Legal Updates

CMS’s Request for Information Provides Additional Signal That AI Will Revolutionize Healthcare

On October 22, 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a Request for Information (“RFI”) to obtain input on how CMS can utilize Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) and other new technologies to improve its operations.  CMS’ objectives to leverage AI chiefly include identifying and preventing fraud, waste, and abuse.  The RFI specifically states CMS’ aim “to ensure proper claims payment, reduce provider burden, and overall, conduct program integrity activities in a more efficient manner.”  The RFI follows last month’s White House Summit on Artificial Intelligence in Government, where over 175 government leaders and industry experts gathered to discuss how the Federal government can adopt AI “to achieve its mission and improve services to the American people.”

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Massachusetts Issues Guidance on When Contractors and Other Workers Count Towards the ‘25 Covered Individuals’ Threshold

As we previously reported, the Massachusetts Department of Family and Medical Leave (“DFML”) has been providing on-going substantive and procedural regulations and guidance to effectuate the state’s Paid Family and Medical Leave program (“PFML”), which applies to employers with 25 or more “covered individuals” in the employer’s workforce. Most recently, the DFML issued further guidance (“Guidance”), to clarify when an employer should include 1099-MISC contractors and certain visa holders in their workforce count.

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Lucky Seven: Rhode Island the Seventh State to Pass a Statute Governing Non-Compete Agreements During 2019

Rhode Island is the latest state to jump on the bandwagon of limiting the application of non-compete agreements, with its Rhode Island Noncompetition Agreement Act (the “Act”).  See these links for our prior posts explaining the previous six non-compete statues enacted in 2019:  Maine; Maryland; New Hampshire; Oregon; Utah; and Washington.  Rhode Island’s Act becomes effective on January 15, 2020.

Ban on Non-Competes For “Low-Wage Earners”; “Nonexempt” Employees; Minors; and “Undergraduate or Graduate” Student Workers

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Florida Law Limits Physician Restrictive Covenants in Rural Counties

A recently passed Florida law, Florida Statutes 542.336 seeks to prevent medical providers from using restrictive covenants to monopolize medical specialties in rural counties.  The law bars the enforcement of “restrictive covenants” against physicians who practice “a medical specialty in a county wherein one entity employs or contracts with, either directly or through related or affiliated entities, all physicians who practice such specialty in that county.”  Once a second provider enters the market for a particular specialty in a county, restrictive covenants remain unenforceable in that county for a period of three years.

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SAG-AFTRA Imposes New Restrictions on Third-Party Signatories through New Letter of Adherence

The Screen Actors Guild-American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFRA), the union representing on-camera talent in the advertising industry, has reached an agreement with six leading signatory co-producers. The agreement establishes new restrictions on what those signatories can do during the production process, including restrictions concerning the extent to which non-signatory ad agencies may be involved in productions featuring SAG-AFTRA talent.

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TOP 5 TAX ATTRACTIONS IN HUNGARY

Hungary is an ideal location for international tax planning. Below we summarize the 5 most important features of the Hungarian tax system that can make the country attractive for international investors and public and private multinational groups.

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Turkey Sanctions Update

On October 23, 2019, the Department of Treasury Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) removed the sanctions imposed in Executive Order (E.O.) 13894 on the Government of Turkey’s Ministry of National Defence and the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, as well as the Minister of National Defence, Minister of Energy and Natural Resources, and the Minister of the Interior. OFAC stated that the removal of the sanctions was a direct result of Turkey’s adherence to the terms of a ceasefire in Syria as agreed on October 17, 2019. Pursuant to the removal of the sanctions, all property and interests in property, which had been blocked as a result of the designation of the five persons listed above, are unblocked and all otherwise lawful transactions involving U.S. persons and these entities and individuals are no longer prohibited. 

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Ohio: House of Representatives votes to reinstate business income deduction for lawyers and lobbyists

Earlier in the year, lawyers and lobbyists were excluded from the list of small business owners eligible to claim the Ohio business income deduction, which allows business owners to deduct the first $250,000 of “business income” earned in the ordinary course of their business and pay a preferential 3 percent tax rate on business income above that threshold. But on October 10, 2019, the Ohio House of Representatives unanimously voted to restore the business income deduction for lawyers and lobbyists. READ MORE

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Ohio: Court of Appeals rules for highway contractor in sales/use tax case

Late last month, the Ninth District Court of Appeals in Summit County decided Karvo Paving Co. v. Testa in favor of a highway construction contractor that disputed an Ohio use tax assessment on traffic maintenance equipment. READ MORE

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Handling Requests for Time Off Under the BRAVE Act

In August of 2018, Governor Charlie Baker signed into law An Act Relative to Veteran’s Benefits, Rights, Appreciation, Validation and Enforcement, otherwise known as the BRAVE Act.

The BRAVE Act amended existing laws concerning Massachusetts veterans in a number of ways, some of which touch directly on the employer-employee relationship.

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