Recent Articles from All Practice Groups

Conservation Easements: Saving Our Green Spaces or Illegal Tax Shelters?

A property owner who donates an easement of his or her property to a charitable organization for conservation or historical purposes is permitted to take a charitable deduction for the value of that donated property easement. The statutory requirements are set forth in Internal Revenue Code §170(h). There are many conservation easements that are fulfilling the intent of the legislation... Read More >

Changes to Paid Leave Policy Go into Effect for District of Columbia Employers

Employers in Washington, D.C. have been waiting for the Universal Paid Leave Amendments Act of 2016 (the Act) to go into effect. Much to the chagrin of many small employers, that time is here. The Act creates a mandatory, employer-funded, paid leave program, which provides up to eight weeks of paid leave to covered employees working in the District of Columbia... Read More >

Tax Filing Deadlines – A Good Time to Confirm Other Compliance Issues for Businesses

Corporations, limited liability companies (LLCs), and other business entities are certainly aware of tax filing deadlines in the month of April, but tax season is also a good time to perform a business audit for other important dates, including applicable state and local requirements and personal property return deadlines. It is also advisable to review other corporate compliance issues, such as... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Refusal To Produce Vocational Data Not Preclusive Of Effect On Worker’s Social Security Claim

In Biestek v. Berryhill, Michael Biestek applied for Social Security disability benefits, claiming he could no longer work due to physical and mental ailments. His case was heard by an administrative law judge (ALJ), who analyzed whether there was other work Biestek might be able to perform. The Social Security Administration offered the testimony of a vocational expert as... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Rejects As-Applied Challenge To Execution By Pentobarbital

After being convicted of murder in Missouri, Russell Bucklew was set to be executed through the lethal injection of the sedative pentobarbital. He raised an as-applied challenge, arguing that he suffered from a medical condition that would result in extreme pain if he received the pentobarbital. Bucklew suggested that he be executed through nitrogen hypoxia instead, which had never been... Read More >

What’s in a Name? Well-Known Insurance Coverage Case Concepts That All Claims Handlers and Insurance Coverage Professionals Should Know

By Christopher P. Ferragamo and Susan Knell Bumbalo “You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney, if you cannot afford one, one will be provided to you …” Anyone that has ever watched a crime drama... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Supreme Court Broadens SEC’s Ability To Punish Disseminators Of False Information

In Lorenzo v. SEC, Lorenzo disseminated false information that his boss provided to him, and which he knew was false, regarding the value of a company pursuant to a debenture offering. The SEC charged him with having violated Rule 10b-5 of the Securities and Exchange Commission, which makes it unlawful to (a) “employ any device, scheme, or artifice to... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Foreign States Must Be Served On Home Soil With Process

To gain personal jurisdiction over a foreign sovereign under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, service of process must be accomplished, among other options, “by any form of mail requiring a signed receipt, to be addressed and dispatched . . . to the head of the ministry of foreign affairs of the foreign state concerned.” 28 U.S.C. sec. 1608(a)(3). In... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: National Park Service Cannot Regulate Navigable Waters

For decades, John Sturgeon drove a hovercraft on the Nation River to get to a moose hunting ground in Alaska. A portion of that river ran through the Yukon-Charley Preserve, which was a designated a conservation unit under the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act. The Act designated as public lands only and being part of such a unit... Read More >

Additional Practical Analysis: Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLP

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled unanimously on March 20, 2019 in Obduskey v. McCarthy & Holthus LLP that a law firm hired to pursue a nonjudicial foreclosure under Colorado law was not a debt collector under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). In a nonjudicial foreclosure, notice to the parties and sale of the property occur outside... Read More >

Decisions, March 2019, Volume 5, Issue 2

Christopher P. Ferragamo, a Director in Jackson & Campbell, P.C.'s Insurance Coverage Practice Group, prepares a bi-monthly newsletter that addresses healthcare issues and healthcare coverage issues called Decisions. Read the latest issue here. Please see below for prior issues of Decisions: January 2019 - Volume 5, Issue 1 November 2018 - Volume 4, Issue 6 September 2018 - Volume... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Google Class Action Settlement In Danger Of Losing Standing

When a person enters search terms on Google, and then selects a web page that comes up in the search results, Google sends the host of the web page the search terms the person used to locate the page. Certain plaintiffs filed suit as a class, arguing that Google’s practice violated the Stored Communications Act. The parties settled, with... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Entity Conducting Non-judicial Foreclosure Not A Debt Collector Under Fair Debt Collection Practices Act

After Dennis Obduskey went into default on his mortgage that was secured against his home, the lender hired the law firm of McCarthy & Holthus, LLP to conduct a non-judicial foreclosure of the property. The firm sent Obduskey a notice of its intent to so act, and Obduskey requested that the firm provide him with verification of the debt as... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Manufacturers Have Duty To Warn Sailors Of Products That Require Asbestos Parts

In Air & Liquid System Corp. v. DeVries, a company manufactured equipment for three Navy ships that, as shipped, contained no asbestos, but required asbestos insulation or parts to work as intended. The Navy added the asbestos parts later when the equipment was installed on the ships. The equipment was put into use, releasing asbestos into the... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Fractured Court Upholds 1855 Indian Treaty Against State Gasoline Tax

A company owned by the Yakama Nation Indian tribe transported gasoline from Oregon to the tribe’s land in the State of Washington, using the public highways. Washington sought to tax those imports. The Yakama Nation objected, citing to an 1855 treaty with the federal government granting the Nation the right to use the public highways. The Washington state courts held... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Rejects Narrow Reading Of Immigration Detention Statute

