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With unsurpassed expertise, Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP attorneys are frequently called upon to comment on business, financial, political and legal developments around the world as well as on the implications of big deals, noteworthy cases, community news, and proposed legislation.

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  • Security Deposits Limited to One Month – What’s a Landlord to Do?
    November 2019 | By: Scott M. Smiler, Esq.| GDB 2019 Fall Newsletter

    One of the provisions in the New Rent Law makes significant changes to the collection of security deposits.  In addition, one important and unintended consequence is the law’s effect on cooperatives. Under the New Rent Law, cooperatives collecting an escrow for the conditional approval of a purchaser could run afoul of the new law and be liable for damages.

  • How to Comply with Part M of The Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019
    November 2019 | By: Marc J. Luxemburg, Esq.| GDB 2019 Fall Newsletter

    Part M of the New Rent Law contains a number of other provisions that create financial and operating difficulties for all cooperatives and, to some extent, condominiums. Part M was passed without any public input and apparently without any recognition on the part of any of the legislators that it would affect cooperatives. The law specifically affects admissions and operating procedures and adversely affects litigation brought by a cooperative. In this article we deal with the admissions and operating issues – litigation will be dealt with more specifically in a future issue.

  • Commercial Bribery On A Construction Site: Does Crime Pay?
    November 2019 | By: Randy J. Heller, Esq.| GDB 2019 Fall Newsletter

    Can you plead guilty to falsifying business records in a commercial bribery scheme involving construction work and still hope to salvage your claim for millions of dollars against the owner you ripped off?  You might, under the right set of facts.

  • New York’s SHIELD Act Clarifies Data Security Obligations
    November 2019 | By: Kyle G. Kunst, Esq.| GDB 2019 Fall Newsletter

    On July 25, Governor Cuomo signed the “Stop Hacks and Improve Electronic Data Security Act,” (SHIELD Act), into law. The SHIELD Act amends existing New York law to clarify the steps a business must take when it suffers from a data breach. The SHIELD Act also created a brand new law, General Obligations Law “GOL” § 899-bb, that describes the security protocol that must be put in place to protect the “private information” of a New York resident.

  • Proof of Insurance: Be Careful What You Ask For—You Don’t Always Get What You Want
    Fall 2019 | By: Jay L. Hack, Esq.| New York Business Law Journal

  • Franchise Disclosure Document Gets a New Look
    July 2019 | By: David T. Azrin, Esq. | GDB 2019 Summer Newsletter

    In May 2019, the association of state franchise regulators (known as the North American Securities Administrators Association, or NASAA), issued new rules, effective January 2020, which require franchisors to provide additional written warnings to people considering buying a franchise. 

  • New Tenant Protection Legislation May Also Impact Cooperatives and Condominiums
    July 2019 | By: David L. Berkey| GDB 2019 Summer Newsletter

    The New York State Legislature in June enacted tenant protection legislation, titled The Housing Stability and Tenant Protection Act of 2019, that significantly changes New York’s rent laws and impacts the City’s many cooperatives and condominiums.

  • Can You Defame Someone In A Notice Of Mechanic’s Lien?
    July 2019 | By: Randy J. Heller, Esq.| GDB 2019 Summer Newsletter

    A mechanic’s lien can be a powerful tool for collecting a contract balance owed for work performed on a construction project.  Yet, it is a tool which can be easily abused.  But can you be held liable for defamation if your lien alleges that someone owes you money when they don’t?

  • A Properly Managed, Organized, and Prepared Committee Can Be an Invaluable Asset to Boards
    July 2019 | By: Michelle P. Quinn, Esq. | GDB 2019 Summer Newsletter

    Boards of Directors and Boards of Managers have their collective hands full with administration of building operations, capital projects, staff and owner issues, and the like. The creation of committees, especially in larger buildings, can potentially lighten the load. But committees can be both a substantial benefit to boards and an unexpected burden if improperly managed, organized and prepared. 

  • May I Steal A Part Of Your Backyard?
    May 2019 | By: Randy J. Heller, Esq.| GDB 2019 Spring Newsletter

    The doctrine of “adverse possession” remains one of the most interesting facets of real property law.  The possibility that your neighbor can take ownership of some of your property through your own inattentiveness continues to fascinate and confound homeowners. What makes it so interesting is the counter-intuitive way it works. Giving permission for your neighbor to occupy your land denies him any claim.  But refusing his encroachment may cause you to lose the disputed strip.  Here’s how that dichotomy played out in a recent appellate case.

