Wake Up Call: Irma Floods Miami District Home to Law Firms

Sept. 11, 2017, 12:40 PM

Today marks the 16th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Thousands are expected to gather at Ground Zero -- survivors, rescuers, relatives and others -- to remember the tragic day. Our thoughts are with all those affected.

• Brickell Avenue, South Florida’s version of Wall Street, turned into a fast-moving river Sunday as Hurricane Irma flooded the district home to wealth managers, banks, luxury hotels, and a large number of law firms. An non-exhaustive list of law firms that have offices on the avenue include Jones Day , Holland & Knight and Weil , Gotshal & Manges. ( Bloomberg )

• Retired federal Judge Richard Posner told the New York Times that he “lost interest” in cases, deciding 35 years on the court was “plenty.” He also wanted to help people without lawyers, who, he said, are mistreated by the legal system. ( New York Times )

• Uber Technologies Inc. is said to be under investigation by federal authorities in New York for its alleged use of a spyware program designed to undermine competition for its digital ride-hailing service. The company’s global head of compliance Joseph Spiegler resigned last week. ( Bloomberg )

• John Demers, a Boeing assistant general counsel, has been nominated for assistant attorney general in charge of the Department of Justice’s national security division, and Davis Polk litigation partner Jennifer Newstead was nominated to become a legal adviser at the State Department, a top position in the agency’s legal department. ( BLB )

• New York’s attorney general opened an investigation into Equifax Inc. for the data breach that compromised the private information of about 143 million people. ( New York Law Journal ) The credit-reporting company faces a proposed multibillion dollar class-action lawsuit filed by Oregon-based firm Olsen Daines PC along with L.A. firm Geragos & Geragos. ( Bloomberg ) And the list of politicians and regulators seeking answers from it about the hack is long and growing. ( Bloomberg )


• Disaster experts said Irma will keep companies’ in-house lawyers busy. ( Corporate Counsel ) The Florida Bar and the Federal Emergency Management Agency prepared to offer free legal help to victims of Irma. ( Law.com )

• A Miami-based legal tech company says it has plenty of experience preparing for storms, but this one was more serious. ( Legaltech News )

• A Florida law firm said it sued Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd for refusing to allow a man to enter a hurricane shelter without a background check. ( Orlando Sentinel )

• In Florida, employees can be fired for skipping work during a hurricane. ( Weather Channel )

• Florida’s attorney general said her office had received almost 7,000 reports of price gouging in a few days. ( CNBC )

Legal Market

• A discovery fight pitting Cravath, Swaine & Moore against an international human rights and environmental group could have global impact. Hogan Lovells appellate star Neal Katyal is representing Cravath in the suit, in which the rights group wants documents from client Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. linked to the execution of nine men in Nigeria in 1995. ( Litigation Daily )

• Norton Rose Fulbright is starting a legal process hub in Newcastle, England, creating around 100 jobs. ( The Lawyer )

• The Federal Communications Commission named Nicholas Degani, an FCC senior counsel, as acting general counsel to take over from acting GC Jennifer Tatel, who is leaving for an unspecified law firm. The commission’s former top lawyer, Brendan Carr, left to become the third Republican FCC Commissioner.( Broadcastingcable.com )

• Fox News ended its 10-year association with host Eric Bolling following allegations of “inappropriate” photos he sent to female staffers. ( Bloomberg )

• Drugmaker Allergan Plc said it will transfer intellectual property on a blockbuster drug to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, in order to avoid attacks on the medicine’s patents. ( Bloomberg )

Legal Actions

• The state of Ohio’s lawsuit against opioid maker Purdue Pharma should be thrown out because it runs afoul of federal drug regulations and doesn’t show the company’s Oxycontin painkiller marketing caused specific harm, according to a court filing. The Purdue filing is one of the first corporate legal responses to a recent wave of state suits against opioid makers as lawmakers seek to handle the fallout from abuse, addiction and overdoses. ( Bloomberg )

• Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is expected to testify later this month in a shareholder lawsuit over voting power. ( Bloomberg )

Regulators and Enforcement

• The Federal Trade Commission last week started its first enforcement action against so-called influencers on social media for failing to disclose business relationships behind promotional social media posts, and more actions could be coming. The regulator also issued new guidance for such disclosures and sent warning letters to 21 influencers. ( National Law Journal )

• The Education Department told the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that it would stop sharing critical information on $1.3 trillion of federal student loans, ending a partnership that has let the CFPB sue loan companies and force others to change their practices in the nation’s second-largest household debt market. ( Bloomberg )

The Trump Administration • Steve Bannon, President Donald Trump’s former White House chief strategist, called the firing of James Comey as FBI director the biggest mistake “in modern political history.” ( Washington Post )

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• Qualcomm Inc. fell flat in two pretrial fights in its patent and antitrust battle against Apple Inc. ( The Recorder )

• U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Elena Kagan talked to University of Wisconsin law students last week. She told them that a “silver lining” of the nearly two-year period the court went with only eight members after the death of Antonin Scalia in February 2016 was that they worked to find common ground in cases. ( The Badger Herald )

• LGBT advocacy groups criticized Trump’s nomination of two religious-right legal activists to vacant federal judge seats in Texas. ( Texas Observer )

• A federal judge called an attorney’s request for nearly $750,000 in a decade-long case that settled for $25,000 “like an attempted bank robbery.” ( Legal Intelligencer )

Laterals, Moves, Law Firm Work

• Cozen O’Connor said it added a member to its corporate practice team in New York, getting Benjamin A. Bomrind from Seward & Kissel, giving it over 600 lawyers. ( Cozen.com ) The firm has added 28 partners and nine associates in the last nine months, and its CEO Michael Heller said it plans to expand headcount to as many as 1,000 lawyers in the next five years. ( Legal Intelligencer )

• Cravath’s longtime marketing chief Deborah Farone is leaving to start her own marketing consultancy for law firms and other professional service providers. ( Law.com )

• Dechert hired two partners for its corporate group in New York, bringing onboard capital markets and M&A partner Nazim Zilkha from White & Case, and capital markets partner Bruce Bloomingdale from Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft. Zilkha and Bloomingdale previously worked together at Mayer Brown. ( Am Law Daily )

• Barbara Jones joined Greenberg Traurig’s Los Angeles office as a shareholder to be closer to her life science and technology clients on the West Coast, coming over from the firm’s Boston office. And more West Coast moves. ( The Recorder )

• BakerHosteler expanded its intellectual property patent litigation group in Chicago with three partners from McDonnell Boehnen Hulbert & Berghoff, including Leif Sigmond, Michael Gannon and Jennifer Kurcz. ( Commercial Dispute Resolution )


• The performance of U.S. forecast models for Irma was pretty awful. ( Ars Technica )

• Floridians used walkie-talkie app Zello to get real-time updates on Irma. ( Recode )

• Estonian on-demand ride-sharing service Taxify OU, a challenger of Uber Technologies Inc., halted operations in London less than a week after they started, in response to an urgent investigation launched by the city’s transport authority. ( Bloomberg )

• China, one-third of the world’s car market, is working on a timetable to end sales of fossil-fuel-based vehicles, a government official said. That would probably see the country join Norway, France and the U.K. in switching to a wholly electric fleet within the lifetime of most current drivers. ( Bloomberg )

Legal Education

• The University of North Carolina School of Law civil rights center lost its ability to litigate cases after a vote by the school’s Republican-controlled board of governors. ( Law.com )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.

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