Television Stations’ Antitrust Claims Against Performing Rights Entity Advance
March 4 –Television stations complaining that SESAC LLC’s licensing practices for its music are anticompetitive presented enough evidence to reach a jury on claims for restraint of trade, monopolization and conspiracy to monopolize in violation of Sherman Act §1 and §2, according to a March 3 opinion from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York denying SESAC’s motion for summary judgment (Meredith Corp. v. SESAC LLC, 2014 BL 56990, S.D.N.Y., No. 1:09-cv-09177-PAE, 03/03/14).
DOL Finds Maine Governor and Staff Intervened in State Unemployment Appeals
March 3 –A Labor Department investigation has found that actions by Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) could be perceived as attempts to intimidate state unemployment appeals hearing officers to rule in favor of employers, according to a Feb. 27 letter from DOL.
Cordray Notes Cooperation with States On CFPB Investigations, Enforcement
Feb. 26 –Cooperation with attorneys general and bank regulators at the state level will continue to play a prominent role in investigations and enforcement strategy at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the agency’s director said.
CFPB Director Richard Cordray told the National Association of Attorneys General that the agency is looking to expand its collaborative efforts with states on problem areas of the financial sector including mortgage servicing, payday lending, and the debt collection market.
SEC Approves MSRB Bid to Streamline Registration
Feb. 27 — The Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board Feb. 27 announced that the Securities and Exchange Commission has approved its proposal to consolidate its multiple registration requirements and forms for municipal securities dealers and municipal advisors.
Court Affirms K&L Gates Failed to Make Proper Rule 2014 Disclosures of Conflicts
Feb. 28 –A bankruptcy court did not err in finding that law firm K&L Gates LLP (“KLG”), as counsel for a Chapter 11 debtor, failed to provide sufficient detail in its statement regarding connections with creditors pursuant to Rule 2014 of the Federal Rules of Bankruptcy Procedure in granting a motion to disqualify KLG as counsel for the debtor, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York held Feb. 18 (KLG Gates LLP v. Brown, 2014 BL 41819, E.D.N.Y., No. 2-13-cv-04972, 2/18/14).
Controversial Grain Inspection Case Ends With OSHA Withdrawing Citations and Fine
Feb. 26 –A Nebraska grain silo inspection case that sparked an outcry from lawmakers in Washington is being settled with the Labor Department’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration withdrawing the citations and proposed $132,000 fine in a Feb. 25 filing with the Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission (Sec’y of Labor v. Niobrara Farms, OSHRC, No. 12-0083, 2/25/14).
Deceived Actor in ‘Innocence of Muslims’ Likely Has Independent Interest in Movie
Feb. 26 –An actor who said she had been tricked into playing a role in what turned out to be a controversial film viewed by many Muslims as disparaging of Islam and the Prophet Muhammad established a likelihood of success on the merits of her claim that the film producers had infringed her independent copyright interest in the movie, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled Feb. 26 (Garcia v. Google, Inc., 9th Cir., No. 12-57302, 2/26/14).
Senate Panel Sets Date for CFTC Nominee Hearing
Feb. 26 –The Senate Agriculture Committee announced Feb. 26 that on March 6, it will hold a hearing to consider three Commodity Futures Trading Commission nominees.
High Court Denies One Section 101 Case, Makes No Decision on Alice-Like Petition
Feb. 25 –The Supreme Court denied a petition for writ of certiorari on Feb. 24 in Sinclair-Allison, Inc. v. Fifth Ave. Physician Servs., LLC ( U.S., No. 13-709, review denied 2/24/14), on an issue of patent eligibility under 35 U.S.C. §101.
Videotaping Truck Drivers Doesn’t Breach California Labor Code, Attorney General Says
Feb. 24 — Employers that continuously videotape their truck drivers for disciplinary purposes do not violate a provision of the California Labor Code that was adopted in 1913 to combat blacklisting of pro-union workers, Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) said Feb. 13 in an opinion (Cal. Op. Att’y Gen., No. 12-1101, 2/13/2014).
