Public Policy

  • April 24, 2018

    BREAKING: Justices Curb Civil Suits Against Foreign Companies

    A divided U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that litigants can't use the Alien Tort Statute to sue foreign corporations, ending a case alleging that a Jordanian bank should be held liable for its alleged financing of Palestinian militant attacks.

  • April 23, 2018

    The Next Hy-Brand: 3 Cases That Could Undo Browning-Ferris

    With the Trump administration's attempt to use a case involving Hy-Brand Industrial Contractors to overturn the National labor Relations Board's 2015 Browning-Ferris decision now in legal limbo, attorneys say the NLRB's general counsel may turn to a different case in order to revisit the NLRB's joint employer standard. Here are three that could be the vehicle for crafting a new joint employer test.

  • April 23, 2018

    The FTC’s Commissioner Noms Continue To Wait

    As five nominees to fill posts at the Federal Trade Commission are awaiting confirmation and its second-to-last sitting commissioner is set to depart, the immediate future of the agency is somewhat uncertain. But the background and makeup of the incoming commissioner class hold clues about what to expect from the commission moving forward.

  • April 23, 2018

    AT&T-Time Warner Judge Cuts Off Attys, Rebukes Witness

    Closing arguments in the U.S. Department of Justice antitrust challenge to the AT&T-Time Warner merger could come as soon as early next week and for the D.C. federal judge overseeing the case, it appears the end could come none too soon.

  • April 23, 2018

    Pa. Judge Scolds Gov't For Denying Benefits To Gay Widower

    A Pennsylvania federal judge reprimanded the Social Security Administration for refusing to recognize one of the state’s same-sex common law marriages, ordering Monday that the government pay a widower's costs and fees because it “spent months searching for reasons to deny him benefits based on that marriage.”

  • April 23, 2018

    Review BofA Preemption Ruling, OCC Tells 9th Circ.

    The Office of the Comptroller of the Currency on Monday threw its weight behind Bank of America in urging the Ninth Circuit to review a panel decision that found the National Bank Act does not preempt a California state escrow interest law, arguing that it’s the “rare case that justifies rehearing.”

  • April 23, 2018

    Timber Co. Asks High Court To Reverse Frog Habitat Ruling

    Weyerhaeuser Co. and other forest land owners on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a Fifth Circuit ruling upholding the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s decision to declare 1,500 acres of private property in Louisiana as protected habitat for the endangered dusky gopher frog.

  • April 23, 2018

    DOJ Expects New Foreign Ally In Bribery Fight, Deputy Says

    Another country is soon likely to join the likes of Brazil, Sweden and others whose enforcement agencies have coordinated resolutions of foreign bribery cases with the U.S. Department of Justice, an official said on Monday.

  • April 23, 2018

    Bill To Revive Congressional Tech Office Likely This Week

    In the wake of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony this month, a group of Democratic legislators is urging the House Appropriations Committee to revive the Office of Technology Assessment, which had advised Congress on new and future technology until its 1995 defunding.

  • April 23, 2018

    EU, Mexico Agree To Broader Trade Deal Nixing Tariffs

    Trade officials with the European Union and Mexico announced that they have struck a bilateral free trade agreement that would eliminate virtually all duty payments between the two economies and further open government contracts by the North American nation to European companies.

  • April 23, 2018

    Trump Orders DHS To Keep Immigrant 'Caravan' Out Of US

    In a pair of Twitter messages Monday morning, President Donald Trump promised to keep a “caravan” of Central American migrants from entering the U.S. without authorization and blasted Mexico for allowing people to travel through the country and cross the southwest U.S. border.

  • April 23, 2018

    Senate Advances Trump's Pick For 5th Circ.

    The Senate took a step toward confirming Schaerr Duncan LLP partner Stuart Kyle Duncan to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals on Monday after Republicans came together to advance his nomination.

  • April 23, 2018

    Cambridge Analytica Highlights Tech-Telecom Battle Lines

    The raging debate over net neutrality has turned into a polarizing cage match between the nation’s biggest internet service providers and the country’s most popular online platforms, like Facebook and Netflix. But recent revelations that political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica captured millions of Facebook users’ data without permission may convince regulators and lawmakers that online platforms deserve a shorter leash than ISPs.

  • April 23, 2018

    More States Use ‘Triggers’ To Tie Tax Cuts To Future Growth

    Budget negotiators in at least four states are considering bills that have so-called tax triggers, as lawmakers increasingly seek to tie future rate reductions to economic performance that can pay for them.

  • April 23, 2018

    Atty Resigns From Port Authority Post Amid Ethics Probe

    An attorney and lobbyist who served as a Port Authority of New York and New Jersey commissioner has resigned amid an ethics investigation into “profoundly disturbing” conduct, the transportation agency confirmed Monday, framing the probe as part of the embattled agency’s path to reform.

  • April 23, 2018

    EPA Says Forest Biomass Energy Is 'Carbon Neutral'

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Monday said it will treat as "carbon neutral" the burning of wood and wood byproducts at power plants and other facilities, a policy declaration that pleased the forestry industry and dismayed environmental groups.

