In The News

Bone McAllester Norton Attorneys Charles Bone, Stephen Zralek and Trace Blakenship Named "Best of the Bar"

Bone McAllester Norton is pleased to announce that three members of our firm are among 30 lawyers in Middle Tennessee named to the Nashville Business Journal's 2010 “Best of the Bar.”


  Nominated by peers and chosen by a panel of judges, these attorneys were selected for their commitment to their clients, dedication to their respective areas of the law, and their respect and professionalism toward their peers and chosen profession.


Honorees from Bone McAllester Norton are Charles W. Bone and Stephen Zralek in the category Outstanding Small Law Firm and Trace Blankenship for Rising Star.


 

Bone McAllester Norton Attorneys Charles Bone, Stephen Zralek and Trace Blakenship Named "Best of the Bar"

Bone McAllester Norton is pleased to announce that three members of our firm are among 30 lawyers in Middle Tennessee named to the Nashville Business Journal's 2010 “Best of the Bar.”

  Nominated by peers and chosen by a panel of judges, these attorneys were selected for their commitment to their clients, dedication to their respective areas of the law, and their respect and professionalism toward their peers and chosen profession.

Honorees from Bone McAllester Norton are Charles W. Bone and Stephen Zralek in the category Outstanding Small Law Firm and Trace Blankenship for Rising Star.

 

Leadership and Perseverance in the Face of Disaster: Bone McAllester Norton Clients Rise Above

When more than six feet of flood water rushed into two of Nashville’s key business enterprises destroying property and shutting down operations, Ajax Turner President Scott Turner and Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center President Colin Reed did not retreat.


Instead, the leaders focused on the immediate crisis and number one priority of ensuring individual safety and salvaging property and next got down to the business of mapping out the shortest road to recovery.  Three weeks after the flood, Ajax Turner is reloading its inventory and making customer deliveries from a temporary location and Gaylord expects the hotel to be back in business before the end of the year.



May 2010 Newsletter Features What to Do After the Flood

As the flood victims begin to assess the damage and put their lives, homes and businesses back together, our firm is here to help. To read the rest of our newsletter, click here.

Casualty Losses: Qualifying for Federal Tax Deductions

Now that the rains have stopped and the flood levels are receding, many Tennesseans are surveying the damage done to their property, whether personal property or business property.


  The good news is the federal tax laws allow a deduction for losses of personal and business property due to a casualty—a sudden, unexpected, and unusual event such as a fire, storm, flood or hurricane—for which many Tennessee residents qualify.


Regardless of the type of property, if you suffer a loss from the recent floods, then your loss will be equal to the less of either: (1) the adjusted basis of the property (generally, what you paid for it); or (2) the loss of value by reason of the casualty (generally, the value immediately before the flood minus the value immediately after).  In addition, your loss may be reduced by any compensation received from insurance or otherwise.


Unfortunately, you bear the burden of proving the facts needed for qualifying for the deduction—including the existence of the casualty as the cause of the loss, the resulting decline in fair market value, the adjusted basis of the asset(s), and that you actually owned the asset(s).  Proof of the casualty is easy enough.  Keep copies of newspaper or online articles about the recent floods, and also obtain a copy of the Presidentially-Declared Disaster Area notice for your county.  In substantiating the loss, you must establish: (1) the adjusted basis of the asset(s) involved; (2) the decline in value of the property as a result of the casualty; and (3) the amount of any reimbursement.  In order to justify your loss, you will need proof of what you paid for your property, as well as proof of its value before and after the flood, if you have it.  In order to prove the value of real estate and other substantial assets after the flood, an appraisal may be necessary.


If the loss is from property used in a trade or business or income-producing property (such as rental property), then you can deduct the full amount of the loss as determined above.  If the loss is from non-business (or personal) property, certain limitations apply restricting the amount you can deduct.


