Disclosure Dilemma: Is Disclosure to the Government Enough to Invoke the False Claims Act’s Public Disclosure Bar?

By Daniel Naydenov

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The federal government has a significant financial interest in the $3 trillion dollar health care industry. Due to limited administrative resources, the government’s biggest allies in the fight against health care fraud are individual whistleblowers who are able to file lawsuits under the False Claims Act’s qui tam provisions and share in the recovery. The Act contains a public disclosure bar to prevent parasitic suits by opportunistic whistleblowers. This Note analyzes two contrasting decisions from the Sixth and Seventh Circuits interpreting who qualifies as the “public.” In both cases, the court was asked to determine whether a health care provider’s self-disclosure of misconduct to the federal government was sufficiently public to bar future suits. Ultimately, this Note argues that the Seventh Circuit’s interpretation is more persuasive and closer to striking the proper balance between incentivizing whistleblowers and inhibiting opportunism.… Read the rest

Is a 3-D Printed Object a Product?

By Joe Yeoman

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This Note argues that a 3-D printed object and its design file should be considered products, and thus potential defendants be held strictly liable for any defects. Based on the growing popularity of home-based 3-D printing, the potential harms that will arise from defective objects requires that action be taken now to define these objects and their design files as products. Currently, the American Law Institute (ALI) and their persuasive Restatements do not completely cover home-based 3-D printing. This Note examines what the ALI can do when releasing a new version of their Restatement of Torts. Additionally, this Note proposes a solution that will balance the need to help injured parties, while protecting innocent hobbyists.… Read the rest

Digital Millennium Copyright Act: Notice and Takedown on Fair Use

By Niya Ge

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This Note argues that the current standard for monitoring the DMCA takedown process holds copyright holders to little accountability, allowing abuse of the process and disregarding whether the material was fair use or not. This Note navigates common abuses of the takedown process, from broad automatic algorithms, to issuing DMCA takedown notices to intentionally censor the targeted material. Although the current subjective standard for monitoring the legitimacy of suspect infringing materials requires copyright holders to consider fair use, it outlines no actual process or standard to do so, and creates no incentive for proper monitoring or accuracy. This Note argues that an objective standard would be more appropriate in curbing abuse instead of a subjective standard that incentivizes negligent monitoring.… Read the rest

Moving Forward from the FAMILY Act: Implications for Working Women, Business, and Contemporary Conditions of Caretaking Labor

By Kelly Chen

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In response to the historical rise of women in the workforce, Congress asserted Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) that aimed to preserve women’s employment status through mandating unpaid parental leave. While still in force today, the Act fails to adequately deliver its promise to resolve the difficult choice women face between work and family care. The Family and Medical Insurance Leave Act (FAMILY Act) unsuccessfully sought to provide a comprehensive, national paid parental leave program. This Note argues that a national paid leave program should be resurrected to ameliorate the gender disparity embedded in conditions of parental caretaking. The Note examines the historical development of the FAMILY Act through discussion of FMLA’s goals and limits. Additionally, the Note analyzes popular arguments put forth by the FAMILY Act’s supporters and critics and explains how the Act would have positively affected women and businesses … Read the rest

Consolidation in the Agricultural Manufacturing Industry: Does John Deere’s Proposed Buyout of Precision Planting Violate Section 7 of the Clayton Act?

By Ryan Harding

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In the fall of 2015, John Deere attempted to buy Precision Planting: a specialty manufacturer of precision planting equipment. The government objected to this sale under Section 7 of the Clayton Act. This Note will examine the technology of John Deere and Precision Planting and determine whether the acquisition of Precision Planting by Deere is legal. Finally, this Note will recommend that the government take further action to prevent continued consolidation in the agricultural manufacturing industry.… Read the rest

The Sharing Economy: Airbnb’s Discrimination Problem

By Jason Shultz

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Racial discrimination is a systemic issue deeply rooted in American society. One company within the sharing economy cannot possibly change the behavior of the individual hosts that are essentially landlords. This Note examines how Airbnb hopes to achieve an inclusive community for its users, how the new policies will affect hosts and guests, as well as Airbnb as a corporation, and how the traditional Fair Housing Act applies to Airbnb’s hosts. Finally, this analysis will illustrate how Airbnb’s new focus on inclusion will impact the sharing economy as a whole. Airbnb needs to work with the government to change the current exceptions that allow certain landlords to discriminate against classes of people. These changes include both eliminating the exceptions and reclassifying how landlords are treated under government regulations. By working with lawmakers and other sharing economy companies, Airbnb can make a large impact … Read the rest

Lack of Legal Duty to Fill Vacancies on the United States Export-Import Bank’s Board of Directors May Destroy Ex-Im Bank

By Michal Nowicki

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This Note examines whether the President of the United States has a statutory duty to nominate candidates to fill vacancies on the United States Export-Import Bank’s five-person Board of Directors. With only two of the five seats occupied, Ex-Im Bank’s Board of Directors cannot currently approve the financing of large export credit transactions, because at least three board members must be present to establish quorum for conducting official business. As a result, the Bank’s power is severely limited. Although this Note argues that President Trump is not legally obligated to fill Ex-Im Bank board vacancies, it offers an argument the Bank’s supporters can use to persuade President Trump to restore the agency to its full potential.… Read the rest

Quitting Quill: State Laws Challenge Quill’s Physical Presence Standard for Out-of-State Tax Collection

By Timothy Yuhasz

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Over the last fifty years, one of the bedrock principles of state and local tax jurisprudence has been the physical presence standard. The rise of E-commerce and a shifting economy, however, have for years called into question its validity. States, too, have taken notice, and new state laws are being crafted that either bypass this requirement or challenge it head-on. It may not be long before the physical presence standard becomes a thing of the past.… Read the rest

Our Broken System: Modifying the U.S. Pharmaceutical Regulatory Scheme to Decrease Surging Prescription Drug Prices

By Dan Gutt

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The pharmaceutical industry’s societal purpose is to improve the health of the citizenry. However, the industry is beginning to fail that purpose by producing expensive prescription drugs, which are becoming inaccessible to the average person. Pharmaceutical prices began to spike in 2014, and there is no evidence that this trend will abate in the future. The causes of this phenomenon stem from several factors: expensive patented drugs, a reduction in the supply of generic drugs, and the pharmaceutical industries large marketing and sales expenditures. In summation, this is a complex problem that cannot be solved by a single solution, nor can it be solved by cost covering measures. Instead, innovative solutions that target the root causes of spiking pharmaceutical prices need to be applied. Examples of these solutions include governmental bulk-buying power, longer patent terms, referencing pricing for patented drugs, and improved FDA … Read the rest

When to Disclose Data Breaches under Federal Securities Laws

By Steven Wittenberg

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Hacking and cybercrime are on the rise.[1] From 2013 to 2015, twenty major data breaches were reported at Fortune 100 companies.[2] Publicly traded companies who have securities disclosure obligations should be aware of their duties under the federal securities laws when it comes to data breaches and hacks.[3]

In 2011, the SEC Division of Corporation Finance issued guidelines for cyber incidents.[4] The SEC stated, “[A] number of disclosure requirements may impose an obligation on registrants to disclose such [cyber] risks and incidents,” although there are no explicit requirements referring to data breaches.

While major data breaches may be material to reasonable investors of public companies, there is no duty to promptly disclose the occurrence of cyber incidents unless there have been selective disclosures, previous misstatements or circumstances making the omission of the hack misleading.[5] The federal securities laws … Read the rest