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Recent Updates
04.23.2014
Financial Services Corporate, Regulatory, Compliance & Transactions, Finance

On Tuesday, April 8, 2014, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (together, the "Agencies") jointly issued a final rule that establishes an enhanced supplementary leverage ratio for the largest United States banking organizations.

04.21.2014
Environment, Energy & Resources, California Environmental, Energy, Resources & Land Use, Real Estate, Land Use, Mining, Forest Products

On April 21, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers jointly published a proposed rule to define those waters that fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act as “waters of the United States.”

04.17.2014
Advertising, Marketing & Promotions, Trademark & Copyright, Intellectual Property, Arts, Entertainment & Sports

Think the First Amendment protects your business from liability for running an ad congratulating a celebrity or other public figure?  Better think again.

04.10.2014
Perkins Coie Trust Company
04.09.2014
Privacy & Security

In a closely watched and first-of-its-kind case, the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey rejected, for purposes of a motion to dismiss, a defendant company’s argument that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) lacks authority to regulate data security practices under Section 5 of the FTC Act.

04.09.2014
Environment, Energy & Resources, Oil & Gas, NEPA, Endangered Species & Wildlife

On March 31, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia issued a memorandum opinion upholding the approval, by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, of the first oil and gas lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

04.03.2014
Privacy & Security, Retail & Consumer Products, Interactive Entertainment

The FCC last week issued two declaratory rulings interpreting the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA).  While the rulings in each are limited to the specific requests set forth in the petitions, they include broad language and reasoning that will be helpful for businesses looking for ways to reach their customers without running afoul of the TCPA.

04.03.2014
Financial Services Corporate, Regulatory, Compliance & Transactions, Finance

On Monday, March 24, 2014, the Office of the Comptroller of Currency, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the National Credit Union Administration issued a proposed rule that would implement minimum requirements for state registration and supervision of appraisal management companies (“AMCs”).

03.31.2014
Environment, Energy & Resources, Energy, Energy - Wind, Oil & Gas, NEPA, Project Development, Real Estate, Land Use

In a decision that has been nearly thirteen years in the making, on March 14, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service failed to meet Endangered Species Act requirements  in approving an offshore wind energy project in Nantucket Sound known as the Cape Wind Project.

03.28.2014
International, International Trade

U.S. government agencies announced this week that they have suspended issuing export licenses to companies sending or releasing sensitive goods, services and technology to Russia.

03.28.2014
Environment, Energy & Resources, California Environmental, Energy, Resources & Land Use, Real Estate, Land Use, Forest Products, Mining

On March 25, 2014, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers jointly released a proposed rule to define those waters that fall under the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act as “waters of the United States.”

03.25.2014
Mergers & Acquisitions, Securities & Corporate Governance Litigation

When a controlling stockholder’s buyout of a company has been challenged by minority stockholders, Delaware courts have generally subjected the transaction to entire fairness review, the most rigorous standard of review in corporate law

03.21.2014
Environment, Energy & Resources, California Environmental, Energy, Resources & Land Use

On March 13, the Ninth Circuit issued its long-awaited decision in the latest round of the delta smelt litigation, upholding the 2008 Biological Opinion prepared by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service for the combined operations of the Central Valley Project and the State Water Project.

03.21.2014
International, International Trade

Events are rapidly evolving with respect to Russia’s recent military incursion into, and subsequent annexation of, Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. The Obama Administration considers Russia’s acts to be clear violations of international law and believes Russia should incur significant costs for threatening the peace, stability and security of Ukraine and the region. To that end, the United States and other nations have implemented sanctions against Russia.

03.20.2014
Financial Services Corporate, Regulatory, Compliance & Transactions, Finance

On Wednesday, March 5, 2014, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (the "Board"), the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (the "FDIC") and the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (the "OCC") issued final guidance regarding stress testing for financial companies with total consolidated assets between $10 billion and $50 billion ("Medium-Sized Firms").

03.13.2014
Government Contracts

In a significant legal development, a U.S. District Court Judge recently ordered KBR Inc. (KBR) to produce internal investigation materials addressing allegations of misconduct under a government contract for military support in Iraq. Having conducted the investigations under the direction of in-house counsel, KBR sought protection of the investigative materials through the attorney-client privilege and attorney-work product doctrine. But the court ordered their production and reasoned that the KBR investigators were not attorneys and that the investigations were undertaken “pursuant to regulatory law and corporate policy rather than for the purpose of obtaining legal advice.”

03.04.2014
Securities & Corporate Governance Litigation, Class Action Defense, White Collar & Investigations, Financial Services Litigation & Investigations

Recently, the U.S. Supreme Court limited the scope of the preemption of state law class actions afforded by the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act of 1998 (SLUSA) in Chadbourne & Parke LLP v. Troice, No. 12-79 (U.S. Feb. 26, 2014).

