Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
Legal News for Weds 3/6 - EU AI Regs, SEC Climate Change Reporting Rules, UAW Progress, Upheld Conviction of Avenatti and Musk vs. OpenAI

Legal News for Weds 3/6 - EU AI Regs, SEC Climate Change Reporting Rules, UAW Progress, Upheld Conviction of Avenatti and Musk vs. OpenAI

EU's sweeping AI regs, the SEC's new climate reporting rules, the UAW's progress in unionizing autoworkers, the upheld conviction of Michael Avenatti, and the lawsuit between Elon Musk and OpenAI.

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Elon Musk fighting with robots, pencil sketch.

This Day in Legal History: Dred Scott Decided

On this day in legal history, March 6th, 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its infamous decision in Dred Scott v. Sandford, a landmark case that deepened the nation's sectional divisions and paved the way for the Civil War.

The Court, led by Chief Justice Roger B. Taney, ruled that Dred Scott, an enslaved man who resided in free territories, was not a U.S. citizen and therefore had no right to sue in federal court. This decision effectively stripped Scott of any legal right to freedom.

Furthermore, the Court declared the Missouri Compromise, which prohibited slavery in certain U.S. territories, unconstitutional. This decision, later overturned by the 14th Amendment, inflamed tensions over slavery and propelled the nation closer to civil war.

The Dred Scott decision stands as a stark reminder of the dark chapters in American history and the ongoing struggle for equality. While the 14th Amendment later overturned this decision, its legacy continues to resonate, serving as a powerful symbol of the fight for justice and the enduring pursuit of a more perfect union.

The EU is close to passing sweeping AI regulations impacting businesses globally. The law categorizes AI uses by risk, banning high-risk practices like subliminal manipulation. Companies developing or using high-risk AI, like job-screening software, will face stricter controls and registration requirements. Though the EU market is the target, the law's reach extends due to its size. Experts urge companies to prepare now, as the consequences for non-compliance mirror those of the EU's GDPR, which has resulted in hefty fines for tech giants. Companies need to assess their AI use to determine if they fall under the act, as some applications, like biometric characterization, navigate complex classifications. The EU AI Act marks a significant step in regulating AI, and businesses worldwide should be aware of its potential implications.

EU Poised to Enact Sweeping AI Rules With US, Global Impact

The SEC is finalizing climate reporting rules for public companies. While the initial proposal faced criticism for its low threshold for reporting weather and transition costs, the final version sets a higher bar based on materiality. Companies will still disclose financial impacts of climate events, but in a footnote rather than directly in financial statements. They also need to report greenhouse gas emissions with outside verification in phases, with larger companies starting sooner. This phased approach aims to balance providing investors with valuable information while avoiding excessive burdens on businesses. The final rules represent a significant step in requiring companies to address climate risks and their financial implications, aligning with similar initiatives in California and Europe.

SEC Unveils Higher Threshold for Reporting on Climate Costs

The United Auto Workers (UAW) is making progress in organizing workers at foreign-owned auto plants in the South. Nearly a third of workers at a Toyota plant in Missouri have signed cards in support of the union. This is a key milestone as federal law requires at least 30% support to call for a union election. The UAW aims to add as many as 150,000 members through its campaign, which follows successful contract negotiations with the Big Three automakers.

UAW Hits 30% Support at Toyota Missouri Plant in Key Milestone

A federal appeals court upheld the conviction of Michael Avenatti, the former lawyer for adult film actress Stormy Daniels, for defrauding her. Avenatti was accused of stealing nearly $300,000 in book deal proceeds from Daniels and forging her signature. He was sentenced to four years in prison for this conviction, which partially overlaps his sentence for extorting Nike. Avenatti is currently serving a total of 19 years in prison for various fraud and theft charges, and he is appealing this latest conviction.

Court upholds Michael Avenatti conviction for defrauding Stormy Daniels | Reuters

Elon Musk sued OpenAI, his co-founded AI startup, claiming it strayed from its original mission and focused on profits. OpenAI denies the accusation and says Musk proposed a merger with Tesla and demanded significant control over the company, which they refused. They also claim Musk pushed them to raise more funds initially and later criticized their progress when he wasn't involved. OpenAI intends to dismiss the lawsuit and views it as the culmination of Musk's long-standing disagreements with the company.

OpenAI seeks to dismiss Musk claims, says billionaire pushed for merger with Tesla | Reuters

Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
The idea is that this podcast can accompany you on your commute home and will render you minimally competent on the major legal news stories of the day. The transcript is available in the form of a newsletter at