State attorneys general gave online privacy protection increasing attention in 2013. There was mounting pressure from attorneys general to expand privacy protections, a rising number of enforcement actions and increased coordination among states, says Jason Crawford, a federal law clerk.
In Rowland v. Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp., three Pennsylvania plaintiffs — merely because they were rousted to multidistrict litigation — received the advantage of the different choice-of-law rules for states to which they had no connection, rather than being bound by the choice-of-law rules of their actual domiciliary state. Where, as in Rowland, the plaintiff is a pure litigation tourist, this is an absurd result, says James Beck of Reed Smith LLP.
A recent Federal Energy Regulatory Commission order will permit Rockies Express Pipeline to enter into transactions to transport shale gas east to west within its easternmost zone without triggering a rate reduction for its foundation and anchor shippers. Rockies Express’ ability to enter into such transactions will provide a new source of gas supply for Midwestern markets and an attractive outlet for Marcellus and Utica production, say attorneys with Van Ness Feldman LLP.
What is the thinking as to whether leaky air conditioner cases warrant multidistrict litigation treatment? On Dec. 5, the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation heads to Vegas to find out. This will bring a temperature shift in more ways than one from the September hearing, where the panel considered a potential MDL proceeding arising from allegedly defective clothes dryers, says Alan Rothman of Kaye Scholer LLP.
Five years ago, the Federal Trade Commission waded into the debate regarding the competition issues posed by “follow-on biologics.” Some three years after Congress provided a pathway for approval of such products, no follow-on biologic has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Now the FTC is revisiting the issue — particularly state restrictions, say attorneys with Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
The New York State Department of Financial Services is “requiring” about 200 banks “to answer questions in real time on Dec. 12 to assess their cybersecurity policies and processes.” But the DFS will not necessarily learn anything new from the Web-based, real-time surveys, nor is that the stated intent, say Ronald Sarachan and Zoe Wilhelm of Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP.
Three recent cases applied the economic substance doctrine, with quite different results, to the "structured trust advantaged repackaged securities" transaction, one of several foreign tax credit generators the IRS is aggressively challenging. These decisions likely foreshadow a fight in the circuit courts over STARS and the economic substance doctrine, say Robert Probasco and Lee Meyercord of Thompson & Knight LLP.
A new avenue of recovery has just been opened to Madoff victims. The U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York recently announced that the Madoff Victim Fund would begin accepting claims. Those who lost money invested with Madoff — indirectly or directly — should be aware of several aspects of the MVF so they can maximize their recovery, say James Masella and Jeremy Weinberg of Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler LLP.
Organizations that handle personal information have an overwhelming need to screen out untrustworthy job applicants. However, a legislative trend aimed at reintegrating millions of ex-offenders into the workforce has picked up so much steam that this practice is now illegal in some jurisdictions, forcing employers to rethink whether they should ask the question at all, says Philip Gordon of Littler Mendelson PC.
Mandated law student pro bono programs have not worked in championing the causes of social justice for those unable to afford counsel. States would be far better off using their resources to insist on a legislative solution to a very troubling and persistent deficiency in the allocation of legal resources, says Fred Isquith of Wolf Haldenstein Adler Freeman & Herz LLP.