Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Conversion to Natural Gas: Navigating the legal hurdles

By Joel L. Greene

By Joel Greene and Elizabeth Teuwen, Attorneys, Jennings Strouss & Salmon PLC; and Jim Adams, PE, Director of Utilities, Cornell University

Published in the first-quarter 2013 issue of District Energy by the International District Energy Association

It is hard to ignore the growing popularity of natural gas. We are routinely bombarded with news of historically low prices and increasing supplies, bolstered by advances in hydraulic fracturing. And although switching to natural gas is not the silver bullet to combat climate change, natural gas is recognized as a cleaner and more efficient fuel than coal. With these economic and environmental factors in mind, anyone who currently relies on coal or oil cannot ignore the possibility of converting to natural gas.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

NLRB Rules Employers Must Gross Up Backpay Awards and Have Reporting Obligations

By Janet B. Hutchison

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has dealt another blow to employers who lose a labor dispute under the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).  In a recent decision, Latino Express, Inc. v. International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 777, 359 NLRB No. 44(2012), the NLRB ruled that employers will be required to compensate employees for any extra taxes the employee would incur resulting from lump-sum backpay awards.  Further, the NLRB held that employers must submit documentation to the Social Security Administration so that when backpay is paid, it will be allocated to the appropriate calendar quarters.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Jennings Strouss Selected by Martindale-Hubbell as a 2013 U.S. Top Ranked Law Firm

Jennings Strouss & Salmon, P.L.C. has been recognized in the LexisNexis® Martindale-Hubbell® 2013 U.S. Top Ranked Law Firms list.

The list appeared in Fortune Magazine’s special 2013 Investor’s Guide, as well as the January 2013 editions of the award-winning The American Lawyer and CorporateCounsel. Additionally, the list appears on® and

The list includes 2,421 firms located across the nation. To be eligible as a 2013 U.S. Top Ranked Law Firm, the firm must have a minimum of 10 attorneys and at least 33% of their attorneys must have achieved an AV Preeminent® rating.

AV Preeminent® is the highest possible Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review Rating designation. It indicates that the individual attorney is an established practicing lawyer whose peers have rated him or her to be of the highest ethical standards and legal ability.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

FERC’s Adoption of Revised Definition of Bulk Electric System Warrants Fresh Look at Company Compliance Programs

By: Debbie Swanstrom

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) ended the year 2012 by approving a major new rule affecting electric industry compliance with mandatory reliability standards.  Specifically, on December 20, 2012, FERC issued a final rule revising the definition of the Bulk Electric System (“BES”) -- which is a cornerstone for compliance obligations under hundreds of reliability standard requirements enforced by FERC, the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (“NERC”), and regional reliability entities across the country.  In the final rule, FERC approved a filing by NERC that modifies the existing BES definition to: (1) eliminate discretion accorded previously to regional entities to define this term; and (2) establish a bright-line threshold for the inclusion of all facilities operated at or above 100 kV.  The new definition provides illustrations of specific categories of facilities and configurations that would be included and excluded. The definition is important because it triggers compliance obligations by owners, users and operators of facilities included therein.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

In 2013, New Statute Declares 'Custody' Out, 'Decision-making' In

On May 9, 2012, Senate Bill 1127 was signed by Governor Jan Brewer.  Effective January 1, 2013, Arizona’s new custody statute, Title 25, will eliminate the legal concept of “custody” from divorce proceedings.  Instead of relying on the term “custody,” the term “decision-making” will now take its place. In addition, SB1127 replaces the commonly referenced term “visitation” to “parenting time.”