Arming Your Organization Against Fraud

Lauren Kreutzinger, VonLehman CPA & Advisory Firm, lkreutzinger@vlcpa.com Fraud does not discriminate. Any organization, big or small, is susceptible to fraud and the financial loss, headaches, and embarrassment that inevitably follows. Recently, a well-known fraternal organization fell victim to fraud...
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New Overtime Regulations Increasing Salary Threshold Become Final

John Christopher, Manley Burke LPA, john.christopher@fraternallaw.com On September 24, 2019, the proposed Department of Labor rules modifying overtime pay became final. The new rules will be effective January 1, 2020. Among other items, the new rule updates the salary and...
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Update on FLSA

John Christopher, Manley Burke, john.christopher@manleyburke.com As reported in the November 2016 special edition of this Newsletter, the Department of Labor’s final rule (“Final Rule”) under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) raising the exempt salary threshold from $23,660 to $47,476...
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Sorority Announces Policy on Trans and Non-binary Inclusion

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Delta Phi Epsilon recently announced its “Policy on Trans and Non-Binary Inclusion.”  The policy makes it clear that the sorority is “welcoming and inclusive of trans women and non-binary individuals.  Any conduct which fosters a...
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Federal District Court Blocks New Overtime Rule

Now what do we do? Sean Callan & Jacklyn Olinger, Manley Burke, sean.callan@manleyburke.com & jacklyn.olinger@manleyburke.com As we have previously reported, the Department of Labor ("DOL") issued a new rule under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) raising the exempt salary...
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Former House Corporation President Sentenced for Embezzlement

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The September 2016 issue of Fraternal Law described Jennifer Elizabeth Meehan’s embezzlement from the House Corporation of Gamma Phi Beta at the University of Alabama, which she was the President of.  Meehan, who lost her...
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"Greeks and Risk" Provides Interesting Lessons

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The URMIA Journal for 20161 carries an article entitled “Greeks and Risk:  Lesson From Claims.”  The article studies 162 claims received between 2010 and 2014.  It highlights the fact that “claims arising from fraternity activities...
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Two House Corporation Officers Plead Guilty to Fraud

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Several recent embezzlements by officers in Greek house corporations have underscored the need for appropriate financial controls.  Press releases by the United States Justice Department announcing two recent guilty pleas make clear the danger of...
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Transgender Policy Updates

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The September issue of Fraternal Law reported that Sigma Phi Epsilon had adopted a policy acknowledging that “any individual who identifies as a man is welcome to seek membership in the fraternity.”  Fraternal Law inaccurately...
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Recent Developments with Campus Security Authorities

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The Clery Act, which has now been in place for some 25 years, requires colleges and universities to track the incidents of certain crimes on and near campuses.  It also requires that that data be...
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Sigma Phi Epsilon Becomes First Men's Fraternity to Adopt Clear Transgender Policy

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Sigma Phi Epsilon appears to be the first traditional men’s fraternity to adopt a clear transgender policy.  The policy adopted this summer states: “Sigma Phi Epsilon is a national Fraternity built on the brotherhood and...
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Proposed Overtime Regulations Would Significantly Limit Overtime Exemptions

John Christopher, Manley Burke, john.christopher@manleyburke.com In response to President Obama’s March 13, 2014 Memorandum instructing the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) to update the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) regulations governing who qualifies for overtime, the U.S. Department of Labor...
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Religious Freedom or Religious Discrimination

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The adoption of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by the State Legislature of Indiana and its signing by Governor Mike Pence has generated substantial controversy among the higher education community and the fraternity world. The...
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Implementing a Transgender Membership Policy

Stevie Tran Awareness of the transgender identity is rapidly growing, and just as quickly, colleges and universities, among other institutions, are enacting transgender protections. Fraternal organizations, too, may be considering creating a policy to address the issue of transgender membership....
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Delta Gamma States Transgender Member Policy

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com In a recent statement regarding sorority recruitment at the University of Alabama, the National Delta Gamma Fraternity expressed its membership policy as “membership is open to women and transgendered persons who identify themselves as women.”...
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You've Won the Election!

