HAMBURG, Germany - The Kingdom of the Netherlands on Oct. 21 submitted a request for provisional measures to the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea by the Kingdom (ITLOS) of the Netherlands in arbitration with the Russian Federation (Kingdom of The Netherlands v. Russian Federation, No. 22, ITLOS).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Attorneys for Latin American investors in Stanford International Bank (SIB) and SIB's insurance brokers and lawyers asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Oct. 7 to determine whether the Securities Litigation Uniform Standards Act (SLUSA) and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 preclude investors from bringing private class actions based on state law "where the alleged purchase or sale of a covered security is 'more than tangentially related' to the 'heart, crux or gravamen' of the alleged fraud" (Chadbourne & Parke LLP v. Samuel Troice, et al., No. 12-79, Willis of Colorado Inc. v. Samuel Troice, et al., No. 12-86, Proskauer Rose LLP v. Samuel Troice, et al., No. 12-88, U.S. Sup.).
CINCINNATI - A divided Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on Sept. 12 reversed an Ohio federal judge's denial of judgment as a matter of law (JMOL) in favor of a defendant accused of trade dress infringement (Groeneveld Transport Efficiency Inc. v. Lubecore International Inc., No. 12-3545, 6th Cir.).
SYRACUSE, N.Y. - A federal judge in New York on Sept. 5 refused to remand a lawsuit challenging Honeywell International Inc.'s compliance with an agreement with the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency over the cleanup of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), finding that the plaintiffs' remaining state law claims still implicate federal issues (Camillus Clean Air Coalition, et al. v. Honeywell International Inc., No. 13-CV-365, N.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 125843).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A District of Columbia federal judge on Aug. 21 refused to vacate an arbitration award issued in favor of a defense contractor in a dispute over an international representative agreement with a Slovak entity, finding that the tribunal did not manifestly disregard the law in making its award (Arma S.R.O. v. BAE Systems Overseas Inc., No. 13-494, D. D.C.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 118288).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSD) on July 25 released a decision in which it rejected Turkmenistan's argument that a United Kingdom investor could file arbitration only under the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) rules, finding that ICSID has jurisdiction over the company's bilateral investment treaty claims (Garanti Koza LLP v. Turkmenistan, No. ARB/11/20, ICSID).
PORTLAND, Ore. - An Oregon federal judge on July 8 departed from his earlier position that a presumption of competitive injury applies to false marking claims, based on the change in law that occurred with the passage of the America Invents Act (AIA) (RB Rubber Products Inc. v. ECORE International Inc., No. 11-319, D. Ore.).
PARIS - An ad hoc committee for the International Center for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on July 8 released its decision on a U.K. company's application for annulment of an award that rejected its claims based on the principle of compensation for expropriation asserted against the Arab Republic, finding that the tribunal did not exceed its powers when it relied on a previous award issued by an Egyptian tribunal and accepted its interpretation of applicable Egyptian law (Malicorp Limited v. The Arab Republic of Egypt, No. ARB/08/18, ICSID).
LOS ANGELES - A California federal judge on June 18 granted a Panamanian corporation's motion to quash service of a petition to confirm an arbitration award, finding that a theatrical group failed to properly serve the petition under federal law (Latinamerican Theatrical Group LLC v. Swen International Holding, No. 13-1270, C.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 86383).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The District of Columbia Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals on June 7 reversed a district court's ruling that the U.S. Trade Representative must release a document that was introduced during negotiations of a free-trade agreement with foreign nations, finding that the trade representative properly withheld the document as confidential (Center for International Environmental Law v. Office of the United States Trade Representative, et al., No. 12-5136, D.C. Cir.; 2013 U.S. Dist. App. LEXIS 11477).
SAN FRANCISCO - Local union officials who diverted union resources while attempting to establish a new, competing union after their own was to be placed in trusteeship violated the Labor Management Reporting and Disclosure Act (LMRDA), the Ninth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals ruled May 22 (Services Employees International Union, et al. v. National Union of Healthcare Workers, et al., No. 10-16549, 9th Cir.; 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 10375).
