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2018 AIPLA Mid-Winter Institute 01-26-2018

On Friday, January 26, partner Devika Kornbacher will speak on “Law Firm Privacy – Have You Been Hacked?” as part of a larger panel titled, “Keeping Private Data Private – Law Firm Cybersecurity and the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)” at the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA) Mid-Winter Institute.

Two Courts Confirm Penalties Not Yet Issued Do Not Support Reverse False Claims 01-25-2018

Lincoln's Law Blog

The D.C. Circuit and the Tenth Circuit recently joined several other circuits, including the Fifth, Sixth, and Eighth, in holding that liability for reverse false claims cannot be based on contingent obligations to pay the government (meaning obligations to pay that may arise after future discretionary actions), reaffirming that when Congress amended the FCA in 2009 to define the term “obligation,” it intended that liability would result for reverse false claims only where there are failures to pay specific, definite obligations owed to the government.

Federal Trade Commission Civil Penalties Receive Inflation Adjusted Increases 01-25-2018

V&E Antitrust Update E-communication, January 25, 2018

On January 22, 2018, the Federal Trade Commission published the revised maximum monetary penalties for civil violations within its jurisdiction.  

Brexit, January 2018 Edition — Anything New to Report? 01-25-2018

Labor & Employment Blog

It has been some time since this blog contemplated the employment law ramifications of Brexit, so the new year seems like a good opportunity to give our readers an update. Is there anything new to report?

Oil and Gas Disputes 2018 01-25-2018

On Thursday, January 25, 2018, V&E energy litigation partner, Mark Rodriguez will speak on the Royalty Litigation panel at the Texas Bar Oil & Gas Disputes course cosponsored by the Oil, Gas and Energy Law Section of the State Bar of Texas and Texas Tech University School of Law.

"Taint" Theory of Damages Dead in the Seventh Circuit? One District Court Has Not Received the Message 01-24-2018

Lincoln's Law Blog

Adopting a view that has been roundly rejected by federal circuit courts (including the Seventh Circuit), the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois in United States & City of Chicago ex rel. Chicago Regional Council of Carpenters v. Sound Solutions Windows & Doors, Inc. endorsed the “taint” theory of FCA damages, awarding the full value of contracts as damages based on the defendants’ non-compliance with a contractual term, notwithstanding their complete performance of the tangible work under the contracts.

BlackRock’s 2018 CEO Letter: A New “Sense of Purpose” For Corporate America? 01-24-2018

V&E Corporate Governance Update E-communication, January 24, 2018

From the lips of the world’s largest investor, these words have created a shockwave across corporate America. In his 2018 letter to CEOs, entitled “A Sense of Purpose,” BlackRock CEO Larry Fink also observes that “[s]ociety is demanding that companies…serve a social purpose,” and argues that without such purpose, “no company…can achieve its full potential.”

CFIUS Annual Report Confirms Recent Trends and Highlights Factors to be Considered when Notifying Transactions to CFIUS 01-23-2018

V&E CFIUS Update E-communication, January 23, 2018

The Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (“CFIUS,” or the “Committee”) has issued the public version of its annual report to Congress for calendar year 2015 (the “Report”).

BSEE Signals Change in OCS Regulation and Leasing 01-23-2018

V&E Environmental Law Update E-communication, January 23, 2018

Since the end of December 2017, the Department of Interior (DOI) has proposed significant changes to its offshore drilling program, rolling back and delaying implementation of Obama-era rules in favor of the oil and gas industry, and dramatically increasing the number of Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) acres available for lease. 

Posthaste: An NLRB Update in the New Year 01-23-2018

Labor & Employment Blog

As we’ve previously discussed, the National Labor Relations Board (the “Board”) is moving at breakneck speed on a number of issues. Here is an update on six employer-friendly headlines from December and January (outside of the four major decisions we’ve already seen and written about here and here).

