About SGR

    Alan B. Epstein, Chair of the Employment Law Group of Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci P.C., has been selected as one of the 500 Leading Plaintiff Employment Lawyers by Lawdragon™ in its 2019 list of the nation’s best plaintiff employment attorneys.

    Epstein was also selected for the honor last year, in the list’s inaugural year.  Honorees are chosen in Lawdragon™’s research-driven, journalistic process that vets the views of peers and competitors, and recognizes large wins.  Practitioners who were recognized have been securing positive results for workers for 10 years to more than 50 years.  Epstein was one of only 17 Philadelphia lawyers chosen for the distinction.

    Epstein concentrates his practice in civil litigation representation in the areas of employment rights, civil rights and constitutional torts and the provision of transactional advice in all areas of corporate governance, including personalized advice to corporate officers, boards and board members regarding adherence to state and federal regulations. He is frequently called upon to provide transactional advice to, negotiate employment contracts and severance agreements on behalf of, and litigate matters for, corporate entities, corporate officers and directors, and licensed professionals (and their entities), including lawyers, doctors, bankers, accountants, pharmacists and architects, as well as insurance, real estate and security brokers.

    Epstein has litigated complex claims before courts throughout the United States and has been admitted to practice in cases pending before numerous state and federal trial and appellate courts and administrative agencies in Pennsylvania, California, Delaware, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, Texas and Washington as well as the United States Supreme Court. He is a frequent lecturer in his areas of concentration across the United States, and has served as an expert witness in state and federal courts regarding employment law and the professional and ethical responsibilities of lawyers.

    He is a Fellow in the prestigious international College of Labor and Employment Lawyers and has served on its Board of Governors as an officer (Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President and then President) since 2011. He continues to serve on the College’s Board as its Past President.  He holds an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell™, has been named as one of the Best Lawyers in America™ in the publication of that name for more than 10 years, and has been awarded Lifetime Achievement Awards by the Philadelphia’s The Legal Intelligencer and Marquis Who’s Who.  He has been named a top 100 Superlawyer™ in Philadelphia and Pennsylvania and has also been selected as one of the nation’s 500 Leading Lawyers (2010), Top 500 Plaintiff’s Lawyers (2009), and Top 500 Litigators (2006) by Lawdragon™.   He has served as a volunteer mentor and Panel Coordinator for the Employment Litigation Panel of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, and as a national leader and Inn President in the American Inns of Court movement.

    In the context of significant litigation in the employment law area, Epstein is well known for his participation in high-profile litigation for individuals and corporate entities (including his representation of a young, HIV-positive attorney against a prestigious Philadelphia law firm that received national attention because of the daily televising of the trial by Court TV and CNN and the award-winning film “Philadelphia” starring Tom Hanks and Denzel Washington) and for his frequent representation of local and national sports figures, broadcast personalities, and officers and directors of large national corporations.

    Epstein was also the founder and President/CEO of JUDICATE, The National Private Court System, a publicly held company coordinating private dispute resolution services through approximately 700 former judges throughout the United States and its territories. In the area of alternative dispute resolution, he has additionally lectured and served as a mediator and arbitrator by private appointment and through certification by state and federal courts.

    Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci LLP has represented clients nationally and internationally for 45 years and provides counsel and expertise across the entire spectrum of legal practice, from complex litigation to sophisticated transactional and corporate matters.  The firm has offices in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Florida, New York and Atlanta.

    The firm represents businesses, corporate boards, and highly placed individuals.  Its clients are engaged in a variety of industries including finance and banking, manufacturing, hospitality, gaming and entertainment, real estate and commercial development, insurance and venture capital, energy, financial services, health care, security and telecommunications.

    The firm’s practice areas include high stakes litigation, business disputes, commercial litigation, professional liability, products liability, securities, trust and estates, fiduciary litigation, bankruptcy and creditors rights, civil RICO, trade secrets, trademark and restrictive covenants, intellectual property, antitrust, white-collar criminal defense, banking and financial services, corporate formation and governance, cyber risk and security, employment, entertainment and amusements, environment and energy, wealth management, healthcare, hospitality, insurance coverage and insured casualty litigation, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, real estate, sports and tax law.

