DOT rule is music to some fliers’ ears

From Westlaw Journal Aviation: U.S. air carriers must treat musical instruments the same way as other carry-on and checked baggage under a final rule the U.S. Department of Transportation issued Dec. 30.

The rule is designed to prevent incidents such as the one last spring in which US Airways refused to allow a professional violinist to fly from North Carolina to Arkansas unless he checked his $250,000 violin.

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Lawyer, professional services provider sue new consumer agency over bankruptcy data demand

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is being accused in a federal lawsuit of extreme overreaching by demanding privileged personal information in bankruptcy cases from a law firm software provider.

The agency, created two years ago pursuant to the Dodd-Frank Act, announced in May that it was undertaking a “comprehensive effort to prevent consumer harm in the debt-relief industry,” according to the complaint filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

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Oregon sues Texas debt relief company over unregistered services

A Texas-based debt relief provider has been sued by the state of Oregon for allegedly charging resident customers excessive fees and claiming inaccurately that it had state-licensed attorneys on staff handling cases.

Swift Rock Financial Inc., which conducts business through World Law Debt and other affiliate companies, allegedly took in more than $1.5 million from over 300 Oregon clients, but paid only slightly more than $275,000 to their creditors, keeping over $960,000 in fees, according to a complaint filed in the Multnomah County Circuit Court.

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DOJ seeks Supreme Court review of severance payment tax

The U.S. Department of Justice is asking the nation’s highest court to review a federal appellate panel’s split-creating decision that severance payments made to employees following their involuntary termination are not taxable under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act.

The ruling last September by a three-judge panel of the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals conflicts with a 2008 decision by the Federal Circuit.

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7th Circuit creates split over exemption for inherited IRAs

A split has emerged between two federal appeals courts over whether a bankruptcy debtor who inherits funds from a non-spouse’s individual retirement account can protect them from the reach of creditors.

The Bankruptcy Code exempts funds in an IRA that a person sets aside for his or her own retirement.

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Fancy cars exempt under California’s ‘wildcard’ exemption, 9th Circuit rules

California’s “wildcard” exemption, which permits bankruptcy debtors to exempt up to $18,350 in “any property” from their bankruptcy estates, applies even to the value of “fancy” cars, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled.

A federal Bankruptcy Court judge had ruled that the exemption could not be applied because other portions of California’s exemption statutes explicitly deal with vehicles.

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Estate tax hit didn’t harm deceased, Kansas Supreme Court rules

The Kansas Supreme Court has ruled that the personal representative of an estate cannot recover damages from an attorney whose alleged malpractice resulted in massive estate and inheritance tax bills because the claim did not arise during the decedent’s lifetime.

The state high court said in its decision that a cause of action based on increased estate taxes does not accrue until after the decedent’s death, meaning it does not qualify as a survival claim that can be brought by a personal representative.

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Mom can’t get back funds transferred to bankrupt daughter, judge rules

An elderly Arizona woman who transferred her nest egg to an account held by her daughter so she would be eligible for Medicaid, if the need ever arose, has lost the funds now that her daughter filed for Chapter 7, a bankruptcy court judge has ruled.

The Chapter 7 trustee argued that the funds must be returned to the daughter’s bankruptcy estate as an avoidable transfer under the Bankruptcy Code.

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Religious-bias suit over worker’s refusal to ‘pray the rosary’ heads to trial

A federal judge in Mississippi has denied summary judgment to a nursing home that allegedly fired an activity aide for refusing to pray the rosary with a Catholic resident.

U.S. District Judge Halil S. Ozerden of the Southern District of Mississippi ruled that plaintiff Kelsey Nobach sufficiently raised triable questions of fact as to whether the Woodland Village Nursing Home Center Inc. discriminated against her because of her religious beliefs when it fired her.