Wake Up Call: Missing Oxford Comma Leads to Ruling

(Photo by General Photographic Agency/Getty Images)

• Who knew Oxford commas could mean so much? A Maine federal appeals court’s ruling in favor of dairy drivers seeking overtime pay came down to a single missing comma in a law detailing jobs that don’t qualify for it. The court held that Maine overtime law was grammatically ambiguous, and therefore, the drivers were eligible for overtime. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Volkswagen AG is developing a reputation for reliability — at least in German courts. Faced with about 2,000 lawsuits filed by German car owners affected by the diesel scandal, VW and its dealers have followed a pattern: settle cases before an appellate court hearing. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Goodwin Procter is said to have named two new London co-chairs to lead the firm’s London operation, taking over from David Evans, who is chairman of the firm’s European offices and a partner in its real estate practice. (The Lawyer)

• President Donald Trump’s draft budget would take $1.1 billion from the Department of Justice’s yearly funds, but says little on how the Antitrust Division should be funded. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB) The draft budget calls for a complete defunding of the Legal Services Corp. — the country’s primary funder of civil legal assistance for low-income people. But the body’s president told BLB he expects Congress will grant his organization’s full request for $502.7 million. (BLB)

• John Van de Kamp, who in a half-century career served as California’s state attorney general, as well as federal attorney and public defender, has died at age 81, according to a statement by Mayer Brown, where van de Kamp was of counsel since 2012. (The Recorder)



Legal Market

• Pinsent Masons is launching an Australian branch of its contract-lawyer service, Vario, in the winter of 2017, and has started a search for a management team. The firm said the launch is an opening move in a planned international expansion. (Australasian Lawyer)

• Ballard Spahr and Faegre Baker Daniels, are facing off in the U.S. women’s national hockey team’s pay dispute against USA Hockey Inc. Advised by Ballard, the players are threatening to boycott the upcoming world championships in Michigan, as negotiations have stalled over their efforts to get compensation and recognition on par with what male athletes get. Faegre Baker is representing USA Hockey, which reportedly threatened to organize a replacement team. (Am Law Daily) (Washington Post)

• Visa Europe hired a new general counsel, Emma Slatter, who was formerly Deutsche Bank’s strategy chief. (The Lawyer)

• When prominent lawyers take top jobs at the White House or the U.S. Department of Justice, they often bring along several attorneys from their firms. One firm, Jones Day, is taking that to an extreme with the Trump administration, with 14 Jones Day attorneys hired so far, although some are awaiting Senate confirmation. (Bloomberg Businessweek via BLB)

• Robert Schulman, a former partner at Arent Fox and Hunton & Williams and now a convicted felon, had had several glasses of wine over dinner, when he blurted out information to his investment adviser about his client King Pharmaceuticals’ then-pending $3.6 billion acquisition by Pfizer Inc., according to a recently unsealed indictment. That adviser later made trades that yielded hundreds of thousands of dollars of profits for himself, Schulman and other clients, according to the text. (Bloomberg BNA BLB)

• Volkswagen AG pushed back against German prosecutors following a raid of a local office of Jones Day, the U.S. law firm the carmaker hired to investigate the roots of its diesel-emissions scandal. The clash came a day after Munich prosecutors raided the headquarters and main sites of VW’s Audi premium-car division. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Lawyers for defendants in the retrial of two former Dewey & LeBoeuf executives Thursday challenged enhancements to the plea deal that prosecutors made with their star witness, Francis Canellas, the fallen firm’s former finance director. (New York Law Journal)

• A prominent London tax lawyer has emerged as one of the most potent voices against the U.K.’s looming exit from the European Union. (Bloomberg)



Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• The recent Hawaii and Maryland federal court rulings blocking Trump’s revised travel ban are misguided because they try to “read the president’s mind.” (Politico)

• Trump’s recent attacks on the Ninth Circuit provided fuel for debate at Thursday’s congressional hearing on whether the circuit should be divided. (Bloomberg BNA via BLB)

• California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye wrote U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions alleging that U.S. authorities are “stalking undocumented immigrants” at courthouses in the state, with the aim of “baiting” them into arrests. (The Recorder)

• In his dissenting opinions, Neil Gorsuch, Trump’s nominee for the vacancy on the U.S. Supreme Court, has shown skepticism regarding federal labor regulations and legislative history, a lot like the man he would replace, the late Antonin Scalia. (National Law Journal)



Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• One of the largest U.S. firms in Hong Kong, Davis Polk & Wardwell, said Antony Dapiran, a capital markets partner based in the city, is leaving the firm in June. The news comes as many capital markets legal practices appear to be contending with a tail-off in work. (The Asian Lawyer)

• Faegre Baker Daniels said Brendan Wilson has joined the firm as a partner in its Washington, D.C., corporate and nonprofit organizations practices. Wilson, who leaves Caplin & Drysdale, advises on corporate and tax linked to transactions, as well as on nonprofit corporation, charitable trust law and other legal issues affecting nonprofit organizations. (Faegre Baker)




• Uber Technologies Inc. scored a French court victory in the company’s effort to keep its drivers from being classified as employees. (Bloomberg)

• What can in-house lawyers do to protect trade secrets when employees who know them leave the company? Two lawsuits in the news involving tech giants Uber Technologies Inc., Alphabet Inc. and Facebook Inc. ask that question. (Corporate Counsel)

• A business survey called the Net Promoter Score is a valuable data metrics tool for lawyers, but not many are using it yet, the co-founder of Evolve Law said at the ABA Techshow on Thursday. (ABA Journal)

• Companies that have migrated or are considering migrating their data to Microsoft’s Office 365 cloud platform should have their eDiscovery team go through this checklist of a dozen recommendations. (Legaltech News)

• Canadian company Standard Innovation got bad vibrations from a recent customer lawsuit in federal court in Illinois. The company, which makes the We-Vibe line of connected vibrators, reportedly agreed to pay out about $3.75 million to settle with customers unhappy that their devices were collecting “highly intimate” information about them. (Chicago Tribune)

• Dmitry A. Dokuchaev doesn’t have a lot of options these days. One of the hackers accused by the U.S. of orchestrating the theft of account data of half a billion Yahoo users, Dokuchaev faces legal trouble in the United States and Russia, but for different reasons. (New York Times)

• Dropbox has eliminated the ability to share an entire public folder for accounts created since Oct, 4, 2012. Users can still make individual files public. (Lifehacker)


Legal Education

• Macon, Georgia-based Mercer University School of Law said it has named Cathy Cox, the former Georgia secretary of state and current president of Young Harris College, as its new dean. Cox will take over in July from Daisy Hurst Floyd, who has served in the role since 2014, after serving in the position from 2004 to 2010. (Daily Report)



A North Carolina county judge agreed to plead guilty to offering a federal agent two cases of Bud Light and $100 to get his wife’s text messages, in an arrangement that could allow him to avoid prison time. (News Observer)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.