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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.

  • Your Right to Counsel is Immediate
    10/24/18 | By: Roger L. Stavis, Esq. | GDB 2018 Fall Newsletter

    I am often asked by potential clients facing criminal investigations whether retaining counsel will cause law enforcement agents to suspect that those clients are guilty. The answer is that it matters little what law enforcement agents suspect or think. The earlier defense counsel enters the investigation, the better positioned the client will be to defend against potential charges.

  • 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.

  • Privacy In the Digital Age?
    An Update: The Supreme Court Examines Cell Phone Tracking and Privacy Rights
    10/24/18 | By: Adam M. Felsenstein, Esq. | GDB 2018 Fall Newsletter

    In the Winter 2018 edition of this Newsletter, I wrote an article regarding a case pending in the United States Supreme Court regarding whether the government needs a warrant to collect cell tower location data maintained by a cellular carrier.  In United States v. Carpenter, the Supreme Court was determining whether cell phone location data, obtained directly from a cellular carrier without a warrant, could be used against a defendant in a robbery trial.  On June 22, 2018, the Supreme Court reached a decision on this important case which explores the contours of privacy in the digital age. 

  • 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.

    ​Last 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.

  • U.S. Supreme Court Expected to Issue Important Decision on Cell Phone Privacy Rights
    1/29/2018 | By: Adam M. Felsenstein, Esq. | GDB 2018 Winter Newsletter

    The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to issue a decision soon in a case which will have important ramifications for law enforcement.  Specifically, the Court is being asked to decide whether the government has the right to track someone’s location by obtaining location information from cell phone towers without a warrant.  The decision may affect the surveillance practices of government agencies that rely on collecting this type of information and is also expected to provide guidance on what type of information should be considered “private” in an era marked by rapid technological change.

  • 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

    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

    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

  • The Battle Over Statues Honoring the Confederacy
    8/18/17 | The New York Times

    A letter to the editor by GDB senior partner, Roger L. Stavis, published in The New York Times.

  • 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

  • Offshore Versus Domestic Asset Protection
    7/5/2017 | By: Asher Rubinstein, Esq. | GDB 2017 Summer Newsletter

  • New Equal Pay Law Targets the Gender Pay Gap
    7/5/2017 | By: Julian S. Brod, Esq. | GDB 2017 Summer Newsletter

  • New York City Bars Employers From Asking Job Applicants About Salary History
    7/5/2017 | By: Julian S. Brod, Esq. | GDB 2017 Summer Newsletter

  • ​Skype: An Effective Tool for a Jury Trial
    6/19/2017 | By: Adam M. Felsenstein, Esq.

  • What Real Estate Owners and Managers Can Learn From Tugboats and Glaucoma
    2/2014 | New York State Bar Association Business Law Journal

  • Computer Searches: A ‘General’ Warrant Can No
    Longer Satisfy Requirements
    5/22/2017 | By: Roger L. Stavis, Esq. | New York Law Journal

    Roger L. Stavis, head of GDB's White Collar Defense practice, authored an outside counsel article for the New York Law Journal.

  • Powers of Attorney - A Useful Tool
    3/10/2017 | By: David I. Faust, Esq. | GDB 2017 Spring Newsletter

  • Document Retention: How Long is Enough?
    3/10/2017 | By: David N. Milner, Esq. | GDB 2017 Spring Newsletter

  • Common Trademark Issues Facing New Businesses
    3/10/2017 | By: David T. Azrin, Esq. | GDB 2017 Spring Newsletter

  • The Role Of An Independent Monitor In Saving Your Company From A Criminal Investigation
    3/10/2017 | By: Roger L. Stavis, Esq. | GDB 2017 Spring Newsletter

  • Electronic Deposit of Checks – Tips to Avoid Problems
    3/10/2017 | By: Jay L. Hack, Esq. | GDB 2017 Spring Newsletter

  • Willful Misconduct: Just How Bad Does It Have to Be?
    1/17/2017 | By: Randy J. Heller, Esq. | GDB 2017 Winter Newsletter

  • The Importance of Underinsurance Coverage
    1/17/2017 | By: Mark B. Brenner, Esq. | GDB 2017 Winter Newsletter

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