JDSupra

Supreme Court SCOTUS photo by David Lat

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.

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On July 14, 2014, the Court in United States v. University of Nebraska at Kearny (No. 4:11CV3209) took a significant step in support of Federal Rules 1 and 26. Magistrate Judge Cheryl R. Zwart denied plaintiff’s motion to compel defendants to use plaintiffs’ proposed search terms to cull electronically stored information (ESI) for review and production. The Court’s order effectively discharged defendants’ obligation to produce any ESI. And the Court issued this order notwithstanding both that 1) the parties had agreed to a stipulation summarizing protocol for the production of ESI shortly after the outset of the case, and 2) plaintiff previously produced ESI as part of its production to defendants’ discovery requests. In short, plaintiffs’ unwillingness to fairly compromise as to the breadth of search terms aimed at reasonably limiting the scope of ESI production came back to bite.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Tread Lightly: eDiscovery Greed May Leave You With None At All”

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Imagine for a moment that you are the HR Manager for a company with many physically demanding jobs. One of your employees submits a doctor’s note prohibiting her from lifting anything over 25 pounds. Mindful of your obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), you check to see if the lifting restriction will prevent the employee from doing her job. Unfortunately, after checking the employee’s job description and talking with her supervisors, you conclude that lifting is a key part of the employee’s job (in legal terms, an “essential function”), and there is nothing practical that can be done (in legal terms, no “reasonable accommodation”) to allow her to perform her job. When you tell the employee that she cannot return to her job, she asks if there are other positions available within the company that she can be transferred to. You say you’ll look into it, but when you start asking around, things get complicated. There are a handful of open positions in other departments, but the job requirements are different and some of the positions already have applicants who seem better qualified. None of the positions have exactly the same pay as the employee’s warehouse position, so she would either be getting a raise or a demotion. What should you do?

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Beyond Essential Functions: The Role of Job Reassignments in Accommodating Employee Disabilities”


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“Cyber liability insurance” is often used to describe a range of insurance policies, in the same way that the word cyber is used to describe a broad range of information security related tools, processes and services. Everyone is talking about the need for “stand alone” cyber liability insurance policies. These stand-alone cyber liability insurance policies basically cover expenses related to the management of a breach, e.g, the investigation, remediation, notification and credit checking. However, cyber liability coverage is also found in some existing insurance policies, including kidnap and ransom and professional liability coverage. There may also be some limited coverage through a crime policy if electronic theft is added to that policy.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Cyber Liability Insurance: Where’s the Beef?”

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On September 18, 2014, InsideCounsel magazine held a corporate counsel conference to facilitate discussions on current legal issues. In sessions on governance and compliance, industry experts addressed the current top challenges that in-house attorneys face when managing enterprise risk.

Cybersecurity is no longer just a “technology” issue. It has become a business and legal issue. Compliance and management personnel must be trained and informed on the impact that cybersecurity risks present to the business. Companies must have a business response, not just a technical response, prepared for when something goes wrong. The question is not “whether” a cybersecurity issue will arise, but when.

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money in the hands

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.

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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.

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On September 17, the U.S. Tax Court, in Dynamo Holdings LP v. Commissioner, 143 T.C. No. 9 (Sept. 17, 2014), held that a taxpayer could use predictive coding, over the objection of the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), to identify relevant electronically stored information (ESI) for production. This is the first Tax Court case to address the use of predictive coding in response to a discovery request.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Legal Alert: The Tax Court Approves the Use of Predictive Coding”

Decorative Scales of Justice in the Courtroom

The recent case of Brown v. Tellermate Holdings Ltd. is noteworthy for its imposition of near-terminal evidentiary sanctions, and order directing counsel and defendant to jointly pay plaintiffs’ cost of bringing motions to compel. But its important lesson is that counsel must stay abreast of continuing changes in information technologies, and critically assess client information about electronically stored information if they are to meet their duties to courts and clients.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “A Wake-Up Call To Counsel Over ESI Discovery”

This summer, Above the Law expanded its editorial coverage with the launch of a suite of practice-focused channels. These new, topical components of our site include an eDiscovery channel, powered by content from Lexblog, JD Supra, and new ATL expert columnist Michael Simon, as well as pieces curated from ATL’s coverage of the broader legal industry. ATL’s eDiscovery channel will feature news stories, substantive trend analysis, and insights into business development issues relevant to eDiscovery and related legal technologies. (Among ATL’s other practice channels are Securities, Energy, and Government.)

The LexBlog network is the largest professional blog network in the world. LexBlog partners with clients to develop custom social media solutions and strategies that create powerful internet identities. LexBlog will provide ATL’s unparalleled audience with commentary on prominent legal developments and insight on best practices in the full range of practice areas, including eDiscovery.

ATL’s eDiscovery columnist, Michael Simon, has been in the legal industry for more than two decades. His background as a Chicago trial attorney, Director of Strategic Development at Navigant, and co-founder of eDiscovery expert consulting firm Seventh Samurai, give him a unique voice in the eDiscovery space. His debut column, Making Sense of eDiscovery Outside of the Bubble, offers a thoughtful introduction to legal technology and is but the first in a series.

JD Supra publishes insights and intelligence written by a network of over 20,000 attorneys and industry professionals. ATL’s partnership with JD Supra will give the ATL audience access to high-level eDiscovery content from Am Law 200 law firms and other expert sources.

ATL’s new eDiscovery channel is made possible by Omnivere, one of the largest integrated companies in the discovery management space. Omnivere provides services that encompass all aspects of litigation support, from Project Management, Review Support, and Hosting Management, to Attorney Review, Production, and Trial Exhibit and Document Management.

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