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Business Law

  • Sep 15, 2020Danielle DeFilippis and Mike Locke Present Makerhoods First $100k Bootcamp

    Danielle M. DeFilippis, a Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Co-Chair of its Intellectual Property Law Practice Group, and Michael J. Locke, an Associate of the firm, recently presented a virtual course to 20 attendees as part of the “First $100k Bootcamp” program hosted by Makerhoods.

    “One of the best parts of my job is helping others succeed. I truly enjoy watching entrepreneurs grow their businesses, and to be a part of that brings joy to what I do,” said DeFilippis.

    Locke added, “It’s an honor to be able to stand in front of these ambitious individuals and help them build their futures.”

    About the Makerhoods First $100k Bootcamp

    DeFilippis addressed selecting, clearing, and protecting a brand through trademark law, while Locke spoke on entity formation, the logistics of expanding a business into new states and countries, and how small businesses can use contracts to their advantage.

    Makerhoods in Newark is a unique and original project including restoration of the historic Krueger-Scott Mansion and new construction to support local makers. Its aim is to help small businesses succeed by providing an apartment, commercial space, and business development services for a low monthly fee. The Makerhoods “First $100k Bootcamp” is a free, 10-week, online business training program for product-based businesses on how to grow a business to $100,000 in sales.

    About Danielle DeFilippis

    DeFilippis focuses her practice on intellectual property, contracts, and litigation. Her passion for food and beverage brands began at a young age, as she watched her father service various food brands through his work for a sales and marketing company. As the products came through her household, DeFilippis learned about marketing and branding from a retail and manufacturing perspective. Her appetite grew, and she now enjoys working with emerging and established food and beverage companies on brand development, clearance, counseling through the various stages of growth, and when the need arises, prosecuting and defending litigation.

    DeFilippis is an author for Norris McLaughlin’s trademark, copyright, and unfair competition blog, More Than Your MaⓇk™. She has been recognized by NJBIZ in its “Manufacturing Power 50” list and named to New Jersey Law Journal’s 2019 list of “New Jersey Trailblazers” for her efforts in the food and beverage industry in New Jersey and for expanding those efforts on a global scale.

    DeFilippis received her J.D. from Seton Hall University School of Law in 2004 and her B.A. from The Pennsylvania State University in 2001.

    About Mike Locke

    Locke focuses on providing counsel to small businesses in all phases of their corporate existence, from formation through merger and acquisition. He works closely with clients as they grow and expand their businesses, offering advice and legal guidance in connection with customer and supplier agreements, terms and conditions of use (for both physical and digital products), inter-business relationships (including joint ventures), export regulations, securities regulations, litigation support, and more.

    Locke is especially focused on working with businesses that seek to bridge the gap between commercial success and environmental or social responsibility. He has counseled clients in forming “benefit corporations” (also known as “B-corps”) and drafting corporate governing documents for those seeking to maximize profitability and have a positive effect on their communities while minimizing their own environmental impacts. Locke also has experience assisting larger corporations to conduct cross-border transactions, including the international purchase and sale of goods as well as the international purchase and sale of assets and equity.

    Locke earned his J.D. in 2013, cum laude, from Brooklyn Law School, and his B.A. in 2010, magna cum laude, from Rutgers University.

    Posted in: Business Law, Danielle M. DeFilippis, Food, Beverage & Hospitality, Intellectual Property, Michael J. Locke, News | Tags: , , , ,

  • Aug 24, 2020Norris McLaughlin Brings on Two New Members in Firm Expansion Plans

    The law firm of Norris McLaughlin, P.A., is pleased to welcome Jeffrey K. Cassin and Ross J. Switkes as Members of the firm. Cassin will be the lead corporate attorney in New York as part of its larger Business Law Practice Group, while Switkes joins the growing Bankruptcy & Creditors’ Rights Practice Group in the New Jersey office.

    Despite a pall of anxiety across the law firm industry regarding the economic uncertainty brought on by the pandemic, Norris McLaughlin Chairman, John N. Vanarthos, explained that these strategic additions were critical components of the firm strategy for emerging from the pandemic in a position of strength. He also added that it was important for the firm that both of these members reflect the dogmatic philosophy of always looking for “what’s next.”

