United will implement several new policies and customer requirements for pet air transportation. The biggest change being their prohibition for 47 different breeds of dog and 4 breeds of cats (more on that below).

United’s pet traveling transportation program, named “PetSafe” in an aptly made public relations move, only accepts dogs and cats. No other household pets or animals will be accepted.

University at Buffalo Welcomes Venture Program As Startup Scene Charges Forward

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

By Matthew Pelkey

A lot can happen in two weeks—especially here in Buffalo. The Buffalo Bills drafted their first-round quarterback of the future (knock on wood). The Sabres finally won the draft lottery and the number one overall pick in the 2018 draft. Alton Brown disparaged Buffalo’s place as the chicken wing capitol of the world. And Avengers: Infinity Wars left us all feeling hopeless after Thanos killed off at least one of your favorite super heroes (rest in peace Dr. Strange). Suffice it to say we’ve had a lot going on lately.

Tenants May Waive Injunctive Relief in Commercial Leases

Written by Colligan Law on . Posted in Articles, News

By Kevin O’Brien

In late January, the Second Department issued a decision in 159 MP Corp. v. Redbridge Bedford, LLC that could have a profound impact on the adjudication of alleged tenant defaults in commercial real estate leases. In a matter that the Second Department identified as one of first impression in the appellate courts of New York, the court held that a voluntary and limited waiver of declaratory judgment remedies by a commercial tenant in a written lease does not violate New York’s public policy, particularly where the tenant did not waive other available remedies.

This waiver prevents the commercial tenant from availing itself of the most commonly used remedy in commercial real estate lease disputes: the Yellowstone injunction.