Regulation

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

'Yes, at Google,' a Fiduciary Rule Compliance Checklist, and CFPB Faces New Challenge in 9th Circuit

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau faces a new challenge in the Ninth Circuit over the Obama-era agency's structure. Uber's paying tens of millions to drivers in New York who were shortchanged on the amount they received for rides. Lobbyists prepare to ramp up a new fight against against the Obama administration's retirement-savings rules that put a new focus on client interest ahead of profit. And Google employees are sharing workplace complaints on an anonymous bulletin board. This is a roundup of regulatory and compliance news from ALM and other publications.

The FTC sent letters to companies and celebrities reminding them of their obligation to disclose the business relationships behind product promotions on social media.

How In-House Lawyers Responded to the FTC's 'Influencer' Letters

By C. Ryan Barber |

The National Law Journal obtained several responses from companies that received letters from the FTC this year urging greater disclosures of any paid relationships that involve so-called social media "influencers." The agency and consumer advocacy groups have raised concern that influencer advertising can give the impression of an organic endorsement when, in fact, there is a business relationship behind the product promotion.

An Employee Spoke Out on Glassdoor.com, and Now the EEOC Is Suing His Company

By Erin Mulvaney |

The EEOC on Wednesday sued IXL Learning Inc. over claims the company violated federal law and retaliated against a transgender employee who'd posted anti-discrimination comments on the job recruiting website Glassdoor.com. The case could serve as the latest example showing how companies and courts are grappling with protections for employees as technology platforms evolve.

Ted Olson, of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, testifies before the House Financial Services Committee, during a hearing entitled “The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s Unconstitutional Design,” on March 21, 2017.

DC Circuit Shows No Sign of Punting on CFPB's Constitutionality

By C. Ryan Barber |

The D.C. Circuit's en banc argument in PHH v. CFPB was one of the hottest tickets in Washington on Wednesday. Here are some highlights from the 90-minute hearing over the constitutionality of the single-director structure at the President Barack Obama-era agency long in the crosshairs of Republicans and criticized by business advocates and financial companies.

President Donald Trump

Trump's DOJ Can't Quickly End Suit Over Rule-Rollback Order

By Marcia Coyle |

A lawsuit challenging the Trump administration's order that agencies eliminate two existing regulations for each new one will go forward despite the U.S. Justice Department's effort to end it quickly on procedural grounds.

Helgi Walker of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

Under the Hood of Gibson Dunn's Regulatory Team on Major CFPB, SEC Cases

By C. Ryan Barber |

Two Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher lawyers will argue Wednesday against the CFPB and the SEC in rare, back-to-back full-court argument sessions in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. We recently caught up with Gibson Dunn partner Helgi Walker, co-chair of the firm's administrative law and regulatory practice group, about the preparation for the two cases and the firm's approach to the new regulatory climate under President Trump.

U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Insurers Mount Pressure as US House, HHS Try to Resolve ACA Case

By Mike Scarcella |

Lawyers for the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services on Monday asked a federal appeals court to freeze for another 90 days a dispute over billions of dollars in insurance industry subsidies under the Affordable Care Act, a delay that could further unnerve the health insurance markets.

U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Former US House Lawyers Tee Up Likely Legal Issues on Mueller's Long Road

By Marcia Coyle |

Kerry Kircher and William Pittard, longtime former U.S. House lawyers , have seen their share of investigations. The two attorneys concede they have never seen anything quite like the Trump-Russia-Comey affair unfolding in the nation's capital. We reached out to Kircher and Pittard this week to get their thoughts on possible legal fights that could unfold in a process that history shows will take months, if not years, to resolve.

Uber headquarters, located at 1455 Market St. in San Francisco, CA.

Gig Economy's Growth Calls for Modern Labor Laws, Economist Alan Krueger Warns

By Erin Mulvaney |

Current labor laws and safety nets for workers were developed in a different era and more protections are needed for the growing number of independent workers in the gig economy, a prominent economist said Thursday on Capitol Hill.

Zillow Faces CFPB Scrutiny, Amazon Mulls Pharma Play, and SEC Drains Big Law

By Mike Scarcella |

Escape the daily flood of Trump news dominating the Washington headlines with this roundup of big regulatory developments. Zillow is facing CFPB scrutiny, Amazon mulls a pharmaceuticals play, Democratic state AGs move to defend a key part of Obamacare, and the SEC is boosting its ranks in new hires from Big Law. And here's a story about ducks at the U.S. Capitol.

Linda Klein, president of the American Bar Association, speaks at the group's midyear meeting in February in Miami.

ABA Counters Trump's Transgender Directive in Appeals Court

By Marcia Coyle |

The consequences of discrimination follow transgender students and their classmates into the legal profession, warned the American Bar Association in an amicus brief that urged a federal appellate court to find that such unfairness violates federal civil rights.

Wells Fargo.

US Banking Examiner, Sanctioned After Wells Fargo Scandal, Probes His Agency

By Mike Scarcella |

A senior U.S. national bank inspector punished in the aftermath of the Wells Fargo sham-accounts scandal sued federal banking regulators on Tuesday for information about their investigation of him. The examiner, Bradley Linskens, who joined the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in 1993, filed the public-records lawsuit in Washington federal district court.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

Trump's Justice Department Works Both Sides of the CFPB

By Marcia Coyle |

The Trump administration's U.S. Justice Department is both simultaneously challenging and backing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, creating a litigation whirlwind as Republicans and business advocates push reforms that would strip some power from the Obama-era federal agency.

Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield/Wellpoint in Richmond, VA. September 19, 2015. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Anthem Won't Pay Breakup Fee, Uber Clashes With Regulators (Again), and the Cool Richard Cordray

By C. Ryan Barber |

Anthem Inc. is dropping its bid to acquire rival health insurer Cigna Corp., and the company's stepping up the conflict in refusing to pay a $1.85 billion breakup fee. Uber Technologies and San Francisco tax authorities are fighting over public access to driver names and addresses—the latest confrontation between the ride-hailing company and regulators. And the clock expired on a Republican-led bid, through the Congressional Review Act, to void the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's prepaid card rule. This is a roundup of regulatory action.

President Donald Trump.

Employers Face 'Unprecedented' Uncertainty, Littler Survey Finds

By Erin Mulvaney |

Uncertainty is a common theme among employers this year thanks, in part, to new technologies, an unpredictable Trump administration and a web of new compliance standards on every government level, according to an annual survey from the law firm Littler Mendelson.

James Comey (2016)

Quotable Comey: CEOs Must Be 'Maniacal' About Ethics

By C. Ryan Barber |

As the now-fired FBI Director James Comey weighs his next move, here's a look back at some of the comments companies and law firms might find compelling as they consider contacting the dispatched director about a possible return to the private sector.

Court Confronts Scope of EEOC's Power to Dig Into Company Files

By Erin Mulvaney |

The accounting firm BDO USA could be forced to disclose certain internal documents to U.S. regulators who are investigating claims the company discriminated and retaliated against female employees, including the chief human resources officer. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on Thursday overturned a lower court's decision that blocked enforcement of EEOC subpoena.

The FTC sent letters to many celebrities—including Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Polizzi and Allen Iverson—about their display of products in Instagram posts.

Who Got Those Social 'Influencer' Letters From the FTC? Read the Full List.

By C. Ryan Barber |

Jennifer Lopez, Nicole Polizzi, the "Jersey Shore" star better known as Snooki, and the former baksetball star Allen Iverson were among the celebrities the Federal Trade Commission recently sent letters to as part of the agency's push to promote clearer disclosures of business relationships in endorsement deals. The FTC in its announcement last month about the letters did not name any of the celebrities and stars who received them. The National Law Journal obtained the FTC letters through a records request.

Noreika Named Acting OCC Comptroller, as Curry Steps Down

By Stephanie Forshee |

Keith Noreika will take over for Thomas Curry at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency.

U.S. Treasury Department in Washington.

Treasury GC Pick Brent McIntosh Discloses Big Law Income, Clients

By Mike Scarcella |

Brent McIntosh, the Sullivan & Cromwell partner nominated to be general counsel to the U.S. Treasury Department, reported earning nearly $2.9 million in income from the firm last year, according to his financial disclosure on file at the U.S. Office of Government Ethics.

Noel Francisco

Noel Francisco, Trump's SG Nominee, Reveals Divestiture Plan in Ethics Pledge

By Marcia Coyle |

Noel Francisco, still awaiting a hearing on his nomination as U.S. solicitor general, has promised to divest his interests in technology, financial and pharmaceutical companies—including Apple Inc., Vanguard Financials and Merck & Co.—if he wins Senate confirmation. In his financial disclosure form, the former Jones Day partner reported $4.6M in his partnership share plus earnings supplement.

Casino Surveillance Technicians' Labor Dispute Draws 'Ocean's Eleven' Comparison

By Erin Mulvaney |

Casino surveillance technicians may have unique power to work covertly with managers to spy on other employees, or even pull off sabotage a la "Ocean's Eleven," and therefore should not be able to unionize with other workers, attorneys for major Las Vegas casinos argued recently in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Consumer Product Safety Commissioner Elliot Kaye

US Product Safety Regulator Sneers at 'Fabricated Outrage' Over Regulations

By C. Ryan Barber |

"While we hear a lot of fabricated outrage about the impact of regulations, there is far less genuine discussion about the real costs of a failure to act," Elliot Kaye, a U.S. Consumer Product Safety commissioner, said recently in voting with the majority to advance new regulations for table saws. Democrats still hold a majority at the product-safety commission, posing one block on the Trump administration's deregulatory agenda.

Makan Delrahim.

DOJ Antitrust Nominee's Ethics Pledge Outlines Recusal Roadmap

By C. Ryan Barber |

The confirmation hearing of Makan Delrahim to lead the Justice Department's Antitrust Division—which was postponed from April 26—could be set as early as next week. The former Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck lawyer's ethics agreement, publicly disclosed this week, outlines a recusal roadmap.

Financial technology and business investment concept.

State Banking Regulators Sue Feds Over Fintech Charter Proposal

By Stephanie Forshee |

State banking regulators are taking the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency to court over its proposal to establish a special-purpose national bank charter for financial technology companies.

Tech Giants, Carmakers Rev Up Lobbying on Autonomous Vehicles

By C. Ryan Barber |

Once a science-fiction fantasy, self-driving vehicles are the new frontier for the automobile industry—and tech giants, century-old automakers and upstart electric car manufacturers are all speeding toward it. That's meant shelling out big bucks to lobby shops to engage with regulators and policy officials. Here's a snapshot of some of the recent spending by top players in the industry.

Anthem Loses DC Circuit Bid to Revive $54B Cigna Merger

By C. Ryan Barber |

A federal appeals court in Washington on Friday rejected Anthem Inc.'s proposed $54 billion acquisition of Cigna Corp., upholding a trial judge's decision to block the deal on the ground it would substantially reduce competition.

Nina Pillard.

DC Circuit Judge Warns Ruling Could 'Destabilize' Most Arbitration Awards

By Erin Mulvaney |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Friday invoked a rare public-policy exception that "threatens to destabilize" arbitration awards in future cases, a federal appeals judge said in her dissent. "The court's decision to vacate the arbitral award in this case contradicts decades of precedent delineating a narrow public policy exception and threatens as a practical matter to destabilize many, if not most, arbitral awards," Judge Nina Pillard wrote.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions

Need Help Fighting the CFPB? One Company Turns to Trump's Justice Department

By C. Ryan Barber |

Ocwen Financial Corp., the mortgage loan servicer fighting a new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau lawsuit, has turned to an unlikely source for help: the U.S. Justice Department. In a federal court filing styled as a motion "to invite the views of the attorney general of the United States," the company on Wednesday took the remarkable step of asking the Justice Department to weigh in on the side of a corporation fighting another federal agency.

Uber sticker on a parked car on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. September 4, 2015. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

States Take On Battle Over Regulating the Gig Economy

By Erin Mulvaney |

Florida lawmakers will likely pass a measure that classifies drivers for companies such as Uber and Lyft as independent contractors rather than employees, marking the latest state to attempt to regulate the rapidly growing and litigious ride-hailing workforce.

Ronald Machen Jr., left, and David Ogden, right.

Wilmer Partners Win Tenet Health Care Work as Monitor Gigs Stay Hot

By Katelyn Polantz |

In another sign that independent monitorships are attracting top-shelf legal talent, Tenet Healthcare Corp. has tapped David Ogden and Ronald Machen to monitor its compliance under a non-prosecution agreement.

MetLife, Citing Trump, Urges Court to Postpone 'Too Big To Fail' Ruling

By Allison Bell |

MetLife Inc. on Monday asked a federal appeals court to give the Trump administration time to review the government's process for designating systemically important financial institutions.

Judge David Sentelle of the United States Court of Appeals for the District.of Columbia Circuit (2008)

DC Circuit Rejects CFPB Subpoena Targeting For-Profit College Accreditor

By C. Ryan Barber |

A Washington federal appeals court on Friday rejected the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's attempt to investigate an embattled accreditor of for-profit colleges, upholding a trial judge’s ruling that faulted the Obama-era agency for straying outside its jurisdiction.

Orrick Stokes DEA Over Alleged Marijuana Misstatements

By Marcia Coyle |

A team from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, representing the medical marijuana advocate Americans for Safe Access, isn't holding its breath for federal drug enforcement officials to erase their alleged misstatements about the health risks of cannabis.

FTC Tells Paid 'Influencers' to Disclose When Instagram Posts Are #Ads

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Federal Trade Commission is keeping tabs on the growing trend of brands hiring so-called "influencers"—athletes, celebrities and others with large followings—to promote their products on social media. Up until Wednesday, the agency has put the burden of ensuring proper advertising disclosure on the brands. The agency sent 90 letters to influencers and marketers informing them of their responsibility to "clearly and conspicuously" disclose the business relationships behind social media posts.

How a Prepaid Card Company Emerged as a 'Major Opponent' to CFPB

By C. Ryan Barber |

Netspend and its parent company Total System Services have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars lobbying on prepaid card rules and other regulatory matters. The two companies are not backing down. Netspend is pushing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to delay its new rule, and on Capitol Hill, Total System Services is jumping into an effort, sponsored by Republican lawmakers, to tear up the new regulation.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

CFPB Sues Ohio Law Firm Over Debt-Collection Practices

By C. Ryan Barber |

For the second time this year, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has accused a law firm of using overly aggressive debt collection tactics.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray speaking at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s 11th Annual Capital Markets Summit: Financing American Business, in Washington, D.C. March 30, 2017.

CFPB Faces 'Rock and a Hard Place' in Pushing Arbitration Rule

By C. Ryan Barber |

The question hanging over the CFPB's arbitration rule—a proposal that drew tens of thousands of comments from consumer and business advocates—is less now about the finer points of the final rule than about whether the regulations will ever see the light of day at all. For the agency, the threat of a congressional override is not abstract. Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate proposed bills to tear up the CFPB's prepaid card rule.

Neomi Rao.

Scalia Law's Neomi Rao Picked for Trump Regulatory Chief

By Melanie Waddell |

Neomi Rao, a professor at the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University, was nominated on Friday as the Trump administration's regulatory chief.

Judge Neil Gorsuch testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the second day of his confirmation hearing to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia at the U.S. Supreme Court. March 21, 2017.

DC Circuit Judge Cites Neil Gorsuch for a Judicial 'Renaissance'

By Marcia Coyle |

Just days before Neil Gorsuch will plunge into the U.S. Supreme Court's menu of regulatory challenges, a Washington federal appeals judge on Tuesday turned to the newest justice to bolster her own concerns about the deference that courts give to agencies' interpretation of their rules.

Wells Fargo.

Report Faults Wells Fargo's Law Department in Sham-Accounts Scandal

By C. Ryan Barber |

Shearman & Sterling's report on the Wells Fargo sham-accounts scandal didn't hold any punches. And the bank's law department didn't escape scrutiny. The report found the law department "did not appreciate that sales integrity issues reflected a systemic breakdown in Wells Fargo's culture and values and an ongoing failure to correct the widespread breaches of trust in the misuse of customers’ personal data and financial information." Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan said the report provides a new opportunity to "learn from our mistakes."

Richard Cordray (2016)

'Time Flies When You're Having Fun,' CFPB's Cordray Tells Republicans

By C. Ryan Barber |

Republicans on Wednesday seized on their first chance chance to confront CFPB Director Richard Cordray since the November election, stepping up their calls for the director to be fired or to step down willingly—perhaps to pursue his rumored interest in the Ohio governor's race. Cordray's appearance on Capitol Hill was also the first since an appeals court, ruling for the mortgage lender PHH Corp., said the CFPB's single-director scheme is unconstitutionally structured.

U.S. Supreme Court building.

Labor Lawyers Look for Guidance in Justices' EEOC Ruling

By Marcia Coyle |

Employers who succeed or fail in blocking an investigative subpoena by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission will find the district court's decision likely to survive on appeal under a standard the U.S. Supreme Court announced on Monday.

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, speaks Thursday, March 30, at a U.S. Chamber event in Washington.

CFPB's Richard Cordray Touts 'Rules of the Road' at US Chamber Event

By C. Ryan Barber |

CFPB director Richard Cordray, speaking on Thursday at a U.S. Chamber event in Washington, defended the consumer agency against an oft-made charge: That the Obama-era bureau engages in "regulation by enforcement."

