Business Litigation Alert: "2014 Hot Topics - What to Watch for in the New Year"

As we wave goodbye to 2013 and welcome in 2014, here are a few of the issues we are tracking that could have a material impact on your business.

  • Cybersecurity – 2013 certainly went out with a bang as far as cybersecurity is concerned. Target experienced a major data breach that impacted millions of customers, highlighting the very real risk American companies face in terms of data theft and cyber breaches. Most legislation in this area has failed to pass due to privacy concerns, but the Executive Order issued by President Obama may spur federal legislation in 2014.
  • The Innovation Act – Patent reform passed a few years ago in the form of the America Invents Act, updating a US Patent System that was lagging behind other countries. Now, a second wave of patent reform, the Innovation Act, has passed the House and is in the Senate. This bill would deal with the problem of so called “patent trolls” and frivolous patent litigation. With major support from businesses across the board, we could see the second wave of patent reform move forward in 2014.
  • Whistleblowers – The SEC reported that it received 3,238 whistleblower “tips” in 2013, an 8% increase over 2012. The SEC also awarded over $14.8 million in reward money, including a $14 million award to a single anonymous tipster. Such a large payout is seen as likely to attract more tipsters looking to cash out. Also, California just passed legislation that expands whistleblower retaliation protections. We will watch and see if this legislation leads to similar statutes in other states.
  • Health Care – The new health care laws go into effect this month. Many expect to see a wave of enforcement actions and other litigation related to the new system, including False Claims Act lawsuits by insureds accusing health care, pharmaceutical, and medical equipment companies of overcharging the government.

As developments occur in each of these areas, we will be bringing you regular updates on how to best prepare your organization.

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