United States: Supreme Court Decides The Fate Of Same-Sex Marriages

On June 26, 2013, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decisions in two same-sex marriage cases.  In Hollingsworth v. Perry, No. 12-144, the Court ruled that the proponents of a popular voter initiative that reversed same-sex marriage approval in California did not have standing to appeal a decision by a U.S. District Court that overturned the initiative (thereby restoring same-sex marriages in California).  In Windsor v. United States, No. 12-307, the Court ruled (in a 5-4 decision) that the section of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) that required federal laws to ignore same-sex marriages that are legally entered into under an applicable state law is unconstitutional.  The Windsor decision, in particular, will have a substantial impact on the design and operation of private employer benefit plans.  The decision will also affect the number of employees who may be eligible for a family medical leave, and will require employers to address how legally recognized relationships that are not considered "marriage" (i.e., civil unions or domestic partnerships) fit in with federal and state laws pertaining to leaves.

The State of the Law Before the Windsor Ruling

Under Section 3 of DOMA, the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA) and the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (Code) had to be interpreted so that the term "spouse" could mean only a spouse of the opposite sex, in a marriage recognized under applicable state law.  This meant that an employer could (but was not required to) define the term "spouse" in its ERISA-covered benefit plans to include a spouse of the same sex as the employee.  If an employer did provide spousal benefits to same-sex spouses, there were significant tax consequences to the employee because the relationship was not recognized as a spousal relationship for tax purposes.  Also, certain spousal benefits available under retirement plans (such as assignment of benefits pursuant to a domestic relations order, or survivor benefits that would violate the incidental death benefit rule because the spouse was significantly younger than the employee) could not be provided at all.  In addition, if an employer did not carefully define the term "spouse" in its benefit plans, an employee with a same-sex spouse (or a surviving same-sex spouse) could claim benefits based on the ambiguity of the term spouse inherent where a marriage is valid under state law but not under federal law.  Employers that chose to provide same-sex benefits had the additional administrative burdens of identifying same-sex spouses as such, and then applying differing state and federal withholding and imputed income factors depending on whether an employee's spouse was a same-sex or opposite-sex spouse.  And the employer had to make sure that its insurance policies conformed to its intended (or accidental) provision of same-sex spousal benefits.

Benefits provided under plans not subject to ERISA (such as certain employee-pay-all group life insurance benefits and plans sponsored by public employers or churches) are subject only to state law, but the tax consequences of benefits provided to same-sex spouses were the same as for an ERISA-covered plan.  Also, an employer would still be faced with the question of whether a particular same-sex marriage should be recognized, depending on the state of residence of the employee and spouse when the marriage was entered into, where they resided when claiming the benefit, and where the employer is located or its plan administered. 

What the Court Held

After first ruling that it has jurisdiction to hear the case,1 the majority ruled that the equal protection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment (incorporated into the due process clause of the Fifth Amendment) prevented the federal government from refusing to recognize same-sex marriages that have been entered into under the law of a state.  The Court relied primarily on the fact that states have historically defined marriage for themselves.  Because New York chose to protect same-sex relationships by allowing same-sex couples to marry, it was a violation of equal protection for the federal government to make unequal a subset of state-sanctioned marriages.

Ms. Windsor and Ms. Spyer had lived together for 30 years when New York made domestic partnership available in 1993 – they immediately registered.  They married in Canada in 2007, and New York recognized their marriage as valid.  When Ms. Spyer died in 2009, she left her entire estate to her wife, but because of DOMA, Ms. Windsor was determined to be ineligible for the marital exemption from the federal estate tax.  The Windsor case involved her petition for a refund of estate taxes she was required to pay.  The Second Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Section 3 of DOMA was unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court granted certiorari.

Justice Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, joined by the four liberal Justices.  After eloquently describing the process of recognition of same-sex marriages by 12 states (by his count) and the District of Columbia,2 he described the historical delegation of authority to the various states to define marriage, with the federal government intervening in only limited ways, such as to ensure constitutional protection to minorities (striking down laws that forbid interracial marriage) or to protect a discrete federal interest (allowing the federal government to ignore marriages designed only to allow a non-American to immigrate, or to recognize common-law marriages for Social Security benefits even if not recognized under state law).  States, on the other hand, are free to establish varied rules for marriages (minimum age, whether cousins can marry) that are uniform within the state but may differ from others.  DOMA "departs from" this historical pattern, and imposes a uniform rule solely "to impose restrictions and disabilities" on a class of state-sanctioned marriages.  "What the State of New York treats as alike the federal law deems unlike by a law designed to injure the same class the State seeks to protect."  So Justice Kennedy frames the question as "whether the resulting injury and indignity is a depravation of an essential part of the liberty protected by the Fifth Amendment."

