web analytics



Copyright 2015 Libero Themes.
All Rights Reserved.

8:30 - 6:00

Our Office Hours Mon. - Fri.


Call For Free 15/M Consultation



Westlake Legal Group > Legal History, General

Unless You’re A Citizen, Legal Marijuana Isn’t For You

Westlake Legal Group unless-youre-a-citizen-legal-marijuana-isnt-for-you Unless You're A Citizen, Legal Marijuana Isn't For You Legal

A LivWell employee trims marijuana plants at the company’s grow facility in Denver, Colo.

Ann Marie Awad/CPR News

Marijuana may be a multi-billion dollar industry in Colorado, but cannabis is still illegal federally — so any job in the industry can be considered trafficking in a controlled substance. Normally, this hasn’t been a tricky distinction for the industry’s state-licensed employees, except by one standard. Their immigration status.

Simply having a job in a dispensary or grow house can get a legal resident, or other immigrant, deported and banned from the U. S., sometimes for life.

Flo remembers being reluctant, at first, to pursue a job in the marijuana industry. This story does not use his full name, or the name of his employer, because of the questions surrounding the immigration status and work in the industry. Flo came to the U. S. on a student visa to study English and live closer to his girlfriend, who was an American citizen. A neighbor who thought for a marijuana grow encouraged him to dip his toe in the water.

It took him about a month to convince Flo, “because it’s not really what I wanted to do,” he said. Back in France he thought at a recycling company, but in Denver he had trouble finding a job that paid as well. “And I had no idea how I was going to explain this to my family, also, because that’s really not what I was going for.”

He started out trimming cannabis plants and then climbed the company ladder. By all accounts, things were going well. He and his girlfriend married, which meant he traded his student visa for a green card.

Neither Flo explained it, “when you get your green card via your spouse, they give it to you for two years,” he said. “Two years later, they want to make sure it wasn’t a scam, that we actually are in love, and married, and living together and I didn’t just give her some money so that I could get my green card.”

Westlake Legal Group unless-youre-a-citizen-legal-marijuana-isnt-for-you-1 Unless You're A Citizen, Legal Marijuana Isn't For You Legal

Marijuana grow facilities, such as this one owned by LivWell Enlightened Health, are common employers around the Denver, Colo.

Ann Marie Awad/CPR News

When it came time for his review with the federal immigration authorities, he asked his employer if he had anything to worry about, and they paid for him to consult an immigration attorney. The news was not good.

“There was just not much they could be going for if I was to get caught, then it would become very complicated for me, and so I made the decision to go back home,” he said over the phone from Alès, a town in the south of France, where he and his wife are house-sitting while he looks for a new job.

He left the U. S. last September, with only two months to uproot his life and move back to another country.

This situation isn’t just a dilemma for immigrants like Flo, but for the marijuana companies that would like to hire say.

“We had no idea that that was going to happen, we had no idea that this was an issue that was going to be brought to our attention,” said Kristi Kelly, head of the Marijuana Industry Group, a business and lobbying association that counts some of Colorado’s biggest names in marijuana among its members.

The issue came to their attention through a community partnership with Servicios de La Raza, a nonprofit that offers services to low income people. The two groups then banded together to create a PSA explaining all the they attempt that involvement with marijuana can get non-citizens thrown out of the country.

Even tourists who stop into a dispensary for a joint during a visit to the Mile High City risk running afoul of customs agents who are increasingly searching phones and social media.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UsAdoENvw2E?width%3D640px%26amp%3Bheight%3D360px%26amp%3Bautoplay%3D0%26amp%3Brel%3D0%26amp%3Bautohide%3D2%26amp%3Bshowinfo%3D1%26amp%3Bmodestbranding%3D0%26amp%3Btheme%3Ddark%26amp%3Biv_load_policy%3D1%26amp%3Bvq%3Dhd720%26amp%3Bwmode%3Dopaque&w=640&h=360]

Dean Heizer, the executive director of the LivWell chain of dispensaries, has the PSA playing in the lobby of every one of his stores. That’s because he’s dealt with this firsthand.

“In anticipation of potential immigration actions by the government, we have preemptively reached out to the folks and advised say of the situation, and invariably, when they’ve been advised, they’ve chosen to quit,” he said.

