Democrats Hopeful on Bipartisan Tax Reform Bill, Remain Unsure About Draft From Camp
House Ways and Means Committee Democrats remain uncertain about forthcoming legislation to overhaul the tax code from Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), a legislative aide on the minority side said Aug. 13.
Majority staff is taking this month to draft a tax reform bill to mark up in September or October, but Democrats on the panel are unsure whether it will be bipartisan. They are hopeful the language will mirror outreach from across the aisle to date, said Arthur Mandel, legislative director for Rep. Bill Pascrell (D-N.J.), a Ways and Means member.
Patent on Taclonex Psoriasis Treatment Improperly Rejected in PTO Reexamination
The Patent and Trademark Office is no different from a district court in the requirement to assess objective indicia of nonobviousness in a patent reexamination proceeding, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit ruled Aug. 12 (Leo Pharm. Prods., Ltd. v. Rea, Fed. Cir., No. 2012-1520, 8/12/13).
The court reversed the decision of the Board of Patent Appeals and Interferences, eight times using the word “hindsight” to characterize the board’s faulty obviousness analysis.
Bar Tip Pool Including Security Guards Is Permissible Under FLSA, Court Rules
A tip-pool arrangement at Coyote Ugly saloons that forces female bartenders to share tips with male security guards does not violate the Fair Labor Standards Act because the security guards have sufficient contact with customers to be deemed employees in an occupation that “customarily and regularly receives tips,” the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee ruled Aug. 8 (Stewart v. CUS Nashville, LLC, M.D. Tenn., No. 11-342, 8/8/13).
Bank Had to Offer Mortgage Modification To Debtors Who Completed Trial Period Plan
A bank was contractually liable to offer its customers a mortgage modification after they successfully completed the requirements of their trial period plan, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held Aug. 8 (Corvello v. Wells Fargo Bank NA, 9th Cir., No. 11-16234, 8/8/13).
The per curiam opinion was guided by the Seventh Circuit’s opinion in Wigod v. Wells Fargo Bank, NA, 673 F.3d 547 (7th Cir. 2012).
Hedge Fund Manager’s Reinsurance Firm With No U.S. Workers Gains From JOBS Act
Billionaire hedge-fund manager Daniel Loeb’s Third Point Reinsurance Ltd., which has no staff in the United States, said it can limit financial disclosure after a public offering because of rules promoting domestic job creation.
Third Point Reinsurance is an “emerging growth company” under the Jumpstart Our Business Startups–or JOBS–Act (Pub. L. No. 112-106), according to filings for the planned initial public offering.
Small Business Committee Chairman Presses IRS to Modify Tone of Underreporting Notices
An Internal Revenue Service program aimed at increasing income reporting compliance among small businesses is raising concerns on Capitol Hill.
The chairman of the House Small Business Committee is pushing IRS’s Small Business/Self-Employed Division to explain why it is sending letters to taxpayers asking them to explain possible income underreporting, despite the fact that the program is intended to be used only for informational purposes.
Schedules Did Not Provide Proper Notice; Lawyer’s Knowledge Not Imputed to Creditor
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Aug. 2 held that a debtor’s arbitration debt was nondischargeable in bankruptcy under Bankruptcy Code Sections 523(a)(3) and (a)(6), and the debtor’s schedules did not provide a creditor with proper notice of his bankruptcy (Perle v. Fiero (In re Perle), 9th Cir., No. 11-60000, 8/2/13).
FBI Must Revive Special Agent Job Offer To Applicant Blind in One Eye, EEOC Rules
The Justice Department must revive a conditional offer of employment as an FBI special agent to a former Army captain who essentially lacks vision in his right eye, because DOJ violated the Rehabilitation Act by deeming the applicant a “direct threat” to safety without conducting an adequate individualized assessment, a divided Equal Employment Opportunity Commission decided July 19 (Nathan v. Holder,EEOC, No. 0720070014, 7/19/13).
NFA Tells Its Arbitrators to Be Wary Of Parties Secretly Trying to Record Forums
The National Futures Association told its arbitrators Aug. 6 to be aware of parties trying to surreptitiously record their sessions.
In the section of its website devoted to arbitration news, NFA observed that secret recording of arbitration hearings “seems to be a hot topic in some circles these days.”
Senators Whitehouse, Graham Circulate Draft Bill to Expand Reach of Espionage Act
Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.,) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced July 29 that they had circulated a “discussion draft” of a bill that would broaden the reach of the Economic Espionage Act of 1996, 18 U.S.C. §1831(a).
The bill would amend the statute to clarify that espionage sponsored by foreign governments was covered under the Act and it would provide a mechanism for increased participation by interested parties whose trade secrets were the subject of criminal proceedings under the Act.
Historic Tax Credit Supporters Make Case For Program to Circumvent Tax Reform Ax
Members of the National Trust for Historic Preservation are seeking to use a recent report on the costs and benefits of the federal historic tax credit as a bulwark against congressional efforts to eliminate the tax credit as a part of tax reform. The HTC program has resulted in a net benefit to the U.S. [...]
