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Emerging Concerns Regarding Silica Exposure in the Engineered Stone Industry
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, November 2019

The dangers of workers developing silicosis amid the fabrication of engineered stone has become a topic heavily discussed in the news and elsewhere recently. Silicosis is a lung disease that develops from the exposure and inhalation of silica particles. On Oct. 2, National Public Radio (“NPR”) aired a story entitled “Workers Are Falling Ill, Even Dying, After Making Kitchen Countertops...

New California Employment Laws for 2020
Hanson Bridgett LLP, November 2019

2019 was a banner year for Governor Gavin Newsom. The Governor signed numerous bills into law, most of which are not employer friendly. For an in-depth analysis of how each law might affect your organization, contact your Hanson Bridgett labor and employment lawyer and/or join us for our Annual Client Seminars on January 28, 2020 (Walnut Creek), January 29, 2020 (Sacramento), or January 30, 2020 (San Francisco). Unless otherwise indicated, each new law takes effect on January 1, 2020...

Key Takeaways from USDA Final Interim Rules for Domestic Hemp Production
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, November 2019

Introduction On Oct. 31, 2019, the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) published its highly anticipated interim final rules, establishing the USDA Domestic Hemp Production Program to be administered by the Agricultural Marketing Service (AMS)...

CalPERS Issues Guidance on Uniform Allowance Reporting
Hanson Bridgett LLP, November 2019

A few weeks ago, CalPERS issued a Circular Letter to provide guidance to contracting agencies about reporting the uniform allowance, a statutory form of special compensation that applies only to classic CalPERS members. The Circular Letter provides much needed guidance about the uniform allowance, specific examples of reportable and non-reportable items, and reporting standards...

IRS Issues 2020 Limits for Retirement Plans
Hanson Bridgett LLP, November 2019

On November 6, 2019, the IRS announced in Notice 2019-59 cost of living adjustments to the qualified plan dollar limits for 2020. Below is a summary of the limits that are generally relevant for most retirement plans. Effective January 1, 2020: The elective deferral limit for 401(k), 403(b), and eligible 457(b) plans is increased from $19,000 to $19,500. The catch-up contribution limit for those age 50 or older is increased from $6,000 to $6,500...

IRS Issues New Guidance on Cryptocurrency: Hard Forks and Other Utensils Are Taxable
Hanson Bridgett LLP, November 2019

After sending cryptocurrency enforcement letters in the summer of 2019, the IRS recently issued Revenue Ruling 2019-24 and an accompanying frequently asked questions (FAQs) with additional guidance on the taxation of cryptocurrency. The Revenue Ruling addresses the tax treatment of cryptocurrency "hard forks", where one version of the currency is split from its original ledger and a new version of the currency is created with a new ledger...

Illinois Secure Choice Registration Is Underway for Employers with at least 25 Employees
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, November 2019

Starting Nov. 1, 2019, employers in Illinois with at least 25 employees must comply with the Illinois Secure Choice Savings Program Act (Secure Choice Program) or offer employees an employer-sponsored retirement plan...

Is a Benefit Corporation Right for You?
Verrill, November 2019

The “benefit corporation” is a relatively new type of business entity. In 2010, Maryland became the first state in the U.S. to enact a statute recognizing and providing for the organization of this form of entity. In September, Maine joined 30 other states that have enacted benefit corporation legislation over the past nine years, and such legislation is currently pending in several more states...

Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash Attempt a U-Turn on AB 5 via New Ballot Initiative
Hanson Bridgett LLP, November 2019

The fate of Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5) may be headed to the voters. Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash have unveiled the Protect App-Based Drivers and Services Act, a $90 million ballot initiative targeting AB 5. AB 5, signed by Governor Newsom on September 18, 2019, is expansive legislation that has potentially significant impact on California employers. AB 5 broadly adopts a new test for determining whether a worker is an independent contractor or an employee, with far-reaching implications...

SEC Clarifies Federal Fiduciary Duties of Investment Advisers
Lowenstein Sandler LLP, October 2019

  The Securities and Exchange Commission (the SEC) recently sought to clarify its position on federal fiduciary duties of investment advisers with an interpretation.1 The interpretation emphasized how client sophistication and the scope of an advisory relationship affect the fiduciary duties owed to particular clients. Determine Scope of Relationship All advisers owe fiduciary duties under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940, as amended (the Advisers Act)...

Keep Medicare Enrollment Information Correct and Current or Suffer Consequences
Verrill, October 2019

While most providers understand the need to bill Medicare correctly, many often fail to recognize the potentially disastrous results of not keeping Medicare informed of your correct and up-to-date practice information. A recent case highlights the dangers of a seemingly innocent error, which resulted in a physician’s Medicare billing privileges being revoked...

USTR Announces List 4A Exclusion Request Process and Other US-China Trade Developments
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, October 2019

The U.S.-China trade dispute continues to simmer with multiple significant developments in the past several weeks: The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) announced the exclusion process for Chinese imports subject to List 4A Section 301 tariffs will open on Oct. 31, 2019 and conclude on Jan. 31, 2020. List 4A and 4B tariffs on an estimated $300 billion of goods imported from China, effective Sept. 1, 2019 and Dec...