U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Why General Counsel Oppose Trump's Legal Services Cuts

By Rebekah Mintzer |

This week, 185 corporate counsel urged Congress to support funding for Legal Services Corp. We reached out to several of the in-house lawyers who signed the letter to talk about the LSC and its connection to corporate legal departments.

185 Corporate Counsel Urge Congress to Fund LSC

By Marcia Coyle |

President Donald Trump routinely has sought corporate America's voice on a range of issues, but will he and members of Congress listen to the 185 in-house counsel who are opposed to his zero budget for the Legal Services Corp.?

Makan Delrahim listens to testimony during the confirmation hearing of judge Neil Gorsuch to replace the late Antonin Scalia at the U.S. Supreme Court.  March 20, 2017.

What to Know About Makan Delrahim, Trump's Antitrust Division Pick

By C. Ryan Barber |

Makan Delrahim, a former top lobbyist for tech and health care companies who now serves as a deputy White House counsel, is the Trump administration's pick to lead the U.S. Justice Department's Antitrust Division, a key post that would put him, and his front-office staff, in the spotlight of in-house legal departments looking to win approval for mergers and acquisitions.

U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. October 9, 2016.

Religious Health Systems, Facing ERISA Liability, Pin Hope on Justices

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday took up an employee-retirement dispute that threatens to expose religious-affiliated, nonprofit health care systems to billions of dollars in retroactive penalties rooted in the protection of pensions.

Anthem, in DC Circuit, Fights to Save $54B Cigna Merger

By C. Ryan Barber |

Health insurer Anthem Inc. pressed Friday to salvage its proposed $54 billion acquisition of Cigna Corp., arguing before a Washington federal appeals court that the deal would drive down costs for consumers.

Sullivan & Cromwell partner Jay Clayton testifies before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs during his confirmation hearing to become the next Chairman of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington.  March 23, 2017.

Jay Clayton, SEC Chair Nominee, Grilled Over Wall Street Ties

By C. Ryan Barber |

Fending off questions about his lucrative law practice and potential conflicts of interest, Jay Clayton, the Sullivan & Cromwell partner who was nominated to lead the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, on Thursday defended his private sector experience as an asset and said he was "committed to showing no favoritism to anyone in this position."

Judge Neil Gorsuch testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during the second day of his confirmation hearing to replace the late Justice Antonin Scalia at the U.S. Supreme Court. March 21, 2017.

Lawyers in Gorsuch 'Frozen Trucker' Case Surprised at Attention

By Marcia Coyle |

The case of the frozen trucker sounds like a Conan Doyle mystery but it has become a focal point in Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearings, to the surprise of the lawyers who faced off before the judge—and to the frustration of one of them.

R. Alexander Acosta testifies before the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor & Pensions during his confirmation hearing to become the next Secretary of Labor at the U.S. Department of Labor.  March 22, 2017.

Labor Secretary Nominee Acosta Says He'll Follow Trump on Fiduciary Rule

By Melanie Waddell |

R. Alexander Acosta, President Donald Trump's nominee to be secretary of the U.S. Labor Department, said Wednesday he would follow the president's Feb. 3 executive order directing the agency to review its fiduciary rule.

Ted Olson, of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, testifies before the House Financial Services Committee, during a hearing entitled “The Bureau of Consumer Financial Protection’s Unconstitutional Design,” on March 21, 2017.

Gibson Dunn's Ted Olson, on Capitol Hill, Smacks CFPB

By C. Ryan Barber |

As members of Washington’s legal elite gathered Tuesday morning for the second day of Judge Neil Gorsuch's confirmation hearing, the veteran appellate litigator Ted Olson wasn't there—but he was close. Olson, a former U.S. solicitor general and now a Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner, appeared on Capitol Hill to assail an Obama-era agency that he's also fought in the courts: the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Ann Marie Buerkle, acting chairman of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Trump's Deregulatory Push Hits a Snag at Product Safety Commission

By C. Ryan Barber |

In times of presidential transition, it is common across the federal bureaucracy for agency heads to resign and allow the incoming administration to appoint new leadership. At the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Elliot Kaye has stayed put. The dynamic has not simply staved off Trump's pro-business, deregulatory push. The commission's three Democrats appear poised to seize on the waning days of their majority and move forward on safety regulations—and their call for higher penalties against companies.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

Trump's Justice Department Abandons Defense of CFPB

By C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Justice Department argued Friday that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau should be stripped of its independence, a reversal of an earlier stance that the president only had the power to remove the Obama-era agency's director for cause, not at will.

Legal Services Corporation offices at 3333 K Street, N.W. in Washington, D.C. March 18, 2015. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Legal Services Corp., Under Trump, Faces New Threat to Existence

By Marcia Coyle |

Legal Services Corp. faced perhaps its greatest crisis in the 1980s, when President Ronald Reagan and his supporters attempted to disband the agency. Now more than 30 years later, as President Donald Trump moves to cut funding to zero, a battle for its survival is likely to begin again.

Neil Gorsuch

In Dissent, Gorsuch Was Tough on Regulators and Skeptical of Legislative History

By Marcia Coyle |

U.S. Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on March 20 will head to the U.S. Senate for his confirmation hearing, where his record as a federal appeals judge—his majority rulings and his dissents—will come under new scrutiny. The late Justice William O. Douglas once said, "The right to dissent is the only thing that makes life tolerable for a judge on an appellate court." If that's true, Gorsuch, who sits on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, has found satisfaction and solace in his 35 dissents.

National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.

Dozens of Companies Await SCOTUS Ruling on Workplace Class-Action Bans

By Marcia Coyle |

Dozens of companies in retail, banking, health care and technology await the U.S. Supreme Court's answer to whether workplace arbitration agreements that ban class actions violate federal labor law.

SEC Hits Another Marijuana Company Over Alleged Sham Earnings

By C. Ryan Barber |

The nascent legalized marijuana industry has never been easy for regulators, forcing difficult decisions over how to enforce federal laws in states that have cleared cannabis for medical and—in some cases—recreational use. But the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has a decidedly simpler calculation: If a marijuana company misleads investors, it's as ripe an enforcement target as another firm.

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

Business Groups Want Texas Court to Freeze Fiduciary Rule

By Melanie Waddell |

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and industry groups are urging a Texas federal judge to block an Obama-era retirement advice rule pending an appeal and as federal regulators consider halting implementation of the rule for 60 days.

U.S. Capitol.

Why Lit Funders Didn't Lobby to Stop Class Action Bill

By Ben Hancock |

The bill approved Thursday by the House of Representatives would mandate disclosure of third-party financing in class actions. The industry was nowhere to be seen.

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

Jay Clayton, SEC Chair Nominee, Pulled in $7M From Sullivan & Cromwell Last Year

By C. Ryan Barber |

Benefitting from a client roster that includes big banks, British Airways and Volkswagen AG, longtime Sullivan & Cromwell partner Jay Clayton raked in $7.6 million in the year leading up to his nomination to lead the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Chamber Cheers and Advocates Fret as House Passes Sweeping Class Action Reform

By Amanda Bronstad |

Proponents of the measure bashed plaintiffs lawyers and said the bill would help stamp out frivolous suits. Opponents, calling the bill a "corporate handout," lament that it will hamper legitimate cases.

National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.

Labor Regulators Urge DC Circuit to Uphold New 'Joint-Employer' Standard

By Marcia Coyle |

A three-judge appeals panel on Thursday raised serious concerns about the National Labor Relations Board's new test for determining when a "joint employer" relationship between two companies exists for collective bargaining purposes.

Richard Cordray.

CFPB Reveals Name of 'John Doe' Co. That Sued Agency

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau this week revealed the identity of a company that tried for weeks to remain anonymous as it fought the federal agency over an investigation. Future Income Payments, a California-based provider of "pension advances," sued the CFPB in January to prevent the agency from pursuing any investigation and disclosing its name.

Rachel Brand, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee during her confirmation hearing to be Associate Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice.  March 7, 2017.

Rachel Brand, Chamber Lawyer Who Challenged Agencies, Prepares to Switch Sides

By C. Ryan Barber |

Rachel Brand, former chief regulatory litigation counsel for the U.S. Chamber's Litigation Center, is poised to become the third-in-command at the Justice Department under Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a position where she would play a lead role defending agencies she has challenged. At her confirmation hearing Tuesday on Capitol Hill, Brand was asked how she will transition from agency challenger to agency defender.

Brett Kavanaugh.

D.C. Circuit's Brett Kavanaugh Doubles Down on Criticism of CFPB

By Mike Scarcella and C. Ryan Barber |

Back in October, Brett Kavanaugh, a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, wrote a 101-page majority ruling assailing the "massive, unchecked" power of the single director-led Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Kavanaugh recently got a second chance to weigh in—weeks before the full D.C. Circuit will take a fresh look at mortgage lender PHH Corp.'s claims. Writing in an unrelated case, Kavanaugh predicted the D.C. Circuit—or the U.S. Supreme Court—will find the structure of the agency unconstitutional.

Target Corp. is among the retailers that received letters from the New York attorney general's office requesting information on their on-call practices for employees.

Target Corp. Puts FTC's 'Made in USA' Claims to Bed

By C. Ryan Barber |

Federal trade regulators have dropped their investigation into Target Corp. over pillows that were advertised as "Made in USA" but were, in fact, manufactured in China. The agency closed its investigation without further action because Target pulled the mislabeled products from store shelves, corrected the country-of-origin information for its own-branded pillows and took steps to shore up packaging to prevent further consumer deception.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

GOP Wants to Give Trump Power to Block Agency Rules

By Melanie Waddell |

Democratic lawmakers are up in arms over legislation introduced recently that would give the Trump administration the power to block rules proposed by independent agencies, including the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Federal Trade Commission

Judge Refuses Fee Award to State AGs in Antitrust Case

By C. Ryan Barber |

Nearly a year after striking down Staples Inc.'s proposed takeover of Office Depot, a federal judge in Washington refused Tuesday to award $175,000 in legal fees to the Pennsylvania and District of Columbia attorneys general for their role in challenging the office supply chains' $6.3 billion deal.

U.S. Department of Labor in Washington

Labor Dept. Proposes 60-Day Fiduciary Rule Delay

By Melanie Waddell |

The U.S. Labor Department on Wednesday released a proposed rule to extend for 60 days the applicability date of its fiduciary rule under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

In Trump Era, Law Firms Prepare for Less Work, and Hiring, From CFPB

By C. Ryan Barber |

A confluence of events, including Donald Trump's surprise victory, has shaken not only the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and its cadre of lawyers but also the law firm practice groups that built up around enforcement actions and investigations tied to the agency. Law firm interest in CFPB lawyers is expected to wane in the Trump administration and practice groups rooted in the agency could be forced to pivot, focusing more time on other federal and state regulators, according to more than a dozen interviews with law firm partners and recruiters.

National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.

Companies, Regulators to Face Off Over NLRB's New 'Joint-Employer' Standard

By Mike Scarcella |

A Washington appeals court next week will take up a major business dispute over the circumstances in which two companies, working together, are "joint employers" whose business ties extend federal labor-law protections to all the employees.

Andrew Olmem.

Two Venable Partners, Including Outspoken Dodd-Frank Critic, Join Trump Team

By C. Ryan Barber |

Two Venable partners, including a former lead Republican negotiator on the post-crisis Dodd-Frank financial reforms who has called the Obama-era regulations "heavy-handed," have joined President Donald Trump's administration. Andrew Olmem, who worked on the Dodd-Frank reforms, will serve at the White House National Economic Council, and Daris Meeks was named director of domestic policy for Vice President Mike Pence.

CFPB Barred, For Now, From Naming Company Under Investigation

By C. Ryan Barber |

Another financial-sector company is fighting to keep its name secret as it challenges the power of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to bring an enforcement action. The company, identified only as "John Doe" in a Washington federal trial court, offers pension advance products that allow consumers to receive a lump-sum payment in exchange for a portion, or all, of their future pension. A judge Friday temporarily blocked the consumer agency from revealing any identifying information about the company.

Richard Cordray.

CFPB Wins New Chance to Defend Single-Director Power Structure

By C. Ryan Barber |

The full U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will take a fresh look at a ruling that struck down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's structure as unconstitutional, setting the stage for a legal fight that carries significant implications for the future of the agency in the Trump administration.

Alex Acosta.

Law Dean Alexander Acosta Picked for Labor Secretary

By Melanie Waddell |

President Donald Trump wasted little time in naming R. Alexander Acosta on Thursday as his new labor secretary nominee to replace Andrew Puzder, who withdrew his nomination amid opposition in the U.S. Senate. Acosta would become Trump's first Hispanic cabinet nominee.

Andrew Puzder.

What Should the Senate #AskPuzder? Labor Lawyers Have Questions

By ALM Staff |

Labor secretary nominee Andrew Puzder, the fast-food executive, is set to go before the U.S. Senate on Thursday for his confirmation hearing, and it’s clear he'll be stepping into a firestorm. We reached out to labor and employment lawyers across the country—representing companies and employees—to ask what questions they think senators should throw at Puzder at his hearing. Here are highlights from those responses.

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN).

Lamar Alexander Doesn't Push 'Quick-Fix' Repair of Health Law

By C. Ryan Barber |

U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander sounded bullish Wednesday on the prospects for repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act, despite an emerging rift among Republicans over how to overhaul the Obama administration's landmark policy and put something new in place. Alexander, chairman of the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, said he and other lawmakers will "do most of our legislating on that this year—most of it, perhaps, before summertime." He rejected the idea of "just some quick-fix that makes it look good … but doesn't really try to improve" the health law.

Elizabeth Warren.

Sen. Warren Grills Puzder Ahead of Confirmation Hearing

By Melanie Waddell |

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Massachusetts, grilled U.S. Labor Department secretary nominee Andrew Puzder in a 28-page letter on Monday about how he'd deal with a range of issues, including minimum wage, the Wells Fargo fake-accounts scandal and the directive issued by President Donald Trump to review the fiduciary rule.

Drone Group Airs Concern About Trump's 2-for-1 Regulatory Rollback

By C. Ryan Barber |

For many businesses, President Donald Trump's order to cut two existing rules for every new rule was a welcome harbinger for an era of fewer regulations. But the fledgling commercial drone industry—still sorting out the rules federal regulators rolled out in August—isn't so sure Trump’s 2-for-1 plan is a good deal.

Jessica Rich.

Departing FTC Consumer Protection Chief Talks 26-Year Career, and Change Ahead

By C. Ryan Barber |

The FTC's Jessica Rich spearheaded rules protecting children's online privacy and sensitive financial information. And as the chief of the consumer protection bureau, she oversaw a $200 million settlement with Herbalife and took enforcement actions against Apple Inc. and Amazon Inc. After 26 years at the agency, she's leaving. But not retiring. We caught up with Rich this week about her long career—what's up next.

U.S. Department of Labor in Washington

U.S. Labor Dept. Files Notice to Delay Fiduciary Rule

By Melanie Waddell |

The U.S. Labor Department as expected filed a notice Thursday with the Office of Management and Budget to delay implementation of the Obama administration's controversial retirement-savings rule.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington D.C.

Judge Backs Health Insurer in $200M ACA Payment Suit

By Allison Bell |

A judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims on Thursday backed efforts by Moda Health Plan Inc. to collect about $200 million in Affordable Care Act risk corridors program payments from the United States. Health insurers contend

President Donald Trump.

For Companies, Trump's Tweets Create 'New Category of Risk'

By C. Ryan Barber |

President Donald Trump has been tweeting from the hip, targeting companies over their plans to move jobs overseas or, in the case of Nordstrom, over the retailer's decision this week to pull Ivanka Trump's clothing brand from shelves. All of this has the business community on edge. And that means questions for lawyers. The National Law Journal caught up with James Garland to talk about how companies are preparing for Trump's Twitter ire.

Richard Cordray.

Hensarling Memo Reveals Plan to Gut the CFPB's Power

By David Baumann |

The power of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau would be severely curtailed under changes in a Dodd-Frank overhaul bill being contemplated by House Financial Services Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas.

Blocking Anthem-Cigna Merger, Judge Says Internal Discord Didn't Help Deal

By C. Ryan Barber |

A federal judge in Washington on Wednesday blocked Anthem Inc.'s proposed $54 billion acquisition of Cigna Corp., handing antitrust enforcers a second win in two months against a major merger in the health insurance sector.

Donald Trump

Trump's 2-for-1 Regulatory Slashing Spurs New Lawsuit

By C. Ryan Barber |

Consumer, labor and environmental advocates on Wednesday rolled out a broad challenge to President Donald Trump's executive order directing federal agencies to cut two regulations for every new one adopted. The lawsuit in Washington federal district court alleges the order will do more harm than good, requiring the rollback of rules that have a net benefit for society in spite of their compliance costs.

Keir Gumbs of Covington & Burling

Google Alerts, Blogs and Deep Dives: Keeping Up with Deregulation

By C. Ryan Barber |

The early days of the Trump administration have come as a gift horse for opponents of the Dodd-Frank Act, the 2010 financial reform law the president and Congress are moving swiftly to shred. The flurry of activity has Covington & Burling's Keir Gumbs in Washington feeling more like a news reporter than a Big Law partner. Still, Gumbs and other lawyers are telling clients not to rest easy.

