CLIENT ALERT: PATH Act and provisions applicable to church retirement and welfare benefit plans

On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the Protecting Americans from Tax Hikes Act of 2015 (“PATH Act”) into law. Section 336 of the PATH Act contains important provisions applicable to church retirement and welfare benefit plans. The language in section 336 is identical to that of the Church Plan Clarification Act of 2015 introduced in the United States Senate (S. 2308) and House of Representatives (H.R. 4085) in November of 2015.  Click here to read the alert.

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CLIENT ALERT: DOL Issues New Guidance Expanding Joint Employer Liability under FLSA

On January 20, 2016, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage & Hour Division issued new guidance for assessing joint employment status under the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”), the federal law that establishes minimum wage and overtime pay requirements. Why is this significant?  A finding that two entities are joint employers under the FLSA makes both employers responsible for any unpaid wages and may also be used to assert joint and several liability against unwitting employers for violations of any number of other employment laws.
Click here  to read the alert.

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OKLAHOMA BAR JOURNAL Publishes Scholarly Article by Curtis M. Long

A scholarly article written by Conner & Winters partner Curtis M. Long was published by the OKLAHOMA BAR JOURNAL.  The article, titled “Digging in the Pipeline Right of Way – The End of ‘No Harm, No Foul’, appears in the January 16, 2016 edition. Click here  to read the article.

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Conner & Winters Brings in Two Partners

Conner & Winters is proud to welcome Curtis M. Long  and Brad K. Cunningham to the firm’s Tulsa office.

Mr. Long’s practice is focused on energy, environmental and natural resources administrative and regulatory issues, and telecommunications.  He has 40 years of experience representing clients in state and federal courts and before regulatory commissions.  Mr. Long has achieved an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubble and is recognized by Best Lawyers in America® and Oklahoma Super Lawyers®.

Mr. Cunningham’s practice is exclusively focused on family law and domestic relations matters.  A 2006 graduate from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, he has achieved an AV Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubble and has been recognized as a Rising Star by Oklahoma Super Lawyers®.

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Conner & Winters Names Three New Partners

Conner & Winters has named three attorneys as partners: Kathryn S. Burnett, Caryn M. Campbell and Amanda M. Swain.  Ms. Burnett works in the firm’s Tulsa office and focuses her practice on health care compliance, provider reimbursement, and physician employment.  Ms. Campbell works in the firm’s Dallas office and focuses her practice on employee benefits, assisting employers with various retirement and welfare benefit plan issues, HIPAA compliance and executive compensation arrangements.  Ms. Swain works in the firm’s Oklahoma City office and focuses her practice on taxes and trusts and estates, representing clients in business transactions, estate planning and tax matters.

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Client Alert: New Support for Tribal Sovereignty and Rejection of a Bid to Expand Suits Against Tribal Officers

A new federal decision reaffirms the right of Indian tribes to regulate class II gaming, and also rejects an effort by the attorney general of Kansas to expand the legal grounds on which states may sue tribal officers to enjoin activities on Indian lands.   Click here to read the alert.

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56 Attorneys from Conner & Winters Named to The Best Lawyers in America© 2016

Conner & Winters is proud to announce that 56 of the firm’s lawyers were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America© 2016.  Congratulations to: Victor F. Albert, Mark D. Berman, Gary L. Betow, Debbie L. Blackwell, Paul E. Braden, Elise Dunitz Brennan, Teresa Meinders Burkett, David R. Cordell, Katherine G. Coyle, Robert A. Curry, Mark E. Dreyer, John R. Elrod, Robin F. Fields, Melodie Freeman-Burney, John W. Funk, Jared D. Giddens, Kevin H. Good, James E. Green, Jr., Bradley R. Grundy, P. Scott Hathaway, Tony W. Haynie, John W. Ingraham, Robert L. Jones, III, Todd P. Lewis, Larry B. Lipe, R. Richard Love, III, Steven W. McGrath, Robert J. Melgaard, G. Daniel Miller, Randall D. Mock, Lynnwood R. Moore, Jr., C. Raymond Patton, Jr., J. Ronald Petrikin, Kiran A. Phansalkar, Douglas M. Rather, R. Kevin Redwine, John R. Reeves, Greg S. Scharlau, John M. Scott, Douglas M. Selwyn, Eric S. Smith, Terral J. Smith, Gentra Abbey Sorem, Irwin H. Steinhorn, Robert J. Stokes, Anne B. Sublett, Jason S. Taylor, Jeanette C. Timmons, Timothy T. Trump, Andrew R. Turner, Nancy E. Vaughn, Stephen R. Ward, Henry G. Will, Martin R. Wing and G. Alan Wooten.

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 Sac and Fox Nation and Sons of Jim Thorpe Continue Legal Effort to Repatriate His Remains

The Sac and Fox Nation of Oklahoma and the sons of Jim Thorpe have taken their longstanding fight to repatriate the legendary athlete’s remains to the United States Supreme Court.

On June 2, 2015, the tribe and Jim Thorpe’s two surviving sons, Richard Thorpe and William Thorpe, filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the Supreme Court to uphold a United States district judge’s ruling that the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act—known as “NAGPRA”—required a small town in Pennsylvania to participate in a repatriation proceeding. The United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit reversed the federal district court’s ruling in October 2014 on the basis of a legal doctrine not recognized by the Supreme Court for decades.

The appeal to the Supreme Court is the latest step in the litigation begun in 2010 by another son of Jim Thorpe, John or “Jack” Thorpe, who died two years later. The Sac and Fox Nation and the two surviving Thorpe brothers continued the case represented by Stephen Ward and Daniel Gomez, both attorneys in the Conner & Winters, LLP, Indian law practice. Brian Wolfman and Jeffrey L. Fisher of the Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic serve as co-counsel in Supreme Court appeal.

Click here to read more.

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Jewelie Grape Joins Conner & Winters

Jewelie Grape has joined Conner & Winters as a partner.  She focuses her practice on executive compensation and employee benefits. She advises clients on a wide range of compensation and benefits issues such as ERISA compliance, health care reform and other benefits-related state and federal laws, including HIPAA. Ms. Grape helps clients design, implement and maintain defined benefit plans, defined contribution plans, nonqualified deferred compensation plans, stock option plans, health plans and cafeteria plans.

She has extensive experience with benefits plans not governed by ERISA and advises church benefit and other organizations on a variety of board governance, general corporate, tax, and employee benefit (including 403(b) and 457(b) and (f) plan) issues. Ms. Grape has acquired valuable business counseling skills while serving as in-house counsel for nine years managing day-to-day legal issues and overseeing complex litigation matters.

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