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Monday, November 30, 2009

Green Card Lottery Winner Notification

First of all: If you did play the Green Card lottery: good luck!

I hope besides from all the internet isues of the last few days with the Secretary of State's website you did file on time today.

A refresher: This is the hint from their website - as recent as yesterday:
We are currently experiencing intermittent problems with all versions of the Safari and Google Chrome browsers. Suggested browsers are Internet Explorer and Firefox. Nothing can be added at this time. If your application does not work, you may want to refile using a different browser.

And today even Firefox did not work.

However at this time: If the website did stop you from entering the data and you thus did not make the deadline, please contact me. We will review the technial details and try to help you.

After 12 noon today EST all chances to apply and to "play" in the lottery are over now. But how about the winners? How will you be notified?

Diversity Visa lottery applicants selected are notified by mail between May and July of the next year, following DV Online entry. Lottery entrants selected are provided further instructions, including information on fees connected with immigration to the U.S.

Those selected in the random drawing are NOT notified by email. Those individuals NOT selected will NOT receive any notification.

The Diversity Visa Lottery website "Selection of Applicants" section provides information about the DV timeframe and process.

Past Diversity Visa Lottery Results can be found here. If you have any questions, please contact Reinhard von Hennigs rvh @ bdhlaw . net or call us at the Charlotte, NC office +1 (704) 333 5230.

Photographer: Bill Longshaw

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"NO" to workers comp for illegals?

A few days after my comments on race discrimination on the job under the column Race-Based Hiring here comes a similar issue: discrimination by the legislature.

Republican state senator in Ohios says no to workers comp for illegals. His plan is to prohibit the nation's largest state-run injured worker insurance program from providing benefits to illegal immigrants, a change he said should lower business premiums.

State Sen. Bill Seitz of Cincinnati has a plan: there is need for a change. He said he was "shocked" to learn that the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation doesn't require injured workers to document their status before providing benefits. Ohio law enables "aliens and minors" to receive workers compensation benefits. However nobody put the distinction between "legal" and "illegal" aliens in the law. While Seitz is trying to wring costs out of the system it is not clear which costs. There is no way to determine how much in claims is paid out to illegal immigrants because the bureau cannot determine immigration status.

Does this sound like a publicity action? This is the opinion of David Leopold, a Cleveland attorney and president-elect of the American Immigration Lawyers Association.

While workers' compensation law is generally unique from state to state, laws in most states allow injured illegal immigrants to receive benefits. A case from October 2008 upheld workers' compensation benefits for an illegal alien injured in New York.

Seitz's bill is two parted:

  1. burden of proof on the injured worker to demonstrate he or she is a legal worker by showing documentation such as a birth certificate or a visa.
  2. immunity from civil lawsuits for businesses in cases in which their workers' claims are denied
  3. however: in cases, in which the business knew the worker was illegal or if it intentionally hurt the worker it remains liable.

Who will benefit?

If you are interested in workers comp questions or other labor or employment related legal issues, please contact us

Reinhard von Hennigs

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Gucci Purses OK, Confederate Flagged Purses Not So OK

Just the right news for the big Thanksgiving pre-advent and pre-christmas shopping weekend:

Gucci Purses OK, Confederate Flagged Purses Not So OK.

This is the essence of a new federal appeals court decision. Once upon a time in suburbia of Ft. Worth, Texas there was a not so long ago history of racially charged student confrontations.

According to one school quite a lot and way too many:

  • In the 2002-03 academic year: there were 35 such race-related conflicts
  • In 2003-04, one racially motivated incident was reported
  • From 2004-05, there were ten (10) racially-charged incidents reported
  • During the 2005-06, there were seven (7) race-related incidents recorded
Now two students at this Burleson High School were being asked to leave their Confederate flag decorated purses in the school's office. And as we are in America they did what any "well trained" person will do: not to tink you may have done something wrong, but let's go and attact: "I'll see ya in court"... so they sued.

A 18-page decision later, the Fifth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals concluded that the school official's decision to ban Confederate flagged purses to prevent yet another racial conflict at this school was allowed. The school was within their rights. No First Amendment rights to free speech were violated by the school's policy.

