Legal Blog And Client Alerts

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October 19, 2020

The Buffalo Bills LLC's recent applications to register the trademark "BILLS MAFIA" at the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in standard characters and stylized form in a clothing classification may encounter several hurdles.
 
First, there is already a pending application at the USPTO made by an individual named Karina Lopez to register the mark "BILLSMAFIA" in standard characters for a service described as "creating an on-line community of registered users to talk about Buffalo New York sports" (SN90051257) The Lopez application was made on July 14, 2020 and has not yet been reviewed by a USPTO examiner; a process that may take another month.

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October 13, 2020

The Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) Act of 2014 was developed and implemented as a vehicle to allows states to create tax-advantaged savings programs for certain people who have disabilities which are present before age 26. The ABLE initiative allows for any individual to make annual contributions up to the annual gift-tax amount (currently $15,000) with a maximum allowed balance of $100,000.  The earnings and distributions are tax-exempt, provided the funds are used to pay for qualified disability expenses of the designated beneficiary. Some examples of qualified disability expenses include education, housing, transportation, employment training, financial management, and health. 

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September 29, 2020

In 2019, Wal-Mart was ordered to pay $6 million to a class of plaintiffs after a lawsuit (Hamilton et al. v. Wal-Mart) alleged the retail giant engaged in unlawful tactics to discourage employees from leaving the building during their state-mandated break and meal periods.   

Though that case is currently being appealed, it sheds light on an area of labor and employment law where it can be common for an employer to be unknowingly in violation.

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September 23, 2020

Though most people dread receiving mail from the Internal Revenue Service, those letters often provide important information to taxpayers who may be delinquent on their payments. Failure to open and respond in a timely fashion to IRS notices can lead to late fees, fines and a host of other troubles.

Last month, the IRS made a highly unusual announcement. Due to shutdowns during COVID-19, the agency has been buried in a mountain of unopened mail. That includes mail from taxpayers including checks to make tax payments. With those checks unprocessed, taxpayers may receive a notice of non-payment that could lead to understandable confusion and panic.

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September 16, 2020

In an effort to ostensibly put more money in the pockets of American workers, the IRS, under the direction of President Trump, issued Notice 2020-65, giving employers the option to suspend the withholding of Social Security payroll taxes beginning September 1 and running through December 31, 2020.

On the surface, this sounds like a solid plan – workers immediately have more cash available to pay bills during this difficult time. But both employers and employees need to be wary –this tax holiday poses a few potential bumps in the road to prepare for.

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September 15, 2020

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign a bill enacting new posthumous protections against the unauthorized use of a deceased person’s name, voice, likeness or performance for advertising or commercial purposes.

The bill, establishing a New York “Right of Publicity,” has long been advocated for by actors groups including SAG to protect the likenesses of deceased persons of notoriety.

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September 15, 2020

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is expected to sign a bill enacting new posthumous protections against the unauthorized use of a deceased person’s name, voice, likeness or performance for advertising or commercial purposes.

The bill, establishing a New York “Right of Publicity,” has long been advocated for by actors groups including SAG to protect the likenesses of deceased persons of notoriety.

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September 11, 2020

A temporary expansion of the Small Business Reorganization Act has opened a window for businesses owners who may need to explore bankruptcy reorganization. That window is closing soon. 

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September 2, 2020

With the U.S. Canadian border closed, e-commerce is more important than ever. Are you prepared for the potential pitfalls of selling across the border? 

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September 2, 2020

Want to buy, sell or even visit a house in Canada? The border closing has made it next to impossible 

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September 2, 2020

The Canadian government is taking safety very seriously when it comes to allowing Americans across the border for work. 

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August 13, 2020

New York Chief Administrative Judge Hon. Lawrence K. Marks issued a memorandum on August 12 that revised the procedures for addressing both residential and commercial evictions.

Landlords and tenants have been in limbo wondering when eviction proceedings would be allowed to proceed, potentially shuttering businesses and putting families out on the street in the midst of COVID-19.

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August 11, 2020

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation today requiring all passengers age 16 and older who are riding in the back seat of a passenger vehicle to wear a seat belt.

The law takes effect on November 1, 2020 and expands the previous law requiring only front seat passengers age 16 and older to be belted in.

Once the new law takes effect, how could that impact personal injury cases where an injured back seat passenger is not wearing a seat belt?

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August 10, 2020

Social media has been lighting up in recent weeks with stories about life behind the scenes on the Emmy Award-Winning talk show, “Ellen.”

The tales range from stories of rude behavior, to hostile working conditions, racism and sexual harassment. Despite her squeaky clean image as America’s fun-loving, dancing talk show host, current and former staffers report a workplace that is anything but fun-loving.

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August 5, 2020

On February 12, 2020, the New York Stock Exchange reached an all-time high, closing at 29,551. Consumer confidence was skyrocketing and for many Americans, their retirement accounts were growing.

We all know what happened next.

Barely two weeks later came reports of the first American death attributed to COVID-19. Within a month the American economy would be paralyzed by a national shutdown of all “non-essential” businesses. Just a few months removed from a record high on the New York Stock Exchange, America was plunged into a recession.

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August 5, 2020

Former Google engineer Anthony Levandowski was sentenced this week to 18 months in prison after admitting he stole trade secrets from Google related to self-driving car technology.

In sentencing Levandowski to jail time, U.S. District Judge William Alsup sent a clear message to would-be IP thieves: brilliance is no excuse for theft. In denying the Levandowski defense team’s request for home confinement in lieu of jail, the Court refused to “give a green light to every future brilliant engineer to steal trade secrets.”

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August 3, 2020

You’ve probably read articles or seen news reports touting the reduction in auto accidents during COVID-19. It makes sense — millions of Americans are working from home — less driving equals fewer accidents. One study estimates Americans in some states are driving 60 percent fewer miles per week than they were before the pandemic struck.

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July 28, 2020

There was a time when working from home was considered a perk. Today, in the midst of a global pandemic, it has quickly become the norm.

Working from home has afforded companies a way to stay productive while minimizing the risk of employees transmitting COVID-19. However, without proper planning, companies may find themselves exposed to myriad other risks.

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