North America

Shutts attorney closes largest land deal in Daytona, inks landmark Margaritaville licensing agreement

Rafael Aguilar, a partner at ShRafael A. Aguilar - Miamiutts and Bowen’s Miami office, recently closed on a multi-year land purchase negotiation and a related franchise agreement that will bring thousands of new homes to the Daytona Beach area, developed by Minto Communities under the Margaritaville brand.

Aguilar closed the $27.2 million deal on behalf of developer Minto Communities, which purchased 1,581 acres from Consolidated-Tomoka Land Co. Minto plans on building the first Margaritaville-branded active adult community of up to 3,400 homes on the north side of LPGA Boulevard, just west of Interstate 95 in Daytona Beach.

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Howard & Howard expands commercial litigation practice

Royal Oak, Michigan, February 21, 2017: Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC is pleased to announce that Jason M. Schneider has joined the firm. He will practice out of the firms Royal Oak office.

Mr. Schneider focuses his practice on complex commercial litigation in federal and state courts. He has broad experience at the trial and appellate levels in areas such as commercial contracts, the Uniform Commercial Code, product liability, condemnation, and patent infringement. Before entering private practice, he gained invaluable experience by serving as a law clerk for The Honorable Jean C. Hamilton, a United States District Judge in the Eastern District of Missouri, and as an intern for The Honorable Charles E. Rendlen, a United States Bankruptcy Judge in the Eastern District of Missouri.

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EB-5 Investment Funds – Standards and Guidelines for Redeployment

WHITE PAPER: STANDARDS AND GUIDELINES FOR REDEPLOYMENT OF EB-5 INVESTMENT FUNDS

Prepared by:
Arnstein & Lehr LLP
Klasko Immigration Law Partners, LLP
Jeffer Mangels Butler & Mitchell LLP

The EB-5 investment community is now facing a new challenge, as many of the more seasoned EB-5 investment projects begin to mature and the original investment capital is returned by the project owner to the new commercial enterprise. USCIS has clearly stated its policy that EB-5 investment capital is required to remain “at risk” in the new commercial enterprise until each EB-5 investor’s I-829 petition is adjudicated. However, USCIS has provided no guidance on what requirements that new investment is required to meet, other than that it must meet the definition of “at risk.”

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Epstein Becker Green to Participate in the 2017 National Club Conference in New York

Epstein Becker Green is pleased to be participating in the National Club Association’s 2017 National Club Conference at the New York Athletic Club on May 22-24, 2017.

Jeffrey H. Ruzal, Member of the firm and leader of Epstein Becker Green’s Hospitality industry service team is featured in the afternoon General Session on May 22, 2017 and will discuss misclassification of club staff.

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Rumor and Drama at Retailer Creates Jury Question

In January, a New York federal district court denied a retailer’s bid to dismiss a former regional manager’s lawsuit alleging that workplace rumors spread by three female co-workers that she showed her breasts to the company’s CEO by wearing a revealing blouse without a bra and that her subsequent termination shortly after she complained about the gossip constituted hostile work environment sex discrimination and retaliatory discharge. Baez v. Anne Fontaine USA, Inc., No. 14-cv-56621 (KBF), 2017 U.S. LEXIS 1630 (S.D.N.Y. Jan . 5, 2017).

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D.C. Court of Appeals Highlights Importance of Offers of Proof in NLRB Representation Hearings Under Expedited Election Rules

A recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in connection with an employer’s challenge to a National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB” of “Board”) representation election in which the Board certified a “wall to wall” bargaining unit provided clear evidence of just how critical it is for employers to make detailed “offers of proof” concerning issues the Board will not allow them to litigate under the amended election rules which took effect in April 2015.

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New York: Tax Court clarifies test of intent for purposes of establishing domicile

New York’s Division of Tax Appeals recently issued an opinion that clarified its test of intent with regard to a purported new domicile. Generally speaking, the test is “whether the place of habitation is the permanent home of a person, with the range of sentiment, feeling and permanent association with it.” The court noted that under the usual analysis, it acknowledges a taxpayer’s declarations, but these are less persuasive than actions demonstrating the taxpayer’s “general habit of life.” Applying that here, the court concluded that the taxpayer, Gregory Blatt, had proved, by clear and convincing evidence, that he intended to, and did, change his domicile from New York City to Dallas, thus justifying a cancellation of the deficiency of $430,065.00, plus interest and penalties.
This case turned on whether the court agreed with Blatt that for the tax years 2009 and 2010, he had changed his domicile from New York to Texas, which rendered his presentation of the facts especially important. Indeed, in the New York Division of Tax Appeals, which some consider to be the most aggressive for these kinds of audits, Bloomberg declared that “it was the compelling story that carried the day.”
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Ohio: State Supreme Court allows non-resident’s tax credit of nearly $200,000

In the case Giddens v. Testa, the Ohio Supreme Court reversed a Board of Tax Appeals (Board) decision that disallowed a non-resident tax credit related to a distribution from a corporation that did some of its business in Ohio, for the tax year 2008. The tax commissioner’s theory was that the distribution constituted business income, and was therefore apportionable in part to Ohio, based on the proportion of the corporation’s business in that state. The Board affirmed the assessment, the taxpayers appealed, and the high court reversed the Board, concluding that the taxpayers properly treated the income at issue as nonbusiness income allocable solely to their state of domicile, Missouri.

BACKGROUND

The Court provided the following facts as background. The plaintiffs/appellants, Ernest and Louann Giddens, lived in Missouri, but paid Ohio income tax by virtue of their ownership of shares in a corporation that does business in Ohio. For the tax year at issue, 2008, that company was an S corporation. The S corporation, Redneck, Inc. is a wholesale supplier of equipment for trailer parks, including running gear, axles, springs, hitches, and jacks, had just two shareholders, the Giddens.
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Alabama: Expired Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program could be renewed

In 2013, the Alabama legislature signed HB 140 into law, designed to provide tax help for owners who rehabilitate residential or commercial properties. The program, known as the Alabama Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit Program (Program), offered a tax credit of up to 25 percent for the substantial rehabilitation of a historic residential or commercial property. The Alabama Historical Commission notes that between 2013 and 2015, $20 million in tax credits were available, for a total of $60 million. Commercial projects could receive the credit for up to $5 million in qualified expenses, and private residential properties up to $50,000.
The Program expired in May 2016, but at least one lawmaker is eager to bring it back, according to the Alabama NewsCenter. When the legislature convened on February 7, 2017, and State Sen. Jabo Waggoner revealed that he plans to introduce a similar measure to encourage the rehabilitation of abandoned buildings.
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NAD Action Requiring the Kardashians and Fit Tea to Disclose Their Connections in Social Media Posts

As part of its ongoing monitoring program, the National Advertising Division (NAD) reviewed endorsements by Kourtney and Khloe Kardashian and Kylie Jenner (the Kardashians) that failed to disclose that they were paid to endorse a dietary supplement known as “Fit Tea” in their social media posts. In response to the NAD’s action, Fit Tea revised its social media posts to disclose Fit Tea’s material connections with its celebrity endorsers.

Background
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Endorsement and Testimonial Guides (FTC Endorsement Guides) require clear disclosure of any material connections between an advertiser and its influencers and other endorsers, including when their endorsements are posted on social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram. The FTC contends that, in the absence of such disclosure, consumers might believe that an endorsement on social media is a spontaneous recommendation of a product made without any compensation rather than a paid endorsement.

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