Generally, a loss is deductible in the year it is sustained, 2010 in this case.  However, losses sustained because of natural disasters in Presidentially-Declared Disaster Areas may be deducted in the prior year, 2009 in this case.  Therefore, you have a choice to wait until early 2011 to claim this deduction and hopefully get a refund, or file an amended return for 2009 and get a refund sooner.  The one drawback to claiming the loss sooner is that if you get insurance proceeds after filing the amended return, you may have to file another amended return paying some of your refund money back.


The IRS also has resources available on its website for calculating the amount of your casualty losses (go to www.irs.gov and search for Publication 584).


 

National Flood Insurance Program: What Lenders Should Know

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) was created by the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968.


 Two subsequent laws, the Flood Disaster Protection Act of 1973 and the National Flood Insurance Reform Act of 1994, have made the purchase of flood insurance mandatory for Federal or Federally-related financial assistance for acquisition or construction of buildings in Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHAs).


Flood insurance is mandatory for buildings in FEMA-identified high-risk flood areas, referred to as SFHAs.  Whenever you make, increase, extend or renew a mortgage, home equity, home improvement, commercial or farm credit loan in an SFHA, you must require flood insurance. You may require flood insurance on all loans, even those outside SFHAs.


Ensure that flood insurance coverage is maintained for the term of all the loans on a building. Escrowing flood insurance premiums can help make sure you meet this requirement, and it helps protect you and your borrowers from uninsured flood losses.


Know the amount of flood insurance coverage to require. The required coverage is the lesser of the following: (i) the maximum amount of NFIP flood insurance coverage available, (ii) the outstanding principal balance of the loan, or (iii) the value of the building only. (Land and land values are not covered under the NFIP.)


Notify borrowers in writing of the requirement to buy flood insurance for new and existing loans. If you determine that a home or business is in an SFHA before loan closing, you are required to notify the borrower within a reasonable time prior to the loan closing. If you determine that an existing loan for a home or business is in a SFHA, you are also required to notify the borrower within a reasonable time.


There is no waiting period for flood insurance to go into effect when it is purchased in connection with making, increasing, renewing or extending a loan. In most other instances, there is a 30-day waiting period before flood insurance goes into effect.


For more information about the mandatory purchase of flood insurance requirements, and other related topics, read the .


Flood insurance and the mandatory purchase laws help protect your investments as well as your borrowers’ against uninsured flood losses. Floods can occur in unexpected areas of the country. Make sure you and your borrowers are protected from uninsured flood losses for their homes, businesses and belongings by following these requirements.


 

After The Flood

Bone McAllester Norton’s offices in Nashville and Hendersonville remain open and are fully operational, having escaped damage from the recent flooding in Middle Tennessee.  Many of our attorneys, employees, clients, friends and neighbors were not as fortunate. Some have been left homeless or had their property substantially damaged, and the flood has cost a number of people their lives. Our thoughts and prayers continue to be with our clients, families and friends throughout this tragedy.
As the flood victims begin to assess the damage and put their lives, homes and businesses back together, our firm is here to help.  The following articles are designed to provide information for dealing with immediate and longer term recovery needs.  If there are specific topics you would like addressed in future articles, please contact Jessica Herndon.
For those facing business or personal losses who have questions following the flood, we hope you will not hesitate to contact us.

Stephen Zralek Moderates Panel on Termination of Transfer Rights

Bone McAllester Norton attorney Stephen Zralek moderated a panel of distinguished faculty on Termination of Transfer Rights on May 3, 2010.


  The seminar addressed provisions of the Copyright Act that allow authors to recapture rights to their works, which they may have transferred earlier in exchange for getting their works published.  Recapture rights currently is one of the biggest issues in copyright law, as the Copyright Act allows authors to exercise such rights only within certain windows of time, some of which are opening and/or closing in the next few years.  The seminar was produced by the American Bar Association Copyright Litigation Committee, of which Stephen is Vice Chair.  It was recorded and is accessible from this link: http://www.abanet.org/cle/programs/nosearch/tiocmo.html