Cuban Relations with the United States: Further Amendments to Export and Travel Policy

In keeping with the continued efforts of the White House to re-establish diplomatic relations with Cuba, the United States recently modified its stance on travel to Cuba and eased certain export restrictions.  Reed Smith’s International Trade & National Security team has authored a client alert that summarizes the policy amendments, and explains the implications for businesses and investors engaging in business with Cuba.

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The Supreme Court’s Recent Confirmation that Yearsley Derivative Sovereign Immunity Extends Beyond Public Works Projects

On January 20, 2016, the Supreme Court clarified the scope of “Yearsley immunity” – a form of derivative sovereign immunity available to qualifying government contractors – in its decision in Campbell-Ewald Co. v. Gomez. Until two weeks ago, many courts had misconstrued the Supreme Court’s 1940 decision, Yearsley v. W.A. Ross Const. Co., 309 U.S. 18, 60 S. Ct. 413 (1940), and held its immunity protected only those government contractors sued in connection with their work on public works projects. The Supreme Court in Gomez, however, confirmed that the Yearsley immunity defense applies so long as the contractor can demonstrate it complied with the government’s specifications regardless of whether the subject matter of the contract involved public works. Continue Reading

2015 Corruption Perceptions Index: What You Should Know

On January 27, 2016, Transparency International released its 2015 update to its annual “Corruption Perceptions Index” (“CPI”), an important resource for corporate anti-corruption compliance efforts. In total, 168 countries and territories around the globe were rated based on the perception of public sector corruption.  For a summary of this year’s CPI, and for Reed Smith’s analysis of the key takeaways, please click here.

‘Implied Certification’ Theory Under the False Claims Act to be Reviewed by U.S. Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in Universal Health Services, Inc. v. United States ex rel. Escobar, No. 15-7, to review the “implied certification” theory of liability under the False Claims Act.  In recent years, that theory has been applied in a wide variety of circumstances with increased frequency, exposing defendants to substantial damages and penalties.  Because of this, the Supreme Court’s decision could result in significant changes to the scope of False Claims Act liability.

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Helping You Navigate CFPB Guidance

Reed Smith has put together two reference documents to help you more easily search for a particular piece of guidance from the CFPB. The first is a collection of all nine issues of the CFPB’s Supervisory Highlights, from 2012 to 2015. The second includes all of the CFPB’s Bulletins, as of 1 December 2015.

We hope you find these documents useful.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact Nick Smyth (+1 412 288 3167,

Everything you need to know about the UK’s first Deferred Prosecution Agreement

On 30 November, an English court approved the first Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA). This DPA also coincided with the first time that the Serious Fraud Office had charged the “failure to prevent bribery” offence under section 7 of the Bribery Act. The DPA was agreed between the SFO and Standard Bank in relation to allegations surrounding a business agreement between Standard Bank and the Tanzanian Government in 2012. For a full analysis of the DPA and the lessons that we can learn from it, please read our Client Alert here.

Crude Oil Shipments Affected by Recent U.S. Customs Ruling

In a recent ruling, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (“CBP”) decided that shippers must employ costly U.S.-flag vessels when shipping processed condensate to and from a foreign country to be blended as a diluent with heavy crude.  The ruling comes as a surprise to many because it assumes processed condensate and heavy crude oil are the same product, contrary to industry standards and previous rulings by the U.S. Department of Commerce which recognize these as distinct commodities.

Reed Smith discusses the background of CBP’s ruling, why it was surprising, and its implications for businesses moving forward.  For more information on this topic, please click here.

What the European Court has to say about discount structures used by dominant firms

In a case regarding Post Danmark’s rebate structure, the European Court provided further guidance on the legality of rebates and discounts offered by dominant firms.  While this case involves bulk mail services, the lessons learned are applicable to a wide variety of industries in determining whether discount structures practiced by market leading firms comply with competition rules.

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News on Iran Sanctions: Adoption Day of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action

18 October 2015, marked ‘Adoption Day’ for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).  The JCPOA was agreed upon 90 days earlier, between the United States, Russia, China, the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, together with Iran.  While the latest measures taken by the EU, the United States and Iran make the necessary legal preparations for sanctions to be lifted, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will need to verify that Iran has met its obligations under the JCPOA before this takes place.

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10 Things Exporters Need to Know About Crude Oil Swap Licenses

Despite recent efforts to repeal the U.S. ban on crude oil exports, the restrictions remain firmly in place.  Recently, however, the Bureau of Industry & Security (“BIS”) authorized exports of U.S. light crude oil in exchange for imports of Mexican heavy crude, causing a stir in the industry and some confusion regarding the legal context for such a crude oil “swap.” To provide some clarification, Reed Smith attorney Jeffrey Orenstein explains 10 things exporters need to know about crude oil swap licenses.

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