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    Leslie Beth Baskin, chair of Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci P.C.’s Bankruptcy and Creditors Rights Group and member of its Corporate Law Group, testified in her capacity as Chapter 11 Trustee for the Legal Coverage Group estate at the October 2019 sentencing hearing of its principal and sole owner, Gary Alan Frank.

    Frank was sentenced to 17½ years in prison and ordered to pay $33.7 million in restitution by the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for, inter alia, wire fraud, bankruptcy fraud and money laundering.  Baskin was appointed Chapter 11 Trustee by the Office of the United States Trustee to locate and administer assets for creditors and was successful, with the assistance of financial and economic consulting firm Asterion, in liquidating assets fraudulently bought with funds of the Legal Coverage Group, mostly for the personal benefit of Frank.

    The funds Baskin collected will be used to pay claims of creditors, including the victims of his criminal actions.

    Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci LLP has represented clients nationally and internationally for 45 years and provides counsel and expertise across the entire spectrum of legal practice, from complex litigation to sophisticated transactional and corporate matters.  The firm has offices in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Florida, New York and Atlanta.

    The firm represents businesses, corporate boards, and highly placed individuals.  Its clients are engaged in a variety of industries including finance and banking, manufacturing, hospitality, gaming and entertainment, real estate and commercial development, insurance and venture capital, energy, financial services, health care, security and telecommunications.

    The firm’s practice areas include high stakes litigation, business disputes, commercial litigation, professional liability, products liability, securities, trust and estates, fiduciary litigation, bankruptcy and creditors rights, civil RICO, trade secrets, trademark and restrictive covenants, intellectual property, antitrust, white-collar criminal defense, banking and financial services, corporate formation and governance, cyber risk and security, employment, entertainment and amusements, environment and energy, wealth management, healthcare, hospitality, insurance coverage and insured casualty litigation, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, real estate, sports and tax law.

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    Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci LLP (SGRV) has announced that Jay E. Kagan has joined the firm as a Member in the Commercial Litigation, Corporate Law, Securities Law and Real Estate Litigation Groups.

    Kagan concentrates his practice on complex corporate and commercial litigation, professional errors and omissions liability, fiduciary liability, directors & officers liability, securities fraud and internal corporate investigations.  He represents broker-dealers and registered representatives in matters before the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA).  Kagan has extensive experience handling all aspects of coverage analysis, claims management, mediation and resolution of all types of claims, including securities class actions, derivative actions and other complex litigation.

    In a career spanning more than 20 years, Kagan has litigated disputes in state and federal courts for professional liability insurers, involving a wide variety of coverages and provisions. He has represented corporate and insured entities, from the first notice of a potential claim through trial and appeal in state and federal courts.

    Kagan’s publicly traded clients and relationships have included CNA Insurance, RSUI Insurance Group, Aspen Insurance, Sompo International Insurance, Simon Property Group, Campbell Soup Company and Cedar Realty Trust.

    Kagan received a J.D. from Rutgers Law School – Camden, and a B.A. from Rutgers College.  He is admitted to practice in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

    Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci LLP has represented clients nationally and internationally for 45 years and provides counsel and expertise across the entire spectrum of legal practice, from complex litigation to sophisticated transactional and corporate matters.  The firm has offices in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Florida, New York and Atlanta.

    The firm represents businesses, corporate boards, and highly placed individuals.  Its clients are engaged in a variety of industries including finance and banking, manufacturing, hospitality, gaming and entertainment, real estate and commercial development, insurance and venture capital, energy, financial services, health care, security and telecommunications.

    The firm’s practice areas include high stakes litigation, business disputes, commercial litigation, professional liability, products liability, securities, trust and estates, fiduciary litigation, bankruptcy and creditors rights, civil RICO, trade secrets, trademark and restrictive covenants, intellectual property, antitrust, white-collar criminal defense, banking and financial services, corporate formation and governance, cyber risk and security, employment, entertainment and amusements, environment and energy, wealth management, healthcare, hospitality, insurance coverage and insured casualty litigation, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, real estate, sports and tax law.

