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2017 Kayo Women’s Energy Investment Conference 06-12-2017

V&E partners Caroline PhillipsGillian HobsonSarah Morgan, and Lande Spottswood will each speak at the Kayo Women’s Energy Investment Conference on Monday, June 12th and Tuesday, June 13th in Houston.

UT Law 30th Annual Technology Law Conference 05-25-2017

V&E is a sponsor of the UT Law 30th Annual Technology Law Conference. V&E partner Steve Borgman served on the Planning Committee for the event and will speak on "Innovative Approaches to Protecting IP in the Technology Sector" on Thursday, May 25 at 2:35 p.m.

Corporate Counsel Institute 05-11-2017

The 39th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute offers in-depth, practical discussions on legal issues for in-house counsel and outside counsel who represent companies of all sizes. The Institute is presented by the Corporate Counsel Section of the State Bar of Texas and The University of Texas School of Law.

Cybersecurity Preparedness for the Energy Industry 04-28-2017

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideCome join us for a panel discussion with representatives from the infrastructure, public relations and insurance fields as we discuss the metes and bounds of being “cyber-secure” in today’s energy business.

Active-Passive Investor Summit 04-27-2017

13D Monitor’s Active-Passive Investor Summit is the preeminent hedge fund activism conference designed for both active and passive investors. 

2017 Kayo Women's Real Estate Investment Summit 04-24-2017

V&E is a sponsor of Kayo’s inaugural Women’s Real Estate Investment Summit taking place Monday, April 24th and Tuesday, April 25th in Brooklyn. V&E partners Daniel LeBey and Catherine Gallagher and associate Caroline Lamberti will be in attendance.

Patents in the "Age of Experience": Valuable Property Right or Useless Relic? 04-11-2017

It is not news that technology has permeated and revolutionized practically every industry on the planet. While 25 years ago, the dawn of the internet ushered in the “Information Age,” we now find ourselves at the dawn of what some have dubbed the “Experience Age.” 

LNG Pricing Panel Discussions at the Gastech Conference 04-04-2017

V&E partners James Atkin and David Lang will moderate two LNG Pricing Panel Discussions at the Gastech Conference covering global LNG pricing trends and price reviews and contractual flexibility.

TowerXchange Meetup Europe 2017 04-04-2017

Vinson & Elkins is pleased to be sponsoring the 2nd annual TowerXchange Meetup Europe. TowerXchange is the primary thought leadership body in the global telecom tower industry.

Market Discussion Series: Energy Sector Outlook 03-29-2017

Co-hosted by Women's Energy Network Greater New York City Chapter and V&E

Join the Women's Energy Network Greater New York City Chapter in partnership with Vinson & Elkins for the first in a series of market discussions. Leading women energy practitioners, investors, and industry experts will discuss the new administration and its potential impact on the energy sector.

Benchmark Women in Litigation Forum – Houston 2017 03-28-2017

The Benchmark Women in Litigation Forum brings together top in-house and private practice women lawyers to discuss a myriad of litigation issues. V&E partner Amy Riella will speak on the panel, “Handling Government Investigations and Regulators.”

Jevic: Structured Dismissal SCOTUS Ruling 03-27-2017

V&E Restructuring and Reorganization Updates E-communication, March 27, 2017

The Supreme Court limited the use of “structured dismissals” in chapter 11 cases on March 22, 2017, overturning a ruling of the Third Circuit. The Court stressed that any distribution scheme in connection with a proposed chapter 11 structured dismissal must follow the basic priority rules of the Bankruptcy Code absent consent of the affected parties. Importantly, however, the Supreme Court avoided determining that interim modifications of the priority scheme cannot be permitted at any time during a case. 

An Evening with the SEC Director Shamoil Shipchandler 03-27-2017

The Texas Lawbook, is hosting an evening with SEC Director Shamoil Shipchandler. Speakers will include his predecessor, David Woodcock of Jones Day and Vinson & Elkins partner, John Wander.

False Claims Act Cert. Monitor: Relator Asks Court to Extend Benefit of FCA Statute of Limitations Tolling Provision to Relators 03-24-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

As FCA aficionados know, the FCA’s statute of limitations provides that claims are timely only if they are brought either (1) within 6 years of the FCA violation, or (2) within 3 years of “the date when facts material to the right of action are known or reasonably should have been known by the official of the United States charged with responsibility to act in the circumstances,” up to 10 years after the FCA violation. A new FCA cert. petition raises the question whether relators in non-intervened qui tam cases can take advantage of the latter provision to toll the limitations period.

Even After Section 230 Defense Doesn’t Work Out for Match.com, Federal Court Finds No Relationship Status with Plaintiff 03-24-2017

V&E Hi-Tech Update E-communication, March 24, 2017

On March 10, 2017, the District of Nevada dismissed Mary Kay Beckman’s claims against Match.com stemming from a brutal attack by Wade Ridley, a man she met through the website. The case was before the district court after the Ninth Circuit’s decision holding that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230, did not apply to Beckman’s failure to warn claim.

Yay Team! Supreme Court Declares Cheerleading Uniforms Can Be Copyrighted 03-23-2017

V&E IP Insights E-communication, March 23, 2017

On March 22, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a “decorative element” on a “useful article,” such as a cheerleader uniform, can be copyrightable.  

Beware of the B-1 Visa When Bringing Employees from Abroad 03-23-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

Mem Fox, a well-known and beloved 70-year old Australian children’s book author, was harshly interrogated by Customs and Border Patrol (“CBP”) agents at Los Angeles International Airport several weeks ago as she attempted to enter the U.S. to deliver the opening keynote at a literacy conference.