Congratulations, You’re A Chapter Officer.  Now What? It is a great honor to be elected an officer of one’s fraternity.  Experience over the years demonstrates that fraternity officers are generally people of outstanding character, not only during their undergraduate days...
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Paddletramps Case Ends

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com It’s over.  At long last, the Paddletramps case is done.  The trademark rights of fraternities and sororities have been tested in a long and complicated litigation but they have been vindicated and strengthened. The United...
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SAE Insurance Not Required to Contribute to Settlement

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Carson L. Starkey died on December 2, 2008, after participating in a "brown bag night," sponsored by the Sigma Alpha Epsilon Chapter at Cal Poly State University. He was a pledge. Starkey and other pledges...
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IRS 2012 Annual Report & 2013 Workplan

John Christopher, Manley Burke, john.christopher@manleyburke.com Last month, the Exempt Organizations (EO) division of the the Tax Exempt and Government Entities section of the IRS issued its latest annual report and work­plan (the "Report"). The Report contains some bits of infor­mation...
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Paddletramps Decision Modified

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The victory secured in protecting the trademark rights of fraternities and sororities in the Paddletramps case has been reaffirmed by the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. After the Court of Appeals...
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State Registration Requirements and Considerations

Jacklyn Olinger, Manley Burke, jacklyn.olinger@manleyburke.com As foundation executives in the Greek community are aware, both federal and state authorities are becoming increasingly focused on proper registration. Nearly all states require that a charity register if either (i) it is physically...
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Court of Appeals Upholds Paddletramps Decision

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The long-running Paddletramps litigation, testing the strength of fraternity and sorority trademarks, appears to be at an end with a significant victory on behalf of the Greek organizations.  On December 6th the Fifth Circuit United...
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The Chapter House Rules; How Corporate Structure Can Handcuff a House Corporation

Sean Callan, Manley Burke, sean.callan@manleyburke.com When we think of the Greek chapter house, we think of more than simply bricks and mortar.  The chapter house is often the dominant evidence of a Greek organization’s presence on a particular campus.  More...
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Trademark Infringement: It Can Run Both Ways

Sarah Otte Graber & Sean K. Owens, Wood , Herron & Evans, LLP When people think of trademarks (often simply called “marks”), they typically think of famous brand names like McDonald’s or logos like the Nike Swoosh.  Fraternities and sororities...
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$7.2 Million Verdict Obtained Against Fraternity

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke In May, a jury in the Putnam County Circuit Court in Tennessee delivered a total verdict of $8,000,000 in favor of a student who was injured at a recruitment event at the Phi Gamma Delta’s Tennessee...
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Paddletramps Trial Ends

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The long-running Paddletramps trademark litigation1 is over.  At least until an appeals court finds otherwise.  Both sides achieved some success. This case was brought by Paddletramps, which had for years been producing and selling paddles...
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FLSA Compliance for House Directors: Monitor Overtime with Caution and Care

Dianne Chipps Bailey & Susan Miller Huber, Robinson, Bradshaw & Hinson, PA, dbailey@rbh.com and shuber@rbh.com Sorority and fraternity house directors typically live where they work, which makes wage and hour compliance exceptionally challenging.  The line between working and not working...
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Beware of Unconstitutional Social Media Policies

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media are growing in popularity and importance on a daily basis.  The advances in technology are moving at the speed of light but schools are not as quick to...
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Ninth Circuit Upholds SDSU’s Nondiscrimination Policy

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke In a decision dated August 2, 2011, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit upheld San Diego State University’s nondiscrimination policy that prohibited membership restrictions on certain specified bases.1  This case differs from...
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Trademark and Licensing Case Set For Trial

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com As colleges and universities have found, licensing the use of their trademarks, mascots, names and the like, can be extremely lucrative.  Licensing the use of such marks can also help an organization owning the marks...
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Insurers Won’t Defend Hazing or Alcohol Claims

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com When hazing causes a tragic death, or serious injury, it often leads to litigation.  Some insurance providers are now taking a very hard look at whether or not they have responsibility to defend such litigation....
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UPDATES FOR FRATERNAL LAW

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Medical Marijuana is not Legal Marijuana Some 15 states and the District of Columbia have laws purporting to legalize medical marijuana.   In spite of that, possession, sale and use of marijuana remains a violation of...
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New Law Partnership Focuses on Fraternities, Sororities and Student-Life Non-Profits

Timothy M. Burke, Sean P. Callan, John E. Christopher and Daniel J. McCarthy announced the establishment of Fraternal Law Partners, the nation’s only legal partnership dedicated to serving fraternities, sororities, student life organizations and their related educational and charitable foundations....
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COLORADO COURT ISSUES IMPORTANT DISCOVERY DECISION

