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Posts from October 2011.

On Sept. 14, 2011, the Indiana Department of Environmental Management released for public notice its Findings of Amendments to Rules Concerning References to the Code of Federal Regulations in the Indiana Register.

Have public defined benefit plans run their course, or is Chicken Little back at it again?  The answer may not be clear cut. Public entities are under immense pressure to do more with less. 

Tax revenues are down and investment returns are still recovering from the 2008 recession. The funding status of public defined benefit plans has dipped over the past few years causing concerns ...

Due to the unintended negative impact of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services’ ("USCIS") September 12, 2011 change regarding the mailing of I-797 application and petition receipt and approval notices, the USCIS announced on October 20, 2011 that they are restoring their previous procedures.

Posted in Estate Planning

Bingham Greenebaum Doll is proud to sponsor the community conversations for I Love to Eat and Nobody Don’t Like Yogi. I was fortunate to be able to lead two of the conversations following performances of I Love to Eat, a look at the life of James Beard, the first TV chef. The lively discussions from foodies of all backgrounds touched on their unique connections with food as well as learning more about James Beard. 

New draft guidelines have been released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, addressing 1-hour SO2 National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) in relation to State Improvement Plans. On Sept. 21, 2011, draft guidance submissions became available for public review and comment.

Civil enforcement by participants under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974, as amended (ERISA) generally has been construed narrowly, but language in a recent U.S. Supreme Court case suggests that participants now may be entitled to a broader range of relief when a participant wins an ERISA lawsuit. While the Court has clarified that a summary plan description (SPD) is not a formal plan document, the opinion indicates that participants who can show “actual harm” from faulty benefit plan-related communications may be entitled to more relief under ERISA than previously was thought.

Most people know about premarital agreements from their negative portrayal in movies and in the media. (Did you see the final season of Entourage?) However, the reality is that premarital and cohabitation agreements are an important tool for life planning and estate planning. More importantly, they can be drafted to treat each person in the relationship fairly.

Posted in General

Indiana University Bloomington recently announced a 5.5 percent increase in tuition and fees in response to declines in state funding, and it is not alone among Indiana colleges and universities. What will the continuing decline of state funding for higher education mean for Hoosier students?

The Greater Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce has given our city the great fortune of being front and center at this year’s Leadership Exchange, currently taking place Oct. 23-25. 

This program is designed to convene civic leaders from Greater Indianapolis in one city each year, allowing all in attendance to learn more about the successes and challenges each host city has faced. Our ...

Posted in Litigation

Bingham Greenebaum Doll partner J. Richard Kiefer and attorney Casey Kannenberg were recently honored with the second place prize in the Harrison Legal Writing Awards, presented by the Indiana State Bar Association (ISBA) at their annual awards luncheon on Oct. 20. Dick and Casey won for their work “Preserving the Attorney-Client Privilege in Internal Corporate Investigations: Parts 1 & 2” which appeared in Res Gestae.

In Announcement 2011-64, the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) recently communicated the kick-off of its new Voluntary Classification Settlement Program (“VCSP”) which allows a business to voluntarily reclassify a worker for federal employment tax purposes from an independent contractor to an employee and obtain meaningful relief from exposure to potential employment tax assessments.  By agreeing to prospectively treat the subject class of workers as employees for future tax periods, the business will receive several substantial benefits:

Posted in Estate Planning

I’m a farm girl and an estate planning attorney. So naturally, I’m passionate about helping farm families efficiently transfer ownership of their land, buildings and equipment to the next generation. In this five part blog series, I’m exploring several common examples of estate-planning-gone-wrong for farmers. Read on as I address one of the most common mistakes I hear when counseling farm families in the estate planning process.

Posted in Estate Planning

I’m a farm girl and an estate planning attorney. So naturally, I’m passionate about helping farm families efficiently transfer ownership of their land, buildings and equipment to the next generation. In this five part blog series, I’m exploring several common examples of estate-planning-gone-wrong for farmers. Read on as I address one of the most common mistakes I hear when counseling farm families in the estate planning process.

Posted in Government

The Indiana General Assembly’s Charity Gaming Study Committee has announced that it will be meeting on October 18 and October 25 to conduct hearings on topics assigned to it by the Legislative Council. The meeting on the 18th will include a charity gaming overview presentation by the Indiana Gaming Commission.