Balancing Non-Compete and Antitrust Considerations in an Era of Increased Scrutiny 03-23-2017

2016 brought increased federal scrutiny to non-compete and antitrust matters, as the White House, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice all weighed in about the potential anti-competitive effects of non-competition and non-solicitation regimes. 

Supreme Court Flushes Laches: No Longer a Viable Patent Infringement Defense in Many Cases 03-22-2017

V&E IP Insights E-communication, March 22, 2017

On March 21, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court held in a 7-1 decision that laches cannot be invoked as an equitable defense against a claim for damages arising from an infringing act that occurred within the six-year damages limitations period prescribed by 35 U.S.C. § 286. 

Texas Supreme Court Cautions Against Reliance on Wikipedia in “Welfare Queen” Defamation Case 03-22-2017

V&E Hi-Tech Update E-communication, March 22, 2017

On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court decided a closely-watched defamation case brought by a woman who claimed she was libeled when a Dallas magazine referred to her as a “welfare queen.” See D Magazine Partners, L.P. v. Rosenthal, Case No. 15-0790 (Mar. 17, 2017).

2017 Kayo Women’s Energy Investment Conference 06-12-2017

V&E partners Caroline PhillipsGillian HobsonSarah Morgan, and Lande Spottswood will each speak at the Kayo Women’s Energy Investment Conference on Monday, June 12th and Tuesday, June 13th in Houston.

UT Law 30th Annual Technology Law Conference 05-25-2017

V&E is a sponsor of the UT Law 30th Annual Technology Law Conference. V&E partner Steve Borgman served on the Planning Committee for the event and will speak on "Innovative Approaches to Protecting IP in the Technology Sector" on Thursday, May 25 at 2:35 p.m.

Corporate Counsel Institute 05-11-2017

The 39th Annual Corporate Counsel Institute offers in-depth, practical discussions on legal issues for in-house counsel and outside counsel who represent companies of all sizes. The Institute is presented by the Corporate Counsel Section of the State Bar of Texas and The University of Texas School of Law.

Cybersecurity Preparedness for the Energy Industry 04-28-2017

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideCome join us for a panel discussion with representatives from the infrastructure, public relations and insurance fields as we discuss the metes and bounds of being “cyber-secure” in today’s energy business.

Active-Passive Investor Summit 04-27-2017

13D Monitor’s Active-Passive Investor Summit is the preeminent hedge fund activism conference designed for both active and passive investors. 

2017 Kayo Women's Real Estate Investment Summit 04-24-2017

V&E is a sponsor of Kayo’s inaugural Women’s Real Estate Investment Summit taking place Monday, April 24th and Tuesday, April 25th in Brooklyn. V&E partners Daniel LeBey and Catherine Gallagher and associate Caroline Lamberti will be in attendance.

Patents in the "Age of Experience": Valuable Property Right or Useless Relic? 04-11-2017

It is not news that technology has permeated and revolutionized practically every industry on the planet. While 25 years ago, the dawn of the internet ushered in the “Information Age,” we now find ourselves at the dawn of what some have dubbed the “Experience Age.” 

LNG Pricing Panel Discussions at the Gastech Conference 04-04-2017

V&E partners James Atkin and David Lang will moderate two LNG Pricing Panel Discussions at the Gastech Conference covering global LNG pricing trends and price reviews and contractual flexibility.

TowerXchange Meetup Europe 2017 04-04-2017

Vinson & Elkins is pleased to be sponsoring the 2nd annual TowerXchange Meetup Europe. TowerXchange is the primary thought leadership body in the global telecom tower industry.

Market Discussion Series: Energy Sector Outlook 03-29-2017

Co-hosted by Women's Energy Network Greater New York City Chapter and V&E

Join the Women's Energy Network Greater New York City Chapter in partnership with Vinson & Elkins for the first in a series of market discussions. Leading women energy practitioners, investors, and industry experts will discuss the new administration and its potential impact on the energy sector.

Benchmark Women in Litigation Forum – Houston 2017 03-28-2017

The Benchmark Women in Litigation Forum brings together top in-house and private practice women lawyers to discuss a myriad of litigation issues. V&E partner Amy Riella will speak on the panel, “Handling Government Investigations and Regulators.”

An Evening with the SEC Director Shamoil Shipchandler 03-27-2017

The Texas Lawbook, is hosting an evening with SEC Director Shamoil Shipchandler. Speakers will include his predecessor, David Woodcock of Jones Day and Vinson & Elkins partner, John Wander.

Balancing Non-Compete and Antitrust Considerations in an Era of Increased Scrutiny 03-23-2017

2016 brought increased federal scrutiny to non-compete and antitrust matters, as the White House, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice all weighed in about the potential anti-competitive effects of non-competition and non-solicitation regimes. 

2017 Harvard Roundtable on Corporate Governance 03-14-2017

The Harvard Roundtable on Corporate Governance will bring together top academics, practitioners and policy-makers for a discussion on current trends and topics in corporate governance. Head of V&E’s Shareholder Activism Response Team Kai Liekefett will take part in the roundtable discussion.

ATC Gateway SXSW 03-09-2017

The Austin Technology Council’s SXSW Gateway Event celebrates leaders in tech, life sciences, film, music and the community from the Austin market and far beyond to kick off Austin’s most interactive festival. This event showcases Austin’s executive clout, global appeal, and the vibrant face of the Austin tech scene and ATC’s member companies. 

