Monthly Archives: September 2012

Estate Planning Alert: Estate and gift tax cliff is looming

Since 2010, under Federal estate and gift tax law, every individual has an exemption of $5.12 million assuming he or she has not previously made taxable gifts. Given proper estate planning, this exemption means a couple could shield slightly more than $10 million from tax at death. Barring a change in the tax law prior to January 1, 2013, or a retroactive change in 2013, the exemption is reduced to $1 million on January 1, 2013. Thus, a couple with a net worth in excess of $1 million could then be subject to the estate tax. Keep in mind that for estate tax purposes, net worth includes life insurance and retirement plan benefits. That’s why it is important to include life insurance and retirement plan benefits when calculating your net worth.

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ILN Today Post


Royal Oak, Michigan, September 28, 2012: Howard & Howard Attorneys PLLC has been selected as a Labor & Employment “Go-To Law Firm” in the In-House Law Departments at the Top 500 Companies 9th Annual Edition (from the publishers of Corporate Counsel magazine).  Data on each company’s primary law firms is gathered first by surveys sent to General Counsel at each of the top 500 companies and second through research in various key databases such as, ALM Legal Intelligence, LitigationMonitor, Westlaw and others.  Criteria for selection as a “Go-To Law Firm” were: (1) firms named as a “primary law firm” by a General Counsel at a top 500 company; or (2) law firms that were either utilized two or more times in the practice area specified since 2008 and/or counseled the client on a significant transaction/matter. More…

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Right to Die and Capacity Issues

In early summer our B.C. Supreme Court struck down the law prohibiting physician-assisted suicide. It is the Federal Government’s responsibility to respond to constitutional challenges to the Criminal Code and in this case the Federal Government instructed it’s lawyers at the Department of Justice to defend the legislation at the the B.C. Supreme Court level and having lost, we now know that the government will be appealing the decision.

The decision received considerable press so some of you may be familiar with the basic facts.  There were different challenges to the legislation but it was Gloria Taylor’s story that received the most media coverage. She  suffers from amyotrophic lateral slcerosis (ALS) or more commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease.  The disease is ravaging and Ms. Taylor’s plea was to permit her to to die with dignity. As reported in the media she is quoted as saying  “What I fear is a death that negates, as opposed to concludes my life….this decision allows me to approach my death in the same way I have tried to live my life- with dignity, independance and grace.”

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John L. Ropiequet writes article for the Non-Prime Times on fair lending

Arnstein & Lehr Attorney John L. Ropiequet

John L. Ropiequet

Arnstein & Lehr Chicago Partner John L. Ropiequet has published an article in the Non-Prime Times entitled “What’s in Store on Fair Lending from the CFPB?” The article discusses the reported interest of the Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection in certain auto finance practices where auto dealers mark up the rate of the finance charge in order to share in the finance profit with the auto finance companies who purchase retail installment contracts from them.


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HIPAA Violations – Visually Speaking

So how much can a HIPAA violation cost?  Below is a roll-up of some of the larger HIPAA penalties and further information about current enforcement. Infographic authored by Inspired eLearning, providers of online security awareness and training programs. To view the original post, check out the original HIPAA violation infographic.

For more information please visit or click on the headline above.

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California Supreme Court To Review Class Action Waiver Issue

By Michael Kun and Aaron Olsen

To the surprise of few, the California Supreme Court has decided to review the Court of Appeal’s decision enforcing a class action waiver in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation Los Angeles, LLC.

We wrote in detail about that decision on this blog earlier this year.

In reaching its conclusion, the Court of Appeals relied on the April 2011 United States Supreme Court’s landmark decision in AT&T Mobility, LLC v. Concepcion.  Whether the California Supreme Court will follow Concepcion or attempt to distinguish it is impossible to predict.   Unfortunately, while they await that decision, employers may not rely on Iskanian, which has been depublished pending review.

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Greening The Big Apple

On September 27, 2012, the New York League of Conservation Voters (“NYLCV”) published Blueprint for a Greener New York City“. The policy agenda sets forth NYLCV’s vision for the further “greening” of New York and makes dozens of detailed recommendations that will help guide city leaders through the end of the current mayoral administration. The Blueprint covers a wide range of sustainability issues, from water quality and climate change to transportation and solid waste.

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According to recently published data, has seen a gradual but consistent increase (4.1%) in claims volumes in the first six months of 2012 compared to the same period in 2011.

Injuries received 14,669 claims over the six month period, and made awards totaling €109.04 million in respect of 5,180 personal injury claimants. also noted that it is in receipt of a number of issue-specific claims linked to injuries arising from Thalidomide and hip replacements (De Puy).

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Texas Appellate Court Finds That Yearly Employment Contract Not Signed By Employer Is Unenforceable

Amidst the hustle and bustle of running a business or earning a living, paperwork formalities sometimes get pushed to the side, and non-competes don’t get signed, or don’t get signed until after the employee has already started work (thereby creating issues of consideration and enforceability). Those who work in the employment law arena can all share stories of belatedly discovered paperwork defects that ultimately proved dispositive.

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ILN Today Post

Complex amendments are introduced to the existing Fundamentals of the Legislation on Notarial System

On 18 September 2012 the State Duma of the Russian Federation adopted in the third reading the bill No. 632210-5 “On Amendments to Fundamentals of the Legislation on Notarial System and Certain Legislative Acts of the Russian Federation” (the “Bill”). The Bill aims to govern the issues of creating of Unified Information System of Notariate (UISN).

Complex alterations are suggested by the Bill to the existing Fundamentals of the Legislation on Notarial System, the Federal Law “On Pledge”, the Civil Code of the Russian Federation. Pursuant to the Bill, the UISN should represent an automated informational system operated and owned by the Federal Chamber of Notaries Public. The purpose of the UISN is automation processes of gathering and processing of information on notary activities and securing the circulation of such information. More…

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