Legal News

In addition to serving our clients, our attorneys are active in publishing articles, conducting seminars and giving speeches. Our firm also issues many press releases and is frequently mentioned in various news sources. These resources are available for information purposes only and may be obtained by using the various search functions below.

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Feb 20 2017

The Vanishing Tax Base: Dark Store Theory Collides with Local Tax Assessors

Across the country a property valuation method known as the "Dark Store Theory" is being used by some large retailers to lower their property tax bills. Some large retailers with highly customized properties are seeking millions of dollars in tax savings through court challenges to property tax assessments using the Dark Store Theory. These challenges can have a dramatic impact on municipal budgets as local governments are forced to increase property taxes for other property owners to compensate for the lost revenue. As use of the Dark Store Theory continues to increase, legislative initiatives are coming to the forefront in an effort to stop its proliferation. Other potential remedies to the effects of the Dark Store Theory are also being considered by various municipal and tax payer organizations.

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Feb 14 2017

Is Dewsnup Unravelling Due to Lien-Stripping Cases under § 1322(b)(2)?

The law of lien-stripping in consumer bankruptcy cases continues to evolve in two opposite directions. The anti-lien-stripping precendent of Dewsnup v. Timm, a chapter 7 case, is frequently disregarded in chapter 13 cases notwithstanding the specific directive of § 1322(b)(2), which states that a mortgage secured by a debtor's home cannot be modified. This evoution continues even though chapter 7 and 13 cases are interpreting the same statute applicable in both chapters: § 506. This has created a crescendo of confusion as to fundamental bankrutpcy concepts. 

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Feb 10 2017

HIPAA Small Breach Notifications Due to OCR March 1

Covered entities have until March 1, 2017 to submit to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) breach notification for “small” breaches of unsecured protected health information that were discovered in calendar year 2016.

Breach Notification Requirements
HIPAA requires covered entities to provide breach notification to affected individuals without unreasonable delay and in no case later than 60 calendar days after discovery of the breach. Entities must also report small breaches (i.e., those breaches involving fewer than 500 individuals) to OCR no later than 60 days after the end of each calendar year. This year, notifications of small breaches are due no later than March 1, 2017.

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Feb 09 2017

U.S. Supreme Court Issues Strong Property Rights Decision in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Mgt. Dist.

This article originally appeared on Builder Buzz Blog and Wisconsin Building News, June 2013

An important property rights decision was delivered in Koontz v. St. Johns River Water Management District. The Court ruled that the government’s demand for property from a land-use permit applicant must satisfy the requirements of Nollan and Dolan, even when the government denies the permit and even when its demand is for money.

It upheld and significantly expanded upon two earlier property rights decisions in Nollan v. California Coastal Commission and Dolan v. City of Tigard. To best understand the decision in Koontz, you should understand the significance of the earlier decisions first.

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Feb 03 2017

Designated Survivor: Beneficiary Designations Can Make – or Break – Your Estate Plan

Accurate beneficiary designations are one of the most important aspects of a proper estate plan. If prepared incorrectly, these designations can divert assets from your intended recipients, result in additional court procedures, and turn an otherwise coordinated plan into an administrative hassle. Beneficiary designations override the terms of your Will or Trust with respect to that asset. For example, if a friend is designated as the beneficiary on your life insurance because the form was completed before you had kids, that policy will be paid to the friend upon death even if all of your other estate plan documents direct your assets to your children. Or, alternatively, if no beneficiary is listed we may end up having to open a court process to administer the assets. To avoid these types of unintended consequences, it is extremely important to be mindful and purposeful in using and reviewing those designations with your advisors. The following are a few items to consider:

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