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January 2014 – Bryan Cave Client Alerts

Client service groups throughout Bryan Cave LLP often prepare alerts on issues of interest to our clients and friends.  Listed below are the client alerts published in January, 2014.  Please click on the title to read the full text of the Alert.

Qualified Plan Limits, published by Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, January 21, 2014

California “Do-Not-Track” Law Has Gone Into Effect, Requiring Some Websites to Revise Privacy Policy, published by the Data Privacy and Security Team, January 9, 2014

Federal Trade Commission Increases Interlocking Directorates Thresholds, published by Antitrust and Competition, January 24, 2014

Eleventh Circuit Holds that Affiliates of Indicted Contractor May Be Suspended from Government Contracting Indefinitely, Despite No Wrongdoing, published by Government Contracts, January 3, 2014

‘Single Asset Real Estate’:  A Concept in Need of Redefinition, published by Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Creditors’ Rights, January 15, 2014

Tax Court Upholds Captive Insurance Arrangement Despite Parent Guarantee and Captive’s Investment in Stock of Parent, published by Tax Advice and Controversy, January 16, 2014

Investment Funds Maintained by Charitable Organizations, published by the Fund Formation Team and Tax Exempt and Charitable Planning, January 7, 2014

Circuit Decision Requires Production of Foreign Bank Account Records, Thus Emphasizing Importance of IRS Amnesty Program, published by Tax Advice and Controversy and White Collar Defense and Investigations, January 9, 2014

SEC ALJ Imposes Six Month Bar on China Affiliates of Big Four Accounting Firms, published by White Collar Defense and Investigations and International Trade, January 24, 2014

Premerger Notification Thresholds Increased, published by Antitrust and Competition, January 24, 2014

EPA Adopts New ASTM Phase I Standard, published by the Environmental group, January 15, 2014

While Some Things Changed, Much Stays the Same as the EU and the United States Relax Sanctions Against Iran (IRB No. 517), published by International Trade, January 28, 2014

SCOTUS Limits the Exercise of General Personal Jurisdiction Over Multi-National Parent Corporations:  Daimler AG v. Bauman, published by Commercial Litigation, January 29, 2014

SEPA — Is There Some Respite for European and US Companies?, published by Financial Services, January 13, 2014

EU & Competition Law Update – January 2014, published by Antitrust and Competition, January 14, 2014

Overhaul of the BIS Unverified List Imposes New Requirements for Exporters (IRB No. 516), published by International Trade, January 21, 2014

UK Labor and Employment Law Bulletin – January 2014, published by Labor and Employment, January 23, 2014

Lokpal:  Finally a force to combat corruption in India, published by the India Practice Group, January 8, 2014

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December 2013 – Bryan Cave Client Alerts

Client Service Groups across the Firm often prepare Alerts on issues of interest to our clients and friends.  Listed below are the Alerts published in December, 2013.   Please click on the title to read the full text of the Alert.

New SEC Guidance on Bad Actor Rules, published by the Fund Formation Team, December 20, 2013

IRS Issues New Guidance on In-Plan Roth Rollovers, published by Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation, December 18, 2013

Tips and Traps for Taking Current Year Deductions for Bonus Programs Fixed by End of Year, published by Tax Advice and Controversy, December 20, 2013

Tax News and Developments – Fall 2013, published by Tax Advice and Controversy, December 20, 2013

IRS Publishes Proposed Regulations Determining Partner’s Share of Recourse Liabilities, published by Tax Advice and Controversy, December 26, 2013

Supreme Court Clarifies Law on Forum Selection Clauses:  Choice of Forum in Contract Should be Enforced Absent “Extraordinary Circumstances,” published by Commercial Litigation, December 23, 2013

Fifth Circuit Reverses ‘D.R. Horton’ in Another Decision Upholding Class Action Waivers, published by Class and Derivative Actions, December 17, 2013

Second Circuit Rules continuing Interest Payments are Not in Furtherance of a Conspiracy; Do Not Extend Statute of Limitations, published by White Collar Defense and Investigations and Securities Litigation, December 11, 2013

Department of Defense Imposes New Cybersecurity Requirements on its Contractors and Subcontractors, published by National Security, December 20, 2013

New Milestone:  China (Shanghai) Pilot Free Trade Zone Opens (IRB No. 515), published by International Trade, December 18, 2013

The Introduction of Class Actions in French Law:  Second Reading of the Bill by the French National Assembly, published by the Commercial Litigation, December 17, 2013

Foreign Companies Beware:  U.S. FCPA Enforcers Will Pursue You, published by the Global Anti-Corruption/Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Team, December 17, 2013

European Commission Announces Streamlined EU Merger Notification Process, published by Antitrust and Competition, December 11, 2013

Who You Gonna Call? — the Singapore DNC Registry Opens for Registrations, published by the Data Privacy and Security Team, December 9, 2013.

