Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Friday, September 26, 2014

Prenuptial & Postnuptial Marriage Agreements

Tune in tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. to 101.5 WORD-FM. Michele Conti will discuss the pros and cons of prenuptial and postnuptial marriage agreements. She will also review estate planning decisions to consider for a second marriage.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

2014 Organization Pro Bono Achievement Award

The Allegheny County Bar Association (ACBA) honored Meyer, Unkovic & Scott with the 2014 Organization Pro Bono Achievement award last week at the annual Fellows Grand Reception & Dinner.

The firm’s associate attorneys led the development and launch of the Landlord Tenant Project, a program operated in conjunction with Neighborhood Legal Services and the Allegheny County Bar Foundation. The Project provides free representation to individuals who have been denied Section 8 or public housing. In addition, the Project represents those who need assistance to appeal a judgment of possession at an arbitration hearing. The volunteer attorneys also staff the Landlord Tenant Pro Se Assistance Project, which provides advice to low-income tenants. Antoinette Oliver, associate at Meyer, Unkovic & Scott and the firm’s representative to the Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership, is the Manager of the Project.

“We are extremely proud of the attorneys in our firm for their work on the Landlord-Tenant Project,” said Patricia Dodge, managing partner of Meyer, Unkovic & Scott. “Our firm is committed to giving back to the community and we greatly appreciate the ACBA for recognizing us for our pro bono efforts.”

The Allegheny County Bar Foundation established the Pittsburgh Pro Bono Partnership in 2005 with the goal of increasing pro bono legal services provided to low-income individuals. The Partnership collaborates with local law firms, legal departments and nonprofit organizations to connect people who are looking for legal advice to attorneys and to provide resources to lawyers who volunteer their time.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Medicaid Requirements and Application

Tune in tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. to 101.5 WORD-FM. Michele Conti will discuss Medicaid requirements and applying for benefits. You’ll learn how to determine if you are eligible as an individual or as a married couple.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Same-Sex Marriage Update

On May 20, 2014, a federal Judge for the Middle District of Pennsylvania issued an opinion effectively lifting the state's ban on same sex marriage. The plaintiffs in Whitewood v. Wolf challenged the constitutionality of Pennsylvania's marriage laws, claiming these laws denied them Due Process and Equal Protection rights guaranteed by the Constitution. In describing PA's marriage laws and previous laws that discriminated against people based on their gender or race, Judge John E. Jones, III stated in his opinion that, "[w]e are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history." This ruling is in line with a series of similar decisions that have occurred in the wake of the Supreme Court's United States v. Windsor decision. Windsor struck down Section 3 of the Federal Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA"), which defined marriage as the union of one man and one woman for federal law purposes.

What impact does this decision have on employers? While there are no federal laws that protect employees against discrimination for their sexual orientation, twenty-one states do have such laws. Pennsylvania currently does not protect workers from discrimination based on sexual orientation on the state level. However, 34 municipalities in the state have passed laws protecting employees from this type of discrimination. In addition, employers may face sex discrimination claims under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 ("Title VII") if they treat employees with same sex spouses in a disparate manner. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") enforces the ban against discrimination based on sex through Title VII, the Equal Pay Act of 1963, and the Civil Rights Act of 1991. While these laws do not cover sex discrimination based on sexual orientation, they do cover sex discrimination based on sex stereotyping. Recent rulings by the EEOC have determined that an employee can file a claim for sex discrimination based on sexual orientation because it is a form of sex stereotyping. In addition, President Obama signed an executive order prohibiting federal contractors from discriminating against employees based on sexual orientation. For employers, this presents a number of issues. Employers who discriminate against employees in the workplace who have same sex spouses could find themselves facing claims under Title VII or, depending where the employment is located, a state law or a local ordinance. Furthermore, employers could face claims of sex discrimination if they provide certain employee benefits to opposite sex spouses while excluding same sex spouses.
Employers who sponsor a qualified retirement plan will want to ensure that the plan treats same sex spouses in the same manner that opposite sex spouses are treated. After Windsor, survivor benefits offered to opposite sex spouses will now have to be offered to same sex spouses. Likewise after the Whitewood decision, if a same sex marriage ends in a divorce in Pennsylvania, a Qualified Domestic Release Order ("QDRO") issued for a same sex spouse will need to be treated as if issued for an opposite sex spouse.
Employers that sponsor welfare plans will have to consider offering spousal coverage to same sex spouses if their plan currently covers opposite sex spouses. Under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act ("ERISA") and under the Affordable Care Act ("ACA"), welfare plans are not required to offer spousal coverage. However, if the plan does offer spousal coverage but limits the coverage only to opposite sex spouses, the sponsoring employer may face a sex discrimination claim. Similarly, if an employer is required to contribute to a multiemployer welfare plan as part of a collective bargaining agreement, the employer could face the same risk of a sex discrimination claim if that plan offers spousal coverage only to opposite sex spouses.

For more information about the lift of the state's ban on same sex marriage and other employment law matters, please contact Joseph A. Vater, Jr. or Stephen A. Chesney.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

Selected Hot Topics in Intellectual Property Law 2014

We are proud to sponsor the upcoming Pittsburgh Roundtable for the American Bar Association Intellectual Property Litigation Section. These quarterly meetings allow IP litigation practitioners to network with other attorneys and discuss topics of interest.

