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November 2020

SEC Considers an Innovative Capital Raising Resource for Small Businesses: Unlicensed Money Finders

Raising capital is one of the most critical challenges faced by entrepreneurs and local real estate developers. Capital is the “wind in the sails” required to move any enterprise forward. While many emerging companies rely on friends and family for initial funding, seed capital rarely can accomplish more than getting a business idea off the ground. Founders need to dramatically scale up their business in order to get the attention of venture capitalists or registered broker-dealers for larger rounds of funding. There is a systemic gap between raising money from those in your immediate circle and raising larger rounds of funding with seasoned investors. Unlicensed, unregistered finders have stepped in to fill this gap despite the potential legal pitfalls involved. Under current securities law, only registered broker-dealers are allowed to take transaction-based compensation (i.e. a success fee based on the amount of money raised). Among other limitations, unregistered finders must be paid a flat fee that is not tied to the amount of funds they generate, which is problematic for many practical reasons. Entrepreneurs risk sanctions, possible rescission of offerings and other penalties in order to enter into transaction-based fee arrangements with unregistered finders to raise the capital they so desperately need. ...READ MORE

 
November 2020

COVID-19 Has Not Slowed Down HIPAA Enforcement

The Office of Civil Rights (OCR) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has been quite active in recent months with respect to enforcement of the health information privacy and security requirements of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA). Below is an overview of some of OCR’s most recently announced HIPAA settlements. The details surrounding the alleged HIPAA violations and the facts that led to OCR’s investigations are instructive to covered entities and business associates seeking to review or improve their HIPAA compliance efforts. Notably, OCR’s investigations are commonly precipitated by a patient complaint to OCR or a report of a data breach, which, in recent times, is often due to cyberattacks through phishing emails or other unauthorized access of log in credentials. See the CSG Client Alert here with respect to recent ransomware threats to the healthcare industry. Some of the most common deficiencies cited by OCR are a lack of HIPAA policies and procedures and a failure to conduct a risk analysis, both of which are threshold compliance requirements. OCR’s continued, robust enforcement efforts in the midst of COVID-19 serve as a reminder to HIPAA covered entities and business associates – both large and small – that HIPAA compliance is a top priority and that failure to comply can lead to substantial penalties. ...READ MORE

 
November 2020

Estate Planning After the 2020 Election

With the winding down of election season and impending year-end, now is the time to consider whether it would be beneficial to implement wealth transfer techniques in the event of changes to estate and gift tax laws. In this alert, CSG's Trusts & Estates Group highlights key areas and strategies worth considering. ...READ MORE

 
November 2020

USPTO Announces Trademark Filing Fee Increases Effective January 2, 2021

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) announced that it will be adjusting some trademark prosecution, trademark maintenance and Trademark Trial and Appeal Board (“TTAB”) filing fees for the first time in nearly three years, effective January 2, 2021. The majority of the changes are fee increases. ...READ MORE

 
October 2020

CISA, FBI and HHS Warn of Imminent Ransomware Threat to Hospitals and Healthcare Providers

On October 29, 2020, the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) warned of an increased, imminent threat to U.S. hospitals and healthcare providers. The agencies have credible information that malicious cyber actors are targeting the healthcare and public health sectors with malware such as Ryuk, Conti, TrickBot and BazarLoader. Use of this malware can result in ransomware attacks, disruption of healthcare services and data theft. The joint CISA, FBI and HHS alert (AA20-302A) can be found here. The alert references a joint CISA MS-ISAC ransomware guide with best practices that can be found here. ...READ MORE

 
October 2020

Bankruptcy Decision's Analysis of Surety's Rights in Bankruptcy and of Bonds as Executory Contracts Raises Concerns

At a time of unprecedented energy sector bankruptcy filings and the urgent need for clarity concerning the interplay between bankruptcy and surety law, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Louisiana on September 22, 2020, issued In Re Falcon U, LLC, 2020 WL 5648733, a decision that erroneously concludes that a surety bond is not an executory contract in Chapter 11. While the decision is facially appealing, it is fundamentally flawed and misguided. Sureties should be aware of its flaws and the need for diligent, active bankruptcy representation at the very outset of a principal’s Chapter 11 Reorganization, as this decision might be one which sureties will have to confront and expose as mistaken in its analysis so as to avoid disallowance of the surety’s claims and preservation of its rights to adequate protection with respect to outstanding surety credit (bonds). ...READ MORE

 
October 2020

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Approves Application for Year 2 of the Community Solar Pilot Program

On October 2, 2020, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (the “Board”) officially approved the application to be used for Year 2 of the Community Solar Pilot Program (the “Program"). Year 2 of the Program will consist of 150 MW of projects (40% of which must serve low and moderate income customers), which will be evaluated by the same point system used by the Board for Year 1 of the Program. ...READ MORE

 
September 2020

New FinCEN Rule Requires Private and Other Federally Unregulated Banks to Establish AML Programs

On Tuesday, September 15, 2020, the U.S. Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (“FinCEN”) published a Final Rule (Fed. Reg. 2020-20325) designed to help enforce the USA PATRIOT Act of 2001 by eliminating the anti-money laundering (“AML”) program exemption for private banks, credit unions that are not federally insured, some trust companies, and other institutions not supervised by federal regulators such as the Federal Reserve, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Securities and Exchange Commission. ...READ MORE

 
September 2020

Back to School 2020: Employer FFCRA Obligations

Last updated September 10, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
September 2020

Temporary Halt in Residential Evictions

Last updated September 2, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
August 2020

SEC Expands Definition of Accredited Investor, Increasing the Investor Pool for Private Equity Offerings

On Wednesday, August 26, 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) adopted a Final Rule amending the “accredited investor” definition. These amendments increase the pool of investors who now qualify for “accredited” status and “are part of the Commission’s ongoing effort to simplify, harmonize, and improve the exempt offering framework, thereby expanding investment opportunities while maintaining appropriate investor protections and promoting capital formation.” SEC Chairman Jay Clayton stated: “For the first time, individuals will be permitted to participate in our private capital markets not only based on their income or net worth, but also based on established, clear measures of financial sophistication. I am also pleased that we have expanded and updated the list of entities…, that may qualify to participate in certain private offerings.” ...READ MORE

 
July 30, 2020

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Extends TREC Program

On July 29, 2020, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (the “Board”) issued an order (“Order”) extending the Transitional Renewable Energy Certificate (“TREC”) program. Prior to the Order, all solar energy generating systems registered in the TREC program must achieve commercial operation by April 30, 2021 to qualify for the generation of TRECs. The Order extends the April 30, 2021 deadline to October 30, 2021. As such, all projects that have been registered in the TREC program have until October 30, 2021 to achieve commercial operation. 

 ...READ MORE

 
July 2020

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Initiates Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program

On July 2, 2020, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") initiated the Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program for expedited resolution of ex parte appeals before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board ("PTAB"). Currently, the average appeal pendency for a normal ex parte appeal is about 15 months. Decisions in ex parte appeals accorded fast-track status under the Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program are expected within six months from the date that the appeal entered into the Fast-Track Appeals Pilot Program. ...READ MORE

 
July 2020

Supreme Court Rules "Generic.com" Trademarks Eligible for Federal Registration

On June 30, 2020, the United States Supreme Court rejected a per se rule that marks consisting of a generic word in combination with a domain name (e.g., “.com”) are automatically generic and ruled that a mark consisting of a generic word combined with “.com” may be entitled to federal trademark registration if consumers perceive the mark as non-generic. ...READ MORE

 
June 2020

USPTO Extends Two Month Priority Petition for COVID-19

Last updated June 16, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
May 2020

IRS Issues Proposed Regulations on Claiming Rehabilitation Tax Credits

On May 21, 2020, the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) issued guidance on how to claim the rehabilitation tax credit under Section 47 of the Internal Revenue of Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). The guidance, in the form of proposed regulations, includes rules to coordinate the new 5-year period over which the credit may be claimed with other special rules for investment credit property. ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

Coronavirus and Civil Court Deadlines and Operations

Last updated May 19, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
May 2020

New Jersey Residents Can Now Order a Cocktail To Go

Last udpated May 19, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
May 2020

New Jersey Begins Re-Opening Process

Last updated May 14, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
May 4, 2020

Co-Parenting with COVID-19

by Patricia Tuckman, Family Law Group ...READ MORE

 
April 2020

Supreme Court Rules that Willfulness Not Required for Award of Profits in Trademark Infringement Cases

On April 23, 2020, by a unanimous vote, the United States Supreme Court resolved a circuit split and held that a plaintiff in a trademark infringement suit does not need to show that a defendant willfully infringed in order to recover profits. ...READ MORE

 
April 2020

Governor Murphy Announces Plan to Reopen New Jersey

Last updated April 28, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
April 2020

Why Clients are Reviewing Their Estate Plans Now

Last updated April 24, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
April 2020

NJBPU Announces Closure of the SREC Program: The Day for Solar Transition Arrives

In a series of orders issued on March 27th, and again on April 6th, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“NJBPU” or the “Board”) effectuated the closure of New Jersey’s Solar Renewable Energy Credit (“SREC”) program and ordered transition to a successor program as required by the Clean Energy Act of 2018 (“CEA”). ...READ MORE

 
April 1, 2020

Employer-Provided Tax-Free Disaster Relief Payments

Last updated April 1, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
April 2020

Paycheck Protection Program to Begin April 3rd

Last updated April 3, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

Treasury Secretary Sets Credit Start Date

Last updated March 30, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

Coronavirus in the Workplace: Recent OSHA Guidance

Last updated March 27, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

New York Paid Leave for Quarantined Employees

Last updated March 26, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

Challenges Raised by "Essential Business" Designation

Last updated March 25, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

Attorney Ethics Considerations in the Age of Coronavirus

Last updated March 25, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

IRS Issues Employer Credit and Tax Extension Guidance

Last updated March 24, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

SBA Economic Injury Disaster Loans for Small Businesses

Last updated March 24, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

IRS, New York and New Jersey All Extend Tax Deadlines

Last updated April 1, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

Environmental Concerns Related to COVID-19

Last updated March 30, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

SEC Announces Filing Extensions Amid COVID-19 Concerns

Last updated March 31, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

COVID-19 and its effect on contract performance

Last updated March 16, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

The COVID-19 Pandemic - Does HIPAA Apply to My Business?

Last updated March 16, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

COVID-19 and Immigration Considerations for U.S. Employers

Last updated March 16, 2020 ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Adjusts TREC Value

On March 9, 2020, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities issued an order (“Order”) modifying the value of the Transition Renewable Energy Certificate (“TREC”) to $152 for the full fifteen (15) year eligibility period. The original order establishing the TREC set its value at $65 for Energy Years 2021, 2022 and 2023, and $189 for the remainder of the TREC eligibility term. ...READ MORE

 
March 2020

USPTO Increasing Burden on Petitioners in Connection with Petitions to Excuse Delay

The United States Patent and Trademark Office ("USPTO") is increasing the burden on applicants and patent owners when attempting to rectify certain filing delays. ...READ MORE

 
February 2020

Commercial Property Appeals in 2020

New Jersey continues to place the country’s heaviest real property tax burden on commercial and industrial property owners. While any substantial property may be a candidate for a successful appeal, real property tax appeals generally present most significant financial benefits to owners or managers of industrial, commercial or multi-family residential rental properties. A careful analysis of the tax assessments of those properties is warranted to determine whether they are being appropriately assessed and not being charged more than their fair share of taxes. Even as general market conditions continue to be strong for some property classes, the question of whether a particular property is properly assessed remains an essential exercise of due diligence for any stakeholder of real estate in New Jersey. There may be unique factors impacting a property’s value which are immune from general market conditions such as the existence of environmental contamination or other unique features of a property. ...READ MORE

 
February 2020

New York's Appellate Division Reverses Award of Attorneys' Fees Against a Surety Under New York's Little Miller Act Where the Surety Defeated a Portion of the Claim

Last week, in an appeal in which CSG filed an amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Surety & Fidelity Association of America (“SFAA”), New York’s Appellate Division, First Department, reversed a trial court’s award of attorneys’ fees to a payment bond claimant pursuant to New York’s “Little Miller Act”, State Finance Law § 137. ...READ MORE

 
February 2020

USCIS Announces Electronic H-1B Registration Process and Dates for FY 2021

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has conducted multiple webinars for an overview of the H-1B Electronic Registration Process for registrants and attorneys. The system requires employers to submit online registration to be selected for the H-1B lottery FY 2021. Following is the new timeline: ...READ MORE

