U.S. Makes Unprecedented Arrest of Chinese Government Official Accused of Economic Espionage

Brower_GregMoschellaWilliamE@2xFeatured Expert Contributor, White Collar Crime & Corporate Compliance

Gregory A. Brower, a Shareholder with Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, LLP in Las Vegas, NV and Washington, DC, with William E. Moschella, a Shareholder in the firm’s Washington, DC office.

The Department of Justice (DOJ) recently announced an indictment charging a Chinese government official with attempting to steal trade secrets and other sensitive information from an American aerospace company.  This is not the first indictment of its kind.  In fact, in announcing the indictment, Assistant Attorney General John Demers remarked that “[t]his is not an isolated incident.”  He explained that this case “is part of an overall economic policy of developing China at American expense.”  What makes this case unique is that fact that the Chinese defendant is now in U.S. custody after being extradited from Belgium.  Continue reading “U.S. Makes Unprecedented Arrest of Chinese Government Official Accused of Economic Espionage”

Encouraging Signals on Merger Review from DOJ’s Antitrust Division

swisherFeatured Expert Column: Antitrust & Competition Policy — U.S. Department of Justice

By Anthony W. Swisher, a Partner in the Washington, DC office of Baker Botts LLP.

Recently, Assistant Attorney General Makan Delrahim of the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division gave a speech that offered a new vision for how DOJ approaches the merger review process. The most notable feature of Mr. Delrahim’s speech—certainly the one garnering the most press attention—is his goal of completing Second Request merger investigations in six months.

For those unfamiliar with DOJ antitrust enforcement, a “Second Request” is issued by the DOJ (or the Federal Trade Commission) at the end of the initial 30-calendar-day waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino filing process. A Second Request consists of an extensive list of document and data requests, and frequently includes numerous depositions of company executives. A Second Request often requires the production of millions of documents and terabytes of data. Currently, it is not uncommon for a Second Request investigation to take 12-15 months or more to complete. Mr. Delrahim cited a study that indicated the average time for the agencies to complete a significant merger review has increased by 65% in the last five years. A dedicated effort to shorten this process is welcome indeed. Continue reading “Encouraging Signals on Merger Review from DOJ’s Antitrust Division”

Delinquent State Safety Regulators, Particularly Cal/OSHA, Catch Up with OSHA’s E-Recordkeeping Rule

connDeaconGuest Commentary

By Eric J. Conn and Dan C. Deacon; Mr. Conn is a founding partner of Conn Maciel Carey LLP in Washington, DC and Chair of the OSHA • Workplace Safety Group, and Mr. Deacon is an associate with the firm. The two recently wrote a WLF Legal Backgrounder on OSHA’s efforts to alter the E-Recordkeeping Rule and the further steps OSHA must take.

Ed. Note: This commentary originally appeared in Conn Maciel Carey LLP’s OSHA Defense Report and is reprinted with permission.

When the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) promulgated the Final Rule to “Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses” (aka the E-Recordkeeping Rule) in 2016, it built into the Rule a mandate that all State Plans (i.e. state occupational safety and health agencies) adopt substantially identical requirements to the final E-Recordkeeping Rule within six months after its publication.  However, because State Plans all have their own legislative or rulemaking processes, they cannot simply snap their fingers and instantly adopt a new Rule even if required to do so by OSHA.  Also importantly, the State Plans, as well as all employers in the regulated community, were getting mixed signals about the future of the E-Recordkeeping Rule from OSHA under the new Trump Administration. Continue reading “Delinquent State Safety Regulators, Particularly Cal/OSHA, Catch Up with OSHA’s E-Recordkeeping Rule”

U.S. ex rel. Rose v. Stephens Institute: The Ninth Circuit Considers Escobar and its Materiality Mandate

Stephen_Wood_03032014Featured Expert Contributor, False Claims Act

Stephen A. Wood, Chuhak & Tecson, P.C.

Ed. Note: This is Mr. Wood’s inaugural post as the WLF Legal Pulse‘s latest Featured Expert Contributor. Mr. Wood is a Principal in Chuhak & Tecson’s Chicago, IL office and chairs the litigation practice group. He has authored numerous WLF publications over the past five years on the False Claims Act and other complex litigation matters.

