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Wake Up Call: D.C. Circuit Hits Kasowitz Firm for ‘Legal Artifice’ in EPA Case

July 9, 2019, 11:38 AM
  • New York litigation firm Kasowitz Benson Torres, one of President Trump’s go-to firms for his private business, got a verbal beating from a D.C. Circuit judge who refused to revive the firm’s False Claims Act whistleblower lawsuit against four large chemical manufacturers. The court rejected the suit’s accusations that BASF Corp., Dow Chemical Co., Huntsman International LLC, and Covestro LLC ripped off the Environmental Protection Agency for billions in fines by failing to comply with reporting obligations. Suggesting the Kasowitz firm was motivated by a multibillion dollar reward, U.S. Circuit Judge Karen LeCraft Henderson, wrote in the ruling that “This case teaches that money also stimulates legal artifice.” (American Lawyer) Venable represented BASF. Latham & Watkins represented Dow in the case. (BLAW)

  • Covington & Burling was hired by The City University of New York’s board of directors to investigate alleged violations of the school’s sexual misconduct policies. The board approved spending up to $1.5 million for the probe, according to reports. (New York Post)

  • The investigation follows a lawsuit filed in June by Wigdor on behalf of two graduates of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice--which is part of the CUNY system--accusing the school of mishandling an investigation of sexual misconduct complaints against four professors. The college hired Riley Safer Holmes & Cancila last summer to investigate the allegations. It wasn’t immediately clear if CUNY’s decision to hire Covington & Burling is related to the John Jay scandal. (Patch.com)

  • Former Jones Day associate David Morrell, previously at the White House, was appointed to head the Justice Department’s new team of lawyers to handle court cases backing the Trump administration’s floundering effort to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census. (National Law Journal)

  • Brown Rudnick’s Washington office got Cooley intellectual property partner Peter J. Willsey, who joins his new firm as chair of its global trademark, copyright & advertising practice group and as a partner in the intellectual property practice group. Cooley lawyer Vincent J. Badolato also makes the move and joins as counsel. (BrownRudnick.com)

  • The California Bar would be prohibited from seeking prospective lawyers’ health records under a measure the state Assembly approved yesterday. (BLAW)

  • At least four Big Law firms are advising on a merger aimed at creating a Nasdaq-traded home medical care equipment company worth about $800 million. Willkie Farr & Gallagher advised AdaptHealth Holding Corp., a Pennsylvania-based home medical care equipment distributor that has about $522 million in annual sales, on its plan to go public by merging with DFB Healthcare Acquisitions Corp., a special-purpose company backed by New York investment firm Deerfield Management that is already publicly traded and the former CEO of a health insurer. Greenberg Traurig and McDermott Will & Emery are advising DFB. Paul Hastings is advising Deerfield. (BioSpace) (Philadelphia Inquirer)

  • Hogan Lovells added four partners on two coasts to its growing intellectual property, media and technology practice. It hired ex-Jones Day partners Krista Schwartz and Patrick Michael in San Francisco and former McDermott Will & Emery partners Robert Underwood and Kristen Connarn in Boston. (BLAW via BLB)

Lawyers, Law Firms, Deals

  • Seyfarth Shaw hired former law firm partner and trial attorney Kori S. Carew to fill its new role of chief inclusion & diversity officer. Carew was previously at Shook, Hardy & Bacon, where she spent close to seven years in Kansas City, Missouri, most recently as director of strategic diversity initiatives. (Seyfarth.com)

  • Milbank advised Chilean retailer Cencosud Shopping S.A., as issuer, and Cencosud S.A., as selling shareholder, in Cencosud Shopping’s approximately $1.03 billion initial public offering, the largest ever IPO on Santiago’s stock exchange. (Milbank) (LaTercera.com)

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Shearman & Sterling hired Adam Schwartz away from Paul Weiss to serve as a litigation partner in its Washington office. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Troutman Sanders added employee benefits partners Jim Earle, Lynne Wakefield, and Emily Zimmer in Charlotte, North Carolina. The group arrives from K&L Gates. (Troutman.com)

  • Manatt, Phelps & Phillips added a two-lawyer venture capital and emerging companies team in San Francisco, getting corporate and commercial attorney Richard McDerby as a partner and associate Christopher Dayans, who were both previously at boutique firm Osborn McDerby LLP. (Manatt.com)

  • Holland & Knight added McGuireWoods nonprofit and tax law attorney Kelly Hellmuth as a senior counsel in Jacksonville and a member of the firm’s private wealth services group. (HKLaw.com)

  • McDermott Will & Emery said trial and white collar criminal defense lawyer Ben Goldberger returned to the firm in Boston as a partner in its litigation practice group. Goldberger began his legal career as an associate at McDermott in 2004, and left in 2007 for seven years as an assistant county district attorney and most recently was deputy legal counsel to the governor of Massachusetts. (MWE.com)

  • Snell & Wilmer said business and employment litigator Elizabeth S. Wylie joined the firm’s Denver office as a partner in its labor & employment and commercial litigation practice groups. (SWLaw.com)

  • Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr’s added two trial attorneys in Minneapolis: partner Alain M. Baudry and associate Matthew R. Veenstra. Both were previously at Kutak Rock. (Saul.com)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • Harvey Weinstein’s most recent defense lawyers agreed not to ask for another delay in the start of the fallen movie mogul’s rape trial, scheduled for Sept. 9. (Deadline)

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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