Richard Cordray.

White House Slams CFPB as Trump Moves to Roll Back Financial Reforms

By C. Ryan Barber |

As President Donald Trump on Friday signed an executive order directing a review of the Dodd-Frank Act, the White House criticized the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as an “unaccountable and unconstitutional new agency.”

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

Court Won't Let CFPB Proponents Into Case to Defend Agency

By C. Ryan Barber |

A federal appeals court on Thursday refused to allow Democratic state attorneys general and other proponents of the Consumer Financial Protection Board to intervene in a case to protect the agency's independence.

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

Trump Tells Labor Department to Halt Fiduciary Rule

By Melanie Waddell |

President Donald Trump on Friday signed a directive telling the U.S. Labor Department to halt implementation of rules targeting conflicts of interest in the retirement-saving industry. The fiduciary rule, facing challenges in several federal courts, is set to take effect April 10.

President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, addressing media during a meeting with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), on February 1, 2017.

Gorsuch's Criticism of Agency Deference Has Support Among Justices

By Marcia Coyle |

Judge Neil Gorsuch would find sympathetic colleagues on the U.S. Supreme Court in his dislike—shared by the business community—of the deference that courts give to how agencies interpret their statutes. Even so, the Republican-led Congress is moving to put the brakes on that decades-old legal doctrine.

Judge David Sentelle of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (2013)

CFPB Faces Skeptical DC Circuit Judge in Test Over Subpoena Power

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's push to investigate a leading accreditor in the for-profit college industry hit a roadblock in a federal appeals court Thursday, where a judge expressed concern that the agency had taken its subpoena authority too far.

President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee Judge Neil Gorsuch of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, addressing media during a meeting with Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA), on February 1, 2017.

Gorsuch Is the 'Instant-Replay Official' to Roberts the Baseball Umpire

By C. Ryan Barber |

During his 2005 confirmation hearing, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. likened his role to that of a baseball umpire. Five years later, Judge Neil Gorsuch, weighing a labor dispute, deployed a different sports analogy. He chose football. "Our job is something like the role of the instant-replay booth in football: the call on the field presumptively stands and we may overturn it only if we can fairly say that no reasonable mind could, looking at the facts again, stand by that call."

President Donald J. Trump delivers his presidential inaugural address during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol Building, Washington, D.C., Jan. 20, 2017.

Donald Trump Promises a 'Big Number on Dodd-Frank'

By Melanie Waddell |

After meeting with small business leaders Monday, President Donald Trump signed an executive order to require federal agencies to propose deleting two regulations for each new one they issue, and also said his administration plans to do a "big number" on the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

Cases Against Lawyers Continue Catching the CFPB's Eye

By C. Ryan Barber |

A year after winning a nearly $175 million judgment against debt relief provider Morgan Drexen, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday accused two lawyers of helping the now-defunct California company charge illegal advance fees.

CFPB director Richard Cordray.

Top Democrats, Advocacy Groups Join Defense of CFPB in DC Circuit

By C. Ryan Barber |

Citing the Trump administration's threat to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a coalition of consumer advocacy groups and the top Democrats on the U.S. Senate and House banking committees on Thursday moved to defend the agency and its leadership. U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio and Rep. Maxine Waters of California, moving to intervene in a federal appeals court case, said the Trump administration cannot be counted on to defend the independence of the agency's single-director structure.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) appears before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington during his confirmation hearing to be the next U.S. Attorney General, on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

Jeff Sessions Says He'll Review 'Effectiveness' of DOJ's Marijuana Guidance

By C. Ryan Barber |

Amid the tension between state and federal law, the cannabis industry has struggled to access banking and insurance services widely available to most U.S. businesses. Donald Trump's nomination of Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions as U.S. attorney general was widely seen as a potential setback to the industry as companies and their lawyers navigate new regulatory schemes on the state level—and keep an eye on federal authorities. Sessions has long been critical of the drug. The nominee opened up about marijuana enforcement, and white-collar matters, in questions he submitted to senators weighing his nomination.

Donald Trump.

Trump Wants to Cut Regulations by 75 Percent. Former Agency Lawyers Are Skeptical.

By Rebekah Mintzer |

President Donald Trump has vowed to cut federal regulations by 75 percent to drive business growth, boasting about that number—"maybe more," he said—at a White House meeting this week with chief executives of a dozen U.S. companies, including Ford Motor Co. and Dell Technologies Inc. Lawyers who served in top positions at federal agencies during the Barack Obama and George W. Bush administrations, however, are skeptical.

Maura Healey, left, and Eric Schneiderman, right.

Democratic State AGs Push to Protect CFPB From Trump

By C. Ryan Barber |

More than a dozen Democratic state attorneys general on Monday stepped into a fight to preserve the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as the agency prepares for potential peril under President Donald Trump's administration.

Richard Cordray.

CFPB's Richard Cordray Is Quiet on Any Clash With Trump

By C. Ryan Barber |

As a legal and political fight unfolds over the continued leadership of Richard Cordray at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the director is staying silent about how he might respond to a run-in with President Donald Trump. "I don't really want to get into hypotheticals," Cordray said Tuesday. He added: "But what I would say is I understand my job."

U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C. June 10, 2016. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

U.S. Chamber Calls Bank Regulators' Cyber Approach a 'Mistake'

By Melanie Waddell |

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is urging federal banking regulators to avoid imposing "prescriptive cybersecurity standards" on the financial sector and instead support such entities adopting a "risk-based" approach to address their unique threats.

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

D.C. Judge, Citing 'Serious Concerns,' Blocks Aetna's $37B Merger With Humana

By C. Ryan Barber |

A federal judge in Washington on Monday blocked Aetna Inc.'s proposed $37 billion acquisition of Humana Inc., punctuating an era of antitrust enforcement under the Obama administration that broke up proposed mergers in a host of industries.

Year-End Report Shows LGBT Discrimination Charges On the Rise at EEOC

By Rebekah Mintzer |

The number of sex-based discrimination charges from LGBT individuals that the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received increased significantly over the last four years, according to data released by the agency Wednesday.

Richard Cordray.

Richard Cordray Invoked Bob Dylan to Lift CFPB's Spirits

By C. Ryan Barber |

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, turned to Bob Dylan to lift agency staffers' spirits after a federal appeals court ruling found fault with the independence of the Obama-created agency.

SEC Chair Mary Jo White

SEC Chair Mary Jo White Says Goodbye, For Now

By Melanie Waddell |

SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White sits down with ThinkAdvisor's Melanie Waddell for a wide-ranging interview that covered the fiduciary rule she fought hard to get passed (but didn't), advisor exams and her "broken windows" approach to pursuing violations. She also addressed her thoughts on Jay Clayton, President-elect Donald Trump's nominee for SEC chairman.

Chief Judge Merrick Garland of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit (2014)

Garland's Back on the DC Circuit Bench as a Former SCOTUS Nominee

By C. Ryan Barber |

Nearly a year after his ill-fated Supreme Court nomination was announced, Merrick Garland returned to a Washington federal appeals bench Wednesday without any public fanfare—no ceremonial welcome back or condolences from lawyers.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building.

BlackRock Pays $340K Penalty Over Separation Agreements That Restricted Tipsters

By C. Ryan Barber |

BlackRock Inc., the New York-based asset management firm, will pay $340,000 to resolve claims the company improperly used separation agreements to force employees to waive their ability to obtain any whistleblower awards. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has hit several companies in recent months for similar violations. Regulators have put companies on notice that they cannot restrict the right of an employee to recover any award for providing information to the authorities. BlackRock did not admit or deny liability.

Andrew Puzder.

What Labor Lawyers Want to Know About Andrew Puzder

By Rebekah Mintzer |

Fast-food chief executive Andrew Puzder's nomination to lead the U.S. Labor Department is inching forward amid opposition from U.S. Senate Democrats and employee advocates who contend his confirmation would imperil Obama administration regulations. Employment lawyers on the labor and management sides are sharing their own observations about what Puzder should disclose to show he is fit, and without conflict, to serve as secretary of the Labor Department.

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

DOL Releases Two Batches of Fiduciary-Rule FAQs

By Melanie Waddell |

The U.S. Labor Department has issued back-to-back guidance, in the form of frequently asked questions, for advisors, investors and workers regarding the agency's fiduciary rule, which takes effect on April 10.

Walter Shaub Jr., during his confirmation hearing in 2012

Walter Shaub, U.S. Ethics Office Chief, Never Planned to Be a Silent Force

By C. Ryan Barber and Mike Scarcella |

Walter Shaub Jr., the chief U.S. government ethics official, told a congressional committee in 2012 he was prepared to meet the challenges ahead. The Obama administration appointee likely had no idea then how prescient his remarks would be. Shaub, director of the Office of Government Ethics, is now at the center of a rising dispute over the scope of Donald Trump's real and perceived conflicts of interest.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building

US Appeals Court Dodges Scope of Dodd-Frank Whistleblower Protection

By C. Ryan Barber |

A federal appeals court on Friday dodged a question that has divided two other circuits: Does a whistleblower need to bring a tip directly to regulators to be protected under the Dodd-Frank Act?

National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.

Justices Will Decide Legality of Class Action Bans in Employment Contracts

By Marcia Coyle |

An unusual confluence of petitions from employers, employees and the government successfully urged the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether workplace arbitration agreements banning class actions violate federal labor laws. The justices agreed on Friday to take up the dispute.

U.S. Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C.

Supreme Court Will Choose Forum for Water-Rule Fight

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide where a major challenge over an Obama administration clean-water rule should be waged—in a federal appellate court or the federal district courts. The justices agreed to hear claims from national companies, 29 states and agriculture-related groups that argued the litigation should take place in federal district courts and not in a federal appellate court.

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

DOL Releases Fiduciary Rule FAQ for Investors, Workers

By Melanie Waddell |

The U.S. Labor Department on Friday released a second batch of frequently-asked-questions on the agency's fiduciary rule.

U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Court Turns Down Obamacare Enrollees' Move to Join Health Care Suit

By Mike Scarcella |

A federal appeals court on Thursday refused to allow two participants in the Affordable Care Act the chance to intervene in a case to defend cost-sharing insurance provisions that U.S. House Republicans challenged as unlawful.

CFPB director Richard Cordray.

'John Doe' Company Fights to Remain Anonymous in CFPB Investigation

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is facing a new test to the scope of the agency's power, as a "John Doe" company heads to court to block the public disclosure of its name while fighting an investigation into its core business practices.

Demonstrators celebrate the court's ruling for the ACA in King v. Burwell. June 25, 2015.

Federal Court Keeps Insurance Carrier's ACA Claim Alive

By Allison Bell |

A federal judge at the U.S. Court of Federal Claims does not think she can give immediate help to an Oregon-based health insurer that's seeking more than $21 million in payments from a troubled Affordable Care Act program, but she does think she can rule on whether the program owes the insurer money.

Thomas J. Donohue, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (File photo)

Fiduciary Rule Could be Halted 'Within Days' of Inauguration, U.S. Chamber Says

By Melanie Waddell |

The U.S. Labor Department's fiduciary rule could be delayed "within days" of the new Trump administration, David Hirschmann, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s Center for Capital Markets Competitiveness, said Wednesday.

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the day of arguments in the case Zubik v Burwell on March 23, 2016.

54,231 Comments Later, a Contraceptive Coverage Dispute Is Still Unresolved

By Marcia Coyle |

After receiving more than 54,000 comments on whether and how to accommodate objections from religious nonprofit groups to the health care law's contraceptive insurance requirement, the Obama administration said it will not make any changes to the practices that were challenged—and left unresolved—in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo Reaches $35M Racial-Bias Settlement With Advisors

By Janet Levaux |

A $35.5 million settlement between Wells Fargo & Co. and a group of African-American brokers is set to go before a Chicago federal judge on Jan. 24. The plaintiffs alleged in the complaint, filed in 2013 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, that Wells Fargo "substantially" underpaid African-American financial advisors in management and executive positions.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

5 Questions for Jeff Sessions on White-Collar Enforcement, Regulations

By C. Ryan Barber |

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions, the President-elect’s pick to lead the U.S. Justice Department, will face a host of questions Tuesday—at the start of his confirmation hearing&—about immigration policy, civil rights and voting laws. The Alabama Republican's positions on many of those issues are clear. What's less easily discernible is his record—and his plan—on white-collar enforcement.

U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. October 9, 2016.

Justices Ground Startup Flytenow, the 'Uber of the Sky'

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to review a pioneering flight-sharing startup's dispute with the Federal Aviation Administration. The justices, without comment, turned away Flytenow Inc.'s petition, which argued that pilots using Flytenow's online platform to solicit passengers are not "common carriers" who must satisfy more stringent aviation rules.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building.

SEC Makes Exception to 'In Writing' Requirement for Whistleblower Tips

By C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, citing "highly unusual circumstances," awards a whistleblower $5.5 million for information that was not provided, as required, "in writing."

New Legislation Would Delay Labor Dept.'s Fiduciary Rule

By Melanie Waddell |

A member of the U.S. House Committee on Education and the Workforce introduced a bill Friday to delay the implementation of the U.S. Labor Department's fiduciary rule by two years.

Thomas Perez.

Tom Perez Touts 'Historic' Fiduciary Rule in Exit Memo

By Melanie Waddell |

U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez on Thursday touted in an exit memo workplace policies put into place during his tenure, including the fiduciary and overtime pay rules—both of which are under assault—and urged the incoming Trump administration and new Congress to support other initiatives championed by the Obama administration.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

Companies Push to Piggyback on Ruling Against CFPB

By C. Ryan Barber |

When a federal appeals court ruled in October that the president should be empowered to remove the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's director at will, rather than only for cause, the 110-page opinion landed with a bang. Companies want to piggyback on the decision to benefit their cases against the CFPB. Here's a snapshot of how the ruling, from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, is playing out in CFPB cases in courts across the country.

Verrilli: Is Repeal of the ACA a Done Deal? Hardly.

By Donald Verrilli Jr., Munger, Tolles & Olson, and Elizabeth G. Taylor, National Health Law Program (NHeLP) |

OPINION: Questions loom over what will happen to Americans insured under the Affordable Care Act.

Google offices in Mountain View.

Labor Dept. Sues Google for Access to Compensation Data

By Rebekah Mintzer |

The U.S. Department of Labor on Wednesday sued Google Inc., claiming the company did not allow federal contract compliance officials access to employee compensation records, an alleged violation of federal antidiscrimination law.

New FTC Contest Confronts 'Internet of Things' Security

By Marcia Coyle |

Internet wonks call it the Internet of Things, or IoT—those everyday devices, gadgets and appliances that connect to the web. They are vulnerable. An October hacking of hundreds of thousands of "things"—including cameras and digital video recorders—disrupted the web. The Federal Trade Commission wants to do something about it—and you can help. The agency on Wednesday announced the latest in a series of cash-reward contests for solutions to protect personal data.

U.S. District Judge James Boasberg on Wednesday included photos of a waterfall and a

SEC Should Have Gone 'Chasing Waterfalls,' D.C. Judge Says

By C. Ryan Barber |

The R&B trio TLC warned against "chasing waterfalls" in the group's hit 1990s song. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, a Washington judge says, took too literally that "immortal admonition." U.S District Judge James Boasberg's ruling, in a dispute over the distribution of settlement funds, features, yes, a waterfall. He instructed the agency to go talk with the IRS before presenting the plan to the court again.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building

SEC Issues DOL Fiduciary Rule Guidance for Mutual Funds

By By MELANIE WADDELL |

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has released guidance to help mutual funds streamline the process of offering certain fee structures that are designed to achieve level compensation consistent with the Department of Labor's fiduciary rule, which takes effect on April 10.

A conflict is brewing between Richard Cordray, left, and Donald Trump over the future of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Exploding Coffee Machines, CFPB Tested and a DOJ Lawyer's Mea Culpa: Regulatory 2016

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau faced a new test after a major appeals court ruling struck down the Obama agency's power scheme. A dispute over an exploding coffee machine revealed tension over the scope of product-safety fines. And a top Justice Department lawyer offered an apology to prosecutors after some choice words about lack of oversight in some U.S. attorney offices. Here's a roundup of some of the top regulatory and compliance stories of 2016.

Federal Trade Commission

LabMD Presses Challenge to Scope of FTC's Cyber Authority

By C. Ryan Barber |

Setting the stage for a fresh test of the Federal Trade Commission's power to police online security, a now-defunct medical laboratory on Tuesday urged a U.S. appeals court to overturn an agency ruling that blamed lax data-protection practices for the exposure of nearly 10,000 patients’ personal information.

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

Widespread Tax, Regulatory Easing on Horizon Under Trump

By Melanie Waddell |

As the Donald Trump administration and a new Congress take control in Washington, advisers can expect widespread easing of the regulatory reins around such areas as retirement, tax and investing policies. Debates are in full swing regarding the fate of the U.S. Labor Department's fiduciary rule on retirement accounts, leadership of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the anticipated full-frontal focus by the Trump administration and Congress on tax reform—both individual and corporate.

