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Potential Tax Changes in 2021 Loom Large for Estate Planning

The U. S. House of Representatives has retained its Democratic majority, the Senate now tilts blue in large part to a historic assist from Georgia, and Joe Biden’s presidential victory has been certified. Get ready for higher taxes.   

Supreme Court Rules That Title VII of the Civil Rights Act Prohibits Employment Discrimination

On June 15, 2020, the United States Supreme Court, by a 6-3 margin, published a historic decision that greatly expands the definition of “sex” discrimination under the federal Civil Rights Act, also known as Title VII.  In Bostock v. Clayton County, Georgia, Justice Gorsuch, a Trump appointee, penned the Court’s majority opinion holding that an employer who terminates an employee due to the employee’s sexual orientation or sexual identity violates Title VII’s prohibition on workplace discrimination because it discriminates on the basis of sex.

Regulation Best Interest: Higher Standards for Broker-Dealers, Strengthened Protections for Investor

On June 5, 2019, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) approved a new regulation that requires stock brokers to base their recommendations to investors on what is in an investor’s best interest.  This new higher standard, referred to as “Regulation Best Interest”, is intended to narrow the gap that currently exists between the different standards of care that a broker and an investment advisor must abide by when making recommendations to an investor.  The SEC will begin enforcing Regulation Best Interest on June 30, 2020.   

SEC Imposes New Requirements for Brokers and Advisers in Adoption of Regulation Best Interest

On June 5, 2019, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the Regulation Best Interest, setting a higher standard of care for broker-dealers, and their financial professionals, when making a recommendation to a retail investor regarding a securities transaction. The SEC also now requires that both broker-dealers and investment advisers provide the retail investor with a Customer Relationship Summary (Form CRS) to allow the retail investor to compare one financial professional’s services to another. 

Impact of PA Supreme Court’s Decision Regarding Stacking of UM/UIM Coverage has Become Much Broader

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down the household vehicle exclusion holding that it violated the Motor Vehicle Financial Responsibility Law (“MVFRL”) in Gallagher v. GEICO Indemnity Company.  Following the ruling in Gallagher, several class action lawsuits have been filed on behalf of policyholders who have had their claims for stacking of uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage denied under the household vehicle exclusion. Carriers have been defending those class actions suits arguing that those claims were denied prior to the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Gallagher.  Recently, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania opened the door for even more litigation against carriers by holding that the Supreme Court’s decision in Gallagher could apply retroactively, leaving insurance companies with uncertainty regarding what risks they currently insure, what prior losses they may be liable for, and how to price their policies. 

Representations & Warranties Policies: A Coverage Primer

Representation and Warranties policies (R&W policies) insure representations made by a Seller to a Buyer in a merger or acquisition transaction, including those concerning financial statements, taxes, compliance with laws, material contracts, employee-related issues, intellectual property, operations-related issues, litigation, fundamentals, and environmental issues. Becoming common since 2014, with more than 20 insurers currently offering R&W policies, they implicate a variety of coverage issues due to their uniqueness in both the insurance industry and in their reflection of the specific deals for which they are purchased.