Monthly Archives: October 2011

"How the America Invents Act impacts your business," David Cupar interviewed by Smart Business Magazine

The America Invents Act, passed on Sept. 16, 2011, will significantly impact the way companies do business in the United States, says David Cupar, member, McDonald Hopkins LLC.

“The act helps standardize U.S. rules with those that the rest of the world adheres to regarding patents,” says Cupar. “It will create consistency both for U.S. companies doing business internationally and for international companies and individuals seeking to do business in the U.S.”

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Managing Workers’ Compensation Leave

As a follow-up to our earlier post regarding FMLA abuse, I wanted to provide a quick reminder regarding workers’ compensation leave.  If an employee’s workplace injury or illness also qualifies as a serious health condition under the FMLA (and it usually will), consider counting any time away from work as a result of that condition as FMLA leave.  Doing this will help to avoid situations where an employee is off work for a workers’ comp issue only to return to work with the full 12 weeks of leave available under the FMLA that can be used for non-workers’ comp conditions.

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Twitter Tutorials – Creating Your Profile

Happy Halloween everyone! Since Halloween is my second favorite holiday (after Christmas), I had to take a time out to say “enjoy!” and share a photo of my little “spooks.”

But back to the task at hand – let’s get started with Twitter. To create your profile, we’re going to start by going to

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ILN Today Post

New LPI Witness Requirements

From 1 November 2011 new requirements come into force in relation to witnessing documents. Witnesses to documents will need to confirm the identity of a person that has asked for their signature to be witnessed on an LPI dealing, application or caveat.     read more

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The Importance of Storytelling

Storytelling. It is an important component of a successful professional woman’s life – in the boardroom, courtroom, or classroom, in theater and the arts, in research labs, and in any place we find ourselves imparting information. Recognizing the impact and art of articulating a cogent, comprehensive, and powerful presentation in any of these forums,the Epstein Becker Green Women’s Initiative (WI) recently hosted 2011 Pulitzer Prize-winning author Amy Nutt to share with us some insights from her own successful career as a journalist on enhancing our natural ability as women to weave a set of facts into a compelling narrative. (For more information about the WI event and Ms. Nutt’s book, Shadows Bright as Glass, click here.)

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ILN-terviews: Thomas Büchli, Schmidt, Jaton & Associés

Welcome to ILN-terviews, a series of profiles of ILN member firm attorneys, designed to give a unique insight into the lawyers who make up our Network. For our latest interview, we chose ILN member, Thomas Büchli of our member firm Schmidt, Jaton & Associés in Geneva, Switzerland.

In one sentence, how would you describe your practice?
Our firm offers tailor-made and comprehensive solutions that also work in practice.

Who would be your typical client?
Life is so varied, that there is no typical client.

What would you like clients and potential clients to know about you?
Everything they may consider important for them to work with me. 

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Employee Benefits Alert: DOL new disclosure rules…

The Department of Labor (DOL) issued final regulations which require Plan Administrators to disclose certain plan and investment-related information to participants and beneficiaries in individual account plans, including fees and expenses.

In these new regulations, the DOL has interpreted a Plan Administrator’s fiduciary duty under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) to include:

  • Informing participants and beneficiaries on a regular and periodic basis of their rights and responsibilities with respect to investment of plan assets where they are able to direct that investment.
  • The information the Plan Administrator must provide should include information about the plan, the plan investments and fees and expenses so that the participants can make informed decisions.
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Employee Benefits Alert: Tough economy creates tough decisions for pension plans

The defined benefit pension plan is one of the little discussed casualties of the economic and financial crisis in recent years (“Pension Plan”).

Pension Plans are subject to various funding requirements.  Very simplistically, Pension Plans must utilize the services of actuaries who determine the value of the benefits that have been accrued under the Pension Plan and the level of contributions required to fund the accrued benefits.  Pension Plans are defined benefit plans in that they provide a specified benefit payable to the participant, or his or her beneficiaries, beginning upon the participant’s retirement.  Unlike a 401(k) Plan or a Profit Sharing Plan, which have individual investment accounts for each of the participants, a Pension Plan’s assets are held in a single pool.  The sponsoring company or entity remains responsible for ensuring that sufficient assets are in the pool to pay the benefits that have been earned under the Pension Plan.

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Employee Benefits Alert: The IRS announces new pension plan limitations for 2012

On October 20, 2011, the IRS announced cost of living adjustments affecting dollar limitations for pension plans and other retirement-related items for the Tax Year 2012.  According to the announcement, many of the pension plan limitations will change for the first time since 2009 because the increase in the cost-of-living index has met the statutory thresholds that trigger their adjustment.

Below are the 2012 plan limitations:

2012 Retirement Plan Limits

401(k), 403(b) and 457(b) Deferral Limits $16,500 $17,000
401(k) and 403(b) Catch-up Deferral Limits $5,500 $5,500
Annual Limitation on Compensation $245,000 $250,000
Defined Contribution Limitation $49,000 $50,000
Defined Benefit Limitation $195,000 $200,000
Highly Compensated Employee Compensation Threshold $110,000 $115,000
Key Employee Compensation – Officer Threshold $160,000 $165,000
SIMPLE Deduction $11,500 $11,500
SIMPLE Catch-up Contribution $2,500 $2,500
IRA Contribution Limit $5,000 $5,000
IRA Catch-up Contribution Limit $1,000 $1,000
Social Security Wage Base $106,800 $110,100

For more information, please contact:

Dale R. Vlasek

or any of our Employee Benefits attorneys by clicking on the link below:

Employee Benefits

Benefit programs should be a win-win for employers and employees. We strive to accomplish that goal in the design, implementation and operation of sophisticated benefit and executive compensation programs – qualified and non-qualified retirement programs and health and welfare plans. Our employee benefits team has a long track record of working to maximize the efficiency and economic feasibility of each program.

Carl J. Grassi, President
600 Superior Avenue, East, Suite 2100, Cleveland, Ohio 44114
Fax: 312.280.8232
Fax: 216.348.5474
Fax: 614.458.0028
Fax: 248.646.5075
Fax: 1.305.704.3999
West Palm Beach
Fax: 561.472.2122
IRS CIRCULAR 230 DISCLOSURE: To ensure compliance with requirements imposed by the Internal Revenue Service, we inform you that any tax advice contained in this communication (including any attachments), was not intended or written to be used, and cannot be used, by any taxpayer for the purpose of (1) avoiding any penalties under the Internal Revenue Code or (2) promoting, marketing or recommending to another party any transaction matter addressed herein.

© 2011 McDonald Hopkins LLC All Rights Reserved. This Alert is designed to provide current information for our clients, friends and their advisors regarding important legal developments. The foregoing discussion is general information rather than specific legal advice. Because it is necessary to apply legal principles to specific facts, always consult your legal advisor before using this discussion as a basis for a specific action.
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Two new lawyers have joined TARK GRUNTE SUTKIENE

Two new lawyers have joined TARK GRUNTE SUTKIENE – Ieva Dosinaitė, attorney-at-law specialising in corporate and commercial law who will strengthen the Banking and Finance Group, and Gailė Sakalaitė, associate attorney-at-law specialising in intellectual property, corporate and commercial.

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