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Tax Reform Advisory:  Real Estate Industry
Practice: Real Estate, Tax
On December 22, 2017, the President signed into law H.R. 1, informally known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (the “Act”). The Act will have a significant impact on many sectors of the economy including the real estate sector. Significant aspects of the Act relevant for commercial real estate are described below.

Tax Reform Advisory:  Corporate and General Business Provisions
Practice: Corporate, Tax
On December 22, 2017, the President signed into law H.R. 1, informally known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (the “Act”), implementing sweeping changes to the United States tax regimes generally applicable to businesses.  Most provisions of the Act will take effect as of January 1, 2018 and (except as noted below) generally will apply to tax years beginning after 2017.  Certain highlights of the Act are discussed below.

Tax Reform Advisory:  Exempt Organizations
Practice: Charitable Planning, Private Client & Trust, Tax
On December 22, 2017, the President signed into law H.R. 1, informally known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (the “Act”), implementing sweeping changes to United States tax regimes for exempt organizations, businesses in which they invest and individuals donating to such organizations.  Most provisions of the Act will take effect as of January 1, 2018, and will apply to exempt organizations for tax years beginning after 2017.  Highlights of the Act impacting exempt organizations are discussed below.

Tax Reform Advisory:  International Provisions
Practice: Banking & Finance, Corporate, Real Estate, Tax
On December 22, 2017, the President signed into law H.R. 1, informally known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (the “Act”), implementing sweeping changes to the United States tax regimes generally applicable to businesses.  Most provisions of the Act will take effect as of January 1, 2018 and (except as noted) generally will apply to tax years beginning after 2017.  Certain highlights of the Act are discussed below. 

Private Client & Trust Tax Reform Advisory
Practice: Private Client & Trust
On December 22, 2017, the President signed into law H.R. 1, informally known as the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” (the “Act”), implementing sweeping changes to United States income tax regimes for individuals and businesses and greatly expanding the existing exemptions from gift, estate and generation-skipping transfer taxes. Most of the provisions of the Act will take effect as of January 1, 2018.  Many of the provisions relating to individuals are temporary and expire (or “sunset”) after 2025 if not extended by future law. Highlights of the Act impacting individuals are discussed below.

Massachusetts Appeals Court Clarifies When Restrictive Covenants May Extend Beyond Thirty Years
Practice: Litigation, Real Estate
PDFIn Berger, et al. v. 2 Wyndcliff, LLC, et al., No. 16-P-336 (Mass. Appeals Court, Dec. 5, 2017), a group of homeowners in a subdivision subject to an agreement limiting construction on their lots to one single-family dwelling sought to extend the agreement beyond its original 30-year period and enforce the restriction against a fellow landowner.   A judge of the Land Court held that the 30-year period set out in the agreement could not be extended.  The Appeals Court affirmed, though for a slightly different reason.  

U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts Seeks Public Comment on Proposed Revisions to Local Patent Rules
Practice: IP Litigation
PDFOn December 11, 2017, the Judges of the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts proposed amendments to Local Rule 16.6 governing patent proceedings. 

November Trust and Estates Litigation Advisory
Practice: Probate & Fiduciary Litigation
First, effective as of November 20, 2017, the Probate and Family Court issued Standing Order 3-17 establishing the Fiduciary Litigation Session as a pilot project.  As explained in the Standing Order, “[t]he goal of the FLS is to provide a specialized forum for the speedy resolution of contested and complex probate litigation cases and to provide individualized and collaborative case management to reduce the costs associated with fiduciary litigation.”

Town of Chelmsford, et al. v. Newport Materials, LLC, et al
Practice: Litigation, Real Estate
PDFIn Town of Chelmsford, et al. v. Newport Materials, LLC, et al., C.A. No. 1681CV03455 (Mass. Super. Ct. Sept. 6, 2017), the Town of Chelmsford appealed a Westford Planning Board (“Board”) decision granting Newport Materials, LLC and 540 Groton Road, LLC (collectively, “Newport”) special permits for the construction and operation of an asphalt manufacturing plant on property located in Westford, near the Chelmsford line. 

Trustees of Cambridge Point Condominium Trust v. Cambridge Point, LLC
Practice: Litigation, Real Estate
PDFIn Trustees of Cambridge Point Condominium Trust v. Cambridge Point, LLC, No. MICV-2014-03136, 2016 WL 9753783 (Mass. Super. Nov. 18, 2016), appeal argued, SJC No. 2017-P-0113 (Mass. 2017), the trustees (“Trustees”) of the Cambridge Point Condominium (“Condominium”) Trust filed an action against the developers that built the Condominium, Cambridge Point, LLC and others (collectively, the “Developer”), seeking damages for common area construction defects.  The Superior Court dismissed the action because the Trustees failed to comply with the provision of the Condominium bylaws (“Bylaws”) concerning filing lawsuits on behalf of the Condominium Trust (the “Litigation Provision”), and rejected the Trustees’ assertion that the Litigation Provision was unenforceable.  The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court agreed to hear the Trustees’ appeal of the Superior Court decision on direct review, and held oral arguments on October 5, 2017.  Its decision is currently pending. 
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