Corporate & Commercial

Unlike a Rose By Any Other Name, Conservation Development Does Not Always Smell Sweet. One of conservation development advocates’ core claims is that utilization of the land development technique results in a more environmentally-friendly finished product when compared to conventional land development techniques.  Such a claim is typically true.  It is true because conventional development land use laws do not require the identification and protection of the natural resources of the land to be developed.  However, just because conservation development is typically more environmentally friendly than conventional land development does not mean that its end-result environmental protection sufficiently maintains biodiversity…
Since this blog’s focus is on land development principles and practices labeled “conservation development,” it is important for readers to know what conservation development is not.  Generally speaking, true conservation development connects land development to land conservation — in a manner that assures meaningful natural resource protection. The Label “Conservation Development” Is Often Misused Not every development project labeled a conservation development project is a conservation development project (e.g., one that provides for meaningful natural resource protection).  The primary reason for the mislabeling of land development projects as conservation development projects is the variation in requirements local jurisdictions require for…
The recent case of Williamson County, Tennessee, provides useful insight into how even well-meaning conservation development laws run the risk of unintended consequences if the land use planning focus is too myopic.  Focusing on the size of the pieces and creating artificial development boundaries in contrast to planning across the entire landscape– increases the likelihood of a distorted development footprint, thereby minimizing the benefits local jurisdictions can obtain by adding conservation development principles to its planning toolbox. Williamson County, Tennessee – A Historical Rural County Facing Spillover Development Pressures from Nashville’s Booming Economy Williamson County, Tennessee, sits just south of…
Jessica Nall and Josh Malone discuss legal pitfalls, compliance issues, and the digital minefield that arises when employees use ephemeral messaging apps to conduct business in an article published by Bloomberg Law. Employees are using communication modes other than company e-mail to communicate for business—including texts and ephemeral messaging apps like WhatsApp or Telegram— which creates challenges for companies investigating potential wrongdoing within its ranks and for government investigators conducting parallel or follow-on inquiries. When business communications occur on platforms that companies do not control, there can sometimes be no way for them or the company or the government…
The Ninth Circuit recently heard an appeal that challenges a common tool of law enforcement: “f” letters. Under section 2703(f) of the Stored Communications Act, law enforcement may compel providers of “electronic communications services” (think Google) to preserve “records and other evidence” (think email) for a period of time. These preservation demands do not require any degree of suspicion, let alone probable cause, and are sent without judicial approval. Here’s a sample, provided by the Department of Justice:   Because the statute allows law enforcement to bypass judicial review, “f” letters are an increasingly popular avenue for obtaining digitally stored,…
In the ongoing legal battle over the alleged theft of American trade secrets by Chinese telecom giant Huawei, one curious aspect is the lack of charges filed against any individual Huawei employees. On February 28, Huawei pled not guilty to charges of trade secret theft in federal court in Washington. This has been one of the most publicized trade secret cases since the DOJ announced the China Initiative in November 2018, prioritizing the quick and effective identification and prosecution of trade secret cases related to alleged Chinese theft of American intellectual property. In January, Huawei was indicted for theft of…
Two United States congressmen introduced legislation in late December that would exclude certain digital currencies from being defined as securities – a bill that, if enacted, may finally provide the cryptocurrency industry with regulatory clarity regarding when the offer and sale of digital tokens must comply with federal securities laws. The Token Taxonomy Act of 2018 – introduced on December 20, 2018 by Reps. Warren Davidson (R-Ohio) and Darren Soto (D-Florida) – would, among other things, amend the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 to exclude “digital tokens from the definition of a security,” as…
The attorney-client privilege, which prohibits the compelled disclosure of confidential communications between an attorney and their client, is enshrined in common law and statutory codes across the country. See, e.g., Cal. Evid. Code § 950 et seq.; Upjohn Co. v. United States, 449 U.S. 383, 389 (1981) (the fundamental purpose of the attorney-client privilege “is to encourage full and frank communication between attorneys and their clients and thereby promote broader public interests in the observance of law and administration of justice”). The long-standing recognition of this privilege reflects the policy decision that the encouragement of candor between lawyers and clients…
New cryptocurrencies and tokens have been popping up all over the place, leading the SEC to set up an initial coin offering (ICO) section on its website and to promote recent enforcement actions in the digital currency space. The proliferation of new tokens offers a growing opportunity for cross-over and cooperation between different federal agencies. The SEC representative at a recent Bar Association of San Francisco panel last week noted that the SEC’s cyber unit is currently looking at dozens of new cryptocurrency or crypto market enforcement actions, including quite a few with the local U.S. Attorney’s office where fraud…
Earlier this summer, Governor Jerry Brown signed A.B. 2282 into law to clarify some confusion surrounding California’s salary history ban. The law amends Labor Code Section 1197.5 and 432.3, which together controls the use of salary information in hiring and promotion decisions. Labor Code Section 1197.5 makes it impermissible for employers to pay employees of one sex less than the other for substantially similar work and prohibits prior salary from justifying any disparity in pay; while Labor Code Section 432.3 prohibits employers from inquiring into an applicants salary history and requires employers to provide applicants with a salary range upon “reasonable request.”…