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Scott D. Alfree

Excise Tax Kicks In Jan. 1 On Certain Medical Devices

Beginning January 1, 2013, manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices will be required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to pay a new 2.3 percent medical device excise tax on the sales of taxable medical…more

Excise Tax, FDA, IRS, Manufacturers, Medical Devices

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Seth Ashby

Legislation Allows Michigan Companies To Raise Capital, Avoid Federal Crowdfunding Rules

Effective December 30, 2013, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder enacted into law Public Act 264 of 2013 (the "Act"). Among other things, the Act establishes a crowdfunding method of raising capital in Michigan. "Crowdfunding" refers to…more

Crowdfunding, JOBS Act, Startups

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Linsey Aten

Michigan Legislation In 2012

Congress was not the only busy legislative body in December. Our state legislature also passed, and the Governor signed, several important bills which affect estate planning for Michigan residents. We found the following to be…more

529 Plans, Estate Planning, Estate Tax, Irrevocable Trusts, Power of Attorney

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Luis Avila

Having Weighed In On Employers’ Social Media Policies, NLRB Rules On Employee Handbooks

The National Labor Relations Board has recently garnered national attention for its crackdown on social media policies. However, over the last few years, the Board has quietly heightened its scrutiny of company handbook policies…more

Employee Handbooks, NLRB, Social Media, Social Media Policy

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Kimberly Baber

Legislation Allows Michigan Companies To Raise Capital, Avoid Federal Crowdfunding Rules

Effective December 30, 2013, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder enacted into law Public Act 264 of 2013 (the "Act"). Among other things, the Act establishes a crowdfunding method of raising capital in Michigan. "Crowdfunding" refers to…more

Crowdfunding, JOBS Act, Startups

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Christopher Baker

Michigan’s BYOB Wine Legislation Now In Effect

After considerable anticipation, House Bill 5046, one of three pieces of legislation regulating Michigan liquor licensees that was approved in late 2013, is scheduled to take effect the week of March 10, 2014…more

Hotels, Resorts & Restaurants, Restaurant Industry, Wine & Alcohol

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Thomas Bergh

2014 COLAs For Employee Benefit Plans

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2014 cost of living adjustments to various limits on employee benefit plans. The adjusted amounts generally apply for plan years beginning in 2014…more

401k, COLA, Cost-of-Living, Employee Benefits, HSA

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Lawrence P. Burns

Excise Tax Kicks In Jan. 1 On Certain Medical Devices

Beginning January 1, 2013, manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices will be required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to pay a new 2.3 percent medical device excise tax on the sales of taxable medical…more

Excise Tax, FDA, IRS, Manufacturers, Medical Devices

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Jon Bylsma

Restrictive Wind Zoning Struck Down By Court

A wind energy development company, Forest Hill Energy, recently won an order striking down alleged police power ordinances attempting to regulate the construction and operation of wind turbines in Clinton County, where the…more

Clean Energy, Local Ordinance, Power Plants, Renewable Energy, Wind Power

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Christopher J. Caldwell

Happy National Healthcare Decisions Day: Why An Advance Directive Is A Crucial Part Of Estate Planning

Today is a day that, until recently, I wasn't aware had any independent significance other than being April 16. However, April 16 is – and has been for the past seven years – National Healthcare Decisions Day…more

Affordable Care Act, Healthcare, Healthcare Reform

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Laura Chappelle

Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - December 2013

In This Issue: - Challenge to Coal Plant's Modified Air Permit Fails - Electric Reliability Project to Include Focus on Outages - Michigan Shorts - Consumers Energy May Terminate Case for New Gas Plant -…more

Air Pollution, Certificate of Need, Coal, Permits, Power Grid

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Kimberly A. Clarke

Employers: April 1 Start Date For 2015 H-1B Visa Applications

Employers may first apply for 2015 H-1B visas for individuals not currently in H-1B status on April 1, 2014 with a start date of October 1, 2014. USCIS received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions during the first week…more

H-1B, Immigrants, USCIS, Visas

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Kristiana M. Coutu

Growing Michigan - Fourth Quarter 2013

In This Issue: - Proposed EPA Water Rule Could Expand Regulatory Authority Over Streams and Wetlands - USDA Finalizes Import Regulations for "Mad Cow Disease" - Organic Farmers Effected by Farm Bill Extension…more

