Jeff Mason is a White House Correspondent for Reuters and the 2016-2017 president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. He was the lead Reuters correspondent for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and interviewed the president at the White House in 2015. Jeff has been based in Washington since 2008, when he covered the historic race between Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Jeff started his career in Frankfurt, Germany, where he covered the airline industry before moving to Brussels, Belgium, where he covered the European Union. He is a Colorado native, proud graduate of Northwestern University and former Fulbright scholar.
Twitter handle: @jeffmason1
Late Friday, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to round out its term with seven new grants of review, including cases that present momentous questions about partisan gerrymandering and the constitutionality of routinely shackling prisoners before they’re tried. And then there’s China Agritech v. Resh, which seems to present yet another not-so-momentous opportunity for the Supreme Court to tinker with securities class action machinery.
It still amazes me that the nomination earlier this year of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch made Chevron deference front-page news. You surely remember the backstory: When he was on the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Gorsuch wrote powerfully about how the Supreme Court’s 1984 decision in Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council (467 U.S. 837) may well violate constitutional separation-of-powers doctrine because it requires judges to defer to federal agencies’ interpretations of ambiguous statutes as long as those interpretations are reasonable.
In 2012, when General Cable Corporation got wind of accounting irregularities at its Brazilian operation, it did just what most large, public companies would do in similar circumstances. The corporation, a global manufacturer of metal, aluminum and fiber optic wire and cables, brought in experienced outside counsel, Morgan Lewis & Bockius, to conduct an internal investigation. Morgan Lewis interviewed dozens of GCC employees, in both Brazil and the U.S. Eventually, GCC determined that it had overstated its inventory by nearly $50 million and its net income by more than 20 percent. In March 2013, the company issued a restatement of its accounting between 2008 and mid-2012.
Two highly influential securities law professors, Adam Pritchard of the University of Michigan and Todd Henderson of the University of Chicago, filed an amicus brief Monday at the U.S. Supreme Court, backing a petition for review (2017 WL 5127301) by the Brazilian oil and gas company Petrobras and its underwriters. Petrobras wants the justices to overturn a decision from last July in which the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed certification of a class of investors suing the company for securities fraud. Pritchard and Henderson join an array of Petrobras amici, including the Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association and nearly two dozen other law and economics professors urging the Supreme Court to grant review of the 2nd Circuit decision.
The pharmaceutical industry, which is not at all happy about how lower courts have interpreted U.S. Supreme Court precedent on federal preemption of state law claims by people alleging injuries from pharma products, got a jolt of good news Monday from the high court. The justices asked the U.S. solicitor general to weigh in on Merck’s petition (2017 WL 3701808) for Supreme Court review of a ruling (852 F.3d 268) from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that makes it “virtually impossible,” in Merck’s words, for drug companies to win dismissal of personal injury suits by citing the Food and Drug Administration’s oversight of drug labeling.
Washington, D.C., ethics expert Mark Foster of Zuckerman Spaeder went to bed Sunday night mulling the question of whether President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, John Dowd, could be subpoenaed by a grand jury to testify about a tweet Saturday from the president’s Twitter account that said Trump fired his national security adviser “because he lied to the Vice-President and the FBI.”
Plaintiffs' lawyers in California and other western states can thank Senator Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, for preserving – at least for now – their right to claim tax deductions for their upfront costs in contingency fee cases.
As of Friday afternoon, with key holdout Republicans announcing their support, U.S. Senate appeared to be on its way to approving epic tax reform legislation. We still don’t know exactly what the final version of the Senate legislation will look like, nor, for that matter, how the House and Senate will reconcile differences between their bills. All kinds of important constituencies -- real estate professionals concerned about preserving tax deductions on home mortgages; Medicare recipients worried about program cuts; universities afraid their graduate programs will take a hit if students have to pay taxes on tuition waivers – will undoubtedly step up lobbying to mitigate the impact of the final law.
When Congress authorized the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s establishment in 2010’s Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act, lawmakers were determined to ensure the agency’s independence from the executive branch. The law called for a single director, rather than a commission, to lead the bureau, which was to be placed within the already-independent Federal Reserve system in order to protect its funding.
On Tuesday, Uber’s new CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, disclosed that in late 2016, hackers got hold of personal data belonging to 57 million Uber drivers and riders. Uber did not report the incident to riders or drivers when it occurred, Khosrowshahi said. As Reuters reported Wednesday, the company paid the hackers $100,000 in exchange for their assurances the stolen data would be destroyed.