Latest updates

NAIC adopts Insurance Data Security Model Law
Mayer Brown LLP
  • Insurance
  • USA
  • December 19 2017

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners recently adopted the Insurance Data Security Model Law. The model law builds on existing data privacy and consumer breach notification obligations by requiring insurance licensees to comply with detailed requirements regarding maintaining an information security programme and responding to and giving notification of cybersecurity events.

Don't be afraid to ask – SEC staff ready to respond to Rule 3-13 waiver requests from registrants
Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Capital Markets
  • USA
  • December 19 2017

Rule 3-13 of Regulation S-X allows the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to permit the omission of financial statements otherwise required by the SEC rules or their substitution by financial statements of a comparable character. The chief accountant of the SEC Division of Corporation Finance has now reminded registrants that the SEC is willing to consider and process Rule 3-13 waiver requests. Under a pilot programme, SEC staff should respond within five days.

Internet neutrality
  • IT & Internet
  • USA
  • December 19 2017

The chair of the US Federal Communications Commission recently outlined plans to bury the internet rules promulgated under the Obama administration that required internet service providers (ISPs) to treat all web traffic equally. Under the proposed changes, ISPs would be allowed to offer web-based services at different speeds and differing service quality. In addition, they could enable more favourable speed or quality, or both, for websites that pay a fee.

Supreme Court hears oral argument on constitutionality of inter partes review in oil states
Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto
  • Intellectual Property
  • USA
  • December 18 2017

The Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Oil States Energy Services, LLC v Greene's Energy Group, LLC. The Supreme Court's decision in this case will either spare or strike down inter partes review as a means for challenging the validity of issued patents in the United States.

Ninth Circuit limits reach of anti-duplication provision
Sidley Austin LLP
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • USA
  • December 18 2017

The Ninth Circuit recently issued an opinion that reflected a limited interpretation of the scope of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act's anti-duplication provision, which provides that the act must be construed to apply to or authorise state regulation of "any activity or substance" regulated under several other federal statutes, including the Clean Water Act.

EPA issues directive on advisory committees
Sidley Austin LLP
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • USA
  • December 11 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently issued a directive intended to strengthen and improve membership on the agency's advisory committees. The directive calls for the EPA to apply the following principles in setting membership on its advisory committees: strengthen member independence; increase state, tribal and local government participation; enhance geographic diversity; and promote fresh perspectives.

Officials allegedly violating youth plaintiffs' constitutional rights by failing to fight climate change
Sidley Austin LLP
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • USA
  • December 11 2017

A pair of new lawsuits claim that various government officials and agencies are violating youth plaintiffs' constitutional rights due to a failure to combat climate change sufficiently. The first case is against the state of Alaska, its governor and various other state officials and agencies. The second case alleges that specific Trump administration actions violated the plaintiffs' due process and public trust doctrine rights.

CFPB principles for data aggregation services could have broad implications
Sidley Austin LLP
  • Banking
  • USA
  • December 08 2017

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently released a set of consumer protection principles designed to protect consumer interests in the market for services built around consumer-approved use of financial information. The principles are targeted at so-called 'data aggregation' or 'screen scraping' services that collect customer information in order to provide financial planning or other services.

Evolution of export law: what to do if a special agent comes knocking
  • International Trade
  • USA
  • December 08 2017

The Department of Commerce, the State Department and Treasury each approach manufacturers, exporters and shippers as a way to gather information, understand a company or an industry and verify that the target understands the applicable export regulations. While these visits are often innocuous and as advertised, they may have an underlying purpose. How companies respond to these visits must be assessed on a case-by-case basis.

California passes sweeping prescription drug price transparency law and co-pay coupon ban
Sidley Austin LLP
  • Healthcare & Life Sciences
  • USA
  • December 06 2017

California recently passed two bills with significant implications for pharmaceutical manufacturers: one imposing prescription drug price transparency requirements and another prohibiting certain types of co-pay coupon and other prescription drug discounting programmes that lower patient cost-sharing amounts for prescription drugs.

Maritime attachment permissible to obtain security for foreign arbitration, but only as adjunct to obtaining jurisdiction
Fowler Rodriguez
  • Shipping & Transport
  • USA
  • December 06 2017

The US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit recently reinforced the availability of a maritime attachment as a means of obtaining security for a foreign arbitration. However, in so doing, the court highlighted that a maritime attachment must include an element of obtaining jurisdiction and may not be used solely to obtain security from a party already subject to the court's jurisdiction.