The ban was a constitutionally protected decision, rationally related to the legitimate interest of maintaining school discipline and thus constitutional. If this case will go to the US Supreme Court, Justice Sotomayor will like it: not only is she correctly outspoken about racial injustice but more: Gucci or Fendi is exactly her thing!

If you have questions about issues relating to the First Amendment, the United States Supreme Court, or another area of law: just contact us at

Happy shopping on the "Black Friday" weekend!

Reinhard von Hennigs

Photographer: Suat Eman

Friday, November 27, 2009

Green Card Lottery

Only a few days left for the Green Card Lottery. November 30, 2009 at noon EST is the last chance ... see with more details.

Call me with questions!

Good luck!

Reinhard von Hennigs

Apple Files Power Adapter Patent Infringement Lawsuit

A few days ago I posted about the Nokia v Apple law suit. Now it is Apple who filed a patent lawsuit against online retailers for allegedly selling knock off power adapters for use with the company's portable MacBook and MacBook Pro computers.

This suit is against Media Solutions Holdings, LLC, eReplacements, LLC, and Laptops for Less, LLC. There are a few nice pictures comparing Apple's product against the copy. However a picture will not win the legal battle. Granted: the defendants apparent clone sure looks like that: a clone. But does it have a cloned technology as well?

Read more and background about patent infringements at

Best wishes for a happy "day-after" Thanksgiving.
Reinhard von Hennigs

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Tax Issues for Foreign Real Estate Owners in the US

Sometimes old cases are still relevant. Especially in times of real estate foreclosures and banks taking properties it is good to know that European investors in US real estate get some protection.

We reported in April 2006 that the United States Supreme Court ruled on April 26, 2006 in the Jones v. Flowers case. It was decided that when a mailed notice of a tax sale is returned unclaimed, a state must take added steps to attempt to make sure the property owner knows the property is at risk before it may be sold.

This issue is specially interesting for European owners of real estate in the US. Often they do not know whether their local property manager paid all taxes and they do not get any notice sent to their US vacation home until hey return in several month.

The Court demands that "reasonable" additional steps need be taken, and then only when it is "practicable" to do so. What does this mean? See more in the ruling (and below) written by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., (majority: 5-3 ruling) in the case: Jones v. Flowers (04-1477), 547 U.S. 220 (2006).


Jones v. Flowers, 547 U.S. 220 (2006), was a decision by the Supreme Court of the United States involving the due process requirement that a state give notice to an owner before selling his property to satisfy his unpaid taxes. The Court ruled, 5-3, that after a mailed notice was returned unclaimed, a state was required by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to take additional reasonable steps to notify the owner before the sale could proceed. The Court's opinion was delivered by Chief Justice John G. Roberts, his fourth majority opinion after his confirmation to the Court in 2005 and his first to provoke any dissenting opinions.

The Court had last addressed the issue of notice in Dusenbery v. United States, 534 U.S. 161 (2002), which held that the government need only take steps reasonably calculated to provide notice even if actual notice is not achieved. The four justices who dissented in Dusenbery now formed the majority with Roberts in Jones v. Flowers, distinguishing the prior case on the basis that the government in Dusenbery did not know that its method of notice had failed before the taking occurred. Justice Clarence Thomas, in dissent, believed the Court was instead undermining Dusenbery, which he argued implicitly dictated a result contrary to the majority's decision.

Pay your taxes is the best advice. If you need assistance or are concerned about certain real estate issues, please contact Reinhard von Hennigs at rvh @ bdhlaw . net or visit

Image: Chuck Felix /

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Flight Delayed 3+ Hours? EU passengers now get refunds

According to last Friday's Irish Times newspaper, the European Court of Justice has ruled airline passengers are entitled to a REFUND if their flights have been delayed for 3 or more hours. Good news for travelers in the European Union, but passengers here in the U.S.A. should not expect to receive similar judgments for their delayed flights anytime soon.

It was reported "The Luxembourg-based court said it would be unfair to treat passengers suffering delays of more than three hours differently to those who had flights canceled.

Under existing EU rules, passengers on canceled flights can seek as much as €600 in compensation and/or expenses incurred, as well as a ticket refund, depending on traveling distance when their flight is canceled or delayed by over five hours

Airlines frequently do their utmost to avoid paying compensation, particularly to passengers who experience for long delays.

