Wake Up Call: EPA Chief Said to Eye A.G. Sessions’ Job

• Amidst renewed speculation about Jeff Sessions’ hold on his job as attorney general, EPA chief Scott Pruitt is telling associates he would be willing to lead the Justice Department should the position become available, according to a report. (Bloomberg)

• Canadian private equity company Brookfield Business Partners agreed to pay $4.6 billion for Toshiba Corp.’s bankrupt nuclear unit Westinghouse Electric Co. (Bloomberg)

• Among law firms in the deal, Weil, Gotshal & Manges earned millions in fees advising Westinghouse. In another nuclear energy sector deal, Mayer Brown, McGuireWoods, Morgan Lewis are advising in Dominion Energy Inc.’s planned acquisition of South Carolina utility Scana Corp. for $7.9 billion, a deal that faces regulatory and other challenges. (Bloomberg) (American Lawyer)

• The FCC rejected calls to delay ending net neutrality rules over its flawed public comment system, saying it hadn’t relied on millions of identical or suspicious submissions in its decision making. A group representing Netflix Inc. and Alphabet Inc.’s Google, meanwhile, said it’s planning legal action and lobbying to challenge the new rule. (Bloomberg) (Recode)

• The Trump tax overhaul has kept corporate lawyers busy advising clients on how their taxes and overseas investments will be affected. (BLB)

 

Legal Market

• A policy showdown over the tax law may be brewing between state and federal officials. (Bloomberg)

• Two big shareholders of Apple Inc. are calling for studies to determine the iPhone’s mental health effects on children, and they want the tech giant to give parents more control over their children’s access to the devices. (Bloomberg)

• The U.S. legal services industry gained 600 jobs in December as the overall U.S. economy added jobs, according to new data. (American Lawyer)

• Outlook 2018: With UPS among several major companies with labor contracts expiring in 2018, labor unions are looking to capitalize on the hot economy and the Trump tax cuts. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

 

 

 

Prosecutor Appointments

• After the Trump administration named Geoffrey Berman, a partner of Rudy Giuliani’s at law firm Greenberg Traurig, to be the top federal prosecutor in Manhattan, a New York senator called the appointment “deeply disturbing,” citing potential conflicts of interest. Robert Khuzami, a former Securities and Exchange Commission enforcement chief, was named to the number two post in the office. Khuzami was previously a general counsel for Deutsche Bank AG. (Bloomberg)

 

Law Firm Business

• Milwaukee-based von Briesen & Roper, a 192-lawyer regional firm with offices in three states, picked up 25 lawyers by acquiring two local firms. It got 22 lawyers from trial firm Peterson, Johnson & Murray, and three lawyers and staff of Levine & Bazelon, a real estate shop in Milwaukee. (American Lawyer)

 

Legal Actions

• Jeff Sessions’ move to unleash federal prosecutors to pursue marijuana cases creates legal uncertainty for states’ budding pot industry. But it may also have unintended consequences. (Politico)

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• The Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s investigation of Wells Fargo workers’ whistleblower retaliation complaints was flawed, according to a report. (Bloomberg Environment via BLB)

• Ten Democratic senators urged the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission to take a close look at the proposed $3.9 billion tie-up of Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc. and Tribune Media Co. and other pending media deals. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Money transfer giant Western Union will pay New York state $60 million to settle allegations it violated money laundering laws and ignored suspicious transactions to China. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• About 250,000 Department of Homeland Security employees are being notified of an unauthorized release of their personal data due to a cyber breach by a former employee. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• The Food and Drug Administration shot down Allergan Plc’s latest bid to protect its franchise on its blockbuster dry-eye drug Restasis. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

 

 

 

The Trump Administration

• Shannon McGahn, the wife of White House top lawyer Don McGhan, is leaving her senior post at the Treasury Department to return to what may be a short-term job as a staff director for a Republican member in the House. (Bloomberg)

• Former White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon tried to backpedal on comments attributed to him about Trump and his family in an explosive new book. Meanwhile, Trump supporters attacked the book and Bannon. (Bloomberg) (New York Times)

• Who is Uttam Dhillon, the White House lawyer who, according to the book, misled Trump about whether he could fire former FBI Director James Comey? (National Law Journal)

• Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, will be interviewed next week by lawmakers investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, and Bannon was sent an invitation to appear voluntarily, an official said. (Bloomberg)

• The legal fate of young immigrants called “Dreamers” could be a bargaining chip in upcoming budget talks. (Washington Post)

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• The U.S. Supreme Court kicks off 2018 with a busy week consisting of noteworthy oral arguments, significant petitions, and … no opinions, again.  That puts the court on pace to break a nearly 150-year-old record—for being slow. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• A Brooklyn federal judge  has to decide whether one juror’s doubts justify reconsidering the conviction of lawyer Evan Greebel on charges he conspired with Martin Shkreli in fraud schemes. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Law firm Kutak Rock helped Morgan Stanley & Co. and a financial adviser defeat a lawsuit accusing them of providing bad advice to three annuity beneficiaries about their options for disbursements. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Race car driver and payday loan mogul Scott Tucker was sentenced to almost 17 years in prison for fraud. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Recent moves and promotions at McDermott Will & Emery, Munger, Tolles & Olson, Winston & Strawn and other firms. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• BakerHostetler said it promoted six lawyers to partnership in its Cleveland, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C., offices. (BakerLaw.com)

• Locke Lord said it promoted 10 lawyers to partner in offices in its finance, banking and real estate, intellectual property, litigation and tax departments, effective Jan. 1. (LockeLord.com)

 

Technology

• Intel faces three class action complaints over the recently revealed major security flaws in its chips. (Ars Technica)

• Uber Technologies Inc.’s rivals are stepping up the battle for ride-sharing dominance in Europe, with local startups raising funds and global adversaries increasing contact with local regulators. (Bloomberg)

 • Sex toys, the European Union’s new comprehensive data protection regulation, and cybersecurity are among data security developments to watch in 2018, according to the chairman of Wiley Rein’s privacy and data security practice. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.