YPE Houston Breakfast Series 01-23-2018

YPE Houston is hosting its first event of 2018 with a Breakfast Series featuring guest speakers from Vinson & Elkins, Jason L. McIntosh (Partner, Tax) and Neil Clausen (Associate, Tax) who will be discussing "Tax Reform Update and Implications".

Negotiation Ethics: Winning Without Selling Your Soul 01-23-2018

Lawyers negotiate every day and negotiating ethically and maintaining their reputations as ethical and professional is critical to the successful practice of law. 

ACI's FCPA Conference 01-23-2018

On January 24, 2018 V&E partner, Jeff Johnston, will present on the "Repeat Offenders: How to Mitigate the Risk of Recidivism with FCPA Compliance" panel at the American Conference Institute’s (ACI) 12th Houston Forum on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA).

The Gift That Keeps On Giving: Pre-ACA Public Disclosure Bar's Stringent Original Source Requirements Defeat Relator's Claim in the Fifth Circuit 01-19-2018

Lincoln's Law Blog

As we have written about previously, although almost eight years have passed since the 2010 ACA amendments, because qui tam actions often stay under seal for many years, there are numerous cases before the courts to this day that involve conduct that occurred prior to the amendments. Most recently, the Fifth Circuit in United States ex rel Solomon v. Lockheed Martin Corp. upheld a grant of summary judgment in favor of defendants Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman where the relator failed to show that his knowledge of the allegedly false claim was not derived from earlier public disclosures under the pre-2010 amendments to the original source exception. 878 F.3d 139 (5th Cir. 2017).

One Size Does Not Fit All: Non-Competes in the Asia Pacific 01-19-2018

Labor & Employment Blog

Much like in the U.S., Asia-Pacific countries generally disfavor restraints on trade as a matter of public policy and enforce them, if at all, only to the extent the restrictions (1) are reasonable in light of the facts, (2) are supported by adequate consideration, and (3) protect a legitimate business interest. Highlighted below are certain guidelines concerning post-employment non-compete agreements in seven nations that are popular choices for regional headquarters of U.S.-based multinational companies.

Important News for Publicly Traded Tech Companies: The Supreme Court Will Decide the Constitutionality of the SEC’s ALJ Appointment Process 01-18-2018

High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) is considered by many to be the nation’s top watchdog on Wall Street — sniffing out insider trading, market manipulation, and financial fraud. But the reality is that any publicly traded company is subject to SEC regulation and enforcement. The tech industry, with its ever-changing landscape, may become a hot bed of SEC enforcement activity, especially as companies continue to navigate uncharted waters such as crypto currencies and innovative “initial coin offering” funding methods.

5th ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration 01-18-2018

V&E is a proud sponsor of the 5th Annual ITA-IEL-ICC Joint Conference on International Energy Arbitration. This program focuses on a review of the year past and the year ahead in the arbitration of international disputes in the energy industry.

Wind Energy: The Art of Coping with Uncertainty 01-17-2018

Please join the Guarini Center for a discussion on “Wind Energy: The Art of Coping with Uncertainty.”

DOL Changes Course on When an Intern Should Be Paid 01-16-2018

Labor & Employment Blog

In the last few years, we have discouraged our clients — including many of the non-profit organizations that we represent on a pro bono basis — from engaging unpaid interns. 

Fuzzy Math: DOJ Tweaks Five Years of FCA Statistics 01-16-2018

Lincoln's Law Blog

As reported on Law360 last Thursday, DOJ has quietly revised its FCA statistics for fiscal year 2017, which we wrote about when they came out last December. We have posted a redline comparing the two versions. DOJ offered no explanation for these alterations, but we think the redline shows DOJ making two different types of changes.

Trends in Commercial Litigation 06-20-2017

V&E partner David Tsai participated on a panel via webinar covering recent trends in commercial litigation, including how legal technology tools are affecting litigation.

Benchmark Women in Litigation Forum - West 06-20-2017

V&E partner Jessica Mussallem is participating in a panel discussion entitled, “Government Investigations and Compliance” at the Benchmark Women in Litigation Forum in Palo Alto. 

