News & Announcements

Mark J. Prak, a partner in the law firm Brooks Pierce, was inducted into the North Carolina Association of Broadcasters (NCAB) Hall of Fame at a dinner held as a part of the NCAB 2014 Annual Convention on June 23rdat the Washington Duke Inn and Conference Center in Durham, North Carolina.

Insider Trading, Investigations, SEC Litigation

You don’t see this every day. On Friday, the SEC filed a subpoena enforcement action seeking production of documents from the House Ways and Means Committee and documents and testimony from one of its staff members, Brian Sutter. This is fascinating to me for so many reasons. The almost certainly unhappy respondents in this case haven’t yet responded in writing, so the factual details in this blog come from the SEC’s supporting brief. They may not be true.

Seven Brooks Pierce practice areas and 15 of the firm’s attorneys are ranked among the best in North Carolina in the 2014 edition of Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business. The listing of the leading lawyers and law firms in the country is published annually by Chambers and Partners.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recently recognized Brooks Pierce partner George House for his role in the cleanup and redevelopment of the Landia Chemical Company Superfund Site in Lakeland, Florida.

Kearns Davis, a partner with Brooks Pierce, was recently appointed to the North Carolina Equal Access to Justice Commission.

Jeff Oleynik, a partner in the Greensboro office of Brooks Pierce, serves as the current president of the Law Firm Alliance and recently led the semi-annual meeting held at the Boston Harbor Hotel.

James T. Williams, Jr., a partner in the Greensboro office of Brooks Pierce, recently received the Distinguished Service Award from the Greensboro Bar Association.

Five new members have recently joined the board of the Sustainable Furnishings Council, a national organization advocating for the responsible sourcing, manufacturing, marketing and sale of residential furnishings.

On March 6, 2014, Brooks Pierce attorneys Darrell Fruth and Laura Chipman presented a guest lecture to students in Duke Law School’s Start-up Ventures Clinic.

Four Brooks Pierce attorneys (Jill Wilson, Bob King, Julia Ambrose, and Jennifer Van Zant) recently scored two precedent-setting victories in ongoing litigation involving charter school funding. These cases are expected to help further clarify the roles and responsibilities of local school boards when it comes to financing charter schools (private schools which receive public funding).   

Here’s one of the questions I get from some individual clients when they receive subpoenas from the SEC: Could I get arrested over this? Well, no. First things first – The SEC has civil authority, not criminal authority. Unless the Justice Department or some state criminal authority gets involved, you’re not going to be arrested. But Anthony Coronati may make me modify this answer.

Thomas Varnum, an attorney in the Wilmington office of Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP has recently joined the Board of Trustees for Cucalorus.

Here are two things about insider trading law: First, it’s hard to know exactly what the parameters are. The United States doesn’t have a specific statute prohibiting it. It grows out of the general anti-fraud provisions of the Exchange Act and the Securities Act, but the SEC and the courts over the years have outlined what insider trading is and how far one can go in that sphere. Second, it’s not impossible to know what the parameters are. Clues are out there in the form of court cases and, for settled matters, complaints filed by the SEC in federal courts.

One such complaint was filed last Thursday in the Northern District of Georgia. In the litigation release for that complaint, we learn that on November 13 and 14, 2012, Hao He bought $162,000 of short-term put options in Sina Corporation. On November 15, Sina announced it had beaten analyst forecasts for third quarter earnings, but also announced unexpected negative guidance for the fourth quarter of 2012. As a result of this negative guidance, Sina’s stock price declined approximately 8.5%, opening at $48.60 compared to the previous day’s close of $53.10. The next day, He sold all of his put options for $331,530, generating illicit profits of $169,819. Okay, fine. But why was this illegal?

Business North Carolina magazine publishes annually the “Legal Elite,” lawyers throughout the state who are rated best in their fields. In 2014, 24 Brooks Pierce attorneys were named to the list.

Brooks Pierce is pleased to announce that 39 lawyers, representing 46% of the firm’s attorneys, were recently recognized by North Carolina Super Lawyers.

The inaugural Wade H. Hargrove Communications Law and Policy Colloquium recently presented by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Law School and School of Mass Communications was televised nationally by cable and satellite on C-SPAN.

Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP is pleased to announce that four attorneys have recently been selected to become the newest partners of the firm. These exemplary lawyers are Anna Pond McLamb, D.J. O’Brien, Charn Reid and Adam Tarleton.

North Carolina has rewritten its Limited Liability Company Act. New Chapter 57D replaced old Chapter 57C effective January 1, 2014. Brooks Pierce partner Mark Davidson summarizes the more important changes in this client alert.