The European Court said airlines were only exempt from paying compensation if they could prove the delay was “due to exceptional circumstances” outside of the company’s control. It stressed that a technical problem could not be considered as an exceptional circumstance unless it followed an incident unconnected with the normal running of an airline, such as an aircraft being sabotaged.

“Passengers on a flight which is canceled at short notice have a right to compensation, even when they are rerouted by the airline on another flight, if they lose three hours or more in relation to the duration originally planned,” the ruling said. “There is no justification for treating passengers whose flight is delayed any differently when they reach their final destination three hours or more after the scheduled arrival time.”

The ruling has been welcomed by Ireland’s representative on the European Parliament transport committee, Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins. He said the ruling “was a victory for the ordinary traveling public."

For more information on your rights and remedies as an airline passenger, please contact us through our website:

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

USCIS Opens New Verification Operations Center in Buffalo, N.Y.

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) officially opened a new Verification Operations Center in Buffalo, N.Y., today. The Center employs about 135 people and is dedicated solely to USCIS’ verification mission.

The Center’s personnel will perform immigration status verification checks and conduct monitoring and compliance activities in support of USCIS’ E-Verify and Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements (SAVE) programs. The facility is located in the Bank of America Building in downtown Buffalo.

“This is an important milestone in the continued growth of USCIS’ Verification Division,” said Michael Aytes, USCIS Acting Deputy Director. “In the last three years alone,” Aytes continued, “participation in the E-Verify and SAVE programs has increased dramatically, particularly in E-Verify with a five-fold increase. This Center plays a crucial role not only in the continued success of E-Verify and SAVE, but also in ensuring that the programs are used properly.”

Status Verification Operations staff at the Center will verify employee work authorization status for companies using E-Verify, and also process requests to confirm immigration status submitted by government agencies using SAVE. The Center also represents Verification Division’s first monitoring and compliance field office that will ensure the integrity of both programs by detecting and deterring improper use of the programs while protecting against related discriminatory practices and safeguarding privacy interests.

Currently, more than 170,000 participating employers at about 650,000 worksites nationwide currently use E-Verify to electronically verify their employees’ eligibility to work in the United States. Since October 1, 2009, more than 1.6 million employment verification queries have been run through the system. About 97 percent of all queries are now automatically confirmed without any need for employee action.

What it means in practical terms? Please either call +1 (704) 333 5230 or email me rvh @ bdhlaw . net or check our website

Monday, November 23, 2009

Race-Based Hiring

Managers' race has had a "significant" effect on the race of employees, according to a study of personnel data from a U.S. retailer over 30 months. The "Manager Race and the Race of New Hires," report was authored by Laura Giuliano, David Levine and Jonathan Leonard, and printed in the October 2009 issue of the "Journal of Labor Economics" (page 589).
Given all the arguments about race discrimination and the implementation of the the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) this comes as a surprize. The EEOC is a federal agency whose goal is ending employment discrimination. The EEOC investigates discrimination complaints based on an individual's race, color, national origin, religion, sex, age, disability and retaliation for reporting and/or opposing a discriminatory practice. The Commission is also tasked with filing suits on behalf of alleged victim(s) of discrimination against employers and as an adjudicatory for claims of discrimination brought against federal agencies.

The study looked at whether the race of a store's manager affected that of the employees hired at the store. And the surprizing answer is: yes. The study involved approximately 100,000 employees at over 700 stores belonging to one, however unidentified chain in the time between February 1996 and July 1998.
The most significant tendency, the study said, was that white, Hispanic or Asian managers tended to hire fewer African-Americans than African-American managers did. The study also found that white employees were more likely to quit their jobs if an African-American manager replaced a non-black manager.

How this may impact hiring in the future and also how to avoid discrimination claims for your company will be detailed at
At any time, call or email us!
Reinhard von Hennigs
(704) 333 5230
rvh @ bdhlaw . net

Sunday, November 22, 2009

"Show me the money"

California Attorney General, Edmund "Jerry" Brown, Jr., announced today that he has secured a settlement in which Wells Fargo will pay investors, charities and small businesses $1.4 billion over the purchase of auction rate securities from Wells subsidiaries based on "misleading advice."