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    Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci P.C. Shareholder and Director George M. Vinci, Jr. has been selected by the Philadelphia Business Journal as 2019 Best of the Bar: Philadelphia’s Top Lawyers.  The award honors the Philadelphia region’s top attorneys who have distinguished themselves in their specialties including significant and recent victories.  Hundreds of nominations were received and evaluated by the Philadelphia Business Journal Editorial Board and three independent judges.

    In December 2018, Vinci secured a $100 million ($100,000,000) award against international accounting firm Grant Thornton LLP for its marketing of an abusive tax shelter.  He successfully argued the case, which had 40 witnesses and more than 600 exhibits, from the trial court level to the Kentucky Supreme Court.  As one of the highest verdicts ever obtained in that state, the precedent-setting ruling, which included an $80,000,000 punitive award, sent an important message.

    The Business Journal will honor the Best of the Bar winners on Thursday, Oct. 29, from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Crystal Tea Room in Philadelphia.

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    George M. Vinci, Jr., Shareholder and Director of Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci P.C., will speak on “Premature and Unripe, or an Opportunity to Eliminate Potential Damages? Creating a Defense Strategy When the Legal Malpractice Claim is Still Developing” at the American Bar Association’s Fall 2019 National Legal Malpractice Conference in San Diego, Calif. on Sept. 12.

    Vinci and his fellow panel members will discuss strategic issues involved when a legal malpractice claim is asserted at a time when it’s uncertain what will happen with the “case” inside the legal malpractice case, including how to decide whether to join the former client in defending the suit or instead to punt the legal malpractice case as premature.

    The panel will also address the pros and cons of the lawyer attempting to reduce or forestall damages by providing curative, continuing representation to the client even after the malpractice claim is threatened or asserted, including the effects on the lawyer’s ongoing duty of loyalty to the client and the assertion of the attorney-client privilege for the lawyer’s own defense.

    Vinci will be joined on the panel by Rinat Klier Erlich, Partner at Manning & Kass, Ellrod, Ramirez, Trester LLP in Los Angeles, Calif.; and Mark Scruggs, Senior Claims Counsel at Lawyers Mutual Liability Insurance Company of North Carolina in Durham, N.C.

    Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci P.C. has represented clients nationally and internationally for 45 years and provides counsel and expertise across the entire spectrum of legal practice, from complex litigation to sophisticated transactional and corporate matters.  The firm has offices in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Florida, New York and Atlanta.

    The firm represents businesses, corporate boards, and highly placed individuals.  Its clients are engaged in a variety of industries including finance and banking, manufacturing, hospitality, gaming and entertainment, real estate and commercial development, insurance and venture capital, energy, financial services, health care, security and telecommunications.

    The firm’s practice areas include high stakes litigation, business disputes, commercial litigation, professional liability, products liability, securities, trust and estates, fiduciary litigation, bankruptcy and creditors rights, civil RICO, trade secrets, trademark and restrictive covenants, intellectual property, antitrust, white-collar criminal defense, banking and financial services, corporate formation and governance, cyber risk and security, employment, entertainment and amusements, environment and energy, wealth management, healthcare, hospitality, insurance coverage and insured casualty litigation, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, real estate, sports and tax law.

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    Joseph J. Devine, a Member of Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci P.C. and Chair of its Corporate Law Group, was a panelist for the BioStrategy Partners, Inc. (BioSP) seminar, “Company Formation: Avoiding Mistakes, Reducing Costs and Structuring for Growth” at University Place Associates in Philadelphia on June 21, 2019.  Devine led the three-member panel discussion, speaking on topics such as selecting the appropriate type of legal entity early in the company’s development, complying with securities and employment laws, and instituting a policy for social media, data collection and other online and mobile activities.

    BioSP is a nonprofit consortium of academic medical centers and research institutes committed to the development and transfer of academic research into the marketplace.  The seminar was held as part of the consortium’s Practical Knowledge Series.

    Devine devotes much of his practice to representing entrepreneurs and growth businesses in a variety of industries.  In his 30 years of practice, he has represented public and privately held companies, as well as investors, in a wide range of corporate and business transactional matters, including mergers and acquisitions, equity and debt offerings, securities law compliance, credit facilities, private equity and venture capital, and governance.

    Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci P.C. represents business and commercial law clients nationally and internationally, serving entities, corporate boards and highly placed individuals engaged in multifaceted industries (including finance and banking, manufacturing, hospitality, gaming and entertainment, real estate and commercial development, insurance and venture capital) through a cadre of dedicated and highly skilled lawyers with a reputation for using unique strategies, and a proven success record with tough cases.  The firm’s practice groups include banking and financial services, bankruptcy and creditor rights, commercial litigation, corporate formation and governance, cyber risk and security, employment, entertainment and amusements, environment and energy, estates, trust and wealth management, healthcare, hospitality, insurance coverage and insured casualty litigation, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, professional liability, real estate, securities and sports, and tax law.

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    When There Really Isn’t Any There There:  The Supreme Court in  North Carolina Department of Revenue v. Kimberley Rice Kaestner 1992 Family Trust

    By Morgan Maxwell

    When the Supreme Court speaks we expect some broad pronouncement, a grand statement settling an intractable problem going to the very essence of the function and application of law in an ordered society.  Particularly so in matters of taxation, not only because I am a tax lawyer, but because taxation is where Government and the citizenry interact most frequently, most universally, sometimes most grindingly, and with the most variety.  As much as we (or some of us) might want a select group of Solons to resolve every question and achieve perfect balance, sometimes the courts, even the Supreme Court, is constrained to simply decide the case in front of it, and thus there may be no greater meaning to be imparted except the resolution of the immediate dispute.  This was the case in Kaestner Family Trust, decided by the Court on June 21, 2019.¹

    This case starkly demonstrates the dichotomy between a common sense view of how the law should be interpreted and applied, and a hyper-technical legalistic approach.  This was a fairly easy case, from a common sense point of view.²  North Carolina was seeking to tax income of a trust that had almost nothing to do with North Carolina, except for the accident of a beneficiary of the trust moving to North Carolina years after the trust was created.  On the other hand, the Department of Revenue had a fairly straight-forward argument: the North Carolina courts had held that this tax could be imposed if a trust merely had a North Carolina resident as a beneficiary.

    The problem with trusts (or is it their glory?) is that one can create one’s own legal universe; the idiosyncratic provisions one might choose are limited only by the settlor’s imagination.³ In Kaestner Family Trust, an idiosyncratic trust met a fairly idiosyncratic law⁴ and produced a result of extremely narrow application.

    The original trust was formed nearly 30 years ago by a New York resident for the benefit of his three children, and its trust instrument provided that it was to be governed by New York law.  The initial trustee was a New York resident, succeeded along the way by a Connecticut

                                                   

    ¹  South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., 585 U.S. ___ (2018)., discussed herein, another tax case, was decided on this same date in 2018.  I cannot wait to see what happens on June 21, 2020.

    ² I’ve warned you in prior blogs not to be beguiled by common sense when it comes to taxation.

    ³  Occasionally, a trust provision will be held to violate some greater interest, such as “public policy” or even the Constitution: see The Girard Trust case, Pennsylvania v. Board of Trusts, 353 U.S. 230 (1957).

    ⁴  Several times in its opinion the Court was at pains to explain that very few if any other states had a taxing scheme anything like North Carolina’s resident.  The trust’s documents and records were maintained in New York, and the custodians of the trust’s property were located in Massachusetts.  The trust instrument granted the trustee “absolute discretion” to distribute the trust’s assets to the beneficiaries “in such amounts and proportions” as the trustee might “from time to time” decide (as quoted by the Court).  In other words, the beneficiaries had no right to receive income or principal, no power to demand any distributions, and no expectation whatsoever as to whether or when any distributions of income or principal would be made by the trustee.⁵

    One of the beneficiaries, Kimberley Rice Kaestner, moved to North Carolina with her minor children in 1997, and a few years later, the trustee divided the original trust into three separate trusts, one for each of the original settlor’s children.  One of these trusts was the taxpayer in this case.  Each of the separate trusts had the identical terms of the original trust, most importantly the absolute discretion on the part of the trustee as to amounts and timing of distributions; and the same controlling arrangements, residence of trustee, location of trust papers, location of trust property custodians, and so on.