31st Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime 03-08-2017

V&E partner, Michael Dry, will be a panelist at the 31st Annual National Institute on White Collar Crime at the session entitled, “The Governor McDonnell Case - Where Do We Go From Here in Public Corruption.”

V&E & Wells Fargo Habitat for Humanity Build Day 03-04-2017

V&E invited Wells Fargo to attend a Dallas Bar Association Habitat for Humanity build day. Breakfast and lunch, prepared by The Hamburger Man, sustained builders as they completed the rough framing and roof decking. Builders wrapped up the day with a happy hour at The Foundry.

NACD – Top Hot Topics for Directors in 2017 03-03-2017

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) Texas TriCities Chapter will cover potential challenges for U.S. public and private companies, including cybersecurity, shareholder activism, corporate corruption, auditing rules, and compensation issues.

4th Annual Capital Link Master Limited Partnership Investing Forum 03-02-2017

V&E is a sponsor of Capital Link’s 4th Annual Master Limited Partnership (MLP) Investing Forum being held Thursday, March 2 in New York. This forum is the only industry event focused on the institutional investor and the financial advisor community. Partner Ryan Carney will be speaking on a tax panel regarding the recently finalized MLP Qualifying Income Regulations.

BioHouston 2017 CEO Summit 02-27-2017

The CEO Summit is an annual exclusive, two-day event that provides a platform for life sciences CEOs from all over Texas to network and exchange ideas in an informal setting. V&E counsel Erin Ator Thomson will help moderate a roundtable discussion involving the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas. V&E is a sponsor of the event.

V&E / Risk Assistance Network + Exchange (RANE) Energy Investment Roundtable 03-02-2017

The energy sector’s recovery from a historic decline in oil prices in 2016 has driven renewed interest in the sector’s investment opportunities. Further fueling this interest is rising demand and advances in technology that are yielding significant cost reductions in the way oil and gas are developed and produced.

Energy Technology Roundtable 02-23-2017

This program addressed technology’s growing impact on the oil and gas industry. The panel discussed cutting edge technologies that are currently impacting the oil and gas industry, the origins and the future of oil and gas technology as well as certain legal and commercial issues to consider when investing in, working with, and/or acquiring energy technology companies.

Alternative Capital: 144A Equity Offerings and Special Purpose Acquisition Companies (SPACs) 02-22-2017

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThis program covered alternatives to traditional forms of capital raising, including 144A Equity Offerings and Special Purposes Acquisition Companies (SPACs). The presentation looked at recent market trends and precedents in such financings.

Environmental Citizens' Suit Defense: Preparing for "Private Attorneys General" in the Trump Administration 02-07-2017

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideAs the Trump Administration advances its agenda, several environmental NGOs will look to make good on their pledge to rely on citizen suit statutes to accomplish their public policy priorities. These groups hope to achieve judicial rulings on environmental theories that may not be endorsed by either the legislative or executive branches, while also being reimbursed for their efforts.

An MLP Update: The Final Regulations on Qualifying Income and Recent Delaware Supreme Court Opinions 01-25-2017

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideOn January 19, 2017, the Treasury Department and the IRS released final regulations providing guidance on the treatment of income from natural resource activities of publicly traded partnerships as qualifying income for purposes of section 7704(d)(1)(E) of the Internal Revenue Code.

Patent in the High Court 2016-2017 01-24-2017

IP Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideIn this presentation, we previewed TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Group Brands LLC and Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International and discussed the issues and potential outcomes. We also took one additional step and discussed what these cases may mean to the business of law.

The Times They Are A-Changin’: Energy Policy in the Trump Administration 01-24-2017

U.S. oil and gas policy may undergo substantial change in the next administration. Federal rules governing methane emissions, the leasing of government lands, exports, and much more could be revised in the coming years. 

The Return of Shareholder Activism to the Energy Industry 12-14-2016

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideIn this program, Kai Liekefett, head of V&E’s Shareholder Activism Response Team, financial public relations experts from Sloane, and financial experts from Morgan Stanley discussed the return of shareholder activism to the energy sector and gave an overview of advance preparation measures.

Privcap Media’s 2016 Energy Game Change Conference 12-08-2016

V&E partner Mark Proctor moderated the panel entitled “LP Second Thoughts?” as limited partners discussed co-investing and direct investing in energy deals.

Power Shift? Regulatory Change in the First 100 Days of the Trump Administration 12-08-2016

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WidePresident-Elect Donald Trump has promised to revoke or repeal many of the Obama Administration’s signature regulatory and executive actions — from immigration, labor, and employment, to financial services, energy, and the environment. This program offered a high-level overview of the legal landscape facing a new President seeking to deliver immediate regulatory change.

Preparing for an IPO: Market Update, Process and Timeline 11-09-2016

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideIn this program, V&E attorneys discuss recent IPO activity in the energy space, the IPO timeline and process overview, issues that arise during the IPO process, financial statement and structuring considerations, and governance matters.

China Intellectual Property & Innovation Summit 10-27-2016

V&E partner Chris Kao was invited to deliver an update on the Alice Corp. v. CLS Bank International case at the China Intellectual Property & Innovation Summit in Shenzhen, China, on October 28th. Chris' presentation reviewed the impact of the Alice decision in regards to Section 101 issues and patent litigation strategies following revisions to the America Invents Act (AIA).

Defining the Contours of Alice 10-25-2016

IP Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideRecent decisions on Section 101 patent-eligible subject matter have begun to connect the dots, giving additional shape to the Alice analysis.

