Employers may submit cap-subject H-1B petitions again on April 1, 2014, for the fiscal year (FY) 2015 H-1B program.
Supreme Court affirms time spent changing clothes is not compensable.
- Medicare Providers and Suppliers Should Continue to Appeal Improper Denials, Despite Two Year Delay in Appeal Processing
The already long wait for a “day in court” is now even longer.
- Square Peg Meet Round Hole - Do Design Defects Breach a Warranty Against Defects in Material or Workmanship?
Read and find out what the Eighth Circuit Court decided.
The Federal Circuit recently made an important clarification to the doctrine of patent exhaustion.
Corporate governance remains a key topic for corporations and their boards of directors.
Is it now possible to get a patent on the broad strokes of an invention while at the same time creating potentially never-ending trade secret protection on the cleverest aspects of the invention? No, but this may change.
On December 26, 2013, the president of Mexico published a decree granting tax incentives to the maquiladora industry. Read more for a summary of important aspects of the decree.
It has been just over three months since the China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone (the Shanghai FTZ) was officially opened on September 29, 2013. This article will examine the most important developments.
These five best practices provide technology service providers, consultants and creatives with a framework for developing and maintaining good client relationships, limiting risks of nonpayment and successfully executing projects.
Recent guidance issued by the IRS and DOL may affect the design and structure of some of your benefits arrangements.
The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2014 cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for retirement plans. Most of the limits related to retirement plans are increased.
Now that the federal government shutdown has ended, all E-Verify features and services are now available. Employers should resume regular use of E-Verify. Notably, the Form I-9 requirements were not affected by the federal government shutdown, and all employers must complete and retain a Form I-9 for every person hired to work for pay in the United States during the shutdown.
Everyone knows the adage “the best defense is a good offense.” That adage can now be applied to the field of patent procurement. United States patent laws recently underwent a radical transformation from a first to invent system to a first to file system.
As of today, October 1, 2013, the government began a partial shutdown of its agencies. Listed below are several agencies that will be affected:
Recent high-profile insider trading cases brought by the SEC and the DOJ have resulted in hefty prison sentences, fines and settlements. The SEC has made it clear that insider trading continues to be a high enforcement priority and that it will pursue criminal trading aggressively. In particular, the SEC says it will continue to scrutinize trading around significant corporate transactions, such as a merger.
The Internal Revenue Service recently issued guidance in how the Federal Tax Code will tax employee benefits with respect to married same-sex couples. Same-sex couples who are legally married in a state or foreign jurisdiction will be treated as spouses under the Code, even if the couple currently resides in a state that does not recognize same-sex marriage.
Just as people were starting to gain a sense of comfort dealing with changes to the U.S. patent system brought on by the America Invents Act of 2011, we now find that Europe is also planning changes to its own patent system. The changes will include introducing a unitary patent and a unified patent court. What are the further particulars regarding these changes and how should they factor into your European patent filing strategies?
As of July 1, 2013, employers participating in E-Verify are required to enter an employee’s email address into E-Verify if that employee voluntarily provided the information in Section 1 of Form I-9. This new data field was added to E-Verify to bring it in line with the new version of the Form I-9, which went into effect in March 2013 and added data fields for employees’ emails and telephone numbers in Section 1.
We are delighted to report that bi-national same-sex couples no longer have to choose between separation from their spouse or separation from the United States. Prior to the Supreme Court’s ruling, same-sex couples have been prevented from receiving federal immigration benefits. The limiting definition of marriage as only between a man and a woman found in the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is no longer valid, granting same-sex spouses equal benefits.
A new Vermont state law set to go into effect on July 1, 2013, creates penalties for “bad faith assertions of patent infringement.” While this law may eventually be struck down due to preemption by federal patent law, patent owners should be aware of its provisions before engaging in enforcement activities directed to any entity that may be considered a “Vermont person” or the customer of one.
On May 23, 2013, Governor Dayton signed an Omnibus Tax Bill into law that may have a significant impact on clients who reside in Minnesota and those who reside outside of Minnesota but own property located in Minnesota. Minnesota will now become the second state after Connecticut to impose a gift tax at this time. The new law also imposes a Minnesota estate tax for all property located in Minnesota held in pass-through entities. The following are some of the key provisions of the law:
As of April 30, 2013, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) began phasing out the paper Form I-94 cards at airports and seaports in the U.S. and U.S. territories. CBP will still issue a paper Form I-94 card to foreign nationals seeking admission at land border crossings.
