Anatomy of a RIN

A Regulation Identifier Number or RIN are are extremely helpful in identifying and following the progress of each regulatory action or rulemaking proceeding.

What makes them so special is that each regulatory action retains exactly the same RIN throughout the entire rulemaking process so one can use the RIN to track the history of any proposed individual regulation.

A RIN is made up of a 4-digit agency code plus a 4-character alphanumeric code, which is ssigned sequentially based upon when it first made its way into the database.

This allows you to search the Unified Agenda without looking up a new RIN for each step throughout the process.

Pre-Trial Social Media Issues

There’s no denying that social media permeates nearly every area of our lives.

So it shouldn’t be any surprise that this can both be an invaluable tool in the pre-trial phase as well as a detriment, depending on which side of the case you’re on, of course.

With courts allowing the admission of social media evidence as discovery when it’s relevant, attorneys and personal investigators now have a new tool to find information that plaintiffs and accuers may not have been filtered.

For example, in a recent case of mine, a man named Alex was taking his insurance company to court because he claimed he had suffered injuries in an accident that left him unable to work or have a normal life. Alex said he was unable to support himself finanically and would require a living wage for the rest of his life.

What Alex didn’t realize was that the insurance company’s investigators would befriend him and research his social media accounts as part of its discovery progress. Imagine their surprise when they came across recent photos of Alex skiing during a trip to Colorado.

Needless to say, Alex dropped his case faster than a ball rolls down the ski slope.

Fracking Filings

Fracking aka Hydraulic fracturing is a well-stimulation technique in which rock is fractured by a pressurized liquid to create cracks in deep-rock formations through which natural gas and petroleum can flow more easily.

It began as an experiment in 1947 but today it’s one of the key methods of extracting unconventional oil and gas resources in the United States.

The European Union has adopted a recommendation for minimum principles for using hydraulic fracturing, including full list of additives. However, in the United States, regulations are less strict with the Ground Water Protection Council having a voluntary disclosure database. Fracking is also is excluded from the Safe Drinking Water Act’s underground injection control’s regulation, except when diesel is used.

Vermont is on the road to completely ban hydraulic fracturing due to health risks, including contaminated water, and potential environmental impacts with New York state appearing to be next.

Except state filings and cases against fracking to increase rapidly in the following years, just as the methodology itself.

First Sale Doctrine: Omega vs. Costco

The  Omega vs. Costco case was one in which luxury watchmaker Omega filed a copyright lawsuit against retail giant Costco over so-called “gray market goods.

Omega would sell the watches to authorized distributors, from there third parties would buy the watches and sell them to a New York company that would then sell the same watches to Costco. Omega claimed it didn’t authorize the watches for sale in the United States and sued for copyright infringement under 17 U.S.C. §§ 106(3) and 602(a).

However, Costco maintained that the first-sale doctrine precluded any infringement claims against them.

At first, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the first-sale doctrine, which would relenquish Omega’s copyright control once it sold the watches, didn’t apply to goods that were purchased overseas.

However, a district judge later ruled in Costco’s favor saying the first-sale doctrine didn’t apply and Omega was misusing the copyright law to hike prices in the United States.

The Seamaster watch was routinely sold for $1,599 at authorized US retailers, but Costco, which had purchased them at a discount, was selling them for less than $1,300. Costco was awarded nearly $400,000 in attorneys’ fees.