As an industry, we are prepared for the everyday fare of the profession—FOIA denials, OMA violations, spotting defamatory statements, and the like. But we can, and should, do better when it comes to prepping for the extraordinary.
One of the things I most enjoy as MPA General Counsel is engaging on the importance of open government in our democracy. On multiple occasions, I have presented on the topic of Open Government. Reporters, public officials, and citizens all gathered to take about the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and the Open Meetings Act (OMA) – their importance, the challenges in obtaining/providing information, as well as best practices. It is clear to me that many government officials and employees not only want to comply with the legal requirements (as they must), they want to go beyond the bare minimum required by the law and begin making strides toward better transparency policies. With that in mind, here are some thoughts on best practices for you to discuss with your local governments.
Whereas few haven’t read, or at least been warned about, the threats posed by hackers and the malware they plant, less common are the stories told from inside the cyber incident as it unfolds.
The majority of the calls we receive relate to FOIA requests and the inability to get requested materials. The following are a few tips that may help you maximize your getting the information or documents you want.
You just found the perfect accompaniment for your piece. It may be an image taken from Facebook or a short video found on YouTube. You take the material and run with it thinking, “not a big deal; it’s fair use.” But is it?
“A nun, a priest, and a parishioner…”
No, this is not the windup for a joke. It’s the windup for an important development in Michigan’s law on “defamation per se.”
Let’s talk talk about two open government issues of importance to the media. First, changes to our FOIA statute went into effect in 2015 that have still not been implemented by some public bodies. (Likewise, you will be stunned to learn that there is gambling in Casablanca). Below is a quick recap on some of those changes for you to use in dealing with fee issues. Second, many people have had issues with public officials using email as an improper method of deliberating in violation of the Open Meetings Act. A recent Michigan Court of Appeals case addresses the issue and concluded that the OMA was violated.
Companies regularly face the prospect of conducting internal investigations. Perhaps the ethics and compliance program has identified an irregularity, or a concerned employee has notified his or her supervisor of potential wrongdoing. Worse, the company may have received notice of a regulatory or criminal investigation. The goal of this article is to identify the key drivers of a successful internal investigation and discuss how to address challenges that often come up in these situations.
Cybersecurity Summit: Protecting Your Business
April 28, 2016
Cybersecurity – Threats, Liabilities & Best Practices
April 21, 2016
OESA West Coast Regional Supplier Meeting
Hacking and Tracking: Cybersecurity, Privacy & Data Ownership Presentation
April 19, 2016
The article about the discharge of Gerri Cannon for a Facebook posting overemphasized her alleged, but non-existent, legal rights and underemphasized the actual rights of her former employer, MTC Federal Credit Union
Practical Considerations before and after a Terrorist Attack
45th Spring Conference
March 31, 2016
"Privacy Shield probably won’t withstand scrutiny by Europe’s highest court if and when the draft trans-Atlantic data protection agreement is challenged after the European Commission adopts it, said two legal experts during an FCBA panel Monday. A third panelist, Andrea Glorioso, counselor for the digital economy with the EU delegation to the U.S., spoke off the record during the discussion, he told us after the event."
Private Industry Notification
Federal Bureau of Investigation, Cyber Division
A financially motivated cyber crime insider trading scheme targets international law firm information used to facilitate business ventures. The scheme involves a hacker compromising the law firm’s computer networks and monitoring them for material, non-public information (MNPI)1. This information, gained prior to a public announcement, is then used by a criminal with international stock market expertise to strategically place bids and generate a monetary profit.
Our national security relies on our ability to share the right information, with the right people, at the right time.
Over the last several years, there has been an increasing trend in outsourcing by manufacturers. Besides the traditional outsourcings of information processing (e.g., IT infrastructure) and business processes (e.g., finance and accounting, human resources/benefits and facilities management), manufacturers have significantly increased outsourcing of industry unique functions such as assembly, energy supply management, fabrication, and transportation. For instance, manufacturers of drilling rigs and facilities for oil exploration companies might engage other companies with expertise in die casting, grinding, forging and other technical specialties to fabricate key parts and components.
From Michigan to Washington: Proposed Legislation to Ban Non-Competes Could Have a Chilling Effect on Innovation and Economic Growth
Non-compete agreements continue to face a steady attack from a variety of circles in the business, legal, political and academic communities. Those attacks are often coupled with calls on state legislatures to ban or drastically limit enforcement of restrictive covenant agreements. Indeed, recently proposed legislation in both Michigan (House Bill 4198) and Washington (House Bill 1926) seeks to ban outright non-compete clauses in employment agreements.
Protecting Client Confidences in an Environment of Ubiquitous Media: Rule 3.6 of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct
In 1887 Alabama became the first state bar in the country to adopt an official code of legal ethics that, among other concerns, attempted to regulate a lawyer’s relationship with the media. While the essence of that original rule—recognizing the need to curtail dissemination of certain information about a party prior to trial in order to preserve the right to a fair trial—has not changed, the notion of who or what comprises the “media” has. The media of 1887, or indeed the media of 1987, do not define the media landscape of 2015. This paper provides some insight for the practitioner on two levels: first, a dive into defining the myriad contributors to and sources for what we know as the media today; and second, an examination of how courts and bar associations are responding to the ethical implications of the lawyer’s relationship with this dynamic media environment.
On July 15, 2014, the Michigan Supreme Court unanimously held in Madugula v Taub that shareholder claims for wrongful oppression brought under MCL 450.1489 are purely equitable in nature, triable only to the court without a jury, even when the relief sought is money damages. It further held that breach of a stockholders' agreement may be evi¬dence of wrongful oppression, although it will not automatically establish a claim under the statute.
The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and the Automotive Industry: Why It Should Be a High Priority and How to Manage the Risk
The automotive industry is no stranger to Foreign Corrupt Practices Act ("FCPA") enforcement activity. Indeed, the most significant prosecution in the automotive industry generated a great deal of attention and massive fines. Overall, though, the government's pursuit of automotive-related companies for FCPA violations has been occasional and moderately disorganized, unlike the large-scale antitrust investigation of automotive supply chain companies over the past several years. We believe this will soon change. Companies in this industry would be well-advised to examine their internal ethics and compliance functions, implement recommended changes now, and immediately address potential issues that come to light from compliance efforts.
Government contractors who come under investigation for any reason need to know about suspension and debarment. Investigations that result in criminal prosecution or civil enforcement proceedings, or that otherwise unearth adverse information about a company's business ethics, can lead to the company being excluded from government contracting. This article discusses the types of matters that can lead to suspension and debarment, the potential consequences, and administrative agreements that can help avoid or terminate a suspension or debarment.