As you are no doubt aware, many aspects of the Affordable Care Act become effective on January 1, 2014. One of those requirements is the “shared responsibility” (sometimes called the “pay or play”) penalties that may be assessed on “applicable large employers.” An “applicable large employer” is an employer that has 50 or more full-time employees and/or full-time equivalent employees (FTEs). An applicable large employer may be subject to a penalty if the employer does not offer group health coverage to its full-time employees and their dependents, or if the employer does not offer group health coverage that is affordable and provides minimum value. An employee is “full-time” if he or she works, on average, at least 30 hours per week. Part-time employees also count for purposes of determining the number of FTEs.
The H1B cap (bachelor’s and master’s) for fiscal year 2014 was reached on April 5. This means USCIS will not accept any new H1B cap subject petitions received or filed after April 5, 2013. USCIS will use a computer-generated random selection process (commonly known as the “lottery”) for all FY 2014 cap-subject petitions received through April 5, 2013.
On April 2, 2013, the SEC confirmed that public companies may use social media, such as Facebook and Twitter, and other emerging means of communication in much the same way that they use their own websites to announce key information in compliance with Regulation FD. The key is whether investors have been notified about the social media accounts ahead of time.
CMS issued a draft copy of two documents, a CMS Ruling and text of a proposed rule. Proposed regulations do NOT take effect when they are issued. Therefore, the proposed rules have no immediate impact. However, the CMS Ruling, which is a decision by the Administrator of CMS, takes effect immediately. CMS Rulings are supposed to be binding on RACs, MACs and even ALJs. The subject matter of the two documents is whether hospitals can receive outpatient reimbursement when an inpatient stay is denied. These documents will generate quite a buzz.
On March 8, 2013, USCIS released its newly revised Employment Eligibility Verification Form, Form I-9. Employers should use the newly revised Form immediately, which is notated with a revision date of “(Rev. 03/08/13) N” and can be accessed at the following here.
Employers may submit cap-subject H-1B petitions again on April 1, 2013, for the fiscal year (FY) 2014 H-1B program. The numerical limitation, or H1B cap, for FY 2013 was reached on June 11, 2012. New H-1B petitions may be filed under fiscal year 2014 beginning April 1, 2013. Beneficiaries of cap-subject petitions may begin employment no earlier than October 1, 2013. It is difficult to state when the H-1B cap will be reached this year, but in light of it being reached on June 11, 2012, for fiscal year 2013, and the steady economic recovery, we expect the cap numbers to be reached earlier than last year.
One provision in the “American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012,” the “fiscal cliff” bill, received little attention in the press, but will have a major impact on health care organizations. It expands the time limit on recovering overpayments, and presumably the time limit for making refunds. Since its inception, the Medicare law has waived recovery of overpayments when the recipient of the payment is “without fault.” The law includes a presumption that a recipient is “without fault” after the passage of time. Until now, the presumption took effect “three years after the year in which payment was made.” The amendment increases the time to five years after the year in which payment was made.
Do you have employment agreements, severance plans, change of control agreements or similar arrangements? Are the severance and other benefits payable under those arrangements conditioned on the execution of a release? If so, you need to be aware of an upcoming deadline that might require amending those arrangements.
The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2013 cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for retirement plans. Most of the limits related to retirement plans are increased.
On March 30, 2012, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (the Commission) issued an order conditionally accepting the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator’s Tariff revisions in Docket No. ER12-309, effective January 1, 2012. MISO proposed the revisions to help further its policy of “first ready first served.” MISO believes that the Tariff changes, which modify its generator interconnection procedures (GIP), will help clear the backlog of projects in the queue and better enable projects that are ready to move forward to do so.
- Living Under the H-1B Cap – Alternative Visa Options and Strategies for Employing Foreign Nationals in the U.S.
The H-1B visa is commonly known as the “workhorse” of U.S. work visas as U.S. companies rely on it more than any other visa to employ foreign workers in the U.S. The H-1B visa is available to employers who want to hire a professional foreign national worker with at least a bachelor’s degree in a relevant field (or its equivalent in work experience) for a job which requires a degree in that field (also known as a specialty occupation) and the employer can demonstrate that it will be paying at least the prevailing wage to the foreign employee.
Everyone who has followed events in Brazil over the years has heard year after year that the country was on the verge of emerging as an international economic powerhouse. While it took a while for Brazil to finally emerge, it is certainly the case today that it has arrived, and U.S. manufacturers looking for new markets can no longer have serious aspirations in Latin America without having a Brazil strategy. Why is Brazil so important to U.S. businesses looking for markets for their products? Look at its current standing in the world:
The most significant revamping of United States patent law in the last 50 years was enacted on September 16, 2011, with President Obama’s signature of the America Invents Act. The Act, which will be implemented over the next 18 months, changes the procedures for obtaining new patents and provides new tools for challenging existing patents. Small businesses need to understand the changing patent laws to adequately manage their intellectual property rights and liabilities. Some of the most important changes to the patent laws are examined below.
