October 2010 Client Alerts

November 2, 2010

Authored by: Jeannie Osborne

IRS Has Announced its 2011 Cost-of-living Adjustments for Retirement Plans

On October 28 the IRS issued a press release announcing its 2011 cost-of-living adjustments for retirement plans.  For a chart reflecting the qualified plan limits for years 2008-2011, please click here to see the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Group’s Client Alert published October 28, 2010.

SEC Issues Proposed “Say-on-Pay” and “Golden Parachute” Rules

The SEC has released its proposed “say-on-pay” and related golden parachute rules to implement the provisions of Dodd-Frank set forth in new Section 14A of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  The comment period will close on November 18, 2010 and the SEC plans to issue final rules in early 2011.  For a discussion of the proposed rules, please click here to read the Bulletin published by the Corporate Finance and Securities Group on October 20, 2010.

Employee Benefits Provisions of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010

On September 27, 2010, the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 was signed into law.  While the Act mainly focuses on providing tax and other assistance to small businesses, it also includes provisions aimed at promoting retirement preparation that are not limited to small business.  For a discussion of these provisions, please click here to read the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation goup’s client alert Alert published October 4, 2010.

Employer Reporting of Health Insurance Costs on Form W-2 Not Required for 2011

This month the IRS issued Notice 2010-69, which gives employers interim relief from a new Form W-2 reporting requirement under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  This IRS Notice makes this reporting optional for 2011.  For more information, please click here for the Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation client alert dated Octoer 15, 2010.

Creditors Should Proceed with Caution on Involuntary Bankruptcy Filings

A recent Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision provides several clear messages regarding the dangers of poorly thought out involuntary bankruptcy petitions.  In In re Southern California Sunbelt Developers, Inc. the two debtors placed into involuntary bankruptcies won an attorney fee award of $745,000 and a punitive damages award of $130,000 against all 13 petitioning creditors.  For a discussion of the decision, please click here to read the client alert published by the Bankruptcy, Restructuring and Creditors’ Rights group published October 21, 2010.

Use of Anti-Fraud Technology Will Alter Medicare Payment System

A provision of the Small Business Jobs Act requires that CMS integrate predictive analysis technology into the Medicare payment system.  CMS will use predictive analysis to identify and analyze billing patterns and detect fraudulent activity by providers and suppliers.  To read about this requirement, please click here for the client alert published by the Life Sciences and Health Care client service group on October 6, 2010.

New York Judge Compels Access in a Personal Injury Suit to ‘Private’ Content on Facebook and MySpace

Users of social networking sites view their own sites as private spaces that are off limits to all but those to whom they grant access.  Moreover, federal laws reinforce this attitude by limiting the liability of services providers and encouraging their ability to maintain the confidentiality of their users.  This privacy model, however, runs counter to the current disclosure model in litigation.  In Romano v. Steelcase Inc., a NY state trial judge confronted the privacy/disclosure conflict.  Please click here to read the client bulletin published October 8, 2010 by the Internet & New Media Industry practice regarding the case.

CPSC Passes Final Interpretive Rule on Definition of “Children’s Products”

After lengthy debate the Consumer Product Safety Commission approved a Final Interpretive Rule on applying the term “children’s product” used in the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act.  The rule is designed to provide manufacturers, importers and other interested parties a “better understanding” of how the Agency evaluates whether an item is a children’s product and is therefore subject to special requirements.  For more information on this Rule, please click here to read the client alert published October 18, 2010 by the Antitrust, Franchise & Consumer Law client service group.

FTC Proposes New Green Marketing Guide

Increased public interest in using products that are environmentally friendly has led to wider use of “green” marketing by manufacturers and distributors of a wide variety of products.  More “green” marketing claims have in turn led to increased scrutiny by the FTC.  The FTC has released proposed revisions to its 1998 guidance on “green” marketing claims and new guidance on issues raised by more recent kinds of “green” marketing claims.  To read about the proposed revisions, please click here to read the client alert published by the Environmental client service group on October 6, 2010.

Final Recovery Act Buy American Rule Likely to Cause Confusion and Consternation

The Federal Acquisition Regulation Councils have issued a final rule implementing for federal procurement contracts the so-called “Buy American” provision of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.  Although the Councils believed they were clarifying its application, the clarification is likely to cause more confusion and, in some instances, be simply unworkable.  For more information, please click here to read the client alert published by the Government Contracts Team on October 6, 2010.

Clean Energy Tax Breaks Floated

Senator Jeff Bingaman, Chairman of the Senate Energy & Natural Resources Committee, and his fellow Senate Finance Committee member Senator Olympia Snowe, introduced a package of clean energy tax incentives.  For information on these and other energy-related matters, please click here for the Bryan Cave Energy Update dated October 1, 2010.

Phthalate Regulation in California

A California Proposition 65 settlement has been reached with several prominent retailers establishing a limit of 1000 parts per million for DEHP in adult fashion accessories.  DEHP is a softener used in many plastic products.  To read more about the settlement, please  see the client alert published by the Retail Team on October 6, 2010.

Employing Staff in the UK

For a summary of the main employer responsibilities in the UK, please click here to read the October 2010 briefing published by the London Labor and Employent client service group.

Bonus Changes in UK Financial Services Sector

For an update on the UK and European consultations over new rules relating to compensation and benefits structuring in the financial service sector, please click here to read the briefing published by the London Labor and Employment client service group on October 18, 2010.

New UK Equality Act 2010

The majority of the provisions of the UK’s new Equality Act 2010 came into force October 1, 2010.  For a discussion of the key aspects of this new legislation, please click here to read the briefing published by the London Labor and Employment client service group on October 1. 2010.

EU Adopts New Iran Sanctions Regulations

Although the Council of the European Union adopted a decision on 26 July 2010 calling for broader restrictive measures against Iran, and although a draft proposed regulation was published at the end of August 2010, the new broader Regulation has only now been adopted by the EU.    For a discussion of the regulation, please click here for the International Regulatory Bulletin published October 27, 2010.