Our colleague Allen Brandt recently posted an interesting blog on Pillsbury’s Policyholder Pulse titled Subrogation Waivers and the Perils of Litigation: Wavering on a Precipice. In it, Allen discusses the perils of using standard subrogation waivers in your insurance policies, and cautions against the use of standard waivers (which can have unintended consequences).
In a decision released on October 11, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit issued a very long opinion (110 pages) which vacates an order of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that requires PHH Corporation, a large home mortgage lender, to disgorge $109 million in a captive reinsurance arrangement the CFPB held to be illegal. The case is PHH Corporation, et al., v. CFPB. In so ruling, the panel majority, in a decision written by Judge Kavanaugh, holds that the basic structure of the CFPB—an independent agency wielding enormous power over the nation’s economy that is headed by a Director who is largely immune from any Presidential control or direction—essentially operates without any institutional checks on the exercise of his or her authority. Only a few “independent agencies” have ever operated under these conditions, and their powers were quite limited. The Court of Appeals holds that this arrangement has no historical basis and in effect violates the constitutional separation of powers.
Recently, our colleagues Tamara Bruno, Colin Kemp, Peter Gillon, Vince Morgan and Joseph Jean published an alert titled Hurricane Matthew Requires Immediate Action to Maximize Insurance Recovery to help you weather any storm.
Photo: U.S. Department of Agriculture – A MH-60 helicopter from the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) Aviation Training Center Mobile, AL conducted a fly over of the Charleston, South Carolina area that was affected by Hurricane Matthew, on Friday, October 8, 2016. The Coast Guard is committed to the safety of the community, environment, and responders. USCG photo by Petty Officer 3rd Class Alexandria Preston – Creative Commons
The U.S. Department of Labor has issued its final rule implementing President Obama’s 2015 Executive Order 13706, “Establishing Paid Sick Leave for Federal Contractors,” an executive order requiring federal contractors and subcontractors to provide their employees working on covered government contracts with up to seven days of paid leave per year for covered purposes. Our colleagues Rebecca Rizzo, Glenn Sweatt, Julia Judish and Dick Oliver discuss the final rule in their recent publication Department of Labor Issues Final Rule Requiring Federal Contractors to Provide Paid Sick Leave.
Recenty, our colleagues Paul Jebely, Luca Denora and Zara Machado published an interesting client alert titled The Ties that Bind: Commitment Letters under English Law. The publication discusses a recent decision of the UK Commercial Court, Novus Aviation Limited v. Alubaf Arab International Bank BSC (c)  EWHC 1575 (Comm), which contemplates that pre-contractual deal documents may constitute a binding contract, imposing obligations on both parties.
Check out my latest blog for Pillsbury’s Policyholder Pulse titled A Subcontractor’s Defective Work Is an Occurrence: Weedo Wobbles … and Falls Down. It discusses a recent ruling in New Jersey, Cypress Point Condominium Assoc., Inc. v. Adria Towers, L.L.C., on the issue of whether damage caused by a subcontractor’s faulty workmanship constitutes “property damage” and an “occurrence” under a property developer’s commercial general liability insurance policy.
Additional Source: Weedo v. Stone-E-Brick, Inc.
Two Court of Appeals, one in the District of Columbia and the other in Texas, issued opinions regarding the federal Highway Beautification Act, 23 U.S.C. § 131 (HBA) and its state counterpart, the Texas Highway Beautification Act, respectively. The first decision illustrates how the courts will apply the principles of administrative law in a wide variety of cases. The plaintiffs had to demonstrate they had standing to prosecute their claims, and if so, whether the Department of Transportation’s (DOT) interpretation of the HBA was reasonable. In addition, the decision gives the agencies the elbow room to make room for emerging technologies.
The Equal Access to Justice Act (EAJA) directs a court to award fees and other expenses to prevailing party in a civil action against the United States unless the government’s position was substantially justified or special circumstances make an award unjust. The EAJA has been used to recover attorney’s fees from the United States in connection with challenges to federal administrative actions. In the case of SecurityPoint Holdings, Inc. v. TSA, decided on September 2, 2016, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit held that SecurityPoint was entitled to substantial attorney’s fees (in the amount of $86,714.78) under the EAJA when its successful litigation against the TSA was a remand to the agency that required some corrective action. In so ruling, the Court of Appeals overruled Waterman Steamship Corp. v. Maritime Subsidy Board, a decision that had the effect of making SecurityPoint ineligible for the award of attorney’s fees, and may expand the right to recover these fees in the future. Continue reading
Recently, my colleagues Micah Miller, Melinda Barker, Jennifer Jordan McCall, Kim Schoknecht and Elizabeth Fry published an alert titled Proposed Section 2704 Regulations that discusses proposed regulations that, if adopted, would affect the valuation of family-owned businesses interests transferred among family members by eliminating certain discounts currently recognized under the law. The U.S. Treasury Department released the proposed regulations on August 2, 2016. They will be subject to public comment for the next 90 days and a public hearing will be held on December 1, 2016.
The Nevada State Contractors Board’s annual Contractor Training Day is scheduled for August 23 from 8:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. at 5400 Mill Street, Reno, NV 89502 and September 13 at the Clark County Building Department in Las Vegas. The free half-day event will cover (1) Liens and Contract Law and (2) Issues in Labor and Employment Law. For more information, contact Scott Smith at (702) 486-1165 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Steve S., Studying, Taken November 9, 2006 – Creative Commons