    “To be able to provide services our clients need, in a time of need, is so crucial to us. We are excited to have Jeff bring our already-well-established business group to New York, and to have Ross as an essential member of our bankruptcy group is truly a testament to our firm’s commitment to client service,” said Vanarthos.

    About Jeff Cassin

    Cassin represents companies at every stage of a corporate lifecycle, from start-up, investment stage, growth (through acquisition or organic), mature companies to their exit, with deep experience in mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity. Cassin has led several successful acquisitions and divestitures, guiding clients on deal structuring issues, negotiation, and closing, and has recently closed transactions in media, technology, human capital, insurance, entertainment, restaurant management, and represented an underwriter before FINRA in launching a SPAC. He additionally represents mid-size businesses, funds, start-ups, media and technology companies, and individual investors, among others. Prior to Norris McLaughlin, Cassin was Co-Section Chief of the Business Law section of his previous law firm.

    Cassin has a reputation for being solutions-oriented.  He has taken a special interest in helping clients face issues arising out of the pandemic, such as accessing opportunities under the CARES Act and state programs and preparing their business structure, operation, and contracts for pandemic disruption or, in some cases, pandemic-related growth opportunities.

    On joining Norris McLaughlin, Cassin states, “Norris McLaughlin’s approach throughout the pandemic has been to help clients work through it so they come out stronger on the other end, which is a value that I share. I’m excited to be joining the team.”

    He earned his J.D. in 2005 from Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law and his B.A. in 2002 from The George Washington University: Elliot School of International Affairs.

    About Ross Switkes

    Switkes focuses his practice on bankruptcy, debtor/creditor rights, corporate restructuring, and commercial litigation. He represents Chapter 7, 11, and 12 trustees, debtors, secured and unsecured creditors, committees, purchasers of assets and stalking horse bidders, officers and directors, non-debtor spouses, landlords, defendants in avoidance actions, insurance companies, distressed companies, and municipalities.

    Switkes currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Lawyers Advisory Committee for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of New Jersey, a committee that has served as a two-way conduit between the bankruptcy bar and the Board of Bankruptcy Judges for approximately 25 years. He also is a Trustee of the Mercer County Bar Association and Co-Chair of its Bankruptcy, Budget, and Golf Committees. In addition, Switkes is a speaker on educational panels conducted by the International Women’s Insolvency and Restructuring Confederation, International Council of Shopping Centers, Mercer County Bar Association, and Essex County Bar Association. His articles have appeared in the American Bankruptcy Institute Journal and American Bankruptcy Trustee Journal, among other publications.

    “I am excited to join Norris McLaughlin and its Bankruptcy Group. It is a privilege to join such a well-respected team. Not only am I benefitting from having access to the kind of business platform and infrastructure that I need to grow my practice, but my clients will benefit from the opportunity to take advantage of the broader range of high-quality legal services that Norris McLaughlin offers, and they can do so without an interruption in value,” said Switkes.

    In 2018, Switkes was named in the New Jersey Law Journal Professional Excellence Awards as a “New Leader of the Bar” and was also recognized by the Mercer County Bar Association as “Young Lawyer of the Year.” He has been recognized by New Jersey Super Lawyers® as a “Rising Star” in the area of Bankruptcy: Business every year since 2017. Switkes earned his J.D. in 2010 from Seton Hall University School of Law and his B.A., cum laude, in 2007 from Ramapo College of New Jersey.

    Posted in: Bankruptcy & Creditors' Rights, Business Law, Jeffrey K. Cassin, News, Ross J. Switkes | Tags: , , ,

  • Jun 09, 2020Understanding The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act

    S. Graham Simmons, III, a Member of the law firm, Norris McLaughlin, P.A., and Co-Chair of its Business Law Practice Group, and the Hon. Rebecca L. Warren (Ret.), also a Member of the firm, will present the free webinar, “Understanding The Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act,” for the Greater Lehigh Valley Chamber of Commerce.

