U.S. Supreme Court: States Must Consider Parole For Juveniles Serving Life Sentences

SCOTUSTwo Fraser Attorneys, former Judges, Peter Houk and Paula Manderfield, joined an amicus brief to the Michigan Supreme Court in 2014 on a case arguing that a U.S. Supreme Court ruling should be applied to over 360 Michigan prisoners serving mandatory life without parole sentences which they received when they were teens. Simply put Houk and Manderfield and a host of other former Michigan judges and prosecutors argued that teens, especially younger ones, lack the mental capacity to fully understand the implications of their actions. That is why we do not let them drink, smoke or vote and why the court has previously held that capital punishment was inappropriate for teenage offenders. The Michigan supreme Court rejected that position. However, today the United States Supreme Court, ruled that prisoners who were convicted for crimes committed while juveniles and sentenced to life without parole must be given “the opportunity to show their crime did not reflect irreparable corruption; and, if it did not, their hope for some years of life outside prison walls must be restored.”

Read the full Supreme Court Opinion by clicking HERE.

Attorney Peter D. Houk has dedicated more than 45 years to working in the law. Before joining Fraser Trebilcock as an Arbitration and Mediation attorney, Peter presided as an Ingham Circuit Court Judge for seventeen years, the last ten of which were spent serving as Chief Judge. On the bench, he was twice recognized by Michigan Lawyers Weekly as one of the state’s “Most Respected Judges”.

Attorney Paula J. Manderfield spent 20 years as a Circuit and District Court Judge, in addition to ten years in private practice, before joining Fraser Trebilcock as a Shareholder in 2013. Paula’s judicial experience give her clients a distinct advantage, particularly those needing mediation, or dealing with civil or criminal litigation.

Client Alert: Upcoming Deadlines for Form W-2 Reporting and Medicare Part D Notices to CMS

FB - FinalTree

Reminder:  Form W-2 Reporting on Aggregate Cost of Employer Sponsored Coverage

Unless subject to an exemption, employers must report the aggregate cost of employer-sponsored health coverage provided in 2015 on their employees’ Form W-2 (Code DD in Box 12) issued in January 2016. Please see IRS Notice 2012-9 and our previous e-mail alerts for more information.

The following IRS LINK is helpful and includes a chart setting forth various types of coverage and whether reporting is required. Please note this is a summary only and Notice 2012-9 should also be consulted.

If you have questions regarding whether you or your particular benefits are subject to reporting, please feel free to contact us at the information below.

Deadline Coming Up for Calendar Year Plans to Submit Medicare Part D Notice to CMS

As you know, group health plans offering prescription drug coverage are required to disclose to all Part D-eligible individuals who are enrolled in or were seeking to enroll in the group health plan coverage whether such coverage was “actuarially equivalent,” i.e., creditable. (Coverage is creditable if its actuarial value equals or exceeds the actuarial value of standard prescription drug coverage under Part D.) This notice is required to be provided to all Part D eligible persons, including active employees, retirees, spouses, dependents and COBRA qualified beneficiaries.

The regulations also require group health plan sponsors with Part D eligible individuals to submit a similar notice to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”). Specifically, employers must electronically file these notices each year through the form supplied on the CMS website.

The filing deadline is 60 days following the first day of the plan year. If you operate a calendar year plan, the deadline is the end of February. If you operate a non-calendar year plan, please be sure to keep track of your deadline.

At a minimum, the Disclosure to CMS Form must be provided to CMS annually and upon the occurrence of certain other events including:

  1. Within 60 days after the beginning date of the plan year for which disclosure is provided;
  2. Within 30 days after termination of the prescription drug plan; and
  3. Within 30 days after any change in creditable status of the prescription drug plan.

The Disclosure to CMS Form must be completed online at the CMS Creditable Coverage Disclosure to CMS Form web page by clicking HERE.

The online process is composed of the following three step process: (1) Enter the Disclosure Information; (2) Verify and Submit Disclosure Information; and (3) Receive Submission Confirmation.

The Disclosure to CMS Form requires employers to provide detailed information to CMS including but not limited to, the name of the entity offering coverage, whether the entity has any subsidiaries, the number of benefit options offered, the creditable coverage status of the options offered, the period covered by the Disclosure to CMS Form, the number of Part D eligible individuals, the date of the notice of creditable coverage, and any change in creditable coverage status.

