Wake Up Call: Big Law Widow Awarded $3M in GSK Case

• A Chicago federal jury awarded $3 million to the widow of former Reed Smith corporate partner Stewart Dolin, finding GlaxoSmithKline plc responsible for Dolin’s 2010 suicide. Stewart’s widow argued that the pharmaceutical giant failed to warn her husband’s doctor of risks linked to paroxetine, the anti-depressant Stewart was taking when he stepped in front of a Chicago subway train. (Chicago Tribune)

• Kerrie Campbell, the lawyer who last August brought claims of gender discrimination against Chadbourne & Parke, was voted out of the firm’s partnership Thursday morning. (BLB)

• Attorney General Jeff Session said the arrest of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is a “priority” in a Justice Department crackdown against leaks of classified information. Assange has been holed up in Ecuador’s embassy in London since 2012. (Financial Times) Assange is hard to like, but a DOJ prosecution against him could threaten press freedom. (Wired)

• “We want to be the white knight and the group that’s helping the underdog,” says Lee Drucker, founder of litigation finance firm Lake Whillans, which lately is in expansion mode, this week hiring Wachtell, Lipton Rosen & Katz associate Garrett Ordower. In an interview with BLB Thursday, Drucker talked about his business, and how he sees the market for litigation finance evolving. (BLB)

• Faculty members at Whittier Law School in California are suing to block plans to close the school, which comes amidst plunging enrollment and a dismal legal job market overall. A law school dean and other legal experts said that, considering the grim environment, more schools are likely to shutter. (Law.com)

 

 

 

Legal Market

• Deutsche Bank AG was hit with the Federal Reserve’s first major fine for failing to ensure traders abide by the Volcker Rule’s ban on risky market bets — and will pay even more for letting currency desks chat online with competitors, allegedly revealing positions. (Bloomberg)

• Philadelphia-based Obermayer Rebmann Maxwell & Hippel has reached a settlement with a former associate who alleged that the firm had an unfair billing system that caused him to get short-changed on bonuses. (Legal Intelligencer)

• U.S. Supreme Court litigator David Frederick earned over $500 million in contingency fees from a single client, and Kellogg Hansen made him a name partner. (Am Law Daily)

• Blank Rome, Cozen O’Connor and a global real estate company asked a judge to throw out an investors’ lawsuit that seeks to blame them for a $27 million Ponzi scheme. (Legal Intelligencer)

• Investors represented by Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll reached a $28.25 million settlement with electronics maker Harman International Industries Inc. in a securities fraud case that took nearly a decade of litigation and an appeals court reversal to resolve. (National Law Journal)

• The Drug Enforcement Agency has so far ignored a petition by medical marijuana advocate group Americans for Safe Access to remove what it considers false and misleading information on the DEA’s website about health risks of cannabis, so the next step could be a lawsuit, said the the head of the group’s legal team at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe.(National Law Journal)

 

 

 

 

President Trump’s First 100 Days

• Donald Trump’s anti-Muslim rhetoric and his travel ban and other policies are taking a bite out of the U.S. travel industry. (Bloomberg)

• The American Bar Association joined an amicus brief asking a Virginia federal appeals court to let stand an injunction blocking Trump’s second travel ban. (ABA Journal)

• Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani disclosed that he sought to resolve a criminal sanctions case against a Turkish trader by brokering a deal with Turkey that he says was intended to promote U.S. national security interests. In a filing with the court Wednesday night, Giuliani also said “senior U.S. officials” were receptive to the possibility of such an agreement. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• A nonprofit group of five former government attorneys, most with Big Law experience, is using Freedom of Information Act requests to get government emails and other documents to find out what Trump administration officials are really saying about the Affordable Care Act, but it’s willing to sue if asking nicely doesn’t work out, said Austin Evers, the former Williams & Connolly litigator and State Department lawyer who heads the group. (National Law Journal)

• California isn’t letting litigation or Trump administration roadblocks stand in the way of its controversial plan for a bullet train in the state. (Bloomberg)

 

 

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Justice Neil Gorsuch took his first major action on the U.S. Supreme Court by casting the deciding vote to let Arkansas begin executing a group of death-row inmates. (Bloomberg)

• The church playground case before the court is a constitutional seesaw, with a lot of moving parts. (Bloomberg via BLB)

• Depending on its outcome, the gerrymandering case headed for the Supreme Court could lead to a transformation of political maps across the country. (New York Times)

• The U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation transferred cases to 15 first-time MDL judges in 2016, in a big shift toward favoring rookie judges over those with experience overseeing MDLs. (National Law Journal) A look at the next generation of MDL judges. (National Law Journal)

 

 

Laterals, Moves

• Paul Hastings said it has hired Robert Silvers, a former cyber policy official in the Obama administration, as a partner in its Washington, D.C., office working in the firm’s privacy and cybersecurity and white collar groups(BLB)

• A group of four Ropes & Gray partners in Hong Kong, including the firm’s office managing partner, is leaving for Gibson Dunn & Crutcher. (The Lawyer)

 

 

Technology

• The head of the Federal Communications Commission is seeking views from Facebook and other tech companies on his plans to weaken net neutrality rules. (New York Times)

• Uber extended the internal probe into sexual harassment claims that Covington & Burling is doing, with a report now to come at the end of May. (TechCrunch)

• President Trump hasn’t done anything concrete yet to make good on candidate Trump’s promise to have a draft plan for fighting cyber hackers within 90 days after taking office. That deadline passed Thursday. (Politico)

• A proposed class-action lawsuit filed by three Tesla owners accuses the company of fraud and deceptive trade practices, alleging among other things that some key safety features for autopilot functions on their cars don’t work. Tesla called the suit a “disingenuous attempt to secure attorney’s fees.” (Ars Technica)

• A New York lawsuit against secure messaging service Confide alleges that its protection against screen shots doesn’t work as billed. (Recode.net)

• A new European survey finds that old computers and creaky internet connections demoralize workers. For example, a representative for a London-based company that provides IT services to law firms missed out on a promising opportunity to win new customers because his company’s outdated computer equipment shut down as he was making his live presentation. (Bloomberg)

• An upcoming summit will address potential reputational and legal risks that luxury companies can face on social media. (Global Legal Post)

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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