Legal Insights | Summer 2014 | Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper LLC
Legal Insights is a newsletter of timely and practical legal information that we hope you can use in your professional and personal pursuits. Please contact your attorney at Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper if you have any questions or comments or if you would like to suggest topics of interest for future issues.
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Ohio revises durable power of attorney for health care law
Ohio revises durable power of attorney for health care law

Ohio recently revised the statute governing the durable power of attorney for health care. The law has several updated provisions, and it now covers certain issues that may arise involving guardianships.

The changes also allow for access to protected health information about the patient, regardless of whether the person has lost capacity; further clarify who is ineligible to witness the power of attorney instrument; and establish that a valid living will declaration revokes all prior declarations.

Could any of the changes affect your documents?

Read the full article.
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article divider Ohio BWC settles premium case, separately sets new collection schedule
Ohio BWC settles premium case, separately sets new collection schedule

Certain employers who have been waiting for refunds from the Ohio Bureau of Workers Compensation will have to wait only a little longer while a judge decides how to divvy up a $420 million settlement in a seven-year-old lawsuit that challenged the way some 264,000 businesses were charged premiums.

Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Judge Richard McMonagle had ruled that the BWC's former group rating program resulted in significant premium overcharges to businesses that did not qualify or were deemed ineligible because of claim losses. He ordered the BWC to refund $862 million.

The Ohio 8th District Court of Appeals in May upheld the decision, but the BWC in June filed an appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court. Under the settlement, it will be withdrawn. BWC Administrator Stephen Buehrer has said the BWC has addressed the issue and the policies in question were not in place when he joined the agency in January 2011.

Meanwhile, the BWC is changing its premium collection schedule, a move that it says will reduce premiums by two percent for private employers and four percent for public employers.

Beginning in July 2015, the Ohio BWC will begin charging premiums prospectively, that is, in advance of the period of coverage. Employers will be given credits so the transition will not create an additional billing. The agency is one of the few insurance providers that has been charging premiums after the period of coverage, rather than before.

Besides a reduction in base rates, the BWC says the new system will offer more flexible payment options, create opportunities for quotes online and by phone and give the BWC increased ability to detect employer non-compliance and fraud.

In addition, a number of key dates for experience rating will be changing, beginning later this year. A full listing, including more details on premium collection changes, is available on this fact sheet from BWC.

—Mike Bertsch
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article divider Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper LLC
Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper LLC grows, expands office by 40 percent

To accommodate past and future growth and so we may better serve our clients, Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper has added 40 percent more office space in Landmark Office Towers. Clients may also notice that the firm has remodeled and redecorated its original space, including its reception area on the 14th floor of Landmark's Republic Building.

The firm has recently grown to 22 lawyers and 11 other staff members, including two paralegals, and it plans to add at least five more attorneys and additional support staff to fulfill client needs.

Read the news release.
article divider Lawyers in the business and corporate law practice at Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper (NGC) draw on substantial and varied experience to help our business clients successfully negotiate, document and execute the purchase of additional businesses or the sale of all or a portion of their businesses.
Read about our merger and acquisition practice.
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Firm News
article divider Michael E. Cicero was recently appointed prosecutor in Gates Mills, Lyndhurst and Mayfield Village. Cicero has been serving as assistant prosecutor in those municipalities. He is also prosecutor in Hunting Valley and has represented several suburbs in litigation and for preparation of legislation, policy and legal opinions. He was also confirmed in June as acting police prosecutor for Richmond Heights by its city council.

Meanwhile, Jim Juliano was appointed acting law director for Cleveland Heights until a permanent law director was named. Juliano continues as assistant law director, a position he has held since 1997.
Firm News
Juliano, who has been a frequent lecturer at the Baseball Winter Meetings, at the most recent meetings held a workshop on "Things You Can Do Now to Save Problems Later: Off-Season Record Reviews That Will Keep You Out of Trouble." Discussions covered provisions of ballpark leases and liability insurance that might benefit from off-season attention, and went on to personnel matters and issues with mascots, among other matters.
Firm News
Matthew T. Fitzsimmons spoke about the increased role that community health centers will play under the Affordable Care Act at the grand opening of Northeast Ohio Neighborhood Health Services (NEON) Miles-Broadway Health Center. NEON is a Federally Qualified Community Health Center network that provides primary medical & dental care to the medically underserved in Greater Cleveland. The Miles-Broadway Health Center is NEON's seventh center. Matt, who serves as NEON's board chair, gave the address on April 9th.
Firm News
Fitzsimmons was quoted in the Intuit Small Business Blog mid-December on common mistakes that small businesses make. 4-common-legal-mistakes-small- businesses-make/.
Firm News
Fitzsimmons, who is also an adjunct professor at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law at Cleveland State University, is again teaching a course in mediation with U.S. District Court Judge Dan Aaron Polster. Fitzsimmons and Polster have been co-teaching the course, for second- and third-year students, since 2008.
Firm News
Cicero lectured February 15 in Mayfield Village to a class of applicants for carrying concealed weapons permits.

Cicero was featured on the website in a story about the most expensive traffic tickets ("Getting Busted for These 5 Traffic Violations Will Wreck Your Budget").

DailyFinance used a tip on avoiding insurance rate hikes from Cicero for an article April 17 headlined "Are car insurers gouging us over speeding tickets?"
Firm News
Juliano recently represented a municipality in the successful settlement of a nuisance abatement case against a bar. The city council had declared the bar a nuisance and the owner sued, but after a counter-suit by the city, the owner agreed to close.
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Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper LLC
25 West Prospect Avenue, Suite 1400
Cleveland, Ohio 44115

Tel: (216) 621-7227
Fax: (216) 621-3999
Legal Insights
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Copyright 2014 by Nicola, Gudbranson & Cooper LLC

This newsletter contains general information that should not be considered legal advice or legal opinion concerning individual situations.
Legal counsel should be consulted for specific advice.