North America

Immigration Update

By:  Robert S. Groban, Jr.

Many of our hospitality clients are revisiting immigration requirements to see if there are any advantages that they have overlooked. One overlooked advantage is the USCIS’s E-Verify system. Employers know that the IRCA requires them to satisfy the Form I-9 requirements.  Many have found this difficult to implement and have been the targets of worksite enforcement operations by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) that are costly to defend and often result in significant fines. Traditionally, many hospitality employers have looked at the E-Verify system as something to be avoided due to the time required to learn how to use it and the number of potential employees that the system would prevent them from hiring. 

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Tax Alert: Overview of the proposed American Jobs Act

On Thursday, September 8, President Obama announced his proposal for a tax incentive-based program for creating more jobs — the American Jobs Act. This plan focuses on new and extended reductions in payroll taxes for both employees and employers, along with a separate credit for hiring the unemployed. The 100% write off for certain capital expenditures in effect for 2011 would also be extended through 2012 under this proposal. While no specific provisions were discussed with respect to how these benefits would be paid for, the President indicated that the revenue offsets would include tax increases for higher-income taxpayers and a repeal of other targeted corporate tax breaks.

Payroll taxes

The proposals relating to the reduction of payroll taxes were broad. Last year, a reduction in the employee portion of Social Security taxes from 6.2% to 4.2% was implemented for 2011. The President proposed extending this tax break through 2012, and reducing the employee’s portion even lower, to 3.1%. A similar reduction would likely apply to self-employment taxes.

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American Traffic Solutions v. City of Bellingham – Automated Traffic Safety Cameras

Division I of the Court of Appeals held on Tuesday that a proposed Bellingham initiative, which would prohibit the City from installing or using an automated traffic camera system unless approved by a majority of the city council and a majority of the voters, exceeded the lawful scope of the local initiative power.  An initiative […]

For more information please visit

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Lewis Rice Attorneys Named Best Lawyers

We are proud to announce that thirty St. Louis-based Lewis Rice attorneys have been named to the 2012 Best Lawyers in America® annual list: John C. Bodnar, Brian D. Bouquet, Jonathan F. Dalton, Steven C. Drapekin, Thomas C. Erb, William J. Falk, John M. Hessel, Frank B. Janoski, Rosemarie M. Karcher, Benjamin A. Lipman, Matthew J. Madsen, Joseph E. Martineau, Tracy Mathis, Marian V. Mehan, Jaime R. Mendez, Michael D. Mulligan, Larry E. Parres, Catherine R. Phillips, John K. Pruellage, Jacob W. Reby, John J. Riffle, Albert S. Rose, Andrew Rothschild, Barry A. Short, Gary M. Smith, Joseph J. Trad, Richard B. Walsh, Jr., Lawrence H. Weltman, Joseph H. Weyhrich and Tom W. Zook.

This marks the first year Joseph J. Trad has made the list, while William J. Falk, Tracy Mathis, Marian V. Mehan, Michael D. Mulligan and Lawrence H. Weltman have each been Best Lawyers for more than 15 years.

For the full article, please click here.

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Multistate Tax Alert: Invest Ohio: New Ohio tax credit enacted to encourage investment in Ohio

Ohio has enacted an Ohio income tax incentive for investing in certain approved Ohio small business entities where the investor makes the “qualifying investment,” holds the investment for the required holding period, and the approved investee small business entity makes a specified investment or expenditure that is at least as great as the investment made by the investor. The Invest Ohio program is to be administered by the Ohio Department of Development (ODOD) or its successor entity. Prior to making an investment, the investor should ensure that the investee entity is a “small business enterprise” that will be approved by ODOD or its successor entity and should understand the required holding period for such investment.
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Puget Sound Energy v. City of Bellingham – Utility Taxes

Read a summary of the Court of Appeals’ recent decision upholding the City of Bellingham’s utility tax assessment for unpaid utility taxes and penalties.

For more information please visit

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Sunrise For .xxx Domains Is Now Open

As reported in our recent Knowledge Bytes publication, today marks the beginning of the Sunrise period for the new .xxx domain.   Owners of registered trademarks who are not part of the adult entertainment industry may and should apply to block their registered marks from becoming part of a domain name with the new .xxx generic top level domain.  This Sunrise period is in effect until October 28, 2011.  Different Registrars are charging different amounts for this service, so shop around.


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And then there were three: NLRB member’s term ends, new chair appointed

On August 27, 2011, the third term of former NLRB Chair Wilma Liebman ended.  The expiration of Liebman’s term leaves the Board with only three Members: Mark Gaston Pearce (D), Craig Becker (D), and Brian Hayes (R).

The White House selected Mark Gaston Pearce to replace Liebman as Chair.  Given that the Board’s Chair historically has the same political affiliation as the White House, Pearce was the only logical choice because he is the only fully confirmed Democrat still on the Board.  Becker, the other Democratic appointee, is a recess appointment and his term will expire in December.

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CIPO Approves New Wares and Services Descriptions

The Canadian Intellectual Property Office (CIPO) today announced the approval of over 500 new or changed wares (goods) and services descriptions in its online Wares and Services Manual.   This is the Manual that the CIPO Examiners refer to when reviewing applications for registration of trade-marks under the Trade-marks Act (the Act).   Under Section 30(a) of the Act, an applicant is required to describe its claimed wares and services in ordinary commercial terms.

While certainly not exhaustive of all of the descriptions that an Examiner will consider to be acceptable, if an applicant’s wares and services can fit within the approved descriptions in the Manual, the processing of the application is likely to be much smoother.  

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James Chatz creates mediation center for business dispute resolution

Arnstein & Lehr Attorney James Chatz

James A. Chatz

Chicago Partner James A. Chatz, a certified mediator, is one of the principals of Commercial Dispute Resolution, LLC (CDR). The company was founded just this year and seeks to provide alternate dispute resolution for a variety of commercial issues and business disputes. Please review their website: Mr. Chatz recently completed Northwestern University’s Mediation Training Professional Development Program.

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