More details about this will be posted here and later at

Saturday, November 21, 2009

USCIS Standardizes Process for Accommodating Customers with Disabilities

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) announced that it has established a streamlined, standardized process for receiving requests for accommodations from customers with disabilities. Customers in need of accommodations from field offices and Application Support Centers should now call the National Customer Service Center (NCSC) at
  • 1-800-375-5283
  • TDD: 1-800-767-1833
USCIS changed that customers have now a central point of contact for requesting accommodations and that across the country.

Anybody wanting to attend an event or schedule an appointment online to meet with USCIS can call the NCSC at any time to request an accommodation. Persons who have an appointment in conjunction with an application, such as an ASC or interview appointment, should request their accommodations after they have received their appointment notices. However if there is a need for accommodations at asylum offices, one should continue to contact the asylum offices directly.

More details - also about compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) can be found at

Friday, November 20, 2009

Court: Army Corps of Engineers Liable for Katrina Damage

In a decision handed down on November 18, 2009 that is being called "groundbreaking," U.S. District Court Judge Stanwood Duval, Jr. found in favor of four plaintiffs and awarded damages totaling $719,00.00 against the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The suit was started as there was an alleged negligence by the Corps in building and maintaining the Mississippi River Gulf Outlet canal. This outlet is also called "Mr. Go" by local New Orleans residents.

The Dollar value sounds nice, but there were a total of four plaintiffs, each collecting between US$ 100,000 and US$300,000. But what did the plaintiffs actually accomplish here? Each of the four may now rebuilt their houses - or at least parts of them. It, however, opens the doors to successful claims by their neighbors.

The consequence again with this kind of litigation: some may benefit from a negligence, but will this law suit prevent futur desasters from happening? And finally: the Corps of Engineers is a federal agency and a major Army command, funded by the Government. Does this seem like a double dipping of the plaintiffs, once from "regular" Federal funds and once from litigation?


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Reinhard von Hennigs at US Supreme Court

Reinhard von Hennigs, a principal with Byrne, Davis & Hicks, PC, was admitted to the bar of the United States Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. on Monday November 16, 2009. The ceremony was conducted by Chief Justice Roberts with 7 of the 9 Justices present.

After the oath was administered Justice Kennedy and Reinhard von Hennigs talked a the reception thereafter.

The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest judicial body in the United States, and leads the federal judiciary. It consists of the Chief Justice of the United States and eight Associate Justices, who are nominated by the President and confirmed with the "advice and consent" (majority vote) of the Senate. Once appointed, Justices effectively have life tenure, serving "during good Behaviour", which terminates only upon death, resignation, retirement, or conviction on impeachment.

see more details:

Or contact us law @ bdhlaw . net.

Update on the USA visit to the Int'l Criminal Court

Today's visit to the International Criminal Court (The Hague, Netherlands) by U.S. war crimes ambassador Stephen Rapp was indeed eventful (See Part I), and many had high hopes this appearance would mark the USA's full-fledged entry into the ICC.

So did we ratify the Rome Treaty? Agree to recognize the legitimacy of the international criminal court (and its authority over the acts of the USA)? Consent to the jurisdiction of a global war crimes tribunal? Ehhh....No, no, and heck no.

Instead, Rapp discussed how the USA is committed to persecuting those who commit international crimes against humanity, by working together with other foreign states and the United Nations Security Council. Rapp said the decision to prosecute a crime of aggression should rest with the Security Council - where, by the way, the United States has veto power along with Britain, Russia, China and France. Previously, the U.S. worked with the Security Council to call upon the ICC to intervene against the acts of genocide in the Darfur region of Sudan, which resulted in the arrest warrant for Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir last March.

But all in all, everyone's in agreement, right? The bad guys who commit international crimes against humanity will still have to answer for their actions, right? Well, yes - sort of.

The member countries of the ICC are like brothers in a fraternity - members who freely associate as equals for a mutually beneficial purpose, who have paid their annual dues and at times, subjected themselves to a lengthy and cumbersome pledging process. And in this instance the USA is a bit like the independent friend, the one who associates with all of the members and reaps the same social benefits as the fraternity brothers, but managed to avoid paying any dues or complying with the same pledging requirements as the rest of the group.

The USA's reluctance to ratify the Rome Treaty is partly due to fears the ICC would become a forum for politically-motivated criminal trials, brought about to prosecute troops involved in unpopular wars. Or in other words, the USA doesn't want to officially join for fear of being brutally hazed.

