October 2021 Archives


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A new blueprint for solo and small firm lawyers to best navigate times of crisis has been issued by the New York State Bar Association's Emergency Task Force for Solo and Small Firm Practitioners.

The task force's review of the impact of COVID-19 on solo and small-firm practitioners found that the pandemic exponentially increased day-to-day stresses on the operations of law firms, especially solo and small firm practices.

"No part of society escaped COVID's reach, including New York's legal system. Lasting changes will occur," said NYSBA President T. Andrew Brown, of Rochester (Brown Hutchinson). "This timely report expertly details how solo and small firm practitioners can navigate a crisis and continue to serve clients."

Created in March 2020 by Past President Hank Greenberg (Greenberg Traurig), the task force's mandate was to comprehensively examine the effects of the COVID-19 crisis on all aspects of solo and small firm practices, and to make meaningful recommendations as to how solo and small firm practitioners can maintain their practices in times of crisis.

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BY MARK WALSH

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The Supreme Court hears arguments Wednesday in New York State Rifle & Pistol Association Inc. v. Bruen. The simply stated question presented in the case--whether New York's denial of concealed-carry permits to Nash and Koch violates the Second Amendment--cloaks more than a decade of angst among gun-rights supporters seeking greater clarity from the justices about the scope of the amendment's "right of the people to keep and bear arms."

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Andrew Cuomo Criminal Charges Filed After Harassment Probe - NBC New York

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Former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been charged with a misdemeanor sex crime for allegedly groping a woman at the state's Executive Mansion last year. 

Read the full complaint here.

Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the state court system, confirmed a misdemeanor complaint against Cuomo had been filed in a "sex crime" case in Albany City Court.

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Governor Kathy Hochul today signed legislation (S.64/A.1524) establishing a statewide Restaurant Meals Program as part of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP. The legislation mandates the New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to apply for USDA approval to authorize the program, which would allow homeless, elderly and disabled SNAP recipients to use their benefits for prepared or hot food from participating restaurants. Governor Hochul signed this legislation at the Brownsville Recreation Center in Brooklyn, NY on October 4.  

The Governor also announced the launch of the $25 million Restaurant Resiliency Program to provide relief to the restaurant industry, which continues to face severe challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic. The program, proposed by the legislature, will build on the successful Nourish New York initiative. It will provide funding to New York's network of food banks and emergency food providers to purchase prepared meals from New York restaurants and deliver them to families in need. 

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LII has always strived to discover new and better ways to make the law more findable and understandable for the public. Last spring, LII, along with the Canadian Legal Information Institute and Harvard's Library Innovation Lab became advisors to a new Law-and-Artificial-Intelligence research project entitled "FAI: Using AI to Increase Fairness by Improving Access to Justice."

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How to Decide Which MacBook is the Best MacBook for You--Gizmodo

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With four models to choose from and dozens of configurations, buying a MacBook has never been more fun--or more difficult.


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The MacBook lineup has just expanded with brand new 14-inch and 16-inch MacBook Pros available to buy. But there's also the existing MacBook Air and 13-inch MacBook Pro, and they all run on custom-made Apple Silicon chips, all with various configurations available when you buy them direct from Apple. So which of these next-gen Apple laptops is the one for you? 

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Many people mistakenly assume that Social Security is a fairly cut-and-dry proposition. You turn 62 - you get your long-awaited Social Security benefits. Right?

Well, it is not that straight-forward.

It is actually a very complex system that is best navigated under the guidance of a professional who knows something about the more than 8,000 different ways to claim Social Security.

As they say, the devil is in the details.

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Sign up for a wide range of free, up-to-date information from the NYS Office of Cannabis Management.

Area of interest:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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FAQ--ADULT USE CANNABIS AND THE WORKPLACE New York Labor Law 201-D...NYSDOL

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This document is intended to address some of the
most common situations or questions in the workplace related to adult-use cannabis and the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act ("MRTA"). This document does not address the medical use of cannabis. For further assistance with New York Labor Law and the MRTA, please visit New York State's Office of Cannabis Management's website at cannabis.ny.gov or consult with an appropriate professional.