Hydraulic Fracturing Symposium 10-05-2016

Our Sixth Annual Hydraulic Fracturing Symposium focused on timely topics surrounding unconventional oil and gas development.

Proxy Season 2016 – A Look Back & A Look Ahead 09-29-2016

Kai Liekefett, Head of V&E's Shareholder Activism Response Team, co-hosted the webinar "Proxy Season 2016: A Look Back & A Look Ahead" with RANE Network.

V&E and TPH Host Energy Infrastructure Summit 09-20-2016

Energy infrastructure continues to play a critical role in operational and investment decision-making for participants throughout the energy value chain. The outlook for the space has improved notably since the beginning of 2016 but is still not without its challenges.

MLP Qualifying Income and Market Update 09-14-2016

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThis program will cover the status of the proposed qualifying income regulations and 2016 MLP capital markets transactions, with a focus on institutional preferred equity.

Energy REITs and Real Estate MLPs 07-13-2016

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThis presentation introduced V&E’s new nationally recognized team of Real Estate Investment Trust (REIT) lawyers to the firm’s clients, and explored the corporate and tax similarities between master limited partnerships (MLPs) and REITs.

First Impressions Post-Ruling in Universal Health v. United States ex rel. Escobar 06-21-2016

V&E appellate partners John Elwood and Jeremy Marwell, and False Claims Act/Qui Tam Litigation partners Craig Margolis and Tirzah Lollar provided first impressions of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Universal Health v. United States ex rel. Escobar endorsing the implied false certification theory of liability in certain circumstances.

2016 U.S. Pharmaceutical Patent Litigation Seminar 06-14-2016

Vinson & Elkins was invited by the Chinese Pharmaceutical Manufacture and Development Association to speak in Taipei, Taiwan on May 25th, 2016. 

Jevic: Structured Dismissal SCOTUS Ruling 03-27-2017

V&E Restructuring and Reorganization Updates E-communication, March 27, 2017

The Supreme Court limited the use of “structured dismissals” in chapter 11 cases on March 22, 2017, overturning a ruling of the Third Circuit. The Court stressed that any distribution scheme in connection with a proposed chapter 11 structured dismissal must follow the basic priority rules of the Bankruptcy Code absent consent of the affected parties. Importantly, however, the Supreme Court avoided determining that interim modifications of the priority scheme cannot be permitted at any time during a case. 

Even After Section 230 Defense Doesn’t Work Out for Match.com, Federal Court Finds No Relationship Status with Plaintiff 03-24-2017

V&E Hi-Tech Update E-communication, March 24, 2017

On March 10, 2017, the District of Nevada dismissed Mary Kay Beckman’s claims against Match.com stemming from a brutal attack by Wade Ridley, a man she met through the website. The case was before the district court after the Ninth Circuit’s decision holding that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act, 47 U.S.C. § 230, did not apply to Beckman’s failure to warn claim.

Yay Team! Supreme Court Declares Cheerleading Uniforms Can Be Copyrighted 03-23-2017

V&E IP Insights E-communication, March 23, 2017

On March 22, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court held that a “decorative element” on a “useful article,” such as a cheerleader uniform, can be copyrightable.  

Supreme Court Flushes Laches: No Longer a Viable Patent Infringement Defense in Many Cases 03-22-2017

V&E IP Insights E-communication, March 22, 2017

On March 21, 2017, the U.S. Supreme Court held in a 7-1 decision that laches cannot be invoked as an equitable defense against a claim for damages arising from an infringing act that occurred within the six-year damages limitations period prescribed by 35 U.S.C. § 286. 

Texas Supreme Court Cautions Against Reliance on Wikipedia in “Welfare Queen” Defamation Case 03-22-2017

V&E Hi-Tech Update E-communication, March 22, 2017

On Friday, the Texas Supreme Court decided a closely-watched defamation case brought by a woman who claimed she was libeled when a Dallas magazine referred to her as a “welfare queen.” See D Magazine Partners, L.P. v. Rosenthal, Case No. 15-0790 (Mar. 17, 2017).

Federal Circuit Upholds Attorneys’ Fee Award Despite Bayer’s Claim It Had an “Objectively Reasonable Case on the Merits” 03-21-2017

V&E IP Insights E-Communication, March 21, 2017

On March 17, 2017, the Federal Circuit issued a rare precedential opinion affirming an award of attorneys’ fees. Bayer Cropscience AG v. Dow Agrosciences LLC, No. 2015-1854 (Fed. Cir. Mar. 17, 2017).

No Right to be Forgotten from Commercial Registers in European Union 03-14-2017

V&E Hi-Tech Update E-communication, March 14, 2017

The contours of the right to be forgotten — to have potentially damaging personal data removed from digital records — continue to take shape in the European Union (EU). 

Amgen Declines Genentech’s Invitation to the Patent Dance; Litigation Ensues 03-13-2017

V&E Hi-Tech Update E-communication, March 13, 2017

On March 1, 2017, the District of Delaware dismissed Genentech’s two-week old lawsuit against Amgen, which alleged violations of the Biologics Price Competition and Innovation Act (“BPCIA”).

Making It Easier to Challenge Arbitral Awards? UK Supreme Court Rules That a Party Challenging Enforcement of an Arbitration Award Does Not Have to Post Security 03-13-2017

V&E International Dispute Resolution Update E-communication, March 13, 2017

A recent decision of the UK Supreme Court clarified that parties raising, in good faith, genuine defences to enforcement of arbitral awards under the New York Convention may not have to put up security as a condition of having that defence heard.

It’s Hard to Fight the Feds: A New Constitutional Attack Against the TCPA Is Against the Ropes 03-10-2017

V&E Hi-Tech Update E-communication, March 10, 2017

Attempting to win a constitutional battle that many before it have lost, Time Warner Cable has sought to invalidate the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) on grounds that its new exemption for government-sponsored debt collection calls creates an impermissible “content-based” distinction between categories of regulated speech. 

UK Budget 2017 Briefing 03-08-2017

V&E Tax Update E-communication, March 8, 2017

This update summarises tax announcements made in the UK Budget on Wednesday 8 March 2017 that are likely to be most relevant to our clients. More detail on certain measures will be available when the Finance Bill is published on 20 March 2017.

Plotting a New Course – FTC Settles Sherman Section 2 Charges Against Questcor 03-06-2017

V&E Hi-Tech Update E-communication, March 6, 2017

On February 28, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission announced that it had settled its recent challenge under Section 2 of the Sherman Act to Questcor Pharmaceuticals, Inc.’s 2013 acquisition of rights to the drug Synacthen from Novartis AG.

Federal Court Rules that Google Must Face Biometric Information Privacy Class Claims 03-03-2017

V&E Hi-Tech Update E-communication, March 3, 2017

A federal district court denied Google’s motion to dismiss claims under the Illinois Biometric Information Privacy Act (BIPA), 740 ILCS 14/1 et seq., embracing a broad interpretation of the law and its potential geographic scope. 

Freddie & Fannie Shareholder Litigation Update - Podcast 03-02-2017

First published by The Federalist Society, March 2, 2017

During the 2008 financial crisis, Congress provided Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with billions of dollars in emergency funds to keep them afloat, supplemented by the investments of private investors who bet that these entities would return to profitability.

New NY Department of Financial Services Cybersecurity Requirements in Effect 03-01-2017

V&E Cybersecurity and Data Privacy Insights E-communication, March 1, 2017

Today, March 1, 2017, is the effective date of a new set of mandatory cybersecurity requirements (“Cybersecurity Requirements”) promulgated by the New York Department of Financial Services (“NYDFS”).

Why FTC V. Qualcomm Follow-On Suits Are Worth Watching 02-27-2017

First published by Law 360, February 27, 2017

The experience of Qualcomm Inc. over the last month has borne out an old litigation maxim: Where the government enforcers go, private plaintiffs follow.

Private Funds Year in Review and 2017 Outlook 02-25-2017

First published by Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation, February 25, 2017

In 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) continued its regulatory focus on private funds. The SEC investigated and brought cases related to staple issues such as disclosure failures and Foreign Corrupt Practices Act violations, and extended into areas such as cybersecurity and valuation.

"If You Have a Phone, You Have a Law[suit]": Class Actions Signal Huge Potential Plaintiff Pool in FTC v. Qualcomm Follow-on Litigation 02-23-2017

V&E Hi-Tech Update E-communication, February 23, 2017

The experience of Qualcomm over the last month has borne out an old litigation maxim: where the government enforcers go, private plaintiffs follow. Last month, as discussed in “FTC Says ‘No License, No Chips’ Policy is No Good: FTC v. Qualcomm Inc.,” the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) filed a complaint in federal district court against Qualcomm Inc. (Qualcomm), alleging the company unlawfully maintained a monopoly in baseband processors.

Supreme Court Reverses Federal Circuit and Holds that the Supply of a Single Component of a Multicomponent Product Does Not Infringe § 271(f)(1) 02-22-2017

V&E IP Insights E-Communication, February 22, 2017

On February 22, 2017, the Supreme Court held that the supply of a single component of a multicomponent product for manufacture abroad cannot as a matter of law infringe 35 U.S.C. § 271(f)(1).

Not in the Interest of Disclosure: Trump White House Strikes Down Mineral Resource Disclosure Rule 02-22-2017

V&E Environmental & FCPA/Anti-Corruption Update E-communication, February 22, 2017

On February 14, President Trump signed H.J. Res. 41, which, pursuant to the Congressional Review Act (CRA), repeals the mineral resource disclosure rule called for by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Law.

False Claims Act Cert. Monitor: Relator Asks Court to Extend Benefit of FCA Statute of Limitations Tolling Provision to Relators 03-24-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

As FCA aficionados know, the FCA’s statute of limitations provides that claims are timely only if they are brought either (1) within 6 years of the FCA violation, or (2) within 3 years of “the date when facts material to the right of action are known or reasonably should have been known by the official of the United States charged with responsibility to act in the circumstances,” up to 10 years after the FCA violation. A new FCA cert. petition raises the question whether relators in non-intervened qui tam cases can take advantage of the latter provision to toll the limitations period.

Beware of the B-1 Visa When Bringing Employees from Abroad 03-23-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

Mem Fox, a well-known and beloved 70-year old Australian children’s book author, was harshly interrogated by Customs and Border Patrol (“CBP”) agents at Los Angeles International Airport several weeks ago as she attempted to enter the U.S. to deliver the opening keynote at a literacy conference.

Nursing Homes Save Payment for Another Day as Court Grants Emergency Motion to Stay $347 Million in Judgments Against Them 03-21-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

We last reported on United States and Florida ex rel. Ruckh v. CMC II, LLC, et al., 8:11-cv-1303 (M.D. Fl.) earlier this month, when a federal jury returned a verdict for $115 million against the defendant nursing homes, finding that defendants had submitted false claims to Medicare and Medicaid for unnecessary patient care or patient care that was never supplied.  After trebling and additional penalties, CMC II and the other corporate defendants now face over $347 million in damages.  In an unusual turn of events, the defendants filed an emergency motion on March 13 in which they asked the court to stay the execution of judgments pending the Court’s consideration of one or more post-trial motions to be filed by the end of March.  The emergency motion went unopposed, and the court granted the motion.

Risk Discussions That Satisfy Engineers and Lawyers 03-21-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

Lawyers get nervous when clients talk about safety risks — especially when clients start writing these discussions down. We worry that the client will write something that will be used against the client in the future. At the same time, engineers know that risk must be considered in any discussion involving operations including decisions about staffing, maintenance schedules, and capital budgets. While these concerns may appear difficult to reconcile, there are ways to discuss risk that can satisfy both the lawyers and the engineers.

Ding, Dong, the Case is Dead – Which Old Case, the Barko Case 03-16-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

This spring’s winter blast may dampen this year’s cherry blossoms but didn’t dim the spirits of your friends at LLB, especially those who represented KBR in the long-running Barko qui tam case. Huddled indoors on Tuesday, we received an unexpected, but welcome glimmer of sunshine. Over three years after the motion was filed, the district court issued a more than 60-page decision granting summary judgment for KBR. United States ex rel. Barko v. Halliburton Co., et al., No. 05-cv-1276. Judge Royce Lamberth, who penned the decision, is the third district judge to sit on this case since its inception a dozen years ago, having inherited the case (and then-pending summary judgment motion) from Judge James Gwin, who had in turn taken over the case from Judge Emmet Sullivan at the motion to dismiss stage. This non-intervened case, filed under seal in 2005, alleged that KBR violated the FCA in a number of ways, including by accepting kickbacks, rigging subcontractor bids, and billing the government for duplicative or poorly performed work under the LOGCAP cost reimbursement contract under which KBR provided logistical support to the U.S. military during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Major Investment Manager Makes Climate-Related Disclosure a Priority for 2017-2018 03-15-2017

Climate Change Blog

Earlier this month the world’s largest asset manager, BlackRock, Inc., announced five “engagement priorities” for the coming year. Improving climate risk disclosure made BlackRock’s priority list alongside the more traditional areas of focus: governance, corporate strategy, compensation and human capital. BlackRock stated it will “engage companies most exposed to climate risk to understand their views on the TCFD [Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures] recommendations and to encourage them to consider using this reporting framework as it is finalized and subsequently evolves over time.”

EPA Withdraws Request for Information About GHG Emissions From the Oil and Gas Industry 03-14-2017

Climate Change Blog

On March 2, 2017, EPA announced that it was withdrawing its information collect request (the “ICR”) asking owners and operators in the oil and natural gas industry to provide information on equipment and air emissions at existing oil and gas operations. The withdrawal is effective immediately, meaning owners and operators—including those who have received an extension to their due dates for providing the information—are no longer required to respond to the request. Unlike other actions taken by the prior administration’s EPA, such as final regulations promulgated in compliance with the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”), the ICR could be withdrawn without notice and comment, because it was not a rule subject to APA procedures.

Moody’s Manhandles Materiality: Court Finds Materiality Defeated by Government’s Continued Payment after News Reports and Congressional Hearings 03-10-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

On the heels of the D.C. Circuit’s favorable materiality decision in U.S. ex rel. McBride v. Halliburton, which we wrote about previously, the Southern District of New York on March 2 issued another helpful materiality decision for defendants. In U.S. ex rel. Kolchinsky v. Moody’s Corp., the district court found that congressional investigations and news reports about a relator’s allegations put federal agencies on notice of the relator’s allegations. No. 12-cv-1399, 2017 WL 825478 (S.D.N.Y. Mar. 2, 2017). Because the government paid the defendant’s claims after those public investigations and reports, the court concluded the relator’s allegations failed Escobar’s materiality test.

A French Revolution in the World of Human Rights Law 03-09-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

Over the last several years, several countries have taken steps to encourage and, to a lesser degree, compel businesses to deal with human rights and environmental issues within their own organizations and in their supply chains. The UK’s Modern Slavery Act 2015 is a good example, requiring companies to report their efforts to prevent slavery and human rights trafficking in their supply chains. What started out as non-binding guidance from the United Nations has been made into directly effective “hard law” in an increasing number of countries. The most recent example comes from France, which has imposed on large French companies a new “duty of vigilance” with significant fines for noncompliance. While the law will not go into effect until after review by the country’s Constitutional Council, the new measure signals that the movement toward codification of principles derived from non-binding international guidance is not stopping anytime soon and that enforcement provisions are beginning to get serious.

Automakers Request that EPA Withdraw Final Determination Vehicle Emission Standards and Resume Midterm Evaluation 03-09-2017

Climate Change Blog

On Tuesday, February 21st, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers (“Alliance”), an association representing twelve of the leading manufacturers of cars and light trucks in the United States, formally requested that EPA withdraw the Final Determination on the Appropriateness of the Model Year 2022-2025 Light-Duty Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emissions Standards under the Midterm Evaluation (“Final Determination”).

Texas Supreme Court Gives Employers New Tool to Slap Down Defamation Claims 03-07-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

When a company does an investigation, it needs honest answers from its supervisors. But how does that happen if the supervisors are worried about being sued for defamation by the employees involved? Travis Coleman, for example, was fired by Exxon for failing to gauge storage tanks at a facility where he worked as a terminal technician. Coleman then sued Exxon and his supervisors, alleging that he had been defamed by statements made by the supervisors to the company’s safety investigators.