Notably, the Court defined the "class" that was subject to the denial of equal protection not as homosexuals, not as same-sex couples, but as "those persons who are joined in same-sex marriages made lawful by the State."  By defining the class this way, the Court seems to be saying that other states are free to limit their marriages to opposite-sex relationships – thus allowing some states to outlaw same-sex marriages while others accept them.  The dissenting Justices recognized that this definition of the class attempts to confine the scope of the majority opinion so that its impact will be limited and that its "judgment is based on federalism."

Justices Scalia, Roberts, and Thomas would have held that the Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case because of the refusal of the Justice Department to defend DOMA.  Those Justices, together with Justice Alito, also would have upheld DOMA as constitutional, based on a federal interest in uniformity and stability.  Justice Roberts opined that the federal government had an interest in eliminating state-by-state differences over something thought by most people (at the time) to be essential to the very definition of marriage, but the primary thrust of his separate opinion was to point out to readers the limited scope of the decision (of likely relevance to future challenges to state marriage definitions and their impact on same-sex couples).  Justice Scalia's extensive dissent (much of which is devoted to the jurisdictional issue) points out the difficult implications of the majority opinion – primarily based on the questions that arise when a couple is married in one state but lives in another where the marriage is not recognized.  He would have upheld DOMA as supported under the "rational basis" test for equal protection analysis.

Justice Alito (joined by Justice Thomas) observed that "[t]he Constitution does not guarantee the right to enter into a same-sex marriage" (a proposition the majority opinion appears to support as well).   He then asserted that same-sex relationships were not entitled to heightened scrutiny in equal protection cases, and that the question of whether marriage should be defined in terms of procreation (opposite sex only) or relationships should be left to the legislatures of the states and the federal government. 

What Does This Mean for Employers?

Impact of Windsor on Private Employer Benefit Plans

Effective immediately, an employee with a valid same-sex marriage will be treated as having a spouse for any benefit plan that refers to "spouses" without limitation.  This means employers can provide spousal coverage under medical plans without imputing income to those employees.  It also means that same-sex spouses will receive the benefit of spousal status for purposes of 401(k) and other retirement plans.  If an employer has been "grossing up" employees with same-sex spouses for the tax cost of the extra imputed income, that gross-up can cease.  But there are many open questions.

The Windsor decision does not eliminate all of the confusion surrounding the patchwork of state recognition of same-sex relationships, and raises additional questions that can only be answered by future regulation or litigation.  The confusion arises in large part from the myriad ways that states have chosen to recognize or disavow same-sex relationships, and the fact that the only section of DOMA that was at issue in Windsor was the section relating to recognition of such marriages by the federal government.  Section 2, which allows one state to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages entered into in another state, is still the law, and it is uncertain how a challenge to that section might fare, given the limited scope of Justice Kennedy's opinion.

At this writing, 12 states (and the District of Columbia) provide full marriage equality to same-sex relationships (plus California, based on the opinion in Hollingsworth).  Some states provide for civil unions or domestic partnerships that have all of the legal equivalence of marriage (for state law purposes) other than the name.  Some states allow for registration of domestic partnerships or civil unions for same-sex couples, or for both same-sex and opposite-sex couples, but do not provide all of the incidences or privileges of marriage to those couples.  It remains to be seen whether the federal government (for purposes of ERISA) provides spousal standing only to marriages that are labeled marriages, or also to other relationships (civil unions/domestic partnerships) that may be argued are equivalent to marriages.  Similarly, it is not clear how the law will be applied to civil unions/domestic partnerships that are entered into by same-sex couples where marriage is or was not available. 

Will civil unions/domestic partnerships entered into in a state that now recognizes same-sex marriages be treated as a marriage, or must the couple officially marry to obtain recognition by the federal government (and by extension, ERISA plans)?  If a couple lives in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriages, can they get married in a state that does, and will that marriage be recognized for ERISA purposes even if it is not recognized by the state where they live?  What if they were validly married when they lived in the other state, and moved to a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage?  If the couple's current state of residence is a state that does not recognize the marriage, the tax treatment for state purposes may be different from the tax treatment for federal purposes. 