EU Competition Law Update – December 2013, published by Antitrust and Competition, December 9, 2013

PT First Media v Astro Nusantara:  A cautionary tale on the enforcement of arbitral awards and joinder of third parties, published by International Arbitration, December 2, 2013

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September 2012 Client Alerts

Health Care Reform:  Guidance on Play or Pay and 90-Day Waiting Period

On August 31, 2012, the Departments of Labor, Treasury, and Health and Human Services jointly issued temporary guidance on two related health care reform issues:  (i) determining full-time status of employees for purposes of the employer “play or pay” penalty and (ii) implementation of the 90-day maximum waiting period adjustment.  As the two pieces of guidance refer to one another, it is important to understand them both.  To learn more about the guidance issued on these two health care reform issues, please click here to read the Alert published by the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Client Service Group on September 24, 2012.

U.S. Army Solicits $7 Billion in Renewable Energy Contracts

The US Army Engineering and Support Center is accepting bids for new renewable and alternative energy projects to provide electrical utility services to sites under the jurisdiction of the Department of Defense across the continental United States.  Up to $7 billion will be available over the course of 10 years to purchase energy produced by renewable and alternative projects to help the Department meet its mandate to produce or procure at least 25% of its total facility energy needs by the year 2025.  To learn more about the bidding process, please click here to read the Alert published by the Energy and National Resources Client Service Group on September 7, 2012.

With Recent Changes Issued by the CFPB, Final Remittance Transfer Regulations to Become Effective February 7, 2013

One provision of Dodd-Frank that generated comparatively little concern when it was passed was section 1073, “Remittance Transfers.”  Closer examination and subsequent issuance of regulations has now drawn scrutiny to this provision, which was already so detailed and lengthy when it was inserted into the Act that there was little room for modification by the CFPB when the bureau issued its implementing regulations.  To learn more about the provision and how to comply in time for the February 7, 2013 effective date, please click here to read the Alert published by the Financial Institutions Client Service Group on September 19, 2012.

Comments on the “Effects of Foreign Policy-Based Export Controls” submitted September 21, 2012

To read the comments submitted by Stanley J. Marcuss and George F. Murphy of the  International Trade Group on the foreign policy export controls maintained by the Bureau of Industry and Security, please click here.

A New Law on Sexual Harassment in France

Since the initial enactment of anti-sexual harassment legislation in France in 1992, sexual harassment was not only prohibited under the French Labor Code but was also a punishable offense under the Penal Code.  However, the definitions in the Labor Code and Penal Code were both vague and not entirely in sync, and the French Constitutional Counsel ruled them unconstitutional in May of this year.  In order that sexual harassment “not go unpunished,” the French Parliament has adopted a new law.  To read more, please click here for the Briefing published by the Labor and Employment Client Service Group (Paris) on September 24, 2012.

German Labor Law & HR 2/2012

For a discussion of the “Revolving Door Clause” included in the German Temporary Employment Act governing the use of employing temporary workers, please click here to read the Newsletter published by the Labor and Employment Client Service Group (Hamburg) on September 25, 2012.

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July 2012 Client Alerts

Two Key Rulings of the Supreme Court

A “Common Sense” Approach to Overtime Exemptions.  The Supreme Court’s recent ruling in Christopher v. SmithKline Beecham Corp., DBA GlaxoSmithKline established that when classifying employees as exempt or nonexempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act, employers should not abandon common sense and industry practice.  The Christopher case puts the Department of Labor and potential plaintiffs on notice that unreasoned and overly narrow interpretations of the exemptions should be rejected by courts, especially when such interpretations would subject business to unfair surprise.

Supreme Court Strikes Down Much of Arizona Immigration Law.  Arizona enacted the Support our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act in 2010 in an attempt to address immigration concerns within its borders.  In a 5-3 decision, the Supreme Court struck down a significant part of the Arizona law.

For summaries of these two important rulings of the Supreme Court, please click here for the Labor and Employment Client Service Group’s Alert published July 16, 201.