D.C. Court Declines to Find U.S. Postal Service Suffered No Damages from Lance Armstrong’s Doping Admissions and Greenlights $100 Million FCA Case for Trial 03-07-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

Just a few short weeks ago, the D.C. District Court issued an opinion ruling on cross-motions for summary judgment in the infamous Lance Armstrong FCA case. United States ex rel. Landis v. Tailwind Sports Corp., No. 10-cv-00976, 2017 WL 573470 (D.D.C. Feb. 13, 2017). This case is premised on allegedly false claims made under sponsorship agreements between the U.S. Postal Service (“Postal Service”) and the cycling team headed by Lance Armstrong because Armstrong and his team members were secretly using performance-enhancing drugs (“PED”) in violation of the terms of the sponsorship agreements. Originally filed under seal in 2010 by former teammate and admitted PED user Floyd Landis, the government has since intervened and now seeks over $32 million in damages, which after trebling and application of penalties could soar as high as $100 million. This amount would likely be paid in large part by Armstrong himself, as the team’s highest-paid rider. The Court’s summary judgment decision sets the stage for an interesting and high-stakes race to the November 6, 2017 trial date.

Privilege and the Internal Investigation 03-02-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

When a company does an internal investigation, what does it need to do to ensure that the investigation is protected by the attorney-client privilege? Many companies erroneously believe that cc’ing the in-house counsel on the emails about the investigation is all that it takes to ensure that the investigation will be protected. It will not. However, a Texas court recently offered some helpful guidance on the steps that a company can take – at least in Texas – to ensure that an internal investigation remains protected by the attorney-client privilege.

A Roll of the Dice: FCA Jury Verdict Finds Over $115 Million in Damages 03-02-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

After betting it all on a federal jury in Florida, four defendants in a non-intervened qui tam FCA action now face more than $347 million in damages. The jury returned a verdict for $115 million, which the court then trebled and tacked on more than $2.4 million in penalties. In United States and Florida ex rel. Ruckh v. CMC II, LLC, et al., 8:11-cv-1303 (M.D. Fl.), the four corporate defendants—CMC II LLC, Salus Rehabilitation LLC, 207 Marshall Drive Operations LLC, and 803 Oak Street Operations LLC—were found to have submitted, or caused to be submitted, false claims to Medicare and Medicaid for patient care that was unneeded, or not supplied at all, at 53 skilled nursing facilities (“SNFs”) in Florida. In rare jury verdicts like this and the verdict we covered last year, the jury’s verdict is only the first bad draw for defendants: trebling, penalties, attorney’s fees, reasonable expenses, and costs are all part of the second wave of misfortune when an FCA defendant loses at trial.

Executive Order Calls for Rescinding or Revising WOTUS Rule 02-28-2017

Water Blog

On February 28, President Trump issued an Executive Order (the “Order”) calling on the United States Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) and the United States Army Corps of Engineers (“USACE”) to rescind or revise the controversial Waters of the United States (“WOTUS”) rule, which was finalized in June 2015.  Specifically, the Order requires the EPA Administrator and the Assistant Secretary of the USACE to review the WOTUS rule in light of a policy statement set forth in the Order, which states that it is in the national interest to both keep the nation’s water free from pollution, and “promot[e] economic growth, minimiz[e] regulatory uncertainty, and show[] due regard for the roles played by Congress and the States under the Constitution.”

False Claims Act Cert. Monitor: Second Circuit Case Remanded for Escobar, Three Other FCA Cert. Petitions Denied 02-28-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court granted the relators’ petition for certiorari, vacated the judgment below, and remanded (“GVR’d”) in Bishop v. Wells Fargo & Co., No. 16-578, with instructions for the Second Circuit to reconsider its decision in light of the Supreme Court’s decision in Escobar.  As we explained last November, the Second Circuit, following its precedent in Mikes v. Straus, 274 F.3d 687 (2d Cir. 2001), had concluded that a general certification of compliance with banking regulations was not an express certification  of compliance with a specific statute, and that because the relevant regulations did not state that compliance was a precondition of payment they could not form the basis of an implied certification  FCA claim.

Everything Crazy Can Be Sane Again 02-23-2017

Labor & Employment 

We can hope that new appointments to the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) and its General Counsel will eventually return some sanity to American labor law. Until such time, we can only hope that the federal courts of appeals will continue to scrutinize the NLRB’s decisions. 

"The Benefit of Hindsight": The D.C. Circuit Holds That the Government's Failure to Seek Repayments After Investigating a Relator’s Allegations Is "Very Strong Evidence" of Immateriality 02-22-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

On Friday, the D.C. Circuit issued its first decision applying Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar. The D.C. Circuit’s decision, United States ex rel. McBride v. Halliburton Co., provides important guidance regarding the False Claims Act’s materiality standard and applies that standard to an implied certification theory.

Avoiding Non-Compliance with the ADA for Emergency Response Personnel 02-21-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

An employee is not protected under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) if he is unable to perform the essential functions of the employment position he holds. But what makes a particular job function “essential,” and can a job function be “essential” even if it is rarely performed? Last month, the Eleventh Circuit joined the Sixth and Eighth Circuits in holding that a job function that is rarely performed may still be considered “essential.” In Bagwell v. Morgan County Commission,1 the Court found that, although certain maintenance tasks were rarely required, a park groundskeeper was not qualified to do the job in part because she could not safely perform such tasks.