Once we know what relationships are recognized under federal law, ERISA plans (by definition) will have to treat couples in such relationships as married for the purposes of the spousal benefits prescribed under ERISA (such as survivor benefits under tax-qualified retirement plans and 401(k) plans, and domestic relations orders).  But these plans will still be able to define "spouse" differently (narrowly or more broadly) for purposes of non-mandated spousal benefits under ERISA plans.

The Windsor decision will take effect immediately, but whether it is retroactive is not yet determined.  Even if it is retroactive, it is uncertain what effect that retroactivity has on ERISA plans that were operated in accordance with the DOMA definition of marriage.  Among the issues we have identified are:

  • How has each plan recognized "spouses" in a same-sex relationship, and will you expand or narrow the federal definition for non-mandated spousal benefits?
  • Can you offer special enrollment rights in light of the decision (is this a "change in status" for purposes of cafeteria/125 plans and medical plans)?
  • How quickly can you change payroll withholding?
  • Do you have to offer retroactive spousal survivor benefits for deaths that occurred before the ruling?
  • Do you have to obtain spousal consents for previously-distributed pension benefits that were not in joint-and-survivor form?
  • Will your benefit plans and plan descriptions need to be amended?

Impact of Windsor on FMLA Leave

The Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) provides eligible employees up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave a year for the employee to care for a spouse with a serious health condition.  If the spouse is an eligible military service member with a serious injury or illness, the employee is eligible for 26 weeks of leave.  The FMLA defines "spouse" as a husband or wife.  29 U.S.C. § 2611 (13).  The FMLA regulations issued by the Department of Labor clarify that spouse means "a husband or wife as defined or recognized under State law for purposes of marriage in the State where the employee resides."  29 CFR § 815.102.  When DOMA was enacted in 1996, its definition of spouse as only "a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or wife" controlled, so that same-sex married couples were not entitled to FMLA leave to care for their spouse.

Effect of Windsor on FMLA Leave

Now that DOMA has been overturned, the definition of spouse in the DOL regulations is once again in effect.  So, same-sex married couples who live in a state that recognizes same-sex marriages will be considered married for FMLA purposes and an employee in a same-sex marriage will be entitled to FMLA leave to care for his or her spouse.  However, because the regulations look to the employee's state of residence to determine whether a person is a spouse, an employee who lives in one of the 37 states that do not recognize same-sex marriage will not be able to take FMLA leave to care for his or her spouse even though the couple became legally married in another state.  For example, a same-sex couple married in New York living in Alabama would not be considered "spouses" for FMLA purposes.

To ensure that same-sex married couples are entitled to full FMLA protection no matter where they reside, the DOL could amend the regulation to provide that spousal status is based on the laws of the state where the employee married rather than the laws of the state where the employee resides.  Whether that will happen, and how soon, is unclear.  Various advocacy groups have indicated that they will be working to ensure that such changes are made so that same-sex married couples are treated the same under federal law regardless of their residence.  Notably, in President Obama's statement yesterday on the Windsor decision, he said he had directed the Attorney General to work with the members of the Cabinet to review all relevant federal statutes to ensure that "this decision, including its implications for Federal benefits and obligations, is implemented swiftly and smoothly."  

In one respect, the decision can result in same-sex married couples in states recognizing same-sex marriage being entitled to less FMLA leave than they had before.  Under the FMLA, an employee can take up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave for the birth, adoption, or foster care of the employee's child (Bonding Leave) or to care for a parent with a serious health condition (Family Care Leave).  However, if both spouses work for the employer, the spouses are limited to a total of 12 workweeks off between the two of them when the leave is for either Bonding Leave or Family Care Leave for a parent.  Under DOMA, same-sex married couples who worked for the same employer were not "spouses," so each one could take 12 weeks to bond with a new child or to care for their parent.  Now, for these purposes, they will be limited to a total of 12 weeks between the two of them. 