Second Treasury report issued: implications for derivatives market
Shearman & Sterling LLP
  • Derivatives
  • USA
  • December 06 2017

The US Department of the Treasury recently released its second in a series of four reports evaluating the US financial regulatory system. As it relates to the derivatives markets, the report does not advocate fundamental changes in the regulatory framework but suggests a change in regulatory emphasis. Further, it makes a series of specific recommendations that would broadly make incremental improvements suggested by market participants.

Florida federal court affirms FTC's available remedies
Manatt Phelps & Phillips LLP
  • Telecoms
  • USA
  • December 06 2017

In a recent case involving a purported time-share scam, a Florida federal court ruled that disgorgement and refunds are remedies available to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). The defendants filed a motion for summary judgment, arguing that the equitable relief sought by the FTC was unavailable pursuant to the statutes pled in the complaint. However, the court found no shortage of case law recognising the availability of the equitable relief sought by the FTC.

Capital formation bills pass House Financial Services Committee
Morrison & Foerster LLP
  • Capital Markets
  • USA
  • December 05 2017

The House Financial Services Committee recently approved 23 bills. These included various bills to facilitate capital formation and reduce certain regulatory requirements, such as the Regulation A+ Improvement Act and the Corporate Governance Reform and Transparency Act 2017.‎ The chair of the committee stated that the bills "will provide smaller businesses with greater access to the capital markets so those businesses can grow and create jobs".

EPA issues final attainment area designations for ozone NAAQS
Sidley Austin LLP
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • USA
  • December 04 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has issued a final rule addressing which areas of the United States are in attainment of the 2015 ozone National Ambient Air Quality Standard (NAAQS). The agency found that 2,646 of the over 3,100 counties in the United States are in attainment of the ozone NAAQS. The EPA will continue to review the designation of the remaining counties.

Federal Circuit holds that TC Heartland was change of law
Fitzpatrick, Cella, Harper & Scinto
  • Intellectual Property
  • USA
  • December 04 2017

The Federal Circuit recently held that TC Heartland represented a change of law and that Micron Technology Inc's failure to raise a venue objection in its initial motion to dismiss did not waive the objection under Rule 12 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure. However, the court also explained that there may be other bases on which a defendant could be found to have forfeited a venue objection.

EPA issues NODAs regarding 2016 NSPS for oil and gas industry
Sidley Austin LLP
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • USA
  • December 04 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency recently issued two notices of data availability in support of its proposed stays of various portions of the 2016 New Source Performance Standards for the oil and gas industry (known as the 'Quad Oa' rule). The notices include a proposed two-year stay of the Quad Oa requirements and a proposed three-month stay to run during the gap between the publication and effective dates of the two-year stay.

Do performance metrics based on relative total shareholder return transform an equity award into a lottery ticket?
Cooley LLP
  • Company & Commercial
  • USA
  • December 04 2017

According to a recent report, relative total shareholder return (rTSR) is still the most common performance measure used in long-term incentive plans for chief executive officers among S&P 500 companies. However, it has been suggested that rTSR does not adequately reflect individual or company performance, but rather frequently reflected market or industry trends as a whole. The report advocates a different approach based on operating performance measures, such as revenue growth.

Facebook goes to district court to enforce access to IRS appeals
McDermott Will & Emery
  • Corporate Tax
  • USA
  • December 01 2017

Taxpayers that are not afforded the opportunity to seek review by Internal Revenue Service appeals after a case has been docketed in the Tax Court should seek to elevate the matter up the chain to obtain reconsideration and reversal of such a decision. If that course of action is unsuccessful, taxpayers should consider other options. In this regard, the outcome of Facebook's recent case in the District Court for the Northern District of California may be instructive.

Revised Forms W-8 clarify some FATCA issues – but not all
Kozusko Harris Duncan
  • Private Client & Offshore Services
  • USA
  • November 30 2017

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) recently released an updated Form W-8BEN-E and Form W-8IMY. Non-US entities should use these new forms when requested to certify their status under the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act. Among other things, the new forms clarify confusion over which global intermediary identification number should be reported for the trustee of a trustee-documented trust.

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