Public Policy

  • October 20, 2014

    Enviros Say Ky. Can't Enforce EPA-OK'd Selenium Standards

    Environmental groups seeking to overturn Kentucky’s new water quality standards for selenium said Friday the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency improperly relied on the state’s promise to measure water quality through fish tissue analyses, even though some waterways no longer have fish because of the contaminant — a coal-mining byproduct.

  • October 20, 2014

    Tax Pros Puzzle Over IRS Economic Substance Guidance

    Tax practitioners at a conference in New York said Monday that it was unclear why the Internal Revenue Service released a notice earlier this month on the economic substance doctrine but that it may have been a reaction to a conflicting federal court decision.

  • October 20, 2014

    Pro Leagues, NCAA Make Play To Stop NJ Sports Betting Law

    The four major U.S. sports leagues and the NCAA on Monday sought an injunction in federal court against New Jersey’s new sports gambling law after Gov. Chris Christie on Friday signed a bill legalizing the practice at casinos and racetracks.

  • October 20, 2014

    TPP Catches Flak From Aussie Pols As Talks Forge Ahead

    As negotiators convened in Canberra, Australia, for the latest round of talks to close the Trans-Pacific Partnership, a slew of civil society organizations and Australian lawmakers voiced opposition to the deal on Monday, flagging numerous trouble spots such as the recently leaked draft intellectual property chapter.

  • October 20, 2014

    CFPB Clears Way For Banks To Post Privacy Notices Online

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday finalized a rule that will allow banks and other financial institutions to skip physically mailing their annual privacy notices if they limit how they share customers’ personal information with third parties and don’t change the terms of their policies.

  • October 20, 2014

    With Lessons Learned, FHFA Lets Mortgage Giants Ease Credit

    The Federal Housing Finance Agency's plan to boost mortgage lending by allowing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase loans with 3 percent down payments may stir housing bubble memories, but experts say better underwriting standards and other protections should prevent the worst subprime lending practices from returning.

  • October 20, 2014

    Device Makers Find Little Clarity In FDA Recall Guidance

    New recall guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ultimately does little to clarify when decisions by medical device makers to alter products or halt sales are significant enough to trigger reputation-bruising recalls, attorneys say.

  • October 20, 2014

    SIFMA Urges Regulators To Coordinate Cybersecurity Push

    The Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association asked regulators Monday to create a White House-led working group as agencies build new cybersecurity frameworks, in order to avoid creating a regulatory tangle in the wake of massive data breaches like one that affected more than 76 million JPMorgan Chase & Co. customers this summer.

  • October 20, 2014

    EPA Watchdog Slams Weak Clean Air Act Revenue Oversight

    Air quality regulators in some of the most heavily permitted areas in the country are failing to collect enough money from businesses and jeopardizing effective state and local Clean Air Act program implementation, a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Inspector General report said Monday.

  • October 20, 2014

    SEC Names Ex-Hedge Fund Manager As Exam Deputy Director

    The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission said Monday it has named a former Stark Investment LP executive as the new deputy director of its examination office, promoting from within the ex-hedge fund manager who specializes in the workings of funds run by private equity firms and hedge funds.

  • October 20, 2014

    FDA Settles With Consumer Group Over GRAS Rules

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has settled a consumer group’s lawsuit alleging the food industry enjoys too much control over what additives are “generally recognized as safe” ingredients, agreeing to finalize a rule on the system within two years, according to documents filed Monday in D.C. federal court.

  • October 20, 2014

    EPA Watchdog To Audit Calif. Enviro Board Laser Purchase

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Inspector General will audit the California Air Resources Board’s purchase of a laser used to monitor air pollution and review allegations that the board is misreporting pollution data, the watchdog recently said.

  • October 20, 2014

    Nurses Launch Campaign For Strict Ebola Protocols

    The largest nurses' union in the U.S. on Monday began a week of events to encourage the public to pressure the Obama administration and Congress to require strict standards for Ebola treatment at hospitals and other health care employers.

  • October 20, 2014

    BNSF Appeal Halts Diesel Tax Payment, Judge Says

    A Tennessee federal court on Friday allowed BNSF Railway Co. to stop paying railroad diesel taxes temporarily while it appeals the court’s Oct. 10 denial of its preliminary injunction to the Sixth Circuit.

  • October 20, 2014

    Sen. Leahy Asks Comcast To Promise No Fast Lanes

    With Comcast Corp. waiting for approval of its proposed $45 million mega-merger with Time Warner Cable Inc., Senate Finance Committee head Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., is calling on the cable giant to promise that it will not create “fast lanes” on its network.

  • October 20, 2014

    Senators Want To Explore Security On 'Internet Of Things'

    A bipartisan group of U.S. senators on Monday called on the leaders of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee to hold a hearing before the end of the year to probe the privacy and data security risks posed by the growing connectivity of everyday devices to the “Internet of Things.”