Nevertheless, the presence of U.S. war crimes ambassador Rapp represents a softening of the USA's previously icy relationship with the ICC. Rapp himself served as a prosecutor at the United Nations Rwanda tribunal and as chief prosecutor at the Special Court of Justice for Sierra Leone.

So for now, the USA is embracing its new-found "observer" status at the ICC, but American ratification of the Rome Treaty will likely hinge on the future success- or failure - of two very unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

See also Part I at

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

No more cold shoulder towards the Int'l Criminal Court?

The USA's first appearance at the International Criminal Court (The Hague, Netherlands) could signal the beginning of a thawing process.

The USA made its FIRST EVER appearance at the International Criminal Court today - well, to be clear, U.S. war crimes ambassador Stephen Rapp showed up at the management board meeting - but this could signal a monumental policy shift. Rapp is expected to make a statement to the Assembly of Parties (specifically, the 110 other countries that recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC) on Thursday.

What's the Significance?

The ICC was created in 1998 as a permanent international tribunal to punish individuals who commit genocide and other serious international crimes.

The underlying document that provides legitimacy to the ICC is known as the Rome Treaty, which was approved in 1998 with a vote of 120 countries in favor, 7 countries against, and 21 countries abstaining. The big picture - countries who signed and ratified the treaty basically consented to the ICC's jurisdiction over their citizens. So, if a particular head of government commits crimes on an international scale, he/she could be hauled down to the Hague and face criminal prosecution before a "global" court. Recall: In 2001, the ICC charged the former president of Yugoslavia & Serbia, Slobodan Milosevic, for violating customs of war, breaches of the Geneva conventions, and alleged genocide for the wars in Croatia, Bosnia and Kosovo.

Who were the 7 naysayers? China, Qatar, Yemen, Libya, Iraq, Israel, and...the United States. President Clinton signed the Rome Treaty in 2000, but wouldn't ratify it without further review; President George W. Bush adamantly opposed ratifying the treaty throughout his term.

Today's appearance by U.S. War Crimes Ambassador Rapp could foreshadow a warming trend ushered in by the Obama administration; there is much speculation that tomorrow's statement could signal the USA's willingness to ratify the Rome Treaty

Stay tuned...

Additional information can be found at:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

German Killers Sue Wikipedia

Die New York Times berichtet gerade dazu, es geht um Wolfgang W. und Manfred L. und deren Sedelmeyer Tötung.

In dem reissenden Titel "German Killers Sue Wikipedia" geht es um die Freiheit der Meinungsäusserung. Deutsches Recht verlangt, die Namen der Täter nicht zu nennen. Die Server von Wikipedia sind in den USA. Also: was geht vor? Die in den USA durch die Verfassung abgesicherte Meinungsfreiheit erlaubt die Namensnennung (wenn es der Wahrheit entspricht.

Die Meinungsfreiheit in den USA folgt aus dem Ersten Verfassungszusatz (First Amendment):

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Mehr Hintergrund findet sich hier:
Beste Gruesse aus den USA!
Reinhard von Hennigs

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Obama Justice Department expands FCPA Prosecutions to Combat International Corruption; US Executives Authorizing Overseas Kickbacks Now Face Jail

Siemens Agrees to Massive $1.34 BN Penalty to Settle FCPA Corruption Charges

US and EU businesses operating in or solicing clients in any foreign country should take note of several recent developments in the laws intended to combat fraud and corruption by US and EU companies.

In the last several months, there have been significant developments surrounding a little-known statute called the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA), which is a law intended to punish corrupt activity engaged in by US companies that takes place outside the borders of the US.

A violation of the FCPA can occur when a person acting on behalf of a US company offers a bribe or kickback in order to obtain something of value, such as a government contract or favorable treatment among competitors. Most importantly, in many cases a violation occurs even if that payment was legal under the laws of the country in which it was made.

Last year, Siemens AG agreed to pay a massive $1.3BN fine (that’s Billion with a B) to the Justice Department to settle allegations that its employees had paid bribes to a number of foreign governments in order to secure contracts ranging from a mass transit project in Venezuela to a cell phone contract with the government of Bangladesh.

