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On May 15, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California held that the City of Oakland’s attempt to apply a new “coal ban” ordinance to a coal handling terminal was invalid. The District Court concluded that the record evidence placed before the City Council did not satisfy the ”substantial evidence” criteria contained in the development agreement entered into by the City and Oakland Bulk & Oversized Terminal (“OBOT”) governing a bulk cargo shipping terminal to be built and operated by OBOT. The case is Oakland Bulk & Oversized Terminal, LLC v. City of Oakland.

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On May 9, the California Energy Commission announced that it has “adopted building standards that require solar photovoltaic systems starting in 2020.” The 2019 Building Energy Efficiency Standards are expected to “reduce greenhouse gas emissions by an amount equivalent to taking 115,000 fossil fuel cars off the road.”  California will be the first in the nation to require solar. The new standards take effect on January 1, 2020.

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Recently, our colleagues Glenn Sweatt and Alex Ginsberg published their Client Alert titled DFARS Clause Blocks Funding for Unsafe Projects in Afghanistan, Recently published regulation implements the FY17 NDAA to prohibit use of funds for DoD construction and infrastructure programs and projects in Afghanistan that cannot be safely accessed by U.S. Government personnel. Takeaways include:

  • New rule prevents Government contracting officers from funding projects that are not able to be safely accessed by Government civilian or military personnel, as these may pose an increased risk of fraud, corruption or waste, or lack efficient oversight.
  • The Government has awarded projects in Afghanistan at locations that Government personnel have not been able to safely travel to and access, leading to inefficient oversight and a profusion of disputes and claims.
  • Waivers will be available at increasing thresholds, but any project over $40M will require waiver by the Secretary of Defense and Congressional notification.

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Today, our colleagues Dick Oliver, Glenn Sweat and Brian Cruz published their Client Alert titled New Proposed DoD Cyber Guidance May Fuel Bid Protest Docket,  Newly published draft DoD Guidance for Reviewing System Security Plans (SSP) and the “NIST SP 800-171 Security Requirements Not Yet Implemented” answer some questions but may also result in an increased protest docket due to ambiguous evaluation criteria. Key takeaways include:

  • Industry has been seeking clarity on the Department of Defense’s cybersecurity clause, since its December 31, 2017 implementation date, particularly as it relates to how the Government will review a Contractor’s System Security Plan (SSP); the new guidance indicates the Government’s evaluation of Contractors’ SSPs will also be used as evaluation criteria in new contract awards.
  • A growing list of Frequently Asked Questions has answered some questions, but more guidance was needed, and is being provided in the form of an SSP priority ranking matrix.
  • Public comments on the proposed draft guidance are due May 31, 2018, and early contractor feedback is that the guidance is helpful but hardly dispositive of the myriad questions surrounding the new rule.

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Risks and rewards abound at the intersection of online advertising and privacy for virtually every industry, and real estate is no exception. In his recent post on real estate firms and digital advertising, our colleague James W. McPhillips explores some of the considerations that owners, developers and managers should keep in mind when employing digital advertising to brand and otherwise promote properties.

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On May 9, the U.S. District Court for the District of Alaska dismissed a challenge the constitutionality of the Congressional Review Act (CRA); the case is Center for Biological Diversity v. Zinke. While the District Court ruled that, while CBD had sufficient standing to make some of its arguments regarding the CRA, on the whole, it found that the constitutional and statutory arguments were inadequate to withstand the Government’s motion to dismiss.

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On April 30, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit issued an unpublished order in Hemp Industries Assoc. v. U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, et al., denying the Hemp Industry Association’s (HIA) cannabis-real-estatepetition seeking review of the DEA’s Final Rule establishing a new drug code for  marijuana extract that went into effect on January 13, 2017.

Denying the petition, the Ninth Circuit noted that

“A party may petition a Court of Appeal for review of a final DEA decision, 21 U.S.C. § 877, but if the party fails ‘to make an argument before the administrative agency in comments on a proposed rule,’ they are barred ‘from raising that argument on judicial review.'”

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On May 7, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit affirmed the jury’s verdict that two shipping companies were guilty of criminal violations of the 1973 International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, known as MARPOL. Both companies are headquartered in Greece, with Oceanic Illsabe Ltd. (Oceanic) being a Liberian corporation and Oceanfleet Shipping Ltd. (Oceanfleet) being a Marshall Islands corporation. The case is U.S. v. Oceanic Illsabe Ltd. and Oceanfleet Shipping Ltd.

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Today, our colleagues Paula Weber and Erica Turcios Yader published their client Upending the Gig Economy? California Supreme Court’s new Dynamex test may throw a wrench into business models that rely on independent contractors. Takeaways include

  • The California Supreme Court has imposed a new test for determining who is an independent contractor or employee subject to protection under the California Wage Orders;
  • The new 3-part test, which requires employers to satisfy each element of the test, will make it harder for companies to classify workers as independent contractors; and
  • Workers who do not engage in an independent business and who do not provide services outside the usual course of the hiring entity’s business will be deemed employees, even if they are free from the direction and control of the hiring entity.

Additional Source: Dynamex Operations West Inc. v. Superior Court of Los Angeles

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On April 12, a significant Clean Water Act (CWA) ruling has been made by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The Fourth Circuit, in a split decision, held, in a case of first impression in this circuit, that the movement of a discharged pollutant through groundwater to navigable waters can constitute a violation of the CWA’s requirement that discharges of a pollutant from a point source to navigable waters is illegal unless the discharge has been permitted. The case is Upstate Forever and Savannah Riverkeeper v. Kinder Morgan Energy Partners, LP.

A few weeks ago, a similar decision was rendered by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit in the case of Hawai’i Wildlife Fund, et al., v. County of Maui.

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