Apple has won its antitrust appeals court battle with Epic Games over its App Store policies, according to the opinion issued by the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court largely upheld the district court’s earlier ruling in favor of Apple, which restricted app distribution on iOS devices to the App Store, requiring payments to go through its own processor while preventing developers from communicating to customers about alternative ways to pay. However, the court also upheld the lower court’s judgment in favor of Epic under California’s Unfair Competition Law. The ruling is a major setback for Epic Games and other developers who hoped the ruling could set precedent for further antitrust claims and require Apple to open iOS devices to third-party app stores and payment systems. Apple has issued a statement reaffirming its position, while Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney stated that the court’s positive decision rejecting Apple’s anti-steering provisions frees iOS developers to send consumers to the web to do business with them directly there. Apple has not yet issued an appeal for the latter part of the decision.
Coinbase Global has filed a petition in the US Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit to push the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to create new rules for digital assets. The cryptocurrency exchange filed a petition for rulemaking with the SEC last year, which urged the regulator to provide clarity on the circumstances under which a digital asset is a security and create a new market structure framework that is compatible with cryptocurrencies. However, the SEC has not responded publicly to that petition, which led to Coinbase filing the legal challenge. The crypto industry largely believes it operates in a regulatory gray area not governed by existing US securities laws and that new legislation is needed to regulate the sector. SEC Chair Gary Gensler has said cryptocurrency firms should comply with existing laws and that new crypto-specific regulations are not necessary. Coinbase disclosed in March the firm had been told that SEC staff intended to recommend enforcement action against the company. The company said in a blog post at the time that it was willing to fight any forthcoming enforcement action in court.
TripAdvisor is facing a lawsuit in Delaware over its decision to move its incorporation from Delaware to Nevada. Shareholder firms Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, Block & Leviton and Friedman Oster & Tejtel are seeking an injunction to block the move, claiming it is designed to take advantage of Nevada’s “no liability regime”, making it harder for shareholders to hold directors responsible for breaches of their duties. Both TripAdvisor and its parent, Liberty TripAdvisor Holdings, disclosed the plans earlier this month, stating that re-incorporating in Nevada will save money on legal fees, fend off unmeritorious shareholder litigation and allow the companies to attract directors who might have been dissuaded by the expense of defending shareholder claims. The shareholder firms claim that other shareholders have been frozen out of the decision-making process and argue that the move will strip shareholders of their right to sue without offering them any compensation. The companies' filings acknowledge that board members and executives may be in conflict with shareholders over the conversion to Nevada incorporation. Shareholder lawyers argue that fiduciaries of a Delaware corporation cannot use their control over the corporation to force the company and minority investors to give up all of Delaware law’s protections.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) and Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are currently unable to retract executive pay from Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank leaders using their existing powers, which have no clear consequences for the banks’ managers. A measure (S. 1045) has been introduced to update the Dodd-Frank clawback provisions, which Congress passed to help hold executives accountable for company problems. Creating clawback rules for failures like the Silicon Valley Bank and Signature Bank collapses is much easier now than it would have been before their demises. The SEC still needs the stock exchanges to incorporate the regulations into their listing standards for companies. The rules only require executives to return their bonuses if their awards were based on errors in their companies’ financial statements. Neither bank made an accounting mistake large enough to require a formal correction, or restatement, of their financials, according to research firm Audit Analytics. While the SEC’s authority to reclaim executives’ pay applies to all public companies, the FDIC only has power over banks. It can, however, claw back executive compensation, but only through a never-before-used regulatory process created by Dodd-Frank or a lengthy investigation after a bank fails. The FDIC confirmed it has begun an investigation into SVB and Signature Bank.
Former U.S. President Donald Trump is set to face trial in Manhattan federal court on Tuesday, April 25, where writer E. Jean Carroll has accused him in a civil lawsuit of raping her in the mid-1990s. Jury selection is expected to begin, and Carroll is also accusing Trump of defamation. Trump, who has denied the rape allegations, may not appear in court, and Carroll's lawyers have said they do not plan to call him as a witness. The trial, which could last up to two weeks, will be kept anonymous from the public to protect jurors from potential harassment by Trump supporters. Trump also faces a series of lawsuits and investigations, including Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg's criminal charges over hush money payments to a porn star, civil fraud charges by New York Attorney General Letitia James into his namesake company, and criminal probes into interference in Georgia's 2020 presidential race and into classified government documents recovered at his Mar-a-Lago residence, plus inquiries into his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. Carroll's witness list includes two other women who have accused Trump of sexual misconduct, and lawyers for Carroll could use their testimony to establish a pattern of Trump's alleged mistreatment of women.