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

SEC Accuses California Lawyer in Scheme to Defraud Foreign Investors

By C. Ryan Barber |

Securities regulators accused a Newport Beach, California, lawyer on Tuesday of fueling a luxury lifestyle through a scheme that allegedly bilked millions of dollars from foreign investors who wanted to speed up their immigration to the United States.

CFPB director Richard Cordray on Capitol Hill in September.

Justice Department Faults Ruling that Threatens CFPB Power Scheme

By C. Ryan Barber |

Obama administration lawyers on Thursday urged a Washington federal appeals court to revisit a dispute over the structure of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, arguing that a panel of judges improperly assessed the extent to which the agency leadership intrudes on presidential power.

US Department of Labor's 2016 By the Numbers

By Rebekah Mintzer |

With the curtain falling on President Barack Obama's administration and rising on President-elect Donald Trump's, the U.S. Department of Labor could look very different at the end of next year. Here's a look at the agency's 2016 by the numbers.

Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C.

Trump Organization's Labor Deals Could Mitigate Conflicts Exposure at NLRB

By By REBEKAH MINTZER |

President-elect Donald Trump, amid calls to confront and minimize potential conflicts of interest involving his many business deals, on Wednesday moved to untangle a pair of labor disputes that threatened to raise ethical questions at the National Labor Relations Board.

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

The SEC Whistleblower Program's Biggest Year—By the Numbers

By C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's whistleblower program reached a milestone on Aug. 30. Five years after the program was created under the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, the second-largest bounty in the whistleblower office's history pushed the awards total past the $100 million mark—and the SEC was ready to celebrate. That amount only tells part of the story. Here's a deeper look into the numbers behind the program's big year.

U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

Trump's Threat to ACA Spurs Exchange Users to Seek Role in Suit

By By ALLISON BELL |

Two Affordable Care Act cost-sharing reduction subsidy users, represented by Mayer Brown, are trying to get an official role in a lawsuit challenging the Obama administration's operation of the subsidy program. The ACA exchange participants said they fear the incoming Trump administration will not adequately represent their interest in protecting cost-sharing provisions of the health care law.

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

'Zombie' Whistleblower, Denied Award for Tip, Takes SEC to Court

By C. Ryan Barber |

They are called "zombie" whistleblowers—tipsters who came forward to federal regulators before the Wall Street reform laws of 2010 and then return to try to reap the benefits of a bounty program created by the postcrisis reforms. Those award applications have been dead on arrival, the tips deemed to have come too early to be eligible for an award under rules set by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in the Dodd-Frank Act. But that hasn't stopped those whistleblowers from pressing their claims—beyond the SEC—for an award.

For-Profit College Accreditor Challenges 'Politicized' Scrutiny

By C. Ryan Barber |

Facing the loss of its role as a gatekeeper for eligibility of student financial aid dollars, the nation's largest accreditor of for-profit colleges is taking the U.S. Education Department to court over what the group calls "unfairly politicized" scrutiny into its practices.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, now a Senior Advisor at Dentons, speaking during a panel discussion titled “Drain the Swamp? Regulatory Reform Under President Trump,” held at the Washington, D.C. offices of Covington & Burling, on Wednesday, December 14, 2016.

Gingrich's View: Trump Will Smash the Washington Bureaucracy

By C. Ryan Barber |

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, now a Dentons senior adviser, won't be serving in President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet, but he's following the nominations closely. He sees a pair of retired four-star generals filling out top posts at the U.S. Defense and Homeland Security departments, an Alabama senator becoming U.S. attorney general and a neurosurgeon heading up the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. What Gingrich doesn't see is a lot of lawyers—and he doesn't see the incoming administration getting along with career employees.

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

D.C. Circuit Refuses to Block Labor Dept.'s New Retirement-Savings Rules

By Melanie Waddell and Mike Scarcella |

The D.C. Circuit on Thursday refused to block Obama administration regulations that were adopted to minimize conflicts of interest in the retirement-investment industry, a significant setback for financial planners, insurance agents and other advisers who said the rule will disrupt the marketplace.

P. David Lopez.

Former Top EEOC Lawyer Under Obama to Build Firm's DC Office

By Rebekah Mintzer |

P. David Lopez, the former U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission general counsel who left the agency last week, said it is too early to know how President-elect Donald Trump will approach EEOC enforcement. But he pointed to broad political support for antidiscrimination laws as a positive sign for the commission’s existing enforcement initiatives. Lopez is joining the New York firm Outten & Golden to help build its first Washington office.

Leslie Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, speaking during a Federalist Society event on the topic of federal criminial law, held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, December 8, 2016.

DOJ's Criminal Division Chief Apologizes to Prosecutors for Her Criticism

By C. Ryan Barber |

Leslie Caldwell, the head of the U.S. Justice Department's Criminal Division, has apologized for remarks she gave last week in which she said some U.S. attorney offices lack the oversight and experience to properly vet cases. "I did not have prepared remarks for the event, and I certainly should have," Caldwell wrote to prosecutors. Caldwell ended on: "I love the Department of Justice and deeply respect our values, the work we do, and the way we do it."

U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Chamber 'Already Working' With Trump to Kill the Fiduciary Rule

By Melanie Waddell |

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is "already working" with Trump administration transition officials to "undo" the U.S. Labor Department's fiduciary rule, Thomas Donohue, the president and chief executive of the business group, said Monday.

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) building.

Contender to Lead CFTC Pitches 'Do No Harm' Approach to Fintech

By Rebekah Mintzer and Mike Scarcella |

J. Christopher Giancarlo, a contender to head the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, on Friday presented his vision for a "forward-looking" agenda at the agency, including greater U.S. regulatory promotion of financial technology.

Leslie Caldwell, Assistant Attorney General for the Criminal Division at the U.S. Department of Justice, speaking during a Federalist Society event on the topic of federal criminial law, held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on Thursday, December 8, 2016.

Some Federal Cases 'Shouldn't Be Filed,' Head of DOJ Criminal Division Says

By C. Ryan Barber |

The head of the U.S. Justice Department's Criminal Division acknowledged Thursday that some federal prosecutors lack the experience and supervision to properly determine whether to bring charges, saying there are cases "that get filed that shouldn't be filed."

Vice President-elect Mike Pence shakes hands with Andrew Puzder, chief executive of CKE Restaurants, after meeting with President-elect Donald Trump (C), while leaving the clubhouse of Trump International Golf Club, November 19, 2016 in Bedminster Township, New Jersey.

Fast-food CEO and Regulation Foe Andrew Puzder Is Trump Pick for DOL Chief

By Rebekah Mintzer |

Fast-food executive and attorney Andrew Puzder, expected to be President-elect Donald Trump's nominee to lead the U.S. Labor Department, is a sharp critic of Obama administration regulations whose appointment could roll back efforts to expand corporate liability and raise worker wages.

AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson, left, and Time Warner CEO Jeffrey Bewkes, right, during a hearing before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Antitrust, Competition Policy & Consumer Rights addressing the impact of the two companies’s planned merger.  December 7, 2016.

AT&T, Time-Warner Chiefs 'Confident' Merger Will Pass Antitrust Scrutiny

By C. Ryan Barber |

The chief executives of AT&T Inc. and Time Warner Inc. defended their proposed $85.4 billion merger in the face of skeptical U.S. lawmakers Wednesday, telling an antitrust panel that the deal would bring added competition to the media industry and widely benefit consumers.

AG Scott Pruitt, left, and First Assistant AG Tom Bates leave the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit.

Trump's Pick for EPA Could 'Pull the Plug' on Obama Rules

By Marcia Coyle |

E. Scott Pruitt, President-elect Donald Trump's pick to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, is a chief foe of the agency who could unravel two of the Obama administration's signature regulations: the Clean Power Plan and the Waters of the United States rule.

CFPB Takes Up Two New Fights to Force Subpoena Compliance

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is not letting up as the Obama administration winds down. In a span of three days last week, the agency went to federal courts in California and Michigan to force two financial-industry companies to cooperate with administrative subpoenas known as "civil investigative demands."

Orrick, Representing Marijuana Advocate, Challenges DEA Statements About Pot

By Marcia Coyle |

A national nonprofit advocacy group supporting legal access to medical marijuana has petitioned the U.S. Justice Department to require drug enforcers to correct allegedly false and misleading information about cannabis use on its website.

Demonstrators in favor of the Obama Administration's Affordable Care Act (2015)

Aetna, at Antitrust Trial Opening, Defends Withdrawal From Health Care Markets

By C. Ryan Barber |

Fighting to save its proposed $37 billion acquisition of Humana Inc., Aetna Inc. raised questions Monday about the future of the Affordable Care Act under a GOP-controlled Congress and the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump, as the trial over the insurers' proposed merger began in a Washington federal court.

U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

DC Circuit Pauses Health Care Funding Case, a Win for House GOP

By Mike Scarcella |

A federal appeals court on Monday granted a request from U.S. House Republicans to pause their lawsuit that challenges how the Obama administration funded an insurance subsidy program of the Affordable Care Act. The House had asked the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to freeze the litigation to allow Donald Trump's Justice Department to re-evaluate whether to settle or withdraw the case.

Kevin Trudeau

Justices Reject Final Pitch from Infomercial King Kevin Trudeau

By Marcia Coyle |

Infomercial king Kevin Trudeau failed to make his most important sale on Monday when the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review his 10-year prison sentence for criminal contempt. Trudeau, represented by Winston & Strawn in the high court, was sentenced for violating a Federal Trade Commission order.

U.S. Department of Justice.

Aetna-Humana Trial, Unlike Anthem-Cigna, Will Feature Amicable Merger Partners

By C. Ryan Barber |

For the past two weeks, the U.S. Justice Department has clashed with Anthem Inc. in a blockbuster antitrust trial rife with conflict. The government is fighting to block a $48 billion health care merger that Anthem's tie-up partner—Cigna Corp.—appears to no longer want. The drama of that trial, where Cigna's chief executive hardly hid the strain between the insurer and its suitor, isn't expected to be mirrored when Aetna Inc., on Monday, begins to defend its $37 billion takeover of rival Humana Inc.

Federal Trade Commission

Engineer's Suit Over FTC's 'Robocall' Contest Is Blocked in Appeals Court

By Marcia Coyle |

When the Federal Trade Commission in 2012 announced a competition for "innovative solutions" to block automated sales calls, David Frankel thought he had a winning submission. He didn't. Blocking so-called "robocalls" can be tough and frustrating for the average person. Blocking a lawsuit over an agency's competition seemed a relatively easy task for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Thursday.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

This Other Big CFPB Case Tests the Scope of Agency's Investigative Power

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau isn't exactly riding high right now. A federal appeals court struck down the constitutionality of the agency's single-director structure. Republicans in Congress want to fundamentally revamp the agency. And the incoming Trump administration isn't expected to openly greet Richard Cordray, the CFPB director. Here's one more headache: a Washington appeals court will in the coming months decide just how far the agency’s investigative power reaches.

U.S. Appeals Court Weighs Scope of Job Protections for Gay Employees

By Rebekah Mintzer |

The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on Wednesday argued in support of a gay woman who claims a South Bend, Indiana community college denied her a full-time job due to her sexual orientation. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, sitting en banc, will decide whether the ban on gender-based employment discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 also extends to sexual orientation.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts)

21 Democratic Lawmakers Urge DC Circuit to Keep CFPB's Single-Director Structure

By C. Ryan Barber |

A group of 21 current and former Democratic lawmakers, including U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren and the House and Senate minority leaders, are backing the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau as it fights a court ruling that said the agency's single-director structure is unconstitutional.

Sally Yates (March 24, 2015)

DOJ's Sally Yates Is 'Optimistic' Trump Won't Trash Namesake Enforcement Memo

By C. Ryan Barber |

Sally Yates, the second-in-command at the U.S. Justice Department, is getting a lot of questions these days as the Obama administration draws to a close. Tops among them—and not easily answerable—is this: What's next? Speaking at an FCPA conference, Yates said she is "optimistic" Donald Trump's DOJ will continue many of the priorities set earlier, including the pursuit of individual accountability for corporate misconduct.

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

Annuities Group, Fearing 'Chaos,' Urges DC Circuit to Freeze Fiduciary Rule

By Mike Scarcella |

A financial industry trade association that lost its challenge to Obama administration regulations that confront conflicts of interest in the retirement-advice market is renewing its push to stop the rules from taking effect next April. The National Association for Fixed Annuities asked the D.C. Circuit to stay the compliance date "to alleviate what can only be described as chaos" in the market for fixed annuities.

U.S. Department of Justice

Judge, Ruling Against Feds, Won't Freeze Health Insurer's ACA Suit

By Mike Scarcella |

The U.S. government is potentially on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars in so-called "risk corridor" payments to health insurers participating in the Affordable Care Act markets. A Federal Claims judge on Monday declined the government's request to freeze one case as a federal appeals court takes up a health insurer's challenge.

Richard Cordray.

Donald Trump's Richard Cordray Problem

By C. Ryan Barber |

President-elect Donald Trump has a Richard Cordray problem. Four weeks before Election Day, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit struck down the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's structure as unconstitutional, ruling that the president should be able to fire the agency's director at will rather than only for cause. Trump's victory rocked the CFPB, putting Cordray's job and the agency's future in jeopardy.

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

Kansas Judge Refuses to Block DOL's Fiduciary Rule

By Melanie Waddell |

A Kansas federal judge on Monday rejected the insurer Market Synergy Group Inc.'s request for a preliminary injunction to block the U.S. Labor Department's fiduciary rule—the second legal victory for regulations aimed at mitigating conflicts of interest in the retirement advice market.

Consumer Agency's Magnet Rule Doesn't Stick in U.S. Appeals Court

By C. Ryan Barber |

A divided federal appeals court on Tuesday struck down product-safety standards that effectively banned the sale of small, high-powered magnets sold widely in toys and puzzles, handing a victory to a company that had long fought the regulations.

U.S. Capitol building in Washington, D.C.

House Republicans Ask D.C. Circuit to Pause Health Care Case

By Mike Scarcella |

U.S. House Republicans on Monday asked a federal appeals court to pause a dispute over funding for the Obama administration's signature health care law, arguing that the Trump administration should be given a chance to settle or dismiss the case.

U.S. Department of Labor in Washington

Coalition Urges Trump Not to Dump DOL's Fiduciary Rule

By Melanie Waddell |

Consumer and financial reform advocates are urging the incoming Trump administration to spare the U.S. Labor Department’s fiduciary rule, as government lawyers press a Washington judge not to freeze his decision upholding the merits of the new regulations.

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa

Mylan Won't Testify at EpiPen Hearing, Drawing Chuck Grassley's Ire

By ALM staff |

Obama administration officials and Mylan N.V. are declining to send representatives to testify at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing this month that would explore the government's $465 million settlement with the pharmaceutical company over its alleged misclassification of the life-saving device EpiPen for purposes of Medicaid rebates.

U.S. Department of Justice

Anthem, Antitrust Enforcers Face Judge as Insurer Defends $48B Cigna Merger

By C. Ryan Barber |

Anthem Inc. drew the battle lines Monday in defense of its proposed purchase of Cigna Corp., faulting the U.S. Justice Department for refusing to see any benefit in the $48 billion deal as the blockbuster megamerger trial opened in Washington federal district court.

Richard Cordray.

CFPB Takes Constitutional Fight to Full DC Circuit, as Trump Preps for Office

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, whose regulatory and enforcement mission faces a threat from the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress, on Friday asked a federal appeals court in Washington to rehear a dispute over the constitutionality of the agency's power structure.

SEC Chair Mary Jo White

Outgoing SEC Chief Warns that Weakening Securities Rules Would be 'Serious Mistake'

By Rebekah Mintzer |

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Jo White, who announced this week she will resign at the end of President Barack Obama's second term, warned in a speech Friday the agency must not retreat from tougher regulation and enforcement.

National Labor Relations Board in Washington, D.C.

Trump's Picks for Labor Board Could Raise Conflicts Issues

By Rebekah Mintzer |

President-elect Donald Trump takes office with the unusual situation of ownership of companies that are involved in disputes with federal agencies including the NLRB, two of whose members he will get to appoint.

Don't Get 'Hung Up' on Driver Classification, Uber Lawyer Says at Federalist Society

By C. Ryan Barber |

A top in-house labor lawyer for Uber Technologies Inc. on Thursday, speaking at the Federalist Society's annual convention in Washington, defended the independent contractor classification of the ride-hailing platform's drivers. Mark Floyd, Uber's senior director of global labor relations, said most drivers "are not making a decision to do this for a lifetime, or even a long time."

The scene outside the Supreme Court in 2013 when the court ruled against DOMA.

US Justice Department Has a Duty to Defend—Only When It Doesn't

By Marcia Coyle |

As startling as the U.S. Justice Department's abandonment of the Defense of Marriage Act might have appeared in 2011, presidential administrations of both political parties have exercised discretion to decline to defend certain laws. Donald Trump's Justice Department is next up to balk at the duty to defend.

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

Could Donald Trump's SEC Soften Enforcement of Severance Agreements?

By C. Ryan Barber |

Critics of the SEC's whistleblower program said recent settlements against companies over their severance agreements marked an agency that had stretched too far in its interpretation of Dodd-Frank's protections for tipsters. Now, as President-elect Donald Trump prepares to take office and shape the SEC, lawyers in the whistleblower field are watching to see whether the commission continues to take a stand against restrictive severance agreements or turns down the heat.