Del Monte Corp. Prevails Over Licensee In First Win Under New Domains LRO Process
Del Monte Corp. prevailed July 29 over one of its many global trademark licensees in a legal rights objection challenging the licensee’s application for the .delmonte new top-level domain (Del Monte Corp. v Del Monte Int’l GmbH, WIPO, No. LRO2013-0001, 7/29/13).
The opinion, posted by the World Intellectual Property Organization’s Arbitration and Mediation Center Aug. 6, presents a pair of firsts. It is the first objection to be upheld under the new LRO process, created by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers.
Judge Sets October Trial Date for Detroit Bankruptcy Eligibility to File Chapter 9
LANSING, Mich.–The judge overseeing Detroit’s bankruptcy set an Oct. 23 date for a hearing on the city’s eligibility to file for bankruptcy, an issue he said is sure to be challenged by unions, pensioners, and other creditors (In re City of Detroit, Bankr. E.D. Mich., No. 13-53846, orders8/2/13).
Judge Steven W. Rhodes at an Aug. 2 status hearing also granted a request from Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr that a committee be appointed to represent city retirees, a diverse group that does not fall under the umbrella of any particular union, during the process.
After Diver’s Death, Maryland Army Center Gets OSHA Citations for Serious Violations
The death of a civilian technician who was working more than 100 feet underwater has resulted in the Army’s Aberdeen Test Center in Maryland facing seven alleged serious violations, the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration announced Aug. 1.
No fines were proposed against the Army because, as a federal agency, the Army is exempt from OSHA fines. The military branches can be cited for violations of OSHA rules, however, when civilian workers are affected.
U.S. Citizens Overseas Need Easier Program For Tax Compliance, Group Tells Government
The United States should provide U.S. citizens living overseas with a new, easier program to pay their taxes as noncompliance among this population grows, American Citizens Abroad told the government.
The current streamlined tax procedures for these citizens are too restrictive and uncertain, while a program for disclosing offshore assets imposes penalties that are too harsh, ACA said in a letter to the Internal Revenue Service and the Treasury Department released July 30 under provisions of the Freedom of Information Act (147 DTR G-1, 7/31/13).
Not Credible Debtor Forgot About $70K In Safe Deposit Box; Discharge Revoked
A bankruptcy court did not err in revoking a Chapter 7 debtor’s discharge for fraud when the debtor failed to disclose the existence of two safe deposit boxes on his bankruptcy schedules, the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Louisiana held July 18 (Wilkerson v. DeBaillon, W.D. La., No. 6:12-cv-02210-RFD-CMH, 7/18/13).
Judge Rebecca F. Doherty was unpersuaded by the debtor’s argument that he had forgotten about the safe deposit boxes, one of which contained $70,000 in cash, and affirmed the revocation of discharge.
As Congress Leaves for Five-Week Recess, House Democrats Vow to Pass Jobs Measure
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and other House Democrats, on the eve of a five-week congressional recess, reiterated their commitment to pass legislation intended to boost employment and job training, particularly in the manufacturing sector.
Hoyer spoke at a press conference Aug. 1 held to unveil a slate of additional bills added to the Democrats’ Make It in America agenda, which originally was unveiled in 2010 (144 DLR A-12, 7/28/10). Hoyer also spoke about the plan, which is intended to support the manufacturing sector, in a speech in April (68 DLR A-12, 4/9/13).
Ninth Circuit Affirms That Jim Brown Has No False Endorsement Claim vs. Madden NFL
Famed football player Jim Brown cannot make a false endorsement claim under the Lanham Act for using his likeness in Madden NFL football video games, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held July 31 (Brown v. Elec. Arts, Inc., 9th Cir., No. 09-56675, 7/31/13).
Affirming the case dismissal by a lower court, the appeals court reaffirmed that the Rogers test is best for determining the balance of whether an expressive work–including a video game–deserves First Amendment protection compared to the protections available to individuals under the Lanham Act.
Alleging Misconduct, Convicted Fraudster Seeks Enforcement Records From SEC, DOJ
A former securities attorney July 26 filed a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit against the Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Justice, and other agencies seeking records related to his 2010 conviction based on the sale of fraudulent investments (Bartko v. DOJ , D.D.C., No. 1:13-cv-01135, 7/26/13).
In a complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, Gregory Bartko alleged that the SEC, DOJ, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, FBI, and the DOJ’s Office of Professional Responsibility failed to respond to his repeated requests for documents.
Plaintiff Unable to Show Valid Interest In Claim Against ‘Death at a Funeral’ Makers
The registration of a copyright claim in a video more than five years after the video was first made public fails to give the registrant a presumption of having a valid copyright interest for the purposes of an infringement claim against the makers of two Death at a Funeral movies, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled June 26 in a decision designated as non-precedential and not for publication (Lawrence v. Sony Pictures Entm’t, 9th Cir., No. 11-56463, 7/26/13, unpub.).