EPA, Farm Bill, Farms, Food Labeling, Mad Cow Disease

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Rebecca Decoster

How To Recognize Financial Abuse

Financial abuse (or economic abuse) is not something that you hear about very often, though much attention is paid to other forms of domestic abuse…more

Financial Actvities, Fraud and Abuse, Marriage, Theft

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Nyal Deems

Battery Currents: Advanced Energy Storage - April 4, 2013

In This Issue: - Chinese Auto Parts Maker Buys A123 Systems - Return of ARRA Funds - Tax Incentives Extended for Battery Maker - Ford Increases Electric Vehicle Dealers and Pushes Sales - Michigan Lithium-Ion…more

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Dennis Devaney

Former NLRB Board Member Offers Opinion On Noel Canning

As a follow-up to our previous blog, this past Monday, January 13, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in NLRB v. Noel Canning, the controversial case dealing with the President's ability to make appointments while…more

Canning v NLRB, NLRB, SCOTUS

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Jeffrey DeVree

Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - December 2013

In This Issue: - Challenge to Coal Plant's Modified Air Permit Fails - Electric Reliability Project to Include Focus on Outages - Michigan Shorts - Consumers Energy May Terminate Case for New Gas Plant -…more

Air Pollution, Certificate of Need, Coal, Permits, Power Grid

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Ronald DeWaard

Michigan ATMs Hit With Class Action Lawsuits Alleging Non-Compliance With ADA Requirements

The first ATM accessibility class-action lawsuits under the Americans with Disabilities Act ("ADA") were filed in federal district court in Michigan earlier this month. The class-action lawsuits request a permanent injunction…more

ADA, ATMs, Class Action

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Brion Doyle

Crop Insurance Considerations And Common Mistakes

With federal crop insurance now available to Michigan tart cherry growers and with other farmers considering or reconsidering crop insurance following adverse weather conditions in recent years, it is important to understand the…more

Crop Insurance, Farms, USDA

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Jacob Droppers

Legislation Allows Michigan Companies To Raise Capital, Avoid Federal Crowdfunding Rules

Effective December 30, 2013, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder enacted into law Public Act 264 of 2013 (the "Act"). Among other things, the Act establishes a crowdfunding method of raising capital in Michigan. "Crowdfunding" refers to…more

Crowdfunding, JOBS Act, Startups

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Pamela Emenheiser

Excise Tax Kicks In Jan. 1 On Certain Medical Devices

Beginning January 1, 2013, manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices will be required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to pay a new 2.3 percent medical device excise tax on the sales of taxable medical…more

Excise Tax, FDA, IRS, Manufacturers, Medical Devices

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Matthew B. Eugster

Growing Michigan - Fourth Quarter 2013

In This Issue: - Proposed EPA Water Rule Could Expand Regulatory Authority Over Streams and Wetlands - USDA Finalizes Import Regulations for "Mad Cow Disease" - Organic Farmers Effected by Farm Bill Extension…more

EPA, Farm Bill, Farms, Food Labeling, Mad Cow Disease

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Nancy Farnam

Cafeteria Plans: IRS Provides New Opportunities For Some Plans

The IRS recently issued guidance providing limited relief to the “use it or lose it” rule. Under the new guidance, employers may amend their cafeteria plan to permit participants to carryover up to $500 of unused contributions…more

Cafeteria Plans, Health Insurance Exchanges, Healthcare, HSA, IRS

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Bruce Goodman

Growing Michigan - Fourth Quarter 2013

In This Issue: - Proposed EPA Water Rule Could Expand Regulatory Authority Over Streams and Wetlands - USDA Finalizes Import Regulations for "Mad Cow Disease" - Organic Farmers Effected by Farm Bill Extension…more

EPA, Farm Bill, Farms, Food Labeling, Mad Cow Disease

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Randall Groendyk

Consumer Attorneys Target Collection Agencies And Attorneys Over Garnishment Costs

Consumer attorneys in Michigan have recently filed a rash of class action lawsuits against collection agencies, their attorneys, and even creditors under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act ("FDCPA") and Michigan law over…more

Attorney's Fees, Class Action, Damages, Debt Collection, Debtors

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Eric Guerin

Lake Associations Beware: Access Lots Pose Liability Issues

Lake associations often have control of lots which permit lake access by back-lot owners. Those lots are typically undeveloped, overgrown and only sporadically maintained. Most lake associations are managed by volunteers and…more

Homeowners' Association, Lake Access, Real Estate Market

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Scott Hill

Does Your Key Supplier Have A Succession Plan?

