Jonathan B. Wilson

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Jonathan Wilson is an Atlanta attorney with more than 19 years of experience guiding growing private and public companies.  He currently serves as the outside general counsel of several companies and is the former general counsel of (NASDAQ: WWWW) and EasyLink Services (NASDAQ: ESIC).  He is also the founding chair of the Renewable Energy Committee of the American Bar Association's Public Utility Section.

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Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Oil Spill Suits Transferred to Eastern District of Louisiana

Seventy-seven of the more than 300 cases now pending against BP and Transocean relating to the Gulf oil spill have been transferred to Judge Carl J. Barbier in the Eastern District of Louisiana.  (Transfer order). 

The order claimed that the Eastern District of Louisiana is the "center of gravity" for the facts, witnesses and impact of the case and that pretrial discovery and motions would be more efficiently administered from there.

Although the order does not address the more than 200 other cases pending, it indicated that they were "potential tag-along" cases. 

Full disclosure: My firm has filed a suit against BP, Transocean and others on behalf of a putative class of Georgia residents owning property in the affected Gulf area. 

7:37 am edt 

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Civil War Over Obamacare
The individual mandate in President Obama's health care bill is perhaps the most incendiary piece of the legislation.  It generally rankles a majority of Americans that they will be forced to buy a certain kind of insurance and fined if they don't buy it.

Recently a federal judge in Virginia sided with the State of Virginia in a lawsuit seeking to invalidate Obamacare.

Just this morning it was announced that a measure in Missouri had passed with roughly 70% of the vote, making it illegal under that state's law to impose a penalty on any person for failing to purchase health insurance.  The Missouri statute would directly conflict with Obamacare's individual mandate.

A similar referendum is likely to be on the ballot in Colorado this fall.  Dozens of states are considering ballot measures that would repudiate or conflict with the Obamacare individual mandate and roughly 20 states have taken Obamacare to court in an attempt to invalidate the law on constitutional grounds.

The Obama administration is trying to use Arizona as a example of what happens to a state that defines the federal executive, using litigation to suspend that state's law to right illegal immigration.

The trend, pitting the federal government's prerogatives against those of the states, especially on topics where a majority (immigration and health care) oppose the federal point of view is not only bad legal precedent but bad political judgment for this President and his party. 

Setting aside the potential spectacle of a federal court ruling that Obamacare is unconstitutional, the ongoing legal warfare between the federal government and the states not only undercuts Obama's claim to be a post-partisan uniter of the country.  It emphasizes every negative label that the President's opponents have tried to stick on him.

During the campaign, he was "no drama Obama".  Now he is bloodless, calculating and cold.  When he pits the Department of Justice against state governments in a vast exercise in litigation, he begins to look tyrannical.

The administration's foolish lawsuit against Arizona will make it subsequent litigation against Missouri, Virginia and other states that seek to revolt against Obama appear to be a trend.  That trend, opponents will claim, is one in which President Obama seeks to grab power for the federal government at the expense of the people and the states.

That narrative, which is already coalescing in the mid-term elections will become received wisdom in the second half of the first Obama administration, making an Obama re-election much less likely. 
8:10 am edt 

Monday, August 2, 2010

More Business Uncertainty from Obama & Co.
I hadn't written on Obama's impact on business uncertainty in a few weeks until I found this piece in the Weekly Standard (contrasting the 1981 recession with the curent recession):

"Reagan got the country out of the mess because he cut taxes, cut regulation, set clear objectives, and let ordinary Americans make money. Obama is failing to get the country out of a recession because he's telling Americans what money they can make, what kind of jobs should be created, what extra regulations will be imposed on them (once he and his dysfunctional party have made up their collective minds), and how much more they're going to be taxed once that has been decided by all the committees that have jurisdiction. In short, he has done the one thing he should have avoided like the plague-he has created uncertainty." (emphasis added)

Indeed, the Business Roundtable listed more than fifty policy positions the administration has taken that inhibit business growth in its June, 2010 letter to the Obama White House.  
12:21 pm edt 

Obama Comes to Atlanta / Georgia Democrats Find Something Else to Do
President Obama is coming to Atlanta and Georgia Democrats are yawning.

"Former Governor Roy Barnes will not be available to meet Mr. Obama. The Democratic gubernatorial candidate will be somewhere in Georgia- - far from Atlanta."

"Campaign manager Chris Carpenter released a statement:"

"Roy has a busy campaign schedule in Middle and South Georgia on Monday where he'll be talking to farmers and local law enforcement. Roy's priority is to continue traveling across the state, talking to voters about jobs, education, and transportation- his plan to make Georgia work."

"Meanwhile, Governor Sonny Perdue will greet the President planeside when the Democrat arrives in Georgia. Mr. Perdue's spokesperson Bert Brantley told 11Alive reporter Jeff Hullinger the governor had to juggle his schedule to be able to greet the president."
7:54 am edt 

Taylor English Duma Featured in Atlanta Business Chronicle
My law firm, Taylor English Duma, was the subject of a lengthy article in last week's Atlanta Business Chronicle. 

The article describes how we keep costs down and deliver greater value to clients but staffing matters more efficiently and paying our attorneys based on results.

You'll need to read the entire piece to understand how it all works, but when you do you'll understand how we've almost doubled in the past year and are the fastest growing law firm in Atlanta.
7:28 am edt 

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Jonathan B. Wilson is an Atlanta attorney at the law firm of Taylor English Duma LLP.  Jonathan B. Wilson provides legal advice to investors, companies and business executives involving corporate law, securities law, SEC matters, intellectual property, website and Internet legal issues, start-ups, limited liability companies, partnerships, 1934 Act matters, outsourcing, strategic alliance agreements, contracts, and other matters of importance to growing private and publicly-traded companies.