Androvett Legal Media and Marketing
2501 Oak Lawn Avenue  |  Suite 650  |  Dallas, Texas 75219
Tel: 214.559.4630  |  Fax: 214.559.0852


Androvett Blog

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 1:55:00 pm

The Republican tax reform plan released this week proposes changes that are likely to make C corporation structures more appealing to U.S. business owners and investors.

“The reduction of the top corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent could certainly lead to a renewed interest in C corporations,” said Dallas tax lawyer Nathan Smithson of Jackson Walker LLP. “An investment in a corporation is subject to two levels of federal income taxation – once at the corporate level, and then again when a distribution is made out of the corporation to the investor. The proposed 20 percent corporate tax rate would make this investment far more palatable.

“The plan also lowers rates for partnerships and LLCs. However, investors and business owners who do not want to subject themselves to the more complex partnership tax rules – including paying taxes on their share of entity-level income – may now want to convert their entities to corporations,” said Mr. Smithson, who advises corporations, LLCs and partnerships on federal tax planning.

“An original investment in stock of a qualifying small business corporation can be sold tax-free if held for five or more years. A drop from a 35 percent to a 20 percent rate may make this type of investment a no-brainer for investors looking to minimize their overall taxes on corporate income.”

For more information, contact Kit Frieden at 800-559-4534 or kit@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media at 9:40:00 am

National Anthem at Cowboys Stadium in 2016 (Photo: Androvett Legal Media)
National Anthem at Cowboys Stadium in 2016 (Androvett Legal Media)

 

President Donald Trump has a solution to stop football players from taking a knee in protest during NFL games.

“The NFL has all sorts of rules and regulations,” Mr. Trump said in a tweet this week. “The only way out for them is to set a rule that you can’t kneel during our National Anthem!”

But can NFL owners really do that? Yes, says noted Dallas employment lawyer Rogge Dunn.

“This is no different than employers prohibiting employees from smoking at the office or outside of the office,” said Mr. Dunn, a partner at Clouse Dunn LLP.

From London to Los Angeles, more than 100 pro football players defiantly knelt or locked arms before games on Sunday and Monday. Many did so following Mr. Trump’s harsh criticism at a campaign rally in Alabama late last week.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

While last weekend’s wave of protests were a show of solidarity against President Trump, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick actually sparked the movement in 2016 by sitting on the bench during the national anthem to put a spotlight on the victimization of African-Americans by police.

Regardless of the cause, Mr. Dunn said more employers are regulating employees’ actions inside and outside of work.

“An employer can regulate employees’ actions at the office and outside, including limiting their political activities and firing them for speaking out or protesting,” he said.

For more information, contact Sophia Reza at 800-559-4534 or Sophia@androvett.com.

 

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 9:43:00 am

When comedy legend Jerry Lewis’ will was made public, many focused on the fact that he had “intentionally excluded” each of his six sons, as well as their descendants, as beneficiaries. Instead, his entire estate was left to his second wife and their adopted daughter.

While the details were shocking to many, Dallas estate planning attorney Sam Long of Shackelford, Bowen, McKinley & Norton, LLP says this type of exclusion typically will withstand legal challenges. “One of the fundamental premises of the American law of succession and wills is what is sometimes called ‘freedom of disposition,’” he says. “As long as wills are freely made, and subject to some protections for surviving spouses and minor children, state laws generally permit the complete exclusion of family members or differences in their shares.”

Although this type of exclusion is not common, such a provision is not unheard of says Mr. Long, who also serves as an adjunct professor of wills, trusts and estates at the UNT-Dallas College of Law. “There are a number of individuals who made what many would see as ‘curious’ decisions about their fortunes. For example, Cornelius Vanderbilt left in excess of 90 percent of his estate to just one of his surviving 12 children, William, and his family,” he says. “It isn’t the norm but when you are dealing with family dynamics there is often a complex foundation as to why these decisions are made.”

For more information contact Rhonda Reddick at 800-559-4534 or rhonda@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media at 11:15:00 am

Mingo v. Xarelto Motion for New Trial

 

The consumer case against the blood thinner Xarelto has taken an interesting twist.

