North America

Warren Brazier to present at VBOT Energy Forum 2014

At the 2014 Vancouver Board of Trade Energy Forum, our own Warren Brazier will speak on a panel about the impacts of BC’s energy and resource industry on our economy. This all-day event will also include keynote speakers: the Honourable Greg Rickford, the Minister of Natural Resources and the Minister for the Federal Economic Development Initiative for Northern Ontario, and David Keane, the President of the BC LNG Developers Alliance.

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McDonald Hopkins Government Strategies Advisory: This Week in Washington — October 3, 2014

Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced Wednesday that Secret Service Director Julia Pierson has offered her resignation, and he has accepted it.

Pierson’s resignation was only a matter of time, as a wave of embarrassing reports of security lapses from the Secret Service had become public over the last two weeks, set off by an intruder armed with a knife jumping the White House fence on Sept. 19 and making it all the way to the East Room before being stopped.

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U.S. State Department announces availability changes for Chinese nationals in EB-5 category

On August 23, 2014, the U.S. State Department announced that as of that date immigrant visa numbers for Chinese nationals in the EB-5 visa category will not be available through September 30, 2014, which will be the end of the 2014 fiscal year. New visa numbers will become available on October 1, 2014.

What does this mean for you as an EB-5 Immigrant visa applicant from China?

If you already have an approved I-526 application and you have an application for adjustment pending (Form I-485), USCIS will not begin adjudicating that application until visa numbers are available again on October 1, 2014.

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Multistate Tax Update — October 2, 2014

In Morello v. Commissioner, No. C314603 (Sept. 8, 2014), the Massachusetts Appellate Tax Board (MATB) determined that the Commissioner of Revenue (Commissioner) had correctly concluded that an individual working as a loan originator was not an independent contractor and did not qualify as an outside salesperson. Therefore, she could not deduct business expenses or unreimbursed employee-business expenses (from her state income tax return).

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Decision of a United States District Judge for Eastern District of Oklahoma Continues the Debate Over Provisions in the ACA

An update from our colleague Stuart Gerson.

The September 30, 2014 decision of a United States District Judge for Eastern District of Oklahoma in the case of State v. Burwell  adds an interesting wrinkle to the debate over whether the provision in the Affordable Care Act that authorizes federal subsidies (tax credits) applies to individuals who are covered by  a qualified health plan that is enrolled through an Exchange established by the Federal government, not a State.  An IRS Rule (26 C.F.R.§ 1.36B-1(k)) allows this, while the ACA itself bases eligibility on participation in a plan that was “enrolled in through an Exchange established by the State . . . .”  26 U.S.C. §36B(b)(2)(A). These provisions also affect ACA subsidies that relate to employers.  Holding to the literal language of Affordable Care Act itself, the Oklahoma District Court held that the IRS rule was unlawful.

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Canadian Intellectual Property Office posts proposed amendments to Trade-marks Regulations

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office has today posted proposed amendments to the Trade-marks Regulations at  The consultation period for these proposed amendments is from October 1 to November 30, 2014.   As quoted in CIPO’s press release:

“The proposed regulatory amendments to the Trade-marks Regulations are required to enable Canada to accede to the Singapore Treaty on the Law of Trademarks, the Protocol relating to the Madrid Agreement concerning the International Registration of Marks and the Nice Agreement concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks.

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Veronica Franco presents to PAMA

Veronica Franco presented this morning to the Professional Association of Managing Agents (PAMA) on the Strata Day for their Fall Education Seminar. Veronica spoke on “Enforcing the nuisance and noise bylaws: What are the property manager’s and strata council’s respective duties and roles?” One of the most difficult issues for strata councils and property managers is to deal with complaints about a resident’s behavior. In this seminar, Veronica addressed how to deal with these types of bylaw contraventions, the strata manager’s job, the role of council and the enforcement tools available.

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Be Careful With Fixed Rate Credit Cards

One of the many changes from the Credit CARD Act of 2009 was the limitation on using the term “fixed” in relation to credit card rates. Credit unions that want the ability to increase the APRs on their credit cards in the future need to very carefully manage their advertising and disclosure of credit card rates. More…

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If I Was (Still) The Secretary of Labor

As our readers know, for the purposes of certain blog entries, I have unilaterally declared that I am the Secretary of Labor.

Effective immediately:

  1. The “computer professional” exemption applies to anyone with a salary of at least $800 per week whose primary duty requires “highly specialized knowledge of computers and software.”  The exemption now includes employees who provide help desk services, troubleshooting support, or who install hardware or software.
  2. In regard to New York law, building owners who provide free apartments to their janitors can still count the value of the apartment as wages.  However, that value is no longer based on the rental rate of the apartment on June 1, 1975.
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McDonald Hopkins Elects Two Members: Litigator Jennifer Dowdell Armstrong and real estate attorney Patrick A. Karbowski

Cleveland, Ohio (October 1, 2014) – McDonald Hopkins LLC, a business advisory and advocacy law firm, announces the election of two attorneys to the firm’s membership.

Jennifer Dowdell Armstrong - (Cleveland) Member, Litigation Department

Patrick A. Karbowski (Detroit) - Member, Business Department

“It is always a privilege to recognize and promote attorneys who have consistently demonstrated that their expertise is highly valued by our clients,” said Carl. J. Grassi, president of McDonald Hopkins.”

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