Monthly Archives: May 2011

HEALTH REFORM: Meeting the Requirements for Defining the "Essential Health Benefits Package": DOL Publishes Survey of Employer-Sponsored Coverage

On April 15, 2011, the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) released a survey report that is being used to satisfy a requirement in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) that the Secretary of Labor “conduct a survey of employer-sponsored coverage” as a condition precedent to the development of the “essential health benefits package” by the Secretary of Health and Human Services (“HHS”).[1] This DOL survey is the first step in the process laid out in the federal health reform law for establishing the minimum benefits package to be offered in the various health insurance exchanges for which subsidies and tax credits will be available. Under ACA, the Secretary of HHS ultimately has the discretion to determine the “essential health benefits package,” which goes to the heart of federal health reform by providing an adequate level of health insurance coverage to the uninsured and underinsured. That discretion is limited by certain conditions and requirements set forth in ACA.

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McDonald Hopkins Law Firm Alert: Are you or your business a delinquent taxpayer? Michigan’s Tax Amnesty begins May 15, 2011

McDonald Hopkins Law Firm Alert:
Are you or your business a delinquent taxpayer?

Michigan’s Tax Amnesty begins May 15, 2011

Cleveland, Ohio (May 13, 2011) – Many states offer amnesty or voluntary disclosure programs for delinquent taxpayers. Michigan’s Tax Amnesty, which kicks off on May 15, 2011 and runs until June 30, 2011, may allow you to eliminate penalties in exchange for payment of tax and interest with respect to all “back taxes” owed. The complete amnesty application and payment of tax and interest must be postmarked no later than June 30, 2011 in order to be eligible. Another potential option is the Michigan Voluntary Disclosure Program (VDP). Depending on your facts and circumstances, the VDP may be more beneficial to you than the Michigan Tax Amnesty program. Regardless of which program is used, significant savings are available to proactive taxpayers.

Before applying for either the Michigan Tax Amnesty or Michigan VDP, you should consider your ability to file all required paperwork and pay all required taxes (and interest) within the time limitations. You also should consider any adjustments you may need to make to your federal tax returns, as well as whether filing in a particular state will require or allow you to file an amended return in another state, where you could have overpaid tax.

Click below to read the McDonald Hopkins Multistate Tax Alert:
McDonald Hopkins Law Firm Alert; Are you or your business a delinquent taxpayer? Michigan’s Tax Amnesty begins May 15, 2011

For more information, please contact:
Stephen K. Hall


Thomas M. Zaino

Stephen M. Gross

About McDonald Hopkins
McDonald Hopkins is a business advisory and advocacy law firm with offices in Chicago, Cleveland, Columbus, Detroit, Miami, and West Palm Beach. The firm’s comprehensive legal services are provided by teams of specialized attorneys and professionals in areas such as business law, litigation, business restructuring and bankruptcy, estate planning, government affairs, healthcare, intellectual property, labor and employment, and mergers and acquisitions. The president of McDonald Hopkins is Carl J. Grassi. For more information about McDonald Hopkins,


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Victory for Employer in Meal Period Class Action

By Rhea G. Mariano and Betsy Johnson


The issue of whether California law requires employers to ensure that employees take meal periods or to merely make meal periods available is hotly contested and regularly litigated. The issue is currently before the California Supreme Court in Brinker Restaurant v. Superior Court (review granted Oct. 22, 2008 (Brinker) and Brinkley v. Public Storage (review granted Jan. 14, 2009 (Brinkley)).

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ILN Today Post

not for profits update

Charity redefined: Broader scope for charities?

By Jon Cheung of Gadens Lawyers, Sydney

On 11 May 2011, the ATO issued draft Ruling TR 2011/D2 (Draft Ruling) and a Decision Impact Statement (Decision Impact Statement) setting out their views in relation to the Aid/Watch(1) case (see our case update here).  The Decision Impact Statement and Draft Ruling have a significant impact on future or proposed activities and on some organisations not previously considered ‘charitable’. read more…

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TARK GRUNTE SUTKIENE Tallinn office advised Norwegian MollerGruppen in acquisition of local Volkswagen dealer Saksa Auto Group

TARK GRUNTE SUTKIENE Tallinn office advised Norwegian MollerGruppen, the largest Norwegian car dealership, in acquisition of Estonian car dealership Saksa Auto. The acquisition between Eesti Talleks AS and Møller Auto Baltic AS was closed in the beginning of May, following the approval of transaction by Estonian Competition Board. Saksa Auto AS is the local Volkswagen dealer, the turnover of Saksa Auto Group in 2010 was EUR 32 million and the group employs 200 people The team, led by senior associate Kuldar-Jaan Torkoff advised on all stages of the acquisition, from carrying out the legal due diligence to signing and closing of the transaction.


