SEC Says Houston Investor Relations Exec Traded Stock on Clients’ Confidential Data
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed suit July 26 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas against the former chief executive officer of a Houston-based investor relations concern who allegedly engaged in insider trading in the securities of the firm’s clients (SEC v. Gray, S.D. Tex., 4:13-cv-2186, 7/26/13).
New Auditing Reporting Model Floated by IAASB; Spurred by Crisis
By Steve Burkholder NORWALK, Conn.–Auditors of listed companies worldwide may be called to go beyond the bare-bones “pass/fail” auditor opinion and report on “key audit matters,” address going concern issues and significant risks faced by a firm, and name the audit engagement partner if a new proposal of a global auditing panel is finalized. Those planned changes stand [...]
Regulators Ask Banks to Work With Student Loan Borrowers; Bankruptcy Bill Pending
Federal regulators are asking banks to work with borrowers having a hard time paying off student loans, an issue that has captured the attention of Congress and prompted legislation to make private student loans dischargeable in bankruptcy.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, the Federal Reserve and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued a statement July 25 encouraging institutions to work constructively with private student loan borrowers experiencing financial difficulties.
Lambda Legal Calls DOMA Case Dismissal ‘Icing on the Cake’ for Ninth Circuit Attorney
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit July 23 dismissed an appeal of a district court’s ruling that the Defense of Marriage Act violated the U.S. Constitution as applied to exclude a federal employee’s same-sex spouse from her health benefits plan (Golinski v. OPM, 9th Cir., No. 12-15388, order 7/23/13).
Mass. Securities Division Forms Unit to Monitor Crowdfunding Websites
BOSTON–Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth William F. Galvin said July 24 he has created a new unit in his office to monitor crowdfunding websites as well as general advertising of certain private placements in the wake of the 2012 JOBS Act.
“I do not begin to think that one state can monitor and police the internet,” Galvin said in a statement, “but I am going to take every proactive step I can to protect investors in the Commonwealth from those who would abuse the provisions of the JOBS Act.”
Woody Allen Quote From Faulker Novel In 2011′s ‘Midnight in Paris’ Not Infringing
A quotation from a William Faulkner novel as used in a 2011 Woody Allen movie constituted fair use and thus did not give rise a claim of copyright infringement, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Mississippi ruled July 18 (Faulkner Literary Rights, LLC v. Sony Pictures Classics Inc., N.D. Miss., No. 3:12-cv-00100-MPM-JMV, 7/18/13).
Granting a motion to dismiss, the court noted particularly the very different natures of the original novel and the movie and concluded that the use was highly transformative.
GIPC Panel and Report Considers India an Outlier on IP Protection
Highlighting the release of the Global Intellectual Property Center’s report, India: International Outlier on IP, and the growing concern that India is not committed to IP protection after the Indian Supreme Court’s denial of Novartis’s patent application for Glivek, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce hosted a July 18 presentation at its Washington D.C. headquarters about how to not only protect U.S. intellectual property interests, but any creator or investor who wants to participate in the Indian marketplace.
GOP Lawmakers Demand Accounting On Release Of SSNs On IRS Website
Two Republican lawmakers wrote to Internal Revenue Service Principal Deputy Commissioner Daniel Werfel July 23 directing the agency to verify the accuracy of claims by a nonprofit that more than 2,000 Social Security numbers were accidentally released on the tax agency’s website.
The letter from Ways and Means Social Security Subcommittee Chairman Sam Johnson (R-Texas) and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Charles Boustany (R-La.) expressed concern about the agency’s handling of private taxpayer information.
Appeals Court Rules ‘Retaliatory Witch Hunt’ Responsible for Investigation of State Agent
A senior special agent for the investigations division of the Illinois Gaming Board raised an issue of fact that he was retaliated against for assisting in a co-worker’s lawsuit against the board, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit ruled July 16 (Hobgood v. Ill. Gaming Bd., 7th Cir., No. 11-1926, 7/16/13).