  • Misconceptions About Bankruptcy
    May 2019 | By: Mark B. Brenner, Esq. | GDB 2019 Spring Newsletter

    Bankruptcy is a complex area of the law. What most people know about bankruptcy, including lawyers who don’t practice it, is often incorrect. The following are a few of the more common misconceptions about filing for bankruptcy. 

  • Keeping Up With the Times: New York City Housing Court Seeks to Implement Changes
    May 2019 | By: Michelle P. Quinn, Esq. | GDB 2019 Spring Newsletter

    It has long been noted that the existing housing courts are ill-equipped to handle the number of litigants and extensive caseloads which New York City’s housing courts see each day.  From the long lines of litigants (often with children), to the lack of available courtrooms and meeting spaces, and even failing infrastructure, it has become increasingly difficult for matters to be equitably and efficiently resolved.  In 2017, Chief Judge Janet DiFiore created a Special Commission on the Future of the New York City Housing Court. The Commission recommended numerous proposed reforms to effect a transformation of the housing court. 

  • How to Prepare for and Conduct Your Annual Meeting
    May 2019 | By: David L. Berkey, Esq. | GDB 2019 Spring Newsletter

    May and June are the months when most Cooperatives and Condominiums conduct their annual meetings of shareholders or unit owners.  Advance planning is essential for a successful annual meeting. Most counsel are experienced in leading annual meetings and can help make sure that your meetings run smoothly and your elections will not be subject to challenge.

  • Fish or Fowl
    2/6/19 | By: David I. Faust, Esq.| GDB 2019 Winter Newsletter

    Whether shares representing ownership of a cooperative apartment are real property or personal property has perplexed estate lawyers and their clients, especially when the owner/decedent is a non-domiciliary of New York.  Is succession of the shares governed by the laws of New York, where the co-op is located – the case if the shares are realty – or the laws of the domicile of the decedent?  If there is no will, or if a spouse elects against the will, which law applies?
     
    A recent Supreme Court, New York County, case sheds some, albeit dim, light on this question.

  • Anonymous Need Not Apply – Entities Getting Bank Accounts
    2/6/19 | By: Jay L. Hack, Esq.| GDB 2019 Winter Newsletter

    The corporate wizard can no longer hide behind the anonymity curtain. Anonymity disappears when a corporation or other entity deals with a bank. Federal law requires that banks collect information about all 25% owners and at least one senior officer of every entity that opens a deposit account or borrows money from a bank.

  • New Responsibilities for NYC Cooperative and Condominium Board Members
    2/6/19 | By: Marc J. Luxemburg, Esq.| GDB 2019 Winter Newsletter

    Both New York State and New York City have recently enacted a number of laws that impose new responsibilities on the Boards of cooperatives and condominiums. We have previously reported on the State requirement to provide an annual conflict of interest report to shareholders or unit owners (Legal Update Summer 2018), and the City obligation to enact a smoking policy (Legal Update Spring 2018). Some of the other significant laws covered in this article include: Sexual Harassment, Fire Safety Plan & Notice, Bed Bug Reports and Gas Piping.

  • Asset Protection for Property Owners and Real Estate Professionals
    2/6/19 | By: Asher Rubinstein, Esq.| GDB 2019 Winter Newsletter

    Owners and developers of real estate are already well-aware of the threats of litigation from tenants, guests, workers and even passers-by. But there are ways to protect one's assets from potential lawsuits.

  • Required Notifications to Neighbors About Construction – New Amendments to the New York City Building Code
    2/6/19 | By: Eugene H. Goldberg, Esq.| GDB 2019 Winter Newsletter

    A new law applicable only to New York City requires the Department of Buildings to give three notices to adjacent property owners (neighbors) when a property is going to be the subject of construction. 

  • Attorney’s Fees – Beware the Tail That Wags the Dog
    10/24/18 | By: Randy J. Heller, Esq.| GDB 2018 Fall Newsletter

    In our regular review and negotiation of contracts and leases, we frequently encounter provisions providing that the “prevailing party” in any litigation or arbitration is entitled to reimbursement of its attorney’s fees and expenses from the losing party. It is sometimes forgotten, however, that the right to attorney’s fees is contrary to the “American Rule” which provides that each party must bear its own attorney’s fees and expenses. Despite the “American Rule,” however, parties may nevertheless provide in their arms-length contracts and leases that the prevailing party shall recover attorney’s fees from the other party.  That right may also be contained in a statute addressing limited areas of the law.  Such was the setting in two recent appellate decisions.

