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Are You Getting All of Your Brownfields Tax Credits?
Practice: Environmental, Green Business, Real Estate
While Massachusetts first created a Brownfields tax credit in 1998 to encourage the redevelopment of Brownfields sites, until recently, this very useful tax credit was in danger of becoming history. Fortunately, with the finalization of the Housing Bond Bill at the end of last month, the credit is now available for an additional five years to certain taxpayers who clean up qualifying sites in Massachusetts. The tax credit can be up to 50% of the net cost of the work.

Massachusetts Federal Court Issues New Rules Governing Patent Litigation
Practice: Intellectual Property, Litigation
On June 1, 2018, amended local rule 16.6 governing patent litigation in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts (D. Mass.) will go into effect.

Supreme Court Upholds Employment Class Action Waivers in Arbitration Agreements
Practice: Employment, Litigation
Issue: Whether class and collective action waivers in employment arbitration agreements are enforceable under the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) and do not violate Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

G&S Litigation Victory - Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association, Inc. v. Alzheimer’s Foundation of America
Practice: IP Litigation, Litigation
Marty Edel and Adam Safer secured a victory for the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (“AFA”) in an action against it by the Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Association, Inc. (“Association”).  The case involved the scope of the Lanham Act (and related state claims) as applied to keywords and on-line advertising that appears on a search engine results page where the marks are similar.  Specifically, the Association contended that AFA advertising in which AFA referred to itself as “Alzheimer’s Foundation” was likely to cause confusion with the Association’s two-word, registered pre-existing mark, “Alzheimer’s Association.”  Also, the Association argued that AFA’s purchase of Association trademarks as search engine keywords constituted trademark infringement and false designation of origin by driving traffic to AFA’s links.

Real Litigation - Barkan, et al. v. Brown, et al.
Practice: Litigation, Real Estate Litigation
PDFIn Barkan, et al. v. Brown, et al., No. 17-MISC-000371 (Mass. Land Court, Nov. 27, 2017), the Land Court stopped a group of homeowners from attempting to have a second bite at stopping a neighbor’s development project.  Initially, a group of homeowners sought zoning enforcement action to preclude the issuance of a Certificate of Use and Occupancy for a neighboring home.  The Building Commissioner denied the request and the Board of Appeals denied the homeowners’ appeal.  

Real Litigation - Maroney, et al. v. Fiorentini, et al.
Practice: Litigation, Real Estate Litigation
PDFIn Maroney, et al. v. Fiorentini, et al., U.S. Dist. Ct., No. 1:16-cv-11575-DLC (D. Mass. Dec., 2017), Magistrate Judge Cabell in the United States District Court of Massachusetts partially denied a motion brought by defendants, the City of Haverhill (“the City”), its Mayor and its Deputy Director of Public Works, to grant judgment in their favor based on failure by the plaintiff developer to assert cognizable claims for civil rights and due process violations, interference with contractual relations, and conspiracy claims.

Real Litigation - Reichenbach v. Haydock
Practice: Litigation, Real Estate Litigation
PDFIn Reichenbach v. Haydock, 92 Mass.App.Ct. 567 (2017), the Massachusetts Appeals Court clarified the evolving legal framework used to determine whether a case should be dismissed under G.L. c. 231, § 59H, the anti-Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation (“anti-SLAPP”) statute. The anti-SLAPP statute can be used to quickly dismiss claims, and win attorney’s fees, in a variety of situations in which the conduct underlying the lawsuit consists of protected “petitioning activity.”

Statute of Limitations for Massachusetts Hazardous Waste Property Damages Claims Clarified (And, Possibly, Extended)
Practice: Development/Land Use, Environmental, Green Business, Real Estate, Real Estate Litigation, Regulatory
Recently the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court found that the statute of limitations for a property damage claim brought by a private party under Chapter 21E did not begin to run until that private party knew that the environmental damage to their property was permanent.  As noted in the Court’s opinion, “The plaintiff must have knowledge that he or she suffered damage that is not curable by the MCP remediation process.”

Legislation Introduced to Amend the Framework Element of the Comprehensive Plan
Practice: DC Land Use, Zoning & Historic Preservation, Development/Land Use
Since initiating the process to amend the District of Columbia Comprehensive Plan (“Plan”), the Office of Planning (“OP”) has received over 3000 comments from stakeholders.  Legislation was recently put forth before the District Council to amend the Framework Element of the Plan in an effort to prioritize and expedite the adoption of certain amendments.  The Framework Element is often considered the foundation of the Plan as it establishes guidance, themes, and land use descriptions otherwise found throughout the Plan. 

Tax Reform Advisory: Provisions Impacting Debt Financing
Practice: Banking & Finance, 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 take effect as of January 1, 2018, and generally apply to tax years beginning after 2017.  Certain highlights of the Act that may be relevant to debt financing transactions are discussed below. 
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