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COVID-19 Relief Program Tracker | Office of the New York State Comptroller

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The Office of the State Comptroller has created this dashboard to track federal relief funds received during the pandemic and eight programs that offer targeted assistance to New Yorkers most severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The tracker explains when each funding stream or program was authorized, how it is designed and how much has been received and spent to date. The data will be updated monthly and will be expanded over time as more information becomes available. We hope the information presented here can be used to help New Yorkers understand how federal aid is used and to inform future conversations about budget investments.

Select a relief program to view its funding and spending, or download this month's data for all programs...

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Failing to understand technology is not just for outside counsel!

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FTI Consulting and the Blickstein Group surveyed various stakeholders within corporate legal departments earlier this year to produce Law Department Operations Technology Survey: The Journey To Modernization, a rich report for those of us trying to take the temperature of the corporate legal department space.

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5th Circuit keeps Texas abortion ban in place - The Washington Post

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By Ann E. Marimow

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The nation's most restrictive abortion law remains in place for now, after a federal appeals court on Thursday sided with the state of Texas.

In a 2-to-1 order, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit refused the Justice Department's request to reinstate an earlier court ruling that temporarily lifted the ban, which bars abortion as early as six weeks into pregnancy and makes no exceptions for rape or incest.

The four-sentence order, which is expected to be appealed to the Supreme Court, was backed by Judges James C. Ho, a nominee of President Donald Trump, and Catharina Haynes, a nominee of President George W. Bush. It did not detail the court's reasoning, but noted the dissent of Judge Carl E. Stewart, a nominee of President Bill Clinton.

The order follows a temporary decision last week by the same panel of judges to reinstate the ban, less than 48 hours after it was suspended by the lower-court judge. The decision was based on previous rulings in a separate challenge, which said that because the ban is enforced by private individuals, and not government officials, it is not clear when and how the law can be challenged in federal court.


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Judge sides with health care workers in vaccine case--State of Politics

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A federal judge in Utica on Tuesday sided with a group of health care workers who have filed a legal challenge to the state's COVID-19 vaccination mandate who are seeking a religious exemption to the requirement. 

The ruling issued by Judge David Hurd blocks New York state health officials from retaliating against health care workers who refuse to receive a COVID-19 vaccination on religious grounds. 

The vaccination mandate for health care workers broadly remains in place; the ruling affects those health care workers who are seeking exemptions based on religious claims. 

"The Department of Health is barred from taking any action, disciplinary or otherwise, against the licensure, certification, residency, admitting privileges or other professional status or qualification of any of the plaintiffs on account of their seeking or having obtained a religious exemption from mandatory COVID-19 vaccination," Hurd wrote in a 27-page ruling.

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Appeals Court Allows Texas Abortion Law to Again Take Effect--Law & Crime

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AARON KELLER

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The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a temporary stay late Friday night against a district court judge's injunction against the State of Texas.  The district court's injunction blocked the state from enforcing a restrictive anti-abortion measure.  The Fifth Circuit's stay means S.B. 8, also called the "Texas Heartbeat Act," is back in effect.

District court judge Robert Pitman -- a Barack Obama appointee to the bench in the Western District of Texas (Austin Division) -- on Wednesday night called S.B. 8 "flagrantly unconstitutional."   The three-judge panel that on Friday jettisoned Pitman's two-day-old injunction was comprised of circuit judges Carl E. Stewart (a Bill Clinton appointee), Catharina Haynes (a George W. Bush appointee), and James C. Ho (a Donald Trump appointee).  The three circuit judges issued the stay "per curiam" -- an order of the complete court.  None signed it individually.


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New York's newly minted Cannabis Control Board met publicly for the first time this week to start crafting long-delayed regulations for overseeing the state's recreational and medical marijuana industry.

