Wake Up Call: Judge Tosses Emoluments Suit Against Trump

• A Manhattan federal judge yesterday threw out a lawsuit accusing President Donald Trump of violating constitutional limits on benefits presidents can receive from financial dealings with foreign and domestic governments while in office. The judge said the plaintiffs can’t sue because Trump’s decision to keep his real estate empire and other business holdings while in office hadn’t harmed them, and he said it’s up to Congress to take action. (Bloomberg)

• The FBI’s new director, Christopher Wray, is reassigning James Baker, the head of the bureau’s Office of General Counsel, as Wray starts to put together his own team of advisers amidst charges that the bureau has been politicized. (Washington Post)

• Walt Disney Co. and 21st Century Fox Inc. lost their bid to keep sensitive business documents out of the court case pitting AT&T Inc. against the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust cop. (Bloomberg) Does the department’s move to block the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner harbinger a “Trump factor” in antitrust treatment of future M&A deals? (Corporate Counsel)

• McDermott, Will & Emery was sued for fraud by a U.K. fund manager who alleges that two of the firm’s lawyers convinced him to buy into a carbon-credit investment that they had an undeclared financial interest in, according to a London lawsuit. (Bloomberg)

• Some firms have spiffy websites, but take a look at the glossy new site rolled out by President Trump’s longtime counsel Marc Kasowitz for his New York firm, Kasowitz, Benson & Torres. (BLB)

 

 Legal Market

• White House budget director Mick Mulvaney still faces a court challenge over his role as interim head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, but that didn’t stop him from naming a former Williams & Connolly lawyer as senior adviser at the controversial agency. (National Law Journal)

• In 2017 Texas continued to see a big influx of out-of-state firms including Winston & Strawn, Dorsey & Whitney, Gibson Dunn, and others, which opened new offices, mainly in Houston and Dallas, heating up the lateral market. (Texas Lawyer)

• Did the former lawyer for Martin Shkreli conspire in his now convicted client’s security fraud? A Manhattan federal jury is hearing closing arguments on that question in the trial of former Katten Muchin Rosenman partner Evan Greebel, who contends he was Shkreli’s victim, not a co-schemer. (New York Law Journal)

 

Legal Actions

• Chinese search giant Baidu Inc. is suing its former autonomous driving chief and his startup for allegedly stealing in-house technology, in a lawsuit that echoes a dispute between Alphabet Inc.’s Waymo and Uber Technologies Inc. (Bloomberg)

• If NFL owners start firing players for kneeling during the National Anthem, what would the legal implications be? (Bloomberg Law)

• A high-frequency trading firm that got slapped by regulators for allegedly executing fake trades has found a relatively novel way to recover its fines: suing its former traders for the money. (Bloomberg)

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• The Securities and Exchange Commission won an asset freeze against a California man and his unregistered investment companies in a lawsuit alleging the man raised more than $1.2 billion in a Ponzi scheme. (Bloomberg)

• The U.K. markets watchdog opened a record 84 insider-dealing investigations in 2017, up from 70 last year, as it pursues all leads regardless of outcome. (Bloomberg)

• The Labor Department’s Office of Labor-Management Standards enters 2018 with leadership and budgetary uncertainties, muddying what was once considered a likely effort by the Trump administration to escalate scrutiny of union finances. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

 

Russia Probes

• Vice President Mike Pence said the administration is “fully cooperating” with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 elections. (Bloomberg)

• Mueller is looking into a Russian-financed foundation said to offer a window into Russian efforts to influence U.S. politics before the presidential election. (Bloomberg)

 

The Trump Administration

• The Trump administration signaled two months ago that Paul Weiss antitrust partner Joseph Simons was the president’s pick to lead the Federal Trade Commission. But Simons still hasn’t been formally nominated. (Law.com)

• Across the Trump administration, former lobbyists for coal, banking, and pesticides now have top policy jobs in agencies they once fought. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

 

In SCOTUS and Other Courts

•UBS Group AG owes $903,300 to a former senior strategist who claimed he was fired for refusing to sugarcoat his reports for clients, a Manhattan federal jury ordered. (Bloomberg)

• A federal judge has spent a full year pondering government claims of market manipulation involving the legendary Chicago trader Donald R. Wilson. And the judge hasn’t explained the delay. (Bloomberg)

• After the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. v. Superior Court apparently limited where people can sue companies, class action litigators are preparing to fight over where class suits, particularly nationwide suits, can now be filed. (Bloomberg Law via BLB) A recent federal court decision in Delaware suggests that fights over venue in patent infringement cases will also continue, especially when the defendant is a large foreign company. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Trump’s immigration agenda is back in court with a challenge to his October ban on refugees from 11 countries — before a judge who didn’t rule to the president’s liking in the past. (Bloomberg)

• Retired Seventh Circuit Judge Richard A. Posner requested Dec. 18 to appear as pro bono counsel for a pro se litigant after the Fourth Circuit rejected his request to appear as advisory counsel for him. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• A Vermont bankruptcy court didn’t have the authority to issue $375,000 of sanctions against a mortgage company, a Vermont district court judge held. (Bloomberg Law)

 

Technology

• The recent EU high court ruling that Uber Technologies Inc. is a taxi company spotlights a trans-Atlantic divide over how governments cope with disruptive technologies. It could embolden U.S. cities to restrict the ride-sharing service. (Bloomberg)

• Insurers facing a jump in claims from ransomware attacks attribute much of the increased costs to the surging price of bitcoin, the currency of choice for online extortionists. (Bloomberg)

 

Legal Education

• The University of California, Irvine School of Law’s interim dean, L. Song Richardson, becomes its permanent dean on Jan. 1. She has been leading the school since July, when founding dean Erwin Chemerinsky left to become dean at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law. (The Recorder)

 

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Tom Taylor.