June 2015 Archives

Being bullied is not itself a legally recognizable disability if it does not rise to the level of adversely impacting educational performance.

Matter of Paul T. v South Huntington Union Free Sch. Dist. (2015 NY Slip Op 25207) by Leonard E Sienko Jr

The SEQR Findings Statement for high-volume hydraulic fracturing (HVHF) was issued on June 29, 2015. This concluded DEC's comprehensive, seven-year review and officially prohibits HVHF in New York.

The full 2015 Final SGEIS document is available as two large PDF files: Volume 1 (PDF) (35.8 MB) and Volume 2 (PDF) (8.4 MB). Although they are very large files, they are downloadable and searchable. Please note that new text in the final SGEIS has been underlined to indicate revisions to the 2011 revised draft SGEIS text, in accordance with the requirements of the SEQRA regulations, and vertical lines have been placed in the page margins at those locations.

"The CFPB will be issuing a proposed amendment to delay the effective date of the Know Before You Owe rule until October 1, 2015. We made this decision to correct an administrative error that we just discovered in meeting the requirements under federal law, which would have delayed the effective date of the rule by two weeks. We further believe that the additional time included in the proposed effective date would better accommodate the interests of the many consumers and providers whose families will be busy with the transition to the new school year at that time."

Prof. Younger only gets better with age.  Here is his wonderful classic.

Public Hearings on Eligibility for Assignment of Counsel-ILS

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In accordance with the settlement agreement between the State of New York and a plaintiff class represented by the New York Civil Liberties Union in Hurrell-Harrina et at. v. State of New York and approved by the Albany County Supreme Court, the Office of Indigent Legal Services (ILS) is charged with developing and issuing criteria and procedures to guide courts in counties located outside of New York City in determining whether a person is unable to afford counsel and eligible for mandated representation.

In furtherance of this responsibility, ILS will conduct a series of public hearings in each of the nine (9) judicial districts outside of New York City to solicit the views of county officials, judges, institutional providers of representation, assigned counsel, current and former indigent legal services clients and other individuals, programs, organizations and stakeholders interested in assisting ILS in establishing criteria and procedures to guide courts when determining eligibility for mandated legal representation in criminal and family court proceedings.  The first of these hearings will be in Syracuse, New York on July 9.

For more information, and instructions for providing written or oral testimony, go to: https://www.ils.ny.gov/files/Eligibility%20Public%20Hearings%20Notice.pdf.  Please feel free to contact me (or any member of the ILS staff) if you have questions about the hearings.

                      Take good care,

Angela Olivia Burton, Esq.

Director of Quality Enhancement, Parent Representation

New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services

80 South Swan Street, 29th Floor

Albany, New York 12210

Desk:  518-474-4859

Cell:  518-491-0094

Fax:  518-474-0505



At the closing, the Title Closer is entrusted with transmitting by over-night delivery the payment in full satisfactory to satisfy the mortgage in full, at the risk to the Title Closer of these funds being insufficient to satisfy the mortgage, in full, at the further risk of the Lender returning these funds back to the Title Agency as being insufficient to satisfy the mortgage, with the clock continuing to run on a per diem basis, at the risk to the Title Closer in having to go in pocket to make up the difference, so as to not cause the mortgage to satisfied late, causing a late fee to be imposed as against the mortgagor, as well as a "black mark" on the mortgagor's credit report.

For this task, the Title Closer is paid what is referred to as a "pick up fee".  This is a fee paid to the Title Closer, not for the ministerial task of placing the check in an over-night envelope, but instead to serve as a "quasi-insurer" to ensure that all of the above tasks are fully executed on, to full completion, at the risk of potentially costing the Title Closer a small fortune for failing to execute on all, and I do mean ALL, of these above tasks.

For this, in an effort to save a Seller the pickup fee charge of 275.00, more or less, the Department of Financial Services wants to eliminate this charge, thereby preventing a Seller who must pay off his or her mortgage at a closing from having to pay this charge.


SEND YOUR COMMENTS TO:   ellen.buxbaum@dfs.ny.gov.

