Monthly Archives: January 2012

Linda Štrause comments on legal consequences of delay of term set for review of privatisation proposals, “Dienas Bizness”

Linda Strause

Attorney at law Linda Štrause from law office TARK GRUNTE SUTKIENE comments on possible legal consequences which could arise from the fact, that Riga City Council has not been able to review all privatisation proposals within the due term in January 16, 2012 issue of newspaper “Dienas Bizness”.

Click here to read the publication (available in Latvian).

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NLRB Increases Scrutiny of Employer Restrictions on Employee Social Media Usage

By:      Ana S. Salper

No governmental body has been more active in addressing social media’s impact on the workplace than the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”). For both unionized and non-unionized employers, the Board has been aggressively scrutinizing the contours of employer discipline of employees for their activities on social media sites, and has regulated and constricted the scope and breadth of employer social media policies. Following his first report in August 2011, National Labor Relations Board Acting General Counsel Lafe Solomon has now released a second report describing social media cases reviewed by his office.

Solomon’s report covers 14 cases, half of which address issues regarding employer social media policies, the other half of which involve discharges of employees after they posted comments to Facebook. The report underscores two main points:   

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Andra Rubene comments on importance of evaluation of legal services providers, "Dienas Bizness"

Andra Rubene

Attorney at law Andra Rubene from law office TARK GRUNTE SUTKIENE comments on importance of evaluation of legal services providers and awarded tiers. Such evaluation is carried out by international legal directories to clients lacking knowledge about local legal market when choosing lawyers in January 18, 2012 issue of newspaper “Dienas Bizness”.

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TARK GRUNTE SUTKIENE ranked in 2011 edition of Tax Directors Handbook

The Tax Directors Handbook analyses the tax capabilities of law firms in 4A jurisdictions, including tax rates and tax impact on business. It is the only place to find details of the largest global law firms ranked by the size of the tax department, and demonstrates how tax is weighted in each firm.

It has just released it’s sixth edition, and TARK GRUNTE SUTKIENE has been ranked as a 3rd tier leading law firm in Latvia.

Among TARK GRUNTE SUTKIENE highlights are named “tax disputes with the State Revenue Service on behalf of Parex Bank and clothing retailer Apranga, and the tax aspects of bad debt restructuring for Swedbank”. It is referred to as a law firm which provides “both complex tax advice and bread-and-butter responses at short notice”.

As leading lawyers in our office, the guide mentions Ivars Grunte and Gundars Cers.

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Canadian National Railway Company Sues Its Former CEO E. Hunter Harrison For Allegedly Violating Non-Compete And Non-Disclosure Obligations

On January 23, 2012, the Canadian National Railway Company filed suit against its former Chief Executive Officer, E. Hunter Harrison, for allegedly violating certain non-compete and non-disclosure obligations. Peter A. Steinmeyer was interviewed about the lawsuit on the Business News Network’s show, “Headline with Howard Green.” To see the interview, click on this link: http://watch.bnn.ca/headline/january-2012/headline-january-24-2012/#clip606360.

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Beware potential liabilities of multiemployer pension plans

It’s no secret that defined-benefit pension plans have struggled with funding issues over the past several years.  Lower-than-anticipated investment returns and extremely low interest rates, combined with demographic shifts resulting from retirees living longer and workers holding off on retirement, have left many defined-benefit pension plans with fewer assets than are needed to meet their accrued obligations.  Perhaps no group of benefit plans has suffered more from these issues than multiemployer pension plans.

Multiemployer pension plans (sometimes referred to as Taft-Hartley plans) cover collectively-bargained employees and are defined-benefit retirement plans jointly sponsored by representatives of the union and participating employers.  Under federal rules passed in 2006, multiemployer pension plans experiencing funding issues or problems with liquidity must notify participants and companies of this status.  If a multiemployer pension plan is in critical status under these rules, it may be forced to reduce benefits and discontinue lump-sum distributions (to the extent permitted under the plan).  Plans in critical and endangered status must also adopt programs, which may include requiring employers to increase contributions, to restore financial health.

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2012 Business Outlook Survey Results

Confidence in Congress continues to plummet. Based on our 2012 Business Outlook Survey, 64 percent of business owners and executives are pessimistic about whether Congress will pass legislation to improve business conditions. Last year, 25 percent were pessimistic. According to the more than 500 respondents, 66 percent expect U.S. business conditions to improve modestly, although last year, 77 percent expected modest improvements. What about their own companies? Here again, optimism has declined. Fifty-five percent expect business conditions in their own organizations to improve modestly compared to 61 percent in 2011. There were many comments like this one: “The biggest negative factor is the uncertainty caused by gridlock in Congress.”

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Putting The Accent On .CA Domains

The Canadian Internet Registration Authority (CIRA) has released the results of its first consultation on its proposed implementation of .CA domains with French accent characters (known as the Latin Supplement -1 Unicode characters), such as é à ü and ç.

Under its initial implementation plan, CIRA proposed a sunrise period during which owners of .CA domain owners could register as many French accented variants of their existing ASCII (non- accented Latin-based script characters, namely the letters a-z) domains as they opted for.  For example, the owner of grace.ca could also register grâce.ca during the sunrise period, before that accented variant of grace.ca (and all other French accent variants) would be opened up for registration to anyone else who otherwise qualifies to own a .CA domain.

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Lidings announces Stepan Guzey joining the firm’s Moscow office as Counsel

Lidings, the leading Russian law firm, dedicated to advising foreign companies on all aspects of Russian law has announced Stepan Guzey joining the Moscow office as Counsel.

Prior to joining Lidings Mr. Guzey worked as a senior associate at such law firms, as Vegas Lex and Hellevig, Klein & Usov. Stepan was also a leading legal adviser at the one of the biggest Russian electrode-producing company Energoprom Management for two years.

At Lidings Stepan will specialize in advising foreign business on all aspects of M&A, corporate finance law, as well, as tax and customs.

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Robin S. Trupp featured in Q&A article in Tampa Bay Business Journal on Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Arnstein & Lehr Attorney Robin S. Trupp

Robin S. Trupp

Arnstein & Lehr Tampa Partner Robin S. Trupp responded to questions regarding Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Question and Answer section of the January 6 issue of the Tampa Bay Business Journal. Mr. Trupp discusses the difficulties that a Chapter 11 faces. In a special report of the same issue, Arnstein & Lehr was listed among the top ranked Tampa Bay bankruptcy lawyers; the report lists Mr. Trupp’s name as the Local Senior Executive for the Tampa office.

To view the article in full, click here.

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