Legal Updates

McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies: This Week in Washington — August 29, 2014

President Obama may be getting ready to drop a political nuclear bomb just months before the 2014 mid-term elections. The Obama administration is considering unilateral executive action on immigration—with action coming as early as next week.

President Obama has yet to receive formal recommendations on changes to immigration policy from Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, but White House lawyers are already crafting the legal rationale for unilateral executive action.

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Healthcare Alert: Settlement a harbinger of escalating Stark Law exposure for physician compensation?

A cardiology group practice recently agreed to pay $1.3 million to resolve allegations that it violated the Stark federal physician self-referral law and the False Claims Act by paying its physicians under a compensation formula that considered their referrals for nuclear and CT scans. On Aug. 4, 2014, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the settlement with the New York Heart Center, which has nine physicians and serves central and northern New York. 

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Customs issue further notice on DDP transactions

In our Update of 21 August we referred to the revocation of Australian Customs Notice 2000 / 30 effected by the issue of a new Australian Customs and Border Protection Notice 2014 / 36.

The revocation of the earlier Notice was of some significance given that it had been in place for 14 years and that there was no forewarning that there were problems with the Notice which necessitated its revocation. More…

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Fed up with trusts? Try a FIC!

If you want to give something away but retain some control over it, chances are that an English lawyer will tell you to use a trust. 

I am a great fan of trusts but, let’s be honest, they have some potential drawbacks.  For example, if an individual puts more than £325,000 into trust, a 20% Inheritance Tax (IHT) entry charge could be payable.  Most trustees currently pay Income Tax at between 37.5% and 45% and Capital Gains Tax (CGT) at 28%, which leaves less after tax to reinvest.  It is also very difficult to prevent beneficiaries interfering in the trust administration completely – the whole premise of a trust is that the trustees have to be accountable to the beneficiaries.  Laudable but not always wanted.

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New York Certificate of Public Advantage (COPA) Program Alert: Revised Regulations Are Particularly Relevant to DSRIP Participants

On August 27, 2014, the New York State Department of Health (“DOH”) issued revisions to its proposed regulations implementing the Certificate of Public Advantage (“COPA”) process, which will facilitate immunity for New York health care entities from state and federal antitrust liability through active state supervision of covered activities. Earlier proposed regulations were issued on September 18, 2013. The DOH’s revisions clarify the process of application, reporting requirements, periodic review, and scope of antitrust protections for entities listed in a COPA, as well as the state agencies involved in the COPA program. Public comment on the revised regulations will be accepted through September 26, 2014.

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Multistate Tax Update — August 28, 2014

Professional athletes seem to have it all. They get to play sports for a living, travel around the country, spend lots of money, live in big homes, drive fancy cars, and gain notoriety and fame. The lifestyle of a professional athlete though can be quite taxing, literally. Professional athletes must navigate a complex scheme of state and local tax laws, and are subject to taxation in nearly every destination in which they perform over the course of a season. While there is a widespread perception that athletes are subject to a unique set of taxes specially designed for athletes, often referred to as “jock taxes”, that is not entirely accurate.

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CIPO’s acceptable wares and services entries: added to TMClass, made Trilateral friendly

CIPO has announced two interesting changes regarding its Wares and Services Manual.

TMClass

First, CIPO-approved entries have now been added to TMClass, a multi-jurisdictional database of acceptable goods and services claims maintained by  Europe’s Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM).  TMClass now contains acceptable goods and services descriptions for nearly 40 different jurisdictions in 29 different languages, making it an increasingly useful resource for practitioners who are crafting IDs with an eye to minimizing or altogether avoiding local ID objections.

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Focus on Customs reform here and in the EU and our uptake on FTAs

It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the trade policy “space” (to use the cliché) and it is very clear that Governments here and overseas are placing an increased focus on customs reform as part of a global push on trade facilitation and de – regulation, even though the Protocol on adoption of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement was not adopted by the deadline of 31 July 2014.  In a related topic, a number of studies have recently been released which emphasise the need to improve the use of Free Trade Agreements (“FTA“) and for Governments to adopt measures to assist in that process. More…

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AVOIDING COMMON FRANCHISING PITFALLS FOR FRANCHISEES

A Practice Note discussing select causes of disputes and other liabilities that franchisees commonly overlook when entering into franchise agreements or other transactions that implicate state or federal franchise laws. This Note describes certain steps prospective franchisees can take to identify potential liability in franchise arrangements, including understanding franchising disclosure documents, fees and contract provisions. This Note primarily addresses franchisee concerns and does not present a comprehensive list of all possible franchising pitfalls. It is merely a guide to assist franchisees to avoid important, but commonly overlooked, areas of liability in franchising transactions. More…

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MONEY MATTERS: ATTORNEY CONTINUES TO DRAW ON HIS FINANCE BACKGROUND

Credit unions and other financial institutions have to navigate a complex web of laws and regulations.

“It’s incredibly fulfilling working with credit unions – as their underlying mission is to help their members,” says Steven Van Beek, an attorney with Howard & Howard Attorneys in Royal Oak, who previously served as vice president of Regulatory Compliance and senior federal counsel at the National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU). More…

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