Supreme Court | US Law | LII / Legal Information Institute

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Legal Information Institute: Supreme Court


This archive from the Legal Information Institute is an excellent and frequently updated database concerning the activities of the U.S. Supreme Court. Readers may like to start with the Most Recent Decisions. Selecting any case navigates to a page featuring the Syllabus, Opinion, Concurrences, and Dissents of the Supreme Court's most recent deliberations. In addition, readers may scout the Current awareness section, which examines decisions, orders, and case updates by date, as well as an Archive of decisions, which can be browsed by topic, author, and party. The site also features an excellent search function. For instance, typing "gay marriage" returns half a dozen important cases, including the landmark 2013 decision, United States v. Windsor, in which the court held that restricting marriage rights to heterosexual couples was unconstitutional.

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout 1994-2015. https://www.scout.wisc.edu

Regulation 208 Comment-Lewis C. Taishoff, Esq.

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Lewis C. Taishoff, Esq.
Jun 18, 2015 8:34 AM
Lewis C. Taishoff, Esq.

I sent the following comment to DFS.

There follow my comments in the proposed Regulation 208, principally Section 227.2. I have practiced law in New York State, principally in the field of real estate, for 48 years. I have represented the People (in the New York State Attorney General's Office), borrowers, lenders, sellers, purchasers and brokers.

I am forwarding this e-mail to the New York State Bar Association Real Property Section listserv, in case any member thereof has any further comment or correction.

As regards pick-up fees, these are essential if a proper title insurance policy, whether for purchaser or lender, is to be issued. Someone must be responsible for seeing to it that the required remittance of all funds necessary to satisfy an existing lien is properly transmitted and received, and any necessary satisfaction piece or other instrument discharging same is received and duly recorded. If not by the insurer, or the insurer's agent, then by whom? Does the Department think an attorney's fee for undertaking this task, whether by attorney for lender, seller or purchaser, would be less than the title closer's? And does the attorney thereby become agent for the title insurer? In any event, the charge for "pick-up" in the field of cooperative apartment sales and financings is embodied in UCC §9-513(e)(2), which provides, in pertinent part: "Unless the secured party has agreed otherwise or the cooperative interest settlement takes place at the offices of the secured party, the secured party or its agent shall be entitled to a reasonable fee for attendance at the cooperative interest settlement. " Why should the closing of a one-family house, a residential condominium unit, or, for that matter, the Empire State Building, be different, especially when the Legislature has expressly approved the same?

As regards low-cost or no-cost CLE programs, what is the harm? If it be thought that the programs would be disguised sales pitches, I strongly suggest you attend one such and look at the attendees. We are all of us New York practicing attorneys, and can sort out a sales pitch as well as anyone else, if not better. Besides, the Department might want to spare a passing glance at the 32 pages of regulations at 22NYCRR§1500, whereunder such programs are regulated. It might be well if the Department coordinated its approach with the Continuing Legal Education Board, the body charged with oversight of the CLE program. It would seem the Department has not done so.

I do object to cancelling agents' and carriers' holiday parties, and banning the odd hockey or baseball ticket, but that is a personal and not a legal objection. Fortunately, I can afford to buy my own dinner and drinks. The baseball tickets are not that much an inducement; I'd rather have my deals close, and close right.

Lewis Taishoff Esq.
New York NY
(917) 459-7875

SEND YOUR COMMENTS TO:   ellen.buxbaum@dfs.ny.gov.

ABA publication - Child Safety: A Guide for Judges and Attorneys (Free)

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Today's Share:


"Ever wonder what "parenting classes" have to do with child safety?  Ever wish that child welfare workers would use plain language in describing their investigation?  Ever been frustrated at a hearing in which the parent has met all of the conditions in the reunification plan, but the parties can't assure the Court that the child can be safely returned?

 If your answer is "yes" to any of these questions, this publication was written to assist you. Through a unique collaboration, the National Resource Center for Child Protective Services and the National Child Resource Center on Legal and Judicial Issues have produced a document which not only answers these questions, but is targeted at taking the mystery out of assuring child safety."



Hat tip to:

Angela Olivia Burton, Esq.

Director of Quality Enhancement, Parent Representation

New York State Office of Indigent Legal Services

80 South Swan Street, 29th Floor

Albany, New York 12210

Desk:  518-474-4859

Cell:  518-491-0094

Fax:  518-474-0505


This is a link to the New York State Land Title Association's advocacy page where you can view NYSLTA-produced guidance on the proposed regulation, which can be used as a head-start on any comment you may wish to make: http://nyslta.site-ym.com/?page=MemberAdvocacy

The SAPA period for commenting upon Regulation 208 (11 NYCRR 227) ends on June 22, 2015. 

