Final coffin nails for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan and the Bureau of Land Management's hydraulic fracturing rule are just two of the energy-related deregulatory actions the Trump administration is planning to take in 2018, the White House said on Thursday.
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Trump's 2018 Deregulatory Push Targets CPP, Fracking Rule

Final coffin nails for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan and the Bureau of Land Management's hydraulic fracturing rule are just two of the energy-related deregulatory actions the Trump administration is planning to take in 2018, the White House said on Thursday. Read more »

Final Tax Bill To Allow State Income, Sales Tax Deductions

The final tax cut bill speeding through Congress will allow a deduction for state and local property taxes as well as income or sales taxes while maintaining a $10,000 cap proposed in earlier versions, according to a Thursday announcement from House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Kevin Brady, R-Texas. Read more »

Senate Panel Advances USPTO Head, US Attorneys

The Senate Judiciary Committee approved President Donald Trump's pick to head the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office on a voice vote Thursday, along with nominees for five U.S. attorney positions. Read more »

Fla. High Court Won't Rule On Gov.'s Plan To Name 3 Justices

The Florida Supreme Court said Thursday that it would not decide on whether Gov. Rick Scott can appoint the next three Supreme Court justices on his final day in office because the governor has not yet acted on his stated plan. Read more »

Net Neutrality Reversal Draws Intense Criticism, And Praise

When the Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday afternoon to undo Obama-era regulations that guaranteed equal treatment to all online content, it incited a firestorm of criticism from consumer advocates but triggered profuse praise from industry-aligned groups. Read more »


The WTO May Have Reached Its Breaking Point

The World Trade Organization has struggled to get ambitious negotiations off the ground for years, but experts say this week’s failure to deliver any concrete results at its ministerial summit could mark a breaking point for the WTO as we know it. Read more »


House OKs Bill Loosening Bank Privacy Disclosure Rules

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would loosen current requirements for banks to notify their customers of personal information policies, claiming the bill would reduce duplicative regulation despite concerns for abuse of the information. Read more »

Chinese Consumer Lender Slashes IPO Amid Crackdown

A Chinese online microlender that initially filed for a $500 million U.S. initial public offering has slashed its fundraising estimate by more than three-quarters, a reduction that coincides with a regulatory crackdown by Chinese authorities on online lenders. Read more »


Senate Confirms Trump's EPA GC, Water Chief Picks

The U.S. Senate on Thursday confirmed Matthew Leopold of Carlton Fields as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's general counsel, and Wisconsin Assistant Attorney General David Ross as the EPA's water office chief. Read more »

Trump's EPA Chemical Safety Office Pick Drops Out

President Donald Trump's controversial pick to lead the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's chemical safety office has reportedly given up on seeking the post, just weeks after two Republican senators said they couldn't support his nomination and a third expressed doubts as well. Read more »

EPA Invites Local Groups To Discuss Updates To Lead Rules

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday sent a letter inviting local organizations to weigh in on an effort to revise rules aimed at keeping lead out of drinking water, saying the dialogue was part of the Trump administration’s efforts to engage with local stakeholders. Read more »

Enviro Group Wants Trump Admin.'s Monuments Docs

The Conservation Lands Foundation Inc. expanded the fight over President Donald Trump's decision to shrink national monuments in Utah with a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit in D.C. federal court Wednesday, seeking documents to shed light on the move beyond the “sweeping generalizations” already made. Read more »

Bearded Seal 'Threatened' Listing Improper, Justices Hear

Oil and gas groups, the state of Alaska and an Alaska Native regional corporation urged the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to reject the federal government’s plea to uphold the National Marine Fisheries Service’s decision to list the Pacific bearded seal as a threatened species. Read more »


Startups Need Education On CFIUS Triggers, House Panel Told

The government must work to educate tech startups on potential national security and Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States oversight issues raised by early stage investments from foreign companies, a former high-ranking Treasury Department official now with WilmerHale told the House Financial Services Committee on Thursday. Read more »


FCC Kickstarts Review Of National TV Audience Cap

The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday teed up a further review of its media ownership regulations, voting to move forward with a comment process taking aim at its nationwide television audience cap. Read more »


NY, NJ Pledge $5.55B Toward 'Urgent' Commuter Tunnel Rehab

New York and New Jersey have pledged $5.55 billion for the construction of two new commuter rail tunnels under the Hudson River, an infrastructure project New York Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said Thursday is “urgent” and critical to public safety and the economy. Read more »


