Wake Up Call: Trump Says Decision on AT&T-Time Warner Deal Not His

• President Donald Trump waded into questions over AT&T Inc.’s proposed merger with Time Warner Inc., saying the Justice Department may try to block the deal but that it’s not his decision to do so. “It will probably end up being maybe litigation, maybe not,” Trump said. (Bloomberg)

• AT&T vowed to fight to keep the deal intact after the Justice Department suggested that the companies figure out how to get the benefits they’re seeking from the deal without being able to own CNN, TBS and other Turner channels. Senators reportedly want to know if Trump’s well-known hostility to CNN is behind the Department’s push-back on the deal. (New York Times DealBook)

• If time is money, big M&A deals are getting a lot costlier in the European Union. Bayer AG’s bid for Monsanto Co. is just one of a growing number of deals stalled by regulators demanding key information they say companies failed to supply on time. Companies also face astronomical costs linked to EU requests for hundreds of thousands of internal documents such as corporate emails, according to lawyers. (Bloomberg)

• Pressure ratched up on Uber Technologies Inc. in one of its most mature markets, after the ride-hailing giant lost its appeal of a U.K. regulator’s ruling that it must pay overtime and give vacation time to its U.K. drivers. The company can make two more appeals of the ruling, which could have a big effect on other so-called gig economy companies in the country. (Bloomberg) What the ruling means for so-called gig economy companies built on use of independent workers. (The Recorder)

•  U.S. Labor Secretary Alex Acosta said Congress, not the Labor Department, should resolve work-classification questions related to the gig economy. (Bloomberg Law)

• Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLC is facing new questions about a report it wrote five years ago for the Ukraine’s then-pro-Russian government, such as how much it actually earned for the work. The new questions were spurred by charges filed against Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort in the context of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the presidential election. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• The U.S. Supreme Court will kick off its “December” argument session Nov. 27—and it promises to be a doozy. The latest SCOTUS Week Ahead blog. (BLB)

 

Legal Market

• Uber approved SoftBank Group Corp.’s offer to buy a multibillion-dollar stake in the ride-hailing company, setting the stage for one of the largest private startup deals ever. As part of the deal, venture capital firm Benchmark agreed to put its lawsuit against Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick on hold and drop the complaint when SoftBank’s investment and the governance reforms kick in. (Bloomberg)

• Colgate-Palmolive Co. agreed to settle a lawsuit claiming its talcum-powder products caused a Pennsylvania woman to develop mesothelioma, a fatal lung disease tied to asbestos exposure. The settlement comes as a growing number of talc users accuse manufacturers such as Colgate-Palmolive and Johnson & Johnson of failing to warn consumers that their body powders pose a cancer threat. (Bloomberg)

 

Regulators and Enforcement

• It’s just a coincidence that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s recent update of its sexual harassment guidelines, the first such revision in over 20 years, comes amidst a flood of harassment and assault allegations across the country, agency leaders told an audience of lawyers. (Bloomberg BNA)

• The Treasury Department named a longtime criminal prosecutor at the Justice Department, Kenneth Blanco, director of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, a bureau in Treasury’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.  Blanco replaces Jamal El-Hindi, who has served as acting FinCEN director since 2016. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

• The Los Angeles district attorney has created a special task force to handle the deluge of sexual abuse claims coming out of the entertainment industry. (Bloomberg)

• An investigation into former Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price’s use of private jets for official travel is threatening to drag in others in the Department. (Politico)

 

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• JPMorgan Chase & Co. urged a judge to throw out a stunning $8 billion jury verdict over a mismanaged inheritance, saying the family deserves nothing. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Laterals

 • Washington, D.C.,-based Investigative Group International and affiliated law firm Lenzner said they hired former federal prosecutor Arun G. Rao to serve as executive vice president and to help manage expansion of the firm’s due diligence and vetting practice. They said Rao will lead corporate internal investigations, advise clients on risk management, white-collar prosecutions and government investigations. (IGI)

 

Technology

• With the EU’s comprehensive new data protection regulation set to come into force in May 2018, law firms face competition from innovative alternative services seeking a piece of the action advising companies on how to comply with new regulations on how they can share and store personal data. (American Lawyer)

• Microsoft Corp.’s president and chief legal officer, Brad Smith, called for an international legal agreement to protect civilians from cyberattacks, in a kind of cyber “Geneva Convention” among governments, tech companies and others. (Corporate Counsel)

• Equifax Inc.’s massive data breach is proving costly, as the company faces exta spending for lawyers and new security outlays stemming from the breach. It also faces over 240 class-action lawsuits and 60-plus regulatory and governmental probes. (Bloomberg)

• The government’s registration system for owners of civilian drones, which a federal appeals court struck down in May, would be restored in a defense policy bill agreed to by House and Senate negotiators. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Legal Education

• An upswing in the number of people taking the Law School Admission Test is good news for law schools and the legal profession in general. (National Law Journal)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.