ARTICLES

OPPORTUNITY ZONES ADVANCING SOCIAL AND FINANCIAL GOALS OF INVESTORS

Opportunity Zones

OPPORTUNITY ZONES- ADVANCING SOCIAL AND FINANCIAL GOALS OF INVESTORS Passage of the Tax Cut and Jobs Act in December 2017 created significant new opportunities for investors and developers through the existence of Opportunity Zones.  There are over 8,760 Opportunity Zones located in all fifty states, the District of Columbia and five US territories. This compares with only 40 empowerment zones and 40 renewal communities which had been established by Congress according to an August 2018 article in Forbes magazine.  Incentives of major tax benefit are subject to clarification as new regulations and clarifications are expected to emerge after the second…

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Trading Privacy for Property: How New York State’s new disclosure requirements expose LLC members

New York State has now passed new legislation which requires additional disclosures for Limited Liability Companies (“LLC’s”) in real estate transactions. This law, which is effective immediately, requires that the purchase or sale of residential real property be linked to an actual person as opposed to an LLC.  This required disclosure of information seems to conflict with one of the more common reasons many create LLC’s, namely to remain anonymous with regards to real estate or other transactions. On September 13, 2019, the State of New York enacted Chapter 297 of the Laws of 2019, which amends New York Tax…

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Medical Marijuana and Employment

What is the Compassionate Care Act (CCA)? New York State passed the Compassionate Care Act in 2014 which became effective in 2016. The New York State Department of Health states “[T]he purpose of the Compassionate Care Act is to comprehensively regulate the manufacture, sale and use of medical marijuana while striking the right balance between potentially relieving the pain and suffering of those in desperate need of a treatment and protecting the public against risks to its health and safety.” Since the law was passed, the list of serious medical conditions for which medical marijuana may be prescribed has been…

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Fair Play Construction Act

In recent years, government agencies and legislative initiatives at both federal and state levels have indicated that independent contractor arrangements will receive enhanced scrutiny.  Government interest in misclassification of these employment arrangements stems from the significance of revenue derived from employment taxes, FICA/FUTA, unemployment insurance contributions and workers’ compensation premiums. Misclassification has also highlighted various immigration issues. Specific to the construction industry, New York has enacted the Construction Industry Fair Play Act, effective Oct. 26, 2010, adding a new article (Art. 25-B) to the state Labor Law to further specify the circumstances when a worker can be classified as an…

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An Employee Raises a Safety Concern with Their Employer and Gets Fired for It. Now What?

New York State Labor Law Section 740 prohibits an employer from taking any retaliatory action against an employee who discloses or threatens to disclose a practice of the employer which poses a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety, or which constitutes health care fraud. Retaliatory action includes, but is not limited to, termination or demotion.  To recover under a Section 740 claim, the employee must show that he or she first reported or threatened to report the alleged illicit policy or practice to their employer or a supervisor before then making such disclosure to a public body.…

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Differing Site Conditions in Commercial Construction Contracts

Encountering unforeseen site conditions is a commonly disputed area of commercial construction, with litigation ensuing to determine whether the project owner or the contractor who performed the work should be responsible for bearing those additional costs. Naturally, it is in the interest of all parties to decide this when negotiating the terms of the contract, and to conduct sufficient research prior to excavation to minimize the chance of encountering unforeseen conditions. This research is often done through Geotechnical Data Reports (GDR), which are compilations of data gathered during site investigations.  However, sometimes even properly conducted boring samples provided to bidders…

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Modern Computer Crimes Expose the Risk in Relying upon Traditional Cyber Fraud Insurance

Business Email Compromise (“BEC”), or social engineering frauds, are scams that induce a party to transfer funds according to criminally altered directions. These scams target organizations that receive payment instructions through computer systems or email. Such criminal activity has become more pervasive, as a fraudster need merely “spoof” an email, purporting to be a vendor or employee, sending an inconspicuous fraudulent wire transfer request or instruction. An organization that falls victim to such a scam will likely find that whether their insurance provides coverage for their loss is determined upon intensive interpretation of the language of the specific policies. Computer…

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New York’s Compassionate Care Act Puts Employers in a Difficult Position

Medical Marijuana in New York In July 2014, New York’s Compassionate Care Act (“CCA”) was signed into law. The CCA took effect in January 2016 and made medicinal marijuana use legal in New York. New York is now one of 29 states where medical marijuana use is legal under state law, along with the District of Columbia. The CCA is more restrictive than many state medical marijuana laws. When it was passed, the CCA only allowed for patients suffering from a few serious conditions, such as cancer, Parkinson’s disease, and ALS, to be certified for medicinal marijuana use. The list…

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Issues to be Determined in a Divorce

A divorce can be tough on all  parties involved, including children.  Divorce impacts all aspects of the family unit and  can be emotionally and financially taxing on the parties.  All economic issues, support issues and child custody issues are settled or determined by a court. The manner in which couples choose to settle these issues will determine the cost and emotional toll the process will take on the family as a whole. The Process Spouses have a number of options as to how to proceed in obtaining a divorce and resolving the issues unique to their family situation.  Not all…

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Duty of NY Employers to Provide the Disabled Reasonable Accommodations Under the Americans with Disabilities Act

Most employers know that they must provide reasonable accommodations to disabled employees upon request; however there are certain situations where employers have to be proactive and ask employees if an accommodation is necessary to ensure compliance with state and federal laws. When No Request for Accommodations is Made The Second Circuit Court of Appeals (covering New York, Connecticut, and Vermont) recently ruled that the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations if they should have known an employee was disabled. In Brady vs. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., an employee with cerebral palsy never requested accommodations, but witnesses…

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