Legal Updates

Policy on cohabitation rights

At their party conference, the Liberal Democrats have passed a policy entitled Cohabitation Rights that would give unmarried couples in England who live together fair and reasonable redress upon their relationship breakdown and in cases of intestacy.

English law currently provides extremely limited legal protection for cohabiting couples upon the breakdown of a relationship. This can have an adverse effect on the individuals and any children.

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"Don’t blame Boehner for House dysfunction," Steve LaTourette

The article “Don’t blame Boehner for House dysfunction,” written by former Congressman and McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies President Steve LaTourette, was featured in the September 20, 2013 edition of The Washington Post.

Click here to read the article.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dont-blame-boehner-for-house-dysfunction/2013/09/20/511aa3a0-2208-11e3-a358-1144dee636dd_story.html

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McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies Advisory: This Week in Washington — September 20, 2013

Editor’s note: Washington came to a halt at the beginning of the week with the shooting at the Navy Yard. This tragedy, which marks the largest loss of life in Washington since 9/11, is sure to have political implications as well as implications for policy on the Hill related to gun control, mental health and crisis response/management. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and loved ones of the victims of this tragedy.

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High Stakes Estate Litigation

The $300 million estate of a woman whose father helped build Las Vegas is proceeding to a trial in New York.  The Court will be asked whether either of the last two Wills signed by Huguette Clark is valid.

According to a recent article, Ms. Clark’s “distant relatives” were the primary beneficiaries under her next-to-last Will.  However, they were excluded in the last Will, made some six weeks later.  The Court must consider whether Ms. Clark had the necessary capacity to sign the Wills (i.e. whether she has “testamentary capacity”) and whether she was unduly influenced in the gifts and changes that she made. 

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DOL Extends FLSA Protection to Direct Care Workers

by Jeffrey H. Ruzal

On September 17, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a final rule extending the federal minimum wage and overtime pay protection under the Fair Labor Standards Act (the “FLSA”) to many direct care or domestic service workers, including home health aides, personal care aides and nursing assistants. The rule will take effect on January 1, 2015. 

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Privacy & Security Concerns in Telehealth: Ensuring Legal Compliance in Hospital-Based Practices

Below is a re-print of an article that we recently wrote for the Advisory Board Company’s 2013 third quarter General Counsel Agenda. To view the original publication in the General Counsel Agenda, click here.

For hospitals, the promise of telehealth has spurred innovation across multiple service lines and led to the emergence of a number of new delivery models such as telestroke, teleradiology, telepsychiatry, telepathology, teleICU and remote patient monitoring.  While many of these programs are leading to significant improvements in access to health care services, quality of care, and efficiencies, they often also raise their own distinct set of compliance challenges, particularly in the area of privacy and security.

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Succession planning for EU residents

A mini revolution is about to take place in the world of Will drafting for EU residents, including British nationals owning assets on the Continent.  Not many lawyers seem to be talking to their clients about it yet so naturally I want you, dear blog reader, to be among the first to know.
It’s all because of the EU Succession Regulation (Brussels IV), due to come into force for the most part in August 2015.
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Multistate Tax Update — September 19, 2013

The Wisconsin Department of Revenue (the “Department”) recently issued guidance indicating that same-sex married couples may not file jointly and must file separate income tax returns. In addition, same-sex married couples will be required to file a new form, Schedule S. While many may view the Department’s guidance in a negative light, it is likely that the Department has its hands tied until either political, legislative or judicial action (or some combination thereof) unties them. Lawsuits are likely to ensue following the announcement of the Department’s guidance.

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Federal Courts Uniformly Embrace Climate Science

A visitor to Capitol Hill might come away with the impression that there are serious questions about whether climate change is occurring and, if it is, whether it is caused by human activity.  But one place where there are few such questions is the courts.

In a compelling analysis of federal court decisions addressing climate change issues,  Michael B. Gerrard, Professor of Professional Practice and director of the Center for Climate Change at Columbia Law School, argues persuasively that climate change science has been unanimously accepted by the courts (with one piddling exception) and  the basis for several significant decisions.  Anyone in the position of having to argue the acceptance of climate science in a court case should take note of Professor Gerrard’s article, “Court Rulings Accept Climate Science“, which appeared in the New York Law Journal on September 12, 2013, which contains lengthy citations to the relevant case law.   

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Administration Rejects Labor’s ObamaCare Demands

by: Adam C. Abrahms, Kara M. Maciel, Adam C. Solander, and Steven M. Swirsky

On September 13, 2013, the Obama Administration rejected the union movement’s intense lobbying efforts to seek a waiver, so that their members would be able to receive tax subsidies in the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) Marketplaces for those of their members who will be offered “affordable coverage” from their employers.

Beginning January 1, 2015, the ACA requires that large employers offer affordable health coverage that provides minimum value to their “full-time employees” (those working 30 hours or more per week) or pay a penalty. If an employee is not offered health insurance, or if the coverage offered does not meet the definition of “affordable” or does not provide minimum value, the employee may go to the Marketplace (formerly known as the Exchanges) to purchase coverage. In such cases, certain employees may receive a tax credit or premium subsidy in the Marketplace to help defray the cost of obtaining health coverage.

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