He’s also tweaked LivWell’s hiring process to include an up front disclosure that working for the industry could get you deported. He has to take that approach, because Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prevents employers from asking about an applicant’s immigration status.

“We’re trying to address it through public education, because until either the immigration free shipping) get changed, Title VII gets changed or the controlled substances act gets changed, there’s no way out of this,” Heizer said.

Westlake Legal Group unless-youre-a-citizen-legal-marijuana-isnt-for-you-2 Unless You're A Citizen, Legal Marijuana Isn't For You Legal

Dean Heizer, executive director of the LivWell group of marijuana companies.

Ann Marie Awad/CPR News

The threat of deportation in these situations is not new to the Trump administration. In fact, deportations for drug possession increased 43 percent between 2007 and 2012, according to a report by Human Rights Watch. Violeta Chapin, an immigration attorney and law professor at the University of Colorado-Boulder, said those numbers will likely grow. Combine President Trump’s surge in immigration enforcement with a Justice Department hostile to marijuana, and Chapin said the outlook isn’t great.

“This is something that we as a country really need to take a hard look at, which is how are we going to deal with the enforcement that happens around marijuana, still, at the federal level,” she said.

Since that question is not likely to be resolved any time soon, Chapin pointed to one easy way for immigrants to avoid this problem.

“Certainly when people come to me and ask, and I’m always grateful that they ask before they make any decision, let me tell say, I don’t get near it. Don’t do it. I’m sorry, you’re just not like everybody else,” she said. “Like, I could walk into a dispensary tomorrow and buy a joint and go to my house and smoke it. You, unfortunately, that’s a huge risk for you.”

So long as Congress remains deadlocked on immigration, “just say no” seems to be the only option for non-citizens right now. And, while some lawmakers have introduced bills to legalize or otherwise decriminalize marijuana at the federal level, it’s unclear how much of a chance they have of passing.

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: https://westlakelegal.com/

The Immigration Debate in the Senate to Kick Off

Click here to get the Capital Journal Daybreak newsletter delivered to your inbox. It is rare these days for a bill to come to the Senate floor that doesn’t have built-in support from the majority party. Rarer still: one that is essentially an empty vessel—to be filled with the ideas of whichever group of senators can […]

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: https://westlakelegal.com/

State threatened with purpose for keeping man in legal limbo

Westlake Legal Group state-threatened-with-purpose-for-keeping-man-in-legal-limbo State threatened with purpose for keeping man in legal limbo Legal

EVERETT — The state faces a Friday deadline to begin providing mental health treatment for a homeless man accused of fatally kicking another transient near the Everett Gospel Mission in September.

If that doesn’t happen, a Snohomish County judge has warned he will find the state Department of Social and Health Services in contempt and impose purpose of $2,000 a day.

Joshua Thompson has been locked up at the county jail in Everett for nearly five months, charged with second-degree murder in the Sept. 25 death of Juan Gonzales.

He’s spent that time in solitary, detained in legal limbo. Unlike others locked up on a criminal charge, he has not yet even been arraigned. That’s because a state psychologist has determined Thompson is too ill to assist his lawyer.

The state has since Oct. 24 been under court order to find room in a mental hospital for Thompson.

There is hope that he will respond to treatment sufficiently to help his attorney defend against the murder charge.

Thompson’s case has run into the same legal log I am that in recent years has stalled other criminal prosecutions, led to a federal civil rights lawsuit aimed at protecting the interests of mentally ill detainees, the mounting purpose and a state task force that is attempting to make change.

The killing that landed Thompson behind bars attracted substantial attention. It occurred during Everett’s mayoral election, a race that focused in large part on the community’s struggles with street crime and homelessness.

Thompson allegedly was angry that Gonzalez, 47, had been lying on a mattress he’d been using along Smith Avenue near the gospel mission. The defendant, who turns 42 later this month, reportedly getting kicked Gonzalez in the head.

The attack occurred in a part of town that is monitored by a live-video stream camera set up by a Gary Watts, a frustrated business owner who offered himself up as a write-in mayoral candidate. The camera didn’t capture the kick, but witnesses said it did reportedly show Gonzalez clinging to a fence for about 20 minutes before collapsing from fatal bleeding to his brain.