 
January 2020

How Employers Can Prevent Cupid's Arrow From Causing Pain in the Workplace

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, now is a good time to revisit your office romance policy. Employers often shudder at the thought of workplace romances and the impact they could have on office morale and productivity. In light of the firmly entrenched #MeToo movement, employers remain particularly concerned that, should a workplace romance fizzle, they could also face a potential harassment claim. ...READ MORE

 
January 23, 2020

Governor Signs Class 1 Renewable Energy Cost Cap Relief Bill into Law

On January 21, 2020, Governor Murphy signed legislation that allows the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“BPU”) to soften the impact of the upcoming cost cap reduction that could have seriously impacted New Jersey’s ability to meet its aggressive renewable energy requirements. The legislation, S-4275, amends legislation signed into law in 2018 (the “2018 Legislation”) to allow the BPU to smooth out the Class 1 renewable cost cap reduction over a six year period which would have potentially significantly reduced incentives for new solar necessary to meet New Jersey’s aggressive renewable energy requirements. ...READ MORE

 
January 2020

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Clarifies TREC Eligibility

On January 8, 2020, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“BPU”) issued an order (“Order”) clarifying eligibility for the Solar Transition Incentive Program (the “TREC Program”). The TREC Program will be available to all solar projects that have submitted complete SREC Registration (“SRP”) Applications after October 29, 2018 that have yet to commence operations but otherwise remain in good standing in the SRP pipeline at the time the BPU determines that 5.1% of all electricity sold in New Jersey comes from solar generation (the “5.1% Milestone”). ...READ MORE

 
December 2019

Secure Act of 2019 Means More Taxes for Your Heirs Without Thoughtful Planning

The SECURE Act, which takes effect on January 1, 2020, includes many changes for individual retirement accounts (“IRAs”) including raising the age at which required minimum distributions must be taken from age 70 ½ to age 72 and eliminating the age limit for contributions to IRAs so that as long as you are working, you can make contributions. The increased age for required minimum distributions also applies to qualified plans (e.g., 401(k)s). ...READ MORE

 
December 2019

IRS Lays Out Final Rules on Opportunity Zones

On Thursday, December 19, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and the U.S. Department of the Treasury issued a final set of highly anticipated and hoped for regulations regarding the Qualified Opportunity Zone Program (the “QOZ Program”). The QOZ Program, implemented as part of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, allows investors to defer and eventually reduce capital gains taxes on their profits from securities, real estate and other assets by investing those funds into projects in designated low-income census tracts across the country (referred to as “Qualified Opportunity Zones”). ...READ MORE

 
December 2019

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Orders Creation of Solar Transition Incentive Program

On December 6, 2019, the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“BPU”) issued an order (“Order”), effective December 16, 2019, establishing a Solar Transition Incentive Program (the “TREC Program”). The key provisions of the Order are as follows: ...READ MORE

 
November 2019

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Issues Updated Guidance on Subject Matter Eligibility

35 U.S.C. §101 defines the type of subject matter that is eligible for patenting. The Supreme Court’s interpretation of §101 in Alice has made computer related and business method inventions more difficult to patent, as courts are increasingly finding such inventions to be directed towards patent ineligible abstract ideas in view of Alice. Application of Alice has proven to be challenging to both the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) and federal courts, resulting in inconsistency and unpredictability in evaluating inventions under the Alice test. In order to provide more clarity and predictability in evaluating patent eligibility, the USPTO issued the 2019 Revised Patent Subject Matter Eligibility Guidelines (“2019 PEG”) on January 7, 2019. The USPTO has now issued the October 2019 Update on Subject Matter Eligibility (“October 2019 Update”), addressing concerns raised in view of the 2019 PEG. ...READ MORE

 
November 2019

Not in California? Here's Why the CCPA Should Still Be on Your Radar

Even if your business is based on the East Coast, you are likely to feel the effects of the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”), which will be effective January 1, 2020. ...READ MORE

 
November 2019

Don't Let Your Company Holiday Party Become a Liability

Some say it’s the most wonderful time of the year. Others are business owners or HR professionals who experience great stress at year-end due to, among other things, the company holiday party. Although the annual holiday party may be viewed as a nice thing to do for employees to both demonstrate appreciation for their efforts over the year and to give employees the chance to unwind and celebrate with colleagues, such parties also expose employers to potential legal liability for allegations of harassment and discrimination, as well as for accidents and injuries. In addition, such well-intended celebrations may cause employee frustration over things such as feeling or even being obligated to attend a work function on off-time, having to incur costs of childcare to do so, and preferring the employer demonstrate employee appreciation through a monetary bonus rather than a party. ...READ MORE

 
October 2019

IRS Finalizes Section 199A Safe Harbor for Rental Real Estate; Triple Net Leases Excluded

On Tuesday, September 24, 2019, the Treasury Department (“Treasury”) and the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued Revenue Procedure 2019-38 (“Rev. Proc. 2019-38”), which finalizes a safe harbor for rental property under Section 199A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”). The safe harbor was originally set forth in IRS Notice 2019-07, 2019-09 IRB 740. The determination to use the safe harbor must be made annually. ...READ MORE

 
October 2019

The Long Reach of New York's SHIELD Act

States continue to pass legislation addressing the protection and breach of private information and, on July 25, 2019, New York joined the growing trend when Governor Andrew Cuomo signed the Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act (or “SHIELD Act”) into law. The SHIELD Act significantly amends New York’s data protection and data breach notification laws – expanding their reach beyond businesses operating in New York and imposing new requirements on persons and businesses in possession of New York residents’ private information. ...READ MORE

 
September 2019

DOL Announces Final Rule Increasing Minimum Salary Threshold for FLSA White Collar Exemptions

In a much-anticipated move, the United States Department of Labor ("DOL") announced today the final version of its new overtime exemption rule for the “white collar” exemptions. The rule sets a new minimum annual salary threshold that employees must be paid in order for the employee to qualify for the Fair Labor Standard Act’s (“FLSA”) white collar exemptions—i.e., the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions—at $35,568 per year or $684 per week. The rule will become effective on January 1, 2020. ...READ MORE

 
September 2019

Government Announces Million Dollar Settlement with Surety for Alleged Violations of False Claims Act

In the summer of 2017, a District Judge sitting in the District of Columbia issued a decision holding that a surety could be held liable under the False Claims Act where it becomes aware of facts suggesting that a bonded principal is fraudulently participating in a government set-aside program and nonetheless continues to do business with that principal. United States ex rel Scollick v. Narula, 2017 WL 3268857 (D.D.C. July 31, 2017). Although the Narula decision arose in the context of a motion to dismiss, where the court’s findings are limited to determining the viability of the claims as plead, the decision has drawn close scrutiny (and criticism) from professionals across the surety industry. Many underwriters have exercised additional caution prior to bonding set-aside contractors due, in large part, to the draconian penalties that may be imposed for violations of the False Claims Act, including treble damages. The close scrutiny and additional caution unfortunately appear to have been well-founded. ...READ MORE

 
September 4, 2019

CSG Corporate & Securities Insights Q2 | 2019

CSG's Corporate & Securities Group is pleased to provide the latest installment of Insights – which highlights recent news, activities, judicial decisions, legislative actions and regulatory announcements of interest. ...READ MORE

 
August 2019

New Jersey and New York Join Growing Trend of Banning Salary History Inquiries

Both New Jersey and New York State have recently passed legislation restricting employers from obtaining or considering the salary history of applicants and employees when making hiring and compensation decisions. ...READ MORE

 
August 2019

New York Lowers Bar for Plaintiffs to Prove Harassment

On August 12, 2019, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law a sweeping reform of sexual harassment law that lowers the bar for plaintiffs to prove workplace harassment. The law builds upon the New York sexual harassment laws that were passed in 2018 following the Time’s Up and #MeToo movements. ...READ MORE

 
August 2019

Foreign Parties Now Required to Retain U.S. Attorney for Trademark Filings

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) has changed its rules regarding filings by foreign individuals and companies. Effective August 3, 2019, all foreign domiciled parties must be represented by a U.S. licensed attorney in connection with trademark-related submissions to the USPTO.  ...READ MORE

 
July 2019

What You Need to Know About the Imminent Changes to the EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program

On July 24, 2019, United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) published a final rule “EB-5 Immigrant Investor Program Modernization.” The action, which has an effective date of November 21, 2019, will significantly revise EB-5 regulations, including a significant increase in minimum investment amount, revision of the definition of a Targeted Employment Area ("TEA"), and retention of priority date for investors. ...READ MORE

 
July 23, 2019

Supreme Court Strikes Down Prohibition on Immoral or Scandalous Trademarks

On June 24, 2019, the United States Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional the Lanham Act’s prohibition on immoral or scandalous trademarks. In Iancu v. Brunetti (No. 18-302), the Court held that the prohibition violates the First Amendment because it impermissibly restricts freedom of speech. ...READ MORE

 
June 14, 2019

New Jersey Releases Draft of 2019 Energy Master Plan and Invites Comment

On June 10, 2019, the State of New Jersey released a draft of the 2019 New Jersey Energy Master Plan (the “EMP”) for comment. If adopted, the EMP would be a seismic shift in New Jersey energy policy. Quoting the draft plan, “New Jersey is embarking on a significant transition in its energy system, including aggressively pursuing energy efficiency and conservation measures, modernizing the grid, decentralizing electricity production, decarbonizing the energy system, and adding significant additional load to the grid through growth of electricity sales.” The scope of the changes ahead are likely to touch every business and individual in New Jersey. The draft plan highlights the following commitments made by Governor Phil Murphy: ...READ MORE

 
May 2019

USPTO Issues Guidance on Registrability of Hemp and CBD Related Marks

On May 3, 2019, the United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) relaxed its stance on the trademark registrability of certain types of hemp and cannabidiol (“CBD”) related products and services in light of the 2018 Farm Bill. The USPTO previously flatly refused registration for all trademark and service mark applications related to cannabis or CBD on the ground that these applications had no lawful basis and violated the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”). Due to this change in policy at the USPTO, there is a new opportunity to potentially obtain registrations for certain hemp and CBD related goods and services. ...READ MORE

 
May 2019

New Jersey Employers Should Prepare for First in a Series of Minimum Wage Increases

The first in a series of increases to New Jersey’s minimum wage takes effect on July 1, 2019 and will increase the minimum wage, which is currently $8.85 per hour, to $10.00 per hour for most employees. The minimum wage will continue to increase each year on January 1 by $1.00 per hour until it reaches $15.00 per hour on January 1, 2024. ...READ MORE

 
May 2019

Amendment to Breach Statute

In the absence of Federal legislation addressing a breach compromising personal information, let alone the protection of that information, states are continuing to fill the void. On Friday, May 10, 2019[1], New Jersey amended its breach notification statute, expanding the definition of “personal information,” which would trigger a breach notice obligation. ...READ MORE

 
April 2019

Second Set of Treasury Regulations on Opportunity Zones Unveiled; Should Spark Investment

As we have previously alerted you, on Wednesday, April 17, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and the United States Department of the Treasury issued the highly anticipated second set of proposed regulations (the “2019 Regulations”) regarding the Qualified Opportunity Zone Program (the “QOZ Program”). The 2019 Regulations are a follow-up to the initial promulgation by the IRS of Sections 1400Z-1 and 1400Z-2 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (the “Code”), and the issuance of an initial set of regulations on the QOZ Program in October 2018 (the “2018 Regulations”). For a summary of Code Sections 1400Z-1 and -2, the 2018 Regulations and a general overview of the OZ Program, see CSG's October 2018 Qualified Opportunity Zones Alert. ...READ MORE

 
April 2019

Second Set of Regulations on Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds Released

On April 17, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and the United States Department of the Treasury issued the second set of highly anticipated regulations regarding the Qualified Opportunity Zone Program (the “QOZ Program”). The IRS guidance is 169 pages in length and answers a number of questions that remained unanswered after the first set of proposed regulations on the QOZ Program was issued in October of 2018. For prior CSG alerts describing the QOZ Program and guidance with respect thereto, click here. ...READ MORE

 
April 2019

More Paid Time Off From Work for New York Voters

As part of New York State’s recently enacted budget for fiscal year 2020, the state’s election law has been revised to permit employees with up to three hours of paid time off to vote at any election. ...READ MORE

 
April 2019

New Jersey BPU Announces Opening of Application Window for Community Solar

On March 29, 2019 the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“BPU”) released the final Community Solar Energy Pilot Program Application Form (the “Application”) and announced the Application period opens on April 9, 2019 at 9:00 A.M. and closes on September 9, 2019 at 5:00 P.M. The form is substantially the same as the form released for comment in November 2018, however, there are some changes, including modifications to the scoring system. ...READ MORE

 
March 2019

DOL Issues Proposed New Rule Increasing Minimum Salary Threshold for Exemptions Under FLSA

Last week, the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking increasing the minimum salary requirement for positions to qualify as exempt from the Fair Labor Standards Act’s (“FLSA”) overtime requirements. Currently, the minimum salary requirement is set at $455 per week or $23,660 per year for a job position to qualify for any of the “white collar” exemptions. ...READ MORE

 
March 2019

Supreme Court Resolves Circuit Split, Confirms That Issuance of Copyright Registration Is Required Before Filing Infringement Suit

On March 4, 2019, the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion, finally resolving a long standing circuit split in copyright law. The Court held that, in the vast majority of cases, a lawsuit for copyright infringement can only be filed after the U.S. Copyright Office actually issues a registration. ...READ MORE

 
March 2019

NJDEP Proposes Category One Designation for 749 Miles of Rivers and Streams

The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) has proposed to change Surface Water Quality Standards antidegradation designations for 749 miles of rivers and streams in New Jersey. The changes will heighten standards for regulated discharges to those waterbodies and extend the applicable Flood Hazard Area Control Act riparian development buffer from the current 150 feet to 300 feet. The buffer restricts development and excludes sewer service for development. ...READ MORE

 
March 2019

No Actual Damages Needed to Assert a Claim Under the Biometric Information Privacy Act: Rosenbach v. Six Flags Entertainment Corp.