  • Time to Revisit Some Key Provisions of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act
    10/24/18 | By: David N. Milner, Esq. | GDB 2018 Fall Newsletter

    As we approach the first anniversary of the passage of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, I thought it might be appropriate to revisit some of the Act’s provisions and see how the changes may affect the preparation of income tax returns for the first tax year directly impacted by the Act.  Except as indicated, these changes apply to income tax returns filed for the 2018 through 2025 tax years.

  • Is Estate Planning Still Necessary Under the New Tax Law?
    7/11/18 | By: David N. Milner, Esq. | GDB 2018 Summer Newsletter

    As part of the changes that were made to the Internal Revenue Code in December 2017, Congress doubled what is referred to as the “life-time exemption,” the amount that can be transferred by gift while alive or upon death without paying gift or estate tax.  While referred to as an exemption, there is no place on either a gift tax return or an estate tax return to reflect the available “exemption.” Rather, each individual has available a lifetime credit to be used to offset the gift tax that is due on any taxable gifts made while alive with any unused portion of the credit available to offset the estate tax that is due on their taxable estate.  This distinction and change are critical in that without proper planning, the estate tax liability will be higher than necessary.

  • Limitation of Liability Clauses — Does It Mean You Can Breach With Impunity?
    7/11/18 | By: Randy J. Heller, Esq.| GDB 2018 Summer Newsletter

    Limitation of liability clauses are all the rage, whether among participants on a construction project or in other fields.  These clauses are broadly enforced and there is precious little room to escape them.  As is made clear in a recent case, even an action which seems gratuitously malicious might not in certain circumstances serve to void the limitation of liability clause as long as it was done for one's legitimate economic self-interest.

  • Service Animals and the “No Dog” Building
    7/11/18 | By: Michelle P. Quinn | GDB 2018 Summer Newsletter

    The proliferation of online websites that sell “service animal certification kits” in order to allow non-service animals access to public places has led to recent legislation intended to curb the abuse. A new law signed by New York State Governor Andrew M. Cuomo on December 18, 2017 makes it unlawful to knowingly apply a false or improper identification tag designating a service, emotional support, or therapy dog to enable the animal to accompany its owner into places of public accommodation and other venues. What does this law mean for apartment, condominium and cooperative buildings? Read more to find out how you may be affected.

  • Making a Building Smoke-Free?  Here are Answers to Some Commonly Asked Questions
    7/11/18 | By: Peter R. Massa, Esq. & Alyssa C. Goldrich, Esq. | GDB 2018 Summer Newsletter

    As described in our spring 2018 newsletter, under recent legislation all New York City multi-family dwellings consisting of three or more apartments (including coops and condos) must adopt a smoking policy by August 28, 2018 and provide the policy to all current and prospective residents.  This requirement has caused many coops and condos to consider making their buildings “smoke-free” by prohibiting smoking in individual apartments as well as the common areas of the building.  Click here for FAQ regarding implementation of a smoke-free policy.

  • Cooperatives and Condominiums Must Disclose Conflicts of Interest
    7/11/18 | By: Marc J. Luxemburg, Esq. | GDB Summer Newsletter

    Section 727 of the Business Corporation Law (“BCL”), as enacted last year and recently amended, requires that every cooperative housing corporation incorporated under the BCL and every condominium must report to its shareholders or condo unit owners at least once a year of transactions voted on by the board where one or more of the directors is an interested party pursuant to Section 713 of the BCL. If there is no such transaction, the report must state specifically that no such transaction occurred. Please read on in order to learn what you must do to comply with this new law.

  • Employers Can Now Require Employees To Sign Arbitration Agreements Waiving the Right to Bring a Class Action
    7/11/18 | By: David T. Azrin, Esq. | 2018 Summer Newsletter

    The U.S. Supreme Court recently announced that employers can require employees to sign arbitration agreements in which employees agree that they will never bring a class action or collective action in court against their employer, and that they can only pursue any claims against the employer on an individualized basis in a private arbitration proceeding.   This decision is significant because it overturns prior appellate court decisions which held that requiring employees to sign such agreements violated the federal National Labor Relations Act.

  • The Sales Tax May Be Coming to the Internet
    6/25/18 | By: David N. Milner, Esq.

    ‚ÄčLast week the U.S. Supreme Court overturned its 1992 ruling in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota.  States may now require internet sellers to collect sales tax on goods shipped into their state even if the seller does not maintain a physical presence in that state. Previously a physical presence was required.

  • Contract Third-Party Beneficiaries and Duplicative Causes Against An Architect
    5/24/2018 | By: Eugene H. Goldberg, Esq. | New York Law Journal

    GDB attorney, Eugene H. Goldberg, authored an article analyzing the New York Court of Appeals Feb. 15, 2018 opinion, Dormitory Authority of the State of New York v. Samson Constr. Co., (2018 NY Slip Op. 01115,) which discusses contract third-party beneficiaries and duplication of causes of action in contract and malpractice.

