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Wake Up Call: CFPB’s Cordray to Step Down

Nov. 16, 2017, 1:17 PM

• Richard Cordray will step down as head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau at month’s end and there is growing speculation that he plans to run for governor of Ohio as a Democrat. His exit clears the way for President Donald Trump to install his own director for the consumer watchdog, whose actions to police mortgages, credit cards and other products have riled big financial companies and Republicans. ( Bloomberg via BLB )

• Another federal watchdog, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, got tougher on the banking industry for a while under Obama, but under Trump the agency is easing back to its old self as one the sector’s friendliest regulators. ( New York Times )

• An untimely recusal from Justice Elena Kagan has placed the U.S. Supreme Court’s ethics rules—or the lack of them—under fire again. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

• Seizing on the Trump administration’s deregulation drive, corporate lobbyists are pushing to override state laws on ingredient-disclosure rules and warning labels, including landmark California legislation on potential cancer risks. ( Bloomberg )

• AT&T Inc. has poured money into external lobbying in recent months as Democrats question whether the White House meddled in the Justice Department’s review of its $85.4 billion merger with Time Warner Inc., and the company prepares to defend the deal in court. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

• The Federal Communications Commissions, led by Trump appointee Ajit Pai, is getting ready to issue a final order detailing plans to roll back the 2015 net neutrality order, which requires internet service providers like Verizon and Comcast to treat all web traffic equally. ( Politico )

Legal Market

• San Francisco startup HiQ Labs is in a legal fight for its life with Microsoft-owned LinkedIn over HiQ’s workforce analytics business, which essentially involves “scraping” large amounts of user personal data from LinkedIn’s website. Free speech questions in the fight have drawn some of the biggest names in the American litigation bar, including Deepak Gupta of law firm Farella Braun & Martel, Harvard Law Professor Laurence Tribe, and Donald Verrilli, a former solicitor general in the Obama administration, now at Munger, Tolles & Olson. ( Bloomberg )

• Dentons is the latest firm to offer a consulting service to help companies improve efficiency in their legal departments, but the global giant said its new Nextlaw In-House Solutions is different. With a staff of over 50 former general counsel, it will advise corporate legal departments on technology and legal project management, on hiring of outside counsel, among other things. ( American Lawyer )

• SEC Chairman Jay Clayton skipped votes on less than 5 percent of the rulemaking and administrative matters the commission considered during the first five months of his tenure, a rate comparable to his predecessor, Mary Jo White, according to a Bloomberg Law analysis. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

• Fallen movie producer Harvey Weinstein, The Weinstein Co., and Miramax, face a federal racketeering class action filed in California by attorneys at law firm Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro and the Armenta Law Firm. ( The Recorder )

Legal Market

• Patent investments overseas are more attractive than striking deals in the U.S, where court rulings and patent validity challenges have undercut patent values, intellectual property investors said at a recent conference. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

• Fox News insiders are set to meet U.K. lawmakers next week to protest 21st Century Fox Inc.’s takeover of pay-TV broadcaster Sky Plc. ( Bloomberg )

• 21st Century Fox Inc. denied a government witness’s allegation that its sports division paid bribes to win television rights for international soccer tournaments. ( Bloomberg )

Legal Actions

• Tesla Inc. posted a lengthy rebuttal to a lawsuit alleging racist behavior at one of its factories, saying the company is “absolutely against any form of discrimination, harassment or unfair treatment.” ( Bloomberg )

• Dyson Ltd. is suing former Chief Executive Officer Max Conze for allegedly revealing confidential information, including on the company’s plan to expand into the electric car market, according to a person familiar with the situation. ( Bloomberg )

Regulators and Enforcement

• The Food and Drug Administration’s new guidance on shared risk evaluation and mitigation strategies (REMS) does little to stop branded drug companies from using REMS to delay generic competition, according to a Harvard Medical instructor and a Washington, D.C.,-based pharmaceutical law attorney at law firm McCarter & English. ( Bloomberg Law )

Russia Probes

• Special Counsel Robert Mueller is continuing his interviews with White House staff this month. ( Bloomberg )

• The founder of the firm that assembled a political dossier alleging ties between Russia and Donald Trump’s presidential campaign defended its credibility before a U.S. House panel, according to people familiar with his testimony. ( Bloomberg )

The Trump Administration

• Trump’s pick for Labor Department solicitor, Kirkland & Ellis partner Kate O’Scannlain, told a Senate confirmation panel that use of employment-contract arbitration clauses to silence victims of sexual harassment would be “problematic” and “the issue needs to be studied.” ( National Law Journal )

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Defendants in patent infringement lawsuits may get another chance to transfer their cases to their preferred court, after an appeals court ruling Nov. 15.( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

• Jurors at the bribery trial of Senator Robert Menendez failed again to reach a verdict during their sixth full day of deliberations before returning bleary-eyed to the courtroom where the judge sent them home. ( Bloomberg )

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Pennsylvania firm Royer Cooper Cohen Braunfeld recruited Greenberg Traurig lawyer Beth Cohen for its new position of director of business strategy and innovation. Cohen, of counsel at the firm, also has a master’s of business administration. ( Legal Intelligencer )

Technology

• Alarmed by evidence of Russian influence in the country’s recent elections and Brexit vote,. U.K. lawmakers plan to talk to executives from Twitter Inc., Facebook Inc. and Google. ( Bloomberg )

• Moscow-based anti-virus company Kaspersky Lab said it downloaded confidential National Security Agency materials as part of a virus control operation, but it said it didn’t help steal the materials and that it deleted them. ( Ars Technica )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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