Trade Secrets Protection and Litigation: How to Respond Effectively When A Company Becomes A Victim of Intellectual Property Theft 06-15-2017

Please join Sandpiper Partners LLC, featuring V&E partners Michael Dry and Craig Tyler, for a half-day summit on a variety of topics.

3rd Annual GAR Live Energy Disputes 06-15-2017

Vinson & Elkins is pleased to be sponsoring the 3rd Annual GAR Live Energy Disputes. The event will feature a series of thought provoking panel discussions and a networking lunch, and will conclude with a drinks reception from 5:15 p.m. onwards.

33rd Annual Texas Federal Tax Institute 06-14-2017

V&E partner John Lynch will speak on "M&A Transactions with Publicly Traded Partnerships, C Corp IPOs, and Up-C Transactions" on Thursday, June 15 at 4:00 p.m.

M&A Transaction Structures, Corporate, Reporting, and Tax Considerations 06-14-2017

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideIn this program, V&E attorneys discussed transaction structures for mergers and acquisitions, including Up-Cs and double-dummy mergers.

Popcorn & Principles XV: More Fun at the Movies 06-13-2017

Nothing is more important to a lawyer's long-term success than a fundamental understanding of the rules of professional conduct. 

UT Law’s 24th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference 06-12-2017

Sean Becker is leading a session entitled, Non-Competes Under Attack at UT Law’s 24th Annual Labor and Employment Law Conference.

SuperReturn Energy 2017 – Where Private Equity Investors Meet To Shape the Future of Energy Investment 06-12-2017

V&E partner Kaam Sahely will speak on a panel entitled “Playing the Recovery in Midstream & Natural Gas Markets,” which will address how managers are looking to play the recovery of the market, appropriate risk adjusted returns, and future liquid directed opportunities.

33rd Annual Bankruptcy & Restructuring Conference 06-09-2017

This four-day conference, which is sponsored by the Association of Insolvency & Restructuring Advisors, will focus on will focus on the latest issues and trends in bankruptcy and restructuring. V&E partner Jim Lee will speak on the topic, “Hot Topics in Fraud” at 11:00 a.m. on June 9.

9th Anti-Corruption Compliance in China Summit 2017 06-08-2017

On Thursday, June 8, V&E counsel John Zadkovich will moderate a panel titled “How to Build a Compliance System and to Prevent Corruption in a Medium Company with Global Challenges.”


Annual SEC/DOJ Enforcement 2017 Update 06-06-2017

Matt Jacobs is a featured panelist at the “Annual SEC/DOJ Enforcement 2017 Update” breakfast briefing hosted by Sandpiper Partners LLC in San Francisco on Tuesday, June 6.

30th Annual Environmental, Health & Safety Seminar 06-05-2017

V&E’s Emergency Response & Crisis Management practice is proud to sponsor the 30th Annual Environmental, Health & Safety (EHS) Seminar coordinated by the Texas Chemical Council (TCC) and Association of Chemical Industry of Texas (ACIT) in collaboration with the Louisiana Chemical Association (LCA) and the Louisiana Chemical Industry Alliance (LCIA). 

UT Law's 2017 Conference on State and Federal Appeals 06-01-2017

V&E partner Michael Heidler will speak on "Interlocutory Appeals, Summary Judgments, and the Impact of Early Dismissals on Appellate Dockets" on Friday, June 2 at 9:30 a.m. 

The National Association of Corporate Directors’ Summit: The Strategic-Asset GC 06-01-2017

The National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) is holding its annual GC summit, “The Strategic-Asset GC” on June 1st.

12th Annual Texas Bankruptcy Bench Bar Conference 06-01-2017

This two-day conference, which is sponsored by the Texas Bankruptcy Bench Bar of the State Bar of Texas, will focus on a broad range of current issues and topics in business and consumer bankruptcy. V&E counsel Brad Foxman will speak on the topic, “Business: Modern Trends and Creative Uses of DIP Financing” at 4:15 p.m. on June 1.