U.S. Supreme Court

FAA Tells Justices to Pass on Flight-Sharing Startup's Case

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court should decline to take up a pioneering flight-sharing startup's battle with federal regulators, the Obama administration told the justices on Monday.

SEC Commissioner Paul S. Atkins.

In Trump's Search for Market Cops, Paul Atkins' Network Plays Prominent

By C. Ryan Barber |

A week after defeating Hillary Clinton, President-elect Donald Trump is just beginning to fill top posts in his administration. As lawyers buzz over potential picks for financial regulatory agencies, the agency best-suited to fulfill his call to "dismantle" financial regulations, some names potentially in the mix revolve in the orbit of his transition team's top adviser on financial regulation—Paul Atkins.

Mary Jo White.

Mary Jo White Will Leave SEC at End of Obama's Term

By Melanie Waddell |

SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White said Monday she plans to leave as head of the agency at the end of the Obama administration in January. White, who became the 31st SEC chairwoman in April 2013, is one of the longest serving agency chiefs.

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

SEC Chief Says Fintech May Need New Regulation

By Melanie Waddell |

New regulations may be needed to keep up with the "speed and impact" of financial technology developments, SEC Chairwoman Mary Jo White said Monday.

U.S. Court of Federal Claims.

Federal Claims Court Rejects Insurer's $75M ACA 'Risk Corridor' Suit

By Allison Bell |

Federal regulators may not owe a failed Chicago-based health insurer more than $75 million in damages under an Affordable Care Act program set up to help minimize the financial risk of participation in the new public exchanges.

Anthem, Justice Dept. Present Contrasting Visions of Health Insurance Market

By C. Ryan Barber |

Anthem Inc. and the U.S. Justice Department on Thursday presented contrasting visions of the health care industry in the ramp-up to trial in the government's push to block the insurance company’s proposed $54 billion deal to acquire Cigna Corp.

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

Veteran DC Lobbyist Leads Trump's Labor Transition Team

By Rebekah Mintzer |

President-elect Donald Trump has named J. Steven Hart, a longtime Washington lobbyist who focuses on tax and employee benefits, as the leader of his labor transition team.

Former SEC Commissioner Paul S. Atkins.

Ex-SEC Commissioner Paul Atkins, No Fan of Dodd-Frank, Leads Trump's Financial-Agency Review

By C. Ryan Barber |

After promising during the campaign to "get rid of Dodd-Frank," President-elect Donald Trump has named Paul Atkins, a fellow critic of the post-financial crisis law, to lead his transition's review of independent financial agencies. His past statements and votes provide some picture of his approach to financial regulation and how he might seek to shape the SEC.

Climate Policy in a Time of Denial

By Michael D. Goldhaber, The Global Lawyer |

For 15 straight months after Donald Trump declared for president, Earth's temperature set a record high each month. Yet, of 70 questions asked during the presidential debates, none directly raised the world's most urgent issue of governance.

Richard Cordray.

Trump's Election Could Upend Consumer Protection Bureau

By C. Ryan Barber |

President-elect Donald Trump spells trouble for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which arose from the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform law. Lacking a filibuster-proof Republican majority in the Senate, any move to dismantle or otherwise defang the five-year-old agency will likely prove an uphill climb on Capitol Hill. Trump could make his mark on the agency by installing new leadership—a replacement for CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

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

Trump, GOP Could Torpedo Fiduciary Rule, Dodd-Frank

By Melanie Waddell |

President-elect Donald Trump's stunning victory over Hillary Clinton for the White House—coupled with the GOP majority in both chambers of Congress—could spell the end of the U.S. Labor Department's fiduciary rule and lead to the repeal of the Dodd-Frank financial reform law.

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court, in Washington, D.C., on the day of arguments in the case King v. Burwell, regarding the government's Affordable Care Act subsidies. March 4, 2015.

What Could Trump's Presidency Mean for the ACA?

By Allison Bell |

Donald Trump's victory Tuesday night could bring big, immediate changes in how U.S. regulators approach health policy, along with smaller, slower changes in federal health laws, regulations and programs.

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

Annuity Group to Appeal DOL Fiduciary-Rule Court Decision

By Melanie Waddell |

The National Association for Fixed Annuities said Monday it will appeal the decision by a Washington federal trial judge denying the annuity group's request to block the U.S. Department of Labor's fiduciary rule.

Justice Dept. Warns of 'Substantial Uncertainty' If Feds Lose Agency-Vacancy Dispute

By Marcia Coyle |

The Obama administration, facing a skeptical U.S. Supreme Court, on Monday defended the president's power to make temporary appointments to key agency posts in a case involving the National Labor Relations Board.

Trump International Hotel Las Vegas

Trump International Hotel Las Vegas Takes Union Dispute to DC Circuit

By C. Ryan Barber |

Lawyers for Trump International Hotel Las Vegas are asking a federal appeals court in Washington to reverse a finding that the company violated labor laws by refusing to bargain with a union that represents 500 employees.

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

Labor Dept.'s 'Fiduciary Rule' Survives Early Hurdle in Washington Court

By C. Ryan Barber and Melanie Waddell |

A Washington federal trial judge on Friday refused to block the U.S. Labor Department's sweeping new "fiduciary rule" that the Obama administration crafted to help curtail conflicts of interest in the retirement-planning industry.

Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo Warns Litigation Losses Could Rise

By C. Ryan Barber |

Bracing for further fallout over its unauthorized account scandal, Wells Fargo warned Thursday that its litigation costs could run as high as $1.7 billion as the bank faces continued regulatory scrutiny and customer lawsuits.

Former Ernst & Young Partner, Disciplined for Audit, Mounts New Challenge

By Melanie Waddell |

A former Ernst & Young partner who was fined and disciplined by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board over "reckless" accounting work for a pharmaceuticals company will challenge the case in a Washington federal appeals court.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

CFPB Wants DC Circuit to Revive Probe of For-Profit College Accreditor

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Monday urged a federal appeals court to let the agency revive an investigation into an accreditor of for-profit colleges after a trial judge scuttled the probe and scolded the agency for straying outside its jurisdiction.

(l-r) Mythili Raman, Rajesh De, Thomas Perrelli, Lanny Breuer, and Robert Mueller.

These Four Practices Flourished During the Obama Years

By Katelyn Polantz |

With the end of the Obama administration nearing, some lawyers who worked in the administration are climbing to success in a growing bevy of private-practice areas. We look at four practices—from tech sophisticates, to financial regulation experts, to fraud specialists, to third-party settlement appointees—that have gained steam during Barack Obama's presidency.

Tom Wheeler.

With Internet Service Privacy Rules, FCC Tees Up Proposal to Limit Arbitration

By C. Ryan Barber |

In a party-line vote, the Federal Communications Commission passed sweeping privacy rules Thursday that will prevent internet service providers from collecting or using customers' personal information without their opt-in consent.

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

Labor Dept. Releases FAQs on Fiduciary Rule

By Melanie Waddell |

The U.S. Labor Department on Thursday released its widely anticipated frequently-asked-questions guidance on its fiduciary rule, answering 34 questions posed on new exemptions and amendments to existing exemptions.

Wells Fargo bank in Washington, D.C.

Citing Wells Fargo Scandal, Democrats Call for Stronger 'Clawback' Rule

By C. Ryan Barber |

Seizing on the Wells Fargo sales scandal, a group of 15 Democratic senators on Wednesday urged federal regulators to make it mandatory for executives to give back millions of dollars in compensation for misconduct and to wait longer to receive full bonus pay.

FCC Privacy Proposal Spurs Calls to Limit Forced Arbitration

By C. Ryan Barber |

The fight over forced arbitration in consumer contracts found its latest front this week in the lobbying over the Federal Communications Commission's sweeping broadband privacy proposal.

Court Urged to Reject 'Blanket Sealing' of Monitor's Report in HSBC Case

By Mike Scarcella |

A federal appeals court was urged Thursday to allow the public to read a 1,000-page report from the compliance monitor who is overseeing a deferred-prosecution agreement between HSBC Bank USA and the U.S. Justice Department. Prosecutors and lawyers for the bank are fighting in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit to overturn a judge's unsealing order.

Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) at a Senate Banking Committee hearing addressing the scandal relating to Wells Fargo's opening of fake bank accounts without customer knowledge, on Tuesday, September 20, 2016. Photo: Diego M. Radzinschi/ALM

Warren Questions 'Proper Accountability' at Wells Fargo

By Melanie Waddell |

Senator Elizabeth Warren told Wells Fargo's board of directors on Thursday that John Stumpf's resignation is not enough to assure "proper accountability" at the bank, and raises questions about Stumpf's departing compensation and whether the bank's new chief executive was involved in the fake accounts scandal.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas),

CFPB Must Now Justify Costs of Rules, Hensarling Warns

By Melanie Waddell |

House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, seizing on a federal appeals court ruling last week, warned Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray on Wednesday that his agency is no longer independent and must now follow executive orders that require regulatory authorities ensure the benefits of proposed regulations outweigh the costs.

FCC Hits T-Mobile for $48M Over 'Unlimited' Data Plans

By ALM staff |

For the second time in two years, federal regulators have hit a major broadband provider for tens of millions of dollars over alleged deceptive practices about "unlimited" data plans. T-Mobile USA Inc. on Wednesday agreed to pay $48 million to resolve allegations that the company misled consumers about speed and data restrictions. AT&T has asked the Federal Communications Commission to review a proposed $100 million penalty brought last year over related practices.

Uber sticker on a parked car on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C.

Uber Loses Drive to Block NLRB's National Subpoenas

By Rebekah Mintzer |

A federal magistrate judge in California on Wednesday granted the National Labor Relations Board permission to issue nationwide subpoenas to investigate whether Uber drivers who brought complaints against the ride-hailing company are statutory employees with the ability to sue under the National Labor Relations Act.

FCC, Industry Groups Spar Over Robocall Regulations in DC Circuit

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Federal Communications Commission defended its "robocall" regulations Wednesday against tough questions from a Washington appeals panel, which appeared sympathetic at times to arguments from companies that the rules extend too far and open a door to class actions.

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

New Overtime Rule Isn't a Compliance 'Gotcha,' Top DOL Official Says

By Rebekah Mintzer |

Employers and their counsel have plenty in the labor and employment world to keep them busy at the moment—from navigating the U.S. Labor Department’s overtime rule to managing new employment relationships that have emerged from the sharing economy.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

CFPB Predicts DC Circuit Ruling Won't Survive Challenge

By C. Ryan Barber |

A lawsuit in North Dakota federal district court could provide an early test of the reach of a federal appeals court decision that confronted what the judges called the "massive, unchecked power" of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Lawyers in the case are fighting over whether the D.C. Circuit's decision last week should carry any weight in an unrelated enforcement action.

Amy Berman Jackson.

Feds Win Inside Peek at Anthem, Cigna Feud Over Merger-Breach Claims

By C. Ryan Barber |

Anthem Inc. and Cigna Corp. must disclose to federal antitrust enforcers letters from in-house lawyers in which the insurance companies accuse each other of breaking their $54 billion merger deal, a Washington federal trial judge ruled.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building

SEC Whistleblower, Rejecting Award, Cites Revolving Door for Lax Enforcement

By C. Ryan Barber |

When former Deutsche Bank risk officer Eric Ben-Artzi revealed in August that securities regulators would award him half of a $16.5 million award for his tips about misconduct at the bank, there was a twist: He was rejecting the money. Ben-Artzi put a spotlight on the revolving door at the agency.

Jane Norberg, chief of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s Office of the Whistleblower, during a panel discussion at the Securities Enforcement Forum 2016 held at The Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C.  October 13, 2016.

SEC Says Companies Should Take the Hint and Not Impede Whistleblowers

By C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is cracking down on severance agreements that impede whistleblowers. Are companies taking the clue? "I'm hoping that companies are getting the message about this, and I think by taking some of these actions in quick succession, we are getting the message out there," Jane Norberg, head of the SEC's whistleblower office, said.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

CFPB Fines Navy Federal $28.5M Over Debt Collection Practices

By Peter Strozniak |

Navy Federal Credit Union will pay $23 million to members and a $5.5 million civil penalty for making false threats about debt collection to active-duty military service members, retired service members, and their families, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau said Tuesday.

U.S. Department of Labor

Thrivent Financial Fires Latest Salvo at Fiduciary Rule

By Melanie Waddell |

Thrivent Financial for Lutherans became the sixth plaintiff to sue the U.S. Labor Department over its fiduciary rule in a complaint that challenges the class action waiver requirement under the rule's best interest contract exemption.

U.S. Supreme Court building.

Justices Renew Interest in False Claims Act

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court, showing a healthy appetite for challenges to the federal law targeting fraud against the government, asked the Obama administration on Monday for its views on whether the justices should hear a False Claims Act case involving U.S. Bank and a federally-backed mortgage insurance program.

Richard Cordray.

The Consequences of the D.C. Circuit's CFPB Smackdown

By C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Tuesday found too much power—with too little oversight—was vested in the CFPB director, a ruling that will provide fodder to Republicans who have long wanted to erase the consumer agency from Washington's regulatory landscape. The court's remedy gives the president greater supervision over the director. But what about past enforcement actions? The ruling could entice companies to take new action. The D.C. Circuit expressly declined to confront how its ruling might play out.

U.S. Department of Justice

Feds Accuse Aetna, Humana of Trying to 'Derail' Antitrust Challenge

By C. Ryan Barber |

U.S. Justice Department lawyers, repudiating the misconduct allegations that Aetna Inc. and Humana Inc. raised in the government's blockbuster antitrust suit, accused attorneys for the health insurers of a "transparent" push to unravel the case before it’s ever presented to a judge.

kwik-fix super glue

Glue Maker Settles with FTC in Bind Over 'Made in USA' Claims

By C. Ryan Barber |

Chemence Inc., the maker of KwikFix glue, reached a proposed $220,000 settlement with regulators Thursday in which the company agreed to only advertise its product as "Made in the USA" if the final assembly and all significant processing of its products "occurs in the United States."

Best Buy at 20540 S. State Road 7, near Boca Raton

Companies Expect Product-Safety Scrutiny to Rise, Poll Finds

By C. Ryan Barber |

As the Consumer Product Safety Commission ramps up enforcement and the size of the agency’s fines increases, few companies consider themselves fully prepared to manage a crisis over a product’s safety or quality, according to a new Deloitte survey. More than a thousand professionals in various industries, including technology, life sciences and retail, participated in the poll.

FTC and Herbalife Snub Big Law for Consulting Firm As Compliance Monitor

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Federal Trade Commission and Herbalife chose consulting firm Affiliated Monitors Inc. over a number of Big Law bidders for the role of compliance monitor in $200 million settlement.

Mylan CEO Heather Bresch testifies before the House Oversight Committee during a hearing on Capitol Hill addressing the price increase of the company's EpiPen product.  Septembrer 21, 2016.

Lawmakers Target FDA Along With Mylan CEO at Congressional EpiPen Hearing

By C. Ryan Barber |

Searching for solutions to the skyrocketing cost of the EpiPen, lawmakers on the House Oversight Committee looked to Mylan chief executive officer Heather Bresch on Wednesday and asked why the pharmaceutical company could not lower the price for the drug delivery device used to treat life-threatening allergic reactions.

U.S. Capitol.

McDermott's Steve Ryan Will Guide Mylan CEO on Capitol Hill

By C. Ryan Barber |

The pharmaceuticals company Mylan N.V., under pressure for the price surge of its life-saving EpiPen device, has turned to McDermott Will & Emery in the face of mounting criticism from Congress.

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.

Heather Bresch, chief executive officer of Mylan

House Oversight Will Question Mylan CEO Over EpiPen Price Surge

By C. Ryan Barber |

The House Oversight Committee next week will question Mylan N.V. chief executive Heather Bresch over the dramatic surge in the cost of the auto-injector EpiPen, a hike that drew widespread public outcry and spurred calls for heightened scrutiny from state and federal regulators.

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.

Dodd-Frank Overhaul Bill Passes U.S. House Panel

By Melanie Waddell |

A sweeping financial reform bill that seeks to replace the Dodd-Frank Act and kill the U.S. Labor Department's fiduciary rule passed out of U.S. House committee Tuesday by a 30-26 vote.

Wells Fargo bank in Washington, D.C.

Wells Fargo CEO, Amid Sales Scandal, to Testify in Senate

By C. Ryan Barber |

Wells Fargo chief executive John Stumpf will be in the hot seat next week on Capitol Hill, where members of the Senate Banking Committee will press him over a sales scheme in which regulators said thousands of employees secretly opened accounts and enrolled customers in new services without their permission.

A branch office of Wells Fargo bank

Wells Fargo to Pay Largest Penalty in Consumer Protection Agency's History

By C. Ryan Barber |

Wells Fargo agreed on Thursday to pay $185 million to resolve charges that thousands of employees secretly opened deposit and credit card accounts for customers or enrolled them in new services without permission, in a widespread practice fueled by sales targets and salary bonuses.

U.S. Supreme Court building.

