Legal Report Resources November 2015
Investigations. Documents produced during a corporate internal investigation are protected by attorney-client privilege and do not have to be disclosed to a whistleblower, a federal appeals court ruled. The ruling stems from a False Claims Act complaint filed by Harry Barko, a former Kellogg Brown & Root subcontracts administrator, alleging that KBR and other subcontractors inflated costs and took kickbacks to defraud the U.S. government while under military contract in Iraq.
Firearms. A man can openly carry a legally-owned pistol into his daughter's elementary school because the school district does not have the legal authority to create a local weapons policy prohibiting firearms, a Michigan judge ruled.
Workplace participation. The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) released a report on the changes to the demographics of the American workforce since 1965.
Violent extremism. House Homeland Security Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-TX) introduced legislation that would create a U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office for Countering Violent Extremism. The bill (H.R. 2899) authorizes $10 million for the DHS secretary to establish the office through 2020 to coordinate the department's efforts to counter violent extremism.
Vehicle cybersecurity. Senators Ed Markey (D-MA) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) introduced a bill that directs the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Trade Commission to create federal standards to secure vehicles and protect drivers' privacy.
Citizenship. Australia's Parliament is considering legislation that would strip citizenship from dual nationals for taking up arms against Australia. The Australian Citizenship Amendment (Allegiance to Australia) automatically strips dual nationals of their Australian citizenship if they engage in terrorist activity, if they go overseas to fight for foreign armies classified as enemies of Australia or designated as terrorist organizations, or if they are convicted of terrorism or "certain other offences" by an Australian court.
Cybersecurity. China proposed a draft law that would require Internet companies to register users' real names, localize data, and aid government surveillance. The China Network Security Law would require companies to restrict online anonymity, to store user data in China, and to monitor and report to the government undefined network security incidents.
Recording. California enacted a new law clarifying that recording police activities is not a sufficient cause to charge people with obstruction of justice.
Corporate espionage. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear an appeal by a former shipping executive who was sentenced to five years in prison for hacking the company he previously worked for to create a competing business.
Searches. A federal judge certified a case brought by Apple Store employees against Apple Inc. as a class action lawsuit, allowing the challenge to move forward. The suit alleges that Apple should compensate 12,000 employees for the time it takes to complete its policy of checking retail employees' bags to ensure they did not steal merchandise.
Warrants. A state appeals court ruled that Facebook cannot challenge search warrants used by New York prosecutors to obtain information from its site on users' suspect of Social Security fraud. Instead, the court ruled that defendants themselves can only challenge the warrants by moving to suppress in trial any evidence the warrants produce.
Harassment. A call center provider for major nationwide companies will pay $600,000 to settle a sexual harassment and retaliation lawsuit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The suit alleged that female and male employees endured a hostile work environment created by at least 13 harassers—including male and female supervisors—and several were fired for reporting the harassment.
Money laundering. The European Union strengthened its rules against money laundering, passing a new Anti-Money Laundering Directive that requires due diligence for transactions of €2,000 or more within gambling services. EU states are required to implement the new rules related to the directive within the next two years.
Reporting. The Senate Select Intelligence Committee amended its annual Intelligence Authorization Act to remove a provision that would have required social media companies to report instances of terrorist activity to the federal government. The provision was included in the policy bill for the U.S.'s federal spy agencies, and would have required tech companies to inform the government if they came across "actual knowledge of any terrorist activity" on their sites.