Businesses should heed caution when collecting, storing or otherwise using commercial biometric data. Biometric data can provide efficiency and convenience to a business, such as with respect to its security procedures and operations, as well as with its products and services by collecting biometric information of its consumers and employees. Biometric information includes fingerprints, face recognition, voice recognition, and the implantation of microchips. Various industries have contemplated, or even implemented, such technology to allow consumers to gain access to their products and services, make payments or verify the consumer’s identity. For example, as seen in the case described below, an amusement park used fingerprints to allow a season pass holder to gain access to the theme park; or, a business may use voice recognition for employee access and data security. However, litigation may become more prevalent in this area due to a recent decision with respect to the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (“BIPA”). ...READ MORE

 
March 2019

New and Expanded Benefits for New Jersey Employees

On February 19, 2019, Governor Phil Murphy signed into law a bill significantly expanding the rights and benefits for New Jersey employees under three existing laws. Specifically, this new law amends New Jersey’s Family Leave Act (“FLA”), New Jersey’s Family Leave Insurance benefits program (“FLI”) and New Jersey’s Security and Financial Empowerment Act (“SAFE”). Among other changes, under this new law many more New Jersey employees will be eligible for benefits and for leave for a longer period of time. ...READ MORE

 
February 2019

H-1B Visa Program: Things for Employers to Keep in Mind this Cap Season

With the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) once again accepting H-1B cap petitions starting on April 1, 2019 of this year, it is important for employers to be aware of changes to H-1B policy, as well as ongoing issues confronted in the H-1B process with the Trump Administration. ...READ MORE

 
February 2019

New Jersey BPU Adopts Community Solar Regulations

On February 19, 2019 the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“BPU”) formally adopted its proposed regulations (the “Regulations”) regarding the Community Solar Pilot Program (the “Pilot Program”). Although there are some minor clarifications, and 339 published comments, there are no material changes to the proposed regulations that were published for comment on October 1, 2018. ...READ MORE

 
February 2019

Federal Circuit Eases Patent Term Adjustment Calculation in Favor of Applicants

The Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in Supernus Pharmaceuticals, Inc. v. Iancu, recently held that the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has been incorrectly calculating patent term adjustment (PTA) in certain circumstances. As a result of this ruling, patent owners may be entitled to additional patent term. ...READ MORE

 
February 2019

Date of Public Hearing on Qualified Opportunity Zones Announced

On January 29, 2019, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued a notice, which can be found here, announcing that the long-awaited public hearing on the Qualified Opportunity Zone proposed regulations (dated October 18, 2018, and hereinafter referred to as the “Proposed Regulations”) would take place on February 14, 2019 at 10 am.   The public comment period for the Proposed Regulations expired on December 28, 2018 and taxpayers have been anxiously awaiting additional guidance with respect thereto from the IRS.   The hearing was originally scheduled for January 10, 2019, but was postponed due to the recent government shutdown. The second set of regulations is expected to be issued shortly after the hearing.   ...READ MORE

 
January 2019

Governor Cuomo Signs Legislation Banning Transgender Discrimination

On January 25, 2019, New York added gender identity and gender expression to the state’s anti-discrimination law, making it illegal to deny individuals a job, housing, education or public accommodations because they are transgender or non-binary. The legislation is known as the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA). ...READ MORE

 
January 2019

Commercial Property Appeals in 2019

New Jersey continues to place the country’s heaviest real property tax burden on commercial and industrial property owners. While any substantial property may be a candidate for a successful appeal, real property tax appeals generally present most significant financial benefits to owners or managers of industrial, commercial or multi-family residential rental properties. A careful analysis of the tax assessments of those properties is warranted to determine whether they are being appropriately assessed and not being charged more than their fair share of taxes. Even as general market conditions have improved for some property classes, the question of whether a particular property is properly assessed remains an essential exercise of due diligence for any stakeholder of real estate in New Jersey. There may be unique factors impacting a property’s value which are immune from general market conditions such as the existence of environmental contamination or other unique features of a property. ...READ MORE

 
January 2019

NJDEP Proposes New Storm Water Protection Regulations

On December 3, 2018, NJDEP issued a rule proposal that would significantly modify New Jersey’s storm water management protection rules N.J.A.C. 7:8[1]. When adopted, the rules will mandate that major developments incorporate nonstructural stormwater management strategies. Currently, the stormwater rules only require incorporation of stormwater management strategies to the "maximum extent practicable.” Nonstructural stormwater management strategies must meet the following key elements of storm water management standards: ...READ MORE

 
January 2019

U.S. Patent and Trademark Office Issues Revised Subject Matter Eligibility Guidance

The United States Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) recently issued revised guidance for use by USPTO personnel in evaluating subject matter eligibility for patents. ...READ MORE

 
January 2019

IRS Cancels Qualified Opportunity Zone Hearing Due to Government Shutdown

In a major blow to investors, real estate developers and fund managers alike, the Internal Revenue Service (the “IRS”) cancelled the January 10, 2019 public hearing on Qualified Opportunity Zones. The Qualified Opportunity Zone Program (the “Program”), a summary of which can be found in our March 2018 and October 2018 client alerts, continues to be plagued by many unanswered questions, even after the issuance of the October 17, 2018 Treasury Regulations (the “Proposed Regulations”) designed to provide guidance on how the Program will work. While the Proposed Regulations answered questions such as which gains qualify for tax deferral benefits, which taxpayer investments will be eligible, and how to structure Qualified Opportunity Funds, to name a few, many other questions remained unanswered. ...READ MORE

 
January 2019

CSG Corporate & Securities Insights Q4 | 2018

CSG's Corporate & Securities Group is pleased to provide the latest installment of Insights – which highlights recent news, activities, judicial decisions, legislative actions and regulatory announcements of interest. ...READ MORE

 
December 2018

Pennsylvania Supreme Court Ruling Opens Floodgates on Cybersecurity Lawsuits

On November 21, 2018, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, the highest ranking state court in Pennsylvania, ruled that an employer had a common law duty to exercise reasonable care to protect employees’ personal data where, as a condition to employment, the employer (i) required employees to provide sensitive data, (ii) the employer chose to store such data, and (iii) the collection and storage of that information by the employer could foreseeably expose the employees to “unreasonable risk of harm”. Dittman v. UPMC, No. 43 WAP 2017, 2018 WL 6072199 (Pa. Nov. 21, 2018). ...READ MORE

 
December 2018

Pending Bill Proposes Expansion of E-3 Visa for Irish Nationals

Efforts are underway in Washington D.C. to secure the E-3 visa for Irish Nationals. H.R. 7164 proposes expansion of this “Specialty Occupation” visa to approximately 5,000 individuals of Irish origin per year, and was passed by Congress on November 28th. It is now being considered by the US Senate, where it requires unanimous support. Thus far, the Bill has enjoyed bipartisan support, and the backing of the White House. ...READ MORE

 
November 2018

New Jersey BPU Issues Draft Community Solar Applications for Public Comment

On November 28, 2018 the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“BPU”) published the following draft applications (collectively the “Applications”) for public comment: ...READ MORE

 
November 2018

New Jersey Launches Tax Amnesty Program

As part of a major New Jersey state budget overhaul adopted last July, the New Jersey Division of Taxation announced a tax amnesty program (the “Program”), which officially launched on November 15, 2018 and will run through January 15, 2019. The Program provides individuals and businesses with the opportunity to pay back taxes or file past returns with no penalties and reduced interest. ...READ MORE

 
November 2018

Tips For Employers To Avoid Holiday Party Pitfalls

’Tis the season for the annual office holiday party. Company holiday parties are a great way for employees to unwind and celebrate the holidays and all of the year’s accomplishments; however, these parties are also ripe with potential pitfalls for employers. Here are some tips to help employers keep the office party from turning into a breeding pool for workplace harassment and other potential liability. ...READ MORE

 
November 2018

Arbitration Clauses at Risk of Being Invalid

It’s time to dust-off and review your arbitration provisions. This week, the Superior Court of the State of New Jersey, Appellate Division issued a published opinion in Marilyn Flanzman v. Jenny Craig Inc. et. al., No. A-2580-17T1, 2018 WL 5914420 (App. Div. Nov. 13, 2018), striking down an arbitration provision that failed to designate a “forum” or “setting” for the arbitration. The Appellate Division held that parties to an arbitration agreement must select an arbitral forum such as the American Arbitration Association (AAA) or the Judicial Arbitration and Mediation Services (JAMS), or otherwise agree to a general process for arbitration at the time they enter into the agreement. Without so doing, there is no “meeting of the minds” and the arbitration provision is unenforceable.  ...READ MORE

 
October 2018

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Clarifies the SREC Qualification Life Provision of New Solar Law

On October 29, 2018 the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“BPU”) clarified a portion of the solar law signed by Governor Murphy on May 23, 2018 (the “Law”). The Law reduces the SREC qualification life for new systems from 15 years to 10 years; however, there has been some confusion as to when the reduction becomes effective. The BPU has clarified that all SRP Registration applications submitted on the online portal on or before 11:59 pm on October 29, 2018 will be eligible for a 15 year SREC qualification life. All SRP Registration applications submitted after 11:59 pm on October 29, 2018 will be eligible for only a 10 year SREC qualification life. ...READ MORE

 
October 2018

New York State Issues Final Guidance on Sexual Harassment Prevention Policies & Training

As described in prior alerts in May and September of this year, effective October 9, 2018, employers in New York State must adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy (which must include, among other things, a complaint form) and conduct annual, interactive sexual harassment prevention training for employees. While New York previously issued a draft policy, complaint form, employee training program pertaining to sexual harassment and Frequently Asked Questions, on October 1, 2018, New York State issued final versions of these documents. ...READ MORE

 
October 2018

Treasury Issues Highly Anticipated Guidance Clarifying the Deferral of Gains Invested in Qualified Opportunity Zone Funds

On October 19, 2018, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) issued highly anticipated guidance regarding the Qualified Opportunity Zone Program (the “QOZ Program”). The guidance consists of proposed treasury regulations under Code Section 1400Z-2 of the Internal Revenue Code, as amended (the “Code”), Revenue Ruling 2018-29, an updated Q&A document, which can be found here, and a draft IRS Form 8996, Qualified Opportunity Fund, and instructions thereto. The newly issued guidance answers a number of questions regarding qualifying for the tax breaks associated with the QOZ Program, and is likely to spur significant activity from investors and funds that have thus far put their decisions regarding investments in Qualified Opportunity Zones (“QOZs”) on hold. The Treasury Department anticipates issuing additional guidance later this year. ...READ MORE

 
September 2018

NJDEP Adopts Amended Site Remediation Regulations

Effective August 6, 2018, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP” or the “Department”) adopted amendments to several key rules governing site remediation—including Discharges of Petroleum and Other Hazardous Substances (N.J.A.C. 7:1E); Heating Oil Tank System Remediation Rules; Administrative Requirements for the Remediation of Contaminated Sites (“ARRCS,” N.J.A.C. 7:26C); and the Technical Requirements for Site Remediation (“Technical Regulations,” N.J.A.C. 7:26E). ...READ MORE

 
September 2018

New York State Publishes Draft Guidance on Sexual Harassment Prevention Training and Policies

