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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.

  • Residential Cooperatives May Now Get Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) Loans
    1/6/2021 | By: Marc J. Luxemburg, Esq. | Jay L. Hack, Esq.

    The most recent federal Coronavirus stimulus law, finally signed on December 27, 2020, extends the PPP loan program to residential cooperatives.

  • The Tariff Wars: You’re Going to Need a Drink
    12/10/2020 | By: Asher Rubinstein, Esq.

    The United States and the European Union are in the midst of a damaging game of retaliatory tit-for-tariff.  Since October 18, 2019, wine, Scotch and other alcoholic beverages from the EU are now subject to a 25% tariff at US ports.  Our clients across the wine, spirits and hospitality industries are all feeling the effects, from the importers who source the products abroad, to the retailers, restaurateurs and ultimate US consumers.  There is widespread hope that a new administration in the White House will take a different path.  Both the US and EU have significant incentives to end their underlying disputes - - which are not over beverages, but instead pertain to government subsidies of domestic aircraft industries - - and remove the tariffs altogether.

  • Asset Protection/Wealth Preservation, Tax And Estate Planning: 2020 Year End Notes
    12/02/2020 | By: Asher Rubinstein, Esq.

    As this unprecedented year comes to a close, we offer some planning tips to our clients, colleagues and friends of the firm regarding their assets, tax and estate concerns.  Foremost, there are some time-sensitive ways to save taxes that could result in much more money for your family.

  • Businesses Must Prepare for the Recent Amendments of the New York Power of Attorney Statute
    11/10/2020 | By: Jay L. Hack, Esq.|GDB 2020 Fall Newsletter

    New York has recently amended its power of attorney (POA) statute, which should be effective in 2021. All businesses in New York that receive POAs must accept them unless they have a good reason not to. Businesses are advised to adopt procedures to ensure that they only accept POAs that provide maximum protection from liability and that they properly reject those that do not.

  • Is Your Building Clean?
    11/10/2020 | By: Morrell I. Berkowitz, Esq.| GDB 2020 Fall Newsletter

    As we are approaching the end of 2020, boards, managing agents, and owners should ensure that they are in compliance with Local Law 87, which requires, among other things, “energy audits” and “retro-commissioning of base building systems” that affect virtually every apartment building in New York City, whether a cooperative, condominium or rental.  This ordinance has broad-ranging requirements affecting every significant building system, specific reporting requirements, and financial penalties for failure to comply.

  • Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway” Copyright Win Reinstates Creative Freedom to the Music Industry
    11/10/2020 | By: Francelina M. Perdomo, Esq.| Antoaneta Tarpanova, Esq.| GDB 2020 Fall Newsletter

    For the last five years, the music industry has been following a high-profile litigation against the iconic band Led Zeppelin. After a series of recent court decisions threatening the creativity of music innovators, this case reinforces the importance of creative freedom in musical works.

  • Primary Residence in a Time of Quarantine
    11/10/2020 | By: Michelle P. Quinn, Esq.| GDB 2020 Fall Newsletter

    Greater New York has been on lockdown since March 20, 2020.  Restaurants, stores, and other retail establishments were closed entirely for the better part of the summer.  Non-essential workers are beginning to return to their jobs, though only a portion are taking public transportation, eating out, or shopping locally.  Those continuing to stay home have even less contact with the outside world.

    In light of these home-bound habits, landlords and tenants alike face difficulty in verifying a tenant’s primary residence. 

  • When is a “Franchisee” Actually a Glorified “Employee”?
    10/21/2020 | By: David T. Azrin, Esq.

    The battle to define the dividing line between two business models (franchisee versus employee)  continues in the courts, state legislatures, and federal agencies, as employee activists continue to press the case that certain franchise relationships actually constitute an employment relationship.

    Franchisors need to be aware of the legal developments in this area.

  • Tax Increases After Election Day? Here’s What To Do Now
    10/19/2020 | By: Asher Rubinstein, Esq.

    When the tax law changed in 2017, the benefits to taxpayers were expected to last through 2025.  The favorable tax changes included an increase in the amount exempt from estate tax, from $5 million to $11 million per person, and a maximum capital gains tax rate of 20%.  With the upcoming presidential and congressional elections, and calls by politicians to undo these favorable tax laws, our clients wonder what they should do now, before the tax law changes again.

    Fortunately, there are many strategies that allow us to benefit from the current tax law, and to lower our taxes through already-proven techniques.

  • Protect Against Unknown Real Estate Filings Using the ACRIS Notice of Recorded Document System
    9/25/2020 | By: Jay L. Hack, Esq.

