Topic: Business

Second Circuit Strikes Down Class Action Waiver

Earlier this month, in In re American Express Merchants’ Litigation, the Second Circuit struck down — for the third time — an arbitration provision containing a class action waiver in an American Express credit card agreement. By ruling the class action waiver unenforceable, the decision sets up a potential conflict with the Supreme Court’s ruling… Read more »

The Most Challenging Issues Facing Global Employers

International law firm Littler published the highlights of its 2011 Global Employer Institute conference in a 70-page report on some of “the most challenging issues facing global employers.” It’s a comprehensive overview, touching on globalization, employee security, labor relations, employment agreements, and a number of other topics. Three articles within the report caught our eye… Read more »

Pennsylvania Oil & Gas Act Amendments Target Fracking Operations

We’re seeing interest in Pennsylvania’s Marcellus Shale bill, as recently enacted amendments to the state’s Oil and Gas Act are known. Designed to strengthen environmental protections, the legislation imposes additional reporting and operating burdens on natural gas producers in the state.  For your reference, here’s quick roundup of key points addressed in the new law.… Read more »

5 Takeaways from New IRS FATCA Guidance

On February 8, 2012, the Internal Revenue Service issued its long-awaited proposed regulations for implementing the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). The new rules lay out a step-by-step process for US account identification, information reporting, and withholding requirements for non-US financial institutions and other foreign entities. For your reference, five takeaways from the proposed… Read more »

Mandatory Debarment for FCPA Violations Is a Bad Idea

From law firm Sheppard Mullin, a critical look at the “misguided proposal” to require mandatory debarment for companies that violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act: “… a proposal [requiring mandatory debarment] is completely wrong-headed. Debarment is a severe, forward-looking administrative remedy – the corporate ‘death penalty’ – not a vehicle to ‘boost’ the penalties for… Read more »

FDA Publishes Draft Rules on Biosimilars – Legal Roundup

On February 9, The Food and Drug Administration released its draft guidelines for drug makers on the abbreviated approval pathway for biosimilars, a move that could open the door to cheaper generic versions of branded biotech drugs. For your reference, here’s a roundup of legal commentary on the proposed rules: FDA Publishes Draft Guidelines for… Read more »

International Labor: Legal Guide to Employing Workers Around the World

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), in 2010 US corporations invested more than $350 billion in foreign direct investment projects across the globe: buying factories, setting up businesses, establishing joint ventures. For companies considering their own international investment, here’s a roundup of updates on labor laws in some common destinations of… Read more »

Compliance Program Roundup: Key Elements of Internal Anti-Corruption Initiatives

“All too often, I hear complaints about compliance officers, general counsels, and outside counsels, who are the so-called ‘deal-killers’ or ‘doomsayers.’ The challenge within any organization is not to stop the work but to consult and advise on ways to meet the requirements of the law and figure out a way to make it work.… Read more »

Dodd-Frank Act: CFTC Adopts Final Rules for Swaps Marketplace

Tasked by the Dodd-Frank Act to reform the swaps marketplace, the Commodities Futures Trading Commission recently finalized several key rules regulating the activities of dealers and major swap participants.  For your reference, here’s a roundup of legal commentary and analysis on the new regulations: CFTC Holds First Open Meeting of 2012 and Finalizes Key Rulemakings Under… Read more »

HIPAA Compliance: 6 Audit Questions (and Answers) for Covered Entities

Late last year, members of the Senate Judiciary Committee challenged regulators to step up enforcement of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act: “… the Subcommittee made clear that the [Office for Civil Rights’] efforts fell far short of its expectations, pointing out that, of tens of thousands of HIPAA complaints received by OCR since… Read more »

Investment Advisers: 3 Takeaways from SEC Risk Alert on Social Media Use

On January 4, 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of Compliance Inspections and Examinations issued a National Examination Risk Alert on the use of social media by registered investment advisers. Issued the very same day that the SEC charged an investment adviser with offering to sell more than $500 billion of fictitious securities via… Read more »

Corruption in China: Words of Caution for U.S. Companies

“If your company operates in China, I have one piece of ‘free’ advice,” writes white-collar crime and compliance lawyer Mike Volkov, “conduct an anti-corruption audit and do it now.”  “Almost one-third of the FCPA criminal cases involve bribery in China… Bribery is built into the Chinese economy. It is a remnant of the communist system… Read more »

Human Rights in Business: More Than Just a Policy

On corporate social responsibility, from law firm Littler: “…increasingly companies are accused of violating human rights even in situations where their activities are in compliance with applicable law or were consistent with the manner in which they have historically conducted business. Human rights as they relate to business are here to stay, and every multinational… Read more »

Ecuador Notches Two Victories Against Chevron

From Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP, analysis of two recent judicial decisions in the long-standing Lago Agrio dispute between Chevron and plaintiffs in Ecuador suing the global energy company for environmental contamination.  The first looks at an appellate decision in Ecuador that affirmed an $18 billion judgment against Chevron: “… we are not certain how… Read more »

Redevelopment Agencies Eliminated: What’s Next for California?

We recently reported on the California Supreme Court decision in California Redevelopment Association v. Matosantos, which upheld a state law that will dissolve the nearly 400 redevelopment agencies across the state. But that isn’t likely to be the final word on the subject, as recent commentary and analysis on the ruling would seem to indicate:… Read more »