Cease and Desist

News & Analysis as of

You Are the Victim of Defamation: Should You Sue?

It is not unusual to get a telephone call from a client or prospective client (let’s call him John), who says, “Somebody is saying false things about me. I want it to stop, I want an apology, and I want damages.”...more

Update: Another SEC Enforcement Action on Whistleblower Waivers and Releases

Summary - Earlier this month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced its second significant enforcement action against an employer based on confidentiality and release provisions that the SEC asserts...more

SEC Targets Employment Agreements Requiring Waiver of Whistleblower Awards

The SEC’s Office of the Whistleblower continues to examine employee severance, settlement and confidentiality agreements for language that might chill reporting of securities violations to the SEC and other regulators. The...more

NYAG Announces Settlement with Synergy Fitness for Improper Billing

This week, the New York State Attorney General (the “Attorney General”) announced that it had settled with nine Synergy Fitness (“Synergy”) health clubs over alleged deceptive and improper billing practices. Specifically,...more

Public Companies to Revise Employee Confidentiality and Severance Provisions

The Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) issued two Cease and Desist Orders that dramatically change the landscape for employee contractual confidentiality provisions, as well as for employee waiver and release...more

Standard Severance Agreements May Need to Be Revised

Many employers offer severance agreements to departing employees which, at least in part, are designed to protect the employer from disclosures of confidential information and from any future claims or recovery by the...more

SEC Continues To Scrutinize Separation Agreements

On August 16, 2016, the SEC announced that Health Net Inc. (Company) agreed to pay a $340,000 penalty to settle charges that it violated Rule 21F-17 by using severance agreements that allegedly prohibited its employees from...more

#RIO, #SUPERBOWL, #FAIRUSE?

It’s Olympics time! And while most of the news has been about Zika and the conditions on the ground in Rio, brand owners know this as a time when the U.S. Olympic Committee is on the warpath sending notices and cease and...more

SEC Continues to Target Employer Agreements Restricting Whistleblower Rights

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC” or the “Commission”) recently announced the settlement of two cease-and-desist proceedings against employers alleged to have unlawfully restricted employees’ rights to engage...more

Controversial Federal Court Ruling Could Shape Future of Computer Trespass Prosecution

In a controversial decision, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit has ruled that it is a federal crime to access a website after being specifically instructed not to by the site’s owner. The court ruled largely in...more

SEC Fines Companies for Anti-Whistleblower Language in Severance Agreements

The Securities and Exchange Commission recently announced the settlement of two proceedings regarding the SEC’s whistleblower protection framework, resulting in over $500,000 in penalties. Both of the companies were charged...more

Weekly Web Wrap-Up

Welcome to Sheppard Mullin’s Weekly Web Wrap-Up, a quick list of the past week’s top news in the social media, gaming, and virtual goods and currencies industries curated by Social Media & Games Team. Here are some of the...more

When Is Using a Computer a Crime? Rehearing Sought on Ninth Circuit’s “Distressingly Unclear” Answer

Facebook recently won a landmark victory in the Ninth Circuit against a company that accessed Facebook’s computers to help users manage their social network accounts. Now the company, Power Ventures, Inc., says that the...more

3 Severance Agreement Time-bombs

Last week the SEC entered a cease and desist agreement with BlueLinx Holdings, fining the company $265,000.00 for including unlawful confidentiality and waiver provisions in its severance agreements. BlueLinx used a variety...more

SEC Issues Cease-and-Desist Order Against Severance Agreement Clause Limiting Whistleblowers' Rights to Recover Bounty Awards

On August 10, 2016, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission issued a cease-and-desist Order and imposed remedial sanctions against a publicly traded company for including language in its severance agreements requiring...more

Small Burger Chain Has a Beef With Chipotle

Chipotle’s entry into the burger business has a Boston based small burger chain up in arms. The Boston burger spot, which has been in operation since 2010 and goes by the name Tasty Burger, has a beef with the brand Chipotle...more

Valve Strikes Back: A Strong Response to Allegations of Skin-Betting “Gambling”

In response to allegations that it has tacitly endorsed gambling via secondary markets, Valve Corporation (“Valve”), the maker of popular e-sports games such as Counter-Strike: Global Offensive (“CSGO”), has launched a...more

New York State Attorney General Orders Companies to Stop Making Anti-Zika Claims In Connection with Minimum Risk Pesticides and...

On August 3, 2016, the New York State Attorney General issued cease-and-desist letters to seven companies making pesticidal claims to prevent or protect consumers against the Zika virus. The claims at issue were made in...more

Three Point Shot - Summer 2016

800-Meter Champion Berian Eventually Outpaces Nike Endorsement Suit... Or Did He? World 800-meter champion Boris Berian is seemingly capable of out-running just about anything these days. Berian is just a year removed...more

Ninth Circuit Says You’re Going to Jail for Visiting That Website without Permission

Zounds, right? But that is arguably what the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit said about the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act in Facebook v. Power Ventures, Inc. on July 12th. Let’s get to it....more

LATAM/LAN FCPA Enforcement Action: Part II – Some Observations

Yesterday I reviewed the underlying facts of the long running Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA) matter involving the LATAM Airlines Group S.A. (LATAM). The resolution involved criminal charges detailed in an Information...more

Municipal Advisor, School Consultant, and Associated Individuals Enter Settlement Offers with SEC after First-of-Its-Kind...

On June 13, 2016, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) accepted the settlement offers made by two firms and three executives charged with using deceptive business practices in dealing with five school districts. As...more

Facebook, Inc. v. Power Ventures, Inc.: Shotgun-Toting Borrowers of Jewelry From Bank Safe Deposit Boxes and the CFAA. Wait. What?

On July 12, 2016, the Ninth Circuit filed its published opinion in Facebook, Inc. v. Power Ventures, Inc., et al., Case No. 13-17154 (“Power Ventures”). Power Ventures is the latest in a series of decisions from the Ninth...more

Facebook v. Vachani – User Authorization Can Be Revoked By Service Providers

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit recently issued a decision that could have far reaching implications for the relationships between companies that provide online services, their customers or users, and third...more

Enforcement Week III: Johnson Controls FCPA Enforcement Action – Part 2

I continue my review of the Johnson Controls, Inc. (JCI) Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) enforcement action today by focusing on the Department of Justice’s (DOJ’s) Declination to Prosecute. Yesterday, I considered the...more

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