New York State has published further guidance concerning sexual harassment prevention, as required by the State’s 2019 budget bill. As described in a prior alert, effective October 9, 2018, employers must adopt a sexual harassment prevention policy (which must include, among other things, a complaint form) and conduct annual, interactive sexual harassment prevention training for employees. ...READ MORE

 
August 2018

NYC Employers Must Display Anti-Sexual Harassment Poster and Distribute Information Sheet as of September 6, 2018

Pursuant to the Stop Sexual Harassment in NYC Act, described in a prior alert available here, as of September 6, 2018, New York City employers must conspicuously display an anti-sexual harassment rights and responsibilities poster and distribute an information sheet on sexual harassment to employees at the time of hire. The New York City Commission on Human Rights has published an English version of the poster, which is available for download here, and the fact sheet, which is available for download here. Versions of the poster and fact sheet in Spanish and other languages are not yet available. ...READ MORE

 
August 2018

It's High Time for New Jersey Employers to Address Marijuana in the Workplace

With the legalization of medical marijuana through New Jersey's Compassionate Use of Medical Marijuana Act (CUMMA) and the decriminalization of recreational marijuana on the horizon, employers must prepare now to address marijuana in the workplace. ...READ MORE

 
July 2018

New Jersey's Out-Of-Network Law: What It Means For You

On June 1, 2018, Governor Philip Murphy signed into law the "New Jersey Out-of-network Consumer Protection, Transparency, Cost Containment and Accountability Act" (the "Act") establishing new rules for health care facilities, health care professionals and insurance companies regarding: (1) disclosure requirements to patients, (2) limitations on balance billing, and (3) the creation of an arbitration system to resolve billing disputes. Persons and entities affected by the Act are strongly encouraged to put in place appropriate policies and procedures to address the new statutory requirements. ...READ MORE

 
July 2018

New Jersey's Fiscal Year 2019 Budget Brings Significant Changes to the State's Tax Laws

Late in the evening of July 1, 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and the New Jersey legislature averted a government shutdown by signing the fiscal year 2019 state budget, which includes significant changes to New Jersey’s business and individual taxes.  ...READ MORE

 
July 2018

Supreme Court Decides Internet Sales Tax Case, Allowing States to Charge Sales Taxes on Online Purchases

On June 21, 2018, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its long awaited decision, South Dakota v. Wayfair, U.S., No. 17-494, granting states greater power to require out-of-state retailers to collect sales tax on online sales to in-state residents. At issue was the Court’s own 26-year-old precedent, Quill v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298 (1992), which established the physical presence test for sales and use tax nexus. Modern e-commerce “does not align” with the physical presence required in Quill, Justice Kennedy wrote. The decision is the most important state tax case in more than two decades. ...READ MORE

 
June 2018

New York State Bar Association Clarifies Permissible Scope of Referrals Between Spouses in Related Fields

On April 30, 2018, the New York State Bar Association, Committee on Professional Ethics, issued Ethics Opinion 1150, which addressed whether any ethical limitations exist as to the ability for spouses in related industries to refer clients to one another. In the factual scenario presented to the Bar Association, a transactional real estate attorney inquired as to whether he/she could permissibly refer a matter to his/her spouse, a real estate broker, and vice versa. The inquiring attorney specified in the inquiry that he/she “and broker/spouse may not participate in their respective roles in the same real estate transaction.” The inquirer raised three questions: (1) whether a real estate attorney may accept referrals from a broker/spouse who has no personal involvement in the real estate transaction; (2) whether a real estate attorney may refer business to a broker/spouse if the attorney does not represent any party in the real estate transaction; and (3) whether a real estate attorney representing a client in the sale of property may refer the selling client to the broker/spouse in connection with an unrelated real estate transaction involving the client. ...READ MORE

 
June 2018

Governor Murphy Signs Executive Order Mandating Energy Master Plan Update

On May 23, 2018, Governor Murphy signed Executive Order 28 (the “Order”) which requires the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“BPU”) to convene the Energy Master Plan Committee within 30 days for the purpose of completing and delivering a new Energy Master Plan (the “Plan”) on or before June 1, 2019. The Order specifically provides as follows: ...READ MORE

 
June 2018

CSG Corporate & Securities Insights Q2 | 2018

Judicial Decisions, Legislative Actions and Regulatory Announcements ...READ MORE

 
May 2018

Governor Murphy Signs Sweeping Renewable Energy Bill

On May 23, 2018, Governor Murphy signed S-2314 (the “Law”), a sweeping renewable energy bill that touches on many of the issues that have been the subject of discussion throughout New Jersey’s renewable energy sector for years. The Law addresses, among other things, solar energy, energy efficiency, offshore wind and energy storage. The Law is effective immediately. ...READ MORE

 
May 2018

Secured Creditors Need to Rethink Collection Efforts

On May 8, 2018, in the case of Jimenez v. Jimenez, Case No. A-2495016T1, 2018 WL 2106639, the New Jersey Appellate Division provided guidance to creditors seeking to pursue the assets of a debtor who holds property as a tenancy by the entirety with a non-debtor spouse. Pursuant to N.J.S.A. 46:3-17.4, “[n]either spouse may sever, alienate, or otherwise affect their interest in the tenancy by entirety during the marriage or upon separation without the written consent of both spouses.” ...READ MORE

 
May 2018

New Jersey Passes Statewide Paid Sick Leave Law, Supplanting Local Sick Leave Laws

New Jersey is now among a handful of states in the country with mandatory paid sick leave for employees. On May 2, 2018, Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation that requires public and private employers in New Jersey, regardless of size, to provide employees with up to 40 hours of paid sick time per benefit year. The only exemptions include construction employees bound by collective bargaining agreements, per diem health care employees and public employees who already have sick leave benefits. ...READ MORE

 
May 2018

NYC Issues Revised Notice of Employee Rights for Safe Time

As of May 5, 2018, employers must provide employees working in New York City with up to 40 hours of sick and safe leave per year under the Earned Safe and Sick Time Act, as explained in a prior alert available here. On May 7, 2018, the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) issued a revised Notice of Employee Rights template in English, which is available for download here. The revised notice must be distributed to new employees as of May 5, 2018, and to current employees prior to June 4, 2018. Employers must also provide each employee with a Notice of Employee Rights in the employee’s primary language, if such a translation is available on the DCA’s website; however, revised notices in languages other than English are not yet available on the website.  ...READ MORE

 
April 2018

NJ Mandates Equal Pay for All

On April 24, 2018, New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed into law the Diane B. Allen Equal Pay Act, an amendment to the Law Against Discrimination (LAD), which takes effect on July 1, 2018. The Act prohibits an employer from paying an employee who is a member of a protected class (as defined under the LAD) at a rate of compensation less than the rate paid to employees who are not members of the protected class for “substantially similar work.” ...READ MORE

 
April 2018

Amendment to NYC's Earned Sick Time Act

Effective May 5, 2018, employers with employees working in New York City must comply with an amendment to the city’s Earned Sick Time Act, which provides such employees with up to 40 hours of sick leave per year. Under the newly named “Earned Safe and Sick Time Act,” employers need not provide employees with additional time off from work, but must permit employees to use the leave they accrue under the Act for additional reasons, collectively referred to as “safe time.” ...READ MORE

 
April 2018

U.S. Department of Treasury Approves Governor Murphy's Qualified Opportunity Zones

As we advised in our recent Client Alert, the Qualified Opportunity Zone Program, enacted as part of The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is designed to promote and drive investment in low-income communities by allowing taxpayers to defer, reduce, and potentially exclude, the recognition of gain on certain investments made in Qualified Opportunity Zones. ...READ MORE

 
April 2018

New Regulations Governing the Relationship Between New Jersey Health Care Providers and Pharmaceutical Manufacturers

The New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, Division of Consumer Affairs, recently promulgated a new rule governing the relationship between pharmaceutical manufacturers and physicians or other health care providers who prescribe pharmaceuticals. The rule generally establishes requirements in the following areas, each of which are summarized below: (1) permitted and prohibited gifts/payments; (2) annual payment cap; and (3) required disclosures. Note that the rule only applies to relationships with pharmaceutical manufacturers, not medical device manufacturers. ...READ MORE

 
March 2018

How Employers Can Prevent a Budding Workplace Romance from Becoming a Thorn in Their Side

Spring will soon be in the air, and, with that, love may be too. Employers have always shuddered at the thought of blooming workplace romances and the impact they could have on office morale and productivity. In light of the #MeToo movement, employers are now particularly concerned that, should a workplace romance fizzle, they could also face a potential harassment claim. ...READ MORE

 
March 2018

New Opportunity Zone Program Provides Taxpayers with Significant Tax Benefits While Supporting Businesses in Low-Income Communities

The Opportunity Zone Program, enacted as part of The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, is designed to promote and drive investment in low-income communities by allowing taxpayers to defer, and potentially reduce, the recognition of capital gain if the taxpayer invests capital gain proceeds in a Qualified Opportunity Fund within 180 days of the underlying sale and prior to December 31, 2026. Further, if the taxpayer holds the investment in the Qualified Opportunity Fund for at least 10 years, the taxpayer will be allowed to exclude the entire gain on all appreciation of the Qualified Opportunity Fund during the investment period. ...READ MORE

 
February 2018

Governor Signs Employee Rights to Ownership of Inventions Bill

The Employee Rights to Ownership of Inventions bill signed by former Governor Christie will take effect on April 1, 2018, and will apply to any employment contract entered into in New Jersey on or after that date. ...READ MORE

 
February 2018

Commercial Property Appeals in 2018

New Jersey continues to place the country’s heaviest real property tax burden on commercial and industrial property owners. While any substantial property may be a candidate for a successful appeal, real property tax appeals generally present most significant financial benefits to owners or managers of industrial, commercial or multi-family residential rental properties. A careful analysis of the tax assessments of those properties is warranted to determine whether they are being appropriately assessed and not being charged more than their fair share of taxes. Even as general market conditions have improved for some property classes, the question of whether a particular property is properly assessed remains an essential exercise of due diligence for any stakeholder of real estate in New Jersey. There may be unique factors impacting a property’s value which are immune from general market conditions such as the existence of environmental contamination or other unique features of a property. ...READ MORE

 
January 2018

Trump Administration Imposes Tariff on Imported Solar Panels

In response to a Section 201 trade case brought by two U.S. panel manufacturers, President Trump has approved a thirty percent tariff on imported solar panels. The tariff lasts four years. The tariff is thirty percent in the first year, and drops to twenty five percent in year two, twenty percent in year three and fifteen percent in year four. The first 2.5 gigawatts of panels imported in each year will be exempt from the tariff. ...READ MORE

 
January 2018

New Jersey Law Against Discrimination Amended to Include Breastfeeding Women as a Protected Category

On January 8, 2018, New Jersey’s antidiscrimination statute, the Law Against Discrimination (“LAD”), was amended to include breastfeeding and expressing breast milk as a protected category. In light of this amendment, which became effective immediately, an employer cannot make employment decisions, or treat a breastfeeding employee or applicant differently with regard to the terms or conditions of employment, based upon the fact that the employee or applicant is breastfeeding. ...READ MORE

 
December 2017

Prepare to Ring In the New Year With Updated Employment Laws

As 2017 comes to a close, New Jersey and New York employers should ensure they are prepared to comply with the following employee-related requirements in the New Year: ...READ MORE

 
December 2017

Final Tax Bill Doubles Federal Exemption; Increase Warrants Review of Estate Planning Documents

Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“Tax Bill”) on December 20, 2017. It is expected that the President will sign the Tax Bill this year. The Tax Bill provides a significant increase in the federal exemption for gift and estate tax purposes. The federal exemption is the largest amount that you may transfer during lifetime and at death without the imposition of a federal gift or estate tax (“Federal Exemption”). The Federal Exemption is currently $5.49 million per individual and was scheduled to increase to $5.6 million on January 1, 2018; instead, the Tax Bill doubles the Federal Exemption to $11.2 million per individual on January 1, 2018. The Federal Exemption will be indexed for inflation each year until December 31, 2025. On January 1, 2026, the Federal Exemption will return to $5.6 million as increased for inflation, which is estimated to be approximately $6.2 million. ...READ MORE

 
December 2017

Tips for Employers to Avoid Holiday Party Pitfalls

’Tis the season for the annual office holiday party. Company holiday parties are a great way for employees to unwind and celebrate the holidays; however, office parties are also ripe with potential pitfalls for employers. Here are some tips to help employers keep the office party from turning into a breeding pool for workplace harassment. ...READ MORE

 
November 2017

Proposed New York Legislation: Cybersecurity Is Not Just an Issue for Financial Services and Insurance Companies

Much attention has been paid to the NYS Division of Financial Services Cybersecurity Requirements for Financial Services Company adopted earlier this year.[1]  Recently, New York proposed new legislation which, if adopted, will require all businesses that own or license Private Information[2] regarding New York residents to proactively adopt “reasonable safeguards to protect the security, confidentiality and integrity” of that data unless the data is encrypted (at rest and in motion) such that even if accessed, the data could not be (i) used for an unauthorized and otherwise unlawful purpose, or (ii) altered. ...READ MORE

 
November 2017

Sexual Harassment: What Can Employers Do to Protect Themselves and Their Employees?