  • April 23, 2018

    Nasdaq Seeks Rule Change To Stimulate Small-Cap Trading

    A Nasdaq official said Monday that the stock exchange plans to propose a rule change to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that would allow small-cap companies to have their shares trade on a single exchange in order to boost the liquidity of thinly traded businesses.

  • April 23, 2018

    High Court Split On Accountability Issue In Lucia Arguments

    The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday appeared divided on whether U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission administrative law judges are "inferior officers" subject to the appointments clause of the Constitution, and whether a ruling that they are would render them more accountable for their decisions or less politically independent.

  • April 23, 2018

    Texas Restaurant Scale Rules Likely Invalid, State AG Says

    A court would likely invalidate the Texas Department of Agriculture's rules that exempt restaurants from food-scale inspections only if they sell to customers who eat on the premises instead of taking food to go, the Texas attorney general’s office said Monday in an advisory opinion.

  • April 23, 2018

    Trump Admin. Bombarded For Backing Skimpy Health Plans

    The Trump administration is getting blitzed with warnings that its proposal to allow lengthier sales of bare-bones health insurance policies could harm patients and drive up premiums in Affordable Care Act marketplaces, newly released letters show.

Expert Analysis

  • Equal Pay: Where Do We Stand Now?

    Debra Ellwood Meppen

    In Kelly Ellis v. Google, a California federal judge recently denied Google's bid to dismiss classwide claims alleging gender-based pay discrimination. If the class is certified and if the plaintiffs win, it may signify the beginning of the end of the fight for equal pay for women, say Debra Ellwood Meppen and Laurie DeYoung of Gordon & Rees LLP.

  • How States, Federal Agencies Are Challenging Drug Prices

    Tom Bulleit

    High prescription drug prices are increasingly a focal point in the discussion of U.S. health care spending. While there is little consensus in Congress, there has been considerable recent activity in the federal executive branch and in state legislatures, say Tom Bulleit and Rebecca Williams of Ropes & Gray LLP.

  • FDA’s Essure Order Affirms Role Of Learned Intermediary

    Robert Friedman

    The U.S. Food and Drug Administration's order to restrict sales of Bayer's birth control device Essure represents a significant reordering of the old "doctor knows best," paradigm and continues the trend toward greater patient autonomy and participation in one's own medical treatment, say Robert Friedman and Mark Sentenac of King & Spalding LLP.

  • Big Changes Ahead For Renewable Fuel Standard

    Joel Beauvais

    The Renewable Fuel Standard has been the center of sustained policy discussion and resulting uncertainty during the first year of the Trump administration. Joel Beauvais and Steven Croley of Latham & Watkins LLP analyze recent developments with a focus on the legal framework and implications for the RFS program.

  • New Wash. Employment Laws Focus On Privacy And #MeToo

    Christopher Gegwich

    June will be a busy month for employers in the state of Washington. The impending activity is a result of Gov. Jay Inslee’s recent signing of a series of bills that directly impact the employer-employee relationship and impose a variety of new restrictions and obligations on employers, say Christopher Gegwich and Christopher Moro of Nixon Peabody LLP.

  • New Remedial Actions For Tax-Advantaged Bonds And P3s

    Travis Gibbs

    Under an IRS revenue procedure issued on April 11, 2018, issuers of tax-advantaged bonds have new remedial actions available to them to cure unqualified uses that previously would result in loss of tax-advantaged status. Attorneys at Nixon Peabody LLP explain the new procedures.

  • If Lucia Wins On SEC Judges, What Comes Next?

    Daniel Walfish

    The U.S. Supreme Court is set to consider in Raymond J. Lucia v. SEC whether the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s previous hiring of administrative law judges violated the Constitution. Let's look at two issues on the horizon if the answer is yes, says Daniel Walfish of Walfish & Fissell LLP.

  • 3 Things To Know About USPTO's New Memo On Eligibility

    Michelle Holoubek

    In light of the Federal Circuit’s decision in Berkheimer v. HP, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has issued a new memorandum regarding subject matter eligibility. Patent practitioners now have a new tool to combat patent-ineligibility challenges, say Michelle Holoubek and Lestin Kenton of Sterne Kessler Goldstein & Fox PLLC.

  • Rule 23 Changes: Avoid Delays In Class Settlement Approval

    Shandarese Garr

    Among the proposed amendments to Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, which are scheduled to take effect Dec. 1, are specific requirements related to “front-loading.” They outline the process for seeking preliminary court approval of class action settlements and related notice plans, say Shandarese Garr and Niki Mendoza of Garden City Group LLC.

  • Tax Reform Creates New Opportunities For REITs

    James Godman

    While many analysts expected that federal tax reform would dampen enthusiasm around real estate investment trusts, those concerns have proven to be unfounded. In fact, REITs and their investors should see a net gain overall from the recently adopted tax changes, say attorneys with Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP.