Public Policy

  • November 25, 2015

    Britain Looks To Unload Lloyd's, RBS Bailout Stakes

    The British government plans to fully divest its Royal Bank of Scotland stake by selling shares totaling £30.8 ($46.6 billion) over six years, in addition to selling the rest of its Lloyds Banking Group stock in 2016, part of efforts to unwind from crisis-era bailouts, the country's treasury department said Wednesday.

  • November 25, 2015

    Calif. High Court Will Weigh 'Vague' Background Check Law

    The California Supreme Court on Wednesday agreed to consider whether the state's Investigative Consumer Reporting Agencies Act is unconstitutionally vague when applied to employee background checks because of its overlap with another California credit reporting law at issue in a labor suit against a school-bus company.

  • November 25, 2015

    Health, Enviro Orgs Seek To Join EPA Ozone Row In DC Circ.

    A group of environmental and health organizations told the D.C. Circuit on Tuesday that they want to help defend the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from an energy company's suit seeking to block the agency's recent tightening of ground-level ozone standards.

  • November 25, 2015

    Murray Energy Can't Depose EPA Boss, 4th Circ. Rules

    Coal giant Murray Energy can’t depose the head of the Environmental Protection Agency as part of its suit alleging the agency has waged a “war on coal,” the Fourth Circuit ruled Wednesday, reversing a district court decision to put the administrator under oath.

  • November 25, 2015

    NY Judge Promises Quick Ruling On DraftKings, FanDuel Ban

    A Manhattan trial judge held off Wednesday on New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman's bid to have daily fantasy sports giants DraftKings and FanDuel shut down pending the outcome of state lawsuits charging they promote illegal gambling, but said a decision would come "very soon."

  • November 25, 2015

    GOP Criticism Unlikely To Deter Aggressive FCC Enforcement

    The Federal Communications Commission is facing criticism from Republican lawmakers and getting pushback from industry over its eye-popping fines and other enforcement actions, but telecommunications attorneys say it’s unlikely the agency will alter its aggressive tactics in response.

  • November 25, 2015

    Pa. AG Says Special Prosecutors Will Probe Porn Emails

    Pennsylvania's attorney general said Wednesday she would appoint a team of special prosecutors to probe whether a chain of pornographic and other offensive emails swapped by government officials including a sitting state Supreme Court justice violated any criminal, civil or ethics laws in the state.

  • November 25, 2015

    FCC Taps Privacy Expert For Chief Technologist Role

    The Federal Communications Commission has boosted its growing data security and privacy enforcement regime by snagging a leading researcher who exposed the surreptitious online tracking practices of Google Inc., Verizon Communications Inc. and others to be the chief technologist for the agency’s enforcement bureau, it was announced on Wednesday.

  • November 25, 2015

    AT&T Tells FCC Tech Transition Rules Will Add Cost, Delay

    AT&T told the Federal Communications Commission in reply comments Tuesday that its proposed regulatory plan for the transition from old copper-wire networks to new Internet protocol technology would significantly hinder the deployment of broadband and add time and cost to the process.

  • November 25, 2015

    Chile Wants E-Commerce, Competition Folded Into WTO Talks

    The Chilean government has voiced support for including issues like e-commerce, investment and competition in the next phase of the World Trade Organization's negotiating effort, pushing back against efforts to keep the talks more narrowly tailored amid persistent delays and stalls.

  • November 25, 2015

    SEC Blesses Bloomberg, Fintech Trade Matching Plans

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission approved separate plans Tuesday by a Bloomberg LP unit and a Connecticut financial software company to offer trade matching services and electronic trade confirmations, while exempting both from registering as a clearing agency.

  • November 25, 2015

    Global Climate Deal Would Boost CPP's Survival Chances

    The Clean Power Plan is the linchpin of the climate-change commitment the U.S. will bring to global climate talks Monday in Paris, and if the participants are able to strike an international deal to curb global warming, it could help the Obama administration fend off the legal onslaught the controversial CPP regulations are facing, experts say.

  • November 25, 2015

    FCC Comes To Broadband's Aid With Pole Attachments Order

    The Federal Communications Commission released an order Tuesday meant to harmonize the rates that telecom and cable service providers pay to attach to utility poles, saying the change should incentivize broadband development.

  • November 25, 2015

    An In-House Cheat Sheet On Tax Inversion Deals

    Following years of increasing popularity among companies seeking to escape the long arm of U.S. taxes, inversion deals are in the hot seat after Pfizer Inc. announced a blockbuster merger with Irish drugmaker Allergan PLC on the tail of the IRS' new attempts to halt the practice. So how did we get here? Here’s what you need to know.

  • November 25, 2015

    New Trade Panel Chairman Girding For Extensive TPP Review

    The newly minted chairman of the House Ways and Means Trade Subcommittee told Law360 on Tuesday that he intends to oversee an in-depth examination of the recently concluded Trans-Pacific Partnership before the controversial pact receives a congressional vote.

  • November 25, 2015

    6 Key Questions Facing The $20B Hudson Tunnel Project

    Federal and state officials' recent announcement of a funding agreement for the estimated $20 billion Hudson River tunnel project linking New Jersey and New York was a sign of progress, but questions surrounding the private sector's role in that massive undertaking and the political support necessary to seal the deal still loom large.

