May 2011 Client Alerts

June 23, 2011

Authored by: Bryan Cave

Federal Judge in Missouri Dismisses Legal Challenge to Health Care Reform

The Judge in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri, Southeastern Division, entered an order dismissing a lawsuit filed by Lt. Gov. Peter Kinder that challenged the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  Kinder et al v. Geithner et al. was filed in July 2010 by Kinder, joined in by six other Missouri residents, as a private citizen after the state’s attorney general declined to join other states in challenging the health care law.  To read more about the order in this case, please click here to see the Alert published by the Life Sciences and Health Care Client Service Group on May 3, 2011.

FTC Cracking Down on Affiliate Advertisers

In April the FTC filed 10 lawsuits against companies and individuals that run affiliate advertising websites.  These lawsuits come within two months of an earlier round of lawsuits targeting affiliate advertising programs.  The most recent targets are fake news websites that promote weight loss products.  To learn more, please click here to read the Alert published by the Retail Team on May 5, 2011.

Arbitration Clauses May Waive Class Proceedings

The U.S. Supreme Court recently ruled that the Federal Arbitration Act does not allow state law to invalidate class action waivers in arbitration agreements on the basis of unconscionability.  While AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion involved consumer claims, the language of the ruling will bolster enforceability of class action waivers in employment related arbitration agreements.  To read more about the ruling, click here for the Alert published by the Labor & Employment Client Service Group on May 18, 2011.

First-of-its-kind SEC Deferred Prosecution Agreement May Mark a New Era of FCPA Enforcement

On May 17, 2011, the SEC announced its first use of a Deferred Prosecution Agreement as a means to settle an enforcement action against a company.  The agreement was used to resolve an investigation of payments to foreign officials alleged to have violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.  Criminal prosecutors have long used such agreements but the SEC’s Division of Enforcement only recently has signaled a willingness to use this method to resolve cases.  To learn more about the implications of the SEC’s use of the agreement, please click here to read the Alert published by the White Collar Defense and Investigations and Securities Litigation and Enforcement Client Service Groups and the Global Anti-Corruption/Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Team on May 19, 2011.

Former In-House Lawyer Acquitted of Federal Charges; Prosecution Still Provides Cautionary Tale

In a case that had alarmed corporate counsel, a federal judge acquitted Lauren Stevens, a former in-house lawyer for GlaxoSmithKline, of criminal charges that she had obstructed a federal investigation and made false statements to FDA investigators.  In-house lawyers, as well as outside counsel who handle government investigations on behalf of corporate clients, should take note of the points central to the Judge’s ruling.  To learn more, please click here to read the Alert published by the White Collar Defense and Investigations Client Service Group on May 13, 2011.

FTC Brings String of Lawsuits Against the Use of “Advertorials” and Affiliate Advertising

The FTC recently filed suit against 10 operators of advertorial websites that promote acai berry weight loss products.  The websites are affiliate advertisers that earn commissions by steering consumers to a seller’s website where the consumer can purchase the products promoted on the affiliate’s site.  To learn more about the string of lawsuits, please click here to read the Alert published by the Consumer Protection Group on May 2, 2011.

Avoiding Legal Traps When Offering “Groupon” or “Living Social”-like Discounted Certificates

Many retailers and service providers are interested in building up new business by offering a deeply-discounted “Groupon” or “Living Social”-like promotional certificate program.  To avoid the legal problems that can arise because the discounted certificates almost always have a short expiration date, please click here to read the Alert published by the Financial Institutions Group & Retail Team on May 3, 2011.

AEO Global Recognition – Trend in Global Trade Security and Facilitation, and the China Link

As one of the two pillars of the World Custom’s Organization’s Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade, the Authorized Economic Operator program seeks to “reward” compliant businesses with simplified customs procedures and controls, as well as guarantee the safety and facilitation of global trade.  To read more about the AEO program, please click here for the Asia Trade Alert published May 26, 2011 by the International Trade group.