Wake Up Call: Soros Hit by $10 Billion Defamation Suit

• Companies controlled by Israeli mining magnate Beny Steinmetz sued billionaire George Soros, claiming he cost them at least $10 billion through a defamation campaign that stripped them of rights to an iron ore deposit in Guinea and other business opportunities around the world. (Bloomberg)

• UC Berkeley’s former law school dean Sujit Choudhry gets to keep his tenure until next year under a settlement reached last week over an executive assistant’s sexual harassment allegations against him and the school’s resulting disciplinary action. (The Recorder)

• Harvard Law School said former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power, a 1999 graduate, is returning as a professor. She’s also joining the Harvard Kennedy School, the graduate government school for which she served as founding director of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy. (Law.com)

• Ending a year of fighting, Illinois-based medical device maker Abbott Laboratories agreed to buy Massachusetts-based Alere, which makes medical tests, for $5.3 billion, down from the $5.8 billion it originally agreed to pay. (Financial Times)

• K&L Gates and two former partners are again facing a fraud lawsuit after a federal appeals judge reinstated a publishing executive’s case against them. (New York Law Journal)

• In the acknowledgements to her forthcoming book, Senator Elizabeth Warren, a Massachusetts Democrat, cites Williams & Connolly partner Bob Barnett as her “thoughtful,” “deliciously funny” adviser. Senator Marco Rubio, a Florida Republican, thanked Barnett in his own book, right after “Jesus Christ” and “the people.” So who says Washington, D.C., is more divided than ever? (BLB)

 

 

Legal Market

• After 20 years at Morrison & Foerster, Raj Chatterjee last week announced the launch of boutique law firm Antolin, Agarwal, Chatterjee, with offices in San Francisco and Walnut Creek. BLB spoke with Chatterjee about his decision to start a boutique firm, what he and his partners aim to achieve, and his relationship with trial lawyer Jim Brosnahan. (BLB)

• In a recent survey, significantly fewer Big Law associates expressed concern about diversity and inclusion at their firms than partners at the same firms did. Does that mean young attorneys don’t care about diversity? Probably not, a couple of analysts said. (BLB)

• As the U.S. Justice Department considers extending or modifying its pilot program for self-reporting violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, most lawyers who have participated in it say it should be continued, but with tweaks to make it clearer. (Corporate Counsel)

• A Delaware court on Friday temporarily blocked a tender offer planned by embattled blood-testing company Theranos Inc., as investors claimed the move would allow the company’s management to escape responsibility and hamper investors’ ability to get back a $96 million investment in the company. (Delaware Business Court Insider)

• Two Tennessee lawsuits cast light on the hazards of coal ash, a byproduct of burning coal to produce power. (New York Times)

 

 

President Trump’s First 100 Days

• In a hint of a pragmatic approach to banking regulation, Trump is expected to nominate former Treasury undersecretary Randy Quarles as the Federal Reserve’s top bank regulator. (Politico)

• The Trump administration has embarked on a border patrol agent recruiting drive and begun aggressive stings to arrest undocumented immigrants amid the president’s call for upping deportations. Standing in its way are so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to detain some potential deportees. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• The Environmental Protection Agency features as a major target of manufacturers who have responded to Trump’s call for recommendations on ways to cut regulations and make it easier to get projects approved. The 168 comments collected to date read like a “regulatory rollback wish list.” (Washington Post)

• Trump’s lawyers argued in federal court that he can’t be sued for inciting his supporters to violence during the campaign, because as president he is immune from civil lawsuits. (UPI)

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• One of the first cases that Justice Neil Gorsuch will hear at the U.S. Supreme Court is a case considering timing in a high-stakes securities class actions case that has seen both sides line up star attorneys. (National Law Journal)

• Gorsuch’s conservative background would suggest that he will favor the National Collegiate Athletics Association over college athletes in cases involving NCAA “amateurism” rules, but he could surprise people, says a writer. (Sports Illustrated)

• The U.S. Supreme Court’s narrow ruling in a recent bankruptcy case could lay the groundwork for years of future litigation. (New York Times DealBook)

• The death of  New York appeals Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam, who had a “rare sensitivity” for business cases, is a loss to the commercial bar in New York, practitioners said. (New York Law Journal)

• The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is mulling whether to livestream oral arguments for the first time in May, beginning with a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump’s second travel ban executive order. (National Law Journal)

• “Judges gossip about lawyers all the time,” San Francisco Superior Court Judge Curtis Karnow says in a recent interview. (The Recorder, and podcast)

 

 

 

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Delaware law firm Morris James appointed Sherry Perna, a certified legal manager and certified public accountant, to take over as executive director from the retiring Thomas Herweg. (Delaware Law Weekly)

 

 

Technology

• As courts struggle with the problem of identifying gerrymandering —the practice of redrawing a voting district to give one political party a leg up on another — political and social scientists and lawyers have been leading efforts to develop quantitative tools to measure it. Now mathematicians could step into that fight, among other things by serving as expert witnesses. (Wired)

• A huge dump of NSA data by a hackers group called Shadow Brokers could cause trouble for the U.S. government, hurting its relationships with big software companies and European privacy regulators. (Recode)

• Apple Inc. said it will soon take its self-driving car software platform to public streets for the first time, after getting a green light from the California DMV. The announcement brings the world’s biggest technology company into the already crowded race to reshape transportation. (Bloomberg)

• Health savings account fraud is a rapidly growing threat, becoming more complex and credible. (Dark Reading)

• Police in Ohio urged residents in surrounding states on Monday to be on alert for a man who they said shot and killed an elderly passerby seemingly at random and then posted a gruesome video of the killing on Facebook. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Miscellaneous

• Court says NASA investigator must face suit by widow of Apollo engineer. (Washington Post)

• France’s national financial prosecutor is playing a major role in the country’s presidential election. (Bloomberg)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.