Supreme Court Won't Block Senate Subpoena Targeting Backpage.com

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a request by Backpage.com's chief executive to block a congressional subpoena to produce business documents in a sex trafficking investigation. The high court issued its decision in Ferrer v. Senate Permanent Subcommittee without comment. Justice Samuel Alito Jr. did not take part in the ruling.

A Wells Fargo bank in Virginia.

Senate Banking Committee Sets Wells Fargo Hearing

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Senate Banking Committee late Monday said it would hold a hearing next week into Wells Fargo sales tactics that were at the center of a blockbuster fine from federal regulators. The penalty, the largest in the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's history, prompted Democratic senators to demand hearings to further explore charges that thousands of the bank's employees secretly opened accounts and enrolled customers in services without their consent.

A celebration at the Supreme Court in June.

New IRS Rules Reflect Supreme Court's Same-Sex Marriage Decisions

By Marcia Coyle |

If the only certainties in life are death and taxes, then two U.S. Supreme Court decisions involving same-sex marriages are now certain—effective today. The Internal Revenue Service on Friday formally put into place amendments to regulations that define who is married for tax purposes.

D.C. Circuit Rebuffs Challenge to Digital Billboards

By Marcia Coyle |

Digital billboards may not be the late Lady Bird Johnson's way of beautifying the nation's highways but they are not illegal, a federal appeals court ruled Tuesday.

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. 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. Capitol

Backpage.com CEO Must Respond to Senate Subpoena, D.C. Circuit Rules

By C. Ryan Barber |

The chief executive of the online classified website Backpage.com must respond to a congressional subpoena seeking information for a sex trafficking investigation, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled Friday.

NLRB Ruling Gives Agency’s Top Lawyer More Leverage

By C. Ryan Barber |

The National Labor Relations Board has curtailed the power of its in-house judges to approve settlement offers that do not have support from the agency's lawyers, effectively stripping employers of a key piece of leverage in union disputes. In a 3-1 decision Thursday, the board said administrative law judges can only override the general counsel's objections to a proposed deal if the settlement provides "a full remedy for all of the violations alleged in the complaint."

The Herbalife sign at the LA Live complex in Los Angeles, California, USA

So You Want to be the Herbalife Compliance Monitor? Join the Crowd

By C. Ryan Barber |

More than two dozen law firms, financial companies and consultancies are vying for the job of overseeing Herbalife Ltd.'s compliance with the terms of a $200 million settlement that requires the company to fundamentally restructure its business.

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.

On Friday, Aug. 26, 2016, the Food and Drug Administration recommended that all U.S. blood banks start screening for the Zika virus, a major expansion intended to protect the nation's blood supply from the mosquito-borne disease.

FDA's Expanded Zika-Testing Guidance Will Test Blood Centers

By Rebekah Mintzer |

Federal regulators on Friday recommended "universal testing" of donated blood for the Zika virus at centers in the United States, which could stress blood centers and testing facilities, not all of which have access to the new tests.

Industry Groups Back MetLife in 'Too Big to Fail' Case

By Arthur D. Postal |

Several industry groups and state regulators this week urged a federal appeals court in Washington to leave untouched a judge's ruling against designation of MetLife Inc. as a "systemically important financial institution."

Thomas Perez.

DOL's 'Fiduciary Rule' Heads to Court, and Here's What to Expect

By C. Ryan Barber and Melanie Waddell |

On Thursday, a federal judge in Washington is set to hear the first major challenge to the U.S. Labor Department's fiduciary rule, which calls for brokers handling retirement accounts to work in their clients' "best interests"—a heightened standard designed to curb billions of dollars in fees paid to financial industry. Here's a snapshot of what to expect, and what's up next.

Breeze Breathometer.

Smartphone Breathalyzer Can't Blow Off FTC Investigation

By C. Ryan Barber |

The California-based company Breathometer Inc. is pushing back against a federal investigation into the company's smartphone breath-test devices, which generated consumers questions about accuracy.

Wells Fargo.

Wells Fargo to Pay $4M to Settle Student-Debt Practices

By C. Ryan Barber |

A year after publishing a report on widespread problems with the serving of student loans, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau reached a $4 million settlement Monday with Wells Fargo over allegations the bank charged illegal fees and failed to inform borrowers of their payment options.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C.

CFPB Flooded With Thousands of Comments Over Arbitration Rule

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's proposed ban on class action waivers has generated thousands of comments, many from consumers who argue the proposal would only benefit trial lawyers. Insurance regulators have expressed their own concerns. Hundreds of law professors are backing the consumer agency's proposed rule. U.S. lawmakers are divided. Two of the heavy-hitters in the debate—the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and, on the other side, the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen—plan to submit their positions today, when the comment period closes.

Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2012)

CFPB Faces New Test to Power as U.S. Chamber Weighs In

By C. Ryan Barber |

Four months ago, a federal judge in Washington spiked the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's investigation of a college accreditor, ruling that the agency’s demand for information was outside its authority. As the consumer agency fights to revive that investigation, a new test is developing in a Pennsylvania court, where the CFPB in June urged a federal judge to enforce a civil investigative demand against the financial services company J.G. Wentworth LLC.

U.S. Treasury Department in Washington.

Feds Want MetLife Arguments Expedited in D.C. Circuit

By Arthur D. Postal |

Financial regulators on Thursday asked a federal appeals court to expedite its review of a ruling that struck the government's designation of MetLife as a systemically important financial institution.

Michael Daugherty, owner of LabMD, outside the U.S. Federal Trade Commission building.

LabMD Bolsters Defense to Appeal FTC Data-Privacy Ruling

By C. Ryan Barber |

From Target to Home Depot, Ropes & Gray partner Douglas Meal has defended some of the largest companies in the country hit with suits over data breaches. Last year, Meal represented Wyndham Hotels & Resorts in a case that solidified the Federal Trade Commission’s authority to police cybersecurity. Meal will now lead the defense of LabMD, the defunct Atlanta-based cancer testing company that is gearing up to challenge a recent FTC decision that found the company liable for lax data security.

U.S. Office of Special Counsel

The Days of Two 'Offices of Special Counsel' Could Soon End

By C. Ryan Barber |

According to DOJ, the Office of Special Counsel for Immigration-Related Unfair Employment Practices and higher profile U.S. Office of Special Counsel are too often confused and have no substantive connection, so the department is proposing renaming its office to the "Immigrant and Employee Rights Section."

Peter Keisler of Sidley Austin

D.C. Circuit Sets Three-Hour 'Clean Power' Argument Schedule

By Marcia Coyle |

Top constitutional and environmental lawyers are set to clash over the legality of the Obama administration's signature environmental effort, the Clean Power Plan, during arguments Sept. 27 in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. The appeals court on Wednesday set more than three hours for the hearing.

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.

U.S. Department of Labor

How an Obscure Labor Board Case Threatens to Weaken Whistleblower Law

By Marcia Coyle |

A clash between management and employees is unfolding before a U.S. Department of Labor review board in a case that some labor advocates worry might weaken nearly 40 years of whistleblower law.

SEC Doubles Down Against Severance Agreements that Bar Whistleblower Awards

By C. Ryan Barber |

U.S. securities regulators on Tuesday punished another company for using severance agreements to restrict departing employees from pursuing whistleblower rewards, a fresh warning to employers, following a similar action last week, not to interfere with the path of would-be tipsters.

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.

MetLife

MetLife Urges D.C. Circuit to Uphold Ruling Against 'Too Big to Fail' Designation

By Arthur D. Postal |

The federal Financial Stability Oversight Council failed to "adhere to its own regulatory standards and the basic precepts of reasoned agency decision-making" in designating MetLife Inc. as a systemically important financial institution, the company argued in a filing to an appeals court Monday night.

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, left, walks out of the Robert C. Byrd U.S. Courthouse after the jury deliberated for a fifth full day in his trial, in Charleston, W.Va.

DOJ: 'Overwhelming Evidence' Supports Mine-Safety Conviction of Ex-Massey CEO

By Mike Scarcella |

U.S. prosecutors are urging a federal appeals court to uphold the criminal conviction of Donald Blankenship, the former chief executive of Massey Energy Co. who was accused of long ignoring safety regulations and health standards after an explosion in West Virginia killed 29 miners.

U.S. Department of Justice

Federal Appeals Court Broadens Investment Advisor Definition

By Melanie Waddell |

A U.S. federal appeals court Friday broadly defined the term "for compensation" for purposes of determining whether a defendant who defrauded clients should be judged an investment advisor under the Investment Advisers Act of 1940.

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.

U.S. Department of Justice

King & Spalding Takes Feds to Court Over Heart-Device Investigation Docs

By C. Ryan Barber |

The law firm King & Spalding is suing federal health regulators and the U.S. Justice Department for information about the government's now-closed investigation of the medical device company Abiomed Inc.

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.

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

Fight Brews in Kansas, Texas Courts Over DOL Fiduciary Rule

By Melanie Waddell |

A fight is brewing in the Kansas and Texas courts over whether to allow advocates and opponents of the U.S. Department of Labor's fiduciary rule to state their case.

FCC Gives 'Robocalling' Relief to Utilities, Schools

By C. Ryan Barber |

Utility companies and school districts on Thursday won some relief from the ever-brightening spotlight of "robocall" lawsuits, as federal regulators clarified the scope of automated alerts the two groups can send without fear of litigation.

(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.

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.

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.

Randolph Moss.

The 'All Writs Act' and AstraZeneca’s High-Stakes Suit Against the FDA

By C. Ryan Barber |

A pharmaceutical case in Washington is highlighting the scope of a 1789 statute as a federal judge navigates a fast-paced, multibillion-dollar dispute between AstraZeneca and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over generic drugs. The "All Writs Act" gives federal courts broad latitude to issue "all writs necessary"—to force someone to act, for instance, or in other cases to maintain the status quo.

The high court split 4-4 in June on the Obama administration's immigration policies, leaving in place a nationwide injunction.

Justice Dept. Urges the Supreme Court to Rehear Immigration Case

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Justice Department on Monday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to rehear a challenge to the Obama administration's plan to delay the deportation of nearly five million undocumented immigrants.

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.

Deceptive Telemarketing Just Cost Santander Bank $10M

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has sent a message to banks: When peddling overdraft services, keep an eye on third-party vendors hired to call and enroll customers. Santander Bank learned that lesson the hard way Thursday. The CFPB fined the Delaware-based bank $10 million for charging customers for overdraft services without their consent.

Richard Cordray.

Judge Rejects Recess-Appointment Challenge Over CFPB Director

By C. Ryan Barber |

A federal judge late Tuesday struck down a challenge over the recess appointment of Richard Cordray of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, saying the director effectively ratified earlier decisions after the Senate formally confirmed him in 2013.

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.

Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor.

Warner Bros. Smacked for Deceptive Video Game Promotions

By C. Ryan Barber |

On Monday, the FTC showed that a company can make disclosures about native advertising but still fall short of being fair to customers. The agency reached a settlement with Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Inc. over allegations the company failed to clearly disclose that it paid online "influencers" for videos promoting "Middle Earth: Shadow of Mordor," a video game loosely based on The Hobbit and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

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

U.S. Justice Dept. Defends DOL's Fiduciary Rule

By Melanie Waddell and C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Justice Department is urging a Washington federal judge to reject a challenge to a sweeping new rule that requires investment advisors to work in their clients' best interests—a heightened standard aimed at protecting retirement savers from billions of dollars in fees.

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.

U.S. Department of Justice.

Cheat the Government, Soon Pay Double Penalties

By Marcia Coyle |

Health care providers, drug and medical-device manufacturers and others doing business with the federal government face a doubling of penalties on Aug. 1 if they violate the False Claims Act—the government's chief and most lucrative fraud-fighting tool.

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell testifies on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015, before the House Agriculture Committee hearing on the 2015 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

West Virginia Loses 'Unusual' Health Law Challenge in D.C. Circuit

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit on Friday rejected what it called an "unusual" challenge by West Virginia to the Obama administration's decision in 2013 not to enforce certain Affordable Care Act provisions during a transitional period after the health care law's enactment.

Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates

Justice Department Says VW Civil Settlement Won't Get Company Out of Criminal Trouble

By Katheryn Hayes Tucker |

The roughly $14.7 billion Volkswagen settlement agreement filed in San Francisco on Tuesday will not get the company off the hook for criminal charges over cheating on emission laws, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said Tuesday in Washington.

FTC Takes First Swipe Against a Mobile Ad Company for Location-Tracking

By C. Ryan Barber |

The mobile advertising company InMobi will pay $950,000 to settle charges that it tracked the locations of hundreds of millions of consumers, including children, without their knowledge or permission, federal trade regulators said Wednesday.

Fracking operation in Texas.

Wyoming Judge Strikes Federal Agency's Fracking Rule

By Mike Scarcella |

A Wyoming judge on Tuesday struck down as unlawful a set of federal rules that regulate the extraction of oil and gas by hydraulic fracturing, delivering a setback to the Obama administration and environmental advocates.

E-Cigarette Advocates Say FDA's New Rules Are Unlawful

By Mike Scarcella |

National and state trade associations representing the electronic cigarette industry on Monday sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over new regulations that the advocates contend will push innovative products out of the market.

For-Profit College Accreditor Faces Existential Regulatory Threat

By C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Education Department is taking steps to strip its recognition of the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools, a move that could jeopardize future federal aid to 243 institutions, many of them for-profit colleges.

Orlando police officers direct family members away from a fatal shooting at Pulse Orlando nightclub in Orlando, Fla., Sunday, June 12, 2016.

Post-Sandy Hook Gun Laws to Reach Justices Days After Orlando Shooting

By Marcia Coyle |

With the worst mass shooting in American history in the background, the U.S. Supreme Court on June 16 will take its first look at a challenge to Connecticut's ban on military-style firearms. But as past actions show, the justices may have little interest in revisiting Second Amendment disputes, including the regulation of the AR-15-style weapon reportedly used in the Orlando shootings that killed at least 50 people at a night club.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission building.

Staples, Office Depot Lawyers Resist Demands for Fees in Merger Case

By C. Ryan Barber |

Consumer protection lawyers for Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia were mere spectators as federal regulators challenged Staples' proposed $6.3 billion purchase of Office Depot and should not be entitled to tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees, the companies tell a federal judge in Washington.

Ian Gershengorn

Ian Gershengorn, Early Defender of Obama's Health Care Law, Brings Deep Regulatory Record

By Marcia Coyle |

When Ian Gershengorn takes over as acting solicitor general on June 25, he will tap a portfolio of experience in the complexities of agency regulation, from health care to telecommunications, from both sides of the courtroom and from district courts to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Acting Associate Attorney General William Baer

DOJ's Bill Baer: 'We Are Not Asking Companies to Do Our Work for Us'

By C. Ryan Barber |

Acting Associate Attorney General Bill Baer, addressing white-collar defenders Thursday in Washington, made clear that the "Yates Memo" guidance for greater individual accountability for corporate misconduct applies with "equal force and logic" to U.S. Justice Department's civil cases.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building

SEC Awards Second-Largest Whistleblower Award

By C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday awarded the second highest bounty in the history of the agency's whistleblower program, agreeing to pay a former company employee more than $17 million for tips that advanced an investigation.

Demonstrators outside the Supreme Court in 2015.

North Carolina Blue Cross Sues Feds for $130M in Health Care Payments

By C. Ryan Barber |

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina on Thursday became the latest insurer to take the federal government to court over the Affordable Care Act, arguing that it is owed nearly $130 million under a program designed to limit the financial risks of entering new health care markets.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission building in Washington.

Morgan Stanley Settles SEC Data-Privacy Charges for $1M

By C. Ryan Barber |

Morgan Stanley Smith Barney LLC will pay $1 million to settle charges that it failed to adequately protect customer information, allowing an employee to take home confidential data that was later targeted in a cyberattack and offered for sale online.

Fight Over Fiduciary Rule, Even in Scheduling, Looms Large

By C. Ryan Barber |

Lawyers fighting the U.S. Labor Department's heightened standards for retirement advice quarreled Monday in a Washington federal court over scheduling in a lawsuit that seeks to block the new rules from taking effect.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

Taking Stock of CFPB's Frenzied Agenda

By Roberto J. Gonzalez |

From its early days under the wing of the U.S. Treasury Department and Elizabeth Warren, through the controversial recess appointment and delayed confirmation of Director Richard Cordray, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's strategy has been to keep its foot firmly on the gas despite clouds of legal uncertainty and criticism.

CFPB Director Richard Cordray

Consumer Agency Takes Swipe at Payday Lenders in New Rule

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau today plans to unveil the first federal regulations targeting practices in the payday loan industry that critics say have kept borrowers in an endless cycle of debt. The agency's proposal comes as Google Inc. prepares to ban ads for payday loans in July.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission

Pennsylvania, D.C. Tell Staples and Office Depot to Pay Up After FTC Court Win

By C. Ryan Barber |

The attorneys general for Pennsylvania and the District of Columbia, who joined federal trade regulators in challenging the proposed merger between Staples Inc. and Office Depot Inc., want the office supply companies to reimburse them for a combined $175,000 in legal expenses.

Richard Cordray.