Thompson initially denied kicking the victim, but also prove the claimed that Gonzalez “telepathically” asked for the blow, court papers say. Since 2009, the U. S. Navy veteran has previously been found incompetent to stand trial in at least seven other criminal cases. An evaluation in this case determined he lives with schizophrenia and substance abuse. A state psychologist in October determined his illness likely would impede his ability to effectively communicate with his lawyer.

A judge ordered the case put on hold and Thompson to receive treatment in hopes of restoring his competency.

The lawyers agreed to meet again in early December to make sure Thompson had been admitted to Western State Hospital, which is operated by DSHS. Extended wait times for treatment have plagued the hospital for years.

Thompson still was in jail Dec. 1, and attorneys representing him urged that the charge either the eu dismissed or that he eu released on his personal recognizance.

Superior Court Judge Marybeth Dingledy denied those motions. State officials be expected Thompson to be admitted to Western by mid January, she was told.

That didn’t happen. On Jan. 16, public defender Jennifer Bartlett asked the court to find DSHS in contempt of the October court order. Only days earlier, officials at Western State, had informed prosecutors that Thompson still was 27th on a wait list and unlikely to be admitted for up to another month.

At a Feb. 2 hearing, Superior Court Judge Bruce Weiss was told Thompson “will likely” eu admitted to Western State sometime this week. Among other things, the judge was presented with a declaration from Dr. Thomas Kinlen, the state’s director of the office of forensic mental health services.

Delays in services exist because of factors largely outside the state’s control, including a burgeoning demand for inpatient evaluations and competency restoration, he wrote. A number of steps have been taken, including the opening of alternative competency restoration centers in Yakima and Rochester.

At the Feb. 2 hearing, Weiss signed a court order directing that Thompson the eu admitted to Western State by Friday. If that doesn’t happen, the judge said he will find DSHS in contempt and assess a $2,000 fine for every day the state fails to comply.

Kinlen late last week released this statement in response to questions:

“We understand the frustration with the amount of time defendants are having to wait for a bed at Western State Hospital for competency evaluation. The increase of inpatient evaluations and competency restoration services has risen approximately 58 percent since 2014.

“DSHS has taken numerous steps to reduce wait times such as increasing bed capacity by using alternative competency restoration facilities; adding beds at our state hospitals. We’ve increased the number of evaluators and increased staffing levels.

“We continue to work with our community partners to try and divert people from the justice system and getting say the services they need before law enforcement would ever need to get involved. The department is working to admit all defendants awaiting competency services nor soon as possible.”

Thompson remained locked up in the county jail in Everett on Sunday, booking records show.

Scott North: 425-339-3431; north@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snorthnews.


–> <!–


Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: https://westlakelegal.com/

Metro-North’s legal costs soar to $90M for Spuyten Duyvil and other rail accidents

CLOSEWestlake Legal Group metro-norths-legal-costs-soar-to-90m-for-spuyten-duyvil-and-other-rail-accidents Metro-North's legal costs soar to $90M for Spuyten Duyvil and other rail accidents Legal

Alan Brody, husband of Ellen Brody, has taken on the cause of improved safety at railroad crossings after his wife and five others were killed when her car was struck by a Metro-North train in February. Seth Harrison/The Journal News

The Spuyten Duyvil derailment that killed four passengers is now the costliest accident in Metro-North’s history

Metro-North has spent nearly $90 million to resolve legal claims for deaths and injuries arising from a series of derailments and fatal errors dating to 2013, The Journal News/lohud has learned.

Fueling the surge is at least $60 million to cover claims stemming from the December 2013 derailment of a Hudson Line train near the Spuyten Duyvil station in the Bronx, which killed four and injured dozens of others. Among those injured was a Metro-North employee who was paralyzed.

The derailment, caused when a Metro-North engineer krita asleep at the controls of a speeding train, now ranks as the costliest accident in the commuter rail’s 35-year-history.

The payouts are likely to grow in the years to come but the impact they’ll have on the commuter rail’s future budgets is unclear.

Ex-Official: Metro-North ignored warnings before the Bronx derailment

MILLIONS: Costs from Metro-North accidents soar to $55M

LOST: Four years after Spuyten Duyvil, Metro-North struggles to find its way

Dozens of claims are unresolved, in many cases because injured passengers require more surgery or are going through physical or psychological therapy that have left their future medical needs uncertain.