On November 25, 2013, the NC State Bar Board of Legal Specialization certified Brooks Pierce Partner David Sar as a “Specialist” in Trademark Law. North Carolina’s Trademark specialty is the first such specialty in the United States, and David was selected in the first, or inaugural, class of trademark specialists.  

Brook Pierce attorney Alex Elkan provides insight into environmental law changes impacting the use and development of contaminated properties.

TIMCO Aviation Services, Inc. headquartered in Greensboro, North Carolina, recently announced the company's pending sale to Hong Kong Aircraft Engineering Co. Ltd. (HAECO). The $388.8 million transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, subject to satisfaction of the conditions in the stock purchase agreement.

On October 24, 2013, Brooks Pierce attorneys Darrell Fruth, David Smyth, and Laura Chipman participated in office hours at AU @Main in Durham with students in Duke Law School’s Start-up Ventures Clinic. 

Brooks Pierce attorney Stephen Hartzell gave a presentation regarding legislative and regulatory developments of importance and interest to Ohio broadcasters at the 2013 Radio Executive Forum hosted by the Ohio Association of Broadcasters. The Association represents the interests of more than 300 radio and television broadcasters at the federal and state level.

Brooks Pierce Attorney Ed Winslow will serve as a moderator of a panel consisting of senior representatives of the Federal Reserve Board, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the North Carolina Office of the Commissioner of Banks, at the North Carolina Bankers Association Management Team to be held October 20-22, 2013 at the Pinehurst Resort.

Brooks Pierce attorney Charles Marshall moderated a panel on the intersection of election, lobbying, and ethics laws at the North Carolina Professional Lobbyists Association’s annual meeting on October 16, 2013. The Association is North Carolina’s statewide professional group for lobbyists representing clients before North Carolina state government.  

Brooks Pierce attorney, George House recently received Downtown Greensboro’s Ed Kitchen Leadership Award. The Kitchen Award is given annually to a local individual who through their leadership, vision and dedication, has been a champion for the revitalization of Downtown Greensboro.

Brooks Pierce Attorney Ed Winslow served as a principal speaker for the Dan K. Moore Program in Ethics presented by the UNC School of Law on October 4, 2013. This year’s program was entitled The Changing Model of Legal Service Delivery in the “New Normal.”

Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP is pleased to announce that Marc Bishop has been appointed to serve on the Elon Law Advisory Board. The advisory board includes prominent judges, attorneys and business leaders who advise the university about the law school's development.

On October 3rd, 2013, Brooks Pierce attorneys Darrell Fruth and David Smyth presented a joint lecture on intellectual property and securities law issues to students in Duke Law School’s Start-up Ventures Clinic.

Brooks Pierce partner Coe W. Ramsey teaches Entertainment Law as an Adjunct Professor at Wake Forest University School of Law. Coe’s class is a survey of the law relevant to the representation of entertainers and producers of entertainment, with an emphasis on the music, television, and film industries. 

Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP is pleased to announce that 46 lawyers were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2014.

Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphey & Leonard, LLP is pleased to announce that thirty-one of its practice areas have been ranked "Tier One" (the highest rating) by U.S. News Media Group and Best Lawyers. The "Best Law Firms" rankings are based on a combination of client feedback, information provided on the Law Firm Survey, the Law Firm Leaders Survey and Best Lawyers peer-review.

Brooks, Pierce, McLendon, Humphrey & Leonard, LLP is pleased to announce that partner Ed Winslow has been appointed by the North Carolina State Bar to serve as a trustee of the North Carolina State Bar Plan for Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts. His three-year term will begin September 1, 2013.

The 2013 session of the North Carolina General Assembly came to a close on July 26, 2013, and a number of legislative actions this year impacted environmental regulation in North Carolina. Governor McCrory has now signed into law all of the Bills discussed in the following summary. While there are several new laws that raise important policy issues for the State, the following highlights attempt to spotlight matters of potential immediate or near-term practical significance to our clients.

The North Carolina General Assembly has completed its 2013 session after passing a two-year budget and considering hundreds of bills on a variety of topics. This article contains some highlights from this year's session.

The North Carolina Legislature has approved a bill that rewrites the state tax laws, after many months of discussion and negotiation. The legislation, which Governor Pat McCrory signed into law on July 23, 2013, does not completely overhaul the tax code, but does make a number of changes that will impact business and individual taxpayers in North Carolina. 

Many competing proposals were considered before arriving at the final tax plan, which represents a compromise between the House and Senate, while taking into account the viewpiont of the Governor. The proposals ranged from a complete overhaul of the tax code--including broadening the sales tax base to an additional 70 services and repealing many exemptions such as industry-specific tax credits and other special tax rates--to more modest approaches of lowering rates with a slight expansion of the sales tax base.

Some of the changes contained in H. 998 may affect you or your company. The effective date of most provisions (unless otherwise indicated) is January 1, 2014.