CANBERRA, Australia - An Australia court on March 13 dismissed an application filed by a Chinese air conditioning company in relation to the enforcement of an arbitral award issued against it and in favor of an Australia company, rejecting an argument that the jurisdiction conferred to the Federal Court of Australia in an application made under Article 35 of the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) Model Law on International Commercial Arbitration was incompatible with Chapter III of the Commonwealth of Australia Constitution (TCL Air Conditioner (Zhongshan) Co Ltd v The Judges of the Federal Court of Australia $(2013$) HCA 5, Australia High).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in the District of Columbia on March 1 dismissed an investor's securities class action lawsuit, ruling that he lacked subject matter jurisdiction over the investor's state law claims (Kathryn Lynn Campbell v. American International Group Inc., No. 12-115, D. D.C.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28723).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A federal judge in Washington on March 1 dismissed a shareholder's suit, noting that the parties do not have complete diversity and that the claims are all under state laws (Kathryn Lynn Campbell v. American International Group, Inc., et al., No. 12-cv-00115, D. D.C.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a 5-4 opinion, the U.S. Supreme Court on Feb. 26 held that Amnesty International USA and others lacked standing to bring a constitutional challenge to an amended portion of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978 (FISA) under a "theory of future injury" they will purportedly face with broader surveillance powers extended to the U.S. government under the amendment (James R. Clapper Jr., et al. v. Amnesty International USA, et al., No. 11-1025, U.S. Sup.; 2013 U.S. LEXIS 1858).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Feb. 15 granted a Canadian company's request to compel arbitration of a dispute over satellite communication services but refused to appoint an arbitral authority, finding that the authority must be appointed in accordance with the Rules of Conciliation and Arbitration of the United Nations Commission of International Trade Law (UNCITRAL Rules) (In the Matter of the Petition of the Arbitration Between Telesant Canada v. Planetsky, Ltd., No. 12 Civ. 3743, S.D. N.Y.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 2120).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - A tribunal for the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) on Feb. 8 allowed certain objections to jurisdiction asserted by the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela in relation to claims asserted against it by investment and marine companies but allowed certain claims asserted under a bilateral investment treaty to proceed (Tidewater Inc., et al. v. The Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, No. ARB/10/5 ICSID).
SAN FRANCISCO - A woman's claim that she purchased a device from Taser International Inc. based on misrepresentations regarding its usability satisfy injury-in-fact standards, but she insufficiently pleads her California unfair competition law (UCL) and false advertising claims, a federal judge in California held Jan. 15 (Chiko Katiki v. Taser International Inc., No. 12-5519, N.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6109).
LOS ANGELES - A federal judge in California on Jan. 14 dismissed a federal securities law claim against an independent auditor, ruling that the lead plaintiff failed to properly plead subjective falsity (Susan Hufnagle v. Rino International Corp., et al., No. 10-8695, C.D. Calif.; 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 6095).
NEW YORK - A class of current and former interns for "The Charlie Rose Show" filed a motion Dec. 18 in the New York County Supreme Court to settle their suit seeking recovery of unpaid minimum wages due to alleged violations of the New York Labor Law (NYLL) (Lucy Bickerton, et al. v. Charles Rose, et al., No. 650780/2012, N.Y. Sup., New York Co.).
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Bankrupt Eastman Kodak Co. on Dec. 10 filed a brief in the Federal Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals arguing that the International Trade Commission (ITC) erred when it affirmed an administrative law judge's (ALJ) ruling that Kodak's digital-imaging patent claim was invalid (Eastman Kodak Company v. International Trade Commission, et al., No. 2012-1588, Chapter 11, Fed. Cir.).
LONDON - Financial giant HSBC has agreed to pay $1.9 billion to the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies to settle claims that it instituted "inadequate compliance with anti-money laundering [AML] and sanctions laws" in connection with its alleged laundering of billions of dollars of Mexican drug cartel money from its Mexican affiliate into the United States through its American affiliate, according to a press release issued today by the bank.
According to the press release, HSBC will pay $1,921,000,000 to settle claims that first appeared in a July 17 U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Investigations report, "U.S. Vulnerabilities to Money Laundering, Drugs, and Terrorist Financing: HSBC Case History," that showed that "drug traffickers unable to deposit large amounts of cash in U.S. banks due to AML controls, were transporting U.S. dollars to Mexico, arranging for bulk deposits there, and then using Mexican financial institutions to insert the cash back into the U.S. financial system."
HSBC reached the agreements with a number of U.S. regulators, including the New York District Attorney's Office, the Board of Governors of the U.S. Federal Reserve System, the U.S. Department of Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the Treasury Department.
HSBC has also agreed to "continue to cooperate fully with regulatory and law enforcement authorities, and take further action to strengthen its compliance policies and procedures," according to the press release.