    About the Paycheck Protection Program Flexibility Act

    Discussion topics will include:

    • How the most recent legislation impacts the eligibility and covered period originally enacted in the CARES Act
    • What is included in the definition of “payroll payments” in order to meet the threshold for eligibility
    • What to expect if your business is one of the more than 30,000 borrowers who received a PPP loan of $2 million or more
    • The best way to avail your business of the safe harbor provisions and effectively cancel your loan
    • What steps might the DOJ take next if an audit finding uncovers fraud

    When: Wednesday, June 17, 2020

    11:00 a.m. – noon

    Registration: web.lehighvalleychamber.org

    About Graham Simmons

    Graham is a business and real estate lawyer. In his practice, he has served both public and private sector clients on all types of M&A transactions, commercial and syndicated credit facilities, economic development projects, real estate transactions, leases, and land use and zoning matters. Graham has represented clients across a diverse spectrum of industries and is deeply experienced in the banking and financial services, health care, real estate development, economic development, and automobile dealership industries.

    Graham has been proud to represent the Lehigh Valley’s area loan organizations in numerous economic development loans funded by the Pennsylvania Industrial Development Authority and Small Business First Fund. He also serves as Solicitor to the City of Easton Parking Authority and the Northampton County Gaming Revenue and Economic Redevelopment Authority.

    About Rebecca Warren

    Rebecca Warren devotes her practice to labor and employment, business and corporate matters, and general liability litigation. As a former in-house corporate attorney and having counseled businesses for over 25 years, she is acutely aware of the unique and varied legal needs of business clients. Rebecca has created thousands of customized legal documents for corporations, partnerships, LLCs, and sole proprietors. She is also well-versed in providing legal strategy and guidance regarding daily business issues and concerns ranging from employment matters to third-party disputes.

    As a former prosecutor, Rebecca is well-positioned to counsel clients in crisis management, internal and governmental investigations, and regulatory and business compliance. She has represented prominent clients in high-stakes and multi-million-dollar cases at the county, state, and federal levels in multiple states. In addition, Rebecca has extensive experience in insurance defense, white-collar crime, election law,  health care, commercial law, estate practice and administration, family law, and real estate.

    Rebecca handles all aspects of litigation for her clients, having appeared in court on thousands of hearings, proceedings, arbitrations, jury and non-jury trials, and appeals. She was formerly appointed Solicitor for various non-profit organizations and government agencies and had regularly served as a county Arbitration panel member and Chairperson.

    Posted in: Business Law, Events, Hon. Rebecca L. Warren (Ret.), S. Graham Simmons, III | Tags: , ,

  • May 22, 2020Rebecca Warren Speaks on Business Preparedness for Workforce Return in the Construction Industry

    The Honorable Rebecca L. Warren (Ret.), Member of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., presented “Business Preparedness for Workforce Return: Construction Industry Focus” for the Associated Builders and Contractors Lehigh Valley & Northeast Pennsylvania Council virtual meeting on May 21.

    “This is quite a confusing time and with the laws constantly changing, it’s hard for business owners to keep up. Especially for the construction business, we have found it challenging to determine the best way to resume operations, particularly when the guidance varies by job site. I am pleased to be a member of the local chapter of the Associated Builders and Contractors and to be a resource for them,” said Warren.

    About Construction Business Preparedness

    Warren addressed best practices for the needs of each business, how to keep workers safe from the coronavirus, Governor Wolf’s guidance for the construction industry, OSHA requirements, the discovery of COVID-19 exposure, and what to do if employees refuse to return to work.

    About Rebecca Warren

    Warren devotes her practice to labor and employment, business and corporate matters, and general liability litigation.

    As a former in-house corporate attorney and having counseled businesses for over 25 years, Warren is acutely aware of the unique and varied legal needs of business clients. She has created thousands of customized legal documents for corporations, partnerships, LLCs, and sole proprietors. Warren is also well-versed in providing legal strategy and guidance regarding daily business issues and concerns ranging from employment matters to third-party disputes.

    As a former prosecutor, Warren is well-positioned to counsel clients in crisis management, internal and governmental investigations, and regulatory and business compliance. She has represented prominent clients in high-stakes and multi-million-dollar cases at the county, state, and federal levels in multiple states.

    In addition, Warren has extensive experience in insurance defense, white-collar crime, election law, health care, commercial law, estate practice and administration, family law, and real estate.

