Tech Law Journal Daily E-Mail Alert
March 6, 2001, 8:00 AM ET, Alert No. 137.
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Cert Granted
3/5. The Supreme Court granted certiorari in Richard Mathias v. WorldCom, a case regarding the authority of federal courts to review state utility commission decisions regarding Section 252 interconnection agreements. See, opinion of the U.S. Court of Appeals (7thCir). The Supreme Court limited the issues on certiorari to:
  "1. Whether a state commission's action relating to the enforcement of a previously approved section 252 interconnection agreement is a "determination under [section 252]" and thus is reviewable in federal court under 47 U.S.C. 252(e)(6).
  2. Whether a state commission's acceptance of Congress' invitation to participate in implementing a federal regulatory scheme that provides that state commission determinations are reviewable in federal court constitutes a waiver of Eleventh Amendment immunity.
  3. Whether an official capacity action seeking prospective relief against state public utility commissioners for alleged ongoing violations of federal law in performing federal regulatory functions under the federal Telecommuncations Act of 1996 can be maintained under the Ex parte Young doctrine."
See, Order List [PDF], at pages 2-3.
Trade Talks
3/5. EU officials are in Washington DC for trade meetings with U.S. officials and legislators. The EU's representatives include Anna Lindh (Foreign Minister of Sweden), Javier Solana (EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy), and Chris Patten (EU Commissioner for External Relations). Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and other Committee members, met with Pascal Lamy (EU Trade Commissioner) on March 5. Lindh, Solana, and Patten will hold a press conference at 3:45 PM on March 6 at the National Press Club. See, EU release.
CyberCash Ch. 11
3/2. CyberCash filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court (DDel). CyberCash provides electronic payment technologies and services. CyberCash also announced that it has "entered into an asset purchase agreement under which Network 1 Financial will acquire all of CyberCash's operating assets." See, release.
New Documents
Armey: letter to HHS Sec. Thompson re medical privacy regulations, 3/5 (HTML, TLJ).
SEC: advance notice of rule making proceedings regarding electronic records and E-SIGN Act, 3/5 (HTML, TLJ).
Milberg: complaint against Broadcom, 3/5 (PDF, Milberg).
New and Updated Sections
Calendar (updated daily).
News from Around the Web (updated daily).
Recently Introduced Bills (updated).
Quote of the Day
"A 'Trust me, I'm from the government' approach just won't wash. People who are concerned about having their medical histories wind up in the wrong hands don't care whether it is their doctor or their government that threatens their privacy. They want their privacy protected. The federal government certainly has not earned a reputation of trustworthiness in the handling of medical records or in safeguarding Internet privacy sufficient to justify the proposed regulation."

Rep. Dick Armey (R-TX), March 5 letter to HHS Sec. Tommy Thompson regarding medical privacy regulations.
Medical Privacy
3/5. House Majority Leader Dick Armey (R-TX) sent a letter to Secretary Tommy Thompson of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) asking him to suspend implementation of proposed medical privacy regulations drafted by the Clinton administration. He wrote: "The HIPAA regulations were drafted to address a concern that many Americans have that their personal medical records are not kept private. ... The proposed HIPAA regulations, however, may actually have the opposite effect, putting private personally identifiable information at greater risk than exists today. What has not been widely reported are the rule's new mandates requiring doctors, hospitals, and other health care providers to share patients' personal medical records with the federal government, sometimes without notice or advanced warning." See also, HIPAA.
2/23. Sec. Thompson released a statement in which he said that the medical privacy regulations "are intended to ensure patients that the privacy of their medical records is secure, and to ensure that this information is used appropriately. This administration is absolutely committed to achieving these goals." He added that "under the Congressional Review Act, HHS was legally required to submit this regulation for consideration by the Congress for a 60-day period. Due to an oversight under the prior administration, this requirement was not met. As a result of this oversight, the 60-day period of Congressional review did not begin until Feb. 13, and therefore the effective date of the regulation has been delayed until April 14, 2001."
More News
3/5. The Department of Education published in the Federal Register a notice and request for comments regarding its development and implementation of a system to administer grants via the Internet. See, Federal Register, March 5, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 43, Pages 13381 - 13383.
3/5. The U.S. Court of Appeals (DC Cir) heard oral argument in Building Owners Managers Association v. FCC.
3/5. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) heard oral argument in Intergraph v. Intel,
3/5. The U.S. Court of Appeals (FedCir) heard oral argument in Tegal Corp. v. Tokyo Electron.
3/5. The Senate began its debate on S 220, the bankruptcy reform bill. The House passed its version of the bill, HR 333, last week.
3/5. The Business Software Alliance (BSA), a group that represents large U.S. software makers in copyright infringement matters, announced that it settled claims against eight California entities for a total of $512,000. The eight entities had on their computers unlicensed copies of software produced by Adobe, Autodesk, Macromedia, Microsoft, and Symantec. See, BSA release.
Class Action Suits
3/5. Deborah Kurtz and others filed a complaint [PDF] in U.S. District Court (CDCal) against Broadcom and three of its officers alleging violation of federal securities laws. Plaintiffs, who are represented by the law firm of Milberg Weiss and others, seek class action status. Count one alleges violation of  10b and Rule 10b-5 thereunder by all defendants (fraud). Count two alleges violation of  20(a) by the individual defendants (controlling person liability). Broadcom makes integrated circuits for broadband communications markets, including cable settop boxes, cable modems, high speed networking, DSL, and satellite transmission. Milberg Weiss is a law firm that specializes in bringing class action lawsuits against technology companies when their stock prices drop.
Complaints seeking class action status have also recently been filed against Xerox (see, release by Cauley Geller), Verizon (see, release by Lowey Dannenberg), i2 Technologies (see, complaint [PDF] by Milberg), and Worldwide Xceed Group (see, complaint [PDF] by Milberg).
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) will host a conference titled "The Digital Download: Public Access to Content in a Digital World". The price is $299. See, CEA release. Location: Renaissance Mayflower Hotel, Washington DC. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) will be the luncheon keynote speaker. At 3:30 PM Rep. Billy Tauzin (R-LA) will deliver an address.
9:00 AM. The Department of Commerce, Bureau of Export Administration, Regulations and Procedures Technical Advisory Committee (RPTAC) will hold a meeting, part of which will be open to the public, and part of which will be closed. Location: Room 3884, in the Herbert Hoover Building, 14th Street. Washington DC. See, notice in Federal Register.
12:00 NOON. George Bell, Chairman and CEO of Excite@Home, will gave an address titled The Death of Dial-Up, The Birth of Broadband, and the Revolution in Our Living Rooms. Lunch will follow. Location: Cato Institute, 1000 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington DC.
3:30 PM. There will be an event at the National Press Club titled "The European Union - U.S. Relationship: The Road Ahead". The speakers will be Anna Lindh (Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden, representing the EU Presidency), Javier Solana (EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy), and Chris Patten (EU Commissioner for External Affairs). Location: NPC, First Amendment Lounge, 529 14th St. NW, 13th Floor, Washington DC, 20045.
SEC News
3/1. The SEC announced 11 enforcement actions against 23 companies and individuals that used the Internet to defraud investors. The frauds were accomplished by a variety of online means, including "spam" emails, electronic newsletters, websites, hyperlinks, message boards and other Internet media. See, SEC release.
3/5. The SEC published in the Federal Register an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking on electronic reporting and recordkeeping and delayed effective date of recordkeeping provisions in the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce (E-SIGN) Act of 2000. See, Federal Register, March 5, 2001, Vol. 66, No. 43, Pages 13273 - 13274.
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