During Tuesday's short but sweeping session, the five-member board approved a list of senior staff for the Office of Cannabis Management, the state body responsible for regulating medical and adult-use cannabis, cannabinoid hemp and hemp extracts.


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The Best iPad (2021): Which Apple Tablets to Buy, or Avoid | WIRED

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BUYING AN IPAD should be simple. You just buy whatever's new, right? If only. Apple sells four main iPad models, each with its own strengths. In addition, a growing number of older iPads are floating around the eBays of the world. Since all these devices look pretty much the same, it's important to know what you're buying and what you should pay for it. This guide covers the best iPads available right now, the important differences between models, and every old model that exists (including the ones you shouldn't buy at any price).

Be sure to check out all our buying guides, including the Best iPad AccessoriesBest iPhonesBest iPhone 12 Cases and AccessoriesBest Tablets, and Best MacBooks.

Updated September 2021: We've added our thoughts on the 2021 iPad and iPad Mini 6.


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Starting Oct. 28, a new $67 user fee will apply to any estate that requests a closing letter for its federal estate tax return. The IRS also continues to remind executors about the availability of the free transcript option. The new user fee was authorized under final regulations, TD 9957, now available in the Federal Register. Closing letter requests must be made using Pay.gov. The IRS will provide further procedural details before the user fee goes into effect.

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The 3 Best Wi-Fi Mesh-Networking Kits 2021 | Reviews by Wirecutter (NYTIMES)

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By Joel Santo Domingo

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Wi-Fi that sucks can be more frustrating than no Wi-Fi at all, and the culprit in many cases is one router trying to cover too much house. Mesh-networking kits take the weight off just one router, instead spreading multiple access points around your house to improve the range and performance of your Wi-Fi. After spending hundreds of hours evaluating and testing 52 Wi-Fi mesh-networking kits in home and lab environments, we're confident that the Asus ZenWiFi AC (CT8) set is the best mesh router for most people who need one.

Most people, however, don't need mesh Wi-Fi, and if you live in an average home or apartment, a regular router is just fine.

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Read more...see rationale for choices...enjoy the data...


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Marijuana is now legal in New York, but that doesn't mean you can smoke it everywhere.

Here's a look at some of the rules on where you can and can't smoke in the state.

Generally, anywhere you're not allowed to smoke a cigarette, you're also not allowed to smoke a joint.

That includes a host of places where smoking is banned under New York's Clean Indoor Air Act:

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BY KEVIN DAVIS

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The number of crashes involving large trucks has been rising during the past decade. In 2019, the latest year for which statistics were available, 118,000 trucks were involved in crashes resulting in injuries, more than double the number of such crashes in 2009. The majority of those injured were in other vehicles. And since 2010, the number of deaths had increased 36% to 5,005 in 2019, with most of those killed riding in other vehicles, according to the National Safety Council.

While the statistics show an increase in the number of truck crashes, they do not indicate what caused them or who was at fault. The U.S. Department of Transportation's Report to Congress on the Large Truck Crash Causation Study, the only such analysis of its kind, examined crashes between 2001 and 2003 that resulted in injury or death. It found that passenger vehicles were the "critical reason" for crashes in 56% of the incidents involving trucks and passenger vehicles.

Whatever the cause, personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits routinely follow such crashes, seeking to ascribe liability and collect damages. And as the number of crashes has increased, so has the size of jury awards and settlements, often resulting in what some lawyers call "nuclear verdicts"--multimillion-dollar damages verdicts significantly higher than expected given the injuries in the case, generally in excess of $10 million.

The upward trend in such verdicts began in September of 2011 when a jury in Cobb County, Georgia, heard a wrongful death case against Landstar Ranger, a Florida-based trucking company. One of its drivers ran an 18-wheeler through a stop sign and plowed into a pickup truck, killing two men and seriously injuring a woman in the back seat. After a two-week trial, the 12-member panel came back with a $40 million verdict.

"The birth of the nuclear verdict was the Landstar case," says Charles Carr, a longtime defense lawyer for trucking companies. "That was a harbinger of things to come."

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