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Wake Up Call: Ex-Cleary Partners Could Clash Over Bondholders’ Exposure to Venezuela Debt Crisis

Feb. 21, 2019, 12:45 PM
  • With bondholders staring at billions in potential losses in Venezuela, a possible battle is shaping up between two former partners and one current partner at Cleary Gottlieb, according to reports from New York, London, and Paris. Sovereign debt restructuring veteran Lee Buchheit, set to retire in March after 43 years at the firm, has been mentioned as a possible adviser to Venezuela opposition leader Juan Guaidó, if President Nicolas Maduro leaves office. If he takes the job, Buchheit, who has previously suggested that Venezuela may need to take a “nuclear option” on its debts, might be in conflict with his old boss at Cleary, Mark Walker, and current Cleary partner, Richard Cooper, who have been advising a group of Venezuelan bondholders. (Financial Times) (BN)

  • Gibson Dunn, Jones Day, and Mayer Brown are representing tobacco companies Philip Morris USA Inc., R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., and Liggett Group LLC in their latest bid to get the the U.S. Supreme Court to review several decisions in favor of Florida smokers and deceased smokers’ families. (BLAW)

  • An unnamed U.S. intellectual property law firm, with clients in the pharmaceutical, technology, electronics, biomedical and automotive sectors, was hit by an alleged Chinese hack, according to a report. (American Lawyer)

  • Tesla Inc.'s general counsel Dane Butswinkas is going back to his trial practice at Williams & Connolly in Washington after only two months on the job. He’s been replaced by Jonathan Chang, a vice president in Tesla’s legal department, who’s been at Tesla about eight years. Chang was earlier GC at Lithium Technologies and started his career at Latham & Watkins. (BLAW via BLB) (Corporate Counsel)

  • A former Trump campaign staffer filed a class action suit seeking to void all nondisclosure and non-disparagement agreements signed by campaign staffers, volunteers, and contractors. (BuzzFeed.com) (WaPo)

  • Anthem Inc., advised by Seyfarth Shaw, reached a settlement with employees who sued the company over the fees tied to its $5.1 billion 401(k) plan. (BLAW) Yale University, advised by Mayer Brown, is fighting a suit over the fees and investment options in its retirement plan. Some 20 universities are facing similar suits. (BLAW)

  • A former Apple Inc. lawyer was released on a $500,000 bond after entering a not-guilty plea to insider-trading charges. (BN via BLAW)

Lawyers, Law Firms, Deals

  • Five plaintiffs law firms are vying for control of litigation that accuses Goldman Sachs Group Inc. of misleading investors about its work with the 1MDB Malaysian state fund. (BN via BLAW)

  • McKool Smith said its clients Ericsson Inc. and Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson won a Feb. 15 defense verdict in the breach-of-FRAND case brought by HTC Corporation and HTC America Inc., in a Texas federal court. The case is HTC Corporation et al. v. Telefonaktiebolaget LM Ericsson et al., 2019 BL 5579, E.D. Tex., 6:18-CV-00243-JRG. (AntritrustAlert.com) (CourtListener.com) (DisputingBlog.com)

  • A former lawyer for purported medical device firm Heart Tronics Inc., who’s been fighting securities fraud allegations for over seven years, can’t force the Securities and Exchange Commission to turn over all documents related to his case, a federal judge said. (BLAW)

  • The rent that a bankrupt lawyer owes his former landlord after his former law firm’s dissolution can be recovered by a trustee as a fraudulent transfer, a federal appeals court ruled. (BLAW)

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • JAMS, the alternative dispute resolution services provider, said retired Massachusetts Superior Court judge Edward P. Leibensperger joined its panel in Boston. Prior to his eight years on the court, which included serving in the business litigation section, Leibensperger was a trial lawyer for 30 years at Nutter McClennen & Fish, and seven years as a partner at McDermott Will & Emery. (JAMSadr.com)

  • Foley & Lardner’s Chicago office managing partner Frank E. Pasquesi was recently appointed general counsel of the Western Golf Association Evans Scholars Foundation. (Wgaesf.org) (Foley.com)

  • Lowenstein Sandler named New York based tax partner Lesley P. Adamo to represent the firm in the 2019 Leadership Council on Legal Diversity Fellows Program. (Lowenstein.com)

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • The U.S. Supreme Court curbed the power of cities and states to levy fines and seize property. (BN via BLB)

  • U.S. Bancorp is the latest employer to defend itself from a proposed class suit claiming its pension calculation methods shortchange workers. O’Melveny & Myers client American Airlines and PepsiCo recently moved to dismiss the lawsuits against them. Both U.S. Bancorp and PepsiCo are represented by Morgan Lewis. (BLAW)

  • The FBI is asking victims of defunct cryptocurrency exchange Bitconnect, an alleged global Ponzi scheme, to come forward. (BLAW)

  • Supplement maker Cure Encapsulations Inc. settled FTC allegations that it deceptively advertised weight-loss supplements, including by buying fake reviews that appeared on Amazon.com. (BLAW)

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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