Corporate & Commercial

Despite the federal government shutdown, there have been a couple of recent developments regarding the Section 301 tariffs imposed by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (“USTR”) on a broad range of products imported from China. First, on December 28, 2018, USTR published its determination for the first batch of exclusion requests granted for the 25% tariffs imposed on $34 billion worth of Chinese imports (List 1). USTR granted exclusions for 984 separate requests.…
States have long been “laboratories of democracy” where policymakers can try out certain innovative policies on a local or regional level that could eventually, if successful, become national programs. On the tech side, some states have sought to establish themselves as laboratories of blockchain. For example, this past week Vermont announced that it will work with vendors to launch a pilot program permitting new captive insurance companies to register with the Vermont Secretary of…
On Wednesday, January 9, 2018, Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Or) introduced the aptly designated H.R. 420, or the Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol Act. The bill is still so new that it’s not yet up on Congress’ site, but the apparent text for the bill can be found online. H.R. 420, if passed in its current form, would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act’s scheduling. The law wouldn’t allow complete legalization without regulation. It…
These are some compliance-related stories that recently caught my attention: SEC Brings Enforcement Action for Failure to Verify Accredited Investor Status by Steve Quinlivan The SEC alleged CoinAlpha did not have pre-existing substantive relationships with nine of the fund’s investors and engaged in a general solicitation of public interest in the securities offering through CoinAlpha’s website, which was generally accessible without password protection. Additionally, CoinAlpha engaged in general solicitation through blog postings, and media interviews…
Although EDGAR continues to accept filings, the government shutdown has now eclipsed its 28th day and the SEC continues to operate with limited staff which is having a crippling effect on the ability of many companies to raise money in the public markets. This is particularly due to the fact that the SEC is unable to perform many of the critical functions during the lapse in appropriations, including the review of new or pending registration…
The purpose of this post is to highlight compensatory action items that publicly-traded issuers should consider this proxy season.  Such considerations include: Chase the Say-on-Pay Vote.  The most common reason for a negative recommendation from ISS is a perceived pay-for-performance disconnect within the compensation structure.  Robust disclosure on this point can help, especially disclosure that clarifies why certain performance criteria were used and explains the degree of difficulty associated with achieving target performance. Consider an Annual Equity Grant Policy.  Some issuers grant…
On January 18, 2019, Congresswoman Maxine Waters and Congressman Patrick McHenry introduced legislation that would require the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “Commission”) to carry out a study of Rule 10b5-1 trading plans. Rule 10b5-1 trading plans are passive investment agreements that provide an affirmative defense for companies and insiders (directors, officers and affiliated shareholders) transacting in the relevant company’s securities from claims brought under the Exchange Act. Currently, any person or entity can establish…
The Supreme Court of Virginia’s decision yesterday finding no coverage for fire damage to a building is a cautionary tale for companies acquiring other companies. Erie Ins. Exch. v. EPC MD 15, LLC, 2019 WL 238168 (Va. Jan. 17, 2019). In that case, Erie Insurance issued a property insurance policy to EPC. The policy covered EPC only and did not cover any subsidiaries of EPC. EPC then acquired the sole member interest in Cyrus Square,…
On January 16, 2019, the White House re-nominated Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) Acting-Chair Ann Marie Buerkle to be Chairman, and for another seven-year term as Commissioner. Acting Chair Buerkle was first nominated in July of 2017, and re-nominated in January of last year, but the Senate did not act on these nominations. The business community has been very supportive of Ms. Buerkle’s nomination. As Acting Chair, Buerkle has worked hard to secure funding for…

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