Good morning. Legislation that would limit the power of financial services companies to help flag suspicious gun purchases is poised to become a new flashpoint in the fight over ESG. Plus, Squire Patton Boggs will lobby for conservative media outlet Newsmax; the DOJ has rolled out new corporate-crime enforcement rules; and the U.S. Chamber’s legal arm is out with a new report on mass arbitration. How is it Friday already? Let’s close out the week.
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A new batch of bills has been introduced in states around the country that aim to limit the use of credit card codes to flag suspicious gun purchases.
The legislation, which has been introduced in Texas, Florida, Mississippi, Oklahoma, West Virginia and Wyoming, would prohibit or limit banks or payment processors from using a planned "merchant category code," or MCC, for gun sellers. The new code will not show specific items purchased but will identify where a person shopped by adding gun stores to a list of hundreds of existing retail categories including snowmobile dealers and wig shops.
The code was requested by Amalgamated Bank of New York, which calls itself a socially responsible lender and investor.
The state proposals mark the latest flashpoint for U.S. Republicans in their attack on the growing corporate consideration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors — what some conservatives deride as "woke capitalism,” writes reporter Ross Kerber.
Visa declined to comment on the state bills. Other payment card companies Discover, Mastercard and American Express did not respond to requests for comment.
Squire Patton Boggs will lobby for right-wing news outlet Newsmax on its claim of censorship of conservative viewpoints and DirecTV’s recent decision to drop the media network. The law firm is among the top in D.C. for annual influence market revenue. (Reuters)
A Las Vegas personal injury attorney is suing the NFL and the Las Vegas Raiders in a dispute over a Super Bowl ad for the law firm that featured a Raiders player. (Reuters)
- Christine Wilson, the FTC’s lone Republican member, will step down from her role at the end of March. Wilson has accused the Biden-era FTC of overstepping by being too aggressive in stopping mergers and banning most noncompete clauses. (Reuters)
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she was one of the potential targets of a man who was charged by federal prosecutors with threatening to kill state employees who are Jewish. (Reuters)
In more than a decade of litigation to entrench corporations’ power to impose arbitration on consumers and employees, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has steadfastly championed arbitration as a fair and efficient alternative to class actions. But when thousands of workers and consumers actually file demands against a company to have their claims arbitrated? That’s not fair or efficient. It's "blackmail," the Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform said in an extremely provocative new report entitled, “Mass Arbitration Shakedown: Coercing Unjustified Settlements.” Alison Frankel has the details on the Chamber’s call for state bar groups to investigate the business model of mass arbitration firms — and on one of those firms calling out the Chamber for “cynical and hypocritical” arguments.
"Our goal is simple: to shift the burden of corporate wrongdoing away from shareholders, who frequently play no role in misconduct, onto those directly responsible."
—Deputy U.S. Attorney General Lisa Monaco, rolling out a new policy aimed at pushing the cost of corporate crime into the pockets of executives. The DOJ’s criminal division will give discounts on fines for companies that seek to claw back compensation from corporate wrongdoers. Any company seeking to resolve a U.S. investigation will also have to implement a plan to include compliance goals as part of compensation and bonuses. The policy marked the latest in a series of changes at the agency during the Biden administration.
Lawyers face a deadline to submit any public comment in response to a 3rd Circuit proposal that would require lawyers and paralegals to electronically file briefs and other court documents by 5 p.m. and not seconds before midnight. The proposed rule from the Philadelphia-based U.S. appeals court follows years of the court's Chief Judge Michael Chagares pushing for the judiciary as a whole to consider rolling back deadlines to improve attorneys' work-life balance.
An auction of documents and records from Linda Coffee, the attorney who argued on behalf of the woman known as Jane Roe in landmark U.S. Supreme Court case Roe v. Wade, closes at 5 p.m. PT. The auction, held online by Nate D. Sanders Auctions, includes an affidavit signed by “Jane Roe,” real name Norma McCorvey, that was filed as part of a motion for summary judgment. It also includes receipts from the filing of the original lawsuit in 1970.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will urge the 2nd Circuit to find that any inaccuracy in a consumer report can trigger Fair Credit Reporting Act liability. The CFPB was granted permission to present oral arguments as a friend-of-the-court as the New York-based appeals court weighs whether to revive a proposed class action accusing TransUnion, represented by Reed Smith, of failing to maintain reasonable procedures to ensure the accuracy of consumers' credit reports.
Court calendars are subject to last-minute docket changes.
What to catch up on this weekend
Sweden's Ericsson has agreed to pay $206 million and plead guilty after it violated a 2019 deferred prosecution deal with the DOJ. The company was originally accused of violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by paying bribes and running slush funds in Djibouti, China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Kuwait. After reaching the deferred prosecution agreement, prosecutors said Ericsson violated the deal by failing to come clean about some of its activities. (Reuters)
The DOJ urged the D.C. Circuit to reject former President Donald Trump's claim that he is automatically immune from lawsuits over his supporters' Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol. The DOJ said it was not taking a stance on whether Trump's speech encouraged the Capitol riots, but "incitement of imminent private violence" would not fall within the scope of a president's official duties. (Reuters)
The Biden administration filed statements of interest in federal court in North Carolina arguing military personnel should be allowed to pursue class actions accusing Citigroup and American Express of overcharging them on loans and not be forced to arbitrate their claims individually. The filings said federal law gives service members an "unwaivable right" to pursue class-action claims even if they had agreed to arbitrate. (Reuters)
Google “Incognito” browser users lost their bid, for now, to revive a damages class action seeking billions of dollars for alleged privacy violations. The plaintiffs’ lawyers at Boies Schiller and other firms said they should not have to wait for a final order before making arguments on why a judge was wrong to deny certifying a damages class. (Reuters)
Federal prosecutors have charged Recovery Connections Centers of America, which operates addiction treatment centers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, and its owner Michael Brier with billing Medicare and Medicaid millions of dollars for services they never provided. According to court filings, the defendants routinely billed Medicare and Medicaid for 45-minute counseling sessions when the actual sessions were only five to 10 minutes. Lawyers for Brier and RCCA did not immediately respond to requests for comment. (Reuters)
Simpson Thacher brought on Sunny Singh in New York as partner and head of the firm’s U.S. company-side restructuring group. Singh was previously at Weil. (Simpson Thacher)
King & Spalding hired former federal prosecutor Adam Baker in the firm’s New York office, where he joined the special matters and government investigations group. He arrives from the U.S. attorney’s office in New Jersey. (Reuters)
Cleary Gottlieb added Alan Levine as a New York-based partner focused on executive compensation and employee benefits. Levine was previously at Morrison Cohen. (Cleary)
Womble Bond Dickinson added Atlanta-based corporate and securities partner Douglas Butler from Moore Ingram Johnson & Steele. (Womble)
>> More moves to share? Please drop us a note at LegalCareerTracker@thomsonreuters.com.
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