  • November 25, 2015

    Pa. Judge Allows Town's Gas Drilling Ordinance To Stand

    A Pennsylvania state court judge has upheld a Butler County municipality’s zoning ordinance allowing natural gas drilling in a number of areas, in a case that prompted a developer to sue the environmental groups raising opposition to the measure.

  • November 25, 2015

    Pa. Senate OKs Bill Legalizing Lyft, Uber

    The Pennsylvania Senate approved a bill Wednesday that would legalize ride-hailing services like those offered by Uber Technologies Inc. and Lyft Inc. statewide, including in Philadelphia, where they are currently banned.

  • November 25, 2015

    Pa. Sen. Committee Recommends Hearing To Oust AG

    A special Pennsylvania Senate committee found Wednesday that there was sufficient basis to move forward with proceedings to weigh removal of the state’s embattled attorney general from office after her law license was suspended in the wake of criminal charges.

  • November 24, 2015

    2nd Fla. Solar Energy Ballot Item Heads To State High Court

    The Florida attorney general on Tuesday asked the state's high court to review a proposed 2016 ballot question that would add a constitutional amendment regulating solar energy sales about a month after a competing initiative to open up those sales passed court muster.

Expert Analysis

  • OPINION: In Search Of Our Best Law Firm Selves

    James Maiwurm.jpg

    Several developments over the past few months caught the eye of Jim Maiwurm, chairman emeritus of Squire Patton Boggs. Try as he might, he could not resist the temptation to comment on a few — such as the expansion of the Dentons “polycentric” empire, a confused verein controversy, and provocative suggestions that the law firm partnership model is a dinosaur.

  • SkyPan: FAA Takes Drone Enforcement Seriously

    James Insco

    With its proposed $1.9 million civil penalty against SkyPan — the largest civil penalty ever levied against an operator of unmanned aircraft — the Federal Aviation Administration targeted a relatively established operator, an operator the FAA has since authorized to use unmanned aircraft, and did not articulate egregious examples of careless or reckless flying. This may herald a new approach to enforcement, says James Insco of K&L Gates LLP.

  • Inside DOD Whistleblower Rule For Confidentiality Agreements

    Albert B. Krachman

    The U.S. Department of Defense is now prohibited from contracting with firms that bind employees to confidentiality agreements that restrict their ability to report fraud, waste or abuse to appropriate investigative authorities. Albert Krachman and Stefanos Roulakis of Blank Rome LLP explore issues raised by the new regulations and the risks posed by noncompliance.

  • Testing The Limits On State Regulation Of Crude Oil By Rail

    Raymond Atkins

    There is growing tension between steps taken by state and local officials to protect their constituents from perceived risks associated with the transportation of crude oil by rail and the pervasive and comprehensive federal authority over the railroad industry, says Raymond Atkins, leader of Sidley Austin LLP's transportation practice group and former general counsel of the Surface Transportation Board.

  • FDA Takes A Step Forward On 'Natural' Food Labeling


    After years of uncertainty, controversy and litigation surrounding the use of “natural” on food labels, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has begun accepting public comments on the issue — and industry reactions are already pouring in, say Sarah Brew and Courtney Lawrence at Faegre Baker Daniels LLP.

  • 2 FSMA Final Rules Give Industry Food For Thought

    Brent L. Reichert

    After four and a half years, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently finalized the first two of seven major rules required under the Food Safety Modernization Act, and the industry has already begun weighing in, says Brent Reichert at Robins Kaplan LLP.

  • New Federal Rules Acknowledge It’s Time To Drop The 'E'

    Gregory Leighton

    The amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure scheduled to take effect Dec. 1 are designed to usher in a new era in the U.S. litigation system, this time acknowledging that what was once known as “e-discovery” is now just discovery. The amendments are sweeping in scope, but none is more important than the revised Rule 37(e), say Gregory Leighton and Eric Choi of Neal Gerber & Eisenberg LLP.

  • C-E-R-T! Why Cheerleader Uniform Suit Belongs In High Court

    Edward Maluf

    The Sixth Circuit held last August in Varsity Brands v. Star Athletica that certain design elements of copyright-registered cheerleading uniforms were indeed copyrightable because those elements were conceptually separable from the uniforms themselves. The case provides an opportunity for the U.S. Supreme Court to craft a less subjective and more predictive rule for fashion designs, say Edward Maluf and Amy Abeloff of Seyfarth Shaw LLP.

  • Ins And Outs Of US Trusted Traveler Programs


    U.S. Customs and Border Protection announced in November plans to expand to citizens of the United Kingdom the benefits of the Global Entry program, which permits expedited processing through CBP upon arrival to the United States. Effective Dec. 3, 2015, the expansion represents the latest step in allowing U.S. immigration and security officials to focus on higher-risk travelers, say attorneys with Mayer Brown LLP.

  • New HUD Rule Expands Harassment And Liability Claims

    Harry J. Kelly

    The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development recently proposed a rule that clarifies two types of harassment claims under the Fair Housing Act — underscoring HUD’s refusal to provide guidance on other areas of fair housing law — and pushes the borders of direct and vicarious liability in ways that could be inconsistent with governing law, says Harry Kelly at Nixon Peabody LLP.