Over the past month, every day has brought another round of accusations of sexual harassment or misconduct in various industries, including show business. Indeed, two Oscar-winning actors, a Hollywood filmmaker, a well-known director and a famous comedian are just the latest high-profile figures to be accused of sexual harassment. ...READ MORE

 
November 2017

Appellate Division Affirms NJDEP Discretionary Denial of Waiver Rule Application

The Appellate Division has affirmed a decision by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (“NJDEP”) denying a waiver rule application and rejecting the appellant’s argument that it was entitled to a regulatory waiver. The recent decision in NJDEP Water Enforcement and Compliance v. Cheyenne Corp., Dkt. No. A-4547-15T4, affirmed NJDEP’s decision requiring a seasonal theme park to replace or upgrade an existing drinking water well that repeatedly exceeded bacteria limits, and affirmed NJDEP's decision denying a waiver rule application regarding the well. ...READ MORE

 
October 2017

New York City Employers Can No Longer Inquire as to an Applicant's Salary History

New York City’s salary history law, codified under the New York City Human Rights Law, becomes effective October 31, 2017, and applies to all employers in New York City, regardless of size. The law prevents New York City employers from asking applicants about their current or prior salary history or benefits to determine an applicant’s “salary, benefits, and other compensation.” These terms are defined broadly and include many factors, including, but not limited to, a car allowance, retirement plan, or bonuses. ...READ MORE

 
October 2017

Added and Omitted Assessments

As the 2017 calendar year begins to draw to a close, all property owners are advised to take note of upcoming real property tax deadlines. If a property owner has engaged in a major capital investment or expansion of its property, or plans to do so in 2018, the property owner should seek advice concerning a potential tax appeal, as the assessor may impose an “added or omitted assessment.” ...READ MORE

 
August 2017

Affirmative Data Security Obligations for Business

Delaware is the latest state to amend its data breach notification statute to include an affirmative duty for companies to proactively take “reasonable” measures to protect personally identifiable information of Delaware citizens. ...READ MORE

 
August 2017

Court Holds Surety May be Liable for Reverse False Claims Act Damages Due to Agent's Knowledge of Principal's Fraudulent DBE Scheme

U.S. District Court in D.C. Holds That Reverse False Claims Liability May Be Extended to a Surety Where, Through Its Agent, the Surety Becomes Aware of Its Principal's Fraudulent DBE Scheme, but Nevertheless Continues to Issue Bonding ...READ MORE

 
July 2017

New Jersey Adopts Personal Information and Privacy Protection Act Restricting Retailers' Right to Request and Retain Customer Information

On Friday, July 21, 2017, New Jersey enacted the Personal Information and Privacy Protection Act (the “Act”) limiting retailers’ right to scan and retain “identification card” information for a credit transaction. For purposes of the Act, an “identification card” includes a driver’s license, a probationary license, a non-driver photo identification card or other similar card issued by a state or the District of Columbia. The Act will take effect on October 1, 2017. ...READ MORE

 
June 2017

New York Employers Can Begin Payroll Deductions for Paid Family Leave as of July 1

Although New York’s paid family leave (“PFL”) benefits are not available until January 1, 2018, employers should begin preparing for the implementation of this benefit now. Specifically, beginning July 1, 2017, employers may begin making deductions from employee payroll to fund PFL benefits and related insurance premiums.[1]  Because PFL benefits will be funded exclusively through employee contributions, the goal is to ensure that there will be a sufficient pool of funds collected to begin to provide PFL benefits by the effective date of January 1, 2018. Employers that fail to collect employee contributions and fail to provide coverage by purchase of an insurance policy or self-insurance will be liable for the payment of family leave benefits. Therefore, employers should coordinate with their payroll providers and insurance carriers (unless they plan to self-insure) now about appropriate payroll deductions and coverage to ensure compliance with the new law. ...READ MORE

 
June 28, 2017

Patch Early, Patch Often: If You Hit "Remind Me Later", It May Be Too Late

New Jersey Cybersecurity & Communications Integration Cell (or NJCCIC) reported yesterday of the latest ransomware attack. "No Petya" or "NotPetya" (depending on which headline you read) can be purchased on line as Ransomware-as-a-Service (or RaaS) for less than $30. The purchasers of this Ransomware launched it to cripple multinational companies across at least two continents in less than 12 hours on June 27, 2017. It appears that NotPetya, related to Petya (another Ransomware variant) could have been prevented had an available patch been timely installed. According to NJCCIC, this latest variant works by ...READ MORE

 
June 2017

Supreme Court Decision Narrows Choice of Venue in Patent Cases

The United States Supreme Court’s decision in TC Heartland v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC (decided May 22, 2017) narrows the choice of venue in patent infringement cases. ...READ MORE

 
May 2017

Ransomware: To Pay or Not to Pay, That is the Question...

Clients often ask whether they should pay if they receive a ransomware demand. At the risk of sounding like lawyers, it depends... ...READ MORE

 

CSG Corporate & Securities Insights Q2 | 2017

CSG's Corporate & Securities Group is pleased to provide the latest installment of Insights, which highlights recent news, activities, judicial decisions, legislative actions and regulatory announcements of interest. ...READ MORE

 
May 2017

NYC Freelance Isn't Free Act - Requirements for Doing Business with Contractors

Effective May 15, 2017, New York City enacted the Freelance Isn’t Free Act (“FIFA”) which affects the legal rights of certain types of independent contractors. Under FIFA, all agreements between hiring parties and independent contractors in certain industries, such as the film and video, graphic and web design and media and photography industries, valued at $800 or more, either by itself or when aggregated with other contracts between the same parties for services rendered during the immediately preceding 120-day period, must be in writing. The written contract must contain ...READ MORE

 
May 2017

WannaCry Explained

As we all have heard since Friday afternoon, May 12, 2017, over 200,000 machines in 150 countries have been infected by the WannaCry ransomware worm. ...READ MORE

 
March 2017

No Spill Act Liability for the State of New Jersey for Discharges Occurring Prior to 1977

The NJ Supreme Court has held that sovereign immunity protects the State of New Jersey from Spill Act claims arising from discharges prior to the Act’s 1977 effective date. In the same decision, the Supreme Court held that the Tort Claims Act (“TCA”), which has strict notice timelines for claims against the State of New Jersey, does not apply to Spill Act claims. The Court also confirmed that the State is not liable under the Spill Act for issuing permits or other regulatory decisions. ...READ MORE

 
March 2017

New York State Cybersecurity Regulations Regarding Cyber and Data Privacy Obligations Applicable to Banking, Insurance and Financial Services

REMINDER: The New York State Department of Financial Services Cybersecurity Requirements Regarding Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Obligations Applicable to Banking, Insurance and Financial Services Businesses Licensed and/or Registered with the State of New York Became Effective March 1, 2017. ...READ MORE

 
February 2017

EPA's 2017 General Permit Regulating Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities Now Effective

In July 2016, Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi circulated a client alert discussing the proposed changes that would be incorporated in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s National Pollution Discharge Elimination System General Permit regulating Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities (the “2017 General Permit”). On February 16, 2017, the General Permit became effective, and incorporated the new and revised provisions discussed in CSG’s July 2016 alert. Accordingly, such alert is being recirculated to remind those in the construction and development industry of the changes found in the 2017 General Permit. ...READ MORE

 
February 2017

New York Broadens the Net of Its Licensed Lender Law: It May Now Include You!

N.Y. Banking Law § 340, known as the "Licensed Lender Law," requires certain people and entities to obtain a license from the superintendent in order to be able to make loans, which could be at a higher interest rate than otherwise allowed under law. The statute was enacted "to make credit available to high risk borrowers who would otherwise have no access to legal credit services."[1] ...READ MORE

 
February 2017

NJ Supreme Court Expands Insurer's Liabilities for Environmental Damages

On February 2, 2017, the New Jersey Supreme Court unanimously held in Givaudan Fragrances Corp. v. Travelers Casualty & Surety Co., et al. (2017 WL 429476) that insurers can be held liable for defense and indemnity costs under insurance policies even though the policies was subsequently assigned to a successor entity without the insurers’ consent. ...READ MORE

 
January 2017

Commercial Property Appeals in 2017

New Jersey continues to place the country’s heaviest real property tax burden on commercial and industrial property owners. While any substantial property may be a candidate for a successful appeal, real property tax appeals generally present most significant financial benefits to owners of large industrial, commercial or multi-family residential rental properties. A careful analysis of the tax assessments of those properties is warranted to determine whether they are being appropriately assessed and not being charged more than their fair share of taxes. Even as general market conditions have improved for some property classes, the question of whether a particular property is properly assessed remains an essential exercise of due diligence for any stakeholder of real estate in New Jersey. There may be unique factors impacting a property’s value which are immune from general market conditions such as the existence of environmental contamination. ...READ MORE

 
January 2017

Controversial New York Cybersecurity Regulations Revised

After receiving extensive comments to the cybersecurity regulations originally proposed in September 2016 (the “Original Proposal”), the New York Department of Financial Services ("DFS") published revisions to the Original Proposal (the “Revised Regulations”) on December 28, 2016. While the Revised Regulations provide some relief from the stringent requirements contained in the Original Proposal, the Revised Regulations remain broad in their application and extensive in their mandates. For more information on the Original Proposal, please see our past alert here. ...READ MORE

 
January 2017

Employers Must Begin Using Revised Form I-9 as of January 22, 2017

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (“USCIS”) has released a revised version of Form I-9, Employment Eligibility Verification, which employers must use to verify the identity and employment authorization of individuals they hire in the United States. As of January 22, 2017, employers must use the revised version, which is dated November 14, 2016 and is available at https://www.uscis.gov/i-9. Until January 22, 2017, employers may use the previous version or the new version of the form. ...READ MORE

 
December 2016

New York Cybersecurity Regulations Delayed

Following significant criticism, New York's Department of Financial Services ("NYDFS") has determined to delay issuing its controversial cybersecurity regulations which were set to become effective as of January 1, 2017. NYDFS will instead release a revised draft of the proposed regulations on December 28, 2016, with a 30-day public comment period commencing thereafter. NYDFS has not provided any insight as to what changes will be reflected in the new draft, but the financial services industry voiced concern that: (i) the "one size fits all" approach of the regulations would prove too costly for small companies; (ii) the regulations reached well beyond New York and were unclear as to the extent out-of-state entities would be required to comply with the regulations' mandates; and (iii) the broad definition of a reportable data security incident, which encompassed unsuccessful attempts at access, placed an undue burden on companies to report. The anticipated new effective date for the revised regulations will be March 1, 2017. ...READ MORE

 
December 2016

Freelance May Not Be Free, but Who Pays? Concerns Facing Sureties in Light of New York City Council's Enactment of "Freelance Isn't Free" Act

On November 16, 2016, the New York City Council enacted a New York City Local Law known as the "Freelance Isn't Free" Act ("FIFA").[1] FIFA promises certain freelance workers, among other things, a right to a written contract with their employer, a legal right to receive payment no later than 30 days following the completion of their freelance work, and access to various enforcement mechanisms, civil penalties, and statutory damages. A review of FIFA's provisions in closer detail reveals potential concerns for sureties that execute payment bonds in connection with public and private improvements located in New York City. ...READ MORE

 
December 2016

Beyond Yahoo!...Safety Tips

On the heels of the staggering announcement that 1 billion records were compromised in a breach of Yahoo's systems, which began in 2013, Yahoo! announced that its customers should change their passwords. ...READ MORE

 
December 2016

Monmouth County Assessment Demonstration Program

As the calendar year begins to draw to a close, Chiesa Shahinian & Giantomasi PC advises property owners to take note of upcoming real property tax deadlines. Property owners in Monmouth County need to be especially alert inasmuch as legislation implementing a Pilot Program was signed into law in 2013. ...READ MORE

 
December 2016

Victory For NY Employers – Wage And Hour Plaintiffs Can No Longer "Stack" Liquidated Damages Under Both FLSA And NYLL

New York employers should be happy to hear that after years of uncertainty and courts being split on the issue, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals has concluded that plaintiffs bringing claims for unpaid wages may not recover liquidated damages under both the New York Labor Law (“NYLL”) and the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). See Chowdhury v. Hamza Express Food Corp., et al., No. 15-3142 (2d Cir. Dec. 7, 2016). ...READ MORE

 
December 2016

You Check the Date on Your Milk Carton...But When Did You Last Check the Date on Your Website Policies

Businesses attract and transact business through their websites. Those websites, in their terms and conditions, prescribe the rules by which customers and/or potential customers can engage with those businesses online. However, what many businesses forget is that such terms – and in particular the privacy polices – posted on their websites also prescribe the terms by which the businesses must engage with their site visitors. ...READ MORE

 
November 2016

What Do the New FCC Privacy and Security Rules Mean for Internet Service Providers and Their Subscribers?

