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Posted in Estate Planning

The recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) allows each individual to exempt $11,180,000 from federal estate tax in 2018 ($11,400,000 in 2019). A married couple would need over $22,000,000 in assets before their estate would be subject to federal estate tax. With less individuals owing federal estate tax, you may wonder, “Do I need an estate plan if my estate will not be taxed?” The answer is yes, you do need an estate plan because your estate plan is much more than a tool to reduce federal estate taxes. Regardless of the size of your estate, below are five reasons why you need an estate plan.

Posted in Litigation

BGD’s K. Mulvaney and M. Christensen draft amicus brief in support of decision.

Indiana’s state motto is “the Crossroads of America” and, when it comes to railroad grade crossings, the Hoosier State lives up to its name. With 5,693 grade crossings, Indiana has the highest concentration of grade crossings in the country — one grade crossing for every 17 public-roadway miles in Indiana. See Indiana Dep’t of Transportation, Indiana State Rail Plan, 25, 32, 69-70 (Oct. 2017).

This article appeared in the Indianapolis Business Journal on October 5, 2018.

My last article on the blood-testing firm Theranos explored how and why so many people could have been deceived by a business strategy and technology that proved to be entirely dependent on deception. Since that article appeared last spring, the unraveling of Theranos has accelerated, and we can now glean some additional learnings.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit (the “Seventh Circuit”) recently decided the case of Naperville Smart Meter Awareness v. City of Naperville, 900 F.3d 521 (7th Cir. 2018). The suit brought by Naperville Smart Meter Awareness (“NSMA”) alleged that the collection of smart meter energy-consumption data by the City of Naperville, Illinois, (the “City”) constituted an unreasonable search under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and should be prohibited.[1] The Seventh Circuit made two important holdings in the case. First, it held that the collection of smart meter data is, in fact, a search under the Fourth Amendment. Second, it held that under the specific facts of the case, the City’s smart meter program constitutes a reasonable search and thus does not violate customers’ Fourth Amendment rights.

[1] NSMA also brought state constitutional claims under the Illinois constitution that are not addressed here.

The Supreme Court’s October 2018 term is right around the corner, and one case will have a very practical impact on prospective copyright litigation.  In the Court’s only copyright case this term, Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com will settle the question of whether a plaintiff must have a valid copyright registration before filing an infringement suit or, instead, can merely have an application pending with the U.S. Copyright Office.

This year marks the 40th anniversary of the passage of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which amended Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. This amendment made it illegal to fire women for becoming pregnant, to deny insurance coverage for pregnancy-related conditions, or to require women to take unpaid leave after becoming pregnant.

Posted in Litigation

Does your company have an incident response plan in place in case of a cyberattack or data breach? Companies that do not understand the gravity of these events should take heed of this statistic: 90 percent of businesses that lose data due to a security incident shut down within two years, according to The Ponemon Institute.

This summer has been filled with legal changes that significantly impact businesses that sell online. The California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 will impact the way businesses collect, store, and sell customers’ private information, and the recent case of South Dakota v. Wayfair will change the way online retailers handle sales tax.

How has the #MeToo movement impacted your business? For many, the rise of the #MeToo movement in 2017 has led to more women and men publicly talking about sexual harassment they have experienced in the past or are currently experiencing at work. Companies clearly do not want to find themselves defending against sexual harassment lawsuits. How can you minimize this risk?

This article appeared in the Indianapolis Business Journal on July 20, 2018.

The vast majority of companies in the United States are small, privately owned, with fewer than 500 employees. Many are family-owned, some are venture-capital-backed, others are supported by private equity.

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