    The relevant North Carolina statute taxes trust income that “is for the benefit of” a North Carolina resident, which the North Carolina courts had interpreted to authorize a tax on a trust on the sole basis that a trust beneficiary resides in the State.  Accordingly, the North Carolina Department of Revenue assessed a tax on the full amount of the Trust’s income for the tax years 2005 through 2008.  The trustee paid the tax under protest and sued for a refund in state court arguing that the tax as applied to the Trust violated the Due Process clause of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    The trial court held in favor of the Trust, concluding that “the Kaestners’ residence in North Carolina was too tenuous a link between the State and the Trust to support the tax…,” under the standards of the Due Process clause.⁶ Both the North Carolina Court of Appeals and the North Carolina Supreme Court affirmed, and the Department of Revenue appealed to the

                                                                           

    ⁵  This might be regarded as an unusual or even an extraordinary provision until one considers that all of the beneficiary’s share of the trust’s property was to be distributed to the beneficiary when he or she turned 40.  This event was to take place after the tax years at issue, 2005 through 2008. In addition, after the tax years at issue, and before Kaestner turned 40, in accordance with Kaestner’s wishes, the trustee rolled the trust assets over into another trust rather than distribute them to Kaestner.

    ⁶  The trial court also held that the tax as applied violated the dormant Commerce Clause of the Constitution.  Neither of the North Carolina appellate courts nor the U.S. Supreme Court addressed this issue, but it is a fascinating one, and was central to the recent U.S. Supreme Court case South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc., 585 U.S. ___ (2018).  For those interested in the topic, see my blog The Supreme Court Tackles the Internet – Remote Sellers and the Sales Tax at my website, www.attorneysfortaxpayers.com.

    U.S. Supreme Court.⁷

    The North Carolina Supreme Court decided in favor of the Trust on the principal grounds that the Trust and its beneficiaries had separate legal existences for tax purposes, and the connection between the beneficiaries and North Carolina could not by itself establish a sufficient taxable connection between the Trust and North Carolina.  The U.S. Supreme Court’s take was slightly different.  It saw the question as “whether the Due Process Clause prohibits States from taxing trusts based only on the in-state residency of trust beneficiaries.”

    Due process can be a relatively slippery concept, but its provenance is deadly serious: the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution provides that “[n]o State shall … deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.”  In the area of taxation, the Court, in a unanimous decision authored by Justice Sotomayor (with a concurring opinion by Justice Alito joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Gorsuch), pointed out that the touchstones of due process are whether there is “some definite link, some minimum connection, between a state and the person, property or transaction it seeks to tax…,” and whether “the income attributed to the State for tax purposes … [is] rationally related to ‘values connected with the taxing State.’”  Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298, 306 (1992).⁸  In other words in other words, in order for a tax to be sustained, the State must have given something for which it can ask return, Wisconsin v. J. C. Penney Co., 311 U.S. 435, 444 (1940); and the imposition of the tax must comport with “fundamental fairness.” Quill at 312.

    As suggested above, there are a lot of ways in which basically the same idea can be expressed, and in the ensuing pages of the Opinion, the Court employed many of them.  At the end of the day, the Court held in favor of the Trust.  Two extensive quotes from Justice Sotomayor’s opinion clearly explain the Court’s rationale:

    “We hold that the presence of in-state beneficiaries alone does not  empower a State to tax trust income that has not been distributed to the beneficiaries where the beneficiaries have no right to demand that  income and are uncertain ever to receive it.  In limiting our holding to the specific facts presented, we do not imply approval or disapproval of trust taxes that are premised on the residence of beneficiaries whose relationship to trust assets differs from that of the beneficiaries here.”

                                                                              

    ⁷  One might wonder why, after being repeatedly rebuffed by the North Carolina courts, the Department of Revenue continued to pursue the matter.  Surely a matter of principle?  Well, the tax involved for the four taxable years amounted to $1.3 million, which at the then-prevailing tax rate means that the Trust was earning nearly $4 million a year.  Certainly dollars worth trying a Hail Mary for.

     ⁸  As noted by the Court, Quill was overruled by Wayfair, the case cited in note 4, but on different grounds.  The Court here noted the second thing it was not addressing: since the North Carolina tax did not meet the “minimum connection” test the tax would fail, and thus the Court saw no need to address the “rational relationship” test.