03.04.2014
Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation, Tax, Benefits & Compensation, Healthcare, Labor & Employment

The Affordable Care Act added the so-called “Play-or-Pay” mandate or “Employer Shared Responsibility” provisions to the Internal Revenue Code (the Code).

02.28.2014
Environment, Energy & Resources, Oil & Gas

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced on February 24 that it will be developing proposed regulations to adopt a significantly more stringent approach to the management of oil and gas activities associated with any private, state, or tribally owned (nonfederal) subsurface mineral interests in the National Wildlife Refuge System.

02.27.2014
Financial Services Corporate, Regulatory, Compliance & Transactions, Finance

On Thursday, February 6, 2014, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) released guidance regarding who qualifies as a “knowledgeable employee” in rule 3c-5 under the Investment Company Act of 1940 (“Investment Company Act”).

02.26.2014
Privacy & Security, Class Action Defense, Technology Transactions & Privacy, Interactive Entertainment

The Southern District of California last month let 8 out of 51 claims survive in a putative class action arising out of the 2011 breach of the Sony PlayStation network.  In re Sony Gaming Networks & Customer Data Sec. Breach Litig., MDL 11MD2258 AJB MDD, 2014 WL 223677 (S.D. Cal. Jan. 21, 2014) (Sony II).

02.24.2014
White Collar & Investigations, Securities & Corporate Governance Litigation, Business

The annual “SEC Speaks Conference,” where the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and its senior staff review the major developments from the prior year, and preview the SEC’s enforcement priorities for the upcoming year, convened in Washington D.C. on February 21-22, 2014.

02.21.2014
Patent Litigation, Patent, Appellate

Since 1998, when the Federal Circuit issued its en banc opinion in Cybor Corp. v. FAS Technologies, Inc., claim construction issues have been subject to de novo review on appeal. Under this standard of review, no formal deference is given to findings of the district court. Litigants dissatisfied with the district court’s claim construction have thus enjoyed, at least in theory, an entirely new opportunity to make their case on appeal.

02.18.2014
Corporate Finance, Mergers & Acquisitions, Private Equity, Emerging Companies & Venture Capital

The Chief Counsel of the SEC’s Division of Trading and Markets recently issued an important no-enforcement letter regarding the status of a person engaged in effecting transactions in connection with the transfer of ownership of a privately held company. This SEC letter is notable not only for the conclusions that it reaches but also for the fact that it follows a significant speech by the same SEC staff lawyer regarding the same and related broker-dealer status questions.

02.13.2014
White Collar & Investigations, Securities & Corporate Governance Litigation

Enforcement officials from the U.S. SEC’s Chicago Regional Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois gathered to discuss their enforcement initiatives at the “SEC & DOJ Hot Topics 2014” program on February 11, 2014.  Local regulators reinforced the theme that in 2014, the SEC will continue to adopt enforcement tools that historically have been used by their counterparts in criminal law enforcement.

02.12.2014
Government Contracts

A United States District Court in California recently dismissed a False Claims Act (FCA) suit in which the plaintiff (the "Relator") alleged that Honeywell International Inc. ("Honeywell") fraudulently charged license fees for software provided to the government.

02.11.2014
Environment, Energy & Resources, Forest Products

On February 7, 2014, President Obama signed into law the 2014 Farm Bill, H.R. 2642.  Section 12313 of the Bill (Silvicultural Activities) amends the Clean Water Act to make clear that a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit is not required for stormwater runoff from logging roads and other specified forestry activities.

02.11.2014
Decentralized Virtual Currencies, Technology Transactions & Privacy, Electronic Financial Services, Interactive Entertainment

On January 30, 2014, the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) issued two administrative letter rulings that clarify the application of FinCEN’s regulations to certain participants in the virtual currency ecosystem.

02.05.2014
Financial Services Corporate, Regulatory, Compliance & Transactions, Finance

On Thursday, January 23, 2014, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (the "CFPB") proposed a rule to allow oversight of larger nonbank international money transfer providers for compliance with the CFPB's October 2013 "Remittance Rule," which is designed to protect consumers sending money abroad.

01.30.2014
Labor & Employment, California Litigation, Employment Class Actions

Every new year brings employment law changes for California’s employers and, while the Affordable Care Act has taken the spotlight for 2014, a vast array of employment laws deserve special attention from California employers for 2014.  We have attempted to briefly summarize these laws in this Employment Law Alert.

01.28.2014
Antitrust Counseling & Merger Clearance, Mergers & Acquisitions, Corporate Finance, Public Companies

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently announced that the reporting thresholds under Section 7A of the Clayton Act, known as the Hart-Scott-Rodino (H‑S‑R) Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 (the Act), will be increased.