Double Dipping: Liability for FCA Violations Doesn't Necessarily End with the DOJ 02-21-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

Last month a federal judge in Tennessee approved a $60 million settlement in a shareholder derivative action brought on behalf of Community Health Systems, Inc., officially resolving five years of litigation. A qui tam FCA action based on the same underlying conduct settled for $98 million in 2014, not including the attorneys’ fees and expenses also owed. Both actions arose from allegations that the company shirked the traditional evidence-based and objective admissions criteria used by most hospitals in favor of more lenient criteria designed to steer patients toward medically unnecessary inpatient admissions.

Interview with Bloomberg Markets on Shareholder Activism 01-30-2017

Bloomberg interviews V&E partner Kai Liekefett on "Why the Fireworks Go Off During Proxy Season."

V&E Launches Redesigned Shale & Fracking Tracker 10-18-2016

We welcome you to visit the V&E Shale & Fracking Tracker, a one-stop resource for the latest news, events, and materials related to legal, government, and industry developments in shale and hydraulic fracturing operations.

EPA’s National Enforcement Initiatives for Fiscal Years 2017–2019 10-01-2016

On October 1, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (“EPA”) National Enforcement Initiatives (“NEIs”) for fiscal years 2017-2019 took effect.

Controlling Costs in International Arbitration 09-21-2016

Arbitration is always said to have been cheaper, quicker and more confidential than the equivalent court proceedings.  More often than not, however, many arbitration users have discovered this is not always the case. In this video, V&E partner Mark Beeley, will share how you can reverse this trend with careful planning up front.

Why Private Equity’s Wait for Distressed Energy Deals Might be Over 09-20-2016

As prices for oil and gas have fluctuated in the past two years, so have private equity’s expectations to buy distressed energy assets. V&E partner Mark Proctor speaks to Privcap about why private equity might finally be able to seize on these opportunities.

Implementing a Dispute Resolution Framework in Construction Projects 09-12-2016

Scott Stiegler, a senior associate in V&E’s International Construction Disputes practice, outlines some important considerations when implementing an efficient and effective dispute resolution framework in your construction contract.

The Shareholder Activist Playbook 09-09-2016

Kai Liekefett, head of V&E’s Shareholder Activism Response Team, describes the typical shareholder activist’s playbook.

A Profile of V&E’s Energy Appellate Practice 08-31-2016

Marie Yeates, co-chair of V&E's Appellate practice, is a veteran appellate practitioner with deep experience handling energy appeals, particularly in Texas and Louisiana. She explains what legal issues we have handled in this industry, many of which have resulted in landmark decisions, and what makes this niche practice invaluable to clients.

Kayo Conference: Perspectives on the Impact of the Recent Drop in Commodity Prices 08-01-2016

V&E senior associate Brittany Sakowitz shares perspectives on the impact of the drop in commodity prices on companies and investors involved in the energy industry.

TV Interview with The Street on Shareholder Activism 07-19-2016

V&E partner Kai Liekefett spoke to The Street on the topic “Over-Eager Activist Investors Are Partly to Blame for Mega-Deal Failures.” 

An Illustration of Nationality Planning 07-08-2016

When making a significant investment in a new jurisdiction, companies should consider nationality planning, or investment treaty protection, as a tool to help protect against political risk.

A Closer Look at EPA's New Methane Rules for the Oil and Gas Industry 06-22-2016

On May 12, 2016, EPA issued a slate of final rules and an information request under the Clean Air Act directed at the oil and gas industry. This is the first time EPA is directly regulating methane as a greenhouse gas. These rules will have widespread application to the oil and gas industry, including production, processing, transmission, and storage. 

Safety Minute: Environmental Considerations when Acquiring Distressed Assets 06-14-2016

What should companies look for when looking to acquire distressed assets in a down market environment? Brandon Tuck, member of V&E’s Environmental & Natural Resources practice, highlights components of due diligence reviews prior to engaging in a transaction that can help protect against unwanted environmental risk.

Safety Minute: Managing Environmental Programs in a Down Market 06-14-2016

There are certain environmental issues companies should consider before downsizing environmental and safety programs.

Brandon Tuck, member of V&E’s Environmental & Natural Resources Practice, talks through several items companies should consider when trying to manage costs in a down market. 


Safety Minute: Safety Considerations When Downsizing 06-14-2016

Tom Wilson, head of V&E’s OSHA practice, highlights the importance of cross referencing emergency response plan documents when considering downsizing operations and conducting layoffs.

Understanding the Impact of Public International Law 06-06-2016

Public international law, while abstract, does have meaning for international businesses. George Burn, a partner in V&E’s International Dispute Resolution & Arbitration practice, explains public international law and some key areas of commercial application – specifically regarding borders (both maritime and territorial) and the authority of international organizations, such as INTERPOL.

Enforcing International Law – A Powerful Tool for Investors 06-06-2016

George Burn, a partner in V&E’s International Dispute Resolution & Arbitration practice, explains the development of international law’s enforcement mechanism – investor-state arbitration.

Employment Consideration in International Asset Transactions 06-03-2016

Martin Luff, counsel in V&E’s International Employment practice, highlights some of the differences between U.S. and international transactions with regards to the transfer of employment and employee benefits. Buyers and sellers must consider all potential issues that may arise in the different jurisdictions where business deals occur.

Global Reductions in Force 06-03-2016

Martin Luff, counsel in V&E’s International Employment practice, highlights the issues employers must consider when implementing global layoffs or reductions in force.

Workers’ Compensation Insurance: Do You Have the Coverage You Think You Do? 06-03-2016

There are several benefits to workers’ compensation insurance. For example, it provides benefits to an employee in the event of a workplace injury and provides an exclusive remedy protecting the employer from most types of negligence claims.

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