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February 2011 Client Alerts

February 2011 Client Alerts

March 1, 2011

Authored by: Jeannie Osborne

CPSC Opens Business Registration for New Consumer Product Safety Information Database

The new Consumer Product Safety Information Database is now available online on a trial basis, and will launch officially in March at www.SaferProducts.gov.  The Database allows a broad range of people to file so-called “reports of harm” informing the CPSC about an incident or concern that the submitter believes is an indication a product is unsafe or potentially hazardous.  To read more the database, please click here to see the Alert published by the Retail Team on February 3, 2011.

IRS Reverses Course — Breast Pumps and Other Lactation Supplies are Now Deductible Medical Expenses Subject to Reimbursement under FSAs, HRAs and HSAs

In Announcement 2011-14, the Internal Revenue Service concluded that breast pumps and supplies that assist lactation are medical care under Section 213(d) of the Internal Revenue Code and can therefore be reimbursed under a health flexible spending arrangement.  To learn more about this announcement, please click here to read the Feburary 22, 2011 Alert published by the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Client Service Group.

Patent Reform Act of 2011

On January 25, 2011, The Patent Reform Act of 2011 was introduced by Senator Leahy (D-VT) with bipartisan support.  The Bill is the latest installment of Congress’ attempts to pass patent legislation reform, following the Patent Reform Act of 2009 and other bills in recent years, all of which died in Congress.  To learn more, please click here to read the February 22, 2011 Bulletin published by the Intellectual Property Client Service Group.

Wide-Open House Budget Debate Moves Toward Finish Line

The House continues to work towards completing a major budget bill to fund the federal government for the remainder of the 2011 fiscal year.  Of the hundreds of amendments which have been offered and voted upon, major energy and environment-related amendments would reverse a law that requires the federal government to pay the legal costs of some environmental plaintiffs, de-fund the White House climate czar’s office, prevent an EPA appeals board from revoking air permits for oil exploration in the Arctic, and de-fund the EPA’s greenhouse gas emissions registry.  To read more about the proposed amendments and other energy updates, please click here to see the February 18, 2011 Energy Update.

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August 2010 Client Bulletins

August 2010 Client Bulletins

September 21, 2010

Authored by: Jeannie Osborne

SEC Adopts Rules Allowing Shareholders Access to Company Proxy Materials

On August 25, 2010, the Securities and Exchange Commission voted to adopt new rules that will require companies to include in their proxy materials nominations for election as directors submitted by eligible shareholders, subject to certain conditions.  For more information, please see the Client Alert published by the Corporate Finance and Securities Client Service Group August 26, 2010.  

Enforcement Landmines for Private Funds in Dodd-Frank

By now, most “private” or “hedge” fund managers know that the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act requires SEC registration of most advisers to private funds, effective July 2011. But SEC registration is not the only aspect of the new law that fund managers need to be aware of. Other provisions of the law will have significant effects on funds.  For more information, please see the Client Alert published by Securities Litigation and Enforcement Alternative Investments Team.

Regulations Issued Under Health Care Reform on Preventive Services and Internal claims and Appeals, and Extended Review Procedures

The Departments of Treasury, Labor and Health & Human Services (the “Departments”) recently issued two more batches of interim final regulations under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act as amended (the “Act”).  This new guidance addresses (i) the preventive services coverage mandate, and (ii) the new internal claims and appeals and external review processes.  For more information, please see the Client Alert published by the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Group August 5, 2010

USDA to Hold Meeting for Public Input on Codex Processed Fruits and Vegetables Standards

On August 18, 2010, USDA announced a public meeting to provide information and receive comments on agenda items and draft U.S. positions that will be discussed at the 25th Session of the Codex Committee on Processed Fruits and Vegetables.  For more information, please see the August 19, 2010 Food Regulatory and Policy Bulletin published by the Food and Drug Administration Practice

During China Visit, FDA Commissioner’s Focus Not on Heparin Investigation

FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg’s recent trip to China focused primarily on avenues of collaboration and cooperation between the FDA and Chinese regulators rather than on the current investigation into the contaminaiton of heparin.  For information on this and other issues, please see the August 27, 2010 Drugs and Devices Regulatory and Policy Bulletin published by the Food and Drug Administration Practice.   

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April 2010 Client Alerts

April 2010 Client Alerts

May 1, 2010

Authored by: Jeannie Osborne

IRS Releases Guidance on Tax Treatment of Employer-Provided Health Care Coverage for Children under Age 27.

On April 27 the IRS issued Notice 2010-38 discussing the tax treatment of employer-provided medical care coverage for employees’ adult children up to age 27.  For more information please click here for a copy of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Bulletin which discusses the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act enacted in late March and outlines the guidance provided in the IRS Notice.

Cobra Premium Subsidy Extended

On April 15 President Obama signed into law H.R. 4851, the Continuing Extension Act of 2010 extending the eligibility period for the COBRA subsidy until May 31, 2010.  For more information, please click here for a copy of the Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Client Bulletin which provides an overview of the extension provisions and highlights what group health plan sponsors need to know.

Antitrust Agencies Propose New Merger Guidelines

On April 20 the Federal Trade Commission released provisions of the Horizontal Merger Guidelines.  Last updated in 1997, the Proposed Guidelines provide the business community with an overview of how antitrust agencies analyze proposed mergers between competitors.    Click here for a copy of the Antitrust, Franchise & Consumer Law Client Bulletin which outlines the signficant changes proposed to the guidelines.

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March 2010 Client Alerts

March 2010 Client Alerts

April 1, 2010

Authored by: Jeannie Osborne

Third Circuit Rules Secured Lender Not Entitled to Credit Bid at Sale of Collateral Under a Cramdown Plan

On March 22, 2010, the Third Circuit in a split decision joined the Fifth Circuit in holding that a debtor may sell its assets under a plan of reorganization without permitting a secured lender to credit bid by offsetting its secured claim against the purchase price.  This decision may have major implications for secured lenders and may lead to more contested confirmation hearings and litigation over valuation.  For more information, please read the Client Alert published by the Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Creditors’ Rights Client Service Group on March 30, 2010.

Summary of the Federal Reserve Board’s Final Gift Card Rules

On March 23, 2010, the Federal Reserve Board issued its final rule, a summary and analysis of the final rule, and the official staff interpretation of the final rule in connection with Title IV of the CARD Act.  The Final Rules are comparable to the proposed rules that were issued in November, and follow the gift card related provisions set forth in the CARD Act.  For a brief summary of key provisions of the Rules, please read the Client Alert published by the Financial Institutions Client Service Group on March 29, 2010.

Proposed Amendments to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines Emphasize the Importance of Having an Effective and Compliant Records Management Program – What Every Business Needs to Know

In January, the United States Sentencing Commission published proposed changes to the Federal Sentencing Guidelines.  Public hearings on the proposed amendments were held in March.  The Commissioners are to take final action on the proposals in April.  The amendments will be effective in November, unless Congress intervenes.  A major focus of the proposed amendments is on the document retention component of records management.  For a discussion of the proposed changes, please read the Client Alert published by the Records Management Team on March 24, 2010.

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