Public Policy

  • October 1, 2014

    FDA Finalizes Cybersecurity Guidance For Medical Devices

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration issued final guidance on Wednesday advising medical device manufacturers to build safety controls into network-connected devices to protect against data breaches and viruses that could put patients' safety at risk.

  • October 1, 2014

    3rd Circ. Denies Stay To Therapists In NJ Gay Conversion Row

    The Third Circuit on Tuesday refused to stay its decision upholding a New Jersey law prohibiting counselors from treating minors with “conversion therapy” to change their sexual orientation while opponents of the law mount a U.S. Supreme Court challenge.

  • October 1, 2014

    Rep. Wants Top VA Official Sacked For Abusing Power

    The chairman of the House Veterans' Affairs Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee has urged the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to fire a top procurement official and consider suspending a reverse auction contractor, after an investigation corroborated their improper ties.

  • October 1, 2014

    Calif. Gov Signs Privacy Bill To Block Drone Snooping

    California Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday signed a bill to expand the state’s privacy protections for residents by making it illegal to use “any device” — including drones — to record personal or familial activities on an individual’s property.

  • October 1, 2014

    7th Circ. Asked To Rehear Medicare Research Funding Case

    Chicago teaching hospital Rush University Medical Center on Tuesday urged the full Seventh Circuit to review its panel decision to strike down a ruling allowing Medicare compensation for Rush’s “pure research” costs, claiming the court had issued a prior opinion offering a contradictory interpretation of the statute at hand.

  • October 1, 2014

    FCC Chair Calls City Broadband 'As American As You Can Get'

    With the Federal Communications Commission considering a move to override state laws that restrict cities from building their own broadband networks, agency chair Tom Wheeler gave a ringing endorsement to such locally run networks Wednesday, calling them 'as American as you can get.'

  • October 1, 2014

    2nd Circ. Snuffs Tribes' Bid To Block Payday Loan Crackdown

    The Second Circuit on Wednesday backed a New York federal judge who refused to stop state bank regulators from targeting lenders based on Native American reservations as part of a crackdown on high-interest online payday loans, finding his conclusion that the state likely has authority was reasonable.

  • October 1, 2014

    Ban Upheld On Uranium Mining Near Grand Canyon

    An Arizona federal judge on Tuesday tossed a bid from several mining groups to open more than 1 million acres surrounding the Grand Canyon to uranium mining, ruling the U.S. Department of the Interior had adequately consulted with local governments before declaring the land off-limits to exploration.

  • October 1, 2014

    NY Lawmaker Charged With Theft Of Campaign, Travel Funds

    Queens-based New York Democratic Assemblyman William Scarborough was arrested and indicted Wednesday on charges that he stole campaign funds and filed 174 false travel reimbursement requests, according to the state's attorney general.

  • October 1, 2014

    Fla. Redistricting Case On Fast Track To State High Court

    Voters challenging the constitutionality of Florida's congressional districts map won certification Wednesday of their appeal of a decision approving state lawmakers' recent tweaks, as a split panel found enough urgency in resolving the case to offer it directly to the Florida Supreme Court.

  • October 1, 2014

    Business Audits Drive Increase In IRS Exam Collections

    The Internal Revenue Service, working under a constrained budget in fiscal year 2013, brought in more revenue through examinations compared with the previous year, even though the total number of audits fell, largely because exams of businesses were more productive, according to a report released on Wednesday.

  • October 1, 2014

    Casino Expansion Can't Be Rush Job, NJ Senate Chief Says

    The powerful head of the New Jersey Senate told Law360 that he could support a constitutional amendment to expand casino gambling but that clashes over pension funding and finding money to support transportation infrastructure are among the most pressing concerns for his house in the coming months.

  • October 1, 2014

    UN Chief Presses WTO To Reach Deal On Trade Rules

    United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday implored the World Trade Organization to overcome its internal squabbles and reach a deal on new global trade rules, warning that the rise of regional trade pacts could undermine the WTO and leave developing nations in the dust.

  • October 1, 2014

    USPTO Says AIA Satellite Offices Have Cut Backlogs

    The U.S. Patent and Trademark Office told lawmakers Tuesday that the development of four permanent satellite offices mandated under the America Invents Act, despite budget setbacks that delayed the openings of two of the sites, have made the agency more accessible and cut patent application backlogs.

  • October 1, 2014

    Don't Wait To Kill FERC Power Demand Rule, DC Circ. Told

    Utility groups told the D.C. Circuit on Tuesday that the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hasn't justified the need to stay the court's mandate to scrap a controversial rule requiring that consumers be paid for using less power during high-demand periods.

  • October 1, 2014

    IRS Leaking Taxpayer Info In FOIA Responses, Audit Says

    The Internal Revenue Service may be inadvertently disclosing sensitive taxpayer information when it responds to Freedom of Information Act inquiries, says an agency watchdog report released Wednesday, which found that agency workers disclosed information in 21 percent of sampled FOIA cases.

