July 2013 archive

SEC Announces New Anti-Fraud Initiatives

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) recently announced three new enforcement initiatives in its ongoing fight against fraud: “The Financial Reporting and Audit Task Force dedicated to detecting fraudulent or improper financial reporting, whose work will enhance the Division’s ongoing enforcement efforts related to accounting and disclosure fraud. The Microcap Fraud Task Force targeting abusive trading …

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Use of Internal Personnel for Whistleblower Reporting Costs Employer in Tenth Circuit Case

In Lockheed Martin Corp. v. Brown, No. 11-9524 (10th Cir. Jun. 4, 2013), the Tenth Circuit supported a broad interpretation of the claims that are protected under the anti-retaliation provisions of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act. The Tenth Circuit broadly described the case as follows: “Lockheed Martin Corp. (“Lockheed”) seeks to set aside a decision of the …

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$40 Million Being Distributed to Skechers Customers

The Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”) is currently distributing $40 million in association with its false advertising settlement with Skechers.  The FTC alleged that Skechers had marketed its Shape-up athletic shoes and other toning shoes based on unproven benefits, specifically stating that Skechers “deceptively advertised its toning shoes, including making unfounded claims that its Shape-ups shoes …

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Top 10 Trade Secret Verdicts

A trade secret, according to the World Intellectual Property Organization, is defined as: Broadly speaking, any confidential business information which provides an enterprise a competitive edge may be considered a trade secret. Trade secrets encompass manufacturing or industrial secrets and commercial secrets. The unauthorized use of such information by persons other than the holder is …

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Mortgage Rates May Still Remain at Historical Lows

In the past few weeks, mortgage rates have seen a sudden spike.  They have gone from historical lows in the 3% range to 5% and above.  The obviously puts a strain on the affordability of a home.  Even though the current rates are still historically low, they seem high in comparison to more recent experience. …

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Court Concludes E-Mail Communication Indicates Binding Contract

E-Mails seem to be taking over as a primary source of communication.  They are a quick and efficient means of communication and many people are accessible via email no matter where they are (i.e. through their mobile/smart phones).  However, many probably do not think of e-mails as formal documents or binding contracts.  Shepard Davidson and …

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Should STEM Majors Receive More Subsidies?

As universities struggle to balance budgets, a recent innovation involves charging higher tuition for students whose majors are costlier to the university. In practice, Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields, as well as majors in the arts, cost more relative to majors in the humanities and social sciences. These majors’ additional expenses cover specialized …

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House Prohibits Mandatory Audit Firm Rotation

In 2011, the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board (“PCAOB”) issued a Concept Release on Auditor Independence and Audit Firm Rotation, seeking public comment on: “ways that auditor independence, objectivity and professional skepticism could be enhanced. One possible approach on which the Board is seeking comment is mandatory audit firm rotation.” Apparently, the House of Representatives had a …

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California wants taxes from out-of-state 1031 exchanges

California recently enacted a new statute, effective for real estate exchanged in a tax-free 1031 exchanges, Beginning January 1, 2014, a like-kind exchange of California real estate for property located outside California will require an information return with the Franchise Tax Board (FTB) for the year of the exchange, and for all subsequent tax years until the …

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Lost Earnings Claim Getting Way More Press Than it Deserves

Based on the sheer volume of headlines in the media, one might think that this lost earnings claim either has some extraordinary circumstances and/or involves a celebrity.  However, it appears that neither of those are true.  From a legal and economic damages standpoint, the alleged wrongful termination and gender discrimination claims are routine.  So, why …

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