According to the press release, "ver the five-year term of the agreement with the Department of Justice, an independent monitor will evaluate HSBC's progress in fully implementing these and other measures it recommends, and will produce regular assessments of the effectiveness of HSBC's compliance function."
"The agreement notes that HSBC Bank USA and HSBC Group have 'provided valuable assistance to law enforcement.' HSBC conducted multiple extensive internal investigations, voluntarily made employees available for interviews, and collected, analysed and organised voluminous evidence and information."
In the July Senate report, the subcommittee found that, among other things, "n addition to its high risk location, clients, and activities, HMBX [HSBC Mexico] had a history of severe AML deficiencies. Its AML problems included a widespread lack of Know-Your Customer (KYC) information in client files; a dysfunctional monitoring system; bankers who resisted closing accounts despite evidence of suspicious activity; high profile clients involved in drug trafficking; millions of dollars in suspicious bulk travelers cheque transactions; inadequate staffing and resources; and a huge backlog of accounts marked for closure due to suspicious activity, but whose closures were delayed. For eight years, from 2002 to 2010, HSBC Group oversaw efforts to correct HBMX's AML deficiencies, while those efforts fell short. At the same time, HSBC Group watched HBMX utilize its U.S. correspondent account, without alerting HBUS [HSBC USA N.A.] to the AML risks it was incurring."
HSBC also announced that it is in the process of finalizing a similar "undertaking with the United Kingdom Financial Services Authority shortly."
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CHICAGO - Citing the previously unsettled state of case law regarding the production of insurers' internal documents and a lack of bad faith in an insurer's handling requests for such documents, a Seventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals panel on Nov. 28 upheld a lower court's ruling that had limited an insured's damages against her health plan provider (Sharon Mondry v. American Family Mutual Insurance Co, et al., No. 10-3490 and 11-1750, 7th Cir.; 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 24476).
NEW YORK - A New York federal judge on Nov. 16 granted a petition to confirm a $12,205,202 arbitration award issued in a dispute over a contract for the purchase and sale of fertilizer, finding that the law of the case doctrine was applicable (Oakley Fertilizer Inc., d/b/a Oakley International v. Hagrpota for Trading & Distribution Ltd., No. 11 Civ. 7799, S.D. N.Y.; 2012 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 165023).
NEW ORLEANS - BP PLC announced today that it would plead guilty to a dozen felony charges brought by the federal government and pay $4.5 billion in penalties over its involvement in the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig and ensuing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
The company said it would plead guilty to 11 felony counts of misconduct and one felony count of obstruction of Congress as well as one misdemeanor count under the Clean Water Act and one misdemeanor count under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.
Of the $4.5 billion penalty, the company said $525 million will be used to settle claims brought by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, which alleges that within the first 14 days of the incident in 2010, BP "materially misrepresented and understated the estimated range of flow rate of oil leaking from the well in three public filings furnished to the Commission" in violation of Sections 10(b) and 13(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and SEC Rules 10b-5, 12b-20 and 13a-16.
Flow Rate Estimate
"BP also omitted material information from these three public filings regarding its own internal data, estimates, and calculations indicating that the flow rate estimate contained in these filings was unjustifiably low. BP made these material misrepresentations and omissions in, inter alia, its Reports on Form 6-K furnished to the Commission on April 29 and 30 and May 4, 2010," the SEC says in its complaint, filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana (Securities and Exchange Commission v. BP p.l.c., No. 12-2774, E.D. La.).
BP explained that the amount will be paid incrementally over the course of five years, while the SEC stated that the $525 million settlement is the third-largest in agency history.
As part of the SEC settlement, BP will be enjoined from violating Sections 10(b) and 13(a) and Rules 10b-5, 12b-20 and 13a-16.
The $4.5 billion penalty will not resolve any of the federal government's claims under the Clean Water Act, federal and state law claims on natural resource damages and civil claims pending in the multidistrict litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, BP explained. The company said that it is prepared to vigorously defend itself against the remaining civil claims.
In February, the company announced that it had agreed to spend $7.8 billion to resolve economic loss and medical monitoring claims stemming from the oil spill. Final approval of the settlement is currently pending before Judge Carl Barbier, who presided over a fairness hearing Nov. 8.
The present agreement is subject to final approval.
The SEC is represented by Daniel M. Hawke, Elaine C. Greenberg, Colleen K. Lynch, G. Jeffrey Boujoukos, Michael J. Rinaldi, Brian P. Thomas, Matthew S. Raalf, Kelly L. Gibson and Michael F. McGraw of the SEC in Philadelphia.
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