  • October 20, 2014

    Agency Needs Input Before Changing Stance, High Court Told

    Federal agencies must accept public input before substantially changing how they interpret regulations, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business groups told the Supreme Court on Thursday, in a case challenging the U.S. Department of Labor's reclassification of mortgage loan officers as overtime-eligible.

  • October 20, 2014

    Pa. $800M Tobacco Settlement Used Properly, Audit Finds

    As several major tobacco companies prepare to square off against Attorney General Kathleen Kane before an appeals court in a dispute over Pennsylvania’s share of a settlement over smoking-related health problems, an audit has determined that state officials are adequately administering nearly $800 million they’d already received.

  • October 20, 2014

    USDA Must Bolster Salmonella Safeguards, GAO Says

    The U.S. Government Accountability Office recommended that the U.S. Department of Agriculture develop additional performance measures to ensure standards are met for preventing contamination in poultry products by bacteria like salmonella, citing recent lapses at poultry farms, according to a GAO report released Monday.

  • October 20, 2014

    FINRA To Scrutinize High-Speed Algorithmic Trading

    The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority's risk czar warned Monday that the organization will soon ask more of companies that use automated high-frequency trading, saying examiners will look for evidence that such programs have been robustly vetted as part of efforts to catch up with traders' technical advances in recent years.

Expert Analysis

  • EPA Emissions Proposal May Spur Greater Enforcement

    Nancy MacKimm

    If finalized, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's proposal to prohibit excess emissions during periods of startup, shutdown or malfunction in state implementation plans under the Clean Air Act could result in additional enforcement actions for violations of emission limitations during periods of malfunction, say attorneys at Jones Day.

  • Brazil's E-Social Program: A New Horizon For Employers

    Walter Abrahao Nimir Junior

    The goal of Brazil's eSocial program is to gradually replace obligations from previous labor and social security withholding forms, thus reducing employers' repetitive and excessive submission of information, say Walter Abrahao Nimir Junior and Marina Alfonso de Souza of De Vivo Whitaker e Castro Advogados.

  • The Uncertain Utility Of A CFPB No-Action Letter

    Eric J. Mogilnicki

    The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's No-Action Letter policy appears to be an uneasy compromise between the desire to assist innovators and a hesitancy to cede any of the bureau’s authority. The result is likely to be a time-consuming application process and an uncertain return on NALs, says Eric Mogilnicki of Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP.

  • A Large Loophole In The Ostensible Subcontractor Rule

    Bryan King

    As shown by recent Small Business Administration decisions, the current SBA regulations generally prevent the filing of an ostensible subcontractor size protest at the task order level, creating a situation where a large business could possibly take advantage, says Bryan King of Bass Berry & Sims PLC.

  • DOJ Puts Cybersecurity Info-Sharing Policy Into Practice

    Anne Rodgers

    In response to a business review request, the U.S. Department of Justice recently announced that it will not challenge a proposed cyberintelligence data-sharing platform. The analysis offers further guidance into the DOJ’s future enforcement of the antitrust laws in the cyber information-sharing arena. And it could not be more timely, say attorneys with Norton Rose Fulbright.

  • Crisis At The WTO — What Options Are Left?

    Terence Stewart

    While one may hope for brighter days in the future, the raging storm within the World Trade Organization membership at the moment suggests it will be a very long time before WTO members can restore the negotiating function of the organization, says Terence Stewart of the Law Offices of Stewart and Stewart.

  • We Need A Specialized Patent Trial Court

    William Watkins

    The U.S. is the only country in the world where standard juries are used in patent cases. With patent trolls imposing huge costs on the economy and crippling our power to innovate, Americans should be willing to consider major changes in how we decide patent cases, says William Watkins, a research fellow at The Independent Institute.

  • 5 Takeaways From The New Cybersecurity Executive Order

    Lisa Ledbetter

    President Obama signed an executive order on Friday that requires federal agencies to apply enhanced security features to government payment cards. The administration views chip-and-PIN technology as a significant step forward, but such technology does not provide protection in online, mail and telephone order purchases, and does not eliminate the risk of a security breach, say attorneys with Jones Day.

  • Promotional Allowances In A New Retail Environment

    James Fishkin

    The Federal Trade Commission's recently revised "Guides for Advertising Allowances and Other Merchandising Payments and Services" reflect the growing importance of the Internet and online commerce, recognizing explicitly that online retailers can and often do compete with brick-and-mortar retailers, say James Fishkin and Irene Ayzenberg-Lyman of Dechert LLP.

  • What Litigators Can Learn From Novelists

    Michael H. Rubin

    Many legal briefs are written in impenetrable jargon and begin with an introduction telling the court what it already knows, using words that stem from the 18th century, such as “hereinafter.” Instead, we should approach briefs the way novelists approach their writing, says Michael Rubin of McGlinchey Stafford PLLC.