Ever since the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, 136 S. Ct. 1989 (2016), the lower courts have wrestled with the interpretation and application of the Supreme Court’s holding. The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit became one of the latest reviewing courts to consider Escobar and its effect on that Circuit’s existing False Claims Act precedent.  The result in United States ex rel. Rose v. Stephens Institute, No. 17-15111, 2018 WL 4038194 (9th Cir. Aug. 24, 2018) was mixed.  The Court of Appeals held that Escobar overruled one precedent, but, in a sharply divided opinion, not another, thus demonstrating that Escobar continues to divide courts, especially over the element of materiality, foreshadowing further Supreme Court involvement in False Claims Act jurisprudence.  That involvement could come soon given that a petition for writ of certiorari is pending based on the Ninth Circuit’s decision in United States ex rel. Campie v. Gilead Sciences, Inc., 862 F.3d 890 (9th Cir. 2017), a case that also turned on whether the defendant’s claimed violations were material.  Continue reading U.S. ex rel. Rose v. Stephens Institute: The Ninth Circuit Considers Escobar and its Materiality Mandate”

California Corporate-Board Quota Law Unlikely to Survive a Constitutional Challenge

bainbridgeFeatured Expert Contributor, Corporate Governance/Securities Law

Stephen M. Bainbridge, William D. Warren Distinguished Professor of Law, UCLA School of Law.

The California state legislature recently passed SB 826, which will impose gender diversity quotas on all public corporations whose principal executive offices are located in California. If the corporation has six or more directors, it must have at least three female directors. If it has five board members, it will have to have at least two female members. If the board has four or fewer members, it will be required to have at least one female director. Governor Jerry Brown signed the bill into law.

SB 826 has been criticized on various grounds. Some commentators contend that the business case for gender quotas has not been made, so it is unclear whether the bill will benefit companies and their shareholders. Other commentators contend that state-mandated gender quotas are unconstitutional. Former SEC Commissioner Joseph Grundfest recently posted an article assessing the arguments on both sides of those debates, which I highly recommend for readers interested in pursuing those issues.1

Regardless of one’s views of the constitutional and business merits of diversity mandates, however, SB 826 is bad policy and of dubious constitutional validity for reasons wholly unrelated to gender issues. Continue reading “California Corporate-Board Quota Law Unlikely to Survive a Constitutional Challenge”

Updates: Supreme Court Refuses to Review Philly Cab Drivers’ Suit Against Uber

supreme courtOn April 24 in Ruling on Philly Taxis’ Suit vs. Uber, Third Circuit Reaffirms Antitrust Focus on Competition, not Competitors, one of our Featured Expert Contributors on antitrust, Baker Botts partner Anthony Swisher, wrote about a U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit decision that rejected a claim for attempted monopolization lodged against Uber. The taxi association sought a writ of certiorari from the U.S. Supreme Court, which yesterday announced in an orders list that it had denied the request.

A denial of certiorari has no precedential value; it simply means that the lower court decision stands. That said, the outcome may deter taxi organizations from other jurisdictions, as well as perhaps other businesses whose market share is threatened by “gig economy” entities, from filing similar antitrust suits. In addition, the Court let stand a decision that properly elevated protection of consumers over assisting competitors, a fundamental antitrust-law concept that is under attack by some politicians, legal activists, and antitrust academics. As the Third Circuit explained:

Appellants urge the application of antitrust laws for the express opposite purpose of antitrust laws: to compensate for their loss of profits due to increased competition from Uber. However, harm to Appellants’ business does not equal harm to competition.

New NY Commercial Division E-Discovery Rule Encourages Use of Technology-Assisted Review

 

Guest Commentary

By Elizabeth M. Sacksteder and Ross M. Gotler, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP. Ms. Sacksteder is a Partner with the firm and a member of the Commercial Division Advisory Council. Mr. Gotler is E-Discovery Counsel with the firm. Some of this material first appeared in Law 360.

The most expensive stage of big-ticket litigation today is review of the huge volume of electronically-stored information (ESI) that such cases typically require, notwithstanding such common economies as the use of vendors to do first-level document review. Achieving greater efficiency in this resource-intensive stage of litigation—making review of ESI cheaper, faster, and more accurate—is a shared goal of litigants, their counsel, and the courts. Sophisticated litigants know that the use of technology-assisted review can yield substantial cost savings as well as streamline and accelerate document review and production.

Though the e-discovery industry is embracing technology, neither the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure nor state procedure codes address whether, in what circumstances, or how a party may use technology-assisted review to fulfill its disclosure obligations. Other than references in a few discovery pilot programs, a relatively sparse body of mostly federal case law, and secondary sources such as the commentaries of The Sedona Conference, there has been little express guidance to date for practitioners or courts concerning the appropriate use of technology-assisted review. Continue reading “New NY Commercial Division E-Discovery Rule Encourages Use of Technology-Assisted Review”