Wake Up Call: New Weinstein Suit Names K&L Gates, Boies Schiller

• Movie production company Weinstein Co. was sued in New York federal court for racketeering by six women who claim the company helped facilitate and conceal “widespread sexual misconduct” by Harvey Weinstein that led to the producer’s ouster. (Bloomberg) The civil RICO suit accuses law firms including K&L Gates, Boies Schiller Flexner, and others of contributing to a “Weinstein Sexual Enterprise.” (American Lawyer)

• AT&T Inc.’s fight to save its proposed acquisition of Time Warner Inc. moves to the federal courthouse in Washington today and will feature prominent lawyers from O’Melveny & Myers LLP, Cravath, and Gibson Dunn, among others. A who’s who of the cast of attorneys in the case. (Bloomberg)

• The Trump administration switched sides yesterday in a major U.S. Supreme Court case over public sector union fees, asking the court to bar the unions from collecting mandatory fees from nonmembers to cover bargaining. Speculation had simmered for months that the administration would make the shift, which threatens labor movement finances and political influence. (Twitter) (Bloomberg Law via BLB)  (Bloomberg)

• With brash biotech founder Martin Shkreli convicted and jailed, a virtual repeat of his trial is playing out in federal court in Brooklyn, this time against Evan Greebel, who was a lawyer for Shkreli’s companies. One big upside for Greebel’s lawyers: Their client is a taciturn 44-year-old former corporate attorney, nothing like the 34-year-old Shkreli. (Bloomberg)

• A Volkswagen AG compliance executive who pleaded guilty in the U.S. for his role in the company’s $30 billion emissions cheating scandal was sentenced to 7 years in prison. (Bloomberg)

 

Sexual Harassment

• A powerful California appellate judge resigned amidst allegations that he sexually harassed and discriminated against female employees, according to a report. (Mercury News)

• Forced arbitration agreements in cases of workplace sexual harassment would be a thing of the past under legislation from a bipartisan group of lawmakers in Congress. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Holding employees accountable for sexual harassment has become a top priority for employers. But enforcing such accountability is more complicated when the harasser is a contracted worker, and that’s especially true in the world of live theater. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• Understanding sexual harassment, a Q&A. (Bloomberg)

 

Legal Market

• A bill that would direct antitrust agencies to study the impact of mergers underscores how cracking down on corporate consolidation is a growing issue for congressional Democrats. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• After salesman Andrew Therrien got a threatening call from a debt collector making a phony claim for a $700 payday loan, he spent nearly two years tracking down people behind the call, and ultimately uncovered an extensive network of phantom-debt collectors. His findings helped the FTC obtain a multimillion dollar settlement against the scam’s mastermind. (Bloomberg Businessweek)

 • Democrats–vowing to make net neutrality a campaign issue in 2018 midterm elections–are pushing back against Republican FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s plan to kill the rules. (Bloomberg Law)

• Businesses face a new wave of uncertainty now that the U.S. Supreme Court has allowed President Donald Trump’s third travel ban to go into full effect.(Bloomberg Law via BLB)  Challengers are heading back to court in last-gasp attempts to stop the ban. (Bloomberg)

 

Legal Actions

• A lawyer who convinced a client facing drug charges to transfer ownership of land worth $135,000 as payment for representing her in a case that ultimately required just 40 hours of work was indefinitely suspended by the Ohio Supreme Court. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• The Food and Drug Administration plans new guidance that will make it easier for generic companies to get drug-device combination products approved. (Bloomberg Law)

• The Securities and Exchange Commission fined a hedge fund manager for allegedly engaging in communications with her husband that violated securities laws. (Bloomberg)

 

Russia Probes

• Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, told House lawmakers Wednesday that he couldn’t answer questions about what he told his father after a controversial meeting with a Russian lawyer in June 2016, citing attorney-client privilege, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee said. (Bloomberg)

• Former national security adviser Michael Flynn promised a business associate before the inauguration of Donald Trump that U.S. sanctions with Russia would be “ripped up” by the incoming administration, according to a witness account described by House Democrats. (Bloomberg)

•  As Special Counsel Robert Mueller closes in on Trump’s inner circle, Republicans are taking a shoot-the-messenger approach. (Washington Post)

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• During oral arguments in a whistle-blower case before the Supreme Court, Justice Neil Gorsuch’s questions indicated he is skeptical about how much deference courts should give to federal agency interpretations of their governing statutes. (Bloomberg Law)

• During oral arguments in another case, Supreme Court Justices seemed unsure how to resolve the clash between the federal government and New Jersey in the Garden State’s attempt to capture some of the billions of dollars bet on sports each year. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• A former UBS Group AG strategist told a New York jury that the Swiss bank deprived him of millions of dollars in pay and pushed him into a long-lasting depression by firing him five years ago after he blew the whistle on efforts to influence his published research. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Two San Francisco-based partners for Sedgwick, Bruce Celebrezze and Alexander Potente, are said to be moving to U.K. insurance firm Clyde & Co, the latest departures from Sedgwick, which recently announced plans to shut down in 2018. The pair could soon be joined by as many as 25 partners making the move to several of Clyde’s U.S. offices. (The Recorder)

• Law firm Winstead added four attorneys to its labor and employment practice in Houston, includng two name partners, from Houston boutique Alaniz Schraeder Linker Farris Mayes. (Texas Lawyer)

 

Technology

• The U.S. charged four former engineers at Applied Materials Inc. with trying to steal chip designs from the semiconductor equipment giant to sell them to a Chinese startup. (Bloomberg)

• It’s getting more difficult to unsubscribe from spam email but retailer email practices are generally improving, a recent audit found. (Bloomberg Law)

• As automakers prepare to revolutionize their vehicles with technology, they are trying to avoid mistakes made by technology companies, which have paid millions of dollars in legal fees in the smarthphone wars. (Bloomberg)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.