Federal immigration law provides that certain criminal aliens may be detained by the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security and not released until a determination on deportation is made. The statute in question, 8 U.S.C. § 1226(c)(1), directs the Secretary to arrest the alien “when the alien is released” from jail, and Section 1226(c)(2) mandates that the Secretary keep... Read More >

Court Upholds Validity of Foreclosure Sale in Light of Debtor’s Failure to Seek a Stay Pending Appeal

A recent decision issued by the Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia underscores the importance for both debtors and creditors to be especially cognizant of procedural rules when dealing with a property subject to foreclosure. In re: Bobbie Upasna Vardan involved a property that had been affected by four bankruptcies filed by the debtor or members of her... Read More >

Health Law Practice Group Precludes Untimely Lawsuit

The Health Law Practice Group had a pro se plaintiff’s lawsuit dismissed in the Superior Court of the District of Columbia (Rigsby, J.) for lack of pre-suit notice and a limitations bar. The plaintiff noted a timely appeal, which Jackson & Campbell, P.C. successfully defended. In Waugh v. MedStar Georgetown Univ. Hosp., No. CAM-7381-17 (D.C. Mar. 14, 2019),... Read More >

Department of Labor Proposes New Overtime Rules

Employers will recall during the Obama administration that the salary threshold for determining overtime eligibility under the Fair Labor Standards Act was changed from $23,660 per year to $47,476.00 per year. Many employers modified their own employment policies to meet the new standard despite the federal regulations never being implemented due to a successful court challenge. The Trump administration has... Read More >

Maryland Real Estate Update | March 2019

The Court of Appeals of Maryland issued two recent decisions impacting landlord/tenant issues. Cushman & Wakefield of Maryland, Inc. v. DRV Greentec, LLC In Cushman & Wakefield of Maryland, Inc. v. DRV Greentec, LLC, filed on March 4, 2019, the Court of Appeals held that a commercial broker could not enforce an obligation to pay a commission against an owner’s assignee. In... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: No Copyright Infringement Suit Until A Copyright Is Registered

In Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC, Fourth Estate licensed works to a news website. The parties cancelled the licensing agreement, but the website did not remove the works. Fourth Estate sued for copyright infringement under the Copyright Act, but its lawsuit was dismissed because Fourth Estate had only applied to register the works—the Register of... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Lost Wages Awarded Under Railroad Retirement Tax Act Are Compensation Subject To IRS Taxation

Michael Loos was injured while working for BNSF Railway Company. He sued his employer, and after trial was awarded $85,000 in pain and suffering, $11,212.78 in medical expenses, and $30,000 in lost wages as a result of him not being able to work from the injury. BNSF then argued that the lost wages award was “compensation . . . for... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Copyright Act’s Award Of Costs Limited To Those Available Under Typical Bill Of Costs

Oracle accused Rimini Street, Inc. of violating various copyrights, and won at trial. Under the Copyright Act, the district court awarded Oracle $12.8 million in litigation expenses under the Act. The district court acknowledged that it was awarding Oracle costs that were not within the six designated categories set forth under 28 U.S.C. secs. 1821 and 1920,... Read More >

Revocable Trusts and Real Property in Washington

When thinking about transferring a Washington, D.C. real property into a revocable trust, there are several considerations to take into account. Beginning Steps: To ensure the transfer occurs properly, a deed has to be recorded. A transfer is usually exempt from transfer and recordation taxes, provided that the trust is revocable and that the grantor remains the beneficiary. Deductions: In most circumstances, the property... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Court Limits Immunity Afforded Under The International Organizations Immunity Act Of 1945

Originally, the International Organizations Immunity Act of 1945 (IOIA) granted foreign corporations virtually absolute immunity from suit. In 1952, the State Department adopted a more restrictive view, carving out commercial acts from that immunity. Congress then passed the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act (FSIA) in 1976, which specifically excepted commercial activity with a sufficient nexus in the United States... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Eighth Amendment Bars Execution Of Defendant Without “Rational Understanding” Of The Reason For Execution

After he was sentenced to death for killing a police officer, Vernon Madison suffered a series of strokes and was diagnosed with dementia. In a prior series of appeals by Madison, the U.S. Supreme Court held that his mere inability to remember his crime did not establish that Madison was incompetent to be executed. When his execution was rescheduled on... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Failure To File Appeal Is Constitutionally Deficient Even After Defendant Signs Appeal Waiver

In Garza v. Idaho, Garza signed two plea agreements for state crimes, each of which included a waiver of his appeal rights. After he was sentenced, Garza told his counsel that he wanted to appeal. His counsel did not file any appeal, telling Garza that his waivers made any such appeal “problematic.” After the deadline to appeal passed, Garza... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Deadline To Appeal Class Decertification Not Subject To Equitable Tolling

Under Rule 23(f) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, a party has 14 days to file with the federal circuit appeals court a petition for permission to appeal an order certifying or decertifying a class action. In Nutraceutical Corp. v. Lambert, when the district court decertified his class action, Troy Lambert chose to file a motion for... Read More >

SCOTUS Opinion: Judges Cannot Vote On Cases After Death

In Yovino v. Rizo, the Ninth Circuit heard the case en banc (with 11 then-sitting judges) to restate that circuit’s interpretation of the Equal Pay Act. Judge Stephen Reinhardt authored the majority opinion that was joined by six of the judges, including Reinhardt himself. The other five judges filed concurrences that reached a similar result but under different... Read More >

Eighth Amendment Applies To State Civil Forfeitures

Tyson Timbs pleaded guilty to dealing in heroin in Indiana, for which the maximum fine was $10,000. The State sought to use civil forfeiture to seize his SUV, which Timbs bought for $42,000, which was allegedly used to move the heroin. The state trial court denied the State’s request as violative of the Eighth Amendment’s protection against excessive fines, but... Read More >