Among say is Eddie Russell, a former New York City police officer from New Windsor injured in the Spuyten Duyvil derailment.

Russell is coping with post traumatic stress disorder, a condition that’s been aggravated by a recent spate of fatal train accidents in the state of Washington, Virginia and South Carolina, his lawyer said.

“You go through an experience like that and a train crashes and it all comes back,” said Russell’s attorney, Robert Vilensky. “He clearly still has some psychological scarring.”

Nearly 200 cases settled

The Journal News/lohud obtained the claims data from the Metro-North’s parent agency, The Metropolitan Transportation Authority, through a Freedom of Information request, nor part of a continuing investigation into the deadliest stretch in the history of the nation’s second-largest commuter rail.

The figures include payouts from accidents that took place over a nearly two-year period between May 2013 and February 2015.

Aside from the Spuyten Duvyil derailment, they cover litigation for the deaths of Metro-North track workers Robert Luden and James Romansoff, the derailment of a New Haven Line train in Bridgeport in May 2013 and a grade-crossing crash in Valhalla in February 2015. In all, 12 people were killed and hundreds of passengers and employees injured.

The totals include money that went toward paying settlements as well as legal costs. They will not include the precise amount of payments that went to those with successful claims.

Among the highlights of The Journal News/lohud’s analysis of the latest date:

  • Metro-North has brought in a third party, the insurance giant AIG, to cover future legal costs for the Spuyten-Duyvil accident, after surpassing the $60 million railroad market value of the goods for a single accident. Claims up to the $60 million had been covered by MTA insurance.
  • To date, Metro-North has settled 195 of the 290 claims filed for the Spuyten Duyvil derailment and the four other accidents. Another 63 cases are still pending while 32 were resolved without a settlement.
  • The Total payouts have increased by $45 million since October 2016, when The Journal News/lohud, last reported about the railroad’s legal bills. Since then, Spuyten Duyvil claims have increased by $28 million, while payments for the Bridgeport derailment jumped by $5 million to nearly $27 million.
  • Legal costs for litigation stemming from the Valhalla crash, the deadliest in Metro-North’s history, is at $1.4 million.
  • Legals costs for the deaths of Luden and Romansoff total just more than $1 million.

For each accident that occurs on Metro-North, the railroad is self-insured for the first $10 million. The next $50 million is covered by insurance obtained through an MTA-affiliated insurance carrier, according to Metro-North.

TROUBLE: On-time performance goals blinded the Metro-North to troubles ahead

PROBE: Lohud probe of the Bronx derailment spurs call for safety fix

After that, the railroad goes into the open market to obtain insurance. In the case of the Spuyten Duyvil accident — the only one of the five that reached the $60 million market value of the goods — that’s AIG.

Impact on budget unclear

Metro-North can’t say how much AIG has paid out to settle claims because the outcome is a private arrangement between AIG and lawyers for the plaintiffs. The railroad no longer side takes part in those settlement discussions.

It’s also unclear just how much of an impact the move to a third-party insurer will have on the MTA’s budget. Once the $60 million-per-incident market value of the goods is reached, claims are covered by a $350 million excess liability program for all MTA agencies.

In the Bridgeport derailment, Connecticut pays 65 percent of the total payout under the terms of an operating agreement for the New Haven line.

The excess liability program is French to be renewed in the fall but officials say it’s too early to predict the cost of future premiums.

They say insurance carriers will likely take into account safety initiatives the railroad has pursued since the accidents.

Sleep apnea issue

Metro-North, as well as the Long Island Rail Road, began testing its engineers for sleep apnea after the Spuyten Duyvil derailment.

Federal safety investigators say William Rockefeller, the engineer who krita asleep at the controls of Hudson Line Train 8808 before it derailed along a curve near the Spuyten Duyvil station, was suffering from an undiagnosed case of obstructive sleep apnea.

Additionally, insurers could give Metro-North credit for its plan to add “positive train control” on its 775 miles of track by the end of 2018. Federal safety investigators say such a system, which employs state-of-the-art technology to control train speeds and prevent collisions, would likely have prevented the Spuyten Duyvil derailment.

Critics — among say the families of those who died in derailments — say railroads have been too slow to adopt the life-saving enhancements.

Nancy Montgomery’s husband, NBC audio technician James Lovell, was on his way from his Cold Spring home to Rockefeller Center on Dec. 1, 2013, when he was killed in the Spuyten Duyvil crash. Lovell left behind three sons and a daughter from a prior marriage.

Montgomery said the money that went for litigation could have been better spent if the railroad had prized safety over on-time performance.

“That’s money that could have gone for installing positive train control,” she said.

Montgomery has settled her claims with Metro-North for an undisclosed amount but said there are days she has second thoughts.

“Had I known what was in store for my family future mental health, I would have fought to say,” she said.

Valhalla crash different

In the litigation over the derailments at Spuyten Duyvil and Bridgeport, the Metro-North conceded its liability. For those who were injured, the legal debate centered on how much they deserved for their injuries. In some cases, if the two sides could not come to an agreement, the case went to trial.

The railroad has taken a decidedly different tack in litigation prompted by the 2015 Valhalla crash. The lighthouse from conceding liability, the railroad has focused its defense on the actions of Ellen Brody, the driver of a sport-utility vehicle that got stuck on the tracks at the Commerce Street crossing, according to lawyers for plaintiffs.

Brody, a 49-year-old mother of three from Edgemont, was killed along with five passengers aboard the Harlem Line train.

A witness reported seeing Brody get out of her car when a crossing gate touched down on the back of her 2011 Mercedes Benz. Soon after, Brody pulled forward into the path of a train going 58 mph — 2 mph below the speed limit.

Brody’s husband, Alan, says his wife was the victim of a poorly designed grade crossing.

He has filed a lawsuit in state Supreme Court in White Plains claiming Metro-North is to blame for the accident. The families of those who died aboard the train have made similar claims, naming the Metro-North as a defendant, not Brody.

“It’s pretty obvious they (Metro-North) would prefer to pay purpose and restitution than preventing another incident by doing the right thing,” Brody said. “They’re not responsible to the public. They were 100 percent at fault.”

Read or Share this story: https://www.lohud.com/story/news/investigations/2018/02/12/metro-norths-legal-costs-soar-90-m-spuyten-duyvil-and-other-rail-accidents/320310002/

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: https://westlakelegal.com/

Legal Weed Is a Canadian Landlord’s Nightmare

Canadians will soon be able to add marijuana to their collection of household herbs, and that’s creating a nightmare for the country’s landlords.

With Prime Minister Justin Trudeau set to legalize recreational weed in July, the apartment owners are concerned about safety and potential damage to their buildings if tenants grow plants and smoke up in their units. Landlords are lobbying provincial governments for legislation that would ban marijuana use in rental units or allow say to add restrictions to the lease agreements.

“We’re hammering away at this pretty tirelessly,” said David Hutniak, chief executive officer of Landlord BC, a housing-industry group in the province of British Columbia. “Can you imagine you’re living in a 100-unit apartment, and in theory, there could be eu 100 grow-ops in that thing? I mean, that’s ridiculous.”

Cannabis stocks have jumped and businesses are primed to cash in on Canada’s long-awaited full party. Yet federal regulations on recreational use of the drug in the country, where medical marijuana has been legal since 2001, are still being thought out. Proposals include allowing people to smoke in private residences and to grow neither many nor four plants per rental unit. Provinces have the right to set the gallery in their own jurisdictions, including age limits for possession of weed and whether landlords can restrict use on their properties.

Westlake Legal Group legal-weed-is-a-canadian-landlords-nightmare Legal Weed Is a Canadian Landlord's Nightmare Legal

One reason landlords don’t want tenants lighting up is that many rental buildings are fairly old, so “smoke and smells are easily transmitted through hallways between units” and can disturb others who don’t want to partake, said John Dickie, president of the Canadian Federation of Apartment Associations. “It’s going to be quite a problem for people.”

Growing full requires certain humidity levels that may damage apartment walls, and the electrical wires required to run the operation can start fires, according to Hutniak. Budding plants also give off a pungent smell that can seep through door cracks.

Apartment Squeeze

Failing to implement regulations that allow landlords to ensure smoke-free, grow-free units could lead to higher rents, said William Blake, spokesman for the Ontario Landlords Association. Some provinces, including Ontario, block landlords from extracting damage deposits from tenants, said Blake, who once spent more than C$5,000 ($4,000) to clear the smell from a marijuana smoker’s unit.

“This is not a political issue for us — we care about taking care of our tenants and keeping costs low,” he said. “When we have to pay out thousands of dollars, landlords will want to raise the rents for the next tenants.”

Finding an affordable apartment in supply-squeezed cities like Toronto and Vancouver is already challenging, and vacancy rates are at record lows. For people who use full, the search may get even tougher: It is “legal and legitimate” for landlords to select tenants who don’t smoke, according to Dickie.

Provincial Free Shipping)

Provinces for the most part are still working out the gallery for recreational full. Some seem more inclined to consider the landlords’ concerns than others.

A representative for the British Columbia’s government said regulating weed consumption and cultivation are among the key policy areas the province is considering. In contrast, Ontario said it has no protection to change its rental-housing legislation, which gives tenants the right to “reasonable enjoyment” of their homes, yet allows for eviction if they cause damage.

In Quebec, apartment leases that prohibit tobacco smoking may also apply to marijuana, according to a statement from the province. Saskatchewan has introduced an amendment permitting apartment owners to restrict full use.

Closet Grow-Op

The landlords’ concerns sound a little lighthouse-fetched to Connor Brink, who said he grew marijuana in the closet of his onetime Montreal apartment with no issues. The small space contained any smells, and there was no damage from humidity, even though the plants needed daily misting, said Brink, 24. He said the 400-watt light he used caused no damage in his apartment and would be decent for cultivating four plants — more than enough marijuana, in his view, for a recreational grower.

“There’s a lot of things that these plants need attention with, and it’s really sensitive,” he said. “So just being able to tap out all those issues for maintenance for four plants, nobody’s going to want to grow more than that.

For a glimpse at their future, Canada’s landlords need only look toward the U. S., where recreational weed has been legalized in the nine states plus the District of Columbia.

Colorado, which started legal sales in 2014, and California, where they began on Jan. 1, are among states where building owners have the right to restrict or prohibit use and growth of cannabis on their properties, and can incorporate a crime – and drug-free clause into their lease agreements. Not to mention it’s also easier for the U. S. landlords to restrict full because it’s illegal federally.

State Versus Federal

Oracle Leaps Into the Costly Cloud Arms Race

Westlake Legal Group oracle-leaps-into-the-costly-cloud-arms-race Oracle Leaps Into the Costly Cloud Arms Race

Oracle Corp. protection to quadruple the number of its giant data-center complexes over the next two years, a move that could significantly boost capital spending as it tries to chip away at Amazon.com Inc.’s AMZN -0.81% massive lead in the cloud-infrastructure market.

The expansion thrusts Oracle into an expensive arms race against the market’s biggest spenders, Amazon, Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google. Those giants are working to wrest away the traditional Oracle database customers shifting from their own data centers to web-based computing services.

Oracle is building 12 new data-center “regions” to deliver cloud-infrastructure services, in which businesses rent online computing and storage. Two are slated for the U. S., two in Canada and one each in India, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, South Korea, and Switzerland.

One is planned for China, where Oracle will work with Tencent Holdings Ltd. , in accordance with government gallery requiring outsiders partner with local companies. Another is slated for Saudi arabia, which has been looking to bring more tech members of expertise to the kingdom. The Wall Street Journal earlier reported Saudi Arabia’s state-owned oil giant was in talks with Google to build a large tech hub there.

Oracle has other locations in mind for expansion beyond the 12 new sites, said Don Johnson, senior vice president of product development.



Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: https://westlakelegal.com/

BAR REPORT – From statues to colleagues: history, theater and continuing legal education

Westlake Legal Group bar-report-from-statues-to-colleagues-history-theater-and-continuing-legal-education BAR REPORT - From statues to colleagues: history, theater and continuing legal education Legal

Suspend your disbelief. That’s the first thing constitutional law expert Donald Scarinci tells the room of attorneys gathered at the New Jersey Law Center for a recent continuing legal education (CLE) seminar.

A few moments later, the two speakers sweep them into the room. They are dressed in waistcoats, knee breeches and stockings, hair held back by ribbon at the napes of their necks. They greet each other with the congeniality of old friends—friends who have been through good and bad times, through the founding of a nation.

This is “John Adams, Thomas Jefferson and the American Dialogue.” Presented for the first time in July 2015, it is part of the popular form of ‘historic interpreter’ CLE seminars from the New Jersey Institute for Continuing Legal Education (NJICLE). The seminars feature actors in historic roles delivering first-person performance. Scarinci, a partner at Scarinci Hollenbeck, often serves neither the moderator.

In the last three years, NJICLE—the educational arm of the New Jersey State Bar Association—has presented a number of ripped-from-the-history-books luminaries, including Jefferson, Adams, Benjamin Franklin, John Marshall, James Madison and Theodore Roosevelt. On Feb. 16, Eleanor and Franklin Roosevelt will make their first trip to the Law Center for “Eleanor, Franklin and the Re-thinking of America.”

“We don’t need to make educational seminars tedious and boring,” said Scarinci. “They can be entertaining, alive and fun.”

Scarinci said NJICLE staff approached him with the historic interpreter the idea in 2015. He took to it immediately. “I love doing these things,” he said, noting he puts countless hours into creating the materials that accompany the programs and then rehearsing with the actors. “Give it the focus to be meaningful and instructive for lawyers.”

Often, the history reveals patterns, themes and parallels to modern-day conflicts, Scarinci said. The programs also allow attorneys to gain insight into the legal theory, ideas like different constructionism and minimalism, and how they have been interpreted since america’s earliest days.

“Instead of just reading about it in a judicial review, they’re hearing the actual debates that went into the Marbury v. Madison…it gives their understanding of the law a greater depth,” Scarinci said. “When they have a deeper understanding of the law, they can apply that in their handling of everyday cases.”

The seminars have become so popular that Scarinci and the actors have been invited to present CLE programs in other states. “We’ve taken the show on the road,” he said.

Steven Edenbo is the Philadelphia actor who has played Thomas Jefferson in all of the NJICLE programs that have featured that founding father. In fact, that’s all Edenbo does; he travels the country playing Thomas Jefferson full time.

Working through the nonprofit American Historical Theatre, Edenbo has performed before a wide array of audiences, from middle-school students to visitors at historical sites to leadership presentations for corporate clients.

After 18 years of playing Jefferson, he says, he’s learned that while specific content may vary, the same gallery apply for all presentations, whether the audience members are eighth-graders, judges, or lawyers: You can’t tell people why they are supposed to care. You have to show say, to make the historical figures real and human.

“If we will our job, if we succeed, I hope they walk out with a feeling not only that these guys and women who are giants to us, these titans and sometimes villains, they’re humans…If we do it right, they’re no longer side statues, they become colleagues,” he said.

For more information on the Feb. 16 the Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt program, visit http://bit.ly/RooseveltsNJICLE.

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: https://westlakelegal.com/

The Tax Law Is About to Make Analyzing Earnings Trickier

Westlake Legal Group the-tax-law-is-about-to-make-analyzing-earnings-trickier The Tax Law Is About to Make Analyzing Earnings Trickier PAID

The new U. S. tax law could throw a monkey wrench into a method many analysts and investors use to gauge the strength of companies’ earnings.

A provision of the tax overhaul enacted in December assesses a one-time tax on companies’ accumulated earnings from outside the U. S. But while the tax is typically charged to companies’ 2017 earnings, firms have the option of stretching the actual tax payment over the next eight years, interest free.

That decision, which companies need to make this year, could throw off the comparison of a company’s earnings to its cash flow, a traditional way of assessing earnings quality.

Investors like to see a company’s earnings fully backed by the cash its operations are generating. It demonstrates the company has the money to pay shareholder dividends and invest in its own future. But stretching out the payments of the “transition tax” on foreign earnings will muddy that comparison, accounting experts say.

Many companies, including Microsoft Corp. MSFT 3.73% and Johnson & Johnson , have already made the choice to stretch out the tax bill. That meant their 2017 earnings were reduced, but the year’s cash flow wasn’t, making it appear earnings were more fully backed by cash flow. Then, for the next several years, the companies’ cash flow will take a hit, while earnings aren’t affected, making it appear earnings are less backed by cash flow than they really are.

