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Wake Up Call: Lawsuit on Viagra Looks Doomed After Judge Rejects Experts

Jan. 15, 2020, 1:32 PM

In today’s column, President Trump set his legal team for his impending Senate impeachment trial, and McDermott Will & Emery grabbed a team of four King & Spalding energy regulatory lawyers. Michael Avenatti’s back in jail, and one of Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers says #MeToo is “dangerous” for basic rights.

  • Leading off, a California federal judge threw out plaintiffs experts in a suit that alleges Viagra contributes to skin cancer. The ruling, likely to scuttle the multidistrict litigation targeting the erectile dysfunction treatment, is a win for Viagra maker Pfizer Inc. and its lawyer, DLA Piper partner Loren Brown, global co-chairman of that firm’s litigation practice. Williams & Connolly also represented Pfizer, while Covington & Burling represented Eli Lilly & Co., which makes a rival product, Cialis. (The Recorder)

  • Axiom’s managed legal services business, one of the two units that spun off last year from alternative legal service provider Axiom, is rebranding as “Factor,” with support from its investors. (BLAW) The company, which has over 500 lawyers, technologists, and process consultants, has been looking at the use of artificial intelligence tools, such as faster and more efficient contract negotiation. (Artificial Lawyer)

  • Vedder Price fired a former transportation finance shareholder at the firm after he allegedly used phony invoices to move more than $130,000 into a bogus account, according to an Illinois disciplinary complaint. (American Lawyer)

  • President Trump’s legal team for his impending Senate impeachment trial includes White House counsel Pat Cipollone and private lawyer Jay Sekulow. So far. (NPR)

  • An antitrust lawyer who’s a volunteer legal adviser to Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is getting some flak for continuing to work as a compliance attorney at scandal-ridden Wells Fargo bank. (Prospect.org)

  • McDermott Will & Emery grabbed a team of four King & Spalding energy regulatory lawyers for its corporate and transactional practice in Washington. Neil Levy, who was a trial attorney at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, and David Tewksbury, who interned for FERC’s general counsel office and now represents power producers and trade associations before the agency, join as partners, as does Bruce Richardson, who appears regularly before FERC. Stephanie Lim joins as counsel. (MWE)

  • Tesla employees suing the electric car maker for allegedly allowing a racist factory culture are seeking discovery sanctions against the company and its Sheppard, Mullin & Richter lawyers. (The Recorder)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • The Goldman Sachs Group Inc. appointed a former Cleary Gottlieb associate who most recently was in charge of compliance at the bank to its management committee. Asahi Pompey, a Guyanese immigrant raised in Brooklyn, New York, has previously been an in-house lawyer at Pfizer and financial publication The Economist. (BLAW)

  • Michael Avenatti, the former lawyer for porn star Stormy Daniels, was arrested for alleged bail violations in California. (Politico)

  • One of Harvey Weinstein’s lawyers in his criminal rape trial, Donna Rotunno, is known for winning sex crime cases in court. She told the Times she thinks #MeToo is dangerous for fundamental rights. (NYT)

  • For partners considering a lateral move, the ability to grow their practices at the new firm outweighs being able to expand their compensation, according to a new lateral partner survey. (MLA.com)

  • San Francisco-based digital insurance company Embroker Inc. launched a legal professional liability platform for law firms. (BusinessInsurance.com)

  • Locke Lord said its Chicago-based partner Bilal Zaheer was elected to the board of directors of The Chicago Committee, a legal networking organization that seeks to advance minority attorneys. (LockeLord.com)

Deals

  • Manatt advised former Sony Pictures Television executives Andy Kaplan and George Chien on their deal to buy Sony’s three entertainment networks that serve Southeast Asia and South Korea. (Variety)

  • Cooley advised AvePoint—a provider of data governance, protection, and migration solutions for Microsoft cloud tools including Office 365, among others—on its recent $200 million funding round. (TechCrunch)

  • DLA Piper represented Osceola Capital, a middle-market private equity firm focused on service businesses, in its acquisition of Healthcents, Inc., which provides medical reimbursement and related services. (PRNewswire.com)

Laterals, Moves

  • Jones Walker said it appointed litigation partner Luis E. Llamas as head of its Miami office, which it plans to expand. (JonesWalker.com)

  • Brown Rudnick hired financial services litigator Ravi Nayer as a partner in the firm’s litigation and arbitration practice in London. He arrives from Pinsent Masons. (BrownRudnick.com)

  • Paul Hastings added investigations and litigation lawyer Shaun Wu as a partner in the firm’s investigations and white collar defense practice for Asia. He arrives from Kobre Kim and works out of Paul Hastings’ Hong Kong and Shanghai offices. (PaulHastings.com)

  • Orrick hired leveraged finance and direct lending attorney Anthony Kay as a partner in London. He joins from Latham & Watkins. (Orrick)

  • Crowell & Moring poached Kirkland & Ellis civil litigation partner Andrew Pruitt in Washington. (National Law Journal)

Promotions

  • Sullivan & Worcester promoted four attorneys (two women) to partner in the firm’s Boston and New York offices. (SullivanLaw.com)

Legal Actions

  • Lawyers for hip hop artists Jay-Z and Yo Gotti filed a federal lawsuit against Mississippi that calls conditions at its state prisons “inhumane and unconstitutional.” (WDAM)

  • Johnson & Johnson came out with a new legal team of Skadden and Orrick lawyers for the punitive damages phase of its talc powder trial in New Jersey, after the judge rebuked its Weil, Gotshal & Manges lawyer in a previous phase. (New Jersey Law Journal)

Legal Education

  • A recent rule change by the State Bar of California may spur an increase in state-accredited JD programs offered entirely via internet. (ABAJournal.com)

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; Darren Bowman at dbowman@bloomberglaw.com

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