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Wake Up Call: Gibson Dunn Scores Big Win for Uber in Fight With Drivers

Sept. 26, 2018, 11:20 AM

• A San Francisco federal appeals court handed Uber a major win yesterday in one of the gig economy’s most closely watched labor fights. The court barred hundreds of thousands of Uber drivers from suing as a group for better pay and benefits, in finding that they must arbitrate their claims against the company individually. Uber was represented by a Gibson Dunn team in the case.

• Plaintiffs’ lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan, of Lichten & Liss-Riordan, said the decision was not unexpected in the wake of the U.S Supreme Court’s May ruling that employers can force workers to use individual arbitration instead of class-action lawsuits. Nevertheless, she vowed to keep fighting. ( The Recorder ) ( Bloomberg )

• Wachtell-client Michael Kors Holdings Ltd. will buy Italian fashion label Gianni Versace SpA for 1.83 billion euros ($2.2 billion), bringing the American luxury company closer to its goal of becoming an international house of fashion brands.Cleary and two Italian firms are advising sellers GiVi Holdings, Donatella Versace, and Versace chief executive Jonathan Akeroyd, while Rome-based firms are advising private equity firm Blackstone Group. ( Bloomberg ) ( New York Times DealBook ) ( Legal Week )

• King & Spalding poached Morrison & Foerster’s environmental leader in L.A., Peter Hsiao. Hsiao, who also led MoFo’s green products and chemicals team, will be head of K&S’ West Coast environmental regulatory practice. ( Globe Newswire )

• Speaking of King & Spalding, since partner Zach Fardon launched the firm’s Chicago office a year ago, it has grown from a staff of one to 25 today, including nine partners and five associates, and it continues to grow. Meanwhile, the Windy City is a draw for other major firms, too. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

• An anonymous whistleblower received a $13.6 million award under new IRS program, after providing information that led to the government collecting over $52.6 million dollars in taxes, penalties, and interest, according to two attorneys who represented the person. Stephen M. Kohn, of Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto, and Dean Zerbe, of Zerbe, Miller, Fingeret, Frank & Jadav, LP, said in a joint statement that the award is one of the first made under the new program. ( MondoVisione )

• Bill Cosby was sentenced to 3 to 10 years in prison for sexual assault. ( Daily Beast )

Kavanaugh Nomination

• Senate Republicans are pushing ahead with a plan to confirm Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh soon after Thursday’s hearing where he and Christine Blasey Ford will testify about her allegation that he sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. ( Bloomberg )

• Republicans are said to want Arizona prosecutor Rachel Mitchell to question Ford during the hearing. ( Washington Post )

• Students at Yale Law School, where Kavanaugh graduated in 1990, protested against his Supreme Court nomination. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

• If sexual assault allegations sink his nomination, Kavanaugh could face disciplinary proceedings if he returns to his seat on the D.C. Circuit. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

Lawyers, Law Firms, Deals

• Houston-based Westlake Chemical Corporation said it plans to buy a France-based maker of plastic compounds, Nakan, from L.A.-based private equity firm OpenGate Capital, for about $265 million. Willkie said it advised OpenGate. ( Houston Chronicle )

• McKool Smith said it won a $10 million jury verdict in Alabama state court on behalf of Apex Parks Group against Protective Life Insurance Company, which had refused to pay death benefits under Apex’s key man policy after the CEO’s death. ( McKoolSmith )

• DLA Piper said Noah Mamet, who was U.S. Ambassador to Argentina under President Barack Obama, is joining the firm as a strategic adviser on Latin American issues. ( DLA Piper )

• The California Bar’s latest attorney fee law authorizes $390 for an attorney’s annual base licensing fee. It also call for audits and reforms, pushes for better legal access, diversity in the profession, and enhances the bar’s ability to discipline attorneys. ( Bloomberg Law via BLB )

Laterals, Moves

• Fox Rothschild added litigators Michael A. Sastre, Aaron H. Epstein, and Dania Saavedra as partners in Miami. They were previously shareholders at Gray Robinson, where real estate partnerSteven W. Zelkowitz was Miami managing sharerholder. Zelkowtiz joined Fox earlier in September. ( )

• Cooley expanded its compensation & benefits practice with partner Blake Martell, who arrives from Fenwick & West and will be based in San Francisco and Palo Alto. ( )


• Most law firms say automatizing pricing and contact management is important to their efforts to win new clients and grow existing relationships, but less than half of firms are actually using the technology, according to a recent survey of 300 global firms. ( Legaltech News )

• FTI Consulting said it is partnering with legal tech company Kira Systems in an arrangement that will allow the global consulting giant to better help its clients with legal document analysis. ( Artificial Lawyer )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Tom Taylor.