On October 27, 2016, the FCC adopted rules (the "Rules") that govern how Internet service providers ("ISPs") use and share subscribers' "Proprietary Information" generated while using the Internet and regulate the security measures that must be taken by ISPs. The Rules do not apply to providers of content, services, and applications over the Internet, such as email, websites, cloud storage services, social media sites, music streaming services, and video streaming services like Google, Facebook, YouTube, Amazon, and Apple's iTunes. ...READ MORE

 
November 2016

Texas Court Enjoins Implementation of New Overtime Regulations

Yesterday, a federal court in Texas blocked the United States Department of Labor (“DOL”) from implementing revised regulations that would have increased the minimum salary that certain employees must earn in order to be exempt from receiving overtime pay. The revised regulations, which were scheduled to take effect on December 1, 2016, doubled the salary threshold from $455 per week to $913 per week for the executive, administrative, and professional exemptions, and changed the salary threshold for the highly compensated employees exemption from $100,000 in total annual compensation to $134,004 in total annual compensation. ...READ MORE

 
November 2016

"It Ain't Over 'Til It's Over" ...and Emails and Drafts are not Settlements with the NJDEP

There was no greater, and more thrilling, example of Yogi Berra’s wisdom than this year’s historic Game 7 of the World Series. The Chicago Cubs, with a three run lead over the Cleveland Indians, thought that they had the game in hand when they brought in their tired flamethrower reliever in the eighth inning, who promptly gave up three runs to tie the game. Yogi’s sage wisdom once again was evident during the 10th inning when it appeared that it was only a matter of time before the Indians would outlast the now depleted Cubs bullpen, and the “billy goat” would once again rip the hearts of Cubs faithful. But alas, the Cubs, after a rain delay, were able to score, and notwithstanding the curse (and the rain), were able to hold off the Cleveland Indians to win their first World Series in 108 years. Yogi was right about baseball … “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over!” ...READ MORE

 
November 2016

Time to Assess Classification of Exempt Employees

The status of many exempt employees will change to non-exempt as of December 1, 2016 under revised Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”) regulations, unless action is taken to maintain their exempt classification. Now is the time for employers to assess the classification of their employees and adjust their salaries as necessary to remain compliant under the FLSA regulations. ...READ MORE

 
October 2016

Pending NY State Proposed Cybersecurity Requirements for "Covered Entities"

At present, banking and financial institutions are subject to the requirements of certain federal statutes and regulations relating to privacy and security matters, including the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, FINRA regulations, and certain regulations that impact publicly traded entities. While 47 different states have, to date, adopted 47 different breach notification statutes, with few exceptions, individual states have not adopted broad cybersecurity mandates. ...READ MORE

 
October 2016

New York Minimum Wage Increases Set To Take Effect

New York employers need to prepare for impending increases in the minimum wage that begin to go into effect on December 31, 2016. There will also be scheduled increases to the minimum wage for tipped employees receiving a cash base hourly wage absent any revised wage orders issued by the New York Department of Labor. These minimum wage increases vary by location of employer within New York in accordance with the following schedules: ...READ MORE

 
October 2016

Breaking News - New Jersey Estate Tax Repealed

On October 7, 2016, the New Jersey legislature passed a bill to increase the gas tax by 23 cents per gallon and the bill was signed into law by Governor Christie on October 14. Included in the new legislation is a major change to New Jersey’s estate tax law. ...READ MORE

 
September 2016

Added and Omitted Assessments

As the 2016 calendar year moves into fall season, all property owners are advised to take note of an upcoming real property tax deadline. If a property owner has engaged in a major capital investment or expansion of its property during the past year, they may be subject to an “added or omitted assessment” from their local assessor and they should seek advice concerning a potential tax appeal. ...READ MORE

 
July 2016

Newly Enacted Uniform Trust Code Allows Modification of Irrevocable Trusts and Introduces Directed Trusts to New Jersey

New Jersey’s Uniform Trust Code (UTC) became effective on July 17, 2016. The UTC significantly revises many aspects of the law applicable to the creation and administration of trusts. With some limited exceptions, the UTC will apply to all New Jersey trusts, whether created before or after July 17. ...READ MORE

 
July 2016

UPDATE: EEOC Issues Revised Proposed Equal Pay Data Rule

On July 13, 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) announced the publication of its revised proposal for changes to the Equal Employer Information Report (EEO-1) that would require private employers, including federal contractors, with 100 or more employees to include pay and hour data by sex, race, and ethnicity as well as job category to their EEO-1 starting in 2017. ...READ MORE

 
July 2016

OSHA Penalties Increase Set for August 1, 2016

On August 1, 2016, OSHA fines are increasing and increasing dramatically. Specifically, the maximum penalty for serious or other OSHA violations will rise from $7,000 to $12,471, and the highest penalty for willful or repeat violations will increase from $70,000 to $124,709. The penalty increases are applicable to civil penalties assessed by OSHA after August 1, 2016, where the underlying violations occurred after November 2, 2015. The new penalty levels will apply prospectively only to new and pending OSHA inspections. ...READ MORE

 
July 2016

EPA's Proposed 2017 General Permit Regulating Stormwater Discharges from Construction Activities

As many in the construction industry may already know, the current National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (“NPDES”) General Permit – issued under the Clean Water Act's National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System to authorize stormwater discharges from construction activities – will expire on February 16, 2017. As such, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) is in the process of finalizing the new 2017 General Permit, and has recently issued a draft of the newly-proposed permit for review and comment (the “2017 Draft Permit”). The 2017 Draft Permit generally applies to construction site operators that disturb either one or more acres of land or that disturb less than one acre of land if such disturbance is part of a larger common plan or development. ...READ MORE

 
June 2016

New York Appellate Court Confirms Viability of Surety's Claims for Affirmative Monetary Relief Against Owner-Obligee Arising from Owner-Obligee's Material Modifications of Bonded Contracts

In an appeal filed by CSG on behalf of a surety client, New York's Appellate Division, Second Department, confirmed that "material modification" is not simply a defense to a bond claim, but can be the basis for a claim for affirmative, monetary relief against the owner where the owner's material modification of the bonded contract increases the surety's exposure under its payment bond. ...READ MORE

 
June 2016

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Accepting Subsection ""r"" Expressions of Interest

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“BPU”) announced that it will be accepting Expressions of Interest for subsection "r" applications (“EOI”) during the period from 9:00 a.m. on June 1, 2016, through 4:00 p.m. on July 15, 2016. ...READ MORE

 
May 2016

The Defend Trade Secrets Act - Providing More Protection For Trade Secret Owners

On May 11, 2016 the Defend Trade Secrets Act of 2016 (the “DTSA”) was signed into law by President Obama, thereby establishing the first private federal cause of action for the theft or misappropriation of trade secrets related to products or services used, or intended for use, in interstate or foreign commerce. The result of this is that the DTSA provides for a fourth category of intellectual property that is protected by federal statute, in addition to patents, copyrights and trademarks. Specifically, the DTSA is an extension of the federal Economic Espionage Act of 1996 (“EEA”), which previously provided only criminal remedies for the theft of trade secrets. The DTSA adopts the EEA’s broad definition of trade secrets which includes financial, business, scientific, technical, economic, or engineering information, including patterns, plans, compilations, program devices, formulas, designs, prototypes, methods, techniques, processes, procedures, programs or codes. The DTSA’s definition of trade secrets is generally broader than state laws; however, the DTSA does not preempt those state trade secret laws, namely the Uniform Trade Secrets Act. Accordingly, a party can now choose its favored forum when bringing actions for trade secret misappropriation. In so doing, one should consider aspects of the DTSA that are unique from its state-law counterparts. ...READ MORE

 
May 2016

An Expectant Mother Cannot Be Denied Alcohol In Bars And Restaurants In New York City Based Upon Her Pregnancy

Bars and restaurants located in New York City may no longer refuse to serve alcoholic beverages to an expectant mother based solely on the fact that she is pregnant, and those that continue to refuse to do so are in violation of the New York City Human Rights Law (“NYCHRL”), New York City’s anti-discrimination law. Indeed, earlier this month, the New York City Commission on Human Rights (the “Commission”), which is the city agency charged with enforcing the NYCHRL, issued guidelines regarding the NYCHRL’s protections as they apply to discrimination based on pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions. Within those guidelines were various examples of violations of the NYCHRL’S prohibitions on pregnancy discrimination, including the following examples which are particularly relevant to New York City based bars and restaurants: ...READ MORE

 
May 2016

Atlantic City Electric, JCP&L and Rockland Electric Issue Fourth Request for Proposals for Long Term SREC Contracts

Atlantic City Electric (“ACE”), Jersey Central Power and Light Company (“JCP&L”) and Rockland Electric ("RE") have issued a fourth Request for Proposals (“RFP”) to select solar projects that will be eligible for long term contracts for the purchase of solar renewable energy credits (“SRECs”). The RFP is the fourth of nine solicitations to be issued over three years. Eligible projects will be selected based on price per SREC bid. Successful projects will be eligible for a ten year SREC contract at the bid price, less transaction fees. ...READ MORE

 
May 2016

In Low Interest Rate Environment Grantor Retained Annuity Trusts Remain Attractive

The May interest rates that the Federal government requires taxpayers to use when engaging in various gifting transactions were recently released. One of the rates, the section 7520 rate, has been set at 1.8% which is quite low. To put the rate in perspective, in March 2010, the section 7520 rate was 3.2%. ...READ MORE

 
May 3, 2016

Liquor License Renewal Season is Upon Us

The 2016 - 2017 New Jersey liquor license renewal season is upon us. All current New Jersey liquor licenses will expire on June 30, 2016. ...READ MORE

 
April 21, 2016

The State Has Pushed Snooze for the Last Time and It's Time for Developers to Go to Work!

All signs indicate that the State Legislature will take no further action to extend the Permit Extension Act (“PEA”), which tolled governmental permits during the economic downturn that decimated the real estate market. ...READ MORE

 
March 2016

New Health Care Compliance Obligations for Reporting and Returning Overpayments, Effective March 14, 2016

On February 12, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) finalized its regulations with respect to the prompt reporting and returning of overpayments under Medicare Parts A and B (the “Final Overpayment Rule” or the “Rule”). Failure to comply with the Final Overpayment Rule may result in penalties and liability, including exclusion from federal health care programs. Key provisions of the Rule are discussed below. ...READ MORE

 
March 2016

New Jersey Employers: Don't Forget to Circulate Your Annual Notices - Not All Notices Can Just Be Posted!

