Friday, March 28, 2014

Congratulations to Tony Thompson!

Attorney Tony J. Thompson has joined the Sarah Heinz House Associate Board.

Sarah Heinz House focuses on developing and strengthening leadership, character and life skills of children by providing recreational, social, educational and mentoring programs.

Tony J. Thompson is a member of Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution, Employment Law & Employee Benefits and Intellectual Property Groups.  He counsels clients on a variety of matters including contract negotiations, trade secrets, labor-management relations, complex commercial litigation, and commercial landlord and tenant disputes. Thompson has also represented plaintiffs and defendants in both state and federal courts and arbitration proceedings.

In addition to the Sarah Heinz House Associate Board, Thompson also serves on the boards of Rainbow Kitchen Community Services and Small Seeds Development, Inc.  He is a member of the Laurel Highlands Council, Boy Scouts of America and Meyer, Unkovic & Scott’s Diversity Committee. Thompson is also an active member the Pennsylvania and Allegheny County Bar Associations.

Thompson graduated from the University of Pittsburgh School of Law and earned a bachelor of arts degree in Economics from Washington & Jefferson College. He resides in Monroeville with his wife.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Intellectual Property Roundtable

The next Pittsburgh Roundtable for the American Bar Association Intellectual Property Litigation Section is coming up on April 3. The topic is “The Patent Exhaustion Doctrine and Method Patent Claims”. RSVP here or view the invitation below for more information.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act

One of the many requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is that certain employers are now required to report the cost of health care coverage on each employee's W-2.  For many employers, this requirement took effect for the 2012 tax year.

The IRS, however, issued Notice 2012-9 that contained transition relief making the W-2 health care reporting requirements optional for:

1. Employers filing fewer than 250 Forms W-2 for the previous calendar year.
  • These employers will not be required to report the cost of coverage on the 2012 Forms W-2 which generally are filed with the Social Security Administration in early 2013.  (For example, employers filing fewer than 250 2011 Forms W-2, meaning Forms W-2 for the calendar year 2011, which generally are filed with the SSA in early 2012.)
  • For purposes of this relief, the number of Forms W-2 the employer files includes any forms it files itself and any filed on its behalf by an agent under section 3504 (see Q&A-3 of Notice 2012-9 for more information). In addition, for purposes of this relief, the employer is determined without the application of any aggregation rules;
2. Multi-employer plans;

3. Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) contributions;

4. Dental and vision plans that either:
  • Are not integrated into another group health plan or
  • Give participants the choice of declining the coverage or electing it and paying an additional premium (see Q&A-20 of Notice 2012-9 for more information);
5. Self-insured plans of employers not subject to COBRA continuation coverage or similar requirements;

6. Employee assistance programs, on-site medical clinics, or wellness programs for which the employer does not charge a premium under COBRA continuation coverage or similar requirements; and

7. Employers furnishing Forms W-2 to employees who terminate before the end of a calendar year and request a Form W-2 before the end of that year.

The IRS stated that this transition relief would continue until changed by future guidance.  It also stated that it would provide taxpayers with at least six months' advance notice of any changes to the transition relief.

So, for the time being, small employers (those filing fewer than 250 W-2s) do not need to worry about reporting the cost of health care coverage on employees' W-2s.  They have the option of doing so.  This will likely change in the near future, but watch for additional information on this topic.  The IRS has also published a compliance chart regarding this requirement that you may find useful.  Please click here to view the IRS compliance chart.

Written by Jason Mettley.

Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority Board

Andrea Geraghty, a partner at Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP, was appointed to the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority (PWSA) Board by Mayor William Peduto. View the full article at "Mayor William Peduto Appoints Members to Key City Boards and Authorities".

Friday, March 21, 2014

How to Handle Tenants’ Abandoned Belongings

If you’re a landlord wondering what to do with a couch left in an apartment or with the cabinets left by a business in one of your offices you may want to read “Recent Change to Law Helps Landlords Handle Tenants’ Abandoned Belongings”. The article by Frank Kosir, Jr. and Gary Sanderson recently appeared on page 7 of ACRE of Pittsburgh’s newsletter, The Real Estate Investor.

Urban Land Institute Pittsburgh

Congratulations to Gary Sanderson! The Young Leaders Group of the Urban Land Institute Pittsburgh has named him as Vice Co-Chair. Here is the article.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Elevator Pitch For Your Startup

Here is an interesting article for startups, "The 4 Laws To A Perfect Elevator Pitch (And How To Create One)".

Macbeth and Lady Macbeth: Guilty or Not Guilty?

Looking for a fun night out? Join PICT Theatre and the Arts & Law Committee of the Allegheny County Bar Association (ACBA) on March 27 for an evening of wickedly wonderful legal theatre as they present Macbeth and Lady Macbeth: Guilty or Not Guilty?.

Attendees will enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, a three-course dinner and an appellate argument seeking to overturn the convictions of Macbeth and Lady Macbeth before a panel of federal and state court appellate and trial judges.