    “When a tax is premised on the in-state residence of a beneficiary, the  Constitution requires that the resident have some degree of possession, control, or enjoyment of the trust property or a right to receive that property before the State can tax the asset.  Safe Deposit & Trust Co. of Baltimore v. Virginia, 280 U.S. 83, 91-92 (1929).  Otherwise, the State’s relationship to the object of the tax is too attenuated to create the ‘minimum connection’ that the Constitution requires.  See Quill, 504 U.S.,  at 306.”

    To say that the Court intends this to be a narrowly-construed, fact-specific decision would be putting it mildly indeed.  The Court’s litany of those matters, issues or questions that it was specifically not passing on is almost comical: while the Kaestner beneficiaries did not have the requisite relationship with the Trust property to justify the tax, “[w]e do not decide what degree of possession, control, or enjoyment would be sufficient” to support taxation; after pointing out that the Kaestner beneficiaries had no right to assign their interest in the Trust, the Court declined to address whether the right to assign would afford the beneficiary the requisite control, possession or enjoyment to justify taxation; after pointing out, repeatedly, that the Kaestner beneficiaries received no income, could demand no distributions, and were uncertain of ever receiving any distributions, the Court demurred: ”We have no occasion to address, and thus reserve for another day, whether a different result would follow if the beneficiaries were certain to receive funds in the future;” after noting the Trust’s broader argument that only the trustee’s contacts with the taxing State should determine the State’s power over a trust, including its power to tax the trust’s property or income, the Court said: “Because the reasoning above resolves the case in the Trust’s favor, it is unnecessary to reach the Trust’s broader argumemt….”⁹

    It seems that, having been hoisted on the petard of stare decisis in Wayfair¹º, the Court was going to be sure that there would be no reason to accord any stare decisis effect to Kaestner Family Trust.  There will be absolutely no reason to cite the case in any future decision for any substantive point of law except as a reminder of what the Kaestner Family Trust Court told us it was not deciding.  Also, I think, as a reaction to the mess the Court made of stare decisis in Wayfair, Justice Alito in his concurring opinion (joined in by Justice Gorsuch and Chief Justice Roberts), hoped to squelch any supposition that there would be a reason to question the continued vitality of any case relied on:

    “I write separately to make clear that the opinion of the Court merely applies our existing precedent and that its decision not to answer questions not presented by the facts of this  case¹¹  does not open for reconsideration any points resolved by our prior decisions.”

                                                               

    ⁹  There are at least two additional questions that the Court surely would not have addressed.  First, is affirmatively abjuring a future right to possess, control or enjoy property, as was done when the Trust property was rolled over to another trust, tantamount to possessing, controlling or enjoyment for purposes of taxation and the Due Process clause?  Second, does the kind of enjoyment no doubt experienced by the Kaestner beneficiaries and the trustee at keeping the Trust property out of the clutches of the North Carolina Department of Revenue sufficient to satisfy the Due Process clause?

    ¹º  See my blog cited in note 6.

    It is said that hard cases make bad law, and Kaestner Family Trust seems to prove that an idiosyncratic set of facts piled upon an idiosyncratic trust instrument to which an idiosyncratic taxing scheme is applied, makes … no law.  So why did the Supreme Court feel it had to issue a decision in this case?  It was a unanimous decision, a mere affirmance of the North Carolina Supreme Court would have reached the correct result, take the afternoon off.  The Court must have been sufficiently uncomfortable with the North Carolina Supreme Court’s stated grounds – that “the Trust and its beneficiaries had separate legal existences for tax purposes, and the connection between the beneficiaries and North Carolina could not by itself establish a sufficient taxable connection between the Trust and North Carolina.” (quoting from above)  To the extent that “substance” should be preferred to mere “form” in matters of taxation,¹² the North Carolina Supreme Court’s approach might have felt a little too “form-y” when compared to the more “substance-y” failure to achieve minimum contacts and “rational relation” of the Due Process clause jurisprudence.  Or maybe they just wanted to prove, in these contentious times, that they could reach unanimity on something.

