Regulation

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.