As noted above, some states which do not recognize same-sex marriage do provide for civil unions or domestic partnerships for same-sex couples.  Employees in those relationships have not been entitled to spousal leave under the FMLA and that is not likely to change.  Even before DOMA, the DOL had taken the position that employers did not have to provide FMLA leave to an employee to care for an unmarried domestic partner.  In addition, because the FMLA regulations define "spouse" in terms of the state of residence's definition of "marriage," it seems likely that (absent a change in the regulations) spousal standing under the FMLA will apply only to marriages that are labeled by the state as marriages and not to civil unions even where they may be designed to provide the legal equivalences of marriage for state law purposes. 

Impact of Windsor on State Family and Medical Leave Laws

The Windsor decision impacts employers not only on a federal law compliance level, but also with regard to state law compliance.  Some impacts may be more easily anticipated than others, however.  Under Windsor, California's recognition of same-sex marriages will now allow California employers to extend FMLA, as well as the California Family Rights Act (CFRA), to same-sex spouses.  However, California also extends legal rights under its laws to registered domestic partners.  Registered domestic partnerships can cover either same-sex couples or opposite sex couples, if one or both persons meets certain Social Security Act criteria.  Cal. Fam. Code § 297.  As a result, while Windsor will simplify how a California employer administers FMLA and CFRA leave for same-sex couples who are married, California employers will still have to grapple with the complexities of administering FMLA and CFRA for registered domestic partnerships whether the couples are in same-sex or opposite sex partnerships.

As is evident from the potential complexities that will now arise under California law, the Supreme Court's ruling does not have any immediate impact on couples in a recognized domestic partnership or civil union, leaving many same-sex couples (or opposite sex couples who may meet the definition of a recognized partnership or union) still without FMLA leave rights for a partner.  This includes states like Illinois which recognize civil unions, but not same-sex marriage. 

States that provide leave under state law and recognize civil unions, but not same-sex marriage, likely will see no change in how they administer leave under Windsor.  For example, because New Jersey does not recognize same-sex marriage but does provide leave under the New Jersey Family Medical Leave Act for employees within a civil union, New Jersey employers will continue to face the situation of state leave laws applying in scenarios in which the FMLA will not be triggered.   The same result will apply to employers operating in Oregon ("same-sex domestic partners" are covered under the Oregon Family Medical Leave Act), Connecticut ("civil unions" are covered under the Connecticut Family Medical Leave Act), Hawaii ("civil unions" are covered under the Hawaii Family Medical Leave law), Maine (same-sex "domestic partners" are covered under the Maine Family Medical Leave Act), Rhode Island ("civil unions" are covered under the Rhode Island Parental and Family Medical Leave Act), Vermont ("civil unions" are covered under the Vermont Parental and Family Leave law), Wisconsin (same-sex "domestic partners" are covered under the Wisconsin Family Medical Leave Act), and Washington ("registered same-sex domestic partners" are covered under the Washington Family Care Act). 

Recommendations for Employers

Employers in states where same-sex marriages are recognized will have to provide leave for an employee in a same-sex marriage to care for the employee's same-sex spouse.  This change will increase the number of employees who may legally be entitled for leave under the law.  Likewise, this change highlights the importance of reviewing policies, forms, and procedures to ensure that employees, managers, and administrative personnel understand under what circumstances employees in same-sex marriages, civil unions, domestic partnerships, or other relationships may be permitted leave, and to ensure that employers are properly complying with the law.

We continue to analyze the effect of these decisions on employers. Littler will publish in-depth analyses of the Windsor decision and its impact on employer benefit plans and employment taxes next week. 

Footnotes

1 This question arose because of the Justice Department's opinion that DOMA was unconstitutional and therefore it would not defend it.  The Court ruled that the Court has Article III standing because the government's refusal to refund the taxes paid by Ms. Windsor constituted an "injury in fact," and the Court has "prudential" standing because at least one of the parties before the Court (the "Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group" – the  Republican members of the House of Representatives) would defend DOMA "with vigor" even though the Justice Department agreed with Windsor that DOMA was unconstitutional, and because if the Court were to dismiss this case, it would be followed by extensive litigation, given the broad scope of DOMA.  Justice Alito opined that BLAG has direct standing to bring the case to the Court because it suffered an "injury in fact" when the Justice Department decided to stop defending DOMA.

2 Justice Kennedy wrote that these states "decided that same-sex couples should have the right to marry and so live with pride in themselves and their union and in a status of equality with all other married persons."

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Authors
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
 
In association with
Related Topics
 
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Articles
 
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.

Disclaimer

The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.

General

Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions