Publications

Hinckley Allen Nonprofit
05/24/2017
Tax Exempt Borrowing Basics – A Quick Reference Guide to Tax-Exempt Bonds

Tax-exempt debt provides a valuable financing option for governmental and tax-exempt entities, but typically involves complicated, precise structures and language. Below is a general reference guide for those new to tax-exempt bonds.Who can borrow using tax-exempt bonds?Governmental entities and 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, as well as private entities, in certain circumstances. Only governmental issuers can issue tax-exempt bonds. Non-profit entities may borrow using tax-exempt debt, but virtually all must do so via a "conduit financing" with a governmental entity. In a conduit financing, the governmental entity issues the bonds…

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WNPR
05/24/2017
Robert J. Anthony
Business Eye Health Care Changes with Caution [RADIO INTERVIEW]

Hinckley Allen Labor & Employment
05/10/2017
Lisa A. Zaccardelli
Recent OSHA Rules Seek to Improve Flow of Workplace Injury Data

Since its creation in 1971, the agency has helped drive serious workplace injuries down from 11 per 100 workers to only 3 per 100 in 2015; however, the rate of decline has slowed in recent years.  To continue perfecting workplace health and safety, OSHA relies on large sets of accurate information to determine the root causes of common workplace hazards, allowing it to promulgate effective injury avoidance regulations.  Some of its most recent rules aim at increasing the amount of data that flow into the agency.While all employers understand the value of safer workplaces, and most recognize the importance of reporting workplace injuries to …

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Hinckley Allen Labor & Employment Newsletter
05/09/2017
Thomas J. Pagliarini
3 Things to Know About the Seventh Circuit’s Decision to Shield Sexual Orientation Under Title VII

On April 4, 2017, in Hively v. Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana, No. 15-1720 (7th Cir. 2017) (en banc), the U. S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.The court held that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation constitutes impermissible discrimination on the basis of sex—one of the specifically listed categories that are protected under Title VII. The ruling departs from every previous federal appellate court ruling, some of which were by the Seventh Circuit.

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Hinckley Allen Labor & Employment Newsletter
05/09/2017
Christine E. Dieter
Rhode Island Supreme Court Rejects Individual Liability under the Fair Employment Practices Act

On March 8, 2017, the Rhode Island Supreme Court (RISC), for the first time, concluded that § 28-5-7(6) of the Rhode Island Fair Employment Practices Act (FEPA), like its federal counterpart under Title VII, does not provide for individual liability of an employee of a defendant employer.The case, Mancini v. City of Providence, 155 A.3d 159 (R.I. 2017), reached the RISC as a certified question from the U.S. District Court for the District of Rhode Island. The plaintiff, Sergeant Mark Mancini of the Providence Police Department, alleged that he was denied a promotion due to disability discrimination. Mancini initiated litigation against both…

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Hinckley Allen Labor & Employment Newsletter
05/09/2017
Lisa A. Zaccardelli
How Much is a Comma Worth to You?

A recent federal court decision pivots on a missing comma, and rarely has the lack of such a small amount of ink been so costly for a defendant. In O'Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy, the First Circuit Court of Appeals was called upon to interpret a Maine labor law. The court found that due to poor punctuation, the statute's meaning was unclear, triggering the application of a rule that laws be interpreted broadly to further their objectives, and thereby ensuring a defeat for the northeastern dairy company.The type of comma under question is known as an Oxford comma or a serial comma, and it is considered optional in legal writing. In a series of wor…

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New Hampshire Business Review
03/28/2017
Ronald D. Ciotti
The Benefits and Risks of Integrated Project Delivery

Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly
03/13/2017
Robert G. Petix, Jr.
Claire N. Carrabba
Hinckley Allen Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation Newsletter
03/09/2017
Donna M. Niles
Tracy A. Vitols
Did You Know Small Employers Now Have a Useful Tool to Help Offset the Cost of Health Insurance?

The Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) made it unlawful for employers to offer a pre-tax stipend to be used for health insurance costs.  With the passage of the 21st Century Cures Act, and adoption of the “Qualified Small Employer Health Reimbursement Arrangement” (“QSEHRA”) this is no longer the case.  Qualified small employers now have a useful tool to help their employees pay for the cost of health insurance.A QSEHRA is a new type of Health Reimbursement Arrangement (HRA) which provides for employer-funded benefits that can only be used to pay for medical care expenses of eligible employees and their covered family members after the…

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Hinckley Allen Construction & Public Contracts Alert
03/08/2017
Christopher W. Morog
Robert T. Ferguson, Jr.
False Claims Act Liability: Deviation from Project Specifications

The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) closed out February 2017 by announcing substantial False Claims Act penalties against two contractors.   In addition to damages and civil penalties, the AGO barred the contractors from bidding on public projects in Massachusetts for 5 years and barred the contractors from accepting any public contracts for 1 year.March has started much like February ended.  On March 1, 2017, the AGO filed an “Assurance of Discontinuance” in Suffolk County Superior Court closing out a False Claims Act investigation of another Massachusetts contractor.  Much like a settlement agreement, the Assur…

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Trusts & Estates 2017 Tax Update

This article summarizes federal and state wealth transfer and income tax laws that could affect your estate planning and discusses strategies for tailoring your estate plan to maximize tax savings.Federal Estate and Gift Tax. The current federal estate, gift, and generation skipping transfer (GST) exemption amounts are adjusted each year for inflation. For 2017, the federal exemption amount is $5.49 million.State-Level Estate Tax. On the state level, we have not seen significant shifts in estate tax laws, although beginning in 2015, Rhode Island raised its estate tax exemption amount to $1.5 million, to be adjusted yearly for inflation.*New Y…

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Hinckley Allen Retail Real Estate Newsletter
03/01/2017
Ronald D. Ciotti
Understanding the Benefits and Risks to Owners and Developers Using Integrated Project Delivery and Other Collaborative Delivery Methods

Imagine your design team working seamlessly with your construction team through the design and construction phases of your project. Imagine minimizing or eliminating changes to the project budget and schedule.  Imagine no finger pointing amongst the design and construction teams when problems arise. Instead, imagine everyone working collaboratively to address problems quickly and efficiently while the project remains on track. A dream?  No, a growing reality.  Are you interested?An increasing number of private construction projects throughout the country are utilizing collaborative project delivery methods, such as Design Assist or some fo…

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Hinckley Allen Retail Real Estate Newsletter
03/01/2017
Jennifer V. Doran
Weighing the Benefits of Terminating a Lease Before Bankruptcy

Prominent retailers, including Sports Authority and Eastern Mountain Sports, filed for bankruptcy in 2016. Other retailers likely will follow in 2017.  This article examines the benefits a landlord may realize by terminating a lease before a tenant files for bankruptcy.Once a tenant files for bankruptcy, a landlord cannot terminate a lease without approval of the Bankruptcy Court, and the Court is unlikely to grant such relief if the tenant continues to pay rent while determining its reorganization plan.  If, however, a landlord has cause to terminate a lease before the tenant files for bankruptcy, the landlord can recover the premises, ret…

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Hinckley Allen Retail Real Estate Newsletter
03/01/2017
Peggy A. Pappas
WARNING: High Volatility Commercial Real Estate (HVCRE) Ahead

High Volatility Commercial Real Estate (HVCRE) has been an increasingly popular and relevant topic in commercial real estate since the rule was set forth on January 1, 2015 (“Effective Date”) under the Basel III international banking standards. Existing loans as of the Effective Date are not “grandfathered” in, and are still subject to the HVCRE capital requirements imposed on banks. However, banks have differed in the interpretation and application of the HVCRE rules in regards to when the HVCRE capital requirements are triggered. Professionals in commercial real estate should carefully consider how HVCRE rules will impact their clie…

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Hinckley Allen Construction & Public Contracts Alert
03/01/2017
Christopher W. Morog
Robert T. Ferguson, Jr.
Front-Loaded and Inflated Pay Apps

On February 24, 2017, the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”) announced sweeping penalties against two contractors for violations of the Massachusetts False Claims Act.  According to the AGO, a General Contractor (GC) and its subcontractor (sub) knowingly submitted front-loaded and inflated payment applications on a public project in Somerville.  The AGO sued the GC and its president, as well as the sub and its manager.  The parties later entered consent judgments in Suffolk County Superior Court.  The contractors agreed to pay $420,000 in damages, including civil penalties of $110,000.  The AGO also barred the contract…

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Public Gaming Research International Magazine
03/01/2017
Mark Hichar
The Future of iGaming under President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Does President Trump have the same Opinion of iGaming that he had in 2011? Should it be Regulated?

Hinckley Allen Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation
01/27/2017
Donna M. Niles
Tracy A. Vitols
Did You Know? The Latest in ERISA & Employee Benefits

President Trump signs executive order aimed at minimizing burdens of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).President Trump’s executive order calls for federal agencies to “exercise all authority and discretion available to them to waive, defer, grant exemptions from, or delay the implementation of any provision or requirement of the Act that would impose a fiscal burden,” on individuals or businesses. This reflects the President’s determination to eliminate the mandates that require individuals to carry health insurance, and for businesses with more than 50 employees to offer it. However, President Trump lacks the authority to eliminate those…

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2017 Real Estate Tax Abatement Process

With the New Year upon us, now is the time for property owners to review their real estate tax assessments to determine if a tax abatement or appeal is warranted. Hinckley Allen has successfully handled numerous tax abatements and tax appeals in Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island. The tax abatement process varies from state to state but, in all instances, requires strict adherence to filing deadlines and procedures. Our experienced team works with clients to reduce their real estate taxes. We help identify which assessments are worth challenging and assist in all steps of the appeals process. Below summarizes some imm…

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Hinckley Allen Public Finance Alert
12/14/2016
Antonio D. Martini
IRS Releases Final Issue Price Regulations for Tax-Exempt Bonds

On December 8, 2016, the Treasury Department and the Internal Revenue Service released Treasury Decision 9801, which sets forth final regulations providing a revamped definition of the “issue price” of tax-exempt bonds under the arbitrage bond rules of Section 148 of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986. These new regulations, which come after two rounds of proposed issue price regulations, in 2013 and 2015, represent a substantial departure from the issue price standard that has been in place since the early 1990s. The new definition of “issue price” will apply to tax-exempt bonds sold on or after June 7, 2017.The new regulations mark a…

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