January 2010 Client Alerts

February 5, 2010

Authored by: Jeannie Osborne

IRS Announces New Section 409A Document Correction Program

Section 409A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986, as amended (“Code Section 409A”) is spectacular in scope and notoriously difficult for even the most well-intentioned employers to satisfy.  Any employer which maintains non-qualified deferred compensation plans for its employees has struggled with Code Section 409A, and may have concerns that some of its plans might not satisfy the attention to minutiae that Code Section 409A demands.  On January 4, the IRS published its long-awaited program for correcting documentation failures under Code Section 409A.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation Practice on January 22, 2010.

Major Campaign Finance Development – Citizens United v. FEC Supreme Court Ruling

The Supreme Court yesterday handed down a landmark ruling in the Citizens United v. FEC case which could significantly transform the campaign finance system at the federal level.  In Citizens United, the Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling struck down the decades-old prohibition on corporate expenditures in connection with federal elections as unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Election Law and Government Ethics Practice on January 22, 2010. 

State of Union Addresses Calls for Reform, but No Timeline Set

President Obama called for Congress to pass a health reform package that includes insurance reforms and protections for Americans during his State of the Union address on Wednesday, but Congressional leaders have not set a firm timeline for reform.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Food and Drug Administration Practice on January 29, 2010.

On Eve of State of the Union, Democrats Pause on Health Reform

Democrats in the House and Senate have announced that they plan to take a break from the health reform bill to focus on other issues, such as job growth.  While White House Senior Adviser David Axelrod has indicated that the White House intends to continue to pursue comprehensive reform, Republican leadership has called for Congress to scrap the current bills and begin again.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Food and Drug Administration Practice published on January 26, 2010.

Obama and Secretary Vilsack Announce Intent to Nominate Dr. Elisabeth Hagen as USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety

On Monday, President Obama and USDA Secretary Vilsack announced in a USDA press release that the President intends to nominate Dr. Elisabeth Hagen to the position of USDA Under Secretary for Food Safety. 

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Food and Drug Administration Practice on January 26, 2010.

Consumer Advocates, Congress Call Upon President Obama to Fill Food Czar Post at USDA

In the wake of the most recent meat recall due to E. coli contamination, in which Huntington Meat Packing Inc. recalled 390 tons of ground beef, consumers and politicians are putting increased pressure on President Obama to name an undersecretary of food safety at the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Food and Drug Administration Practice on January 21, 2010.

Health Reform Stalls in House, Senate

The win by Republican Scott Brown of a seat in the Massachusetts Senate has Democrats struggling to find alternative options for passing the health care bill.  Among the options being considered are offering a more scaled-back measure using the budget reconciliation process, or reaching out to Republicans, such as Olympia Snowe, in an attempt to gain their support.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Food and Drug Administration Practice on January 22, 2010.

Push for Final Health Bill Continues

Democrats have announced that they hope to reach a final resolution on health care this week, even as Tuesday’s special election to fill the Massachusetts Senate seat formerly held by Edward Kennedy threatens the Democrats’ filibuster-proof majority in the Senate.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Food and Drug Administration Practice on January 19, 2010.

Wyeth and Elan Pharma International Ltd. v. Kappos — Federal Circuit Concludes that the USPTO’s methodology for calculating patent term adjustment is incorrect

In Wyeth v. Kappos, No. 2009-1120 (Fed. Cir. Jan. 7, 2010), Wyeth sought an order directing the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (“USPTO”) to grant a patent term adjustment (“PTA”) per Wyeth’s interpretation of the relevant statute.  The District Court for the District of Columbia granted summary judgment in favor of Wyeth.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave’s Intellectual Property Practice on January 12, 2010.

Release of U.S. Treasury License Requests

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has begun the process of systematically releasing to the public pursuant to Freedom of Information Act requests records of applications to do business with countries subject to U.S. economic sanctions.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s International Practice on January 26, 2010.

Notification Thresholds Decreased for First Time

Effective February 22, 2010, the jurisdictional thresholds for the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976, as amended, will be decreased.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Antitrust, Franchise and Consumer Law Practice on January 20, 2010.

FDA Posts Update After Missing Self-Imposed November 30 Deadline to Issue BPA Safety Report

In June 2009, FDA promised to issue a report on the safety of Bisphenol A (BPA) by November 30, 2009.  FDA missed the deadline, citing that more research was needed and an update would be forthcoming.  On January 15, 2010, FDA posted the much anticipated update to its web site.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Food and Drug Administration Practice on January 15, 2010. 

House, Senate Work on Final Bill

House and Senate Democrats have commenced the process of reconciling the House and Senate health reform bills, starting with a series of meetings involving congressional leaders and the White House.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Food and Drug Administration Practice on January 12, 2010.

Officials Critical of Health Reform Bill

State officials have begun leveling criticism against the health reform bill passed by the Senate on Christmas Eve, with Governors and Attorneys General in several states threatening to file suits declaring the bill unconstitutional. 

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Food and Drug Administration Practice on January 5, 2010.

New Law Bars Certain Mandatory Arbitration Provisions in Employment Contracts Used by Department of Defense Contractors

On December 19, 2009, President Obama signed into law the Fiscal Year 2010 Department of Defense Appropriations Act, Pub L. No. 111-118, which contains the “Franken Amendment” that will require many government contractors to eliminate provisions requiring the arbitration of certain claims from the employment agreements they use for new employees and will prevent them from enforcing such arbitration provisions in existing agreements.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Government Contracts Practice on January 6, 2010.

FERC Announces New Initiatives in Wholesale Electricity Markets

On January 21, 2010, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (“FERC”) announced five separate initiatives with potentially wide-ranging implications for buyers and sellers in wholesale electricity markets, including utilities, power marketers, and large customers as well as renewable and conventional electric energy producers.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Environmental Practice on January 25, 2010.

New York Department of Labor Provides Forms for Compliance with Amended Law; Exempt Employees Must be Notified of Exemption in Writing

As described in an earlier alert, New York Labor Law section 195.1 now requires written notice to employees of their regular and overtime pay rates and their pay dates.  The New York State Department of Labor now has issued guidelines, instructions, and model forms that contemplate a broad variety of compensation arrangements.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Labor & Employment on January 28, 2010. 

 Governor Bob McDonnell Makes Biotechnology a Priority in Job Creation and Economic Development

Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell emphasized the importance of biotechnology in his first State of the Commonwealth address last week and again this week when he unveiled his jobs and opportunities agenda.

For more information, please read the client alert published by Bryan Cave LLP’s Food and Drug Administration Practice on January 29, 2010.