2017 MLP Annual Investor Conference 05-31-2017

V&E is a sponsor of the Master Limited Partnership Association’s (MLPA) 2017 Master Limited Partnership (MLP) Annual Investor Conference being held May 31st through June 2nd.

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.

18th Annual B. Riley & Co. Institutional Investor Conference 05-24-2017

V&E is a sponsor of B. Riley & Co.’s 18th Annual Investor Conference being held May 24th and 25th in Santa Monica, California.

2017 General Counsel & Regulatory Affairs Conference of KKR Portfolio Companies 05-23-2017

V&E partner, Bill Lawler, is a panel moderator in a session about whistleblowers at 2017 General Counsel & Regulatory Affairs Conference of KKR Portfolio Companies. The session will take you through the anatomy of a whistleblower interview, successful techniques, as well as common mistakes and pitfalls that can undermine an effective strategy.

Crisis Planning: Part 1 – The Financial or Business Crisis Scenario 05-11-2016

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideA sudden financial loss. The loss of a key executive. A business partner turns bad. In the first part of our crisis planning presentations, we concentrate on internal business and financial crisis such as these.

Oil & Gas Distress: Bankruptcy Issues Deep Dive 04-13-2016

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThis presentation covers a variety of trending and hot topics in the restructuring and bankruptcy process.

MLP Simplifications, Roll-Ups, and Recapitalizations 03-09-2016

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideIn this presentation, V&E attorneys cover sponsor acquisitions of MLPs, MLP acquisitions of GPs and IDRs, and subordinated unit restructurings.

Current Issues in Energy Storage 03-03-2016

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideIn this program, V&E partner Mike Tomsu and attorney Becky Diffen, who have worked on some of the first and largest storage projects in the country, will discuss current issues affecting the industry.

Key Considerations in Distressed Upstream M&A 02-17-2016

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideIn this program, attorneys from V&E’s Corporate and Bankruptcy practices provide strategic and practical issues to consider when acquiring oil and gas properties from distressed, insolvent and bankrupt sellers.

26th Annual Texas Wetlands Conference 01-29-2016

V&E Environmental & Natural Resources attorney Brandon Tuck presented at the 26th Annual Texas Wetlands Conference on January 29, 2016. View the presentation here.

What to Expect in 2016: Federal Environmental Outlook For the Oil and Gas Sector 01-21-2016

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThe Obama Administration is closing out its second term with a sweeping and aggressive environmental agenda, including a host of regulations and other initiatives affecting the oil and gas sector.

Alternative Sources of Capital Raising in a Distressed Market 01-13-2016

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideThis program covers alternative sources of capital raising in a distressed market, including private master limited partnerships (private MLPs), private investments in public equity (PIPEs), preferred offerings to private equity investors and the retail public (private and retail preferred offerings), and MLP consolidations (MLP roll-ups).

MLP 101 10-14-2015

Energy Series Logo - Thumbnail - 125x120This program covers the typical organizational and capital structure of MLPs, governance and accounting issues, and a primer on tax considerations and qualifying income.

Energy Restructuring and Reorganization 04-16-2015

Energy Series Logo - Mini Thumbnail - 50px WideRecent price declines in the oil and gas markets have created challenges in the energy sector.

Supreme Court Finds Patent Law Exhausting 05-30-2017

V&E IP Insights E-communication, May 30, 2017

On May 30, 2017, in Impression Products, Inc. v. Lexmark International, Inc., No. 15-1189, the Supreme Court reversed the Federal Circuit’s en banc decision on patent exhaustion, holding that a patentee may not rely on a patent infringement claim to restrict a purchaser from using or reselling a product purchased from a patentee or an authorized seller.

