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May 28, 2014

In the News Today – May 28, 2014

In a post about how some states are getting, “more aggressive with unclaimed property,” TaxAnalysts’s Maria Koklanaris highlights ILR’s recent white paper, “Unclaimed Property: Best Practices for State Administrators and the Use of Private Audit Firms”. She also quotes ILR Executive Vice President Harold Kim, who notes, “It seems like it’s open season. Virtually anybody who holds an asset, or has some type of holding arrangement, is subject to this. This is growing and we don’t see an end in sight.” (TaxAnalysts.com)

The Wall Street Journal editorializes today about the Third Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision in GenOn Power v. Bell — a decision The Journal says helps revive the plaintiffs’ bar’s use of “public nuisance” theory to sue “utilities on the claim that their emissions are a ‘public nuisance’ under common law and therefore the courts should make U.S. climate change policy.” In 2011, in American Electric Power v. Connecticut, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled 8-0 that this question belongs to the political branches, not the Court. “The Bell defendants are asking the Supreme Court to take the case, and the Justices should take the opportunity to close the state common-law loophole before more damage is done.” (Wall Street Journal)

The North Carolina House of Representatives is scheduled to consider patent reform legislation after passing out of the Judiciary Committee. The bill, “targets so-called patent trolls that victimize companies with frivolous patent claims. Companies often settle those claims rather than going to court because of the high cost of patent litigation, even when they are confident the claims have no merit.” (News & Observer)

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