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Obama Overtime Exemption Minimum Pay Requirement Dropped

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The Fair Labor Standards act requires that workers be paid an overtime premium (generally time-and-a-half) if they work over 40 hours in any given week. There is an exemption available for “any employee employed in a bona fide executive, administrative, or professional capacity.” To determine if the exemption fits an employee’s situation, three factors are reviewed:

  1. How the worker is paid (salary or hourly);
  2. How much the worker is paid (the salary threshold); and
  3. The duties the worker performs (the job duties test).

In 2016, the Obama Administration’s Department of Labor announced a rule that the minimum salary threshold, which had been $455 a week ($23,660 annually) would be increased to $913 a week ($47,476). Needless to say, this doubling of the salary basis meant that many workers who had been treated as exempt no longer qualified. The rule was set to take effect on December first, 2016.

The Challenge

Business groups, including the United States Chamber of Commerce, argued that doubling the threshold was unreasonable and illegal. So did Republican attorneys general and governors of 21 states. Essentially, the plaintiffs argued that the Obama rule overemphasized the salary portion of the three part test, and made salary a determining factor. This, they claimed, was over-reach by the executive branch, and was the equivalent of re-writing the law. Two lawsuits were filed, by business groups and by 21 states’ attorneys general. The suits were consolidated in a single case in a federal district court in Texas.

The Court’s Initial Ruling

In late November, the Texas court issued a nationwide preliminary injunction, determining that it was likely that the plaintiffs would succeed on their argument that Department of Labor had exceeded its authority by doubling the salary threshold. This ruling stopped the implementation of the new overtime rule, but only until the Court reached it for a final ruling. By this time, many employers had already modified their payment methods, or otherwise adjusted to the new rule.

The Obama Department of Labor appealed the preliminary injunction. That appeal was pending when the Trump administration took over, and Trump’s Department of Labor did not withdraw the appeal. Meanwhile, the plaintiffs had also filed a motion for summary judgment. This motion would end the case in their favor, if granted.

The Texas district court has now ruled on the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, finding in favor of the businesses and states who challenged the new rule. The case is now over, The Obama overtime rule is voided, and will not go into effect (unless the Trump administration appeals, which is not expected).

Next Steps?

The Trump Administration’s plans for the overtime law are not known. The Secretary of Labor, Alexander Acosta has stated that the Department will make an effort to re-draft the regulation. He also indicated that he believes the current salary threshold is too low, and should be raised, although likely not doubled. While the Obama rule only addressed the minimum salary test for exemption, there are many who would like to see all three prongs addressed, arguing that there are uncertain, and therefore difficult to apply with certainty. On July 26, 2017, the DOL published what is called a “Request for Information”, asking stakeholders for their recommendations on what changes, if any, should be made. Based upon the content of the request, it appears that the agency is planning to start over on the revisions. So far, the Department has received over 120,000 responses to the RF, with a deadline for the responses is September 25, 2017.

It is unlikely that anything will happen quickly in this process, and businesses can expect time to respond when a final rule is promulgated. A good guess is an increase in the minimum salary, perhaps of approximately half of what the Obama Administration proposed, to somewhere in the mid-$30,000 annually.


Article written by Peter Juran.

Jim Vaughan to participate in his 5th Solar Bear Ride

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Shareholder Jim Vaughan will participate in his 5th Solar Bear Ride, an annual three-day, 270-mile bicycle trek from Winston-Salem to Oak Island, North Carolina, to raise money for – and awareness of – Cancer Services of Winston-Salem. This year’s ride will take place from September 21 through  September 24. Over the past 4 years, the Solar Bear Ride has raised more than $63,000 for Cancer Services.  Blanco Tackabery is a proud sponsor of this event.

For more information or to donate:

2017 Solar Bear Ride

Daniel Vandergriff Attends Saluda II Solar Farm Ribbon Cutting

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Blanco Tackabery renewable energy attorney Daniel Vandergriff attended the ceremonial ribbon cutting by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster celebrating the Saluda II solar farm recently constructed and placed in service in Saluda, South Carolina.  The 3.4 MWac solar photovoltaic energy generation facility will interconnect with South Carolina Electric & Gas to power approximately 600 homes for families in rural South Carolina while providing nearly $1 million in property tax revenue over its life.  Blanco Tackabery assisted in the development and financing of this six-project portfolio in South Carolina and proudly congratulates Pine Gate Renewables on completing Saluda II.

Attorneys Named Best Lawyers in America

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Blanco Tackabery is proud to announce that two of their attorneys have been named to the 2018 edition of Best Lawyers in America. Chosen by their peers in their respective practice areas, Neal Tackabery practices in the area of Tax Law and Trusts and Estates; Ashley Rusher practices in the area of Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights/Insolvency and Reorganization Law.

Since it was first published in 1983, Best Lawyers® has become a well-regarded guide to legal excellence. Over 52,000 leading attorneys cast more than 5.5 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers® “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”

Carrie Scogin Attends Ceremonial Bricklaying in Tarrboro, NC

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Blanco Tackabery affordable housing attorney Carrie Scogin attended a ceremonial bricklaying at the HILMA Greens Apartments in Tarboro, North Carolina.  The 64-unit affordable housing development will provide homes for families in an area of North Carolina recovering from Hurricane Matthew and other natural disasters.  Blanco Tackabery congratulates Mark Morgan and MC Morgan & Associates on the development of HILMA Greens Apartments.