Law Professors Back CFPB Plan to Ban Class Action Waivers

By C. Ryan Barber |

More than 200 law professors and other scholars rushed out of the gate to back the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s plan to prohibit arbitration clauses preventing class actions, as the formal comment period on the proposal opened this week.

Deborah Feinstein.

Q&A: FTC Warns Companies in Megamerger Talks to be 'Really Cautious'

By C. Ryan Barber |

Debbie Feinstein, director of the FTC's competition bureau, said she didn't lose confidence in the agency's case against the merger of Staples Inc. and Office Depot. The FTC won on every critical issue, scoring a preliminary injunction that stopped Staples' proposed $6.3 billion acquisition of Office Depot. Feinstein reflects on the trial in this Q&A with The National Law Journal.

Chris Ehrman.

CFTC Whistleblower Head Wants Office to Toughen Up SEC-Style

By C. Ryan Barber |

Chris Ehrman, who left the SEC in 2013 to lead the CFTC’s whistleblower program said he and his staff are "right where we should be" with whistleblower awards. Still, in other ways, the CFTC’s whistleblower office wants to catch up with its SEC counterpart.

Jenner & Block's Washington, D.C. offices.

Justices Allow Attorney Fee Awards Without Victory on Merits

By Tony Mauro |

In a ruling that could mean more attorney fee awards for employers in workplace discrimination cases, the U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday said defendants don’t have to win on the merits to be counted as the “prevailing party.”

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan ruled for the FTC in blocking the merger of office supply rivals Staples and Office Depot.

Blocking Staples-Office Depot Deal, Judge Wasn't Bullish on Amazon

By C. Ryan Barber |

In her defense of Staples Inc.'s proposed $6.3 billion acqusition of Office Depot Inc., Diane Sullivan described Amazon.com Inc. as a rising behemoth poised to revolutionize the market for office supply sales to large corporate customers. But U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan didn’t buy the trial attorney's bullish view, according to the opinion released Tuesday that lays out his reasons for blocking the deal.

Andrew Pincus.

More Benefit or Harm? Lawmakers Weigh CFPB Arbitration Proposal

By C. Ryan Barber |

As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau prepares to collect comments on its proposal to ban class action waivers, House lawmakers discussed Wednesday whether the court system or arbitration best serves aggrieved customers.

D.C. Circuit, Acting on Its Own, Takes 'Clean Power Plan' to Full Court

By Zoe Tillman |

Less than a month before a three-judge appeals panel in Washington was scheduled to consider a challenge to the Obama administration's clean-energy plan, the court announced on Monday that the full bench would hear the case instead in September.

Andrew Ceresney, director of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement.

SEC Awards Whistleblower $3.5 Million for Help in Ongoing Investigation

By C. Ryan Barber |

Before being awarded more than $3.5 million on Friday, the latest tipster to benefit from the Securities and Exchange Commission’s whistleblower program was rebuffed. But SEC enforcement staff later provided additional information underscoring the whistleblower’s significance to the investigation, according to the final order.

Garland's Record: Agencies Win, Prosecutors Win and Judges Agree With Him (Mostly)

By Zoe Tillman |

A common refrain since Merrick Garland’s nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court is that he’s a “moderate” judge—not a firebrand activist, but certainly someone who would shift the high court’s ideological balance to the left. So what does it mean to be a “moderate” judge?

Judge Emmet Sullivan of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Judge Grants FTC Bid to Block Staples-Office Depot Deal

By C. Ryan Barber |

A federal judge on Tuesday granted the Federal Trade Commission’s bid to block Staples Inc.’s proposed $6.3 billion purchase of Office Depot, dooming the deal between the rival office supply chains.

Vaping Company Sues FDA Over New Regulations

By Zoe Tillman |

Covington & Burling, representing Nicopure Labs LLC, on Tuesday sued the U.S. Food and Drug Administration over new vaping rules, which were published today. The company, which sells the devices and manufactures the "e-liquid" used, filed a lawsuit Tuesday in Washington claiming the agency overstepped its authority.

Richard Cordray.

Consumer Agency Moves to Ban 'Contract Gotchas'

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released a proposal on Thursday to ban arbitration clauses that prevent class actions, taking a much anticipated step toward curbing what the agency called "contract gotchas." Business advocates contend the bureau's proposal would pad the pockets of plaintiffs attorneys but provide little relief to consumers.

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

SEC: Congress Has Tied Our Hands on Spending Disclosure Rule

By C. Ryan Barber |

In May 2014, Stephen Silberstein asked the SEC for a rule requiring corporations to disclose their political spending. Monday, the SEC said it cannot grant or deny his request for a rule because Congress has tied the agency’s hands.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau director Richard Cordray, left, and New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas, right, sit together at the Albuquerque Convention Center in Albuquerque, N.M., on Thursday, May 5, 2016, before the start of a bureau meeting.

Who Wins in a World Without Forced Arbitration?

By C. Ryan Barber |

In the highly charged debate over arbitration, businesses and consumer groups have tussled over the question of who stands to gain from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's proposed ban on contract clauses that prevent class actions.

Richard Cordray.

Labor, Consumer Groups Push CFPB to Toughen Proposal to Ban Arbitration Clauses

By C. Ryan Barber |

In a letter sent to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Wednesday, a coalition including powerful labor unions and the NAACP applauded the agency for weighing a proposal to prevent companies from using arbitration clauses to block consumers from bringing class actions. But they pushed for a tougher crackdown on the clauses.

Richard Leon.

CFPB Overstepped Power in College Accreditation Inquiry, Judge Finds

By C. Ryan Barber |

A federal judge in Washington dealt a blow on Thursday to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s investigative authority, ruling that the agency strayed outside its jurisdiction when it demanded information last year from an accreditor of for-profit colleges.

Lawyers to Get Some Relief, For Now, from Labor Dept.'s 'Persuader' Rule

By C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Labor Department is easing up on certain disclosure requirements tied to a new rule that compels attorneys to report their relationships with companies that hire them to help resist unionization campaigns.

Morrison & Foerster has added a group of eight partners in government contracts law from Jenner & Block. Clockwise from back row: Kevin Dwyer, Jay DeVecchio, Alex Ward, David Churchill, Damien Specht, Jessie Liu, Kevin Mullen and Daniel Chudd.

Morrison & Foerster Expands Government-Contracts Practice With Eight-Partner Team from Jenner

By Katelyn Polantz |

Jenner & Block waved goodbye to the bulk of its government-contracts and procurement practice this week, when eight partners in Washington and Northern Virginia announced they would join Morrison & Foerster.

Randolph Moss.

CFPB Wants Companies in Lawsuit Outed

By C. Ryan Barber |

Thursday, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau asked a federal judge to reconsider his decision to keep secret the identities of several credit counseling companies that sued the agency.

Highland Park Hospital, part of the NorthShore University HealthSystem.

FTC and Chicago Hospitals Armed for Merger Battle Monday

By Roy Strom |

A group of Federal Trade Commission attorneys will be in Chicago federal court on Monday to begin a closely watched trial seeking to block the merger of two hospital systems that would create a $6.5 billion health care giant.

Veleka Peeples-Dyer, left, and Vernessa Pollard, right, of McDermott Will & Emery.

McDermott Will & Emery Boosts FDA Practice

By C. Ryan Barber |

As law firms grapple with fast-moving change in the life sciences industry, McDermott Will & Emery is beefing up its U.S. Food and Drug Administration practice. McDermott has named partners Vernessa Pollard and Veleka Peeples-Dyer as co-leaders of the practice, which is based in the firm's Washington office. The duo will work together to expand the firm's services for medical-device, pharmaceutical and technology companies looking for guidance in dealing with the FDA, the firm said Wednesday.

Volkswagen advertisement

FTC Hits Volkswagen with Complaint Over 'Clean Diesel' Vehicles

By Amanda Bronstad |

The Federal Trade Commission has sued Volkswagen Group of America Inc. over billions of dollars consumers spent on its "clean diesel" vehicles while the company allegedly exposed them to a deceptive advertising campaign. The complaint comes as Volkswagen faces an April 21 court deadline to devise a way to fix more than 550,000 vehicles in the United States that exceed federal emissions standards.

Garland's Appreciation for the Environment Shines Through in His Record

By C. Ryan Barber |

Judge Merrick Garland is known to enjoy the outdoors. As President Barack Obama has noted, Garland and his family love to hike, ski, canoe and visit U.S. national parks. On the bench, that appreciation for the environment has shined through—and the cases where Garland ruled against the Environmental Protection Agency are few.

Staples Says FTC Is a Flip-Flopper, as Antitrust Hearing Opens

By C. Ryan Barber |

Likening the nation’s top two office supply chains to "penguins on a melting iceberg," a lawyer for Staples Inc. in opening statements on Monday defended the company’s proposed acquisition of Office Depot Inc. against federal regulators.

Lord and Taylor flagship department store on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.

FTC Reaches Settlement with Lord & Taylor over Magazine Advertising

By C. Ryan Barber |

Three months after issuing a warning about so-called "native" advertising, the Federal Trade Commission on Tuesday reached a settlement with Lord & Taylor over allegations that the retailer deceived consumers by not disclosing that it paid for a seemingly objective article in an online fashion magazine.

U.S. Department of State. May 20, 2014. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

'Law' and 'Order' Face Court Test in Whistleblower's Case

By C. Ryan Barber |

Government employees are protected from reprisal if they refuse to follow an order that would require them to break the law. That much is clear. But what if the law is not a "law" but rather a court order, executive order, regulatory ruling or government regulation? A case in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit takes up that question.

Tom Wheeler.

Senate Hearing Sparks Debate Over FCC Set-Top Box Plan

By C. Ryan Barber |

At a Senate oversight hearing Wednesday, Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, raised strong doubts about the FCC's authority under a section of the Communications Act, setting off a debate over the prime legal question hanging over FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler's plan to promote competition in the set-top box market.

National Labor Relations Board.

Samsung Ordered to Stop Using Employee Arbitration Agreement

By C. Ryan Barber |

The National Labor Relations Board has ordered Samsung to stop using an arbitration agreement that requires employees to waive their class action rights as a hiring condition, upholding an administrative law judge's decision for a Florida field sales manager who alleged the company failed to pay overtime wages.

Federal Communications Commission.

FCC Challenges Business Criticism About Robocalling Rules

By C. Ryan Barber |

The FCC believes concerns from companies and business advocates, suing over the agency's new "autodialer" rule, are unfounded. In a brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, the agency said businesses and industry groups are "incorrect that the commission's ruling necessarily sweeps in devices such as ordinary smartphones."

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in Washington, D.C.

CFPB Urges Judge to Name Companies That Sued Agency Anonymously

By C. Ryan Barber |

Several companies in the credit-repair services industry should not be allowed to keep their identities secret in their suit against the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency told a federal judge in Washington this month.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Whistleblower Challenges SEC Over Award Claim

By C. Ryan Barber |

Three years after requesting a reward for tipping off financial regulators, a whistleblower has asked a federal appeals court in Washington to light a fire under the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission to force it to decide on the award application. In a petition filed in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit, Butzel Long partner Max Maccoby described the whistleblower's award request as the "tip of the iceberg" in a backlog that threatens to diminish the effectiveness of the SEC's compensation program for tipsters.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

Despite Some Gripes, CFPB Workers Mostly Happy, Survey Finds

By C. Ryan Barber |

Although employees of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau overwhelmingly see their jobs as significant and satisfying, nearly half feel that compensation is not based on performance, according to a survey released this week.

Frederick Scullin.

N.Y. Judge Who Struck D.C. Gun Regs Wasn't Authorized to Hear Case

By Zoe Tillman |

A New York federal judge should never have been assigned to a case in the District of Columbia that challenged the city's gun-licensing scheme, a federal appeals court ruled on Tuesday.

Bamboo grove.

FTC Cracks Down on 'Bamboo' Advertising Claims

By C. Ryan Barber |

In the latest round of enforcement against deceptive advertising, the Federal Trade Commission reached settlements Wednesday with four national retailers the agency accused of mislabeling rayon products as being made of bamboo. The retailers—Bed Bath & Beyond Inc., J.C. Penney Co. Inc., Nordstrom Inc. and Backcountry.com LLC—will be barred from making inaccurate claims about bamboo content and also be required to pay a combined $1.3 million in civil penalties.

Clarence Thomas.

Thomas Objects as Justices Turn Away Challenge to Assault-Weapon Ban

By Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday denied review of a closely watched gun rights case over the strong objection of Justices Clarence Thomas and Antonin Scalia. In a rare dissent from denial of review in Friedman v. City of Highland Park, Illinois, Thomas scolded lower federal courts—including the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, which ruled in the case—for misinterpreting the high court's 2008 decision that declared an individual right to bear arms under the Second Amendment.

Judge David Tatel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

D.C. Circuit Judge David Tatel Confronts Net Neutrality For a Third Time

By Zoe Tillman |

For the third time since 2010, Judge David Tatel on Friday heard arguments in a case that tests the federal government’s authority to regulate the Internet. A few factors, including his colleagues' stock holdings, may have boosted his chances of being assigned.

<b>ON CALL:</b> The Internet Association is concerned the FCC's rules open up ride-share service Uber Technologies' computerized platform to litigation under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act.

Broad Array of Companies, Groups Fight FCC's 'Autodialer' Rules

By C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit is considering the Federal Communications Commission's interpretation of a 1991 consumer protection law restricting use of automatic dialing equipment.

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau building in Washington, D.C.

College Accreditor Tells CFPB to Back Off From Inquiry

By C. Ryan Barber |

Drawing on the support of two Republican lawmakers and a former U.S. Education Department lawyer, a Washington-based accrediting organization said Wednesday the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has no authority over the evaluation of colleges. The agency took the accreditor to court in October, setting up a fight over the scope of the agency's investigative authority.

A wall of TV's.

Online TV Streaming Service Loses Latest Court Fight with Networks

By Zoe Tillman |

Federal district judges in Washington and California have split on whether online television-streaming provider FilmOn X LLC is entitled to a cable license, setting the stage for appellate judges to again consider the legality of the service. Broadcasters defeated the company in Washington in follow-up litigation to the Supreme Court's Aereo ruling but lost in a California federal district court.

Andrew Ceresney.

Google Exec, Securities Enforcer Clash Again Over Email Privacy Bill

By Mike Sacks |

A top Obama administration securities enforcer clashed Tuesday with Google Inc.'s information-security director over a proposed email privacy bill that has found bipartisan support in the House and the Senate. Andrew Ceresney, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission's Enforcement Division director, wants administrative carve-outs to the bill. Google's Richard Salgado, the company's director of law enforcement, supports the bill as written.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission building

Medical Company LabMD Sues FTC Lawyers Over Data-Privacy Case

By C. Ryan Barber |

An Atlanta-based medical testing company that claims to have been put out of business under the weight of a Federal Trade Commission data-privacy investigation is now suing three agency attorneys for allegedly bringing a case based on "fictional" evidence.

A young man chants in favor of immigration law reform during a massive rally held at the Mall in Washington, D.C., on Monday, April 10, 2006.

Justice Dept. Wants Immigration Case Fast-Tracked in Supreme Court

By Marcia Coyle |

Against a contentious national debate over immigration and refugee policies, the U.S. Justice Department on Friday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court's "unprecedented nationwide injunction" against the Obama administration's plans to temporarily defer deportation of nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants. The administration said the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit warranted "immediate review."

James Cole, left, and Sally Yates, right.

DOJ's 'Yates Memo' Goes Too Far, Former Deputy AG Says

By Katelyn Polantz |

James Cole, the U.S. deputy attorney general from 2010 until January, swung repeatedly at his Justice Department successor's signature reforms on white-collar criminal prosecutions Friday, calling them a departure from reality and "impractical." Cole, who spoke at an American Bar Association Section of Business Law meeting, said: "As the memo is put into practice, I think this all-or-nothing approach [on corporations earning credit for cooperating with the government] will prove to be impractical."

The MetLife building at 200 Park Ave.

Consumer Group Fights Secrecy in MetLife's Suit Over 'Too Big to Fail' Designation

By C. Ryan Barber |

A nonprofit consumer advocate on Thursday challenged extensive redactions and sealed filings in MetLife Inc.'s lawsuit in Washington federal court over the company's designation by financial regulators as "too big to fail." Better Markets said MetLife's lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and the Justice Department attorneys for the oversight panel "have created a litigation record largely shrouded in secrecy."

Not Quite 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' in This SEC Case

By C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought fraud charges Tuesday against nine people who allegedly carried out a $78 million "pump-and-dump" scheme with stock of Jammin' Java Corp., a coffee company that was founded by one of Bob Marley's sons and uses trademarks of the late reggae legend.

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

D.C. Judge Awards $45K in Legal Fees to Federal Agency

By C. Ryan Barber |

A federal trial judge in Washington this week awarded legal fees to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission amid a discovery dispute with the company Intrade The Prediction Market. Intrade's lawyers, fighting the fee request, had argued that senior-level CFTC attorneys billed for low-level tasks. The dispute required the CFTC attorneys, who both formerly worked in Big Law, to assess their hourly rates.

Richard Cordray.

Consumer Agency Takes For-Profit College Accreditor to Court

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently took the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools to court over the company's refusal to comply with a so-called civil investigative demand. In taking the rare step of going to court, the consumer-protection agency has begun a legal battle that could test its investigative authority at a time when corporate lawyers and critics on Capitol Hill are trying to roll back the bureau's jurisdiction. The accreditor contends the CFPB doesn't have jurisdiction over its industry.

