Wake Up Call: Trump Blocks Giant Tech Deal, Cites Security Risks

• President Donald Trump yesterday cited national security concerns in moving to block Singapore-based Broadcom from acquiring rival chipmaker Qualcomm, most likely scuttling the $117 billion merger that would have been the largest tech deal in history. The San Diego-based Qualcomm, which has resisted the unsolicited offer since November, still faces legal fights with Apple Inc., shrinking profits, and a regulatory assault on its licensing business. (Bloomberg)

• With special counsel Robert Mueller breathing down his neck with his Russia probe, Trump is said to be trying to bolster his legal team by hiring Williams & Connolly partner Emmet T. Flood, best known for representing former President Bill Clinton during the 1990s House impeachment hearings. (BLB) (New York Times

• Latham & Watkins said it hired O’Melveny & Myers partner George A. Davis as global co-chair of its 80-lawyer restructuring, insolvency and workouts practice, working out of the firm’s New York office. (BLB)

• Former SEC enforcer Gary Lynch rejoined his old firm, Davis Polk, as counsel in its litigation department. Lynch retired last year from Bank of America, where he became general counsel in 2011 and vice chairman in 2015. (BLB)

• Philadelphia-founded Blank Rome LLP said its chairman and managing partner, Alan J. Hoffman, will hand over day-to-day duties to the firm’s top litigator, Grant S. Palmer, on Jan. 1, 2019. Palmer, who currently leads the firm’s litigation department, will become the firm’s sixth managing partner, while Hoffman will continue as chairman until 2020. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

 

Lawyers and Law Firms

• Law firm Sidley Austin and the ACLU are among parties to the latest lawsuit challenging the Trump administration’s decision to end temporary protected status for foreign nationals of certain countries. A twist in the suit is that it claims the decision violates the constitutional rights of U.S. citizen children. (Bloomberg Law)

• Arguing for Google, Mayer Brown partner Donald Falk urged the U.S. Supreme Court not to review the search engine giant’s $8.5 million class-action settlement that has $5.3 million go to third parties and about 4 cents each to the over 100 million members of the class. Falk said class members benefit from the settlement’s funding of projects connected to internet privacy issues raised by plaintiffs’ claims. (National Law Journal)

• Chicago-based Winston & Strawn had a record year in 2017, with gross revenue surging nearly 19 percent, to $978.5 million, and profits per partner up 18.4 percent to top $2 million for the first time. (American Lawyer)

 

 

 Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

Algorithmic trader HC Technologies LLC promoted its general counsel, Jessica Sohl, to president, adding her to the short list of women who’ve ascended to the top of an electronic trading firm. (Bloomberg)

• Proskauer said it expanded in London by adding corporate lawyer and private equity specialist Richard Bull as a partner. Bull was previously a partner at Norton Rose Fulbright. (Proskauer.com)

Cole Schotz P.C. said it expanded its intellectual property department by adding attorney William Stroever as a member in Hackensack, New Jersey. Stroever, who will serve as the IP department’s co-chair, was previously a shareholder at Greenberg Traurig and has particular experience in consumer and biomedical products. (ColeSchotz.com) 

 

 

Legal Actions

• A proposed class action claiming Walgreen Co. overcharges insured customers for generic drugs is moving forward after a federal judge refused to dismiss most of the allegations. Walgreens is represented by Norton Rose Fulbright and A&G Law LLC in the case. (Bloomberg Law)

• Three national environmental groups are planning to sue the EPA for failure to approve air pollution cleanup plans for 11 states. (Bloomberg Environment)

• Using tactics that have drawn the attention of federal regulators and attracted lawsuits, drug plans and insurers have boxed out their smaller partners so they can take the business for themselves, independent pharmacies say. (Bloomberg)

• SunTrust Banks Inc. agreed to pay $4.75 million to settle a 10-year-old lawsuit that alleges it imprudently offered company stock as an investment option in its 401(k) plan. King & Spalding LLP, and McGriff Siebels & Williams LLC represent SunTrust. (Bloomberg Law)

 

Trump

• Porn star Stormy Daniels offered to return a $130,000 hush payment to Trump lawyer Michael Cohen in exchange for releasing her from confidentiality obligations, which would allow her to publicly discuss the affair she says she had with Trump. (Bloomberg)

• Last year the federal government censored, withheld or said it couldn’t find records sought by citizens, journalists and others more often than at any point in the past decade, new data show. The government also spent a record $40.6 million in legal fees defending its decisions to withhold federal files. (Associated Press via Bloomberg)

 

Sexual Harassment

• Promptly investigate and respond to allegations of sexual harassment: two Baker Donelson attorneys offered advice on best practices for addressing workplace misconduct. (Bloomberg Law)

• A supervisor intentionally subjected a female supplier engineer to his sexually explicit mobile phone ringtone and the company did nothing to stop the harassment despite repeated complaints, a suit alleges. (Bloomberg Law)

 

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• Uber Inc. and its health-care partner, Stride Health, want to make sure the Labor Department considers workers in the gig economy when drafting its final rule for the expansion of association health plans. (Bloomberg Law)

 • A recent administrative law judge decision suggests that the National Labor Relations Board continues to scrutinize employer rules and policies under the Trump administration. (Bloomberg Law)

• Florida teacher unions with less than 50 percent of members paying dues face the threat of decertification under legislation the state’s Republican governor, Rick Scott, signed into law. (Bloomberg Law)

 

 

 Russia Probes

• Republicans who control the House Intelligence Committee ended an investigation into the 2016 presidential election over intense objections from Democrats, saying they found no evidence of collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russian operatives. (Bloomberg)

 

 

 Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Two years after Led Zeppelin prevailed in a copyright fight over its song “Stairway to Heaven,” an appeals court judge wondered why the album version of Spirit’s song “Taurus” wasn’t played at the trial in Los Angeles. (Bloomberg)

• A San Francisco-based blockchain developer Ripple Labs Inc. lost its bid to keep a home-court advantage in a dispute with Manhattan-based rival R3 Holdco over ownership of cryptocurrency XRP that was once worth more than $16 billion. (Bloomberg)

 

 

 

Technology

 • Amazon.com Inc. is telling contender cities for its second headquarters that a consistent factor held them all back: a lack of local tech talent the company needs to fuel it’s $5-billion, 50,000-worker expansion. (Bloomberg Law)

• Facebook, Google, and even the dating service Bumble are going head-to-head with LinkedIn by offering employers new online recruiting services. (Bloomberg Law)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Tom Taylor/Casey Sullivan.