Steptoe & Johnson LLP

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s announcement yesterday that the U.S. Government will not renew any of the significant reduction exemptions (SREs), previously granted to eight countries under Section 1245 of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA), could significantly impair Iran’s ability to conduct international trade.  If fully implemented, this move would create a new, high level of risk for those engaging in continued trade in oil and related products with Iran.…
Today, the Supreme Court granted certiorari in two consolidated cases raising the question of whether sexual orientation discrimination violates Title VII. One of the cases is Zarda v. Altitude Express, Inc., in which Judge Failla applied, but heavily criticized, binding Second Circuit precedent disallowing such claims.  The Second Circuit, sitting en banc, ultimately reversed the precedent, finding that such claims could proceed. Our coverage of the Zarda case is here.  Supreme Court filings are available…
Yesterday, FERC issued an order on a Petition for Declaratory order from Sunrun, asking that FERC waive the QF certification filing requirements for separately-interconnected, individual residential rooftop solar PV systems and related equipment with maximum net power production of 20 kW or less that Sunrun provides financing for but which the homeowner has an option to purchase, where such 20 kW or less systems may aggregate to over 1 MW within a one-mile radius; and…
Stampedes are dangerous. QF stampedes toward stale above-market standard avoided costs rates are dangerous to ratepayers. The first stampede occurred in the 1980s in California. California’s utilities were compelled to offer standard rates to QFs based on gas and oil prices at the time and then very shortly thereafter the bottom fell out of the oil and gas markets. California ratepayers paid for that stampede for decades. Stampedes toward stale avoided cost rates are continuing…
  On April 15, Steptoe associate Peter Jeydel commented about recent CFIUS developments on Steptoe’s Cyberlaw Podcast, including the forced divestment of a Russian investor out of Cofense, a US cybersecurity company, and an unprecedented $1M fine for failure to implement a mitigation agreement. To listen to Pete’s comments, please press play above. To listen to the entire episode, please visit Steptoe’s Cyberlaw Podcast on the Steptoe Cyberblog.…
Steptoe’s Brian Egan and Peter Jeydel authored a Feature Comment in The Government Contractor, a Thomson Reuters publication, discussing the provisions of the Export Control Reform Act of 2018 that are most likely to have a lasting impact on industry. US and international companies should take careful note of the enduring changes to export controls enforcement set out by this statute and prepare for its consequences, including possible changes to China-focused export controls. To…
Bipartisan members of the House are advocating for more clarity in the tax law as it relates to taxation of cryptocurrency. First, on April 9, Representative Warren Davidson (R-OH), a member of the House Financial Services Committee, reintroduced legislation that would provide clarity on certain tax and securities law issues related to cryptocurrency.  The bill, entitled the “Token Taxonomy Act of 2019,” resembles the original bill that Davidson introduced in the 115th Congress with Congressional…
  Our News Roundup is hip deep in China stories. The inconclusive EU – China summit gives Matthew Heiman and me a chance to explain why France understands – and hates – China’s geopolitical trade strategy more than most. Maury Shenk notes that the Pentagon’s reported plan to put a bunch of Chinese suppliers on a blacklist is a bit of a tribute to China’s own list of sectors not open to Western companies. In…