    Warren handles all aspects of litigation for her clients, having appeared in court on thousands of hearings, proceedings, arbitrations, jury and non-jury trials, and appeals. She was formerly appointed Solicitor for various non-profit organizations and government agencies and had regularly served as a county Arbitration panel member and Chairperson.

    Prior to joining Norris McLaughlin, Warren founded a multi-county law firm and real estate closing company and was a partner in a Philadelphia firm.

    Warren was elected as the first female District Attorney of Montour County by a 3:1. In that role, she designed and implemented an intensive, personalized victim rights program; created the Multi-Disciplinary Investigative Team for child abuse cases to minimize trauma for minor victims; and collaborated with agencies to provide services and treatment for offenders.

    Warren received her J.D. from The Dickinson School of Law in 1991 and her B.A. with honors from Bloomsburg University in 1988.

    Posted in: Business Law, Construction Law, Hon. Rebecca L. Warren (Ret.), News | Tags: , ,

  • May 07, 2020Business Preparedness for Workforce Return

    Michelle M. Forsell and the Hon. Rebecca L. Warren (Ret.), Members of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., will present the free webinar, “Business Preparedness for Workforce Return,” hosted by the Upper Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce.

    Being Prepared for Workforce Return in Pennsylvania

    With Pennsylvania Governor Wolf reclassifying of certain counties to “yellow” status as of Friday, May 8, many businesses are unsure of the legal and practical requirements to prepare their physical location, workforce, customers, and clients for the return to work. Michelle and Rebecca will discuss how business owners can best plan for the resumption of business operations, as well as address employee retention and compensation, unemployment issues, and available coronavirus relief loan programs.

    When: Thursday, May 14, 2020

    10:00 – 11:00 a.m.

    Registration: upvchamber.org/events

    About Your Presenting Attorneys

    Michelle Forsell

    Michelle focuses her practice primarily on estate planning and administration, and municipal law. She represents clients in all aspects of estate planning, including the preparation of wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and health care directives, and careful analysis to minimize the tax liabilities resulting from such planning.

    Former Solicitor to the Borough of East Greenville, Michelle is experienced in drafting and implementing resolutions and ordinances, complying with the Right to Know law, and dealing with zoning and land use issues and tax appeals. She serves as a Montgomery County Arbitrator, and teaches a number of law courses at Cedar Crest College. Michelle is also accredited by the Veteran’s Administration (VA) and provides advice to veterans, helps with the preparation of VA paperwork, and represents veterans before the VA.

    Michelle is a board member of The Gulack Foundation, the Upper Perkiomen YMCA, and the Project Live Upper Perk. She is 2nd Vice-Chair for the Upper Perkiomen Valley Chamber of Commerce and is secretary of the Board of Directors and Chair of the Governance Committee of Frederick Living, a Mennonite Health Services not-for-profit continuing care retirement community.

    About Rebecca Warren

    Rebecca devotes her practice to labor and employment, business and corporate matters, and general liability litigation. As a former in-house corporate attorney and having counseled businesses for over 25 years, she is acutely aware of the unique and varied legal needs of business clients. Rebecca is also well-versed in providing legal strategy and guidance regarding daily business issues and concerns ranging from employment matters to third-party disputes.

    As a former prosecutor, Rebecca is well-positioned to counsel clients in crisis management, internal and governmental investigations, and regulatory and business compliance. She has represented prominent clients in high-stakes and multi-million-dollar cases at the county, state, and federal levels in multiple states.

    In addition, Rebecca has extensive experience in insurance defense, white-collar crime, election law, health care, commercial law, estate practice and administration, family law, and real estate. She handles all aspects of litigation for her clients, having appeared in court on thousands of hearings, proceedings, arbitrations, jury and non-jury trials, and appeals. Rebecca was formerly appointed Solicitor for various non-profit organizations and government agencies and had regularly served as a county Arbitration panel member and Chairperson.

    Rebecca was elected as the first female District Attorney of Montour County by a 3:1 margin, serving from 2012 to 2016. In that role, she designed and implemented an intensive, personalized victim rights program; created the Multi-Disciplinary Investigative Team for child abuse cases to minimize trauma for minor victims; and collaborated with agencies to provide services and treatment for offenders.