New York Appeals Court Decision Highlights Defenses for Financial Institution Defendants Against Structured Product Claims.

A recent decision from the New York Court of Appeals highlights some of the winning arguments financial-institution defendants can make in state-court litigation brought by investors in structured financial products.  In Oddo Asset Management v. Barclays Bank PLC, the Court of Appeals affirmed the dismission of claims for aiding and abetting breach of fiduciary duty and tortious interference with contract.  Although the Court did not define any new legal principles, its decision illustrates the ways existing law can be applied to defeat claims against defendants alleged to have played an important role in the distribution of failed investments.  To learn more about the decision in this case, please click here to read the Securities Litigation and Enforcement Client Service Group’s Alert published July 9, 2012.

Employee Testimonials Can be Risky Business

Online retailers often permit (and encourage) consumers to review their products.  Reviews — whether done on the retailer’s website or on a third-party website — serve a dual purpose of engaging consumers to interact with the retailer and providing a ready source of testimonials that can be used in future marketing.  Over the past several years the FTC has warned that consumers can be deceived when a testimonial is written by a person that has a material connection with the retailer.  The FTC has launched at least a half-dozen investigations involving deceptive testimonials, and, in early July, the FTC announced its largest testimonial related settlement to date — $800,000.  To read more about how retailers can avoid liability, please click here to read the Alert published by the Retailer & Consumer Products Group on July 10, 2012.

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May 2012 Client Alerts

Oil and Natural Gas Production Subject to New Air Rules

On April 17, 2012, the EPA issued new rules targeting potential emissions associated with hydraulically fractured wells.  Other activities at upstream and midstream facilities are also impacted by the new rules.  To learn more about the new requirements to reduce emissions from the oil and natural gas production sector, please click here to read the Alert published by the Environmental and Energy and Natural Resources Client Service Group on May 1, 2012.

Medical Marijuana:  Arizona Law and the Americans with Disabilities Act

While employers have implemented policies to comply with Arizona’s medical marijuana laws, the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has issued a ruling that could exclude employees who use medical marijuana from protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act.  To read more about the ruling and the context of the issue considered by the Court, please click here to read the Alert published by the Labor and Employment Client Service Group on May 30, 2012.

Department of Labor Issues Further Fee Disclosure Guidance

On May 7, 2012, the Department of Labor issued Field Assistance Bulletin 2012-02, consisting of 38 questions and answers that clarify some of the issues raised since the issuance of final regulations on participant fee disclosures with respect to designated investment alternatives in individual account plans.  For a discussion of the issues covered, please click here to read the alert published by the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Client Service Group on May 29, 2012.

California Supreme Court Attempts to Clarify Entitlement to Attorneys’ Fees in Wage and Hour Claims

On April 30, 2012, the California Supreme Court issued its ruling in Kirby v. Imroos Fire Protection, a wage and hour matter that had been making its way through the court system since 2007.  In the ruling, the Court attempted to clarify and limit a prevailing party’s entitlement to attorneys’ fees for bringing certain types of wage and hour claims; however, its failure to address a glaring inconsistency with another law essentially nullifies the holding.  To read more about the ruling and how it further muddies the waters as to whether any party will receive fees for break claims, please click here  for the Alert published by the Labor and Employment Client Service Group on May 8, 20012.

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April 2012 Client Alerts

IRS Releases Proposed Rules on New Comparative Effectiveness Fee for Health Plans

On April 12, 2012 the IRS released proposed regulations regarding the collection of the fee for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Trust Fund (the “Fund”) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  The Fund will be used to pay for the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute which has the goal of helping health care providers and consumers make informed health decisions by synthesizing research comparing the outcome effectiveness of various treatments.  To learn more about proposed  regulations, the plans that will be impacted and the fee, please click here to read the Alert published by the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Client Service Group on April 23, 2012.

The Absolute Priority Rule:  An Endangered Species in Individual Chapter 11 Cases?

The absolute priority rule of Section 1129(b) of the Bankruptcy Code is a fundamental creditor protection in a Chapter 11 bankruptcy case.  The rule implements the general state-law principle that creditors are entitled to payment before shareholders unless creditors agree to a different result.  Recent litigation has raised the issue of  whether the Bankruptcy Abuse Prevention and Consumer Protection Act of 2005, which otherwise is a very creditor-friendly statute, modified the Bankruptcy Code in such a way as to eliminate the absolute priority rule if the debtor is an individual.  For a discussion of the issue, please click here to read the Alert published by the Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Creditors’ Rights Client Service Group on April 9, 2012.