Dennis Unkovic is playing the role of Macbeth and Nick Bell served on the Host Committee for the event. For more info visit PICT Uncommon Pleas or download the invitation.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Buy or Lease?

Any group of physicians, healthcare executives, or other providers evaluating whether to ground lease or purchase a parcel of property for a new healthcare facility will want to consider the suggestions in Sarah Reigle’s article “Buy or Lease?” that appears on page 11 of this issue of Western Pennsylvania Healthcare News.

7 Persistent Myths About Intellectual Property

Congratulations to David Oberdick! His article on intellectual property was recently featured on the home page of Entrepreneur. Read it here, "7 Persistent Myths About Intellectual Property".

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

H-1B Visa Update

Do not delay in preparing your H-1B visa applications as the demand is great, and it is likely that the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (CIS) will receive more applications than there are available visas during the first week of April, 2014. There is a cap on the number of H-1B visas available: 65,000 for those applicants holding the equivalent of a U.S. Bachelor's degree and an additional 20,000 visas available for foreign nationals with a U.S. Master's degree or higher. In the past several years, the CIS has conducted a lottery to determine which applicants would be eligible for an H-1B visa due to the great demand.

It is recommended that employers file on or about April 1, 2014, to secure a slot for employment beginning October 1, 2014. Companies employing students on OPT (Optional Practical Training) with work visas expiring in the months between April and September, 2014, may have the opportunity to extend the work of students until October 1 with a timely H-1B visa application filing.

It is important for companies to carefully prepare their applications as the CIS has increased its scrutiny and regularly requests additional evidence from employers. Employers need to work with counsel to develop detailed explanations about why the employee qualifies for this visa.

For more information about H-1B visas and other immigration matters, please contact Joel Pfeffer or Elaina Smiley.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Corporate Records Scam

In recent months, many corporations and other entities across the country have been receiving fraudulent notices and solicitations regarding the submission of corporate information. These notices often appear to be from an official source and request that certain documents be submitted (corporate records, meeting minutes, etc.) along with a fee. These notices may also include citations to corporate statutes, such as the Pennsylvania Business Corporation Law. Although a great number of states do have annual reporting requirements for corporations and other entities, one should make sure that any notice or solicitation received is official and not a scam that is attempting to fraudulently obtain payment from and information about the entity solicited. Not only are these scams attempting to obtain money from various entities, but they are also attempting to obtain valuable information about the entity, and the individuals involved with the entity, that could lead to potentially harmful results (identity theft, etc.).

In 2013, the Pennsylvania Department of State issued a consumer alert regarding fraudulent notices and solicitations being sent to businesses in Pennsylvania from at least two different companies: the "Pennsylvania Corporate Compliance Company" and the "Corporate Records Service." These notices and solicitations are specific examples of scams that are attempting to fraudulently obtain money and information from entities incorporated or doing business in Pennsylvania and may again be in circulation in 2014.

One should also keep in mind that, although many states require annual reporting for entities either organized or qualified to do business in that state, there is no annual reporting requirement in Pennsylvania for corporations and limited liability companies. The rules in other states vary widely. Although certain notifications requesting corporate information may be legitimate and part of the required record-keeping rules of a given state, it would be in an entity's best interest to consult with an attorney before complying with the demands of any notice, even if it appears to be genuine.

If your business or entity receives a notice or solicitation requesting the submission of shareholder information, meeting minutes, or any other corporate records, you should contact Patricia Farrell, Jay Mangold or any other Meyer, Unkovic & Scott attorney with whom you have worked before responding to the solicitation.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Viking Victory Auction

We are proud to be a Titanium Sponsor of Central Catholic High School’s Viking Victory Auction that is coming up on April 5. You can visit the event page for more info on their major fundraiser.

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

A Day on Real Estate

A Day on Real Estate - Presented by the Pennsylvania Bar Institute

Andrea Geraghty is serving as one of the course planners for the upcoming Pennsylvania Bar Institute program, A Day on Real Estate. Details below:

  • Date: Monday, March 17
  • Time: 8:30 a.m. – 4:10 p.m.
  • Location: PBI Professional Development Conference Center located at Heinz 57 Center, 339 Sixth Avenue, 7th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA

Andrea will present “Apportionment or Pooling of Oil & Gas from Multiple Properties".

Frank Kosir will present “The Year in Review: An Insightful Summary of Some of the Year’s Most Significant Decisions”.

Download the program here for more information.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Allegheny County Property Tax Assessment Appeal Alert

Property owners in Allegheny County are now receiving their 2014 Real Estate Tax Bills, reflecting taxes due based on assessed values established by the county. Property owners often assume that the assessment amount accurately reflects the value of their property. Many times, this is not the case. This misconception leads owners to overlook the potential tax savings that a successful tax appeal could render.

The deadline to appeal Allegheny County's property tax assessment is coming up on March 31. Read this article to learn more about how we can help.