The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2012 cost-of-living adjustments (COLAs) for retirement plans. Most of the limits related to retirement plans are increased.
As we reported previously in our September FredNEWS, effective November 14, 2011 most employers will be required to post a Notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act.
Employee wellness programs have become increasingly popular as employers seek to control health insurance costs, improve the health and productivity of their workers, and reduce absenteeism. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Employer Health Benefits 2010 Annual Survey, approximately three-fourths of employers offering health benefits already provide some type of wellness program.
Internal Revenue Code (IRC) § 162(m) imposes a $1 million deduction limit on compensation paid by a public corporation to certain executive officers. However, an exception applies to “qualified performance-based compensation,” which does not count against the deduction limit. Stock options may qualify for this exception if certain conditions are met, one of which is to specify a limit on the stock option grants. The Internal Revenue Service recently issued proposed regulations that clarify that the stock option plan must specify the maximum number of shares that may be granted to any individual employee during a specified period. If the plan merely states an aggregate maximum number of shares that may be granted during a specified period, and does not contain a specific per-employee limit, stock options will not qualify for the exception.
On September 6, 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) confirmed that it will not seek a rehearing of the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (D.C. Circuit) that vacated an SEC rule, commonly known as the “proxy access” rule, that would have enabled certain shareholders of public companies to propose director nominees for inclusion in their company’s proxy materials. The SEC also confirmed that it will not seek Supreme Court review of the decision.
On September 15, 2011, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) issued a final rule to adopt amendments to the proxy access rules for shareholder proposals in Rule 14a-8, which was discussed in our September 2011 issue of FredNEWS: Corporate & Securities. In a related action, on September 27, 2011, the SEC published an amended Form 8-K that includes a new Item 5.08 requiring, in certain circumstances, companies to disclose applicable deadlines for shareholders to submit proxy access proposals. On November 17, 2011, Institutional Shareholder Services, Inc. (ISS) published its 2012 Corporate Governance Policy Updates and Process Executive Summary, which refined how it will address proxy access, among other policy changes.
- Cities Are Back in the Variance Business: Legislature Removes Roadblock to Variance Applications by Making Much-Needed Changes to Variance Statutes
In 1989, the Minnesota Court of Appeals issued its decision in Rowell v. Board of Adjustment of Moorhead. In this decision, the Court of Appeals adopted an interpretation of Minnesota’s municipal variance statute that provided a flexible, owner-friendly standard for cities to use when evaluating variance applications. Following the Rowell decision, business was good for those applying for variances. While not every variance was granted under the standard adopted in Rowell, the standard was sufficiently lenient that variances became a tool that owners and developers routinely used to obtain approvals for their projects and developments.
On July 28, 2011, Patricia Winget, the Adviser to the Minnesota Commissioner of Health, reversed a maltreatment determination issued by the Office of Health Facility Complaints (OHFC). OHFC incorrectly asserted that a large, non-profit Minneapolis skilled nursing facility committed neglect of supervision when a resident in a wheelchair died from injuries sustained in a fall down a stairwell. Nursing home staff reached the resident within seconds after the resident gained access to the stairwell, but were unable to prevent the death.
North Dakota Senate Bill 2206 recently signed into law by the Governor, as North Dakota Century Code Section 2-05-21, changes the requirements for anemometer towers. The law was passed with an emergency clause and is effective August 1, 2011. The law requires that an anemometer tower “fifty feet in height above the ground or higher…located outside the zoning jurisdiction of a city, and the appearance of which is not otherwise regulated by state or federal law must be marked, painted, flagged, or otherwise constructed to be recognizable in clear air during daylight hours.” The towers must meet the following requirements:
On Monday, March 21, 2011, Governor Dayton signed into law H.F. 79, which conforms Minnesota’s individual income and corporate franchise taxes to most federal tax law changes enacted between March 18, 2010, and December 31, 2010, but only for the 2010 tax year. Among other changes, the tax bill contains the following benefits-related provisions:
Since 1970, the Bank Secrecy Act has required U.S. persons who have in aggregate more than $10,000 in foreign financial accounts to report certain information about those accounts to the Department of the Treasury using Form TD F 90-22.1, Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR). The FBAR is an informational return that is filed separately from a tax return. It must be received by the IRS by June 30. Failure to file an FBAR can result in significant civil and criminal penalties. Although the reporting requirements have existed more than 40 years, many people with foreign accounts have never heard of the FBAR.
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- EventHealth Law Webinar—Health System Transactions: The Deal with Deals
- EventMinnesota’s CROWN Act, Affirmative Action and Other Developments in Race Discrimination Law