Under state and federal law employers are required to post certain labor related notices in a conspicuous place accessible by all employees and to provide such notices to new hires. However, what not all employers may realize is that there are two notices that, in addition to being posted and provided at the time of hire, need to be distributed to employees on an annual basis. These notices are the Gender Equity Notice and CEPA Notice. ...READ MORE

 
February 2016

New Jersey SREC Registration Program ("SRP") No Longer Accepting Paper Applications

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (“BPU”) has announced that as of March 1, 2016, all SRP applications must be submitted through an online portal. Paper applications will no long be accepted. Registrants will be able to enter project specifications and upload supporting documentation through the online portal. ...READ MORE

 
February 2016

EEOC Proposes to Include Pay Data to EEO-1 for Certain Employers

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) has proposed revisions to the Employer Information Report (EEO-1) that would require private employers, including federal contractors, with 100 or more employees to include pay and hour data by sex, race, and ethnicity as well as job category to their EEO-1, beginning with the September 2017 EEO-1. ...READ MORE

 
February 2016

Commercial Property Appeals in 2016

New Jersey continues to place the country’s heaviest real property tax burden on commercial and industrial property owners. While any substantial property may be a candidate for a successful appeal, real property tax appeals generally present most significant financial benefits to owners of large industrial, commercial or multi-family residential rental properties. A careful analysis of the tax assessments of those properties is warranted to determine whether they are being appropriately assessed and not being charged more than their fair share of taxes. Even as general market conditions have improved for some property classes, the question of whether a particular property is properly assessed remains an essential exercise of due diligence for any stakeholder of real estate in New Jersey. ...READ MORE

 
January 2016

Governor Christie and the New Jersey Legislature Act to Save NJDEP Public Access Rules

On January 19, 2016, Governor Christie signed a bill that allows the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to continue to regulate public access on or adjacent to the waterfront. The legislation, S-3321, which was sponsored by Senators Smith, Van Drew and Bateman, along with a companion bill A-4927, sponsored in the General Assembly by Assembly Members Spencer and Rumana, was introduced, passed by the New Jersey Legislature and signed by Governor Christie in less than a month during the “Lame Duck” legislative session.   S-3321 was enacted in response to the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division decision issued on December 22, 2015, striking down the NJDEP’s public access regulations, as reported in our December 2015 Client Alert. NJDEP may now continue to regulate public access as part of issuing Coastal Area Facilities Review Act (CAFRA) and Waterfront Development permits. ...READ MORE

 
January 2016

ACA Update: Health Care Reporting Deadline Extended by IRS

Under the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”) applicable large employers (“ALEs”) should be taking steps now to prepare to file information returns relating to the health care coverage, if any, offered to full-time employees.  Each calendar year, the ACA requires employers to determine their ALE status based on the average size of the workforce during the prior year.  Employers that had at least 50 full-time employees, including full-time equivalent employees, on average during 2014, will be considered an ALE for 2015.  In 2016, applicable large employers must file an annual information return for the 2015 year, and provide a statement to each full-time employee. ...READ MORE

 
January 27, 2016

Atlantic City Electric, JCP&L and Rockland Electric Issue Third Request for Proposals for Long Term SREC Contracts

Atlantic City Electric ("ACE"), Jersey Central Power and Light Company ("JCP&L") and Rockland Electric ("RE") have issued a third Request for Proposals ("RFP") to select solar projects that will be eligible for long term contracts for the purchase of solar renewable energy credits ("SRECs"). The RFP is the third of nine solicitations to be issued over three years. Eligible projects will be selected based on price per SREC bid. Successful projects will be eligible for a ten year SREC contract at the bid price, less transaction fees. ...READ MORE

 
January 2016

Agreements To Arbitrate Are Invalid If Contained In An At-Will Employee Handbook

Employers: think you have a valid arbitration agreement in your employee handbook? Think again. On January 7, 2016, the New Jersey Appellate Division affirmed the trial court’s determination that a former employee’s acknowledgment that he received a copy of an employee handbook that contained a mandatory arbitration agreement did not result in a waiver of his right to sue where that same handbook also included an “at-will” disclaimer expressly stating that the handbook did not constitute a contract. ...READ MORE

 
January 2016

Failure to Conduct Preliminary Assessment Renders General Partners Individually Liable Under the Spill Act

The Appellate Division has again emphatically established that a party buying property in New Jersey must perform a preliminary assessment in accordance with DEP rules in order to have a chance of obtaining innocent purchaser protection. The decision was part of the ongoing saga regarding environmental contamination at the Accutherm mercury thermometer manufacturing property in Salem County that later became a Kiddie Kollege daycare. DEP v. Navillus Group, App. Div. Dkt. No. A-4726-13T3 (decided Jan. 14, 2016). ...READ MORE

 
January 2016

New Jersey Board of Public Utilities Announces 2016 Renewable Electric Storage Incentive Program

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (the “Board”) has announced that it will be taking applications for a portion of the 2016 Renewable Electric Storage Incentive Program (the “Program”) beginning at 9 am on March 1, 2016. The details of the Program are as follows: ...READ MORE

 
December 2015

President Signs the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015

On December 18, 2015, the President signed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 ("PATH"). PATH contains numerous provisions that are beneficial for businesses and individuals. Many of these provisions were previously temporary or had expired and have now either been made permanent, extended for 2 years through 2016, or extended for 5 years through 2019.  Highlights of the significant provisions of PATH are as follows: ...READ MORE

 
December 2015

Appellate Division Strikes Down NJDEP Public Access Rules

On December 22, 2015, the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division, struck down the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection public access regulations. These regulations, which were a significant re-write of public access regulations previously struck down by the Appellate Division in 2009, were completely invalidated by the Appellate Division as being beyond the scope of both the “public trust doctrine” and the Coastal Area Facilities Review Act (CAFRA). This decision now puts the public access requirements at a standstill and impacts the regulated community applying for coastal development permits, such as CAFRA permits and Waterfront Development permits. ...READ MORE

 
December 2015

Solar Investment Tax Credit Extended

On Friday December 18, 2015 President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 which, among other things, extends the Solar Investment Tax Credit (“ITC”).  The details of the ITC extension are as follows: ...READ MORE

 
December 2015

Lawmakers Reportedly Agree on Extension of Solar Investment Tax Credit

Reports out of Washington indicate that Republican and Democrat lawmakers have agreed on an extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit (“ITC”) as part of a larger deal to avoid a government shutdown.  The spending deal is reportedly tied to a package of tax cuts and extensions, which includes a five year extension of the ITC.  The reported details of the ITC extension are as follows: ...READ MORE

 
November 2015

Immediate Action Required to Prepare for "Phase 2" HIPAA Compliance Audits of Both Covered Entities and Business Associates

In the wake of its pilot audits of Covered Entities in 2011 and 2012 uncovering widespread noncompliance, the Office for Civil Rights ("OCR"), which enforces the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA"), will reportedly commence its next round of HIPAA ("Phase 2") audits in early 2016. Once an OCR audit of your business is initiated, it is too late to attempt to achieve HIPAA compliance. Therefore, organizations subject to HIPAA should ensure they are compliant now or they could face substantial liability. ...READ MORE

 
October 22, 2015

Repercussions of the EU Safe Harbor Ruling

Last week, we advised readers of the EU’s determination to reject the Safe Harbor for personal data transfers from the EU nations to the U.S.  ...READ MORE

 
October 2015

No Change to New Jersey Minimum Wage for 2016

The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development (the “NJDOL”) recently announced that the minimum hourly wage rate of $8.38 will remain unchanged for the upcoming 2016 calendar year. ...READ MORE

 
October 7, 2015

EU Safe Harbor for Protection of Personal Data Received from the EU Under Fire

Yesterday, the European Union’s (“EU”) highest court struck down the pact that created the European Union Safe Harbor. This ruling will now call into question and scrutiny US-based companies’ compliance with EU personal data privacy requirements applicable to (i) the transferring of personal information regarding individuals who reside in the EU from the EU to the US and (ii) the maintenance of databases in the US which house that personal information. To be clear, the ruling found that national regulators can override the Safe Harbor, not that the Safe Harbor is completely invalid. ...READ MORE

 
October 2015

New York Serves Up a Wage Increase to Fast Food Workers

On September 10, 2015, New York State Acting Commissioner of Labor Mario J. Musolino issued an Order adopting and accepting the Report and Recommendations of the 2015 Fast Food Wage Board regarding increasing the minimum wage in the fast food industry.  Pursuant to the Order, the minimum wage for “Fast Food Employees” will increase to $15.00 by December 31, 2018 in New York City and by December 31, 2021 across the rest of New York State.  The minimum wage increases will be phased in incrementally over the next several years, commencing on December 31, 2015.  Thus, as of December 31, 2015, Fast Food Employees in New York City shall be entitled to a minimum wage of $10.50 per hour and Fast Food Employees throughout the rest of New York State shall be entitled to a minimum wage of $9.75 per hour. ...READ MORE

 
October 2015

Added and Omitted Assessments

As the 2015 calendar year begins to draw to a close, all property owners are advised to take note of upcoming real property tax deadlines. If a property owner has engaged in a major capital investment or expansion of its property, or plans to do so in 2016, the property owner should seek advice concerning a potential tax appeal, as the assessor may impose an “added or omitted assessment.” ...READ MORE

 
September 2015

Atlantic City Electric, JCP&L and Rockland Electric Issue Second Request for Proposals for Long Term SREC Contracts

Atlantic City Electric (“ACE”), Jersey Central Power and Light Company (“JCP&L”) and Rockland Electric("RE") have issued a second Request for Proposals (“RFP”) to select solar projects that will be eligible for long term contracts for the purchase of solar renewable energy credits (“SRECs”). The RFP is the second of nine solicitations to be issued over the next three years. Eligible projects will be selected based on price per SREC bid. Successful projects will be eligible for a ten year SREC contract at the bid price, less transaction fees.  ...READ MORE

 
August 2015

Court Approves $225 Million Consent Judgment Settling the State's NRD Claims Against ExxonMobil Corp.

On Tuesday, August 25, 2015, the Honorable Michael J. Hogan, J.S.C., ret. Recall, issued his much anticipated decision approving a $225 million consent judgment entered into between the NJDEP and ExxonMobil Corporation (“Exxon”) to resolve natural resource damages (“NRD”) claims. The proposed settlement caused much public outcry and opposition due largely to the fact that the State quantified NRDs at $8.9 billion. The settlement of the State’s NRD claims not only resolves litigation associated with Exxon’s former petroleum refinery and storage facility in Bayonne, but also pending NRD claims in New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection v. Exxon Mobil Corp. f/k/a GATX Terminals Corp., Docket No. L-1063-07, consolidated with Docket No. L-0563-03, as well as potential NRD claims against 15 other Exxon facilities and 1,768 retail gasoline stations.  ...READ MORE

 
July 2015

Recent Appellate Division Holding Underscores Need for Mortgage Subordination Agreement

A recent holding by the New Jersey Appellate Division underscores the need for a senior lender to obtain a written subordination agreement from a junior lender who is allowed to take a subordinate mortgage on real estate serving as collateral for the senior credit facilities. In Rosenthal & Rosenthal v. Benun and Riker, Danzig, Scherer, Hyland & Perretti, L.L.P., 2015 WL 3752524, decided June 17, 2015, the court held that certain advances secured by Rosenthal's mortgages, which were recorded in 2000 and 2005, respectively, were subordinate to the third mortgage held by Riker, even though the Riker mortgage was not recorded until 2007.  According to the court, the two reasons that Rosenthal was not entitled to the benefit of the "first in time, first in right" rule were (1) Rosenthal had actual rather than constructive notice of the junior mortgage lien and (2) future advances under the Rosenthal factoring arrangements were optional rather than mandatory.  All amounts that had been outstanding under the Rosenthal factoring agreements at the time the Riker mortgage was recorded was revolving debt and was ultimately repaid.  Therefore, in the priority dispute between the two creditors, the entirety of Rosenthal’s indebtedness was comprised of future advances made by Rosenthal after it had actual knowledge of the Riker mortgage.  The court ruled that those future advances were subordinate in lien right to the mortgage indebtedness owed to Riker.   ...READ MORE

 
July 2015

Confidentiality of Self-Critical Evaluation Under the New Jersey Patient Safety Act (PSA) - Health Care Facilities Should Ensure PSA Compliance

The Supreme Court of New Jersey recently confirmed in C.A. ex rel. Applegrad v. Bentolila that the confidentiality provisions of the New Jersey Patient Safety Act (together with its implementing regulations, the “PSA”) create an absolute privilege against disclosure of materials generated by health care facilities exclusively through the PSA process. However, this decision – taken together with the Appellate Division decision it reversed – indicates that in order for facilities to secure the benefit of this absolute privilege, they must strictly comply with PSA statutory and regulatory requirements.  Health care facilities should review their PSA processes to ensure compliance. ...READ MORE

 
July 2015

Contractor's "Deliberately Cultivated Ignorance" Supports Finding of Defalcation Sufficient to Except Debt Owed to Subcontractors from Discharge under 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(4)

Section 727(b) of title 11 of the United States Code (the “Bankruptcy Code”) grants an individual debtor a discharge from all debts that arose before the filing of the debtor’s bankruptcy case. 11 U.S.C. § 727(b).  Certain debts, however, are excepted from this discharge, pursuant to Section 523 of the Bankruptcy Code, including any debt “for fraud or defalcation while acting in a fiduciary capacity . . .”.  11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(4).  ...READ MORE

 
July 2015

A Setback for Real Estate Developers as Courts Begin Reviewing Municipal Affordable Housing Plans

On July 9, 2015, the Honorable Douglas K. Wolfson, J.S.C. issued an opinion in In the Matter of the Adoption of the Monroe Township Housing Element and Fair Share Plan and Implementing Ordinances, Docket No. MID-L-3365-15.  And while Trial Court decisions are not typically the subject of client alerts, this decision, which bars real estate developers from advocating the inclusion of their projects, merits some attention. ...READ MORE