Lawyers for plaintiff Dora Mingo want a retrial because the Mississippi jurors who found against her and for the Xarelto drugmakers in August weren’t aware of a key piece of evidence. Her lawyers contend it may have changed the outcome of the case.

At issue is a new study conducted and funded by Bayer Healthcare, which, along with Johnson & Johnson, makes Xarelto.

The scientific findings, contained in a medical research article published near the close of the Mingo trial, revealed that a lab test called prothrombin time, or PT, “may be used to assess anticoagulant activity,” such as excessive bleeding in patients taking Xarelto.

Federal courthouse
Federal courthouse in Jackson, MS (Photo: Androvett Legal Media)

The Bayer research contradicts a crucial element of the defense’s case, because throughout the Mingo trial, lawyers for the drugmakers told jurors that such a test was meaningless. 

“These jurors were told no measuring or monitoring of any kind was required, or even possible. That is simply not true,” said Andy Birchfield of the Beasley Allen Law Firm and co-lead attorney for Mrs. Mingo. “The study by the Bayer scientists is just the latest example that they knew otherwise.”

Mr. Birchfield recently filed a motion for a new trial based on the Bayer research and its apparent contradiction with the defendants’ trial testimony. 

The case is In re: Xarelto (rivaroxaban) Products Liability Litigation, case number 2:14-md-02592 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana.

To speak with Andy Birchfield about the Xarelto litigation, contact Mark Annick at 214-559-4630 or mark@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media & Marketing at 3:11:00 pm

The Winn-Dixie grocery chain is the latest and perhaps highest-profile business to face penalties for websites that are not compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), but it’s not likely to be the last.

A federal judge in Florida found that the grocery chain’s website was inaccessible to visually-impaired individuals and thus violated the ADA because features such as the website’s online coupons and pharmacy could not be accessed using a screen reader. The court ruled in favor of the plaintiff on all issues and awarded injunctive relief and attorneys’ fees.

The Americans With Disabilities Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability in public places, like stores and movie theaters. Increasingly, a battle has been brewing over whether or not websites for such “places of accommodation” must also be accessible.

“In Winn-Dixie’s case, the Court agreed that because its website was closely integrated with its stores, the web content must be accessible to the hearing and visually impaired,” said employment attorney Audrey Mross of Dallas-based Munck Wilson Mandala. “If consumer-facing businesses were not aware of ADA website compliance, this case should be an eye-opener. 

To speak with Audrey Mross about ADA website compliance trends, contact Robert Tharp at 214-559-4630 or Robert@androvett.com.

by Androvett Legal Media at 10:00:00 am

Hurricane Harvey (NOAA)

“Hurricane Harvey didn’t cherry pick its victims, and FEMA shouldn’t cherry pick who it helps,” Washington, D.C. attorney Diana Verm told the Houston Chronicle this week.

Verm, who specializes in religious liberty cases, is representing three small Texas churches who recently sued the Federal Emergency Management Agency, alleging the government’s disaster relief policy violates the Constitution by denying faith groups the right to apply for funds.

Texas nonprofits that sustained damage by the Category 4 hurricane have 30 days to apply for emergency cleanup grants. The Houston-area churches maintain they should be eligible since they have and continue to support victims of the devastating storm.

David Coale, a Dallas appellate attorney who specializes in constitutional cases, says the complaint by the Rockport First Assembly of God in Aransas County, Harvest Family Church in Harris County and Hi-Way Tabernacle in Liberty County goes a step farther than previous similar cases by moving beyond exterior structures and building repairs into providing personal services. 

“On its face it’s a reasonable request — it’s a disaster and they need all the help they can get,” Mr. Coale, a partner with Lynn Pinker Cox Hurst, told the newspaper.  “On the other hand, we are talking about giving people money to offer a place to sleep. There is stuff up in the church about religion and there will be people in the church providing a little bit of ministry.”

The Texas case comes three months after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that prohibited government discrimination against a Missouri church that had applied for funding for playground equipment.

For more information, contact Barry Pound at 800-559-4534 or barry@androvett.com.