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DOL Adds Smartphone Technology To Its Enforcement Arsenal

By Michael Kun and Betsy Johnson


Under the Obama administration, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) has implemented a number of initiatives in support of its enforcement of federal wage and hour laws and its mission of making employers more accountable for compliance with these laws.  These include the “We Can Help” and “Bridge to Justice” initiatives.

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Here We Go Again! It’s Time To Conduct Your Mandatory Harassment Training for 2011!

By: Betsy Johnson

For many employers with operations and/or employees in California, 2011 is a harassment training year.  In 2011, especially, it will be critical for employers to get into and/or remain in compliance with California’s sexual harassment training law (Government Code Section 12950.1) which became effective on January 1, 2005, with the passage of AB 1825.  Employers who have not diligently conducted the required training since 2005 should view 2011 as the year to get on track.

Governor Jerry Brown has promised to increase the enforcement of state laws that protect employees in the workplace.  In addition, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has pledged to increase its enforcement efforts against employers who fail to provide a workplace that is free from unlawful discrimination and harassment.  This will likely translate into more employee complaints of unlawful discrimination, harassment and retaliation and increased investigations and enforcement proceedings by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing against employers who are accused of violating these laws.

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Immigration Alert: May 2011

USCIS Issues Final Rule on Employment Eligibility Verification

SSA Resumes Issuance of “No-Match” Letters

ICE Continues Aggressive Worksite Enforcement Activities

Justice Department Presses Immigration-Related Discrimination Charges

USCIS Provides Additional Guidance to Hospitals and Other Employers Concerning H-1B Cap Exemptions Based on Affiliation

Labor Department Orders Prince George’s County Public School System to Pay $5.9 Million for Violations of H-1B Wage Requirements

Commerce Department Clarifies Export Control Obligations of Staffing Companies

USCIS Clarifies H-1B “Cap-Gap” Rules for F-1 Students

USCIS Issues Update on H-1B Cap Filings

Ninth Circuit Affirms Injunction Barring Enforcement of Arizona’s Immigration Law

Georgia Considers Arizona-Like Immigration Law

DHS Eliminates NSEERS Registration

DOS Issues May 2011 Visa Bulletin

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Attorneys Edward A. Snyder and Robert A. McKenzie offer thoughts on Illinois Use Tax Amnesty program in General Aviation News

Edward A. Snyder

Robert A. McKenzie

Chicago Partner Edward  Snyder and Associate Robert A. McKenzie’s article “Surprises in Illinois Tax Amnesty Program” appeared in the May 2 issue of General Aviation News.  The article addresses how the Illinois Use Tax Amnesty program covers only aircraft purchased from out-of-state retailers, i.e., those subject to tax under the Use Tax Act, not the Aircraft Use Tax Law, and it covers only individual owners, not businesses.

To read the article click here.

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Hoffman Estates Attorney William Braithwaite to present seminar for newly elected municipal officials

J. William Braithwaite

Hoffman Estates Attorney J. William Braithwaite will be one of two presenters at a seminar for newly elected officials of the seven municipalities of the Barrington Area Council of Governments on May 31.  The seminar is designed to educate those elected to Village offices for the first time in the April, 2011, election on a number of municipal topics ranging from the Open Meetings Act, the complexities of the Freedom of Information statute, parliamentary procedure and municipal land use.  The seminar will also cover the fine art of parliamentary procedure and when closed sessions may be held in compliance with the law.  Mr. Braithwaite  will also discuss practical aspects of local government for new officials, including dealing with the press, civility and conflicts of interest.  He has conducted similar training seminars a number of times during his more than 50 year tenure as a Barrington area municipal attorney.

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