Click here to read Carrie’s full bio.

Ashley Rusher Speaks at Annual Southeast Bankruptcy Workshop

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Ashley Rusher recently spoke at the American Bankruptcy Institute’s 22nd Annual Southeast Bankruptcy Workshop in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.  Ashley served on a panel with Christine E. Brimm, Moderator, the Barton Law firm in Columbia, South Carolina, Jimmy D. Parrish, Baker Hostetler in Orlando, Florida and the Hon. Michael G. Williamson, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge, Middle District of Florida in Tampa, Florida.  The panel of distinguished litigators discussed effective motions practice in bankruptcy court and trial advocacy tips for new and young lawyers during two sessions at the conference.  Ashley is a member of ABI and serves on the Advisory Board for the Southeast Bankruptcy Workshop.  She is a member of the firm’s Management Committee and Chairs the Business Bankruptcy and Creditor’s Rights Practice Group and the Outside General Counsel Services Practice Group at the firm.

Click here to read Ashley’s full bio.


Blanco Tackabery Welcomes Our Summer Associates

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Blanco Tackabery welcomes our three summer associates, Kyle Heuser, Britney Boles and Davis Fussell to the firm.

Kyle Heuser has completed his second year at Wake Forest University School of Law. While in law school, he has participated in the Wake Forest Law Review, worked on the Prison Letters Pro Bono Project, been a Teaching Assistant and has participated in Intramural Basketball. Prior to law school, Kyle attended the University of Florida in Gainesville and received his Bachelor of Arts in English.

Britney Boles has completed her second year at Elon University School of Law. While in law school, Britney serves as the Editor-in-Chief of the Elon Law Review, participates and holds offices in the Student Mentor Program, Women’s Law Associates and the Family Law Society, is a Teaching Assistant and also a Research Assistant for the Dean of the Law School. Prior to law school, Britney attended the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and received her Bachelor of Science in Elementary Education.

Davis Fussell has completed his first year at the University of North Carolina School of Law. Davis is a Carolina Law Ambassador, is a member of the Transactional and Corporate Law Association and participates in the Pro Bono Program Lawyer on the Line Project. Davis attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received his Bachelor of Arts in American Studies.

Blanco Tackabery is excited to work with such promising new talents in the field of law and we are very pleased to have them with us this summer.

Blanco Tackabery Attorney Leads Fair Housing Training

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Landura Property Management invited Blanco Tackabery attorney James Goodwin to conduct a Fair Housing training session for its employees and guests at Landura’s annual retreat.  Blanco Tackabery congratulates Landura on 40+ years of providing professional management services to affordable housing communities throughout the Southeast.  Blanco Tackabery’s Affordable Housing and Community Development Group assists developers and property managers with all aspects of affordable housing development and management.


Click to read James’ Bio.

Click to learn more about our Affordable Housing Group.

Blanco Tackabery Attorneys Attend Annual Credit Union League Meeting

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Blanco Tackabery attorneys, Rachael Dimont and Meghan Maguire, were exhibitors at the Carolina’s Credit Union League Annual Meeting in Pinehurst.  The conference hosted CEOs, executive management, and board members from over 70 credit unions across North and South Carolina.  Blanco Tackabery is proud to represent credit unions of all sizes by providing comprehensive legal support, including advising on corporate governance, regulatory compliance, contract and vendor management, collection and litigation matters.

Morgan Insley Licensed to Practice Law in the State of South Carolina

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The law firm of Blanco Tackabery is pleased to announce that Morgan M. Insley, an associate with the Firm, has become licensed to practice law in the State of South Carolina.    Morgan works in the Firm’s Lake Norman office and is a member of the Firm’s Trusts and Estates practice group.    Morgan is also licensed to practice in the State of North Carolina.

Click to view Morgan’s full bio.

Andrew Felts Licensed to Practice Law in the State of South Carolina

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The law firm of Blanco Tackabery is pleased to announce that Andrew S. Felts, an associate with the Firm, has become licensed to practice law in the State of South Carolina.    Drew works in the Firm’s Winston-Salem office and is a member of the Firm’s Renewable Energy and Commercial Real Estate practice groups.    Drew is also licensed to practice in the States of North Carolina and West Virginia.

Click to view Drew’s full bio.

Blanco Tackabery Participates in NC Legal Feeding Frenzy

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We are proud to announce that for the third year in a row Blanco Tackabery has won the Mid-Size Firm Award for the most donations per capita in the North Carolina Legal Feeding Frenzy Competition, a food and fund drive competition among North Carolina law firms. This year’s Legal Feeding Frenzy campaign collected over 300,000 pounds of food for the North Carolina Feeding America Food Banks.

“I would like to thank everyone at BTM that participated in the Legal Feeding Frenzy this year,” said George Hollodick, the firm’s managing partner. “Your generosity makes it possible for the Second Harvest Food Bank to provide food for many families in our community who need assistance.”