    Posted in: Business Law, Events, Hon. Rebecca L. Warren (Ret.), Labor & Employment, Michelle M. Forsell | Tags: , , , ,

  • Apr 05, 2020Business Interruptions in the Time of COVID-19 [WEBINAR]

    Margaret Raymond-Flood and Nicholas A. Duston, Members of law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., will present the free webinar, “Business Interruptions in the Time of COVID-19,” hosted by the Somerset County Business Partnership, in which Eric Alvarez, an Associate of the firm, will moderate.

    COVID-19 Business Interruptions

    This webinar will discuss two important topics that many business owners are currently dealing with as a result of the current pandemic:

    1. Does insurance cover “business interruptions” due to COVID-19?
    2. What happens if a business can’t perform on its contractual obligations due to the current business climate?

    When: Tuesday, April 7, 2020

    2:00 – 3:00 p.m.

    Registration: scbp.org

    About Your Presenters

    Margaret Raymond-Flood

    Margaret devotes her practice to general litigation with an emphasis on complex commercial matters. She has appeared in the federal and state courts of New Jersey, as well as the federal courts of other jurisdictions. Margaret has considerable experience in the defense of environmental litigation. She also serves as panel counsel in a variety of professional liability claims, including legal, medical and environmental matters.

    Margaret has extensive litigation experience, including pretrial procedure, motion practice, and taking and defending depositions of corporate representatives, employees, and expert witnesses throughout the country. She has tried several complex matters on both the state and federal levels and she has also used state-of-the-art technology as part of her trial preparation and presentation. In addition, Margaret has participated as a speaker in seminars dealing with a variety of insurance-related topics and trial presentation.

    Margaret is Chair of the firm’s Response to Electronic Discovery and Information (“REDI”) Group, an interdisciplinary team that helps clients with the identification, preservation, collection, review, and production of massive amounts of electronically-stored information required by federal and state court rules. She authors and presents extensively on this topic as well.

    Nick Duston

    Nick focuses on complex commercial litigation in the state and federal courts of New Jersey and New York, as well as arbitrations with the American Arbitration Association (AAA), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and other arbitration organizations. His practice is primarily focused on disputes involving business owners, their managers, and their employees. Nick has extensive experience litigating fraud and breaches of fiduciary duty and regularly handles cases with related issues such as employee theft of trade secrets, diversion of corporate opportunities, or breaches of restrictive covenants or non-compete obligations. He is adept at unwinding complex fact patterns such as those arising from complicated financial instruments, complex multi-entity business structures, or large amounts of electronically-stored information (ESI).

    In representing companies, company owners, and officers/managers, Nick’s practice also includes white-collar criminal matters, such as conducting internal investigations or defending companies and individuals during internal or government investigations into alleged securities fraud, money laundering, and other financial crimes. He has also handled many matters at the intersection of white-collar and civil litigation. Nick also regularly handles issues relating to government seizure of property, particularly on behalf of secured lenders, including defense against civil and criminal asset forfeiture, as well as civil rights litigation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 when the government seizes property without due process or in violation of other constitutionally-protected rights. He is adept at preserving lienholders’ rights and securing possession of collateral in a variety of civil contexts

    Eric Alvarez

    Eric Alvarez concentrates his practice on complex commercial litigation in both state and federal court. He represents businesses of all shapes and sizes—from closely-held partnerships to international corporations—in a wide range of litigation matters, including general commercial litigation, consumer fraud, product liability, and franchise disputes.

    Eric came to Norris McLaughlin to better serve the companies and individuals in his local community. A resident of Somerset County, he is active in the local bar association and the Somerset County Business Partnership. Eric maximizes his previous “Big Law” experience and better serve his clients’ needs with the firm’s depth and breadth of experience, nimble market position, and focus on assisting businesses and individuals in the local community prosper.

