Articles Posted in In the News

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Pillsbury would like to congratulate the winners of the “Built by Women” contest in DC, which highlights women’s contributions to the city of Washington D.C in the areas of architecture, engineering, womeninconstructionconstruction, and real estate. Categories include Civic, Commercial, Cultural, Institutional, Landscape, Mixed-Use, Residential, Transportation, Urban Design.  The Built By Women initiative was started by the Beverly Willis Architecture Foundation to celebrate the contributions of women to the built environment and to support women pursing building professions.

You can view the full list of winners on the BWAF website here.  Additionally, the National Building Museum will honor the winning sites in the historic Great Hall the weekend of March 19 and 20.  Congratulations to all of the winning women on your accomplishments and contributions to D.C.’s built environment.

Photo:  University Salford Press Office, Women in Construction – Creative Commons

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On February 5, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, in the case of Palmer Ranch Holdings, LTD, et al., v. Commissioner of Internal Revenue, issued a long and complex ruling that largely affirms the Tax Court’s decision regarding a contested evaluation of a conservation easement that resulted in significant claimed deductions. Perhaps somewhat surprisingly, the Tax Court sided with Palmer Ranch on its valuation of the conservation easement and the Eleventh Circuit went onto voice concern that the valuation was lowered from $25 million to $21 million by the Tax Court.

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A company’s ability to contest in federal court what it views as unfair oversight by a federal government regulatory committee is still subject to obstacles posed by the “standing doctrine” by which access to the courts is limited to cases and controversies actually needing resolution. A recent example of this is the case of R. J. Reynolds Tobacco Company, et al. v. U.S. FDA, et al. On January 15, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit reversed the district court’s ruling and summary judgment for the plaintiffs and issuance of an order dissolving the U.S. Food and Drug Administration  committee and enjoining use of the FDA committee’s report on the safety of menthol cigarettes due to alleged unlawful conflicts of interest relating to three of the FDA committee’s members.  The Court of Appeals vacated the district court’s order, holding that the plaintiff tobacco companies lacked standing to complain at this time because the FDA has not yet issued a final rule for regulation of the at-issue cigarettes, although it was acknowledged that three committee members had testified in lawsuits against tobacco-products manufacturers and were paid substantial fees for doing so.

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In PATH Act Changes to FIRPTA, Pillsbury attorneys Brian Wainwright and Bob Logan Taxesdiscuss
important changes to the U.S. federal income  tax treatment of U.S. real estate investments by non-U.S. persons under the Foreign Investment in Real Property Tax Act of 1980.

Additional Source: Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (the PATH Act, Division Q of the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2016, P.L. 114-113, enacted December 18, 2015); Technical Explanation of the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015, House Amendment #2 to the Senate Amendment to H.R. 2029 (Rules Committee Print 144-40)

 

Photo:  DonkeyHotey, Taxes – Illustration – Creative Commons

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In FinCEN Targets “All Cash” Real Estate Deals in Manhattan and Miami, my colleagues Carolina Fornos, Maria Galeno, Mark Hellerer, Caroline Harcourt, Amanda Senske, and I discuss the federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network’s (FinCEN) first Geographic Targeting Orders (GTOs) of 2016 issued on January 13. The GTOs are nyskylinedirected exclusively at U.S. title insurance companies and their subsidiaries and agents, requiring them, for a temporary period, to identify the individuals behind any entity that is used to purchase high-end residential real estate in Manhattan and Miami-Dade County, Florida, on an “all cash” basis. We discuss the immediate impact of these GTOs on these companies and what the GTOs may mean for others.

Photo:  Arturo Donate, The skyline that never sleeps… Taken July 31, 2010 – Creative Commons

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In Lacey Act Lessons from the Lumber Liquidators $13 Million Settlement, Pillsbury attorneys William Sullivan, Tom Allen, and Benjamin Cote explore the ramification of Lumber Liquidators’ agreement to plead guilty to five criminal charges, including one felony, stemming from its purchase and import of certain wood products through three separate Chinese suppliers. Among other things, the plea agreement marks the first criminal conviction of a major U.S. company under 2008 Lacey Act amendments that expanded the reach of the wildlife protection statute to wood products sourced from foreign countries.

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In what may be a harbinger of things to come, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit debated the propriety of using the court’s own internet research to decide a case before it.  The case is Rowe v. Gibson, et. al., decided on August 19, 2015; a pro se prisoner civil rights dispute that was dismissed by the district court. Continue reading

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For the second time in two years, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, in an important attorney-client privilege case,  has issued a Writ of Mandamus to protect the contents of an internal corporate investigation that was led by the company’s lawyers.  The case is In Re: Kellogg Brown & Root, Inc., et alContinue reading

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On August 7, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia vacated an order of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or Board) in an unfair labor practices matter because the Board’s Acting General Counsel, who plays a very prominent role in the Board’s enforcement work, was serving in that capacity in violation of the Federal Vacancies Reform Act of 1998 (FVRA).  The case is SW General, Inc. dba Southwest Ambulance v. National Labor Relations BoardContinue reading

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The Freedom of Information Act, 5 U.S.C. § 552 (FOIA), is a federal law that allow for the full or partial disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the United States government. FOIA defines agency records that are subject to disclosure, outlines mandatory disclosure procedures and grants exemptions from disclosure. Many states similar laws governing the disclosure of previously unreleased information and documents controlled by the state and its agencies. The theory is that the government should be open and transparent unless the government has a good reason to withhold the information sought. On March 31, 2015, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a long opinion in Sea Shepherd Conservation Society v. Internal Revenue Service, regarding the IRS’s response to Sea Shepherd’s FOIA request seeking information from the IRS about its investigation of Sea Shepherd.
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