  • October 1, 2014

    US Forks Over $300M To End WTO Cotton Fight With Brazil

    U.S. trade officials on Wednesday unveiled an agreement to extinguish a longstanding World Trade Organization fight with Brazil over cotton subsidies, agreeing to pay $300 million and make modifications to its export credit guarantee program.

  • September 30, 2014

    Ex-Sen. Must Repay Funds Used To Fight Bathroom Arrest

    A District of Columbia federal judge on Tuesday ruled that former U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, must shell out nearly $243,000 to the U.S. Department of the Treasury for improperly converting campaign funds to personal use to cover legal defense fees stemming from his 2007 arrest on suspicion of lewd conduct in a men’s bathroom in a Minneapolis airport.

  • September 30, 2014

    GOP Challenge To SEC Pay-To-Play Rule Axed

    A Washington, D.C., federal judge on Tuesday tossed a challenge by the New York and Tennessee Republican parties to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissions' pay-to-play rule for investment advisers, saying judicial review of the rule lies exclusively in the federal court of appeals.

  • September 30, 2014

    ACA Neglected To Fund Insurance Risk Corridors, GAO Says

    The Affordable Care Act did not properly authorize spending on so-called risk corridors intended to shield health insurers from heavy losses, but there may be other sources of funding for the program, the U.S. Government Accountability Office reported Tuesday.

Expert Analysis

  • Angels In Limbo Until Next Year

    Gary J. Kocher

    Three events occurred during 2013 that may have the unintended consequence of chilling investment activity in the angel investor community. While recent policy initiatives address these consequences, these bills will likely need to be reintroduced in the next Congress — with several sponsors of these bills facing tough elections this year, say attorneys with K&L Gates LLP.

  • NYC Council Looks To Restrict Pre-Employment Inquiries

    Mark S. Goldstein

    Although the New York City Council is not the first to propose a law limiting employers' use of credit histories during the hiring process, the Stop Credit Discrimination in Employment Act appears to be the most restrictive, says Mark Goldstein of Reed Smith LLP.

  • New Texas Pipeline Permitting Process Is Modest Change

    C. Brannon Robertson

    While the Texas Railroad Commission's proposed changes to the way pipelines gain "common carrier" status have garnered attention, the rule will likely have a minimal effect on the ultimate determination of whether a given line is entitled to such status — that decision will remain with the courts, says Brannon Robertson of King & Spalding LLP.

  • An Update On The Status Of EU Unitary Patents

    Frank Peterreins

    There no longer appears to be much doubt that the EU Unified Patent Court Agreement will receive the minimum required ratification, however the schedule is stretching out. While implementation was initially expected in 2015, the Unified Patent Court and unitary patent now appear unlikely to be available before spring 2016, say Frank Peterreins and John Pegram of Fish & Richardson PC.

  • The Tangled Web Of Sanctions Against Russia

     Stan Marcuss

    The Office of Foreign Assets Control and the U.S. Department of Commerce are among the tailors of the Russian sanctions fabric, but not necessarily working from the same pattern. Those who run afoul of the sanctions are likely to find themselves in the crosshairs of competing enforcement initiatives, say Stan Marcuss and Lloyd Grove of Bryan Cave LLP.

  • New Calif. Rooftop Regime Seeks To Streamline Solar

    Brian J. Nese

    With a pending reduction in federal tax credits and a warning from the Legaue of California Cities that its members cannot implement reforms, the solar panel industry should pay close attention to California's new rooftop permitting regime — it remains to be seen whether anticipated "soft cost" savings will be realized, say Brian Nese and Michael Wang of Stoel Rives LLP.

  • To Label Or Not To Label? Companies May Have No Choice

    Thomas C. Means

    The multiplicity of perspectives in the D.C. Circuit's en banc ruling in American Meat Institute v. U.S. Department of Agriculture leaves open the possibility that the case may reach the U.S. Supreme Court and, in the meantime, stand for a broad proposition that government may compel virtually any commercial speech, say attorneys at Crowell & Moring LLP.

  • Antitrust And Cybersecurity — Still A Long Way To Go

    Anne Rodgers

    Currently pending before Congress are several pieces of proposed legislation aimed at improving cybersecurity efforts. But they are proposals that likely lack the force necessary to allay the private sector’s concerns about information sharing and potential exposure to antitrust and other liability, say attorneys with Norton Rose Fulbright.

  • DOJ Proposal Shows Focus On Individuals In Corporate Crime

    Helen Cantwell

    The U.S. Department of Justice's proposal to import Park liability to financial crimes would require legislative action and is unlikely to gain traction for other reasons. Nevertheless, it is significant that the attorney general considers such liability for financial executives to be desirable, say attorneys with Debevoise & Plimpton LLP.

  • The Most Important New Changes To Russian IP Law

    Irina Stepanova

    New amendments bring Russian intellectual property law more into line with practices in other jurisdictions and will have a positive effect on the protection and enforcement of IP rights in Russia, says Irina Stepanova of Baker Botts LLP.