  • An Opportunity is Soon Closing to Voluntarily Disclose Offshore Assets to the IRS
    4/4/18 | By: Asher Rubinstein, Esq. and David N. Milner, Esq. | GDB 2018 Spring Newsletter

    Since 2009, the IRS Offshore Voluntary Disclosure Program (OVDP) has been an opportunity for U.S. taxpayers who failed to report foreign income and assets to become compliant, pay back taxes, lower their potential penalties and avoid criminal prosecution.  In March, the IRS announced that the OVDP will close on September 28, 2018. Only a few months remain to bring offshore assets into IRS compliance via the OVDP.

  • Our “Kiddie Tax” Has Grown Up
    4/4/2018 | By: David N. Milner, Esq. | GDB 2018 Spring Newsletter

    The new Kiddie Tax rules, which as part of the new Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 take ef­fect this year, change the method of taxing a child’s investment income. Under the new rules, investment income will be taxed using the tax brackets applicable to trust and estates regardless of the rate at which the child’s parents pay tax.

  • IRS Focus on Bitcoin and Virtual Currencies
    4/4/2018 | By: Asher Rubinstein, Esq.| GDB 2018 Spring Newsletter

    The IRS treats virtual currency as property, rather than a currency, which means that taxpayers are required to pay taxes on any gains when they “use” or sell the currency.  As an indication of the seriousness of the IRS focus on tax compliance for virtual currencies, the IRS recently served Coin­base, the largest public virtual currency exchange, with a summons seeking infor­mation on Coinbase customers who may not have properly reported profits to the IRS.

  • NYC Cooperatives and Condominiums Must Adopt Smoking Policies
    4/4/2018 | By: David L. Berkey, Esq. and Marc J. Luxemburg, Esq. | GDB 2018 Spring Newsletter

    New York City recently enacted a new local law that requires all owners of Class A multiple dwellings, which includes most cooperatives and condominiums, to adopt and distribute to shareholders, tenants and unit owners a smoking policy prior to August 28, 2018. Cooperatives and condominiums should act now to adopt a comprehensive written smoking policy, amend their existing rules to conform to the new policy and distribute or post the policy by the August 28, 2018 deadline. Failure to comply with the new law can be costly.

  • When Your Insurance Company Declines Coverage: Is Your Broker Liable?
    4/4/2018 | By: Randy J. Heller, Esq.| GDB 2018 Spring Newsletter

    An insurance broker dodged a bullet when a court held that he did not mislead his client about the scope of coverage or fail to provide appropriate advice—even though the client was left with no coverage and no defense against a construction accident on its property.  The court’s decision provides important lessons, namely, that in special situations a broker can be held liable for not recommending the proper insurance, and that businesses should read their insurance policies carefully.

  • Trusts Provide a Flexible Vehicle to Accomplish Many Different Beneficial Purposes
    4/4/2018 | By: David I. Faust, Esq. | GDB 2018 Spring Newsletter

    Trusts can be used for a variety of beneficial purposes: estate and tax planning, avoidance of probate, continuity of a family business, provision for heirs who may not be able to take care of their own financial affairs or needs because of age or lack of capacity, charitable giving and asset protection.  This article describes the two basic types of charitable trusts, as well as asset protection trusts, and explains when it is appropriate to use each type of trust. 

  • Durable Powers of Attorney - Views Across the Ocean
    4/1/2018 | By: David I. Faust, Rebecca B. Pasternak and Lyat Eyal | Oxford University Press: Trusts & Trustees

    The worldwide elderly population grows annually. Life expectancy is increasing in modern societies, requiring governments to adjust various services provided to this community. Notwithstanding this shift, the growing view is that emphasis should be placed on the right of individuals to have a say in how their affairs are managed, even as their capacity to manage themselves deteriorates.

  • Corporate Officers Beware: You May Be Held Personally Liable For Fraud
    1/29/2018 | By: Randy J. Heller, Esq. | GDB 2018 Winter Newsletter

    It is commonly believed that forming a corporation shields individuals from personal liability for acts they commit in their official capacity as officers or directors of the corporation.  That is often true.  But a recent case by a New York appellate court reminds us of an important exception to that rule.