The UK’s Serious Fraud Office Successfully Chips Away Privilege Protections in the Investigations Context 05-24-2017

V&E FCPA & Global Anti-Corruption Update E-communication, May 24, 2017

The General Director of the UK’s principal corruption enforcer, the Serious Fraud Office (“SFO”), David Green, previously warned companies that the SFO would challenge privilege claims it considers unfounded.

Home Is Where the Heart(land) Is 05-22-2017

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

On May 22, 2017, in TC Heartland LLC v. Kraft Foods Grp. Brands LLC, No. 16-341 (May 22, 2017), the Supreme Court disrupted decades of Federal Circuit precedent interpreting the patent venue statute, 28 U.S.C. § 1400(b).

Trump Administration Aims to Modernize Federal IT Infrastructure and Articulates New Cybersecurity Priorities 05-18-2017

V&E Government Contracts Update E-communication, May 18, 2017

On May 11, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order on Strengthening the Cybersecurity of Federal Networks and Critical Infrastructure (the “EO”), an important step in centralizing the government’s strategy for cyber defense and modernizing federal information technology (“IT”) architecture.

Loose Lips Sink Ships . . . And Patents 05-17-2017

V&E IP Insights E-communication, May 17, 2017

On May 11, 2017, in Aylus Networks, Inc. v. Apple Inc., the Federal Circuit ruled that statements made by a patent owner during an inter partes review (“IPR”) proceeding before the Patent Trial and Appeal Board (“the Board”) can support a finding of prosecution disclaimer during a district court claim construction proceeding, resolving an issue of first impression.

Welcome Certainty For Investors From 27 OIC Member States 05-09-2017

First published by Law 360, May 9, 2017

Until recently, investors in the 27 states that ratified the Agreement on Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of Investments of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (the “OIC agreement”) have only had theoretical access to the guarantees of investment protection set out in that agreement.

New Pressure for Energy Over Environment? 05-03-2017

First published by The National Law Journal , May 3, 2017

A well-worn stereotype portrays American corporations and particularly the energy industry as ambivalent at best about the environment.

Another “Operation Car Wash” FCPA Settlement: Federal Court Orders Odebrecht to Pay $2.6 Billion, but Amount Could Have Been Higher 04-21-2017

V&E FCPA & Global Anti-Corruption Update E-communication, April 21, 2017

On Monday, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York ordered Odebrecht SA, a Brazilian engineering and construction conglomerate, to pay a $93 million criminal penalty to the United States for violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (“FCPA”).

Qualcomm Strikes Back: Claims Apple “Induced” South Korean Investigation and Fine 04-21-2017

V&E High-Tech Law & Litigation E-communication, April 21, 2017

Qualcomm Inc. recently filed a 139-page answer and counterclaims in Apple Inc. v. Qualcomm Inc., 17-cv-108 (S.D. Cal.), a high-profile case in which Apple alleges that Qualcomm failed to offer fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory (“FRAND”) licensing terms for essential patents.

NPE Licensee Now, Reluctant ITC Discovery Participant Later: Satisfying Domestic Industry Activity Through Licensees 04-19-2017

V&E High-Tech Law & Litigation E-communication, April 19, 2017

In a decision issued on February 8, 2017, an administrative law judge (“ALJ”) of the International Trade Commission (“ITC”) confirmed that a patent owner can rely on its licensee’s activities to satisfy the “domestic industry” requirement of a Section 337 Investigation (the “Investigation”). 

Buyer Beware: How Violation of a Consent Order Resulted in a $6.2 Million Penalty 04-06-2017

V&E IP Insights E-communication, April 6, 2017

On April 4, 2017, the U.S. International Trade Commission (“ITC”) upheld its civil penalty of $6.2 million against DeLorme Publishing Company, Inc. and DeLorme InReach LLC (collectively, “DeLorme”), now known as DBN Holding, Inc. and BDN LLC (collectively, “DBN”), for DeLorme’s violation of a consent order. 

