Wake Up Call: CBS Fires Attorney for Comments on Las Vegas Shooting

Oct. 3, 2017, 12:09 PM

• CBS fired a company lawyer after she posted on Facebook that some victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting are “Republican gun toters” who don’t deserve sympathy. The company said her comments “are deeply unacceptable.” Hayley Geftman-Gold, who was vice president and senior legal counsel at CBS in New York, apologized for her “shameful” post. ( Washington Post )

• Accounting giant KPMG said it hired a new general counsel, Tonya T. Robinson, who was acting general counsel of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in Washington, D.C and is a former WilmerHale litigation partner. Robinson replaces Joseph I. Loonan, who steps down after 12 years in the job but will remain as special counsel to KPMG’s chairman. ( BLB )

• The SEC now says the hackers who broke into its corporate filing system last year accessed two people’s personal information, contradicting its previous assessment that no such data had been compromised. ( Bloomberg )

• The first Supreme Court argument of the new term suggested the justices are divided over the power of employers to block class-action lawsuits by workers and channel disputes into arbitration. ( Bloomberg via BLB )

• U.K. firm Bird & Bird plans to open its first U.S. office in 2018 in the San Francisco Bay Area, with two partners and a focus on technology clients. The firm said Stefano Silvestri, co-chief of its international corporate group, will make the move from Milan, while intellectual property partner Nick Aries is set to move from London. ( Legal Week via American Lawyer )

• A small but growing number of prominent government prosecutors are starting their own small law firms rather than joining firms that represent the kinds of clients they spent years prosecuting. ( New York Times DealBook )

• Arent Fox LLP hired a former New York federal prosecutor, Robert Capers, as co-chairman of its 33-lawyer government enforcement and white-collar practice, based in its New York office. ( BLB )

• Top New York real estate lawyers say they are increasingly handling troubled or strained projects, although they’re not encountering distress anywhere near the levels they saw after the 2008 financial crisis. ( The Real Deal )

• Winston & Strawn in the last year has added more than 100 lawyers, including corporate teams in New York and a new office in Dallas, to reach over 900 lawyers overall. But the firm’s managing partner, Tom Fitzgerald, wants to keep growing. ( BLB )

• With the court due to consider a case on gerrymandering, a New York Times podcast discusses how Big Law firm Michael Best & Friedrich helped Republicans redistrict Wisconsin. ( New York Times )

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• The court turned away an appeal that sought to force Coca-Cola Co. and other companies to equip vending machines for use by blind people. ( Bloomberg ) The case could have had an impact on whether internet services and companies need to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. ( National Law Journal )

• It’s an exciting start to a new Supreme Court term with a “juicy” list of cases. ( Read That Back on US Law Week Blog )

• The court rejected an appeal from embattled internet entrepreneur Kim Dotcom, leaving intact an order that lets the federal government seize $40 million from accounts in Hong Kong and New Zealand. ( Bloomberg )

• LGBTQ advocacy group Equality California said the National Center for Lesbian Rights and GLBTQ Legal Advocates & Defenders have joined as co-counsel in its lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of President Donald Trump’s order banning transgender people from enlisting or serving openly in the military. ( Equality California )

Las Vegas

• Stephen Paddock, the shooter who killed at least 58 people at a country music concert in Las Vegas, was a retired accountant who “didn’t always make sense,” according to the managing partner of a law firm that defended a hotel chain against a personal injury claim by Paddock. The lawyer, Martin Kravitz, of Las Vegas-based Kravitz, Schnitzer & Johnson, also represents the hotel involved in the shooting, the Mandalay Bay casino resort. ( National Law Journal )

• Nevada voters last year narrowly approved a ballot measure to require background checks for gun sales between private individuals, but the resulting law is not being enforced. ( Bloomberg )

• Google prominently displayed false reports on the identity of the Las Vegas shooter. ( Bloomberg )

Legal Market

• A federal judge last week overturned a tax regulation that stopped the planned $160 billion merger between Pfizer Inc. and Ireland-based Allergan Plc last year--but the ruling doesn’t necessarily mean the deal would be revived, experts said. ( Bloomberg via BLB ) One sentence in Trump’s proposed tax plan could have multibillion dollar implications for multinational companies such as Apple Inc. and Pfizer. ( Bloomberg )

• The Louisiana Civil Justice Center, which is working with the American Bar Association to provide legal aid hotlines for residents of hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, said lack of funds and staffing are hindering its efforts. ( LAciviljustice.org ) ( ABA Journal )

• A hard Brexit could cost the U.K. about $22.8 million dollars in exports, according to a report by Baker McKenzie and consultancy Oxford Economics Ltd. ( Bloomberg )

• Wells Fargo & Co. is wrapping up one of its worst years ever by passing a baton to Washington’s new favorite financial-industry villain: Equifax Inc. ( Bloomberg )

Legal Actions

• Three California lawyers suing Pennsylvania-based Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney over unused vacation time accused their former firm of forum-shopping. ( Legal Intelligencer )

• Former Societe Generale SA trader Stephane Esper, who faces U.K. charges for rigging a key interest-rate benchmark, is suing the bank at a French employment tribunal for more than 8 million euros ($9.4 million). ( Bloomberg )

• Fyre Festival organizer Billy McFarland pleaded not guilty to fraud charges stemming from the April event -- dubbed as a luxury music extravaganza in the Bahamas -- that turned into a weekend of chaos. ( Bloomberg )

Regulators and Enforcement

• The Commodity Futures Trading Commission has requested information from Coinbase Inc., a popular digital-coin exchange, regarding a June flash crash that erased most of the value in the second-largest cryptocurrency in milliseconds before quickly recovering. ( Bloomberg )

The Trump Administration

• The White House is said to expect to soon clear a backlog of requests for documents and information from special counsel Robert Mueller related to his investigation of Russian tampering with the 2016 U.S. election. ( Bloomberg )

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Holland & Knight said Arman Kuyumjian joined its New York office as a partner in the firm’s corporate, M&A and securities practice group, getting him from Baker McKenzie, where he was a New York partner. ( HKlaw.com )

• King & Spalding hired Perkins Coie partners Patrick Collins and Jade Lambert for its Chicago office. Collins rejoins Zachary Fardon, who was his former colleague in the U.S. attorney’s office and now heads King & Spalding’s Windy City office. ( Am Law Daily )

• Latham & Watkins poached veteran Allen & Overy corporate partner Peter Harwich in New York. ( The Lawyer )


• Ticketmaster says in a lawsuit that its customers are being ripped off by companies that use illegal “bots” to scoop up large quantities of highly sought tickets. ( Bloomberg )

• Hundreds of correctional facilities in the U.S. have eliminated in-person visits for prisoners, often as a stipulation of their contracts with prison-phone companies that charge prisoners for video feed “visits.” ( Bloomberg Businessweek )

• Chicago-based startup Envoy Global has raised $21 million in funding for its enterprise software that helps companies process visa paperwork needed for their foreign employees. ( TechCrunch )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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