As reported this week by Law360 (subscription required), the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) recently issued a reminder (Regulatory Notice 14-40) warning firms against the use of confidentiality provisions in settlement agreements that prohibit or otherwise restrict customers or anyone else (such as current employees) from communicating with the Securities Exchange Commission (SEC), FINRA, or any federal or state regulatory authority regarding a possible securities law violation.
Could the third time be the charm? Today, the U.S. Supreme Court granted the petition for certiorari filed in May 2014 by the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (Texas DHCA) in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, Inc.
The case gives the Supreme Court its third opportunity since 2012 to rule on the issue of whether disparate impact claims are cognizable under the Fair Housing Act. The prior two cases, Twp. Of Mount Holly v. Mt. Holly Gardens Citizens in Action, Inc. and Magner v. Gallagher, were both settled after the completion of briefing but before the Court could hear oral argument and answer the question presented. This time around the Court granted the certiorari petition without first soliciting the views of the Solicitor General.
The CFPB has issued a white paper on the manufactured housing market, including how manufactured housing is financed and the types of consumers who purchase or rent such housing. In the paper’s introduction, the CFPB explains that although manufactured housing only accounts for six percent of all occupied housing and a much smaller fraction of U.S. home loan originations, such housing is of interest to the CFPB because it is a source of affordable housing particularly for rural and low income consumers and may raise consumer protection concerns due to the nature of the retail and financing markets for such housing. The report relies on publicly available data, including HMDA data, proprietary data voluntarily provided to the CFPB and information obtained through outreach to industry groups, consumer groups, government agencies and “a variety of market participants and observers.”
The paper’s key findings include:
- 5th Circuit, Abortion, Biglaw, In-House Counsel, Law Schools, Lindsay Lohan, Mergers and Acquisitions, Morning Docket, SCOTUS, Supreme Court, Texas
* This just in: Now that the Fifth Circuit has refused to hear the Texas abortion case en banc, it looks like we may see a viable case about a major social issue being brought to Term before SCOTUS after all. [National Law Journal]
* Skadden came out on top of the Bloomberg, Thomson Reuters, and Mergermarket league tables for the highest transactional value of its mergers and acquisitions deals in 2014. Congrats on kicking the competition’s ass. [Am Law Daily]
* Per HBR Consulting, clients are winning the war when it comes to getting legal services on the cheap. Consider this a “call to action for law firms to reconsider the way they do business.” [WSJ Law Blog]
* The Elon University School of Law is completely revamping its academic offerings in order to offer a law degree that can be earned in 2.5 years, and for about $14,000 less. Nice work! [Triad Business Journal]
* Lindsay Lohan’s attorneys filed an amended complaint in her case against Grand Theft Auto’s publisher, this time going so far as to spell their client’s name correctly. [Hollywood, Esq. / Hollywood Reporter]
On July 23, 2014, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) voted 3–2 to significantly amend the regulatory framework of money market mutual funds (MMFs), particularly Rule 2a-7 under the Investment Company Act of 1940, as amended (the 1940 Act).1 These changes come four years after the SEC last adopted several amendments to Rule 2a-7 and follow a lengthy debate surrounding MMF reform among regulators and industry participants. The amendments and related regulations will drastically alter the MMF industry and force MMFs and their boards of directors and advisers to make substantial changes to their product offerings, operations, and compliance processes.
* Apparently, heckling Carmelo Anthony can cost you your job. [Dealbreaker]
* There’s nothing the Supreme Court can do to stop cops who want to take a long time to release you from a stop, even if the Court wants to. [Simple Justice]
* I think we should just ask John Roberts to tell every state precisely how they are allowed to discriminate against black voters and be done with it. Just tell us the rules so we can start the GOTV campaigns. [Election Law Blog]
* Former Manhattan Assemblywoman Gabriela Rosa gets a year in jail for purchasing a sham marriage to gain citizenship. The “for citizenship” part is what got her, because lots of politicians are in sham marriages. [Journal News]
* Judge Frank Easterbrook thinks that the new proposed length limit for appellate briefs is too short. Verbose litigators everywhere, rejoice. [How Appealing]
* I thought “spoofing” was bad for the market, but Matt Levine says cracking down on spoofing “helps” high-frequency traders, who I also think are bad for the market. You know why I’m not an SEC lawyer? Prosecuting people based on them being “bad” becomes untenable when everybody involved is rich. [Bloomberg View]
As the Supreme Court begins its 2014-15 term this month, it will be considering a number of securities cases, including the Omnicare case, which is scheduled for oral argument on November 3rd, and three other cases in which petitions for certiorari are currently pending before the Court. As discussed below, these cases raise significant questions concerning the standards for claims under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933, prosecution of insider trading, and the scope of disgorgement penalties in an SEC enforcement action. We also discuss IndyMac, another securities case that had been scheduled to be heard as the first case of the new term on October 6th, but was abruptly dismissed by the Court earlier this week.
- Antonin Scalia, Biglaw, Books, Boutique Law Firms, Crime, Department of Justice, Immigration, Mergers and Acquisitions, Morning Docket, Pro Bono, SCOTUS, Supreme Court
* Justice Scalia spoke at CU-Boulder last night. For his sake, we certainly hope he didn’t speak about any issues that might someday appear before SCOTUS, lest he be asked to recuse. [Boulder Daily Camera via How Appealing]
* Another one bites the dust over at Main Justice: David O’Neil, the head of the criminal division, is stepping down in the wake of the BNP Paribas case, and will likely have many white-shoe law firm suitors. [DealBook / New York Times]
* Fox Rothschild picked up a 18-lawyer boutique firm in Texas, which will serve as the home of its first outpost in the Lone Star State. Energy law, surprisingly, wasn’t the driving factor. [Legal Intelligencer]
* “I have a heart and I have two kids.” That’s a pretty damn good reason for Biglaw attorneys to take a break from their corporate billable hours to represent undocumented children pro bono. [WSJ Law Blog]
- Biglaw, Eric Holder, Google / Search Engines, Law Schools, Mergers and Acquisitions, Morning Docket, Technology, United Kingdom / Great Britain
* FBI Director James Comey is annoyed by Apple and Google marketing their encryption prowess for privacy’s sake — it’ll “allow people to place themselves beyond the law.” [WSJ Law Blog]
* White & Case just hopped aboard the onshore outsourcing train with its announcement that it would open a services center in Tampa, Florida. The move will create about 100 jobs, but we’d love to know how many it’s negating. [Tampa Bay Times]
* Slater & Gordon, the world’s first publicly traded law firm, has been on an “acquisition spree” in England. Earlier this month, it picked up a patent practice, and now it’s in talks with a litigation shop. [Am Law Daily]
* “Law school is a major gamble,” and people are more informed, but that somehow isn’t stopping people from applying. This is a great article to read if you’re still considering going all in. [New York Observer]
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Last night, I attended a panel discussion at the 92nd Street Y featuring some very interesting individuals — including two lawyers. Thane Rosenbaum, the law professor and novelist, moderated a panel featuring former federal prosecutor Daniel Alonso, CNBC anchor Kelly Evans, and the “star” of the evening, Jordan Belfort — the disgraced stockbroker turned convicted felon turned bestselling author who served as the inspiration for Martin Scorsese’s 2013 film, The Wolf of Wall Street.
So what was the evening like? One attendee described it as “cringeworthy” — and I have to agree….