Permanent Court of Arbitration Steps in to Appoint an Arbitrator on Behalf of Libya 04-04-2017

V&E International Dispute Resolution Update E-communication, April 4, 2017

Until last week, investors in the 27 States that ratified the Agreement on Promotion, Protection and Guarantee of Investments of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (the “OIC Agreement”) have only had theoretical access to the guarantees of investment protection set out in that agreement.

D.C. Circuit Throws Out an FCC Junk Fax Prevention Act Rule 04-04-2017

V&E High-Tech Law & Litigation E-communication, April 4, 2017

On March 31, 2017, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit invalidated a Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) rule requiring advertisers to place opt-out notices on solicited faxes, subject to penalties for noncompliance.

Boehringer Ruling Limits Treatment Method Patent Eligibility 03-30-2017

First published by Law 360, March 30, 2017

A recent decision from the District of New Jersey illustrates a potential challenge facing many life sciences patentees under the current patent-eligibility framework.

Why Time Warner's Attack Against The TCPA Is On The Ropes 03-30-2017

First published by Law 360, March 30, 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 on grounds that its new exemption for government-sponsored debt collection calls creates an impermissible “content-based” distinction between categories of regulated speech.

FCC Broadband Consumer Privacy Rules Repealed 03-30-2017

V&E High-Tech Law & Litigation E-communication, March 30, 2017

On Tuesday, March 28, 2017, Congress voted to rollback a regulation that imposed stricter data privacy rules on the collection, use, and sharing of consumer data by broadband Internet service providers (ISPs). 

SEC Adopts T+2 Settlement 03-29-2017

V&E SEC Update E-communication, March 29, 2017

On March 22, 2017, the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) amended Exchange Act Rule 15c6-1(a), which shortens the standard settlement cycle for most broker-dealer transactions to T+2 (two days after the trade date) from the previous T+3 standard.

Top 10 Questions from the Supreme Court at Yesterday’s TC Heartland Oral Argument 03-28-2017

V&E IP Insights E-communication, March 28, 2017

Following one of the year’s most publicized IP cases, patent litigators and litigants anxiously await the Supreme Court’s ruling on patent litigation venue issues in TC Heartland v. Kraft

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 High-Tech Law & Litigation 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.

Trumping Up CFIUS? Proposed Legislation Expands CFIUS Reviews To Include a Wide Variety of Technology Transactions 11-14-2017

High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

Section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (the “DPA”) authorizes the President of the United States and the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (the “Committee” or “CFIUS”) to take such action to protect the national security with regard to any transaction in which a foreign person could obtain control of a U.S. business (a “Covered Transaction”). Practitioners generally believe that CFIUS has and wields broad and effective authority to protect the national security of the United States. However, Senator John Cornyn (R-Texas) and key figures within the Administration apparently do not share that view, as on November 8, 2017, Senator Cornyn and a bipartisan group of co-sponsors introduced the Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act of 2017 to amend the DPA (the “Amendment”). If enacted, the Amendment will significantly expand the authority of CFIUS by broadening the types of transactions that CFIUS is able to review and lengthening the list of factors that CFIUS is to take into account when assessing the impact of a transaction on the national security of the United States.

Hold Them or Fold Them — What to Do with a CEO in the Midst of Controversy 11-10-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

I sometimes wonder why anyone would want to be a CEO of a public company in today’s climate. Gone are the days when CEOs were venerated members of the community. Today’s CEO is much more likely to be facing off with aggressive shareholder activists, a critical public or an unfriendly media on the hunt for an adversarial story. Unfortunately for the companies that employ them, some of the attacks on CEOs are justified because of their behaviors or decisions. When its CEO is embroiled in a scandal or simply accused of mismanagement, what should a company do? When should a company hold onto its CEO, and when should it fold, and hope to be dealt a better hand the next time?

