Nazi looted art

The amazing discovery of over 1,400 pieces of Nazi era looted or forced-sale art, worth perhaps €1bn, in the flat of Cornelius Gurlitt in Munich, will probably be the art story of the year, and perhaps the decade.  Interest has naturally focused on the pieces themselves, although the German authorities seem slow and reluctant to release full details.
 
Also of interest is the potential for a bumper crop of restitution claims from the descendants of the original owners.  Usually, restitution claims present a difficult moral question as to whether the art should be returned to the original family, who suffered at the hands of the Nazis, or to the current owner who innocently and in good faith bought the art from an intermediate owner, who was probably also innocent.  US law is generally more ‘pro-original owner’, whereas in Europe we tend to be more ‘pro-current innocent purchaser’, which is why so many claims are brought in New York, where the courts take a rather liberal view of their jurisdiction.
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ILN Today Post

New Directive on Consumer Rights

The Directive on Consumer Rights (2011/83/EU) will be effective in the EU Member States as of 13 June 2014 through national implementation. The Directive aims at facilitating cross-border distance selling by establishing uniform consumer protection rules in the European Union. Consumers within the EU will benefit from increased cost transparency, a 14 days right of withdrawal as well as the obligation of the seller to provide more comprehensive information to the consumer. More…

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ILN Today Post

Shutts & Bowen Recognized as a Best Law Firm by U.S. News and Best Lawyers

Shutts & Bowen was selected as a a U.S. News and Best Lawyers 2014 Tier 1 Best Law Firm in twenty two practice areas.  Firms included in the 2014 “Best Law Firms” list are recognized for professional excellence with persistently impressive ratings from clients and peers. Achieving a tiered ranking signals a unique combination of quality law practice and breadth of legal expertise.  More…

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ILN Today Post

Shutts & Bowen Announces New Sarasota Office

Shutts & Bowen is pleased to announce that, effective November 1, 2013, it combined with attorneys from the prominent Sarasota-based law firm of Livingston, Patterson, Strickland & Siegel, P.A. to further strengthen its presence on Florida’s West Coast.  Through this combination, Shutts & Bowen establishes a Sarasota office that includes Livingston Patterson co-founder, John Patterson, as well as partner Michael Siegel and associate John Ervin.  Livingston Patterson partner John Strickland continues his current matrimonial law practice as the separate law firm of John M. Strickland, P.A. More…

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Surgeon imprisoned over patient’s death

A consultant surgeon in London has been sentenced to two and a half years in prison for manslaughter through gross negligence of a patient, reports the Guardian.

James Hughes, who was 67, had attended a private hospital in London for knee surgery. The operation was a success, but while he was in recovery he complained of abdominal pains, and was transferred to the care of consultant David Sellu.

Mr Sellu apparently suspected that Mr Hughes had a perforated bowel, which is a potentially life threatening condition. However, he did not act quickly enough to carry out the appropriate investigations and treatment, and Mr Hughes died a few days later.

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DAVIS MALM HOSTS ABA WOMEN RAINMAKERS FALL 2013 WORKSHOP

On November 6, Davis Malm hosted the American Bar Association Women Rainmakers Fall 2013 workshop “Strategic Networking: A Guide for Women Rainmakers.” The 90-minute interactive program, held in 26 cities across the U.S., was tailored for women lawyers at all levels and discussed every aspect of networking, from choosing the right event to planning conversation starters. The Boston workshop was led by Susan Letterman White, Chair of ABA Women Rainmakers. The program was designed to teach the latest techniques to develop business, enhance current skills, and allow participants to network with women who have similar interests.

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IRS Updates: Benefit Plan Limits for 2014 and New "Use it or Lose it" Choice for Cafeteria Plans

IRS HAS UPDATED ITS 2014 LIMITS
The 401(k) deferral and catch-up limits remain at $17,500 and $5,500, respectively. Other limits remain the same or were slightly increased. Details are at this link.

IRS HAS A NEW SPIN ON ITS “USE IT OR LOSE IT” RULE
The IRS has just come up with a new optional carryover rule for a healthcare flexible spending account (Health FSA) in a cafeteria plan. Up to $500 of unused amounts from one year may be carried over and spent for claims incurred at any time in the next plan year. This is an alternative to the current carryover option, which permits carryovers of unused amounts,
without a $500 limit, to the first 2½ months of the following year. Neither carryover option is a government mandate. Cafeteria plans may still require forfeiture of flexible spending accounts which are not used for current plan year claims.

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Employee Benefits Alert- Healthcare Flexible Savings Accounts: "Use-it-or-lose-it" rule modified

On October 31, the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS issued Notice 2013-71, which modifies the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule for Healthcare Flexible Savings Accounts (Healthcare FSA).

Background

A Healthcare FSA is a form of cafeteria plan benefit offered by employers to allow their employees to pay for eligible out-of-pocket healthcare expenses with pre-tax dollars. Healthcare FSAs are typically funded by salary reduction contributions. Effective for plan years beginning after December 31, 2012, an employee’s contributions to a Healthcare FSA are statutorily limited to $2,500 per year, indexed for inflation beginning in 2014 in multiples of $50. Historically, such contributions were also subject to an annual “use-it-or-lose-it” rule which provided that contributions to the plan that are not used before the end of the plan’s fiscal year would be forfeited. This rule was modified several years ago to permit a plan to add a “grace period” of 2 ½ months following the end of the plan’s fiscal year in which unused contributions could be used to pay eligible expenses incurred during such period. 

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The Ten "Commandments" for your Compliance Audit (Dale Vlasek)

Dale Vlasek will be presenting on The Ten “Commandments” for your Compliance Audit on November 6.

Click here to register for the webcast.

http://www.hr.com/en?t=/contentManager/onStory&StoryID=1364240798894

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Healthcare Flexible Savings Accounts: "Use-it-or-lose-it" rule modified

On October 31, the U.S. Treasury Department and the IRS issued Notice 2013-71, which modifies the “use-it-or-lose-it” rule for Healthcare Flexible Savings Accounts (Healthcare FSA).

Background

A Healthcare FSA is a form of cafeteria plan benefit offered by employers to allow their employees to pay for eligible out-of-pocket healthcare expenses with pre-tax dollars. Healthcare FSAs are typically funded by salary reduction contributions. Effective for plan years beginning after December 31, 2012, an employee’s contributions to a Healthcare FSA are statutorily limited to $2,500 per year, indexed for inflation beginning in 2014 in multiples of $50. Historically, such contributions were also subject to an annual “use-it-or-lose-it” rule which provided that contributions to the plan that are not used before the end of the plan’s fiscal year would be forfeited. This rule was modified several years ago to permit a plan to add a “grace period” of 2 ½ months following the end of the plan’s fiscal year in which unused contributions could be used to pay eligible expenses incurred during such period. 

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