For more information about this disclosure requirement (instructions for submitting the notice), please see the CMS website for updated guidance by clicking HERE.

As with the Part D Notices to Part D Medicare-eligible individuals, while nothing in the regulations prevents a third-party from submitting the notices (such as a TPA or insurer), ultimate responsibility falls on the plan sponsor.

This Client Alert serves solely as a general summary of the Form W-2 reporting requirements and CMS disclosure for Medicare Part D.  If you have any questions, please contact Elizabeth H. Latchana at 517.377.0826 / elatchana@fraserlawfirm.com.

Elizabeth H. Latchana, Attorney Fraser TrebilcockElizabeth H. Latchana specializes in employee health and welfare benefits. Recognized for her outstanding legal work, in both 2018 and 2015, Beth was selected as “Lawyer of the Year” in Lansing for Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law by Best Lawyers, and in 2017 as one of the Top 30 “Women in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Contact her for more information on this reminder or other matters at 517.377.0826 or elatchana@fraserlawfirm.com.

Attorney Brian Morley Discusses Proposed Executive Actions on Radio Show

Brian P. Morley | Fraser TrebilcockPresident Obama has proposed a series of executive actions to introduce new requirements that would expand background checks for firearm buyers. The policies would expand the background check system while also providing additional funding to expanding law enforcement, treatment for mental health, and researching “smart gun” technology.

Fraser Trebilcock attorney Brian P. Morley was asked his own opinion as a guest on Michigan’s Big Show with Michael Patrick Shields this week on the newly proposed gun regulations from the White House. As an attorney and a former police officer, Morley has an dynamic perspective on the subject.

“Kids these days have to have lock-down drills at school,” said Morley. “I find that just tragic.”

To listen to the full interview, CLICK HERE.

For more information on this blog post, or other criminal or family law concerns, contact Lansing attorney Brian P. Morley at 517.377.0873, or bmorley@fraserlawfirm.com. Brian Morley is a skilled attorney specializing in criminal defense and family law, with the added experience of nearly a decade as a certified police officer. He was recently selected by peers for inclusion once again in The Best Lawyers in America© 2015 in the field of DUI/DWI Defense.

Client Alert: IRS Extends Deadline for ACA Information Reporting

The Internal Revenue ServicFB - FinalTreee (“IRS”) has just extended the deadline for Information Reporting under Internal Revenue Code sections 6055 and 6056 by two to three months.

IRS Notice 2016-4 extends the due dates for the 2015 information reporting requirements under both Internal Revenue Code (“Code”) sections as follows:

  • Section 6055 for insurers, self-insuring employers, and certain other providers of minimum essential coverage; and
  • Section 6056 for applicable large employers.

The extension applies with regard to furnishing statements to individuals, as well as filing with the IRS.

Specifically, IRS Notice 2016-4 extends the due dates as follows:

  • For furnishing to individuals, the deadline is now March 31, 2016 (extended from February 1, 2016), affecting:
    • 2015 Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, and
    • 2015 Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage
  • For paper filings with the IRS, the deadline is now May 31, 2016 (extended from February 29, 2016), affecting:
    • 2015 Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns,
    • 2015 Form 1095-B, Health Coverage,
    • 2015 Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns, and
    • 2015 Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage.
  • For electronic filings with the IRS, the deadline is now June 30, 2016 (extended from March 31, 2016), also affecting:
    • 2015 Form 1094-B, Transmittal of Health Coverage Information Returns,
    • 2015 Form 1095-B, Health Coverage,
    • 2015 Form 1094-C, Transmittal of Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage Information Returns, and
    • 2015 Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage.

You can find the full Notice at this LINK.

For background and additional information regarding the ACA Information Reporting Requirements, please see our previous Client Alert from September 18, 2015 at this LINK.

This alert just serves as a general summary of the lengthy and comprehensive Information Reporting instructions and forms. For more information on this issue, please contact Fraser Trebilcock attorney Elizabeth H. Latchana at 517.377.0826 or elatchana@fraserlawfirm.com.