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke The parents of Brett Griffen, a pledge at the Sigma Alpha Mu (“SAM”) chapter at the University of Delaware who died from excessive alcohol consumption, sued SAM, the Delta Lambda Chapter of SAM and numerous members...
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SUIT AGAINST AKA, INDIVIDUALS DISMISSED; APPEAL FILED

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke Judge Natalia M. Combs Greene of the Superior Court of the District of Columbia dismissed the lawsuit brought by individual members of Alpha Kappa Alpha against AKA, the AKA Educational Advancement Foundation and twenty-four individuals.1  As...
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CENSUS BUREAU STARTS COUNTING

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Between April 1st and May 21st, the United States Census Bureau will be conducting the portion of its Census enumeration that concentrates on counting college students living on or around campus.  This will be the...
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HOST SCHOOLS CONTRACTUAL LIABILITY RISK TRANSFER: A RISK MANAGEMENT TIME BOMB OR FREE INSURANCE!

James Favor, CRM, CIC, James R. Favor & Company LLC Like a time bomb, unknown adverse contractual liability risk transfer exposures represent an increasing and very significant cost exposure for fraternities and sororities.  Contracts and risk transfer are daily issues...
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ENDOWMENT FUNDS AND THE UNIFORM PRUDENT MANAGEMENT OF INSTITUTIONAL FUNDS ACT

Sean Callan, Dinsmore& Shohl The Uniform Prudent Management of Institutional Funds Act ("UPMIFA") is a law that has been adopted, in one form or another, in all but eight states. Its provisions update and replace the Uniform Management of Institutional...
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THE LEGAL AND PROFESSIONAL CONSIDERATIONS OF SOCIAL NETWORKING – HOW FACEBOOK, TWITTER AND OTHER SOCIAL NETWORKING SITES PROVIDE OPPORTUNITY (AND RISK) FOR FRATERNAL ORGANIZATIONS

Craig Moore, Armstrong Teasdale LLP, cmoore@armstrongteasdale.com It seems beyond question that the world of social networking has taken root in the Fraternity and sorority houses of North America.  Sites like Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and Linked-In, (among many others) provide socializing...
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AKA NATIONAL PRESIDENT SUED BY MEMBERS

Dan McCarthy, Manley Burke This summer, eight members of Alpha Kappa Alpha sued their international president, Barbara McKinzie, and some current and former members of the organization’s board of directors in Washington D.C. Superior Court.  The suit seeks the removal...
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TRI-DELTA RETAINS UTAH SORORITY HOUSE AFTER LEGAL BATTLE WITH HOUSE CORPORATION

Adam Eckstein After a legal battle with a house corporation, national sorority Delta Delta Delta recovered the title to the sorority house at the University of Utah that had served the inactivated Theta Phi Chapter.  The state trial court’s decision...
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FRATERNITIES MUST NOTIFY MEMBERS AFFECTED BY COMPUTER SECURITY BREACHES

Adam Eckstein Many states and universities have enacted laws and policies, respectively, requiring computer owners to notify potential victims of identity theft when a security breach occurs.  Student organizations, which oftentimes obtain members’ personal information like credit card numbers for...
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PIKE CHAPTER AT UF REINSTATED FOLLOWING SUCCESSFUL APPEAL

Adam Eckstein The Higher Education Opportunity Act, signed into law August 14, 2008, created new fire safety reporting rules that require schools to report annually to the Secretary of the Department of Education and to the campus community.  This language...
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LOSS OF CHARTER LEADS TO LITIGATION

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com The Sigma Sigma Sigma Chapter at Missouri State had been on campus there since 1945.  In recent years, the Chapter had some problems, including a reported seven criminal reports from the House since October 2006,...
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MANDATORY, BINDING ARBITRATION WILL IT WORK IN THE GREEK SYSTEM?

Jim Ewbank, Ewbank & Byrom As many states have implemented various forms of tort reform over the last several years, fraternities and sororities have not been the beneficiaries of those changes.  Cases involving injured members continue to be filed and...
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UPDATE ON TEXAS INSURANCE LAW

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com As reported in the September 2007 issue of Fraternal Law, last year the Texas State Legislature adopted a law that requires universities in Texas to conduct risk management training sessions for fraternities and sororities.  The...
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DEPAUW AND DELTA ZETA SETTLE LITIGATON

Daniel McCarthy, Manley Burke As reported in the September, 2007 issue of Fraternal Law, Delta Zeta recently sued DePauw University in federal court, alleging, among other claims, breach of contract, defamation and tortuous interference with business relationships.  The parties announced...
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ACLU AND SIGMA ALPHA MU CHALLENGE CHAPMAN UNIVERSITY