US and EU companies now must closely scrutinize their policies and procedures regarding how they conduct business overseas, especially if they do any business in lesser developed nations where bribery may be seen as a normal component of doing business.

It has been argued that such a law places US and EU companies at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to conducting business overseas, especially if they have competitors domiciled in a nation that has no such law. Today, it is still the case that the US is the only nation to seriously enforce such legislation, but the EU is quickly following suit. It is too early to tell whether pressure from the Obama administration on foreign governments to keep pace by adopting and enforcing similar laws is working, but one thing is for certain: The Justice Department is committed to expanding the number of prosecutions and the severity of punishments under this previously unknown law.

Many legal commentators have complained of the highly technical nature of this statute. They have also decried the statute’s sweeping breadth, as the FCPA prohibits not just clearly corrupt payments, but also criminalizes what many regard as innocuous conduct. A literal reading of the statute would prohibit for example the paying a bribe to a Zimbabwean Customs Official for a smooth passage through customs, even though such a payment is legal and expected in Zimbabwe.

It has become clear to most business leaders that the increase in prosecutions and the serious penalties facing both management and employees means that US and EU companies who do any business overseas need to consult with knowledgeable sources in order to review and implement new policies to prevent violations of the FCPA.

Note: Thank you to RvH for inviting me to contribute to this site. I look forward to providing more commentary in the future.

D. Mays Dickey, Esq.

Friday, November 13, 2009

November 2009 BDH International Newsletter: Green Card Lottery, Fraud Alert, US Naturalization Test

Green Card Lottery (Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Instructions)

November ist immer sehr erlebnisreich und die 20-Jahr Feier zum Fall der Berliner Mauer macht diesen Monat im Jahr 2009 noch bedeutender. Hier in den USA fängt es mit dem Halloween "Trick or Treat" an, geht über die Green Card Lottery weiter und endet mit dem Truthahn zu Thanksgiving. Genau das sind Themen meines Newsletter.

Bei einem Vortrag, den ich gerade in Heidelberg bei der German CPA Society gehalten habe, stellte ich die US Financial Reform Bestrebungen vor, ein Bericht wird demnächst in der KoR - Zeitschrift für internationale und kapitalmarktorientierte Rechnungslegung veröffentlicht. Wer Interesse an dem Artikel hat, den bitte ich um eine Nachricht.

Weitere Themen u.a. in diesem Monat:

Besondere Aufmerksamkeit empfehle ich dem Fraud Alert - es werden gerade wieder Briefe verschickt, die aussehen, als seien es offizielle Briefe des NC Secretary of State. Dieses ist nicht richtig - siehe dazu der Artikel unten.

Und nun der Link des Monates, der sich dem Thema 20 Jahre Mauerfall widmet. Wie manche wissen war ich ja damals vor 20 Jahren dabei - auf der Mauer in Berlin. Wer also irgendweche Fotos sieht und meint, mich dort zu erkennen, bitte um Nachricht an mich. Ich sammle noch diese Fotos.

Wer INteresse an der Lektüre des Newsletters bekommen hat - bitte eine email an mich.

RvH Bild
Best regards
und viele Grüße
aus Charlotte und aus Atlanta,
Reinhard von Hennigs

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Toyota Sued by Consumers Over Sudden Acceleration of Vehicles

Los Angeles residents Seong Bae Choi and Chris Chan Park, who claim they experienced multiple instances of unintended acceleration, filed the suit as a class action on Nov. 5, 2009 seeking to represent all U.S. owners of certain Toyota and Lexus models.

This may be relevant for you if you drive a Toyota or Lexus model. The class action (or Sammelklage in German) or a representative action is a form of lawsuit where a large group of people collectively bring a claim to court. This form of collective lawsuit originated in the United States and is still predominantly a U.S. phenomenon, at least the U.S. variant of it. However, in several European countries with civil law (as opposed to the English common law principle, which is used by US courts), changes have in recent years been made that allow consumer organizations to bring claims on behalf of large groups of consumers.

Once the judge certifies the class you may either "opt-out" and work on your own legal arguments or you are bound by the settlement.

If you drive a Toyota or Lexus model AND experienced a similar problem, please contact me.