Summary of proposed new 11 NYCRR 227 (Insurance Regulation 208).

This rule interprets and implements Insurance Law section 6409(d) by delineating certain expenditures

that, when provided by title insurance corporations or title insurance agents to "current or prospective customers" as an inducement for title insurance business, are prohibited by the Insurance Law. The rule mandates new reporting requirements to exclude all prohibited expenditures from the rates, thereby ensuring that these expenditures do not contribute to excessive rates. The rule further sets parameters with respect to ancillary charges, ensuring that title insurance corporations and title insurance agents do not charge consumers in New York improper and excessive closing costs .


The proposed regulation prohibits "pick up fees" for closers.  This should add to the cost of closings and delay transactions.


Date Published in State Register: May 06, 2015

Contact: Ellen Buxbaum

DIY Law Firm Letterhead, Using Microsoft Word - Lawyerist

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***  Using resources like Typography for Lawyers, a few Word tips, and perhaps a bit of well-placed graphic design help, you can design your own letterhead. Here are step-by-step instructions for designing your own letterhead in Microsoft Word, plus examples from Lawyerist readers who have done just that.1


In this month's "Asked and Answered", Seattle lawyer Ryan Espegard chats with the ABA Journal's Stephanie Francis Ward about how he advises the marijuana industry--being mindful of state and federal regulation--and what sorts of business development activities have worked for him.

EJSCREEN: Environmental Justice Screening and Mapping Tool | US EPA

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The EPA was directed to set standards for radi...

The EPA was directed to set standards for radioactive materials under Reorganization Plan No. 3 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

EJSCREEN is an environmental justice mapping and screening tool that provides EPA with a nationally consistent dataset and approach for combining environmental and demographic indicators. EJSCREEN users choose a geographic area; the tool then provides demographic and environmental information for that area. All of the EJSCREEN indicators are publicly-available data. EJSCREEN simply provides a way to display this information and includes a method for combining environmental and demographic indicators into EJ indexes. 

Presentations will address ethical and substantive standards for the application of attorney-client privilege and work product protection in civil and criminal litigation, in the corporate context, with respect to employees and former employees, joint defense agreements, and the witness/advocate rule. The Panels will address the practical application of those standards in state and federal court litigation, rules addressing inadvertent production and waiver, privilege logs, claw-back agreements, assertions of privilege/work product during depositions, common waiver scenarios, in camera review and dispute resolution issues. Courses will earn three New York State CLE Credits (1.5 Hours Ethics and 1.5 Hours Practice Credits). 

Both Programs will also be available via webcast. Please register for the Programs at http://ww2.ca2.uscourts.gov/cle 


****Northern District of New York: Thursday, June 4, 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM 
James M. Hanley Federal Building, Jury Assembly Room, 100 S. Clinton St., Syracuse, NY 13261 
R.S.V.P. by May 29, 2015 for Northern District of New York Program 

****Eastern District of New York: Thursday, June 18, 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM 
Theodore Roosevelt U.S. Courthouse, Ceremonial Courtroom, 225 Cadman Plaza East, Brooklyn, NY 11201 
R.S.V.P. by June 12, 2015 for Eastern District of New York Program 

Please see the revised information available here: http://www.nynd.uscourts.gov/sites/nynd/files/pdf_cle.pdf

ALTA Settlement Statements

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ALTA has developed standardized ALTA Settlement Statements for title insurance and settlement companies to use to itemize all the fees and charges that both the homebuyer and seller must pay during the settlement process of a housing transaction. 

Settlement statements are currently used in the marketplace in conjunction with the federal HUD-1. T

he ALTA Settlement Statement is not meant to replace the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's Closing Disclosure, which goes into effect on Aug. 1, 2015.

Four versions of the ALTA Settlement Statement are available. - 

Integrated loan disclosure forms & samples

These are downloadable versions of the models and samples that were published in the rule.