"Hello Jake, I hate to tell you this but we can't ship your order this week. One of our key suppliers is holding us up." Originally Published in the Grand Rapids Business Journal - February 14, 2014…more

Succession Planning, Suppliers, Supply Chain

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Richard Hooker

What Skills Should You Look For In A Mediator?: Observations And Approaches

Having now plied my skills in facilitative mediation since 1999, I have taken the time to reflect on the most valuable skills a good mediator should strive to develop. They are, in no particular order..…more

Mediation

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Evan Kaploe

Same-Sex Couples Should Take Exception With The Missing Exemption

In the wake of the recent determination of the unconstitutionality of the Defense of Marriage Act, the mind of a tax attorney begins to wonder about the practical income tax implications for same-sex couples…more

DOMA, Exemptions, Income Taxes, IRS, Marriage

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David Khorey

Having Weighed In On Employers’ Social Media Policies, NLRB Rules On Employee Handbooks

The National Labor Relations Board has recently garnered national attention for its crackdown on social media policies. However, over the last few years, the Board has quietly heightened its scrutiny of company handbook policies…more

Employee Handbooks, NLRB, Social Media, Social Media Policy

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Michael Kling

Fundraising By Private Companies: SEC Lifts Ban On General Solicitation

Effective September 23, 2013, the Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") lifted the ban on general solicitation and advertising in connection with certain fundraising activities. This rule change was required by the…more

Advertising, Crowdfunding, Dodd-Frank, Funding, Fundraisers

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Steve Kluting

Growing Michigan - Second Quarter 2013

In This Issue: - Monsanto Wins Supreme Court Patent Case Concerning Roundup Ready Soy Beans - Farm Bill Moves Forward But Remains in Doubt - Bridge to Prosperity: New Bridge Between U.S. and Canada Approved -…more

Affordable Care Act, Bowman v Monsanto, Bridges, Canada, Farm Bill

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Harvey Koning

Legislation Allows Michigan Companies To Raise Capital, Avoid Federal Crowdfunding Rules

Effective December 30, 2013, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder enacted into law Public Act 264 of 2013 (the "Act"). Among other things, the Act establishes a crowdfunding method of raising capital in Michigan. "Crowdfunding" refers to…more

Crowdfunding, JOBS Act, Startups

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Kyle P. Konwinski

Regulation Requiring Spaced-Out Digital Billboards Does Not Violate First Amendment

We've all seen it before: a person says something rude, which elicits a "watch your mouth" response, and the foul-mouth person replies, "Hey, I have a right to free speech!" Touché. A lesser-known use of the First Amendment is…more

Billboards, First Amendment, Free Speech

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Randall Kraker

Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - December 2013

In This Issue: - Challenge to Coal Plant's Modified Air Permit Fails - Electric Reliability Project to Include Focus on Outages - Michigan Shorts - Consumers Energy May Terminate Case for New Gas Plant -…more

Air Pollution, Certificate of Need, Coal, Permits, Power Grid

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Timothy J. Lundgren

Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - December 2013

In This Issue: - Challenge to Coal Plant's Modified Air Permit Fails - Electric Reliability Project to Include Focus on Outages - Michigan Shorts - Consumers Energy May Terminate Case for New Gas Plant -…more

Air Pollution, Certificate of Need, Coal, Permits, Power Grid

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Stephen MacGuidwin

What Exactly Is The “Law Of The Case” Doctrine?

It's a phrase that we lawyers use all of the time, often without a second thought: the "law of the case." But Magistrate Judge Joseph G. Scoville had occasion to explain the correct usage of this doctrine in Stryker Corporation…more

Federal Rules of Civil Procedure

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Richard Manczak

Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - December 2013

In This Issue: - Challenge to Coal Plant's Modified Air Permit Fails - Electric Reliability Project to Include Focus on Outages - Michigan Shorts - Consumers Energy May Terminate Case for New Gas Plant -…more

Air Pollution, Certificate of Need, Coal, Permits, Power Grid

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Zachary J. Meyer

Excise Tax Kicks In Jan. 1 On Certain Medical Devices

Beginning January 1, 2013, manufacturers and importers of certain medical devices will be required by the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to pay a new 2.3 percent medical device excise tax on the sales of taxable medical…more

Excise Tax, FDA, IRS, Manufacturers, Medical Devices

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Kimberley Mitchell

Employers Have An Additional Year To Comply With Key Provision Of The Affordable Care Act