NLRB Overturns Employee Handbook Standard

The National Labor Relations Board overturned its 2004 Lutheran Heritage Village-Livonia standard for weighing the legality of employee handbook policies in a 3-2 decision Thursday, with the Republican majority saying the board should balance a given rule's impact on workers' rights and the employer's reasons for maintaining it going forward. Read more »

NLRB Ditches Browning-Ferris Joint Employer Test

A divided National Labor Relations Board on Thursday erased the landmark expansion of its test for determining joint employment that it had issued in the 2015 Browning-Ferris Industries case, voting along party lines to revert back to its previous standard. Read more »


DOJ Antitrust Official Wary Of Regulatory Approach To Data

A top U.S. Department of Justice antitrust official voiced skepticism Thursday of calls to force companies to share their data, but conceded that in “narrow circumstances,” it may be appropriate to bring a challenge over a company's refusal to deal with its competitors. Read more »


Feds Should Ask Firms, Not Cloud Service, For Data: DOJ

The U.S. Department of Justice has advised prosecutors seeking consumer data stored on the cloud to request the information from underlying businesses rather than their third-party data storage providers, in a shift that Microsoft Corp., which has been sparring with the government over online privacy rights, hailed as a positive step. Read more »



Judge Could Reach Split Ruling On CFPB Leadership

A chief complaint about President Donald Trump's appointment of a White House staffer to lead the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is that it erodes the agency's independence, but experts say a judge could reassert that independence even as he upholds the president's right to fill that post. Read more »


Ex-Cuomo Aide Pleads Not Guilty In Bribery Case

A former aide of New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and three others pled not guilty on Wednesday to an expanded indictment tied to alleged bribes for higher education and energy projects, ahead of a trial set for January. Read more »


Armed Services Chair Backs Temporary Funding Bill

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, urged colleagues Wednesday to pass a contentious bill to fully fund the military through fiscal 2018 and renew a children’s health care program while only temporarily extending other federal spending, saying defense funding should not be used as a “political football.” Read more »


Expanded Drone Registry To Spark More Enforcement Action

A legislative fix signed into law by President Donald Trump on Tuesday reinstated a mandate for recreational drone users to register with the federal government, a move that experts say paves the way for more enforcement actions related to privacy, safety and national security. Read more »


Maker Of Plastic Car Parts Seeks CIT Review Of Tariffs

Certus Automotive Inc. has filed a complaint in the U.S. Court of International Trade seeking review of the tariffs imposed on some of the interior and exterior plastic auto parts it imports, after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Customs and Border Protection denied Certus' request for agency review. Read more »


Wis. Sen. Blesses Tax Bill Changes, Yet Some In GOP Waver

Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., who negotiated a key provision for pass-through businesses in the final version of the Senate’s $1.4 trillion tax cut bill, on Thursday endorsed a further change that is being floated to give such businesses a 20 percent tax deduction, though not all Republicans are yet in full support of the bill. Read more »

Prop. Taxes Higher In Poor Chicago Neighborhoods, Suit Says

A pair of Chicago neighborhood advocacy organizations sued the Cook County assessor in Illinois state court Thursday in the wake of reports that the county’s property tax policy has overcharged lower-income residents while handing the richest residents a discount. Read more »


Trump To Appeal Ruling Blocking 'Sanctuary Cities' Order

The Trump administration is appealing to the Ninth Circuit a California federal judge’s decision blocking enforcement of an executive order to withhold federal funds from so-called sanctuary cities, according to court documents filed on Thursday. Read more »

USCIS Ends Temporary Protected Status For Nicaraguans

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services is ending a 20-year a temporary protected status program for Nicaraguans effective in January 2019, according to a notice issued Thursday in the Federal Register. Read more »

Woman Says Husband’s Visa Delayed Because He’s Pakistani

A U.S. citizen seeking a visa for her Pakistan-born spouse sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, claiming the agency has intentionally delayed issuing final approval for his visa application because he is from a predominantly Muslim country. Read more »


Cherokee Must Wait On Final Freedmen Citizenship Order

The Cherokee Nation is eager to fully grant citizenship to descendants of slaves owned by tribal members, but they’ll have to wait a little longer after a D.C. federal judge said Thursday that more briefing was required before closing out a mandate first issued in August. Read more »