Date: Thursday, October 2
Time: 12:00 noon
Location: Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP - 12th Floor
Price: Admission is complimentary
RSVP: Send email to rsvp@muslaw.com by September 25. Lunch will be provided.

Practicing attorneys interested in intellectual property matters are welcome to attend. You do not need to be a member of the ABA IP Litigation Section to attend.

The program will be moderated by David Oberdick, Chair of the Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP Intellectual Property Group.

Estate Planning Myths

Tune in tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. to 101.5 WORD-FM. Michele Conti will discuss the many myths people have about estate planning. Listen and learn so that you too can develop the best plan for your individual situation.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Hot Topics in Employment Law: Tips to Stay In Compliance

Hosted by: Employment Law and Employee Benefits Group

Date: Tuesday, September 30
Time: 8:30 - 10:30 am
Location: The Rivers Club
Price: Admission is complimentary
RSVP: Send email to rsvp@muslaw.com by September 24

This seminar will discuss the following "hot topics" and recent changes in employment law that you and your company will need to know to remain in compliance with employment law matters:
  • Same-Sex Marriage Issues and Implications - With the recent same-sex marriage ruling in Pennsylvania, we will discuss how HR Departments should be evaluating policies and benefit plans so they comply with the ruling.
  • EEOC Guidance on Pregnancy Discrimination - Understand the EEOC's guidance on how employers must deal with pregnancy-related issues as compared to accommodations provided to other employees.
  • NLRB McDonald's Franchise Ruling - Learn how joint liability corporations, far removed from day-to-day personnel decisions made by franchisees and contractors, may be exposed to new legal risks.
  • Pennsylvania Non-Competes Update - The recent court ruling serves as a warning to all employers of the difficulty of enforcing non-compete agreements in Pennsylvania.
  • FMLA Notices to Employees - With the recent court ruling, employers and third-party administrators responsible for sending FMLA and other employee notices need to review their current procedures for notification to employees.
Please join us to learn the various tips necessary to protect yourself and your company from employment law related disputes.

Here is the full invitation:

Monday, September 8, 2014

Financial "Four"um Event

Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP is a Gold Sponsor of the 2014 Financial “Four”um. Event details below:

Date: Thursday, October 16
Time: 8 AM – 5 PM
Location: Hilton Garden Inn Southpointe
Registration: Use this link to register.

Brian Sommer will be discussing "What’s in Your Client Agreements?" during one of the breakout sessions. The presentation will address CFP Rules of Conduct and FINRA Rules 2090 and 2011, how those rules track the relevant legal standards, and how to comply with them. He will also discusses the how, why, and when of subsequent written communications to clients regarding their investments.

View the full event agenda.

1 PA insurance credit approved, 1 CFP credit granted, and CPE, CLE pending

Seven Deadly Sins Of Joint Ventures

Business operators who commit just one of the “Seven Deadly Sins of Joint Ventures” are sure to join the swelling ranks of entrepreneurs whose joint ventures have failed to reach their goals.

In this recent article for Entrepreneur Magazine, Patricia Farrell walks entrepreneurs through the big mistakes they may be tempted to make during the planning phases of a joint venture and offers suggestions for avoiding them.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Estate Planning Answers

Tune in tomorrow at 11:30 a.m. to 101.5 WORD-FM. Michele Conti will provide answers to the most commonly asked Estate Planning questions – from disinheriting a child to leaving everything to your pets. You may be surprised by some of the answers.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Art of Investing in America

From the hassle of securing U.S. government approval of the transaction to the minutiae of labor, employment and immigration laws, the complex set of laws that regulate foreign investments into the United States is enough to deter many Chinese investors from putting their money into American businesses.

But according to Meyer, Unkovic & Scott LLP international business attorney Dennis Unkovic, the opportunity for Chinese investors to invest in American businesses is too good to pass up right now. American businesses are more interested now in doing business with Chinese companies than at any time in the past, and the strong potential for profit typically outweighs the legal risks. In this article for international business magazine Industry Today, Dennis discusses the specific laws and regulations that threaten Chinese direct investment in the U.S., and gives advice on how create a legal strategy that overcomes those hurdles.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

3 Rivers Venture Fair Registration

We are a proud sponsor of the upcoming 3 Rivers Venture Fair. It will be hosted on October 7 and 8 at Heinz Field. If you’re a company looking for funding or an investor looking for new opportunities you can use this link to register. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Pennsylvania Bar Institute Seminar

Andrea Geraghty will serve as the Moderator for the upcoming Pennsylvania Bar Institute (PBI) seminar entitled The Supreme Court’s Decision in Robinson Township and the Future of Zoning in the Commonwealth - What Municipal and Land Use Lawyers Need to Know! 

The seminar takes place on Monday, September 15 at the PBI Professional Development Conference Center located in the Heinz 57 Center, 339 Sixth Ave., 7th Floor, Pittsburgh, PA from 9:00 AM – 12:15 PM.

To register, visit this PBI page.