Court Nixes Discrimination Claims by Worker Who Didn’t Reveal Them in Bankruptcy Filing
A Texas credit union manager waived his right to sue his former employer for age and disability discrimination by failing to list these claims in bankruptcy proceedings initiated shortly after he was fired, a federal court in the state ruled July 18 (Johnson v. First Tech. Fed. Credit Union, S.D. Tex., No. 4:11-cv-03812, 7/18/13).
House Panel Advances Spending Bill Slashing CBO, JCT Budgets to Floor
The House Appropriations Committee approved a bill July 18 that would cut annual funding to Congress by 4 percent. The Fiscal Year 2014 Legislative Branch Appropriations bill–approved by a voice vote–provides $3.2 billion for House and joint operations, excluding Senate-only items. The budget comes in at $113 million below the fiscal year 2013 level. The bill [...]
SEC Says Hedge Fund Adviser Cohen Failed to Supervise Insider-Trading Execs
Ending months of speculation, the Securities and Exchange Commission July 19 commenced administrative proceedings against hedge fund adviser Steven A. Cohen, saying he failed to supervise two senior employees who engaged in insider trading under his watch (In re Cohen, SEC, Admin. Proc. File No. 3-15382, 7/19/13). The executives–Mathew Martoma and Michael Steinberg–currently are facing civil and criminal [...]
Detroit Becomes Largest City to File For Bankruptcy; Fight Begins in State Court
Detroit July 18 became the largest city ever to file for protection under Chapter 9 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code, as the city’s emergency manager said he did not see any other way out of a 60-year-long decline In re City of Detroit, Bankr. E.D. Mich., No. 2:13-bk-53846, petition filed 7/18/13.
EEOC Lawyers Discuss Misconceptions, Guidance About Criminal History Checks
Having a criminal record in itself does not grant someone protected status under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, but the use of criminal records “can get employers in trouble” under disparate impact and treatment analyses, an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission attorney said at a July 17 workshop.
Most World Exchanges View Cyber Crime As Potential Systemic Threat, Survey Finds
The vast majority of the world’s stock exchanges view cyber crime as a potential systemic risk to the world’s securities markets, according to a survey conducted by the staff of the International Organization of Securities Commissions and the World Federation of Exchanges.
Leahy Calls for NIH March-In Against Myriad But Some Patents Not Subject to Bayh-Dole
The National Institutes of Health should use its march-in rights under the Bayh-Dole Act to force Myriad Genetics Inc. to license its patents related to testing for genetic mutations associated with breast and ovarian cancer, according to a July 12 letter sent by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) to NIH Director Francis S. Collins.
House Democrats Maintain No Political Bias In IRS Handling of Exempt Applications
In advance of a July 18 hearing to further explore the Internal Revenue Service’s handling of applications for tax exemption, ranking House Oversight and Government Reform Committee member Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said the evidence so far has shown the agency’s employees were not motivated by politics.
Russian Server’s Hosting of Infringing Pics Cannot Give Rise to Liability Under U.S. Law
The hosting of allegedly infringing content on internet servers located in Russia cannot give rise to liability under U.S. copyright law, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California ruled July 12 (Perfect 10 Inc. v. Yandex N.V., N.D. Cal., No. 3:12-cv-01521-WHA, 7/12/13).
Cable Technicians’ Employment Status Under FLSA Is Triable, Eleventh Circuit Finds
By Jay-Anne B. Casuga A federal district court in Florida erred in concluding that a class of cable, internet, and digital phone technicians were independent contractors not protected by the Fair Labor Standards Act, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit decided July 16 (Scantland v. Jeffry Knight Inc., 11th Cir., No. 12-12614, 7/16/13). Reversing summary judgment [...]
House Bill Would Continue Health Coverage For Miners Despite Patriot Coal Bankruptcy
Three Congressman from coal-producing areas introduced legislation (H.R. 2627) July 8 that would ensure continued health care coverage for miners in danger of losing their benefits because of Patriot Coal Corp.’s bankruptcy.
Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) introduced the bill, known as the Caring for Coal Miners Act, which would amend the Surface Mining Control and Reclamation Act of 1977. Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) are co-sponsoring the legislation.