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Today, our colleague Glenn Sweatt published a client alert discussion the Defense Innovation Unit (Experimental) (DIUx) relaunched in May 2016 and recent developments, including the award of more than $36 million in new contracts in FY 2016, and what is expected in the coming year. The alert is titled High-Tech Government Contracts Program Shows Promise, but Long Term Success Uncertain.

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On April 7, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, in Gulf Restoration Network, et al., v. McCarthy, vacated and remanded a decision of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana that granted, in part, the plaintiff environmental organizations’ complaint that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), by denying a petition for rulemaking and thereby failing to impose numeric water quality standards to control nitrogen and phosphorus pollution within the Mississippi River Basin and the Northern Gulf of Mexico, violated the Administrative Procedure Act. On remand, the district court has now granted EPA’s motion for summary judgment, and dismissed the Plaintiffs’ petition for rulemaking filed with EPA.

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On December 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit decided the case of Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, et al., v. North Carolina Department of Transportation, et al. The Fourth Circuit concluded that, “[b]ecause events beyond the parties’ control have mooted this appeal, leaving the district court’s judgment undisturbed would not serve the public interest.” Continue reading

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Today, our colleagues Jenny Sheng, Julian Zou and Yi Zhu published a client alert discussing China’s recent restrictions on outbound investments by Chinese companies in certain industries. Among other things, they encourage Chinese firms and foreign investors engaged in overseas investments to be aware of these new trends and to prepare to adjust their strategic plans and overseas activities. The alert is titled China’s Recent Restrictions on Outbound Investments by Chinese Companies.

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On December 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit decided the case of United States of America, e ex rel. Jeffrey M. Simoneaux v. E. I. duPont de Nemours & Company. Reversing the district court, the Fifth Circuit held that “potential or contingent penalties” are not obligations under the federal False Claims Act (FCA) and they are not obligations under the FCA “even when a statute requires immediate action from a violator,[because] the Government must still choose whether to impose a penalty.” Continue reading

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On December 12, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit issued a ruling holding that a lower court’s decision dismissing the federal government’s civil claim that the defendants were at fault in connection with a spill of clarified slurry oil had preclusive effect upon the government’s later-filed criminal enforcement case in the same matter. The case is U.S. v. Egan Marine Corporation and Dennis Michael Egan. Continue reading

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On December 8, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit decided the case of United States v. Board of County Commissioners of Otero County, New Mexico. The Tenth Circuit held that a New Mexico statute and resolution adopted by the Otero County Board of County Commissioners (Board) which purported to authorize the Board to take unilateral steps to mitigate the fire dangers posed by very dry conditions in the Lincoln National Forest were preempted by federal law. The Tenth Circuit, affirming the lower court, ruled that the Property Clause of the U.S. Constitution authorized the federal government to promulgate rules governing the use of the national forests and, insofar as local laws intended to abate these dangers conflicted with federal law, they were preempted.

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The Florida Supreme Court recently issued a widely reported decision, Sebo v. American Home Assurance Co., which applied the concurrent cause doctrine in ruling that an all-risk homeowner’s insurance policy provides coverage when damage is the result of multiple events—so long as at least one of them is a covered peril. Plaintiff John Sebo purchased a home, which he insured under an all-risk homeowner’s policy written by American Home. As an “all-risk” policy, it provided coverage for damage to property caused by all perils, except those it explicitly excluded. Design defects and faulty construction were among the excluded perils. Within less than two months of buying the house, Mr. Sebo discovered major leaks during rainstorms, which were later found to be the result of design defects and faulty construction. Hurricane Wilma then caused even more damage. When Mr. Sebo sought coverage for damage from the water intrusion, American Home denied most of the claim on the grounds that it was caused by design defects and faulty construction—which were excluded perils. But the Florida Supreme Court found coverage.

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On December 6, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in the case of Japanese Village, LLC v. Federal Transit Administration, et al., affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgement to the government defendants following a painstaking review of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) arguments lodged by Japanese Village, LLC and Today’s IV, Inc. dba Westin Bonaventure Hotel (Bonaventure) against the construction of the Regional Connector Transit Corridor Project, a 1.9-mile light rail extension line in downtown Los Angeles.

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