Loan estimate

Blank model loan estimate fields annotated to show rule citations
Blank model loan estimate form that illustrates the application of the rule's content requirements (en Español)
Blank model loan estimate that illustrates the application of the optional alternative tables for transactions without a seller (en Español)
Sample of completed loan estimate for fixed rate loan
Sample of completed loan estimate for interest only, adjustable rate loan (en Español)
Sample of completed loan estimate for refinance (en Español)
Sample of completed loan estimate for balloon payment (en Español)
Sample of completed loan estimate for negative amortization (en Español)

Closing disclosure

Blank closing disclosure with fields annotated to show rule citations
Blank closing disclosure that illustrates the application of the rule's content requirements (en Español)
Blank closing disclosure that illustrates the alternative disclosures and modifications permitted for transactions without a seller (en Español)
Blank closing disclosure that illustrates disclosure provided to seller
Blank page 2 of closing disclosure that illustrates modifications to closing cost details
Sample of a completed closing disclosure for fixed rate loan (companion to sample loan estimate above) (en Español)
Sample of a completed closing disclosure for refinance (companion to sample loan estimate above) (en Español)
Sample of the completed closing disclosure for refinance transaction where the closing costs have increased in excess of the good faith requirements
Sample of a completed closing disclosure for refinance in which the consumer must pay additional funds to satisfy the existing mortgage loan securing the property and other existing debt to consummate the transaction
Sample page 3 of closing disclosure (summaries of transactions) for disclosure of consumer funds from a simultaneous second-lien credit transaction
Sample page 3 of closing disclosure (summaries of transactions) for disclosure of funds paid outside of closing

Other blank forms and samples

Blank model form for the written list of settlement service providers
Sample of written list of providers you can shop for
Sample of written list of providers you cannot shop for
Blank model form of the escrow cancellation notice

Go to CFPB page for complete information, including access to webinars.

HUD-1 Going Away: Understand New Closing Forms, Procedures - YouTube-NAR

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The HUD-1 settlement statement and Good Faith Estimate forms are going away on August 1. The Truth in Lending Act disclosure is going away as well. In their place will be a new closing disclosure and a new loan estimate. There will be changes to the closing process as well, including a new rule requiring everything to be in place three days prior to closing. And last-minute changes face new hurdles. Learn about the changes in this walk-through from the NAR.

New YouTube Videos, Online Resources Help Taxpayers Abroad

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YouTube: Online Resources Help Taxpayers Abroad

Do you have clients living abroad? With the June 15 filing deadline for Americans abroad fast approaching, the IRS has launched three new online videos and expanded other online resources to help taxpayers, especially those living abroad, meet their U.S. tax obligations.

Three new videos are now available on the IRS YouTube page, and several more of interest to taxpayers abroad will be released in coming weeks. Now available are:


THIS IS MY ghost gun. To quote the rifleman's creed, there are many like it, but this one is mine. It's called a "ghost gun"--a term popularized by gun control advocates but increasingly adopted by gun lovers too--because it's an untraceable semiautomatic rifle with no serial number, existing beyond law enforcement's knowledge and control. And if I feel a strangely personal connection to this lethal, libertarian weapon, it's because I made it myself, in a back room of WIRED's downtown San Francisco office on a cloudy afternoon. 

I did this mostly alone. I have virtually no technical understanding of firearms and a Cro-Magnon man's mastery of power tools. Still, I made a fully metal, functional, and accurate AR-15. To be specific, I made the rifle's lower receiver; that's the body of the gun, the only part that US law defines and regulates as a "firearm." All I needed for my entirely legal DIY gunsmithing project was about six hours, a 12-year-old's understanding of computer software, an $80 chunk of aluminum, and a nearly featureless black 1-cubic-foot desktop milling machine called the Ghost Gunner.

The Ghost Gunner is a $1,500 computer-numerical-controlled (CNC) mill sold by Defense Distributed, the gun access advocacy group that gained notoriety in 2012 and 2013 when it began creating 3-D-printed gun parts and the Liberator, the world's first fully 3-D-printed pistol....


Read entire article.

What: Free Webinar - Taxability of Fringe Benefits Part Three: Other Compensation and Payments to Employees

When: July 9, 2015; 2 p.m. (Eastern)

How: Register for this event. You will use the same link to attend the event.

Learn about:

  • Uniforms and clothing allowances
  • Other types of compensation
  • Payment of awards and prizes
  • Professional licenses and dues

What else: Don't forget to register for these webinars:

Backup Withholding and Form 1099 Miscellaneous

Taxability of Fringe Benefits Part Two: Commonly Provided Fringe Benefits

If you have any questions or comments, please send us an e-mail.

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2015 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2015 is the previous archive.

July 2015 is the next archive.

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