Court Sets Briefing Schedule For SEC Conflict Minerals Emergency Motion

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May 8 --The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit May 7 set an expedited briefing schedule in connection with an emergency motion filed by industry groups to stay the Securities and Exchange Commission's conflict minerals rule .

Under the schedule, the SEC must respond to the groups' motion by May 9, while the groups have until May 13 to reply to the commission's response.

The rule requires companies and foreign private issuers in the U.S. to disclose their use of so-called “conflict minerals”--gold, tantalum, tin and tungsten from the Democratic Republic of Congo and adjacent countries--if those minerals are “necessary” to a product made by the companies. The first disclosures must be submitted to the SEC by June 2 .

The court April 14 concluded that parts of the rule violated the First Amendment to the extent they require issuers to report to the commission and to state on their website that any of their products have not been found to be “DRC conflict free” . The SEC has since said it will continue implementing those portions of the rule not found unconstitutional, and that issuers do not have to identify their products as “DRC conflict free,” “not been found to be 'DRC conflict free,'” or “DRC conflict undeterminable” .

The groups April 29 petitioned the SEC to stay the regulation--or at least its filing deadline--asking the commission to respond by May 1. After the SEC denied their request to stay the entire rule, the National Association of Manufacturers, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable--the industry petitioners who challenged the rulemaking--filed an emergency motion with the D.C. Circuit arguing that their members would suffer irreparable injury should the rule not be stayed. The briefing schedule was proposed by the groups.

The court's order is available at