Public Policy

  • October 26, 2016

    DC Official Gets 1-Year House Arrest For Fudging Taxes

    A former senior Washington, D.C., official who pled guilty to a federal tax charge was ordered Tuesday by a federal judge to repay $220,987 to the U.S. Treasury and sentenced to one year of probation and home confinement, according to an attorney for the former city official.

  • October 26, 2016

    ABA Cautions CFPB On Proposed Disclosure Rule Changes

    The American Bar Association has urged the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to tweak certain parts of its proposed amendments to the agency’s information and disclosure rules, saying that the proposals could compromise attorney-client privilege by allowing for greater sharing of protected information.

  • October 26, 2016

    2nd Fla. Appeals Court Rejects Medical Malpractice Cap

    Florida's Second District Court of Appeal on Wednesday joined the state's Fourth District in finding that a state law capping noneconomic damages in medical malpractice personal injury suits is unconstitutional, adopting an opinion currently under review by the state's highest court.

  • October 26, 2016

    Mich. House Dems Want DOJ Probe Of Flint Lawsuit Block

    Michigan’s Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives on Tuesday asked the U.S. Department of Justice to review how the state has allegedly blocked the city of Flint from suing the state in connection with the city’s lead-tainted drinking water crisis.

  • October 26, 2016

    DOD Halts Clawbacks Of National Guard Bonuses After Backlash

    The U.S. Department of Defense will halt its process to claw back incentive bonuses and tuition assistance erroneously given to thousands of California National Guard troops, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said on Wednesday, following outcry from lawmakers against the Pentagon's efforts to seek repayment.

  • October 26, 2016

    Ex-Sanofi EpiPen Alternative Auvi-Q Coming Back In 2017

    Kaléo Pharma, the inventor of an EpiPen alternative sold by Sanofi-Aventis that was pulled off the market in 2015 following dosing concerns, has rebought the drug and will start selling a revamped version in the beginning of 2017, the company announced Wednesday.

  • October 26, 2016

    TSA Must Boost Airport Access Badge Oversight, OIG Says

    The Transportation Security Administration is still falling short in its oversight of security badges for employees working in sensitive areas at U.S. airports and must bolster procedures to ensure that badges are properly accounted for, according to a U.S. Department of Homeland Security Office of Inspector General report made public on Wednesday.

  • October 26, 2016

    Split SEC Eases Proxy Voting Rules On Corporate Elections

    A divided Securities and Exchange Commission approved rule changes on Wednesday to make it easier for shareholders to vote for corporate board candidates nominated by activist investors, while unanimously agreeing to relax intrastate crowdfunding rules.

  • October 26, 2016

    Time Warner Takeover Hastens Need For Uniform Privacy Regs

    AT&T roused privacy advocates in unveiling an $85.4 billion cash-and-stock takeover of Time Warner over the weekend, a move that steps up pressure to replace the traditional sectorial approach to privacy regulation with more stringent and uniform rules to counter the increasingly blurry lines between the telecom and tech industries.

  • October 26, 2016

    Many Drone Waivers, Applications Rejected, FAA Says

    The Federal Aviation Administration announced Tuesday that in the months since it began issuing waivers and airspace authorizations to drone operators, many applications have been rejected due to incorrect or incomplete information.

  • October 25, 2016

    Pa. Court Split Keeps Judicial Retirement Proposal As Is

    The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Tuesday deadlocked over the validity of a renewed legal challenge to the controversial wording of an upcoming ballot measure to raise the state’s mandatory judicial retirement age, in a 3-3 split that drew four separate opinions.

  • October 25, 2016

    GWB Defendant Grilled Over 'Radio Silence' For Mayors

    A prosecutor in the George Washington Bridge lane-closing trial on Tuesday challenged a defendant's claims that she knew about a plan to ignore one mayor, but not a similar scheme against another mayor in light of how she received emails in which the phrase “radio silence” was applied to each official.

  • October 25, 2016

    Caribbean Nation Designated For Guest-Worker Programs

    The U.S. Department of Homeland Security released a notice Tuesday newly designating a Caribbean nation as eligible for the H-2B and H-2A visa programs, while redesignating a slew of other countries for the programs.

  • October 25, 2016

    Calif. Judicial Discipline Commission Seeks To Curb Audit

    California’s judicial disciplinary commission has asked a San Francisco state judge to curtail a pending audit into the agency’s disciplinary process, arguing the review seeks confidential documents and violates the separation of powers doctrine by attempting to intrude on the commission's “core constitutional functions.”

  • October 25, 2016

    How To Respond To A Data Breach? The FTC Has Answers

    Key response measures for a data breach include securing physical real estate and sending out immediate notification, the Federal Trade Commission said Tuesday in a newly released guide for businesses on handling data breaches.

  • October 25, 2016

    Sen. Calls For Tougher Internet-Of-Things Rules After Attack

    A member of the U.S. Senate’s intelligence committee is calling on the Federal Communications Commission to beef up cybersecurity standards for connected consumer products, saying the cyberattack that took down much of America’s internet last week proves the internet of things is all too easy to hack.