PSM and Petroleum Refineries: Lessons Learned (Part 2) 11-06-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

In this second installment of our series on “Lessons Learned” in the last ten years of the Petroleum Refinery Process Safety Management National Emphasis Program, I would like to talk about the requirement that a PSM-covered employer conduct a Process Safety Analysis (“PHA”). For our readers who are general human resources practitioners or general counsel, a PHA is an organized and systematic effort to identify and analyze the significance of potential hazards associated with a company’s processes that involve the handling of highly hazardous chemicals. 

Astros and the Modern Workplace – Believing in Your Employees 11-03-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

The best managers believe in their employees and give them opportunities to succeed. The modern workplace is one that is heavily regulated and is often put under a microscope in social media and elsewhere. Under these circumstances, it can be a temptation for a manager to try to control all aspects of the workplace. But managers should be wary; this approach can backfire and demoralize the workforce.

Frighteningly Large Settlement for Hospice Provider Whose Patients Lived 11-03-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

The day before Halloween, the DOJ announced that Chemed Corporation and its various subsidiaries have agreed to a $75 million settlement for submitting allegedly false hospice services claims to Medicare for reimbursement. Touting this as “the largest amount ever recovered under the False Claims Act from a provider of hospice services,” the government sets the tone early in the new fiscal year for a high-recovery agenda.

Non-Compete Agreements Are Getting Even More Personal 11-02-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

In crafting their non-competes, employers often focus on the “big ticket” questions: How long can a former employee be sidelined? How large of an area can the former employee be prevented from working in? What type of conduct can the former employee be restricted from doing? Given that the answers to these questions have a large practical impact on an employer’s operations, it is perhaps unsurprising that the more abstract concept of personal jurisdiction does not often steal the spotlight. But, in light of a recent decision by the Court of Chancery of Delaware, perhaps it should.

What Ever Happened to that Obama-Era Overtime Rule? 10-31-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

About a year ago, employers were gearing up for the implementation of the Department of Labor’s updated overtime rules, which would have doubled the baseline salary-level eligibility requirement for white-collar exemptions to the FLSA’s overtime requirements (up to $47,476 from $23,660). However, to the delight (and admitted confusion) of many businesses and employment lawyers, Judge Amos Mazzant enjoined the implementation of those rules, and this past August ruled them to be unlawful because, in the Judge’s view, the doubling of the salary level “effectively eliminates a consideration of whether an employee performs” executive, administrative, or professional duties, which is intended to be the central inquiry of the white-collar exemptions.

Escobar Continues to Bring More Treats Than Tricks For FCA Defendants — Seventh Circuit Overrules Longstanding Causation Precedent, Adopts Proximate Cause Standard 10-31-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

Handing out a pre-Halloween treat to FCA defendants, the Seventh Circuit last week overruled its 1992 decision adopting a “but-for” causation standard to join its sister circuits in holding that FCA plaintiffs must prove that a defendant’s false claim was both the but-for and proximate (i.e., foreseeable) cause of the government’s loss.

What’s California Got to Do With Me? 10-27-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

Although state employment laws generally do not have extraterritorial application, what constitutes an extraterritorial application when it comes to the California Labor Code is not clearly settled. 

The Many Reasons Why Pro Bono Matters 10-27-2017

Pro Bono Blog

Pro bono work is "the right thing to do." It's also a helpful business tool for law firms.

The FTC Issues Clarifications on the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule and Voice Recordings 10-26-2017

High-Tech Law & Litigation Blog

On October 23, 2017, the Federal Trade Commission released a new policy enforcement statement regarding the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA”), a rule designed to “strengthen kids’ privacy protections and give parents greater control over the personal information that websites and online services may collect from children under 13.”

London Fire: Grenfell Tower Project 10-26-2017

Pro Bono Blog

The Grenfell Tower fire occurred on June 14, 2017 at the 24-story Grenfell Tower block of public housing flats in North Kensington, London. The fire was reported to have started by a fridge-freezer on the fourth floor and spread rapidly through the whole building. Approximately 80 people died in the fire.