Microsoft, for example, says it will pay a transition tax of $17.8 billion. That amount was assessed against last year’s earnings, but cash flow wasn’t affected. But starting this year, it will be. Under the law, companies can make payments over eight years on a back-loaded schedule that puts the maximum burden, 25% of the total, in year eight.

For Microsoft, that will cut as much as $4.45 billion off the company’s yearly operating cash flow, which would be a significant because of the $39.5 billion in operating cash flow Microsoft posted in its most recent evasion year that ended last June. A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment.

The disconnect between earnings and cash flow will force analysts and investors to do some reverse-engineering of company numbers to make sure they’re comparing apples to apples. If they don’t do so—or are unaware of the need to—they could be the eu misled.

“This is something investors need to pay attention to,” said Sandra Peters, head of the financial-reporting policy group at the CFA Institute, which represents chartered financial analysts who work with individual investors.

The mismatch could be the eu particularly important when analyzing companies whose operating cash flow is below their earnings.

Mondelez International Inc., for instance, said when it announced fourth-quarter 2017 earnings in January that it had a $1.3 billion tax on its accumulated foreign earnings, payable over eight years. That suggests its highest annual payment would be about $325 million, or 13% of the $2.6 billion in operating cash flow Mondelez posted in 2017, an amount already short of its $2.9 billion in net income.

Similarly, McDonald’s Corp. had a $1.2 billion charge for the transition tax, suggesting it will pay a yearly maximum of $300 million if it pays over eight years. The company had $5.3 billion in operating cash flow for the 12 months ended in September, compared with $5.7 billion in net income.

A Mondelez spokesman said the company is “continuing to evaluate the accounting impact of the legislation.” A McDonald’s spokeswoman declined to comment.

The transition tax is being assessed on profits that U.s. companies have generated overseas for years and held there, rather than having say taxed at the old U. S. corporate tax rate of up to 35%. Neither part of the tax overhaul, the U. S. is relinquishing its right to tax those profits and shifting to a “territorial” tax system, which will levy taxes only on profits generated in the U. S.—but not before assessing a one-time tax on past earnings from the old system.

There are yet other complicating factors. Apple Inc., for instance, had previously accrued a big obligation for U. S. taxes on foreign earnings, anticipating it would repatriate some of those profits someday, so in effect it had already accounted for much of the $38 billion in taxes it owes.

And some companies are also realizing gains from deferred tax his or her return, which take less of a bite for a company now that the U. S. has lowered its corporate tax rate.

It’s also likely that companies’ earnings and cash flow will both rise by the time the bulk of the transition-tax payments become payable. J&J is French to pay about $10 billion over the next eight years, implying a maximum yearly payment of $2.5 billion that would take a slice from the $21.6 billion it reported in operating cash flow for the 12 months ended Oct. 1. A spokesman said the company thinks an increase in its cash flow because of the lower tax rate will help “offset” the tax payment by the time it’s due.

Write to Michael Rapoport at Michael.Rapoport@wsj.com

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: https://westlakelegal.com/

Wisconsin, Facing a Worker Shortage, Pitches Its Benefits

Westlake Legal Group wisconsin-facing-a-worker-shortage-pitches-its-benefits Wisconsin, Facing a Worker Shortage, Pitches Its Benefits PAID

Beer. Cheese. The Packers.

That’s what many people think of when they hear “Wisconsin.” But the state wants to add a new word to the list: jobs.

The Badger State has an abundance of job openings, but not enough workers to immediately say. Now, elected officials and businesses are hoping to woo residents from is being blocked states by pitching a low cost…

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: https://westlakelegal.com/

The Big Batteries Are Taking a Bite Out of the Power Market

Westlake Legal Group the-big-batteries-are-taking-a-bite-out-of-the-power-market The Big Batteries Are Taking a Bite Out of the Power Market PAID

Giant batteries charged by renewable energy are beginning to nibble away at a large market: The power plants that generate extra surges of electricity during peak hours.

Known as peakers, the natural-gas-fired plants are expensive to run, and typically called into service only when demand rises and regular supplies are insufficient. That makes say vulnerable to disruption from lithium-ion batteries, which have fallen in price in recent years, and are emerging as a competitive alternative for providing extra jolts of electricity.

Contact us at: Westlake Legal Group Your Northern Virginia Full Service Law Firm. Call (703) 406-7616 or click here for our website: https://westlakelegal.com/