 
July 2015

Tax Court Ruling Cancels Property Tax Exemption for Non-Profit Hospital

On Thursday, June 23, 2015, the New Jersey Tax Court issued its opinion in AHS Hospital Corp d/b/a Morristown Memorial Hospital v Morristown, (AHS case). In an eighty-eight page decision, the court eviscerated a long standing real property taxation exemption for a non-profit hospital. If the decision stands, the hospital’s formerly non-existent annual tax bill would now be based on its current assessment of approximately $63,000,000, resulting in an annual tax bill (based on the current tax rate) of almost $1,700,000. The AHS case represents the first time the core organizational structure of a modern non-profit hospital has been thoroughly examined and found to have “for-profit” elements and characteristics so deeply embedded and interwoven with its “non-profit’ components that it rendered the hospital ineligible for being deemed “non-profit” and therefore disqualified from receiving a real property tax exemption. ...READ MORE

 
June 2015

Recent Changes to Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code in New Jersey

Effective May 11, 2015, the New Jersey Legislature amended certain provisions of the New Jersey Uniform Commercial Code (“UCC”). The amendments apply to all financing statements filed on or after May 11, 2015 and, among other things, require additional language to be included in all financing statements and grant the filing office broader authority to reject financing statements. The object of the amendments is to combat and deter the filing of fraudulent financing statements. ...READ MORE

 
June 2015

Seventh Circuit Affirms Denial of Discharge in Bankruptcy Arising out of Contractor's Defalcation of Trust Funds, Rejecting Contractor's Claimed Ignorance of Applicable Trust Fund Statute

Several states have enacted trust fund acts, requiring that a contractor receiving contract funds in connection with certain construction projects utilize those funds to pay its subcontractors and suppliers. [1] A number of these statutes impose liability upon the officers of the contractor for violation of the statute, which liability may not be dischargeable in bankruptcy pursuant to 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(4).  Up until 2013, there appeared to be a consensus among the courts that contractors, which failed to comply with their state’s trust fund laws and diverted trust funds for non-permissible purposes, could have their debts declared non-dischargeable to the extent of their defalcation of trust funds. [2]  A surety that satisfied the claims of unpaid subcontractors and suppliers under the applicable payment bond would stand in the shoes of the unpaid subcontractors and suppliers, as a trust fund beneficiary, pursuant to the doctrine of equitable subrogation, and likewise object to its principal’s discharge to the extent of the defalcation. [3] ...READ MORE

 
May 19, 2015

Delaware Court Explains Requirements for "Stockholder Ratification" Defense to Derivative Suit Alleging Payment of Excessive Equity Compensation to "Interested Directors"

On April 30, 2015, the Delaware Court of Chancery, in Calma v. Templeton, a shareholder derivative suit challenging compensation paid to non-employee directors in the form of restricted stock units ("RSUs") as being "excessive," issued an opinion addressing the "stockholder ratification" exception to treating equity compensation grants to "interested" non-employee directors under the "waste" doctrine, rather than under the "entire fairness" doctrine. ...READ MORE

 
May 18, 2015

Correction of 409A Failure in Year of Vesting Does Not Work: Time to Consider IRS Correction Programs

On April 14, 2015, the Internal Revenue Service's Office of the Chief Counsel issued a memorandum clarifying the IRS' position on the correction of Internal Revenue Code Section 409A failures in the year in which nonqualified deferred compensation vests but prior to the vesting date. By way of background, "nonqualified deferred compensation" under Section 409A refers to compensation for services performed by an employee or an independent contractor that is or may be payable in a later year. Typical examples include bonuses payable in the year after the services are performed, severance payments upon termination of employment, certain grants of stock options, restricted stock units and phantom stock, change in control payments and tax gross-up payments. ...READ MORE

 
May 15, 2015

New Jersey Launches Mandatory Electronic Filing System for 2015-2016 Liquor License Renewals

The 2015-2016 New Jersey liquor license renewal season is upon us, with one big change. For the first time, all renewals will be done online, using the New Jersey Division of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s (ABC) soon to be launched electronic web based licensing system, POSSE ABC.  ...READ MORE

 
May 11, 2015

162(M) Deduction Limitation and Post-IPO or S-1 Grants of RSUs and Phantom Stock

One such exemption applies in the case of a private company that becomes public (e.g., through an initial public offering ("IPO") or the filing of an S-1 registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission).  In this situation, the $1 million deduction does not apply, during a specified transition period, to compensation paid pursuant to a plan (e.g., an equity compensation plan) or agreement (e.g., an employment, change in control or severance agreement) that existed during the period in which the company was private. ...READ MORE

 
January 22, 2014

Remedial Investigation Extension Bill Adopted

The Site Remediation Reform Act (SRRA) requires the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection (NJDEP) to undertake “direct oversight” of the remediation of a contaminated site where the remediation obligation arose on or before May 1999 but the remediating party fails to complete the Remedial Investigation (“RI”) phase of the cleanup by May 7, 2014. Such “direct oversight” by the NJDEP strips remediating parties of cleanup decision-making power and, among other obligations, requires such parties to establish a trust fund in the amount of the cleanup. ...READ MORE

 
December 11, 2013

HIPAA Compliance Risks for Group Health Plans and Plan Sponsors: Employers' Often Overlooked Compliance Obligations

The Privacy Regulations promulgated pursuant to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (“HIPAA”) continue to be a source of compliance risk for many employers. Whether your business’s employee group health plan (“Plan”) is self-funded or fully insured, as the employer plan sponsor you are responsible for ensuring that the Plan is meeting HIPAA obligations to protect your employees’ protected health information (“PHI”). However, many employers are unaware of their HIPAA obligations with respect to their Plans. This is particularly true for employer sponsors of fully insured Plans, who often erroneously believe they have no HIPAA responsibility because the Plans are primarily administered by health insurance companies. Employers’ failure to ensure their Plans’ compliance with HIPAA could lead to significant liability, particularly in the current atmosphere of substantially increased HIPAA enforcement actions and audits in connection with new HIPAA regulations released earlier this year. ...READ MORE

 
September 19, 2013

Governor Signs NJ Economic Opportunity Act of 2013

On September 18, Governor Chris Christie signed the New Jersey Economic Opportunity Act of 2013 into law, ending a nearly year-long revision and consolidation of the State’s economic incentive programs. With a stroke of the pen, the Governor consolidated five existing programs into just two and eliminated many of the geographical and financial impediments that precluded New Jersey businesses from participating in the programs. The two revised programs, GROW NJ and the Economic Redevelopment & Growth Program, remain as the centerpieces of the Governor’s economic development portfolio. As before, the programs will be administered by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority (“NJEDA”). ...READ MORE

 
March 14, 2013

Immediate Action Required under HIPAA/HITECH Final Rule

More Businesses Subject to HIPAA; Revisions to Practices, Policies and Procedures Required; Government is Increasing and Expanding Enforcement Efforts ...READ MORE

 
July 2012

New Jersey Department of Community Affairs Changes Procedure for Certain Construction Permits

The New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (“DCA”) has issued an amendment to the Uniform Construction Code that revises the procedure related to the issuance of certain construction permits. Known as the “Plan Release with Conditions,” the new rule is designed to address the economic impact related to the delays associated with multiple reviews of plans for alteration and reconstruction projects of buildings in Use Groups B (Business), F (Factory), M (Mercantile) or S (Storage). ...READ MORE

 
March 2011

Asset Purchasers May Be Liable for Seller's Delinquent ERISA Obligations

As the result of a recent appellate decision, those looking to purchase a business through an asset sale transaction must guard against the potential for successor liability associated with the seller’s employee benefit plan contribution obligations. In an unpublished opinion, the United States Court of Appeals, Third Circuit, relying primarily on federal statutory policies under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”), reversed a lower court’s decision and held that a purchaser of assets may be liable for a seller’s delinquent ERISA obligations if the purchaser had knowledge of the obligations and sufficiently continued the seller’s business. ...READ MORE

 
August 2010

New DOL Guidance on Breaks for Nursing Mothers

A recently issued Fact Sheet from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) provides guidance to employers for implementing one of the provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), which requires that employers provide break time for nursing mothers. ...READ MORE

 
July 9, 2010

New DOL Guidance Expands the Definition of Child Under the FMLA

Recently, the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) issued new guidance interpreting the definition of “son or daughter” under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). While the Guidance does not amend the FMLA or its regulations, it does clarify who may be considered a person standing “in loco parentis,” and, subsequently, eligible for FMLA leave to bond with a newborn or newly placed adopted or foster child, or to care for a child with a serious health condition. ...READ MORE

 
March 5, 2010

COBRA Subsidy Extension Bill Signed Into Law

On March 2, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Temporary Extension Act of 2010. Among other things, the Act extends the eligibility period for terminated employees (or their qualified beneficiaries) to obtain subsidized group health continuation coverage initially provided by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). This is the second extension of the COBRA subsidy provided by the ARRA. Under this new legislation, an employee (or his/her qualified beneficiary) terminated prior to March 31, 2010, will be entitled to the subsidized COBRA rates, provided the employee’s earnings were below certain established income thresholds. ...READ MORE

 
February 1, 2010

New Jersey Codifies Solar Renewable Portfolio Standards with The Solar Energy Advancement & Fair Competition Act

On January 17, 2010, former Governor Corzine signed The Solar Energy Advancement and Fair Competition Act (the Act), amending The Electric Discount and Energy Competition Act (EDECA). The Act could significantly expand the economic viability of solar energy projects throughout New Jersey. ...READ MORE

 
December 2009

Reassessing Roth IRAs: 2010 Presents a One-Time Opportunity from the IRS

On January 1, 2010, higher income taxpayers will have access to a powerful retirement and estate planning vehicle offered under the Internal Revenue Code. For the first time, Roth IRAs will effectively be available to all taxpayers, regardless of their income level. Moreover, those taxpayers who take advantage of this new opportunity before the end of 2010 will be rewarded with several additional benefits. ...READ MORE

 
November 2009

COAH Update: November 24, 2009 Deadline To Seek Refund Of Fees Paid Under Statewide Non-Residential Development Fee Act

On July 27, 2009, Governor Corzine signed into law the New Jersey Economic Stimulus Act of 2009, which temporarily suspended the Statewide Non-Residential Development Fee Act, N.J.S.A. 40:55D-8.1 et seq. (the “NRDF Act”) and provided for refunds of development fees paid pursuant to the NRDF Act. In other words, if a non-residential developer received a preliminary or final land use approval after July 17, 2008, and paid a 2.5% development fee in accordance with the NRDF Act, that developer is entitled to a refund of the 2.5% fee. Moreover, if a non-residential developer received a preliminary or final land use approval prior to July 17, 2008 – whereby the developer “committed” to paying an affordable housing fee pursuant to a municipal development fee ordinance – the developer may be entitled to a partial refund if the developer ultimately paid a 2.5% fee. ...READ MORE

 
November 2009

EPA Issues Final Rule Mandating Reporting of Greenhouse Gas Emissions; Proposes New Rule Requiring Use of Best Technologies by Large GHG Facilities

On September 22, 2009, EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson signed a final rule that requires annual reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from certain facilities and suppliers beginning next year. This rule is intended to collect accurate and timely emissions data to provide a better understanding of emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), nitrous oxide (N2O), hydrofluorocarbons (HFC), perfluorocarbons (PFC), sulfur hexafluoride (SF6), and other fluorinated gases and to guide the development of the best possible policies and programs to reduce such emissions. ...READ MORE

 
October 2009

EPA Issues Guidance about Reducing Exposure to PCB-Containing Caulk Used in Buildings Constructed or Renovated Between 1950 and 1978

On September 25, 2009, EPA announced new guidance for building managers and school administrators with important information about managing caulk that contains potentially harmful polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Buildings and schools built after 1978 should not contain PCBs in caulk; however, PCB-containing caulk was used in many buildings, including schools, in the 1950s through the 1970s because the PCBs imparted greater flexibility to the material. ...READ MORE

 
June 2008

Coah Update

With the June 2, 2008 publication of its new rules in the NJ Register (the “Rules”), the New Jersey Council on Affordable Housing (“COAH”) concluded a nearly four-year odyssey, which began with the adoption of an earlier set of rules in December 2004, included the instantaneous filing of a number of lawsuits by myriad disparate parties, each seeking to overturn the rules, and ended with the appellate court’s January 2007 decision summarily rejecting wholesale portions of the original rules and ordering their re-write. The new Rules, adopted on May 6, 2008, were COAH’s response to that 2007 court order. With their publication, these Rules became ripe for a new lawsuit. ...READ MORE