Big Issues, Short Takes – September 2013

Author: Ronald E. Lyons Date: 09/20/2013

Categories: Corporate and Business Law, Employment Law & Litigation

Unlike many other states, Maryland does not have a “dram shop” act that places liability on bars and restaurants for serving or continuing to serve intoxicated individuals. Recently, the Court determined that there is no relationship between a tavern and an injured third party as a result of the tavern’s serving alcohol to the drunk driver responsible for the accident and injury. This ruling by the Court limits the number of defendants against which an injured party can file suit, including establishments licensed to sell alcohol, and makes the drunk driver solely responsible for any injuries inflicted upon others. Any change to this law will require action by the Maryland legislature.

Affordable Care Act – October 1, 2013 Deadline…

As we approach 2014, we are beginning to hear more and more about the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. One important deadline is coming up on October 1, 2013. By this date, all employers covered by the Fair Labor Standards Act (generally, businesses that have a least one employee and $500,000 in annual revenue) must: (1) notify their employees about the new Health Insurance Marketplace; (2) inform them that they may receive a tax credit if they purchase health coverage through the Marketplace; and (3) advise them that, if they purchase health coverage through the Marketplace, they may lose any employer contribution to the employer-offered health plan. This disclosure must also be made for every new hire. The following documents provide additional information about the Affordable Care Act as it relates to employers which currently have and offer health plans as well as those that do not.

Maryland Business Entities – Are you ready to convert?

Beginning on October 1, 2013, a new law will simplify the process to convert one business entity form to another business entity form, such as a Maryland corporation to a limited liability company or a Delaware corporation to a Maryland corporation. It covers conversion from one Maryland entity to another Maryland entity and also from a Maryland entity to a foreign (from another state) entity and vice versa. It is important to note that this “new” entity will be the same entity for most purposes. All liabilities, assets, licenses, and other obligations will be transferred automatically to the new entity as if there was no conversion. The law also streamlines the administrative process and determines the authority needed by a company to make this conversion.

Tipped Employees – Required Notice

Another important new law, which is effective October 1, 2013, is applicable to all employers of tipped employees. If a customer walks out without paying for his or her meal and drinks, an employer may not deduct the amount of the meal and drinks from the wages of the tipped employees. This is nothing new but starting October 1st, all employers with tipped employees must post a notice of this law in a conspicuous place. The Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation will provide a sample of this notice.