A key provision of the Affordable Care Act has been delayed: The U.S. Department of Treasury announced on Tuesday that employers will have an additional year (until 2015) to comply with the requirement to provide health coverage…more

Affordable Care Act, Delays, Employer Mandates, Pay or Play, Shared Responsibility Rule

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Gary Mouw

Sixth Circuit Affirms That Michigan’s Panhandling Statute Is Unconstitutional

Since nearly the beginning of the Herbert Hoover administration in 1929, a Michigan law has made it a criminal misdemeanor for any person "found begging in a public place." MCL 750.167(1)(h). Enforcing this law, the Grand Rapids…more

Homeless Discrimination, Homeless Issues, Misdemeanors

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Eric Nemeth

At Risk Cash Transaction For Business Clients—The Computers Are Watching

It is Monday morning at your law office, and you get a telephone call from one of your smaller business clients. He is frantic to say the least. Over the weekend, his employee payroll checks bounced at the bank as well as…more

Bank Secrecy Act, Banks, Forfeiture, IRS, SAR

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Toni Newell

Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - December 2013

In This Issue: - Challenge to Coal Plant's Modified Air Permit Fails - Electric Reliability Project to Include Focus on Outages - Michigan Shorts - Consumers Energy May Terminate Case for New Gas Plant -…more

Air Pollution, Certificate of Need, Coal, Permits, Power Grid

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Melissa Papke

Battery Currents: Advanced Energy Storage - April 4, 2013

In This Issue: - Chinese Auto Parts Maker Buys A123 Systems - Return of ARRA Funds - Tax Incentives Extended for Battery Maker - Ford Increases Electric Vehicle Dealers and Pushes Sales - Michigan Lithium-Ion…more

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John W. Pestle

Sell The Cell Lease Separately (When Selling Real Estate)

When does selling a cell tower lease make sense? In financial terms, it usually doesn't (you can't invest the money and get the same income you're now getting)…more

Cell Towers, Commercial Leases, Real Estate Market

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Aaron M. Phelps

38 Michigan Counties Designated As Primary Natural Disaster Areas By USDA

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated 38 counties in Michigan, with three different designations, as primary natural disaster areas due to multiple disasters. Qualified ranchers and farm operators in the…more

Agricultural Workers, Emergency Response, Natural Disasters, USDA

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David Preston

Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - March 2013

In This Issue: - Highlights of MPSC Annual Report - Good Neighbor Fund Payments Made - Coal Plants Sued for Pollution Exceedances - Pure Michigan Solar Panel - New Grant for Efforts to Remove Barriers to…more

Clean Air Act, Climate Change, Coal, Good Neighbor Funds, Greenhouse Gas Emissions

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Laura E. Radle

Rental Cottages And Limits On Federal Income Tax Deductions

It’s a dilemma that many cottage owners face: you want to earn extra money while away from your cottage but you are worried about the hassles that come with owning a rental property. It is well known that renting out a cottage…more

Cottage Properties, Income Taxes, Tax Deductions

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Dean F. Reisner

Growing Michigan - Fourth Quarter 2013

In This Issue: - Proposed EPA Water Rule Could Expand Regulatory Authority Over Streams and Wetlands - USDA Finalizes Import Regulations for "Mad Cow Disease" - Organic Farmers Effected by Farm Bill Extension…more

EPA, Farm Bill, Farms, Food Labeling, Mad Cow Disease

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Peter G. Roth

Growing Michigan - Fourth Quarter 2013

In This Issue: - Proposed EPA Water Rule Could Expand Regulatory Authority Over Streams and Wetlands - USDA Finalizes Import Regulations for "Mad Cow Disease" - Organic Farmers Effected by Farm Bill Extension…more

EPA, Farm Bill, Farms, Food Labeling, Mad Cow Disease

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Perrin Rynders

Varnum Wins $5.1 Million Judgment Against Blue Cross Blue Shield Of Michigan For Hidden Fees

BCBSM Charges Self-funded Customers Hidden Fees starting in 1994 - Prior to 1994, BCBSM charged its self-funded customers various surcharges and subsidies to prop up its insured lines of business, but those surcharges and…more

Blue Cross, Blue Shield, ERISA, Fees, Insurers

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Jack Sage

Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - December 2013

In This Issue: - Challenge to Coal Plant's Modified Air Permit Fails - Electric Reliability Project to Include Focus on Outages - Michigan Shorts - Consumers Energy May Terminate Case for New Gas Plant -…more

