Courts Litigation

Gina McCarthy, administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

Climate Change Policy in Spotlight as Appeals Court Opens Review of Clean Power Plan

By Marcia Coyle |

Mammoth litigation over a pillar of the Obama administration’s climate-change policy goes before the full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today. And depending on your point of view, the so-called Clean Power Plan is either a “blunderbuss” and “power grab,” or a classic “exercise in cooperative federalism.”

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Sen. Warner Calls For SEC Probe Into Yahoo Breach

By C. Ryan Barber |

Senator Mark Warner is asking the SEC to investigate the Yahoo data breach, when executives learned of it and when they disclosed it to the public as required by securities laws.

U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission building in Washington, D.C.

Worried About Auditors Getting Too Close to Clients? SEC Accountant Says Use "Common Sense"

By C. Ryan Barber |

A Securities and Exchange Commission accountant said Thursday that he does not expect regulators to issue guidance specifying when a relationship crosses the line and compromises the review of a company’s books.

Objectors Fault $324 M in Potential Fees in VW Emissions Accord

By Amanda Bronstad |

More than a dozen objectors have urged a federal judge to reject Volkswagen’s $14.7 billion emissions settlement next month—most of them criticizing a potential $324 million in fees lead plaintiffs attorneys said they might pursue.

State Farm corporate headquarters campus in Bloomington, Ill.

State Farm Must Face $7B RICO Class Action, Judge Rules

By Ben Hancock |

A federal judge in Illinois has certified a class of nearly 5 million policyholders in a case alleging that the insurance giant used campaign contributions to influence the state's Supreme Court.

SEC, in Morgan Stanley Case, Presses Broad Whistleblower Protections

By C. Ryan Barber |

Tipsters who only disclose corporate misconduct internally or to a federal agency other than the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission are still entitled to broad anti-retaliation protections, a commission lawyer told a federal appeals court Wednesday.

Judge Patricia Millett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. (2014)

DC Circuit Judge Assails NLRB for 'Cavalier' Approach to Strikers' Abusive Conduct

By Marcia Coyle |

Judge Patricia Millett of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit criticizes the National Labor Relations Board for its "too-often cavalier and enabling approach" to racially and sexually demeaning misconduct by employees on strike. "It is 2016, and 'boys will be boys' should be just as forbidden on the picket line as it is on the assembly line," Millett writes.

U.S. Supreme Court.

Backpage.com is Challenged on Two Fronts in Supreme Court

By Marcia Coyle |

The two cases that involve the online classifieds company Backpage.com feature very different legal questions. But they both carry potentially significant implications for internet content providers in particular and, more largely, for the digital economy.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building.

Ex-SEC Whistleblower Chief Lands at Phillips & Cohen

By Melanie Waddell |

Sean McKessy, the former head of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Office of the Whistleblower, has joined the whistleblower law firm Phillips & Cohen as a partner in its Washington office.

U.S. Supreme Court building.

Backpage.com Asks Supreme Court to Block U.S. Senate Subpoena

By Marcia Coyle |

Backpage.com, the nation's second-largest online classified ad website, on Tuesday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to block a congressional subpoena that demands business information about how the company polices third-party content. Lawyers for Backpage, represented by Davis Wright Tremaine and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, contend the U.S. Senate subpoena, if enforced, chills First Amendment rights.

U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C.

Texas Judge Restricts Amicus Briefs in DOL 'Fiduciary Rule' Case

By Melanie Waddell |

The federal judge overseeing the case in Texas against the U.S. Labor Department's fiduciary rule on Wednesday denied considering all but two of the eight amicus briefs filed in the court, allowing only submissions from the Financial Planning Coalition and the American Association for Justice.

Commodities Agency Wants Greater Power to Protect Whistleblowers

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission wants the power to punish companies for retaliating against whistleblowers, a move that would align the agency's stance with the stronger position taken by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. On Tuesday, citing the inconsistency between the agencies, the CFTC proposed discarding its earlier position to instead take a tougher approach toward retaliation.

Suit Dropped Over Alleged Stabbing by Uber Driver

By Zoe Tillman |

A District of Columbia man dismissed his case against the company Tuesday, reporting that the sides had reached a "mutual agreement."

U.S. Department of Justice

Aetna’s Retreat from ACA Markets Unlikely to Boost Antitrust Defense

By C. Ryan Barber |

Weeks before the U.S. Justice Department sued to block Aetna's multibillion-dollar acquisition of Humana, Aetna's chief executive had a stern warning to regulators: The company would leave Affordable Care Act exchanges if the deal is blocked. That happened this week. But the insurance giant's move might not help its defense in the blockbuster antitrust case in Washington, antitrust lawyers say.

