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The United States Consumer Products Safety Commission began enforcement on December 19, 2008 of the Virginia Graeme Baker Pool and Spa Safety Act, 15 U.S.C. §8001, which creates a duty of care for all owners and operators of public swimming pools and spas that are fitted with submerged suction drain outlets known as main drains.

The Act requires that all main drains, new and existing, of all sizes are to be protected by devices which prevent entrapment of persons utilizing those pools and which comply with ASME, ANSI, A112.19.8-2007 standards.  The Act also provides for a secondary level of protection if a pool has a single main drain outlet which is not “unblockable” (as defined by the Act) or multiple outlets which are closer than 3 feet center to center.  The Act is to prevent against recognized suction entrapment hazards in pools and spas including hair entrapment, limb entrapment, body suction entrapment, evisceration and disembowelment, and mechanical entrapment (jewelry, swimsuits, etc.).  Sadly, this writer has been involved in a case involving a prolapsed colon caused by the suction of the main drain of a toddler pool.

The additional secondary safety function under the Act could be: disabling the drains (not a great option); drain replacement with a single “unblockable” drain or dual drains at least 3 feet center to center; safety vacuum release system; suction limiting vent system; gravity drainage system; automatic pump shut off; or a catch all approved system.

On December 13, 2006, the Indiana Court of Appeals reviewed the statute of limitations applicable to claims of accountant malpractice.  In so doing, it also considered whether the accountant’s “continuing representation” after the client’s financial harm became known should postpone commencement of the limitations period for a claim against the accountant.

In this case the court upheld summary judgment in favor of the accounting firm, but it held that in some situations an accountant’s representation of the client in attempting to adjust or resolve the harm will postpone commencement of the limitations period.

The facts were that the plaintiff roofing contractor was a longtime client of the defendant accounting firm.  The representation included compilation of annual financial statements, preparation of tax returns, and assistance to and training of the client’s in-house accounting manager.  In March 2003 the client discovered its accounting manager had been embezzling company funds.  In July 2004 the client sued the firm alleging its negligence contributed to the loss.  The trial court entered summary judgment for the accounting firm on the grounds the suit was not timely filed.

Are your clients envious of new businesses moving to town and receiving tax abatement on a new plant or equipment?  They, too, often upgrade or expand their business building or install new equipment.  Why shouldn’t they receive a similar credit for their investment?  Well, now they can.

Starting in 2006 taxpayers who qualify can obtain a “capital investment deduction” on their property taxes by notifying local authorities and demonstrating their new business investment has either created or retained at least one local job.

The purpose of the new deduction is to provide an incentive for businesses to invest in new or renovated plant or manufacturing equipment before March 2009.  If any new employment is created or existing employment is retained, a taxpayer may receive a three-year phase-in of the property taxes from the increased assessment.  The first-year deduction is 75% of the increase in assessed value, the second-year is 50% of the increase, and the third-year is 25%.  The maximum available deduction for both real estate improvements and personal property is $2 million.

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