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same: Analyzing Recoveries by Circuit for FY 2017 10-26-2017

We’re back with the third installment of our series analyzing FCA statistics for DOJ FY 2017, this time taking a closer look at recoveries by circuit.

“DREAM”ing of Pro Bono Work 10-25-2017

Pro Bono Blog

V&E pro bono lawyers host DACA workshop in Houston.

Replacing #MeToo with #NotMe 10-24-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

We have become well-conditioned to respond to the sound of a fire drill or a tornado warning. But to rumors of sexual harassment? Not so much.

Looking for the Silver Lining: Meet “The Disasters” 10-24-2017

Pro Bono Blog

Pro bono lawyers from across the U.S. respond to natural disasters with hope and dedication.

Pro Bono Heroes: Liane Noble & Michelle Arishita 10-23-2017

Pro Bono Blog

On October 3, 2017, Senior Associate Liane Noble and Associate Michelle Arishita tried an asylum merits case in the Houston Immigration Court before a judge who was reported to have a 90% denial rate. They received a rare ruling from the bench granting asylum for a very deserving client, 26-year-old “MM” and her 4-year-old daughter “DD."

Not a Bullseye, But the Government Hits Its Mark, Settling Triple Canopy for $2.6 Million 10-19-2017

Earlier this week, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of Virginia announced that defense contractor Triple Canopy has agreed to settle the long-running FCA suit related to its provision of security services in Iraq.

Asking About Salary is Not Only Rude, It May Be Illegal 10-19-2017

Labor & Employment Blog

Most people agree that it is pretty tacky to ask someone how much they earn, at least in social situations. We usually don’t bat an eye when a prospective employer asks us how much we earned in our old job. In fact, many applications for employment ask for a complete salary history. That may be about to change.

Healthcare Post-Mortem: Medical Industry Continues to be High-Value Target for FCA Enforcement 10-18-2017

Lincoln's Law Blog

Last week we gave you the bottom line of how much DOJ (and relators) recovered in FY 2017. As we promised, we are doing a series of sector-specific posts – analyzing each for industry-specific trends. Today is Healthcare: Who’s paying, how often, and how much?

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.

V&E Safety Minute: Internal Audits 04-07-2016

Conducting an internal safety audit to determine areas of potential risk is a common practice for businesses in various industries. Christopher Bacon, member of the Employment, Labor & OSHA practice and Emergency Response and Crisis Management Team, addresses internal safety audits and what should be done with the findings.

Lifting of “Secondary” Iranian Sanctions 04-05-2016

Dan Gerkin, a counsel in V&E’s Export Controls & Economic Sanctions practice, discusses the January 16, 2016 implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which saw the United States lift its nuclear-related “secondary” sanctions targeting Iran, and addresses continuing compliance risks for U.S. and non-U.S. companies alike.

Energy Outlook: Investing in Argentina 03-31-2016

Boyd Carano, chair of V&E’s Latin America practice, describes Argentina’s strong natural resource potential and the political climate that makes it particularly attractive to investors. 

Political Volatility in the Middle East 03-01-2016

V&E partner James Loftis, head of the International Dispute Resolution & Arbitration practice, talks with Raad Alkadiri of IHS about political volatility in the Middle East and what the future may hold for Iraq.

Changes to the Partnership Audit Tax Rules – What Partnerships Need to Consider Now 02-04-2016

Major changes to the rules for auditing the tax items of partnerships were made by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 and will come into effect in 2018.

Developments in State Regulation of Hydraulic Fracturing 09-03-2015

Larry Nettles, Chair of the V&E Shale & Hydraulic Fracturing Task Force, discusses recent developments in the state regulation of horizontal drilling and, particularly, how states are addressing the growing concern surrounding seismicity.

Results of EPA Study of Hydraulic Fracturing 09-03-2015

V&E Environmental partner, Larry Nettles, describes the results of the recently published U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) study on hydraulic fracturing and its impact on drinking water resources.

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