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Wake Up Call: Acosta, Other Prosecutors Violated Law With 2008 Plea Deal, Fed Judge Rules

Feb. 22, 2019, 1:29 PM
  • Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta and other prosecutors violated the law when they gave a sweetheart 2008 plea deal to Miami hedge fund manager Jeffrey Epstein on teen sex trafficking charges, and then concealed that deal from some 30 alleged victims, a federal judge ruled yesterday. The ruling is likely to ramp up public criticism of Acosta, who was a Miami federal prosecutor in 2008. More recently, he’s said to have been a candidate to replace Jeff Sessions as attorney general, and to have federal judgeship ambitions. (BLAW)

  • A lawsuit that pits a regional grocery distributor against top Wall Street banks including Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Bank of America Corp. took a turn with an attempt to oust Quinn Emanuel, the law firm representing United Natural Foods Inc. (BN via BLAW)

  • Gibson Dunn raked in over $1.8 billion in 2018, up 11 percent from 2017 and its 23rd straight year of revenue growth. Its profits per equity partner gained 3.2 percent to $3.35 million. (American Lawyer). Shearman & Sterling reported 2018 gross revenue rose 4.1 percent, to $955 billion, while PEP expanded 5 percent to $2.4 million. (American Lawyer)

  • The Securities and Exchange Commission launched an accounting investigation into Kraft Heinz, the company revealed. (BN) (Financial Times)

  • Months of worker protests and bad press convinced Google to stop making its employees sign away their right to sue the company court. (BN)

  • Top in-house lawyers at UBS Group AG tried to play hardball with French authorities in negotiations over tax evasion charges. That turned out to be a spectacular miscalculation, as Switzerland’s biggest bank got hit with an over $5 billion fine in the case. The bank’s appeal could be heard in about two years, and meanwhile the fine is suspended, said its main outside counsel, Allen & Overy litigation partner Denis Chemla. (BN)

  • Nike Inc. could be vulnerable after Duke’s star basketball forward Zion Williamson sprained his knee when the sole of one of his Nike shoes ripped open during a Feb. 20 game, plaintiffs lawyers said. “If I were Nike I would be shaking in my Air Jordans,” said one lawyer. (BLAW)

  • Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy has moved from its Wall Street offices to new offices further up Manhattan, and rebranded to just “Milbank.” (New York Law Journal)

Lawyers, Law Firms, Deals

  • McKool Smith client Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, and its French partner Sanofi, won two battles with Amgens subsidiary Immunex over antibodies used in a Rengeneron/Sanofi developed treatment for asthma and eczema. On Valentines Day the U.S. Patent Trial and Appeal Board of the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office voided all 17 claims of Immunex’s U.S. Patent No. 8,679,487 for the treatment. And last week, the European Patent Office revoked Immunex’s European Patent No. 2,990,420 in its entirety. Both decisions are subject to appeal by Immunex. (The Pharma Letter)

  • Aquiline Capital Partners LLC, a New York and London-based private equity firm advised by Willkie Farr & Gallagher, said it agreed to acquire insurance broker Relation Insurance Services from private equity firms Parthenon Capital and Century Equity Partners. Kirkland & Ellis advised Relation Insurance. No terms were disclosed. (BusinessWire.com)

  • Cooley advised California-based PE firm Clearlake Capital Group LP and Clearlake-owned Symplr, a Houston-based software-as-a-service platform for health care organizations, in their acquisition of API Healthcare. Financial terms weren’t announced. New York-based PE firm Veritas Capitalis was the seller. (Houston Business Journal)

  • Fenwick & West and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati are the go-to law firms for startup companies, according to a new study. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Litigation funders are resisting an effort by a group of inhouse lawyers to get a requirement for more disclosure of such financing in federal litigation. (The Recorder)

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Management-side worklaw firm Jackson Lewis appointed labor attorney Brian J. Christensen managing principal for its Milwaukee office. Christensen is moving over from the firm’s Kansas City area locations, where he was office managing principal since 2014. Litigation manager Kyle B. Russell is now office managing principal in the Kansas City locations. (JacksonLewis.com)

  • Mitchell Silberberg & Knupp added former Cleary corporate and capital markets associate Arina Shulga as a New York-based partner in the firm’s corporate & business transactions department. Shulga joins from a boutique she co-founded, bringing corporate and transactional law associate Ignacio Celis-Aguirre. (MSK.com)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • More than 30 states have legalized medical marijuana but it remains illegal under federal law and in some states. That’s making it difficult for the Food and Drug Administration to approve medical devices that dispense the substance. (BLAW)

  • New York-based Holwell Shuster & Goldberg filed a lawsuit on behalf of the Democratic Party of Wisconsin and a group of Wisconsin voters seeking to shoot down controversial lame-duck state legislation passed by Republicans after they lost the governorship.(BadgerHerald.com) (Hsgllp.com)

  • Plaintiffs in France and Belgium are suing to force their governments to adopt stronger measures to fight climate change after a similar measure succeeded in the Netherlands. (Bloomberg Environment)

Technology

  • A Canadian judge denied legal fees in a case, suggesting the item in question could have been done with AI tools. (Blogs.Findlaw.com)


To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at rMitchell@correspondent.bloomberglaw.com
To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at rmintzer@bloomberglaw.com; Molly Ward at mward@bloomberglaw.com

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