See more details: or

Drive safely,
Reinhard von Hennigs

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

twitter: Hennigs

not sure if it is worth it ... but hey ... everybody seems to twitter ...
if you are interested ... let me know, sign up and follow...
Reinhard von Hennigs

Visa Bulletin November 2009

The monthly bulletin of the US Citizen and Immigration Service summarizes the availability of immigrant numbers during November 2009.

Only applicants who have a priority date earlier than the cut-off date may be allotted a number. Consular officers are required to report to the Department of State documentarily qualified applicants for numerically limited visas; the Bureau of Citizenship and Immigration Services in the Department of Homeland Security reports applicants for adjustment of status.

For more details see:

Section 201 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) sets an annual minimum family-sponsored preference limit of 226,000. The worldwide level for annual employment-based preference immigrants is at least 140,000. Section 202 prescribes that the per-country limit for preference immigrants is set at 7% of the total annual family-sponsored and employment-based preference limits, i.e., 25,620. The dependent area limit is set at 2%, or 7,320.

Section 203 of the INA prescribes preference classes for allotment of immigrant visas as follows:


First: Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Citizens: 23,400 plus any numbers not required for fourth preference.

Second: Spouses and Children, and Unmarried Sons and Daughters of Permanent Residents: 114,200, plus the number (if any) by which the worldwide family preference level exceeds 226,000, and any unused first preference numbers:

A. Spouses and Children: 77% of the overall second preference limitation, of which 75% are exempt from the per-country limit;

B. Unmarried Sons and Daughters (21 years of age or older): 23% of the overall second preference limitation.

Third: Married Sons and Daughters of Citizens: 23,400, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences.

Fourth: Brothers and Sisters of Adult Citizens: 65,000, plus any numbers not required by first three preferences.


First: Priority Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required for fourth and fifth preferences.

Second: Members of the Professions Holding Advanced Degrees or Persons of Exceptional Ability: 28.6% of the worldwide employment-based preference level, plus any numbers not required by first preference.

Third: Skilled Workers, Professionals, and Other Workers: 28.6% of the worldwide level, plus any numbers not required by first and second preferences, not more than 10,000 of which to "Other Workers".

Fourth: Certain Special Immigrants: 7.1% of the worldwide level.

Fifth: Employment Creation: 7.1% of the worldwide level, not less than 3,000 of which reserved for investors in a targeted rural or high-unemployment area, and 3,000 set aside for investors in regional centers by Sec. 610 of P.L. 102-395.

If you have any questions or need additional information please contact Reinhard von Hennigs via email rvh @, check or call our offices +1 704 333 5230.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

E-verified - Immigration

U.S. Einwanderungsbehörde verwendet E-verified Programm

In der Vergangenheit hatte die amerikanische Einwanderungsbehörde (U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, USCIS) bekannt gegeben, dass ein Zweiphasenprogramm für eine sogenannte E-verified Maßnahme nunmehr umgesetzt wurde. Gleichwohl gibt es noch immer Probleme bei der Anwendung.

Hierbei handelt es sich im Wesentlichen um eingebürgerte Amerikaner. Dieses führte in der Vergangenheit dazu, dass Personen, die eine sogenannte work authorization haben, nach der Einbürgerung nunmehr als nicht mehr zur Arbeit authorisiert ausgewiesen werden. In der Vergangenheit führte dieses zu Komplikationen mit dem Datenabgleich zwischen der Einwanderungsbehörde und der amerikanischen Sozialversicherungsbehörde. Diese Projekte sollen nunmehr verbessert werden.

Sollten Sie in der Vergangenheit eingebürgert worden sein und sollte es bei Ihrer Sozialversicherung zu Problemen geführt haben so bitten wir Sie entweder, sich mit der amerikanischen Einbürgerungsbehörde in Verbindung zusetzen oder sich an uns zu wenden, damit wir Ihnen helfen können.

Das in der Zukunft neue System soll die Echtzeitdaten zwischen den Behörden abgleichen und auf dieser Art und Weise solche Komplikationen vermeiden. Im Übrigen ist das Programm ebenfalls dazu geeignet, über das Internet eine normale Arbeitserlaubnis mit der amerikanischen Einbürgerungsbehörde abzugleichen.