                                                               

    ¹¹ There are those who consider that this is what the Supreme Court is always supposed to do.

    ¹²  A high-sounding doctrine that is often, alas, honored in the breach.  Take as only one example from what may be hundreds, a decision upholding a tax the subject of which was the privilege of doing business in the state and the measure of which was net income, on the basis that the tax was not, after all, a tax on net income.  Complete Auto Transit, Inc. v. Brady, 430 U.S. 274 (1977).  The English language can be a dangerous thing in the wrong hands, like a draftsman of a taxing statute or a Department of Revenue.

     

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    Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci LLP (SGRV) has announced that effective July 1, 2019, Cory Chandler, Amy L. Christiansen and Karen E. McManus Rich are now Members of the firm.  All have been with SGRV for many years of dedicated service, previously serving as Associates in the firm.

    Chandler focuses his practice on civil litigation and federal criminal defense.  He represents nursing homes and healthcare providers in complex abuse allegations, represents insurance companies and businesses in labor and employment issues and defends individuals against allegations of white collar crime.  His recent accomplishments include obtaining acquittals of a client on a federal indictment.  Chandler has extensive trial experience having served as lead attorney in more than 60 civil and criminal jury trials.  In addition, he serves as general counsel to the Florida Seaports Counsel, Inc., providing advice on legal matters relating to the success and development of Florida seaports.  He has represented some of the nation’s largest insurance companies in automobile, products liability and premises liability cases.

    Christiansen focuses her civil litigation practice on the defense of nursing home claims, legal malpractice, employment discrimination claims and general commercial litigation.  She also has experience in products liability and toxic tort litigation. Christiansen won an appeal of a summary judgment granted in an employment discrimination case in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.  She tried a nursing home negligence case and obtained a zero damages verdict in Lake County, Fla.  She also assisted with and successfully won jurisdictional defense of a large construction company in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, and won several appeals of motions to compel arbitration in nursing home litigation in various Florida District Courts of Appeal.

    Rich has extensive trial experience as a former criminal prosecutor, enabling her to achieve successful results for her clients in her civil practice in which she has focused in the areas of health care law and employment law for approximately two decades.  She passionately defends long term care facilities and assisted living facilities in complex legal matters such as professional negligence, wrongful death and violation of resident’s rights from pre-suit through arbitration and/or jury trial, and provides legal counsel to them in regulatory compliance and licensure matters.  She defends clients with personal jurisdictional defenses to prevent them from being sued in an improper venue, and also clients seeking to discharge residents from nursing homes by presenting evidence at discharge hearings thereby mitigating litigation risks to her clients.  Additionally, she defends nurses and nursing home administrators in professional license revocation matters.  In the area of employment law, Rich routinely defends claims of discrimination, retaliation, sexual harassment and unpaid overtime charges before the Florida Department of Human Relations, EEOC, Department of Labor and in various state and federal courts.  She also represents employers in union grievances through mediation and arbitration.  Through the insurance practice, she defends claims of professional negligence, legal malpractice as well as personal injury in slip and fall and negligent security/supervision matters.

    Spector Gadon Rosen Vinci LLP has represented clients nationally and internationally for 45 years and provides counsel and expertise across the entire spectrum of legal practice, from complex litigation to sophisticated transactional and corporate matters.  The firm has offices in Philadelphia, New Jersey, Florida, New York and Atlanta.

    The firm represents businesses, corporate boards, and highly placed individuals.  Its clients are engaged in a variety of industries including finance and banking, manufacturing, hospitality, gaming and entertainment, real estate and commercial development, insurance and venture capital, energy, financial services, health care, security and telecommunications.

    The firm’s practice areas include high stakes litigation, business disputes, commercial litigation, professional liability, products liability, securities, trust and estates, fiduciary litigation, bankruptcy and creditors rights, civil RICO, trade secrets, trademark and restrictive covenants, intellectual property, antitrust, white-collar criminal defense, banking and financial services, corporate formation and governance, cyber risk and security, employment, entertainment and amusements, environment and energy, wealth management, healthcare, hospitality, insurance coverage and insured casualty litigation, mergers, acquisitions and divestitures, real estate, sports and tax law.

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