    Our clients have recently experienced an uptick in problems with real estate documents that were either incorrectly or “secretly” recorded against property in the New York City Register’s office. Problems arising from such recordings were discovered years after the documents were recorded, when solving the problems had become difficult. Even when our clients had title insurance to protect against an error, a stitch in time would have been much less costly, and less aggravating, than nine stitches of cure. Thus, we are republishing a notice that we distributed six years ago about a procedure available through the New York City Register’s Automated City Register Information System (ACRIS) to obtain alerts about real estate filings.

  • Based on a True Story: “Jersey Boys” is Chock-Full of Facts
    9/23/2020 | By: Francelina M. Perdomo, Esq.| Antoaneta Tarpanova, Esq.

    Jersey Boys, the hit Broadway musical, had been at the center of a long copyright infringement battle until last week, when the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit determined that Jersey Boys did not infringe on the autobiography of Tommy DeVito, one of the members of the band, the Four Seasons.

  • Update on Commercial and Residential Evictions
    8/13/2020 | By: Beatrice Lesser, Esq.

    On August 12, 2020, New York Courts extended the freeze on evictions until October 1.


  • Project Group Issues New Guidelines About Selling Franchises During the Pandemic
    6/23/2020 | By: David T. Azrin, Esq.

    Franchisors and state regulators have been struggling with the issue of how franchisors can continue to sell franchises in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic in a way that is not misleading, particularly if their franchise disclosure document (FDD) contains historical information from 2019 about franchisee financial performance which predates the pandemic?  This month, a Project Group of the North American Securities Administrators Association (NASAA) tried to help answer this question by issuing guidelines.

  • Federal Reserve Main Street Lending Facility Approaches Implementation
    6/15/2020 | By: Jay L. Hack, Esq.

    For over 100 years, the Federal Reserve has acted as a liquidity facility for the banking industry, meaning that the Federal Reserve lends money to banks when they need it. With the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic and the CARES Act stimulus program, Congress provided a budget authorization that allows the Federal Reserve to make or purchase interests in loans to “Main Street” businesses. The Federal Reserve’s resulting “Main Street Lending Facility” has been gradually rolled out since early April, and it is about to reach the point where borrowers can begin submitting loan applications.

    Although there are three “Main Street” lending programs, this blog will concentrate on two of them, the “Main Street New Loan Facility” (referred to below as a “New Loan”) and the “Main Street Priority Loan Facility” (referred to below as a “Priority Loan”).  Although these two programs had substantial differences when first proposed, the terms have now converged, making some bankers wonder why the two programs have not been combined. This blog is based upon the most current term sheets issued by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston on June 8. The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston is the lead Federal Reserve Bank responsible for implementing the Main Street program.

  • Parents Face New Custody Conundrums in Midst of COVID-19 Pandemic
    6/1/2020 | By: Allen A. Drexel, Esq.| Sarah R. Gersowitz, Esq.

    One of the effects of COVID-19 has been a sharp increase in child custody disputes in New York and across the country. As issues related to custody and parental access escalate, so do long-lasting and unintended implications for parents, children, and their caregivers. Courts across the country have begun grappling with these issues even as they have been partially closed due to the pandemic, and we anticipate that they will continue to do so now that the court system has started reopening.

  • Where Do You Want to Park Your Money?
    Key Factors in Picking a Jurisdiction
    February 2020 | By: David I. Faust, Esq.| GDB 2020 Winter Newsletter

    Beginning in the 1900s, “financial centers” were established in a wide variety of offshore jurisdictions around the world.  They were essentially tax havens. Recently the challenges to these choices have been evolving. With today’s changes, key factors must be considered when picking a jurisdiction.

  • Just A Minute – Not Too Long, Not Too Short, 
    How Goldilocks Likes Her Board Minutes
    February 2020 | By: Michelle P. Quinn, Esq. | GDB 2020 Winter Newsletter

    When it comes to the content of the minutes of a Board of Directors or Board of Managers meeting, how much detail is “just right”?  Meeting minutes are some of the most important documents for cooperative and condominium buildings and are required by the building’s governing documents and by statute.  There is both a method and an art to taking accurate and appropriate meeting minutes. 

  • Achieving Tax-Free Life Insurance
    February 2020 | By: Asher Rubinstein, Esq. | GDB 2020 Winter Newsletter

    If you own or control a life insurance policy, then the proceeds of the policy may be included in your estate at death and subject to estate tax.  This comes as a surprise to many people who are under the impression that life insurance is tax-free.  But through various tax and estate planning methods, estate tax can be avoided or minimized.

  • Arbitration and Home Improvement Contracts
    February 2020 | By: Randy J. Heller, Esq.| GDB 2020 Winter Newsletter

    Arbitration, as a dispute resolution mechanism, is often included in contracts and favored by courts. Given this widespread preference for arbitration, folks are sometimes surprised to learn that a New York statute prohibits the use of mandatory arbitration clauses in certain home improvement contracts. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

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