Mehr Informationen finden Sie unter

Oder bei Byrne, Davis & Hicks,

Fraud Alert: Annual Minutes Requirement Statement

An alert from the North Carolina Secretary of State:
The Secretary of State's Office has become aware that an entity, "Compliance Services," has mailed solicitations titled "Annual Minutes Requirement Statement" to business entities in North Carolina . These solicitations offer to process corporate meeting minutes on behalf of the corporation for a fee of $125.00.
Despite the implications contained in the solicitations, North Carolina business entities are not required by law to file corporate minutes with the North Carolina Secretary of State's Office. This document is not affiliated with our office or any other governmental agency.
For more information please see: http://www.secretary.

If you have any questions about this please do not hesitate to contact our Charlotte, NC office and speak to Nicole M. Dickey or Reinhard von Hennigs at (704) 333 5230 or inquire via email law @

More Info:

Green Card Lottery - DV-2011 Diversity Visa lottery

Green Card Lottery (Diversity Visa (DV) Lottery Instructions)

Immigration allows once a year to enter a lottery to obtain a Green Card. The online entry registration period for the DV-2011 Diversity Visa lottery is open until noon, Eastern Standard Time (EST), Monday, November 30, 2009. Entrants apply on Form DS-5501, Electronic Diversity Visa Entry Form available only during the DV open registration period. If you have questions how to file your application, please contact Reinhard von Hennigs via or call: +1 (404) 266 7270. Good luck! Let me know if you need help with the application.

Auch dieses Jahr werden wieder 50,000 Greencard Weltweit und 5,000 in Lateinamerika verlost.

Die "Permanent Resident Card", umgangssprachlich "Green Card", wurde auf Initiative von Präsident Reagan zum Erhalt der Nationalitäten-Vielfalt ab dem Jahre 1987 auch in Form der Diversity Visa Lottery vergeben. Einwohner von Ländern mit hohen Einwanderungsquoten in den letzten Jahren, werden von der Lotterie ausgeschlossen. Dies betrifft dieses Jahr unter anderem Einwanderungswillige aus UK mit Ausnahme Northern Ireland, Polen, Brasilien und dem chinesischen Festland. Für Antragssteller aus Deutschland stehen aber die Chancen wie immer gut.

The DV required a qualifying occupation. The Department of Labor (DOL) database groups job experience into five "job zones". While many occupations are listed on the DOL Website, only certain specified occupations qualify for the Diversity Visa Program. To qualify for a Diversity Visa on the basis of your work experience, you must, within the past five years, have two years of experience in an occupation that is designated as Job Zone 4 or 5, classified in a Specific Vocational Preparation (SVP) range of 7.0 or higher.

Also see an important fraud warning, and more on the Diversity Visa Program on the State Departments web site: Please note there are websites looking very official but they are really not an official US governmental site.

Any questions?

Call or email!

Reinhard von Hennigs

+1 (704) 333 5230

20Jahre Mauerfall

November ist immer sehr erlebnisreich und die 20-Jahr Feier zum Fall der Berliner Mauer macht diesen Monat im Jahr 2009 noch bedeutender. Hier in den USA fängt es mit dem Halloween "Trick or Treat" an, geht über die Green Card Lottery weiter und endet mit dem Truthahn zu Thanksgiving.

Bei einem Vortrag, den ich gerade in Heidelberg bei der German CPA Society gehalten habe, stellte ich die US Financial Reform Bestrebungen vor, ein Bericht wird demnächst in der KoR - Zeitschrift für internationale und kapitalmarktorientierte Rechnungslegung veröffentlicht. Wer Interesse an dem Artikel hat, den bitte ich um eine Nachricht.

Besondere Aufmerksamkeit empfehle ich dem Fraud Alert - es werden gerade wieder Briefe verschickt, die aussehen, als seien es offizielle Briefe des NC Secretary of State. Dieses ist nicht richtig - siehe dazu der Artikel unten.

Mein Lieblingsthema ist diesen Monat der 20 Jahre Mauerfall. Wie manche wissen war ich ja damals vor 20 Jahren dabei - auf der Mauer in Berlin. Wer also irgendweche Fotos sieht und meint, mich dort zu erkennen, bitte um Nachricht an mich. Ich sammle noch diese Fotos.

RvH Bild
Best regards und viele Grüße aus Charlotte und aus Atlanta,
Ihr Reinhard von Hennigs