White HouseOn October, 6, the U.S. Department of State announced it will issue a report to President Donald Trump which will express the Department’s conclusion that the Government of Sudan (“GOS”) has sustained the positive actions necessary in order to repeal the majority of current U.S. economic sanctions against Sudan. The Department of State will formally publish a copy of this report in the Federal Register on Thursday, October 12, 2017, but has provided an advance copy on their website.

Continue Reading State Department and OFAC Announce Repeal of Sudan Sanctions

White HouseToday, President Trump officially signed H.R. 3364, the “Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act” (CAATSA) into law. CAATSA originated as a bill which was focused on only Iran. However, partially in response to Russian cyber-interference with the 2016 election, the Senate expanded CAATSA to impose additional sanctions against Russia and also codify into law various sanctions imposed by the Obama Administration in the form of Executive Orders. The House of Representatives then approved these additions and added further sanctions against North Korea. Eventually, the House and Senate approved the final version of CAATSA by a margin of 419-3 and 98-2, respectively. For additional detail on CAATSA’s legislative history, please see our previous alerts here, here and here.

Continue Reading President Signs Russian, Iran and North Korea Sanctions Legislation into Law

Flag of CubaPresident Trump today announced changes to U.S.-Cuban sanctions policy which will reverse amendments made by the Obama administration in 2015 and 2016 intended to normalize relations with Cuba. President Trump stated that these changes will include eliminating unsponsored individual travel under the “people-to-people” program and restricting transactions with Cuban military, intelligence and security agencies. The U.S. Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control and the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security have not yet revised their rules to formally implement today’s announced policy changes, however OFAC has provided preliminary FAQ guidance. According to OFAC, today’s announced changes will not become effective until the new regulations are issued.

Continue Reading President Trump Announces Significant Shift in Cuba Policy

globeIn March 2016, ZTE Corporation and ZTE Kangxun (collectively ZTE) were placed on the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) Entity List after corporate documents revealed alleged failure to comply with U.S. sanctions against Iran. While placement on the Entity List would ordinarily result in a ban on conducting business with the U.S., President Obama issued a Temporary General License (TGL) on March 24, 2016, which authorizes the export, reexport and transfer (in country) of items to ZTE. The TGL was implemented by amending the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) with the addition of Supplement No. 7 to part 744.

Continue Reading ZTE’s TGL Extended until March 29

Treasury DepartmentAs previously reported here, former President Obama in December 2016 issued an amendment to Executive Order (“EO”) 13694, which imposed sanctions on the Russian Federal Security Service (a.k.a Federalnaya Sluzhba Bezopasnosti and/or FSB) (“FSB”), other Russian entities and officers of those entities. The Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”) also placed FSB and those entities and individuals on its list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (the “SDN List”).  These sanctions prohibited persons subject to US jurisdiction from transacting business with the FSB and the other entities and individuals named in EO 13694 and the SDN List designations.

Continue Reading OFAC Issues General License Authorizing Limited Interactions With Russia’s FSB

globeIn the last few days of his Administration, President Obama and the U.S. Department of the Treasury’s Office of Foreign Asset Control (“OFAC”) took actions that, on at least a temporary basis, will authorize financial transactions with and most exports of goods and services to Sudan and the Sudanese Government. These actions take effect on Tuesday, January 17, but any U.S. persons seeking to trade with Sudan under the expanded authorizations should be aware that these new authorizations are subject to various conditions and could be revoked or modified based on future actions by the Government of Sudan and/or President-Elect Donald Trump’s incoming administration.

Continue Reading OFAC Eases Sanctions on Sudan

shipping containersFollowing the recent release of a joint analysis report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Russian Malicious Cyber Activity and sanctions issued by the Obama Administration on December 29, 2016 (as previously reported here), the Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) has amended the Export Administration Regulations (EAR) by adding five (5) Russian entities to the Entity List.  The entities identified below have been determined to have been involved in activities contrary to the national security or foreign policy interests of the United States:

Continue Reading Commerce Targets Russian Hackers with Additions to Entity List

white houseYesterday, President Obama issued an amendment to Executive Order 13694 related to malicious cyber activities which imposed sanctions on two Russian intelligence agencies (the Federal Security Service and the Main Intelligence Directorate), four individual intelligence agency officers and three Russian vendors that provided cyber support to one of the sanctioned agencies. In an official statement, President Obama explained that the amendment was a response to “the Russian government’s aggressive harassment of U.S. officials and cyber operations aimed at the U.S. election.” The amendment also authorized the Secretary of the Treasury to sanction any additional individuals or entities determined to be engaged in “tampering with, altering, or causing a misappropriation of information with the purpose or effect of interfering with or undermining election processes or institutions.”  The nine individuals and entities named in the E.O. 13694 amendment are now listed on the list of Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons (the “SDN list”) maintained by the Department of Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (“OFAC”).  This places a freeze on any property within the U.S. belonging to those individuals or entities and also prohibits persons subject to U.S. jurisdiction from engaging in trade with the sanctioned individuals and entities.  Shortly thereafter, OFAC exercised its authority under a separate section of E.O. 13694 and added two Russian cyber criminals to the SDN list along with the nine individuals and entities named by President Obama (list found here).

Continue Reading President Obama and OFAC Issue New Sanctions in Response to Russian Involvement in Elections

Product Liability Monitor

November 8, 2016
New Developments
Does Talc Cause Cancer? Scientific Evidence in the Courtroom
By Alan Hoffman

This year juries returned verdicts totaling nearly $200 million in three Missouri cases claiming that ovarian cancers is caused by using talcum powder products. By contrast, in September a New Jersey Superior Court excluded expert opinions offered to support such claims and granted defense motions for summary judgment in two pending cases. What scientific evidence is there concerning the causal connection, or lack of it, between talc use and ovarian cancer? [Continue Reading]

Autonomous Vehicles and Asimov’s Three Laws of Robotics
By Eric B. Krauss

The Three Laws of Robotics are not laws in the traditional sense. They are neither rules passed by a community to regulate its members nor scientific facts proven by observation to govern natural phenomena, but rather a work of literature, devised by science fiction author Isaac Asimov. These “laws” reflect common-sense maxims for human relationships: that people should not harm others; that they should obey the standards of their communities; and that people should not engage in self-destructive behavior.  The difference between humans and computers is that humans have free will, while computer behavior is governed by software and programming devised by humans.[Continue Reading]

Court Dismisses the Sandy Hook Shooting Suit
By Dan Jaffe

On October 14, 2016 Connecticut Superior Court Judge Barbara Bellis dismissed the Sandy Hook shooting victims’ suit against Remington Arms Company and Bushmaster Firearms International. Judge Bellis held that the plaintiffs’ claims are barred by the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act, 15 U.S.C. §§ 7901, et seq. (PLCAA), and did not fall within any exception to immunity from liability set forth in the PLCAA. [Continue Reading]

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Product Liability Monitor Archive
October 2016

 

flagsOn October 7, 2016, President Obama signed Executive Order 13742, terminating sanctions on more than 200 Burmese businesses and individuals. The Order eliminates prior restrictions on business with Burmese banks, permits the import of Burmese jadeite and rubies, and allows investment reporting through the State Department’s Responsible Investment Reporting Requirements to be made on a voluntary basis. Burma will now receive duty-free treatment on more than 5,000 products exported to the United States.

Continue Reading President Obama Issues Executive Order Lifting Burma Sanctions