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LaVigne, Christopher L.

Christopher L. LaVigne

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  • US Supreme Court to Consider Registrant’s Liability for Non-Disclosure Under Item 303 of Regulation S-K

    31 Mar 2017

    On March 27, 2017, the United States Supreme Court granted a petition for a writ of certiorari to resolve a circuit split on whether corporate issuers’ disclosure obligation under Item 303 of SEC Regulation S-K can be an independent source of liability under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934.  Leidos, Inc. v. Ind. Pub. Ret. Sys., No. 16-581. 

  • Cheering on the Fashion Industry: U.S. Supreme Court Issues Landmark Copyright Decision That Will Have Deep Implications for Fashion and Sports Industries

    24 Mar 2017

    On March 22, 2017, the Supreme Court decided that federal copyright protection applies to cheerleading-apparel designs. The decision, which has far-reaching implications for the fashion and sports industries, sets a new and uniform standard for determining whether features of useful articles (such as clothing) are entitled to copyright protection.

  • Sanctions Round Up: Fourth Quarter 2016 and President Donald J. Trump

    31 Jan 2017

    On November 8, 2016, Donald John Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States. Following fiery criticism of the Obama Administration’s sanctions policies, including the Iran deal, the lifting of substantial parts of the Cuban sanctions program, and the imposition of sanctions on Russia, it is likely that the new President will usher in a new era of US policy as it relates to Russian, Iran, and Cuban sanctions, although the nature, scope, and timing of such changes, not to mention Congressional views on certain of them, is still unknown.

  • Iran Sanctions: OFAC Provides—at Least for Now—Assurances of a Wind-Down Period in Case of Snap-Back

    16 Dec 2016

    On December 15, 2016, the Office of Foreign Assets Control revised its Frequently Asked Questions guidance that concerns the re-imposition of sanctions in the event of a sanctions snapback under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”). The amended FAQs, which can be found below, convey OFAC’s general view that should the US re-impose certain sanctions pursuant to a JCPOA snapback, the US government would provide a 180-day wind-down period for payments related to contracts entered into and executed during the JCPOA period. In addition, OFAC also issued License J-1, which authorizes the temporary re-export of certain aircraft that are involved in code-sharing arrangements.

  • Supreme Court Affirms That Pecuniary Benefit Not Required For Family Member Tips, But Declines to Address What Constitutes a Benefit in Other Contexts

    7 Dec 2016

    Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court issued a unanimous, but narrow, ruling in Salman v. United States,[1] regarding criminal tipper/tippee liability for insider trading, which the Supreme Court had not significantly addressed since its decision in Dirks v. United States in 1983.[2] Following Dirks’ holding that a tippee cannot be held liable for insider trading unless the tipper receives a “personal benefit,” the Supreme Court ruled in Salman that a jury can infer that an insider receives an inherent personal benefit when making a gift of confidential information to a relative who trades on that information. The Court declined to adopt the Government’s argument that “a gift of confidential information to anyone, not just a ‘trading relative or friend,’ is enough” to establish liability, and noted that ultimately the question of whether a benefit was received will be a factual one for the jury.[3] The Court also expressly left intact the Second Circuit’s crucial ruling in United States v. Newman[4] that a remote tippee who receives information second or third hand must know of the personal benefit received by the insider in order to be liable.

  • Ramifications of US Election for International Sanctions

    9 Nov 2016

    Yesterday’s election has significant implications for international sanctions, particularly with respect to Iran, Cuba, and Russia. Although we do not want to be unduly alarmist, President-elect Trump’s statements on the campaign trail, should they be carried through to policy in his Administration, certainly suggest a U-turn in US policy. With respect to Iran and Cuba, the possibility of such a change in direction will need to be taken into account by persons and companies who have begun to enter into commercial arrangements with those countries in the expectation that the recent easing of sanctions would continue. With respect to Russia, we do not advise that any company make any assumptions as to the shape of future sanctions. Although any potential shifts in US policy would not officially occur before President-elect Trump takes office, it is likely that some of the potential changes will be telegraphed before the Inauguration in January 2017.

  • Sanctions Roundup: Third Quarter 2016 and Executive Order on Burmese Sanctions

    2 Nov 2016

    OFAC, acting under the direction of President Obama’s Executive Orders, has lifted the economic and financial sanctions against Burma and Côte D’Ivoire. The revisions open these countries, and their financial markets, to significant Western investment. Iran continues to allege that Western financial institutions have refused to enter its markets despite the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Additionally, the European Council and OFAC continue to impose and expand sanctions against Russia for its annexation of Crimea and disruptive activities in eastern Ukraine.

  • Second Circuit Accepts Controversial “Inflation-Maintenance” Theory of Securities Fraud Liability

    5 Oct 2016

    In so-called “price maintenance” securities fraud cases, plaintiffs argue that a misrepresentation that does not cause a stock’s price to rise can nevertheless be actionable under Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange of 1934 (“Exchange Act”) on the theory that the misrepresentation prevented a stock’s artificially-inflated price from falling.

  • D.C. Circuit Upholds Constitutionality of SEC Administrative Proceedings

    16 Aug 2016
    On August 9, 2016, a three-judge panel of the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued Lucia v. SEC, a significant decision that holds that the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (“SEC” or “Commission”) use of administrative law judges (“ALJs”) is constitutional.  In so doing, the D.C. Circuit ruled that the SEC’s use of ALJs does not violate the Appointments Clause of the Constitution because, rather than acting as officers of the United States, the SEC’s ALJs act as employees who lack the authority to issue “final decisions.”  With at least one similar case pending in another Circuit, and a number of appeals challenging the constitutionality of Administrative Proceedings (APs) pending before the Commission itself, Lucia is an important precedent-setting decision.
  • Securities Enforcement: 2016 Mid-Year Review

    Jul 2016
    The Securities and Exchange Commission instituted over 400 enforcement actions in the first half of 2016 and is on pace to surpass its record of 807 enforcements actions in a single fiscal year, which it set last year. In our 2016 mid-year review, we examine key developments in the SEC’s enforcement program through June 2016, and how those developments will shape the rest of 2016, including:

    • fairness and constitutionality of the SEC’s use of administrative proceedings;
    • continuing debate on cooperation credit;
    • enforcement actions against compliance professionals;
    • SEC’s ability to obtain disgorgement for long past conduct;
    • whistleblower program;
    • SEC’s requirement that defendants admit wrongdoing as a condition of settlements;
    • enforcement actions involving insider trading; and
    • enforcement actions involving the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, private equity and investment advisers, cybersecurity, accounting and financial disclosures, and broker-dealers
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Education

  • Northwestern University School of Law, J.D., 2002, cum laude
    • Journal of Criminal Law & Criminology, George A. Spiegelberg Award for Best Oral Advocate of the 2002 National Trial Competition
  • University of Pennsylvania, B.A., 1998, cum laude

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