Air Pollution, Certificate of Need, Coal, Permits, Power Grid

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Eric Schneidewind

Watt’s New? Michigan Energy Newsletter - December 2013

In This Issue: - Challenge to Coal Plant's Modified Air Permit Fails - Electric Reliability Project to Include Focus on Outages - Michigan Shorts - Consumers Energy May Terminate Case for New Gas Plant -…more

Air Pollution, Certificate of Need, Coal, Permits, Power Grid

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Elizabeth Wells Skaggs

FMLA: Telecommuters, Offsite Employees And The Modern Workplace

As organizations across the United States continually redesign the concept of "the office," employers are required to adhere to employment laws that are not well-equipped to deal with the modern workplace. The Family Medical…more

Compliance, Employee Rights, FMLA, Telecommuting

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Peter Smit

In A Car Accident, Under-Insured Coverage Can Be As Important As Uninsured Protection

This is important for everyone to know regarding your auto insurance. We recently worked with a client who was involved in a car accident…more

Car Accident

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Jeffrey Smith

Keeping Good Product Records: A Manufacturer’s Primer

Are your product records a blessing or a scourge? Are they a core element of successful business operations, or a diversion of time and resources?…more

Books & Records, Manufacturers

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Fredric Sytsma

Florida Homestead Exemption: What You Need To Apply

If you elect to purchase a residence in Florida, as opposed to renting, the positive result of changing your residence to Florida is that you may claim the Florida homestead exemption. In Florida, the homestead exemption…more

Homestead Exemption, Property Tax, Tax Exemptions

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Nina Thekdi

Employers: April 1 Start Date For 2015 H-1B Visa Applications

Employers may first apply for 2015 H-1B visas for individuals not currently in H-1B status on April 1, 2014 with a start date of October 1, 2014. USCIS received approximately 124,000 H-1B petitions during the first week…more

H-1B, Immigrants, USCIS, Visas

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Larry Titley

2014 COLAs For Employee Benefit Plans

The Internal Revenue Service has announced the 2014 cost of living adjustments to various limits on employee benefit plans. The adjusted amounts generally apply for plan years beginning in 2014…more

401k, COLA, Cost-of-Living, Employee Benefits, HSA

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Pamela Tyler

Michigan Legislation In 2012

Congress was not the only busy legislative body in December. Our state legislature also passed, and the Governor signed, several important bills which affect estate planning for Michigan residents. We found the following to be…more

529 Plans, Estate Planning, Estate Tax, Irrevocable Trusts, Power of Attorney

See All Updates »

Joseph Vogan

Supreme Court Clarifies Rules On “Donning And Doffing”...Sort Of

On Monday of last week, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a new ruling on "donning and doffing" of work-related clothing. The decision has added some clarity as to "compensable" versus "non-compensable" time, but its application is…more

Collective Bargaining, FLSA, Sandifer v U.S. Steel Corp, SCOTUS, Unions

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Bryan R. Walters

FLSA Protections Apply To Migrant Workers

The United States District Court for the Western District of Michigan recently addressed the legal obligations of farmers who use seasonal migrant workers to harvest their crops. In Perez v. Howes LLC the Honorable Gordon J…more

Employee Rights, FLSA, Migrant Workers

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Katie Wilbur

Supreme Court Rules That Severance Payments Constitute “Wages” For FICA Tax Purposes

On Tuesday, March 25th, the Supreme Court ruled that severance payments not linked to State unemployment benefits paid to involuntarily terminated workers were "wages" and thus subject to Social Security and Medicare taxes under…more

FICA Taxes, Quality Stores, SCOTUS, Severance Agreements

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Michael Wooldridge

Legislation Allows Michigan Companies To Raise Capital, Avoid Federal Crowdfunding Rules

Effective December 30, 2013, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder enacted into law Public Act 264 of 2013 (the "Act"). Among other things, the Act establishes a crowdfunding method of raising capital in Michigan. "Crowdfunding" refers to…more

Crowdfunding, JOBS Act, Startups

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Matthew Zimmerman

DEQ Proposes Wetland General Permit For Blueberry Farming, Public Comment Period Now Open

On December 30, 2013, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality ("DEQ") publicly noticed a proposed general permit category for activities in wetlands. The activity involves blueberry farming and it -- at long-last --…more

Department of Environmental Quality, Environmental Policies, Farms, Permits, Wetlands

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