  • NLRB Reverses Earlier Ruling Which Had Expanded Union Rights Against Franchisors and Other Contracting Companies
    1/29/2018 | By: David T. Azrin, Esq. | GDB 2018 Winter Newsletter

    In December 2017, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which enforces federal union laws, reversed a 2015 ruling, called Browning-Ferris.  The Browning-Ferris ruling, discussed in our Winter 2016 newsletter, had shaken up the franchise community by expanding the definition of a “joint employer” to the point where franchisors might be held liable for the labor law violations committed by their franchisees, even if the franchisor did not control the franchisee’s employment decisions.  The December 2017 decision, called Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors, issued by a reconstituted board, reversed Browning-Ferris and reinstated the prior narrower “joint employer” legal test that had been applied for decades by the NLRB and the courts.

  • Computer Security Laws Put Increased Pressure on Businesses to Adopt Stronger Cybersecurity Measures
    1/29/2018 | By: Jay L. Hack, Esq. | GDB 2018 Winter Newsletter

    Computer hacking, cybersecurity and selling social security numbers on the “Dark Web” are front page topics almost every day.  Computer hackers are not just concerns of political parties, Equifax and Target.  If you keep customer personal data, like social security or driver’s license numbers, in electronic form, you need to implement computer security systems. If you do business with any state-licensed company in the banking, insurance or mortgage lending business and have access to its computerized data, you have even more cybersecurity worries. Here are some steps we recommend to protect against running afoul of the law.

  • New IRS Rules Govern Audits of Partnerships and LLCs Treated as Partnerships: You May Need to Revise Your Entity’s Governing Documents
    1/29/2018 | By: David N. Milner, Esq. & Asher Rubinstein, Esq. | GDB 2018 Winter Newsletter

    For tax years beginning after December 31, 2017, the IRS has adopted new rules which apply to income tax audits of partnerships and limited partnerships. These new audit rules are important because they may expose those who were not partners during the tax year under audit to the tax errors and liabilities of the partnership, which, under the prior rules, would have been the responsibility of those who were partners during the year under audit.  Minimize this new risk via proper planning and drafting.

  • Tax Reform 2017
    12/26/2017

    This past Friday the President signed into effect a new tax law which will impact most if not all Americans.  While the effective date of most of the provisions of the new law is not until January 1, 2018, certain changes made by the new tax law should be addressed immediately in order to take advantage of the law before it changes.

    This alert summarizes the most significant changes and provides specific recommendations for action you may want to consider in light of these changes.

  • Year End Tax Planning Concepts
    12/04/2017

    Although year-end tax planning always presents challenges, recent tax reform proposals have created a unique set of challenges for taxpayers.  Despite the current uncertainty concerning tax reform, it is important to remember that the proposals are just that: proposals.  This memo highlights several potential income and estate tax-saving opportunities to consider based on current tax law, as well as strategies to receive the maximum benefit under current law and/or protection from any possible future changes.  As with planning opportunities it is important to first do the math to see if any potential opportunity will result in actual savings.  The Tax, Trusts and Estates practice at Gallet Dreyer & Berkey, LLP stands ready to assist you in making these determinations.

  • Coops and Condos Be Aware: New Conflict Of Interest Reporting Obligations Go Into Effect on Jan. 1.
    10/26/2017 | By: David L. Berkey, Esq.

    On September 12, 2017, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed into law Chapter 305 of the Laws of 2017, which imposes an annual conflict of interest reporting obligation on cooperatives and condominiums incorporated under the Business Corporation Law or Not-for-Profit Corporation Law.  Chapter 305 goes into effect on January 1, 2018.

  • New York City Shakes Up the Freelance Sector
    10/23/2017 | By: David S. Douglas, Esq. | GDB 2017 Fall Newsletter

  • New Regulations Clarify NY’s Upcoming Paid Family Leave Benefits Law
    10/23/2017 | By: Pamela Gallagher, Esq. | GDB 2017 Fall Newsletter

  • Common Copyright Issues Facing New Businesses
    10/23/2017 |  By: David T. Azrin, Esq. | GDB 2017 Fall Newsletter

  • A Commercial Retail Landlord’s Checklist
    10/23/2017 |  By: Scott M. Smiler, Esq. | GDB 2017 Fall Newsletter

  • Assignments For The Benefit Of Creditors
    There isn’t anything you can do about them…or is there?
    10/23/2017 | By: Mark B. Brenner, Esq. | GDB 2017 Fall Newsletter

  • Short-Term (Airbnb) Rentals Are Not Only Illegal But Also Now More Costly
    7/5/2017 |  By: Michelle P. Quinn, Esq. | GDB 2017 Summer Newsletter

  • Punitive Damages in a Construction Case? Really?
    07/5/2017 | By: Randy J. Heller, Esq. | GDB 2017 Summer Newsletter

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