Nov. 19, 2014
By A’Dair Flynt, Senior Associate
In a letter dated July 15, 2014, Treasury Secretary Jacob J. Lew asked Congress to pass retroactive legislation that would halt United States companies from engaging in inversion transactions. A corporate tax inversion or expatriation is a “transaction in which a U.S. based multinational restructures so that the U.S. parent is replaced by a foreign parent.” As a result, the corporation no longer has a U.S. corporate residence and can avoid the 35% U.S. corporate tax, which is currently the highest in the world. Additionally, the corporation pays no tax on its foreign source income to its new foreign country. The Joint Committee on Taxation has estimated that over the course of 10 years, corporate inversions cost the U.S. $20 billion in lost revenue. Between 2004 and 2014, estimates indicate that over 47 U.S. companies have inverted.
Nov. 18, 2014
By Carson Haddow, Senior Associate
On December 1, 2014, the United States Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Ass’n, a case that presents a hot issue in contemporary administrative law. The Court will address whether an agency must follow notice-and-comment procedure when amending interpretive rules. Its decision could bolster a significant procedural safeguard against what some have labeled agency “flip-flopping.”
Nov. 17, 2014
By Rory Green, Senior Associate
The Louisiana attorney general is vested with the power to control legal actions by, or against, the state, subject only to the obligation to uphold the laws of the state. But the extent of the attorney general’s control over state litigation is undefined. The lack of clarity in the attorney general’s authority has been the subject of repeated debate due to political controversy that is typically associated with major lawsuits by or against the state. Importantly, it is unclear whether state agencies pursuing litigation constitute the attorney general’s “clients,” with whom control of the objectives of litigation resides, or instead, whether the attorney general may dismiss suits and force settlements individually. Louisiana laws, in addition to relevant out-of-state and historical guidance, imply that it is the attorney general alone who may intervene in an independent agency’s legal actions. Nevertheless, an independent agency’s decision to pursue litigation may contradict the political standpoint of other government actors and instigate political response.
Oct. 23, 2014
By Tammy B. Scelfo & Jessica S. Allain, Attorneys at Allen & Gooch
Know about fraudulent activity? Planning on blowing the whistle? You better lawyer up and file a qui tam action first; otherwise the Fifth Circuit says you are not entitled to any proceeds from the Government’s recovery.
In a case involving an issue of first impression for the United States Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, the court was asked to determine whether relators in a qui tam action filed after the government had instituted criminal proceedings against the defendants could share in the recovery by the government. In United States ex rel Babalola v. Sharma, the Fifth Circuit held that because relators did not file their qui tam proceeding before the U.S. Government instituted criminal proceedings, they were not entitled to any of the recovery proceeds.
Oct. 22, 2014
By Julie Love Taylor, Senior Associate
By now, most Americans are familiar with the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal, in which the Church has been criticized for its handling—or rather, mishandling—of priests who sexually abused minors. Recently, Catholics in Louisiana were reminded of this scandal but with a slightly different twist. In April 2014, the Louisiana Supreme Court issued a decision involving alleged sexual abuse—not by a priest, but by a church parishioner—and a priest’s failure to report that abuse. The Supreme Court’s holding potentially opened the door to a sticky situation: Can a court compel a priest to break the seal of confession when the penitent is a minor alleging sexual abuse.