Posted in Estate Planning

I’m a farm girl and an estate planning attorney. So naturally, I’m passionate about helping farm families efficiently transfer ownership of their land, buildings and equipment to the next generation. In this five part blog series, I’m exploring several common examples of estate-planning-gone-wrong for farmers. Read on as I address one of the most common mistakes I hear when counseling farm families in the estate planning process.

As part of its continual effort to improve transparency with the public, the U.S. EPA has rolled out a new interactive map which shows facilities subject to federal and state enforcement actions under the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act and Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.

Posted in Estate Planning

I’m a farm girl and an estate planning attorney. So naturally, I’m passionate about helping farm families efficiently transfer ownership of their land, buildings and equipment to the next generation. In this five part blog series, I’m exploring several common examples of estate-planning-gone-wrong for farmers. Read on as I address one of the most common mistakes I hear when counseling farm families in the estate planning process.

The U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services ("USCIS") has changed its procedure for issuing approval notices. Effective September 12, 2011, the USCIS is mailing original I-797 approval notices directly to the Petitioner or Applicant with courtesy copies to the Attorney. This change has the potential to create major problems and will likely lead to lost or misplaced notices.

Posted in Estate Planning

This morning, Bingham Greenebaum Doll partner Brian Welch and I hosted the first day of on-air fundraising for the WFYI fall pledge drive. We issued a challenge to our friends and colleagues that we would match $1,500 in pledges raised between 6 and 9 a.m. I’m proud to say that our friends did not let us down. We were able to raise $4,195 from 34 pledges, and were able to give WFYI an additional $1,500 from Bingham Greenebaum Doll. Thanks to all who pledged this morning!

Posted in Estate Planning

I’m a farm girl and an estate planning attorney. So naturally, I’m passionate about helping farm families efficiently transfer ownership of their land, buildings and equipment to the next generation. Too often I sit down with farming clients who misunderstand the estate planning process.  Their misunderstanding is usually the result of overhearing inaccurate information. Perhaps they’ve heard a couple neighbors discussing death taxes and loopholes at the grain elevator and pick up some more chatter at the local diner. This secondhand advice, while perhaps well-meaning, will inevitably become their estate planning downfall.

Posted in Estate Planning

At Bingham Greenebaum Doll, we’re committed to our communities. WFYI is a leader in news and information in our community, and we are proud to support their efforts. On Monday morning, I, along with Bingham Greenebaum Doll partner Brian Welch, will be asking our friends and colleagues to join us in our commitment to public broadcasting in Indianapolis. I’m looking forward to doing my part at the upcoming fall pledge drive on October 10.

Regular readers of Greenebaum labor alerts will recall that, on August 30, 2011, the National Labor Relations Board (“Board”) announced a final rule (“Rule”) that will require most private employers to post a notice (“Notice”) that informs employees of their rights under federal labor law. As originally published, the Rule required covered employers to post these Notices on or before November 14, 2011. The Rule will apply to all private employers that otherwise fall within the Board’s jurisdiction, i.e., most businesses outside the aviation and railway industries who meet certain revenue thresholds.

Posted in Government

In this series, Bingham Greenebaum Doll attorney Phil Sicuso provides examples of how Indiana’s new lobbying laws may impact executives, lobbyists and legislators. In 2010, the state legislature overhauled Indiana’s lobbying laws to include new provisions for reporting gifts and expenditures, as well as assigning higher dollar limits to non-compliance fines. Each week, we will highlight a fictional scenario involving an imaginary company named “IndyCo” to demonstrate common circumstances that could lead to violations of both old and new provisions of the law.

A ruling last month from the United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reminds firms of the need to register all versions of their software products with the Copyright Office, not just the original source code. Software developer, Airframe Systems, Inc., found this out the hard way.

Almost every day, we can observe transportation companies doing their work. Semi-trailer trucks (18-wheelers, big rigs, whatever you might call them) transport goods, and buses transport people via our highways. Towboats push barges loaded with various goods along the Ohio River and other Kentucky waterways; other watercraft, like the Belle of Louisville, transport people. Planes whisk passengers and cargo through the air. Trains haul their cargo in rail cars on railroad tracks laid across the Commonwealth. These modes of transportation are integral to our everyday lives. 

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