Estate Planning in 2012

Generally, there are three basic goals of estate, generation skipping transfer and gift tax planning:  (1) the reduction of estate and gift taxes upon transfer; (2) the deferral of the estate, generation skipping transfer and gift tax burden; and (3) ensuring for the necessary liquidity to pay the taxes when they become due.  As a result of the present low interest rates and the drop in value of most types of assets, there may be opportunities to engage in some estate planning that may not be available to clients when interest rates rise and values are driven higher.  To learn about how to take advantage of these opportunities in 2012, while we are sure we have them, please click here to read a memorandum  published by Bryan Cave’s  Private Client Group on April 10, 2012.  

Data Breaches:  Will You Be Sued, And Can You Lower Risk?

According to a widely reported study, 90% of organizations have had at least one data breach in the last year and almost 60% had two or more breaches over the year.  In light of headlines describing multimillion-dollar data security breach settlements, it is no surprise that businesses fear the worst.   For a discussion of the litigation risks, range of liability and how businesses can lower the risks associated with security breaches, please click here to read an article written by the Data Privacy and Security Team attorneys and published in Law 360 on April 25, 2012.   

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February 2012 Client Alerts

FINRA Issues Guidance on Protection of Customer Accounts

A recent alert from the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) is encouraging broker-dealers to reexamine their policies and procedures relating to protection of customer assets and accounts.  FINRA Regulatory Notice 12-05 advises broker-dealers that FINRA has received an increasing number of reports of customer funds being stolen as a result of instructions e-mailed to firms from customer e-mail accounts that have been compromised.  With that notice, FINRA also issued an Investor Alert advising the public about the reported incidents.  To learn more about the Notice and Alert, please click here to read the Alert published by the White Collar Defense & Investigations and Securities Litigation & Enforcement Client Service Groups and Data Privacy & Security Team on February 6, 2012.

Reporting Cybersecurity Risks — New Obligations for Publicly Traded Companies 

Most companies are aware that they may be required to report data security breaches to consumers and, in some instances, state attorneys general, the FTC, or HHS.  Publicly traded companies should bear in mind that they have to notify another group — their investors.  The SEC last year offered  first-of-its kind guidance on when companies should report cybersecurity incidents in their disclosure statements.  To learn more about the new requirements, please click here to read the Alert published by the Data Privacy & Security Team on February 14, 2012.

DOL Issues Final Fee Disclosure Rule

Earlier this year, the Department of Labor issued a final rule on the disclosure requirements for a contract or arrangement for services to a covered plan to be deemed “reasonable” under Section 408(b)(2) of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1973 (“ERISA”).  These disclosure requirements become effective July 1, 2012 and apply to service contracts and arrangements entered into both before and after that date.  To learn more about the disclosures required and what plans or contracts may be excluded from the rule, please  Click here to read the Alert published by the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Client Service Group on February 7, 2012. 

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December 2011 Client Alerts

SEC and FINRA Issue Guidance on Broker Dealer Branch Inspections

Broker-Dealers who face inspections from regulators should take heed of recent guidance provided by the two principal securities regulatory agencies.  The regulators are the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (“FINRA”) and the SEC’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations.  Their jointly issued “National Examination Risk Alert” offers guidance on policies and procedures that broker-dealers should consider for branch office inspection programs.  To learn more, please click here to read the Alert published by the White Collar Defense & Investigations and Securities Litigation & Enforcement Client Service Groups on December 13, 2011.

State Taxation of Former Residents’ Retirement Income

Recently, the New York State Department of Taxation and Finance issued an Advisory Opinion regarding whether New York State may impose income tax on distributions from a nonqualified deferred compensation plan made to a former resident.  The opinion, consistent with federal law, concluded that New York State may not impose tax on these retirement payments.  To read more about the Advisory Opinion, please click here for the Alert published by the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Client Service Group on December 28, 2011.

Reminder Regarding Information Reporting For Corporate Actions That Affect Stock Basis

Issuers of securities who undertook an “organizational action” in 2011 that affected the basis of such securities are required to file an information return reporting such action.  The Information Return for actions taken in 2011 was due to be filed January 17, 2012 for actions taken in 2011.  For more information on timing of returns for actions in 2012 and subsequent years, please click here to read the Tax Advice and Controversy Client Service Group Bulletin published December 30, 2011. 

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