    Posted in: Business Law, Eric Alvarez, Events, Insurance Coverage, Margaret Raymond-Flood, Nicholas A. Duston | Tags: , , , , ,

  • Mar 30, 2020Federal/State Relief Programs for Small Business Owners [WEBINAR]

    Michael J. Locke, an Associate at law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., will co-present the free webinar, “Federal/State Relief Programs for Small Business Owners,” hosted by Office Evolution Somerville. Part one of this two-part series is “Managing Your Business through COVID-19.” This second and final part will address aid and relief for small business owners impacted by COVID-19.

    Discussion Topics for Small Business Owners:

    • Federal and State COVID-19 Programs for Businesses
    • Future State of Emergency Planning and Preparation Options

    When: Friday, April 3, 2020

    3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

    Registration: meetup.com

    About Michael Locke

    Michael’s practice focuses on providing counsel to small businesses in all phases of their corporate existence, from formation through merger and acquisition. He also works closely with clients as they grow and expand their businesses, offering advice and legal guidance in connection with customer and supplier agreements, terms and conditions of use (for both physical and digital products), inter-business relationships (including joint ventures), export regulations, securities regulations, litigation support, and more.

    Michael is especially focused on working with businesses that seek to bridge the gap between commercial success and environmental or social responsibility. He has counseled clients in forming “benefit corporations” (also known as “B-corps”) and drafting corporate governing documents for those seeking to maximize profitability and have a positive effect on their communities while simultaneously minimizing their environmental impacts. Michael also has experience assisting larger corporations conduct cross-border transactions, including the international purchase and sale of goods as well as the international purchase and sale of assets and equity.

    Michael joined the firm after spending three years with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. As a Deputy Attorney General, he led a trial team that handled complex, white-collar criminal and regulatory matters. Michael investigated and prosecuted cases involving insurance fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, racketeering, and other related financial crimes. As such, he has worked closely with many of the country’s largest insurance companies and financial institutions as well as state and federal regulators. Drawing on this diverse experience, Michael offers a unique perspective to clients seeking a broad and creative approach to growing and protecting their businesses.

    Posted in: Business Law, Events, Michael J. Locke | Tags: , ,

  • Mar 30, 2020Managing Your Business Through COVID-19 [WEBINAR]

    Michael J. Locke, an Associate at law firm Norris McLaughlin, P.A., will co-present the free webinar, “Managing Your Business through COVID-19,” hosted by Office Evolution Somerville. Part one of the two-part series will address key questions small business owners and entrepreneurs may have due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The second part is “Federal/State Relief Programs for Small Business Owners.”

    COVID-19 Managing Business Discussion Topics Include:

    • Reviewing and Renegotiating Insurance Policies and Bank Relationships
    • Creating and Improving Business Operations and Processes
    • Maximizing and Controlling Cash Flow
    • Understanding Decision Impact
    • Protecting Supply Chain

    When: Wednesday, April 1, 2020

    3:00 – 4:00 p.m.

    Registration: meetup.com

    About Michael Locke

    Michael’s practice focuses on providing counsel to small businesses in all phases of their corporate existence, from formation through merger and acquisition. He also works closely with clients as they grow and expand their businesses, offering advice and legal guidance in connection with customer and supplier agreements, terms and conditions of use (for both physical and digital products), inter-business relationships (including joint ventures), export regulations, securities regulations, litigation support, and more.

    Michael is especially focused on working with businesses that seek to bridge the gap between commercial success and environmental or social responsibility. He has counseled clients in forming “benefit corporations” (also known as “B-corps”) and drafting corporate governing documents for those seeking to maximize profitability and have a positive effect on their communities while simultaneously minimizing their environmental impacts. Michael also has experience assisting larger corporations conduct cross-border transactions, including the international purchase and sale of goods as well as the international purchase and sale of assets and equity.

    Michael joined the firm after spending three years with the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General. As a Deputy Attorney General, he led a trial team that handled complex, white-collar criminal and regulatory matters. Michael investigated and prosecuted cases involving insurance fraud, securities fraud, money laundering, racketeering, and other related financial crimes. As such, he has worked closely with many of the country’s largest insurance companies and financial institutions as well as state and federal regulators. Drawing on this diverse experience, Michael offers a unique perspective to clients seeking a broad and creative approach to growing and protecting their businesses.

    Posted in: Business Law, Events, Michael J. Locke | Tags: , ,

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