  • October 25, 2016

    Too Early For Contractors To Celebrate Fair Pay Rule Win

    Government contractors scored a significant win this week when an eleventh-hour injunction blocked much of the controversial Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces rule from taking effect, but the strong potential for either an appeal or an amended rule means companies need to continue planning for potential compliance, experts say.

  • October 25, 2016

    9th Circ. Urged To Rethink Hovercraft Ban On Non-Fed. Land

    An Alaska moose hunter urged the Ninth Circuit on Tuesday to prohibit the National Park Service from applying federal laws that would ban hovercrafts on non-federal lands inside the state's national parks, after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in March that the appellate court’s prior ruling in the case had misinterpreted a federal conservation law.

  • October 25, 2016

    Proof Requirement In IRS Debt-Equity Rules To Prove Costly

    Multinational corporations that wish to treat certain financial transfers between related entities as debt rather than equity for tax purposes will have to comply with new and onerous documentation requirements that experts say will make it harder for businesses to manage cash flows.

  • October 25, 2016

    EU Unveils New Corporate Tax Proposal To Cut Tax Dodging

    The European Union's executive body presented the European Parliament with an updated proposal Tuesday for calculating taxable corporate profits across the bloc and reducing tax avoidance, which if approved would be mandatory for the largest corporations and would seek to incentivize financing through equity instead of debt.

Expert Analysis

  • Changes To IRS Appeals May Create Problems For Taxpayers

    Lisa Zarlenga

    New changes to the Internal Revenue Service's approach for handling tax appeals may alter the dynamics of the process in potentially problematic ways for taxpayers. But the IRS appears to be considering a further change that could have even worse impacts on the appeals process, say attorneys from Steptoe & Johnson LLP.

  • More Than Lip (Sync) Service: McRO's Guidance For USPTO

    Mark Raskin

    The Federal Circuit's decision last month in McRO v. Bandai Namco reiterated and reconfirmed certain rules on patent eligibility — and should form the basis for the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office to update its 2014 interim eligibility guidance, says Mark Raskin of Mishcon de Reya New York LLP.

  • Self-Disclosing Criminal Export Violations: The New Guidance

    John P. Barker

    Recent guidance from the U.S. Department of Justice applies the Yates memo to DOJ investigations of export control and sanctions violations. When confronted with a potential violation, companies will have to make the strategic decision whether to seek the benefits of the voluntary self-disclosure program or risk significantly higher penalties and fines, say attorneys with Arnold & Porter LLP.

  • FDA Moves Toward Online Database For Medical Device Info

    Carolina Wirth

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's proposed rule requiring electronic submission of labels and package inserts for certain “home-use” medical devices furthers the agency's plan to make the information available to the public through the internet. But the proposal should not place significant additional burdens on medical device establishment owners or operators, says Carolina M. Wirth of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP.

  • When Your Client Is The President

    Peter J. Wallison

    I was given immediate responsibility for responding to the Iran-Contra crisis. My problem as a lawyer was what to do about all the requests for files, documents and other information that were coming in from investigators. Ultimately, it came down to this: What do I believe about my client? says Peter Wallison, who served as White House counsel for President Ronald Reagan.

  • Assessing New Calif. Limits On Choice-Of-Law Provisions

    John B. Lewis

    Determining exactly how arbitration-related laws will be enforced in California is always a challenge, but two new laws — Senate Bill 1241 and Senate Bill 1007 — clearly aim to limit arbitration agreements in the state, says John Lewis of BakerHostetler.

  • Dial Or Push-Button: Oral Arguments In Appeal Of FCC Order

    Lewis S. Wiener

    Last week, the D.C. Circuit heard oral arguments in ACA International v. Federal Communications Commission. Attorneys from Sutherland Asbill & Brennan LLP summarize the primary issues, which may provide much-needed clarity on the Telephone Consumer Protection Act's scope once the D.C. Circuit makes a decision.

  • DC Circ.'s Clean Power Plan Hearing: Key Points

    Michael Weller

    A close look at the D.C. Circuit's recent en banc hearing regarding the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan reveals the court's recognition of the importance of the case, as well as its interest in understanding the nuance of key issues, as it deliberates on whether to allow the sweeping restructuring of the nation's power industry to move forward, say Michael Weller and Richard Alonso of Bracewell LLP.

  • Cities' Transaction Taxes Threaten Digital Content Cos.

    Stephen Kranz

    In California, Alabama and Colorado, cities are bypassing the legislative process and using administrative guidance and aggressive audit positions to impose transaction taxes on the sale or rental of digital content. In some cases it will be difficult, if not impossible, for companies to comply with such regimes, say Stephen P. Kranz, Mark Yopp and Eric Carstens of McDermott Will & Emery LLP.

  • Antitrust Authorities Step Up Merger Enforcement

    Howard Morse

    Obama administration antitrust enforcers have faced criticism over the last year for not being sufficiently aggressive. The U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission appear to have responded by increasing enforcement. And the Third Circuit, in FTC v. Penn State Hershey, recently bolstered these efforts, say attorneys with Cooley LLP.