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com According to an October 2, 2007, letter from the ACLU of Southern California to the President of Chapman University, Chapman has restricted the free speech and association rights of students desiring to affiliate with Sigma...
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TEXAS LEGISLATURE REQUIRES RISK MANAGEMENT TRAINING FOR STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS

James A. Tate, Summer Law, Clerk at Manley Burke The Texas Legislature unanimously passed a bill requiring advisors and designated officers of student organizations at institutes of higher education to attend annual risk management training beginning with the 2008 fall...
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DELTA ZETA SUES DEPAUW

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com As happens from time to time with all Greek organizations, Delta Zeta identified one of its chapters as having significant problems.  The Delta Zeta Chapter at DePauw University had declined in membership to a dangerously...
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ENFORCEABILITY OF LIABILITY WAIVERS

Elizabeth Hutton Are liability waivers used by fraternities and sororities in the context of social events, particularly recreational activities, enforceable? The answer is that, like most other things in the law, “it depends.” While the enforceability of liability waivers varies...
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FIREARMS IN THE HOUSE

Robert Manley, Manley Burke An increasing number of states have passed laws to authorize certain persons to carry concealed weapons.  Typically, the permit to carry a concealed weapon requires a certain amount of training in weapon use and safety. Every...
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NAMED INSURED

The provision in a fraternity insurance policy that identifies who is covered may be the most important provision in the policy.  It is called the “named insured clause.”  For a fraternity, the named insured clause should include the general fraternity,...
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FELONY MURDER

Dan McCarthy, Manley Burke Chapters must keep in mind the legal doctrine of felony murder.  Murder results from a death caused during the commission of, or in an attempt to commit a felony.  The felony murder doctrine is typically limited...
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VOLUNTEER PROTECTION ACT SAVES FRATERNITY VOLUNTEERS

Robert Manley, Manley Burke McDaniel Brookman was a prospective member of Alpha Eta Delta of Chi Psi Fraternity at the University of Oregon in Eugene, Oregon.  He was standing on the balcony of the fraternity house when the balcony collapsed. ...
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PRIVATE CAMPUS — PUBLIC RECORDS

Tim Burke, Manley Burke, tburke@manleyburke.com Certain records of even private college campuses may not be exempt from public disclosure.  A Georgia Superior Court judge ruled in February that Mercer University, a private college, must turn over records compiled by its...
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ENFORCEMENT OF TRADEMARKS

Robert E. Manley, Manley & Burke Phi Delta Theta International Fraternity filed suit against the members of a former Phi Delta Theta chapter that broke away and began operating under the name Phi Delta Alpha. Aside from their Greek letters,...
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COULD CAREER NETWORKING WORK AGAINST YOU?

Timothy M. Burke, Manley & Burke Given the brotherhood/sisterhood relationship so admirably encouraged by Greek organizations, it is not surprising that many Greek groups encourage networking within their membership by those members seeking or having employment opportunities. Some groups have...
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INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IN THE 21ST CENTURY

Robert E. Manley, Manley & Burke As Greek letter organizations enter the 21st Century, they face new challenges and opportunities in regard to their intellectual property. What is intellectual property? Do fraternities actually have intellectual property? Intellectual property includes all...
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PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS

Timothy M. Burke, Manley & Burke In light of the decision in the Pi Lambda Phi case, fraternities should keep in mind that constitutional rights, like most other rights. sometimes need active attention in order to be protected. Here are...
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CURRENT DATA SHOW FUTURE REALITY

Robert E. Manley, Manley & Burke Current population data tells us that the future is very different from the past. Black, Hispanic, and Asian populations in the United States are rapidly growing. The growth of the non-Hispanic white population has...
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LEGAL SUMMIT INITIATES DIALOGUE

Timothy M. Burke, Manley & Burke On September 6th and 7th the National Association of Student Personnel Advisors' (NASPA) Fraternity/Sorority Network, chaired by Barbara Hollman, Vice President for Student Affairs at the University of Montana, hosted a National Legal Summit...
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VOLUNTEER PROTECTION ACT

Robert E. Manley, Manley & Burke The Federal Volunteer Protection Act, 42 U.S.C. §14501, takes effect in late September, 1997. Its purpose is to protect volunteers from liability for their acts while performing services for nonprofit organizations without compensation. The...
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