Transfers of Debtor’s Interests in Family Companies Are Not Avoidable Preferences
Feb. 24 –A debtor’s motion for reconsideration of bankruptcy court’s order that the transfers of the debtor’s interests in two companies were not avoidable preferences was denied Feb. 11 by the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of New York (Garcia v. Garcia (In re Garcia), Bankr. E.D.N.Y., No. 1:12-ap-01085-CEC, 2/11/14).
Credit Suisse Admits Wrongdoing, Agrees To Pay $196M Over Registration Violations
Feb. 21 — The Securities and Exchange Commission announced Feb. 21 that Zurich-based Credit Suisse Group AG agreed to pay $196 million and to admit wrongdoing, resolving administrative charges it provided cross-border brokerage and investment advisory services to U.S. clients without first registering with the agency (In re Credit Suisse Group AG, SEC, Admin. Proc. File No. 3-15763, 2/21/14).
Protective Order Stricken by District Court, Reversed
Feb. 20 –The U.S. District Court for the District of Nevada found that because the bankruptcy court’s protective order in the respondent’s consumer bankruptcy case was based upon an order of the district court that had been stricken by a later action, the protective order was reversed (Buenaventura v. Chau (In re Chau), 2014 BL 36681, D. Nev., No. 2:13-cv-00630-JCM-GWF, 2/11/14).
Obama Meets With Democratic Governors To Push Federal, State Minimum Wage Hikes
Feb. 21 –In a Feb. 21 meeting with Democratic governors, President Barack Obama renewed his call for federal lawmakers to increase the minimum wage, while also discussing efforts to raise the wage floor for workers at the state level.
Ryan Seacrest’s Typo Products Seeks Order That BlackBerry Patents Aren’t Valid
Feb. 19 — Ryan Seacrest’s Typo Products LLC asked a U.S. judge to find that BlackBerry Ltd. is seeking to enforce patents that are not valid in its lawsuit to block Typo from shipping a new iPhone case. (BlackBerry Ltd. v. Typo Products LLC, N.D. Cal., 3:14-cv-00023, complaint filed 1/3/14).
Arbitration Award to Citi Affirmed by CA 2
Feb. 19 — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit Feb. 19 affirmed the district court’s confirmation of an arbitration award for Citigroup Inc. (C)in a dispute over a multi-billion dollar investment between the investment bank and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (Abu Dhabi Investment Authority v. Citigroup Inc., 2d Cir., 12-1068-cv, 2/19/14).
Australia Not Sure About Creating Fair Use Defense, Will Ponder New Controls on ISPs
Feb. 18 — Australia’s Attorney-General is unconvinced of the need for a fair use provision, as recommended by a major copyright review within the country.
But, although Attorney-General Senator George Brandis remains skeptical of the need for a fair use doctrine, he said that he does favor introducing new controls on internet service providers to prevent illegal downloading.
San Francisco Enacts Law Limiting Use of Criminal Background Checks
Feb. 18 –Employers, contractors and affordable housing providers will have limited use of criminal background checks in vetting workers or tenants under a new San Francisco ordinance signed Feb. 17 by Mayor Edwin Lee (D).
The Fair Chance Ordinance requires employers employing 20 or more workers regardless of location–including employment agencies, contractors, subcontractors and housing providers–to limit the use of criminal history information. An estimated one in four California adults has an arrest or conviction record, according to the ordinance.
Debtors’ Joint Venture Not Separate Legal Entity; Rice Grain Part of Bankruptcy Estate
Feb. 12 –A bankruptcy court did not err in holding that a debtor had not created a separate legal entity with its joint venture agreement and that the rice grain was part of the debtor’s individual bankruptcy estate, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit held Feb. 6 (Bank of England v. Rice (In re Webb), 2014 BL 31787, 8th Cir., No. 13-1495, 2/6/14).
FINRA Proposes to Tighten Definition of ‘Public Arbitrator’
Feb. 13 — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Feb. 13 proposed amendments to the organization’s arbitration code that would tighten the definition of “public” arbitrator for FINRA arbitration purposes.
In a release, FINRA said the proposed rule changes would provide that a person who worked in the financial industry “for any duration” during his or her career would always be classified as a non-public arbitrators.