Statutory Interpretation

News & Analysis as of

The DMCA and fair use: Has anti-circumvention gone too far?

With the passage of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in 1999, Congress expanded copyright law and the rights afforded owners of copyrighted works. At the time, copyright holders — worried that the increased access...more

Washington Court of Appeals: No Transactional Nexus Requirement or Dissociation for Washington B&O Tax

On April 29, 2015, the Washington Court of Appeals issued an important tax decision in Avnet, Inc. v. Washington Department of Revenue, Dkt. No. 45108-5-II. In its most significant holding, the court of appeals effectively...more

The Big and Small Implications in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association

There are two important takeaways from Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, one with a broad scope and the other much narrower. The broader ruling exempts agency interpretations of laws and regulations from any notice and...more

New Volcker Rule FAQ Allows Non-U.S. Banks to Make Certain Investments Despite Offerings to U.S. Residents

Federal regulators recently issued a new interpretation of Title VI of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act — commonly referred to as the "Volcker Rule" — that makes it significantly easier for...more

A Tip for Employers: Be Aware of How the Department of Labor Interprets Its Regulations

This story applies directly only to the restaurant industry, but it is a cautionary tale for every employer in Connecticut subject to the Department of Labor’s authority to write and interpret its regulations....more

MassDEP Provided Substantial Discretion to Interpret Legislative Mandate in Global Warming Solutions Act

Just how much discretion will the courts give to the MassDEP to interpret legislative intent when it implements legislative directives such as a requirement to develop rules under the Global Warming Solutions Act? The...more

Supreme Court Signaling That Agencies May Have a Shorter Leash in the Future

The automotive industry, as much as any industry operating in the United States, has a substantial federal regulatory burden, with an alphabet soup of agencies charged with regulating under the authority of an alphabet soup...more

Supreme Court Allows Changes to Agencies’ Interpretive Rules without the Notice-and-Comment Rulemaking Process

In March, the Supreme Court upheld an agency’s reversal of its own regulatory interpretation without requiring notice-and-comment rulemaking. Regulated entities now face considerable uncertainty in relying on agencies’...more

Supreme Court Allows Agencies to Reinterpret the Law at Their Discretion

In a decision published on March 9, 2015, the Supreme Court ended the D.C. Circuit Court’s Paralyzed Veterans doctrine, which required administrative agencies to utilize the Administrative Procedure Act’s (APA)...more

Agencies Must Aim for Recovery of the Species When Designating Critical Habitat

In a decision issued earlier this week, a U.S. District Court rejected the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s (Service) interpretation of the Endangered Species Act (ESA), finding that its interpretation of the critical habitat...more

Inconsistent Administrative Tribunal Decisions: The Alberta Court of Appeal Weighs In

Conflicting interpretations of the same statute by an administrative tribunal are unlikely to be reasonable, let alone correct, the Alberta Court of Appeal recently held in Altus Group Limited v Calgary (City), 2015 ABCA 86...more

Notice-and-Comment is Not Required for Changes Made to Interpretive Rules

On March 9, 2015, Justice Sotomayor, writing on behalf of the majority, overturned the Paralyzed Veterans doctrine, which requires federal agencies to use a notice-and-comment process before making a significant revision to...more

To Understand King v. Burwell Look To Yates v. US

On March 4, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court heard argument in King v. Burwell, the most publicized case to reach the high court in some time. The issue is whether certain tax subsidies essential to the proper fiscal management...more

Supreme Court’s Perez Decision Shines the Light on Federal Agencies’ Authority to Use “Interpretations” (Often called Shadow...

Over the last three decades, federal agencies have increasingly used “interpretations” to “explain” what a formal regulation means, rather than to go through the more expensive, complicated and slow process of changing the...more

U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Validity of Department of Labor’s Interpretation on Overtime Pay for Mortgage Loan Officers

For the past several years, an action by the Mortgage Bankers Association has been brewing in the courts challenging the U.S. Department of Labor (“DOL”) for issuing contradictory opinion letters on whether mortgage loan...more

Supreme Court Ruling Validates DOL’s 2010 Interpretation Regarding FLSA Status of Mortgage-Loan Officers

The Supreme Court recently rejected a challenge to the validity of a 2010 interpretation by the U.S. Department of Labor (the “DOL”), which had concluded that the administrative exemption of the Fair Labor Standards Act...more

Supreme Court Confirms That Agency Interpretative Rules Do Not Require Notice and Comment

In a March 9, 2015, decision in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Ass'n., the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held that an interpretative rule issued by an administrative agency does not require notice and opportunity for comment,...more

Mortgage Loan Officers are Not Exempt Employees per the DOL and the Supreme Court Says that is Okay

The legal ping-pong match between the Department of Labor (DOL) and the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) over whether mortgage loan officers are eligible for overtime appears to be at an end. The Supreme Court recently...more

Who Needs Rules? The DOL Wins Supreme Court Battle In Mortgage Loan Officer Administrator Interpretation vs. Rule Making

When a federal agency deviates significantly in its historic interpretation of a regulation – in this case, doing a complete 180° on whether mortgage loan officers are exempt from overtime under the Fair Labor Standards Act –...more

Supreme Court Sides with DOL and Overturns Longstanding DC Circuit Ruling Under Administrative Procedure Act

Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Assn., No. 13 1041: On Monday, March 9, 2015, the Court ruled that a longstanding decision from the DC Circuit under the Administrative Procedure Act (“APA”) was incorrectly decided in contravention...more

Supreme Court Sides with the DOL Regarding Interpretative Rules

In a unanimous decision on Monday, March 9, 2015, the United States Supreme Court gave the Department of Labor (DOL) broad discretion to revise interpretive guidance with little notice. ...more

U.S. Supreme Court Holds That DOL May Change Interpretations of Regulations Without Public Notice and Comment

On March 9, 2015, the United States Supreme Court ruled unanimously in two consolidated cases that a federal agency does not have to go through the formal rulemaking process, which includes providing public notice and an...more

Supreme Court Says Agencies Can Change Rule Interpretation Without Notice and Comment

Companies subject to federal agency regulations sometimes face situations where measures taken to comply with such rules work one day, and then result in violations of those rules the next. Federal administrative agencies...more

In Personal Injury Actions, Prejudgment Interest on Costs Not Recoverable

In Bean v. Pacific Coast Elevator Corporation, 2015 DJDAR 2864 (“Bean”), the California Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, held in the published portion of its opinion that courts may not award prejudgment interest...more

Supreme Court Authorizes the DOL to Change its Interpretative Guidance without Public Input

On March 9, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously held in Perez v. Mortgage Bankers Association, that the Department of Labor (DOL) may issue its interpretations of wage and hour regulations without seeking input from the...more

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