Wake Up Call: Facing $17B in Fire Liability, California Utility Hires 3 Big Firms

• With Pacific Gas & Electric’s potential liability for California’s record fires as much as $17.3 million, raising the prospect of bankruptcy, the for-profit utility has hired Cravath, Wilson Sonsini, and Quinn Emanuel for help. Plaintiff lawyers include Elizabeth Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, among others. (The Recorder) (Bloomberg)

• After Tesla CEO Elon Musk vowed on Twitter two days ago that he had “funding secured” for an $82 billion deal to take the company private, the SEC is said to be investigating. (Bloomberg) (WSJ) What can in-house lawyers do when a “Twitter-happy” CEO says too much on social media? (The Recorder)

• New York’s city council approved a one-year industry-wide cap on new licenses for ride-hailing vehicles, in a smack-down to Uber Technologies Inc. and other app-based car-for-hire companies. The council also empowered a city regulator to set minimum pay standards for drivers. (Bloomberg)

• Former King & Spalding associate David Joffe could see his unfair dismissal lawsuit against the firm delayed over a spat with his own lawyers. They say in a filing that they want off the case because Joffe isn’t paying them and is hard to work with. (American Lawyer)

• Litigation funding agreements tied to specific future legal fees, a common method to structure such deals, are unethical, the New York City bar’s ethics committee says in a non-binding opinion. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Lauren Seeger, of American Express Co., took in $6.7 million in total cash compensation last year; Laura Schumacher, of AbbVie Inc., $2.96 million; and Marianne Short, of United Health Group, $2.8 million,  Plus the rest of the top-10 compensated female GCs last year in the United States. (Corporate Counsel).

• Sidley Austin said Joan Loughnane, who most recently served as acting deputy U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, joined the firm as a partner in its white collar: government litigation & investigations practice. (Sidley.com)

• Martin Shkreli and his former company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, LLC, dodged a disqualification motion in a civil securities fraud case Aug. 7. Federal Judge Lois Bloom said Fox Rothschild can keep representing both defendants. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• A company that removed profanity and nudity from films that it streamed to its subscribers wants a federal appeals court to revive its antitrust complaint against Disney Enterprises Inc., Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp., and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. (Bloomberg Law)

• Convenience store chain Wawa Inc. was hit with a second retirement-plan lawsuit by former employees, who in this case are represented by a handful of law firms including Cohen Milstein, among others. (Bloomberg Law)

• Kirkland & Ellis client Cigna Healthcare scored a big win by shooting down a lawsuit by a Houston hospital that had sought at least $50 million in allegedly underpaid medical benefit claims. (Bloomberg Law)

 

Lawyers and Law Firms

• Attorneys for President Trump and porn star Stormy Daniels agreed to move her libel suit against Trump to a Los Angeles court. (Politico)

• Sidley Austin and Paul Hastings advised Starwood Property Trust on its acquisition of a GE Capital energy finance unit for $2.56 billion. (Bloomberg) (PR Newswire)

• Legal market analysts are saying EY’s acquisition of alternative legal services provider Riverview Law this week shows the market for such services is “industrializing” and suggests a shake-up is coming. (Artificial Lawyer) (Law.com)

 

Laterals, Moves

• Baker McKenzie’s former global head of international arbitration, Chan Leng Sun, left the firm to join a Singapore-based arbitration chambers. (The American Lawyer International)

 

Legal Actions

• A union that represents about 350 federal immigration judges filed a grievance alleging the Department of Justice improperly interfered in a deportation matter. (Bloomberg Law)

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• Two federal agencies, the EEOC and National Labor Relations Board, have discussed trying to resolve a rift over a central question highlighted in the #MeToo movement: Should sexual harassment investigations at work be confidential? (Bloomberg Law)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Tom Taylor.