Wake Up Call: N.Y. Suit Delays Weinstein Deal to Sell Company

• New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s lawsuit accuses movie producer Harvey Weinstein of creating a hostile work environment and fostering “pervasive sexual harassment” at Weinstein Co. The suit could block Weinstein’s $500 million deal to sell his troubled studio to a former Obama administration official backed by billionaire Ron Burkle. (Bloomberg)

• Uber Technologies Inc. last week agreed to give about $245 million in stock to settle the trade-secret theft lawsuit brought by Waymo. One of Uber’s attorneys, Karen Dunn of Boies, Schiller & Flexner, played a prominent public role during the brief trial, a relative rarity for complex commercial cases that see few female attorneys in top roles. (BLB) Why did the trial end so abruptly? (Bloomberg)

• The Justice Department is losing its No. 3 official, Rachel Brand, the lawyer next in line to oversee special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe if Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein steps down or gets fired. Brand is leaving for Walmart Inc., after less than nine months in the job. (Bloomberg)

• President Donald Trump refused to release the Democratic memo rebutting a Republican one that alleged bias and misconduct by the FBI and Justice Department in their investigation of Russian interference in the U.S. election. He tweeted that the Democratic memo was “very political.” (Bloomberg)

• M&A lawyers will be watching the Senate confirmation Wednesday for Trump’s nominee to head the Federal Trade Commission, Paul Weiss counsel Joseph Simons, and three other Trump FTC nominees. Simons has given hints he plans a more rigorous merger review if confirmed. (Bloomberg Law)

• Convicted for child pornography last year, former Skadden partner Edmund Duffy was officially disbarred last week by a New York Judge. The collapse of Duffy’s half-century legal career began about two years ago. (New York Law Journal)

 

 

 

Law Firm Business

• Los Angeles-based entertainment litigator Douglas Mirell said his mounting concerns about work his colleague Charles Harder has done for Trump and family led him to leave Harder Mirell & Abrams, the firm he co-founded in 2013. Mirell joined Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman & Machtinger as a partner. (The Recorder)

• Crowell & Moring’s profits per partner plunged 22.9 percent, to $1.17 million, in 2017, on revenues down 3.6 percent, according to preliminary data. (National Law Journal)

• Atlanta is suing Morgan, Lewis & Bockius over how the law firm is getting paid for representing two pension funds suing the city. (Daily Report)

 

 

 

 

Lateral Moves

• Greenberg Traurig lost three IP attorneys to Buchalter, in Orange County, California. J. Rick Taché joined Buchalter as a shareholder and firm-wide co-chair of the firm’s patent litigation group. Attorneys Erikson Squier and Roger Scott join Buchalter as senior counsel. And more recent news from prominent IP firms and other organizations. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Haynes and Boone, LLP said veteran commercial litigator Michelle Scheffler, with a focus on the oil and gas market, joined the firm as a litigation partner in Houston. Scheffler reunites with recently arrived Haynes and Boone partners Bill McDonald, Craig Stahl and Jeffrey Kuehnle, with whom she worked at Andrews Kurth Kenyon LLP. (Haynesboone.com)

• Scheffler was one of two female Andrews Kurth partners who left as the firm readies its proposed merger with Virginia firm Hunton & Williams. Trial lawyer Courtney Ervin joined commercial litigation firm Hicks Thomas in Houston. (Texas Lawyer)

• Locke Lord said its partners elected four new members to its board of directors, including partners Paul Mahoney, in Providence, Rhode Island, Joe Froehlich in New York, Tom Knight in Washington, D.C., and Miki Goodin, in Chicago. (Lockelord.com)

• JAMS, the alternative dispute resolution provider, said William J. Elfving, a retired Santa Clara County Superior Court judge, joined its panel in Silicon Valley. (JAMSadr.com)

 

 

Legal Market

• Corporate Counsel interviewed former Katten Muchin Rosenman partner David Kelly, who as general counsel of NBA champions the Warriors has one of the “coolest jobs in sports law.” Video. (Corporate Counsel)

• ETF Managers Group has been involved in three lawsuits in a month, and that’s making lawyers a lot of money.  The CEO of the fund, which oversees more than $2 billion in affiliated exchange-traded funds, announced recently that he’ll charge investors for some of the fund’s litigation costs. (Bloomberg)

• When the United Kingdom stops accepting rulings by the European Court of Justice because of Brexit, it could turn to the European Free Trade Association’s court to get some of the EU’s benefits without losing national sovereignty, a senior judge said. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Legal Actions

• House Democrats are demanding to see any communications between the Justice Department and the White House related to the agency’s suit to block AT&T Inc.’s $85.4 billion proposed merger with Time Warner Inc. AT&T is seeking similar documents in discovery. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Takata Corp.’s U.S. operations, pushed into bankruptcy by the largest automotive recall in U.S. history, settled with two groups representing victims of its faulty air bags, the company said in court documents. (Bloomberg)

• The abrupt resignation of casino mogul Steve Wynn has cast a harsh light on how Las Vegas treats women workers. A review of lawsuits, and interviews with women who have worked in so-called party pits and casinos provides details. (Bloomberg)

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• Last week a federal judge ruled that GrubHub Inc.’s food-delivery drivers are independent contractors, not employees and, therefore, don’t qualify for employee protections under California law. But that bellwether case is not likely to be the last word, attorneys said. (Bloomberg Law)

• And as nontraditional work arrangements become increasingly common, U.S. gig workers aren’t protected by federal law either. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is concerned about that gap in coverage, particularly because there haven’t been any major legislative efforts by Congress to fix it. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• A federal judge whom Trump once ridiculed over his Mexican  heritage is now hearing a lawsuit by environmental groups and the state of California seeking to block the president’s proposed wall along the Mexican border. (Bloomberg)

• Martin Shkreli worked hard to ensure his investors made money and didn’t use their cash to line his own pockets, his lawyer, Ben Brafman, told a judge. The judge is to decide whether the former drug company executive should forfeit $7.4 million. (Bloomberg)

• The biggest buyers of risky corporate loans are exempt from post-crisis rules that would have required them to hang onto some of the securities they were selling to investors, a U.S. appeals court ruled. The ruling gives new fuel to one of Wall Street’s hottest businesses. (Bloomberg)

 

Technology

• Illinois lawyers can’t ethically use covert software to track emails and other documents electronically sent to clients or other lawyers, a recent Illinois bar ethics opinion advises. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.