FCC Overturns Net Neutrality Rules

As anticipated, the Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to overturn Obama-era net neutrality rules mandating that internet service providers treat all online content equally, handing industry groups a win and offering ISPs leeway to try out “fast” and “slow” lanes for web traffic. Read more »

NY, Mass., Wash. To Sue Over Net Neutrality Rollback

Attorneys general in Massachusetts, New York and Washington state on Thursday announced their intentions to sue the Federal Communications Commission after it moved to undo regulations that protected net neutrality. Read more »


Atty Wants Political Contributions Nixed From Bribery Suit

The Norris McLaughlin & Marcus PA attorney facing charges over an alleged pay-to-play scheme in Allentown, Pennsylvania, on Wednesday moved to exclude most of the campaign contributions he made to Democratic Mayor Ed Pawlowski, a day after an alleged co-conspirator copped a guilty plea. Read more »


Senate Confirms Gibson Dunn Vet For 5th Circ.

Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP partner James C. Ho is heading to the Fifth Circuit after a Senate vote Thursday confirmed him to the post as President Donald Trump’s 12th appellate judge confirmed this year. Read more »



Time To Root Out Political Interference With The DOJ

Congress and indeed the Justice Department itself have the tools to investigate political interference with our nation’s law enforcement and protect the DOJ from abuse. It’s time to use them, says Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I. Read more »

Litigation Trend Links Climate Change And Human Rights

One key takeaway from the Bonn Climate Talks — which recently brought together negotiators from close to 200 countries to discuss implementation of the Paris agreement — is that energy companies must seriously consider potential lawsuits linking their business operations with human rights violations and climate change, say Viren Mascarenhas and Kayla Winarsky Green of King & Spalding LLP. Read more »

Cosmetic Companies Must Plan For New Regulation  

U.S. senators on both sides of the aisle have proposed cosmetic reform bills, making it likely that Congress will soon pass legislation regulating personal care products. This, in turn, is likely to result in greater litigation against companies making those products, say attorneys at Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo PC. Read more »

Reviewing 2017's CEQA Legislative And Regulatory Activity

As another year draws near its close, a number of notable California Environmental Quality Act developments in both the legislative and regulatory arenas bear mention, including one proposed regulation that is already outdated due to its conflict with a recent Fifth District decision, says Arthur Coon of Miller Starr Regalia. Read more »


9th Circ. Chief Launches Kozinski Sex Misconduct Inquiry

The chief judge of the Ninth Circuit on Thursday ordered a judicial misconduct inquiry into U.S. Circuit Judge Alex Kozinski over media reports the judge showed female clerks pornography and committed other acts of sexual misconduct. Read more »

Arnold & Porter To Award Cravath-Scale Associate Bonuses

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer LLP on Wednesday became the latest firm to fall in line with the growing roster of BigLaw firms to offer year-end associate bonuses that align with the scale established by Cravath Swaine & Moore LLP. Read more »

Firm Consolidation Isn't Going To Slow Down In 2018

The legal industry will see limited growth in demand and increasing consolidation in 2018 as firms face mounting pressures both on pricing and costs, and middle-tier firms in particular will feel the squeeze, according to a report released on Thursday. Read more »

Tanenbaum Keale Goes West With Ex-Sedgwick Attys

Litigation boutique Tanenbaum Keale LLP, which was started this year by a group of veteran Sedgwick LLP partners, announced Thursday that it would expand westward, opening a Seattle office to be led by a product liability partner and former colleague from the soon-to-be-shuttered firm. Read more »

Law360's Weekly Verdict: Legal Lions & Lambs

Attorneys at Cravath Swaine & Moore topped this week’s legal lions list after guiding Disney's newly inked $52 billion deal to buy 21st Century Fox’s film and television assets, while a team of DLA Piper attorneys landed on the legal lambs list after misconduct got them thrown out of Dish Network's trademark suit against a DirecTV retailer. Read more »

Why Information Governance Is More Important Than Ever

It used to be that hiring a good law firm was the single most important thing a company could do when facing litigation. You could now make the case that an organization’s most powerful asset in prosecuting or defending a claim is its information, says Linda Sharp, associate general counsel of ZL Technologies and chair of the ACC Information Governance Committee. Read more »

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