PTSD Compensation for First Responders without Associated Physical Injury Revisited by the Ohio Legislature in New House Bill
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, October 2019

With the recent proliferation of mass shootings and other deadly incidents, several states have taken on the issue of allowing mental and/or emotional impairments caused by post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to be a compensable workers’ compensation condition for first responders without the requirement of a physical injury. In June 2019, House Bill 80, the budget bill for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation, included such a proposal...

2019 New California Laws Impacting Cannabis Businesses
Hanson Bridgett LLP, October 2019

Governor Newsom has signed several bills that impact the cannabis industry by providing relief from federal income tax deduction limitations, encouraging minority participation, encouraging union membership, and clarifying some other existing regulations. The bills include: Assembly Bill 37 repeals the limitation on deductions for business expenses for cannabis businesses, which had previously conformed to Internal Revenue Code section 280E for state tax purposes...

Proposed Regulations Under the CCPA Provide Some Clarity, But Questions Remain
Verrill, October 2019

Earlier this month, the California Attorney General issued long-awaited proposed regulations (“Proposed Rule”) under the California Consumer Privacy Act (“CCPA”)[1] along with a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking Action and Initial Statement of Reasons explaining the Proposed Rule...

Good Tax News for the Cannabis Industry: California Repeals 280E Limitation for Personal Income Tax
Hanson Bridgett LLP, October 2019

Existing law, the Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MAUCRSA), among other things, consolidates the licensure and regulation of commercial medicinal and adult-use cannabis activities and authorizes persons to conduct specified commercial cannabis activities, as defined, in the state. The objectives of the new law are as follows: To provide tax equity to the cannabis industry...

IRS Finalizes New Hardship Distribution Rules for 401(k) and 403(b) Plans
Hanson Bridgett LLP, October 2019

On September 23, 2019, the IRS published final regulations that amend the rules for hardship distributions from 401(k) and 403(b) plans. The regulations finalize the proposed regulations issued in November 2018 to implement statutory changes made by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 and the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 intended to make it easier for plan participants to take hardship distributions...

Insurance Services Organization Revises Policy Forms to Address Cannabis
Bradley Arant Boult Cummings, LLP, October 2019

The Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO), which develops standard insurance policy forms for use by insurers, recently released its first cannabis-related endorsements (Cannabis Endorsements) to the businessowner policy form. This new release provides five cannabis exclusion endorsements; two of the endorsements change property coverage for cannabis, and the other three endorsements change liability coverage for cannabis...

Feinwachs Holds FCA Relator’s Emails to Counsel, Even Though on Employer’s Server, Protected as Work Product
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, October 2019

In the False Claims Act (FCA) case of Feinwachs v. Minnesota Hospital Association, the district court recently upheld relator David Feinwachs’ claim of work-product privilege over emails sent to his work email account. No. 11-cv-0008, 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 155027 (D. Minn. Sept. 11, 2019).  Feinwachs was formerly general counsel of the Minnesota Hospital Association (MHA), a trade association of Minnesota hospitals and health care systems...

IBM Wins Dismissal of FCA Qui Tam Suit Alleging It Used Faked Audit to Pressure IRS to Renew Software License
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, October 2019

On Sept. 30, IBM won dismissal of a federal False Claims Act (FCA) qui tam suit, Cimino v. IBM, No. 13-cv-00907 (APM), 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 168059 (D.D.C. Sept. 30, 2019). In the suit, Relator Paul A. Cimino alleged IBM, assisted by Deloitte LLP, fabricated audit findings regarding Internal Revenue Service (IRS) usage of IBM-licensed software to coerce IRS into renewing its software enterprise license...

FDA Warns Consumers to Stop Using THC Vaping Products Amid Ongoing Investigation into Lung Injuries
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, October 2019

Acting Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Commissioner Norman Sharpless has issued a statement warning Americans to stop using vaping products that emit THC until further testing can be done. Federal and state public health agencies, including the FDA, have been investigating an unprecedented wave of 1,000-plus cases of severe lung injuries and deaths among consumers who claimed they used vaping products containing THC, nicotine, or both...

FMSHRC Withdraws Simplified Proceedings Program
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, October 2019

On October 10, 2019, the Federal Mine Safety and Health Review Commission (“Commission”) published a notice it would withdraw its simplified proceedings program. The withdrawal of the program becomes effective 45 days after publication in the Federal Register unless adverse comment is received...

Cincinnati Is Latest City to Outlaw Hair Discrimination
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, October 2019

Cincinnati, Ohio has joined a small but growing list of states and municipalities that ban discrimination on the basis of natural hair styles. On Oct. 9, 2019, the Cincinnati City Council voted 7-1 to add a hair-bias ban to the city’s existing non-discrimination law...

IRS Issues Proposed Regulations Regarding Individual Coverage HRAs
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, October 2019

On Sept. 30, 2019, the IRS issued proposed regulations regarding how the employer-shared-responsibility provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and certain nondiscrimination rules under the Internal Revenue Code (Code) will apply to individual coverage health reimbursement accounts (HRAs). The proposed regulations aim to facilitate the adoption of individual coverage HRAs by employers on or after Jan. 1, 2020.   Background On Oct...

How to Boost Business - and Employee Morale - by Partnering with Your Law Firm
Dykema, October 2019

CHEAT SHEET Investment. Implementing a mentorship program between a corporation and a law firm does not require significant monetary investment, rather a considerable time investment. Diversify activities. After identifying and understanding the needs and profiles of participants, create activities that include trainings, CLEs, social events, and facility and firm visits. Benefits...

 

 

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