All Simon Dawson,..Steve Cohen, stops and talks to the media in the congress centre

Billionaire Investor Steven Cohen Blocked from Managing Commodities Hedge Funds

By C. Ryan Barber |

Federal regulators have barred the billionaire investor Steven Cohen from managing commodity hedge funds until 2018, in a settlement that comes on the heels of a similar agreement with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

CCTV footage of Aaron Alexis in building 197 holding a Remington 870 shotgun. September 16, 2013.

Contractors Fight Liability for D.C. Navy Yard Shooting

By Zoe Tillman |

The desire to make someone answer — and pay — for mass killings has become a grim postscript in many recent tragedies. At a hearing Tuesday that referenced Sandy Hook, Columbine, Aurora and other mass shootings, a federal judge tackled the legal questions that make such suits an uphill climb.

Anthem-Cigna Deal Presents Judge a 'Bizarre Situation'

By C. Ryan Barber |

A Washington federal judge said Friday she hopes to rule by the end of January on Anthem Inc.'s proposed $54 billion acquisition of Cigna Corp., casting aside the health insurance companies' request for a decision by the end of the year. Both sides in the case have acknowledged contentiousness between Anthem and Cigna. "It is, as I said at the beginning, a bizarre situation that we're doing all of this for the benefit of a merger that may not be desired," U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson said Friday.

United Healthcare Headquarters,

Health Insurers Lose Appeal in False-Claims Suit Over One-Sided Reviews

By Ben Hancock |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has revived a Southern California qui tam action that takes issue with one-sided billing reviews designed to catch errors that would entitle insurers to larger payments but not to detect misinformation favoring the government.

SEC Hits Company that Used Severance Agreements to Bar Whistleblower Awards

By C. Ryan Barber |

Federal securities regulators reach a $265,000 settlement with an Atlanta-based building products distributor that unlawfully required outgoing employees to waive their right to a whistleblower bounty.

Aetna world headquarters in downtown Hartford.

Judge Sets December Trial Date in Aetna-Humana Antitrust Case

By C. Ryan Barber |

A federal judge in Washington on Wednesday set a December trial for Aetna Inc.'s proposed $37 billion acquisition of Humana Inc., a scheduling decision that effectively denied the two insurance companies' requests for a resolution by the end of the year.

Judge John Bates of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia..

Two D.C. Judges Will Split Health Insurance Antitrust Cases

By Mike Scarcella |

A federal district judge in Washington on Friday gave up presiding over both of the U.S. Justice Department's blockbuster health-insurance antitrust cases, pushing review of Anthem Inc.'s proposed $54 billion acquisition of Cigna Corp. to another judge. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson was randomly assigned to the case. Bates will preside over the Aetna-Humana deal.

U.S. Department of Justice building in Washington, D.C.

Justice Dept. Spurns Health Insurers' 'Unreasonable' Push to Expedite Merger Cases

By C. Ryan Barber |

With the two largest acquisitions ever proposed in the health insurance industry hanging in the balance, federal antitrust enforcers cautioned against rushing the cases and proposed late Tuesday that the first trial begin no earlier than Feb. 17.

Sanctions Sought in Row Over CrossFit Trademark

By Amanda Bronstad |

A California couple that ran one of the first CrossFit programs for more than a decade has asked a federal judge to sanction the fitness company and its lawyers for filing a frivolous trademark infringement suit.

gavel_money

Kirkland, Squire Patton Alums Pursue Disability Claims

By Roy Strom |

In separate cases involving disputed disability claims, an appeals court has reversed an ex-Kirkland & Ellis partner’s disability suit victory, while Squire Patton Boggs stands accused of denying disability benefits to a former associate.

(clockwise from top left) U.S. Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, National Labor Relations Board, and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Where Federal Agencies Find the Most—and Least—Respect in Circuit Courts

By Marcia Coyle |

A federal agency that's locked in a fight with a corporation over the interpretation of a statute might want to avoid the Ninth Circuit and head into the decidedly more "deferential" Sixth Circuit. That's according to the recent findings of a comprehensive study of the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court decision Chevron U.S.A. v. Natural Resources Defense Council.

Georgetown University Law Center professor David Cole.

ACLU Names Georgetown Law Prof David Cole as New Legal Director

By Tony Mauro |

Cole's career move poses recusal issues for his wife, Judge Nina Pillard of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Complaint: United States v. Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc.

By ALM staff |

The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday sued to block the proposed $37 billion merger between Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc.

Complaint: United States v. Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp.

By ALM staff |

The U.S. Justice Department on Thursday sued to block the proposed $54 billion merger between Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp., two giants in the health insurance industry.

U.S. Department of Labor

DOL Overstepped Authority in Fiduciary Rule, U.S. Chamber Tells Judge

By Melanie Waddell |

The U.S. Department of Labor, in finalizing its fiduciary rule, "has sought to transform the financial services and insurance industries, stepping far beyond its authority" under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act and the IRS code that governs individual retirement accounts, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce said in its latest court papers in a case in Texas.

McDermott Will & Emery offices at 500 North Capitol street in Washington, D.C. June 11, 2015. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

McDermott Hires Kaye Scholer Labor & Employment Leader, 3 Others

By SUZANNE MONYAK |

After nearly two decades at Kaye Scholer, longtime employment and civil rights attorney Kerry Scanlon has moved to McDermott Will & Emery to head the firm's U.S. labor and employment litigation practice—bringing three other Kaye Scholer attorneys with him.

U.S. Department of Labor

U.S. Labor Dept. Says Fiduciary Guidance Coming Soon

By Melanie Waddell |

The U.S. Department of Labor plans to "push out guidance fairly shortly" to address questions about compliance with Labor’s fiduciary rule, Timothy Hauser, chief operating officer of DOL's Employee Benefits Security Administration, said Monday.

Judge Kathleen O'Malley, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit

Why This En Banc Patent Ruling Is a Win for the Federal Circuit

By Scott Graham |

Monday's en banc decision on the on-sale bar suggests the Federal Circuit is ready to listen to cues from the U.S. Supreme Court and to follow one of its most patent-savvy jurists.

U.S. Department of Labor in Washington, D.C.

Texas Judge Refuses Labor Dept. Request for Time in 'Persuader Rule' Case

By C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Justice Department has until late August to decide whether to appeal a nationwide injunction blocking a new labor rule that requires greater disclosure of discussions between employers and lawyers who try to counter union-organizing campaigns. Before then, the government must respond to the complaint, a Texas federal judge ruled Thursday in rejecting a request for more time.

Scalia's chair and the bench were draped in black after his death on Feb. 13.

Supreme Court Trends in Class Actions after Scalia

By Steffen N. Johnson and Paul N. Harold |

The U.S. Supreme Court's 2015 term will of course most be remembered for the passing of Justice Antonin Scalia, whose untimely death promises to affect the court for years to come—and on everything from high-profile questions of constitutional law to how the court reads statutes and what the court decides. It appears that several decisions this term would have come out differently had Justice Scalia lived to see the end of June. In some areas, however, Justice Scalia's absence appears not to have altered the outcomes, even when the court was closely divided on critical issues.

U.S. Department of Justice.

U.S. Justice Dept. Wins Record Settlement for Merger-Reporting Violations

By C. Ryan Barber |

An activist investment firm has agreed to pay a record-setting $11 million penalty to settle charges connected to Halliburton Co.'s abandoned bid to acquire rival oilfield-services provider Baker Hughes Inc., the U.S. Justice Department said Tuesday.

SEC's First Whistleblower Office Leader Announces Departure as Awards Mount

By C. Ryan Barber |

Sean McKessy, the first leader of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's whistleblower program, is stepping down this month, the agency said Friday. The SEC's whistleblower office, since its creation in 2011 under the Dodd-Frank Act, has doled out more than $85 million to 32 whistleblowers, who can receive between 10 and 30 percent of sanctions that exceed $1 million.

Adnan Syed enters Courthouse East in Baltimore prior to a hearing on Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2016.  After spending 16 years in prison, Syed, convicted of murder, who was at the center of the podcast

Adnan Syed’s Defense Team Grows, Adding Hogan Lovells

By Lizzy McLellan |

The defense team for Adnan Syed has brought on some Big Law assistance as it prepares for a new criminal trial, granted by the Baltimore City Circuit Court last week.

U.S. Department of Justice.

Feds Say No Determination Yet on 'Persuader Rule' Appeal

By C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Justice Department is weighing whether to appeal a Texas judge's decision this week to put a nationwide freeze on the Labor Department's "persuader" rule, a regulation designed to give workers more information about discussions between employers and the lawyers who help them resist union-organizing campaigns.