Mythili Raman.

Don’t Sit on That Compliance Presentation to Feds, a Top DOJ Lawyer Says

By C. Ryan Barber |

A top U.S. Justice Department lawyer and a corporate in-house counsel found common ground Thursday in a discussion about how to make an effective compliance presentation to regulators: Don't wait to engage prosecutors. Covington & Burling's Mythili Raman, who formerly led the Criminal Division, moderated the panel.

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) building.

Calculating the Hourly Rate of a Federal Agency Lawyer? It's Complicated

By C. Ryan Barber |

After convincing a Washington judge to sanction a company for violating a court order, two federal agency lawyers turned to calculating the dollar value of their time. It was an uncommon task for salaried attorneys in the public sector. After all, what's the billable hour for a government lawyer?

​A Washington federal trial judge this week released a redacted opinion in a dispute between companies and the CFPB. The names of the businesses that challenged the agency remain shielded from the public.​

Unsealed Ruling Reveals Test Over Secrecy of CFPB Investigations

By C. Ryan Barber |

In the crosshairs of a secret federal investigation, companies can face a dilemma: challenge the agency and risk public exposure or keep everything confidential as investigators assert their authority. A Washington federal judge's ruling, published this week, kept the identities of the companies and an individual secret—some measure of comfort for businesses and their lawyers who are navigating consumer-protection enforcement by a relatively new agency that doesn't have much guidance yet from the courts.

The Hurdles for Banks After Guilty Pleas

By Jenna Greene |

In the elite world of multibillion-dollar Wall Street banks, the U.S. Department of Labor rarely looms large. That changed this week. The agency will play a key role in determining whether five megabanks that pleaded guilty to criminal charges can effectively participate in the $7 trillion pension fund market.

<b>ON THE MOVE:</b> The Federal Trade Commission in February sued to stop Sysco's $8.2 billion bid to acquire rival U.S. Foods. A federal judge in D.C. prepares to weigh the agency's injunction request.

FTC Urges Court to Block $8.2B Merger of Food Distributors

By Jenna Greene |

The last time Richard Parker and Stephen Weissman fought a merger in court, they were allies. On May 5, they will meet again in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia — but this time, they're on opposite sides.

Richard Leon.

Judge Invalidates Another Piece of Home Care Worker Wage Regulations

By Zoe Tillman |

A federal judge in Washington for the second time in a month struck down a piece of U.S. Department of Labor regulations intended to expand minimum-wage and overtime protections for home care workers.

Barack Obama.

White House Offering Cybersecurity Info Sharing Plan

By Andrew Ramonas |

President Barack Obama on Tuesday will release a plan to encourage the public and private sectors to share cyberthreat details with each other, giving companies "targeted liability protection" for their information, according to the White House.

David Hantman, Head of Global Public Policy at Airbnb, discussing the regulation of the “sharing economy,” on Capitol Hill.  December 8, 2014.

Is It Time to Regulate the 'Sharing Economy'?

By Andrew Ramonas |

David Hantman, the chief lobbyist for home-rental business Airbnb Inc., on Monday cautioned government regulators against imposing new rules on members of the so-called "sharing economy" without conclusive data that justifies the regulations.

Joe Arpaio.

Feds Ask Judge to Dismiss Sheriff’s Immigration Lawsuit

By Mike Scarcella |

The U.S. Justice Department is urging a federal district judge in Washington to deny Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s request for an injunction to block the Obama administration’s execution action on immigration. Arpaio, the sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., contends the administration overstepped its authority.

Hyundai, Kia to Pay $100M Over Clean Air Claims

By Zoe Tillman |

Hyundai and Kia have agreed to pay a record $100 million in civil penalties to resolve allegations they violated the federal Clean Air Act by misstating the fuel efficiency of their vehicles.

WMATA Settles Whistleblower's Fraud Claims for $4.2M

By Jimmy Hoover |

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has agreed to pay $4.2 million to the feds for allegedly giving out uncompetitive software contracts that used federal funding, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

Mick Jagger.

'Can't Always Get What You Want,' Court Tells Tea Party Group

By Jenna Greene |

In an opinion sprinkled with references to the Rolling Stones, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled that Tea Party organization Stop This Insanity Inc. "will get no satisfaction" in its bid to use an all-but-obsolete campaign-finance provision to bypass disclosure requirements.

Antonin Scalia.

Justices Limit EPA's Greenhouse-Gas Regulations

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday limited some aspects of the Environmental Protection Agency's authority to regulate greenhouse gases from new stationary sources, but retained the agency's ability to scrutinize sources that already emit traditional pollutants.

Amazon Prime Air drone.

Lawyers, Hobbyists Bemoan New Drone Rules

By Jimmy Hoover |

Entrepreneurs like Jeff Bezos looking to incorporate drones into their business practices will have to wait a little longer, according to a proposed rule from the Federal Aviation Administration about safety procedures for the operators of unmanned aerial systems. The message was clear: hobbyists only.

D.C. Tour Guide Regs Unconstitutional, Appeals Court Rules

By Zoe Tillman |

Regulations requiring tour guides in the District of Columbia to pass a 100-question exam about the city are unconstitutional, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled on Friday.

Airlines Say TSA Fee Hike Will Make Ticket Prices Soar

By Andrew Ramonas |

Advocates for American Airlines Group Inc., United Air Lines Inc. and other air carriers are contesting a U.S. Transportation Security Administration directive that they say inappropriately increases security fees for travelers.

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo - Photo dated Dec. 4, 2012, shows workers carrying ore in a tin mine around 100 kilometers south of Goma in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (Photo by Takeshi Kuno) (Kyodo via AP Images)

A Conflict Minerals Dilemma

By Jenna Greene |

As the fight over conflict minerals heats up again in court, companies on the sidelines are caught in limbo — with any legal lifeline potentially coming too late to offer much assistance.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler

FCC Punts on Net Neutrality

By Jenna Greene |

Commission chairman charts a course that satisfies no one.

Federal Communications Commission.

Antitrust Laws Win The Day At Net Neutrality Hearing

By Jimmy Hoover |

In light of an appeals court decision early this year, the Federal Communication Commission has its work cut out for it in tweaking how it regulates broadband connectivity—an issue commonly referred to as “net neutrality.”

Emission Rule Will Spark Legal Challenges, Lawyers Say

By Todd Ruger |

The Environmental Protection Agency's newly proposed carbon-emissions rule will spark legal challenges that could shape its authority to regulate the energy industry under the Clean Air Act, environmental law experts said.

Edith Ramirez.

FTC Report on Data Brokers Calls for More Regulation

By Andrew Ramonas |

The Federal Trade Commission has joined a growing drive to regulate data brokers, releasing on Tuesday a much-anticipated report that calls for improved consumer protections for personal information gathered and shared by the shadowy data-services industry.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission.

Trial Tests FTC's Power to Sanction Lax Data Security

By Jenna Greene |

In a challenge to the Federal Trade Commission's power to go after companies for data security breaches, lawyers for medical-testing company LabMD Inc. called the government’s allegations against it "far-reaching and ludicrous."

Divided FCC Goes Ahead With Weakened Net-Neutrality Rule

By Jenna Greene |

In a 3-2 party-line split, the Federal Communications Commission voted Thursday to move ahead with rules that could allow Internet service providers to charge more for faster content delivery but would also add protections for consumers.

A DuPont technician examines Kevlar brand fibers. Kevlar, often used in vehicles and bullet-resistant body armor, is the centerpiece of  trade-sectrets lawsuit DuPont filed in Virginia.

Momentum For Trade Secrets Bill

By Todd Ruger |

Federal lawmakers last week unveiled their latest effort to give companies a new track to fight trade-secrets theft — the federal courts.

A DuPont technician examines Kevlar brand fibers. Kevlar, often used in vehicles and bullet-resistant body armor, is the centerpiece of  trade-sectrets lawsuit DuPont filed in Virginia.

Momentum For Trade Secrets Bill

By Todd Ruger |

Federal lawmakers last week unveiled their latest effort to give companies a new track to fight trade-secrets theft — the federal courts.

pombarbie

Pom Takes Mattel Path

By Jenna Greene |

Pom Wonderful LLC has made litigation an integral part of its business strategy, filing more than 20 federal suits since 2005 to protect its trademarks and attack its rivals' marketing.

U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission

Lawyers Land Two Top Jobs at SEC Muni Securities Office

By Jenna Greene |

Municipal securities law expert Rebecca Olsen has been named chief counsel of the Office of Municipal Securities at the U. S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Jessica Kane has been promoted to deputy director of the office.

 Trainer with Orca in SeaWorld, San Diego

SeaWorld Loses Appeal in Death of Killer Whale Trainer

By Zoe Tillman |

A federal appeals court in Washington on Friday upheld an agency's findings that SeaWorld violated federal law by exposing killer whale trainers to hazardous working conditions.

Aereo chief Chet Kanojia displays his company’s antenna and an antenna block.

Prominent Litigators Lining Up on Either Side of Aereo Battle

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on April 22 will hear arguments in American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo Inc. — what some observers have called the most important copyright challenge to reach the high court in a decade.

Aereo chief Chet Kanojia displays his company’s antenna and an antenna block.

Prominent Litigators Lining Up on Either Side of Aereo Battle

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on April 22 will hear arguments in American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo Inc. — what some observers have called the most important copyright challenge to reach the high court in a decade.

Aereo chief Chet Kanojia displays his company’s antenna and an antenna block.

Prominent Litigators Lining Up on Either Side of Aereo Battle

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on April 22 will hear arguments in American Broadcasting Cos. v. Aereo Inc. — what some observers have called the most important copyright challenge to reach the high court in a decade.

A man poses for a photograph with a mock Bitcoin outside the ANXBTC store in Hong Kong, China.

Regulation of Bitcoin Is Up for Grabs

By Jenna Greene |

Following a series of multimillion-dollar thefts and losses, federal regulators want to step up their oversight of virtual currency bitcoin. But bitcoin — a nationless digital money that uses cryptography to control its creation and transactions — doesn't fit neatly in any regulatory box.

Labor Lawyers Predict NLRB Fumble on Football Decision

By Jenna Greene |

Labor lawyers are skeptical that a decision by a National Labor Relations Board official in Chicago giving football players at Northwestern University a green light to unionize would survive judicial scrutiny.

Labor Lawyers Predict NLRB Fumble on Football Decision

By Jenna Greene |

Labor lawyers are skeptical that a decision by a National Labor Relations Board official in Chicago giving football players at Northwestern University a green light to unionize would survive judicial scrutiny.

HUDSON CRASH: The pilot’s widow recovered $14.2 million—the largest individual payout.

U.S. Cuts Legal Tab in Half

By Jenna Greene |

The federal government spent about half as much to resolve lawsuits as it did during 2012, doling out $1.7 billion from the Judgment Fund — an open-ended account that the Treasury Department uses to pay legal judgments and settlements.

HUDSON CRASH: The pilot’s widow recovered $14.2 million—the largest individual payout.

U.S. Cuts Legal Tab in Half

By Jenna Greene |

The federal government spent about half as much to resolve lawsuits as it did during 2012, doling out $1.7 billion from the Judgment Fund — an open-ended account that the Treasury Department uses to pay legal judgments and settlements.

An adult greenback cutthroat trout.

'Sue & Settle' Cases Under Fire

By Jenna Greene |

When the Center for Biological Diversity sued the U.S. Forest Service in Colorado in 2012 for violating the Endangered Species Act, government lawyers didn't put up a fight.

Fourth Circuit Judge Andre DavisApril 29, 2009.

Court Lets FTC Keep Its Big Gun

By Jenna Greene |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit last week kept intact a key part in the Federal Trade Commis­sion's "arsenal," upholding a $163 million judgment against a woman who allegedly helped dupe consumers into buying computer-security software.

Fourth Circuit Judge Andre DavisApril 29, 2009.

Court Lets FTC Keep Its Big Gun

By Jenna Greene |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit last week kept intact a key part in the Federal Trade Commis­sion's "arsenal," upholding a $163 million judgment against a woman who allegedly helped dupe consumers into buying computer-security software.

EPA Finds Friends at High Court

By Tony Mauro |

Any hope among industry advocates that the U.S. Supreme Court might ban Environmental Protection Agency regulation of greenhouse gases altogether went up in smoke, so to speak, during more than 90 minutes of spirited argument last week.

Michelle Lee, Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, described the administration's plan, including adoption of common terms of art to bring clarity to patent language and avoid

Patent Bar Underwhelmed by Obama's Reform Initiative

By Todd Ruger |

The Obama administration last week expanded its effort to improve the patent system and curb abusive legislation, but intellectual property lawyers said the initiative's limited scope suggested that any major reforms must come from Congress.

Michelle Lee, Deputy Director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, described the administration's plan, including adoption of common terms of art to bring clarity to patent language and avoid

Patent Bar Underwhelmed by Obama's Reform Initiative

By Todd Ruger |

The Obama administration last week expanded its effort to improve the patent system and curb abusive legislation, but intellectual property lawyers said the initiative's limited scope suggested that any major reforms must come from Congress.

SEC Argues Whistleblowers Can Report Internally

By Jenna Greene |

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission today filed an amicus brief stressing that whistleblowers are entitled to the Dodd-Frank Act's full protection against retaliation whether they report their employers' wrongdoing internally or go straight to the agency.

FCC To Craft New Net Neutrality Rules

By Jenna Greene |

Hoping the third time will be the charm, the Federal Communications Commission announced Wednesday it will craft new rules for net neutrality that will pass muster with the courts.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission building

FTC Cracks Down on False ‘Safe Harbor’ Privacy Claims

By Jenna Greene |

The Federal Trade Commission continued its recent crackdown on companies that misrepresent their privacy compliance credentials, settling charges today with children’s online game company Fantage.com Inc.

Former FTC Head Says CFPB Poses 'Mortal Threat'

By Jenna Greene |

The Federal Trade Commission faces a "mortal threat" from the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, former FTC chairman Timothy Muris said during a panel discussion today.

SEC chairman Mary Jo White

Five Cooks in Volcker Kitchen

By Jenna Greene |

As five federal agencies begin implementing the massive — and massively complex — Volcker Rule, financial institutions have one overriding question: Who will they answer to?

U.S. Federal Trade Commission building

FTC's Long Winning Streak Ends

By Jenna Greene |

The Federal Trade Commission's 19-year winning streak is over. The agency's four commissioners ruled today in a split decision that pipefitter McWane Inc. did not collude to fix prices in the water works fittings market.

Reeltender Mo Laussie helps install fiber-optic cable in Louisville, CO.

Challenges Ahead for FCC Over Internet Rules

By Jenna Greene |

The Federal Communications Com­mission once again has come up short in its attempt to regulate broadband Internet service providers, but the decision last week by a divided panel of federal appellate judges in some ways also strengthened the agency's hand — and sets the stage for a potentially epic showdown over new rules.

Senior judge Paul Friedman of the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia

Judge Tosses Suit Over IRS Health Care Law Regulation

By Zoe Tillman |

A federal judge in Washington today dismissed a legal challenge to the Internal Revenue Service's enforcement of a section of the federal health care law.

Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission Edith Ramirez

Apple to Refund $32M to Settle FTC Charges

By Jenna Greene |

Apple Inc. will pay at least $32.5 million in consumer refunds to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that it wrongly billed parents millions of dollars for unauthorized charges incurred by their children in kids’ mobile apps.

Chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission Edith Ramirez

Apple to Refund $32M to Settle FTC Charges

By Jenna Greene |

Apple Inc. will pay at least $32.5 million in consumer refunds to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that it wrongly billed parents millions of dollars for unauthorized charges incurred by their children in kids’ mobile apps.

Artisanal miners dig for gold outside of Mongbwalu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Court Grills SEC Over Costly Conflict Minerals Rule

By Jenna Greene |

One of the most controversial — and costly — rules in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission history is under scrutiny by a panel of federal appellate judges, who questioned whether the requirement that publicly traded companies disclose the use of certain minerals from the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo violates the First Amendment.

Artisanal miners dig for gold outside of Mongbwalu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Court Grills SEC Over Costly Conflict Minerals Rule

By Jenna Greene |

One of the most controversial — and costly — rules in U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission history is under scrutiny by a panel of federal appellate judges, who questioned whether the requirement that publicly traded companies disclose the use of certain minerals from the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo violates the First Amendment.

Second Thoughts on False Claims

By Andrew Ramonas |

The False Claims Act has proven one of the most lucrative civil enforcement tools for the U.S. Department of Justice, but critics now are pushing reforms on Capitol Hill and arguing the law is ineffective in preventing fraud. In the push for change, one voice is standing out: David Ogden.

Banks Draw Out Their Knives

By Jenna Greene |

When federal financial regulators last week adopted the massive Volcker Rule, it didn't mean their work was finished. If anything, lawyers say the work is just beginning.

Banks Draw Out Their Knives

By Jenna Greene |

When federal financial regulators last week adopted the massive Volcker Rule, it didn't mean their work was finished. If anything, lawyers say the work is just beginning.