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Wake Up Call: Mattel Axes CFO After Probe Finds Reporting Shortfalls

Oct. 31, 2019, 11:55 AM
  • Mattel, Inc. said it is replacing its chief financial officer as part of remedial actions to respond to an independent investigation that turned up shortfalls in its internal controls over financial reporting. The toymaker launched the probe by O’Melveny & Myers and forensic accountants from FTI Consulting to look into whistleblower allegations received by its outside auditor in August. (News.Mattel.com) (Compliance Week)

  • In another whistleblower case, Ernst and Young denied claims by one of its former partners that it knew about, but failed to report, money laundering worth billions of dollars by a Dubai gold company that was an audit client. (Bloomberg Tax)

  • Rival carmakers PSA Group of France and Italian-American Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV announced a plan to merge into one of Europe’s biggest automakers, combining their resources to face the sector’s newest challenges. (BN) Fiat Chrysler is getting advice from French firm Darrois and Sullivan & Cromwell, according to one report. (Financial Times)

  • The merger news comes months after Fiat Chrysler abruptly withdrew its offer to merge with Renault SA. (BLB)

  • Attorneys representing the 147 million Americans affected by the 2017 Equifax Inc. data breach asked a Georgia federal court for $77.5 million in fees, or 20% of proposed class settlement fund. (BLAW)

  • Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton is getting tagged as a “sore loser” for firing a four-partner M&A team last week. The firm reportedly fired the lawyers before they gave notice they planned to leave for Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in New York. (American Lawyer)

  • The latest legal tech tool is an internal project about to be launched by a major law firm, not a start-up. (BLAW via BLB)

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • House impeachment investigators said they want to talk to the White House’s top national security lawyer, John Eisenberg, a former Kirkland & Ellis partner. (WaPo)

  • Former President Bill Clinton said he considered Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s age when he was vetting her for the U.S. Supreme Court. (BLAW)

  • The American Bar Association panned President Trump’s federal appellate nominee Lawrence VanDyke as “unqualified” citing interviews with legal peers who found him accomplished, but “arrogant, lazy, and an ideologue.” (BLAW via BLB)

  • Buckley LLP is suing its insurer over a $6 million coverage claim related to the departure of a firm founder. (American Lawyer)

  • Copyright lawyer Richard Liebowitz wants a Manhattan federal judge off one of Liebowitz’s infringement cases, because the judge has called Liebowitz a “copyright troll.” (BLAW)

  • Littler, the management-side worklaw firm, is co-hosting a symposium Nov. 1 on artificial intelligence and robotics on the Ann Arbor campus of co-host the University of Michigan. (Littler.com)

Deals

  • Morrison & Foerster is representing Duff & Phelps in connection with the consultant’s fairness opinion for the merger of two non-traded real estate investment trusts to create a $4.6 billion, internally-managed REIT. Hogan Lovells, Clifford Chance, and Pepper Hamilton also advised on the transaction. (PRNewswire.com)

  • Cooley advised media and marketing company Meredith on its purchase of mobile mindfulness app “Stop Breathe & Think,” which is aimed at helping users, especially women, cope with rising levels of stress. (PRNewswire.com) (MediaPost)

  • K&L Gates advised Coty Inc., a multinational beauty brand company, on its deal with television and film star Lili Reinhart in which she will be the face of makeup brand CoverGirl. (KLGates.com) (Fashion Network)

Pro Bono

  • Steptoe & Johnson’s Washington office on Nov. 8 is hosting the American Bar Associations’s fourth annual panel taking stock of the current state of voting rights. The panel is part of a series of upcoming events sponsored by the ABA’s Civil Rights & Social Justice section. (AmericanBar.org)

Laterals, Moves, In-house, Promotions

  • Willkie Farr & Gallagher grabbed Kirkland & Ellis debt finance partner Ashley Young in London, its fourth lateral hire in London this year. Willkie said Young will join its cross-border finance team on Nov. 25. (The Lawyer)

  • Former U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission official Matthew Kulkin is rejoining Steptoe & Johnson as a partner and co-chair of the firm’s financial services group. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Paul Hastings hired former Department of Justice attache in Paris, Peter Axelrod, as of counsel in New York. Axelrod earlier spent 12 years as assistant U.S. attorney in San Francisco. (New York Law Journal)

  • Arnold & Porter added life sciences attorney Alexander Roussanov, a former European Medicines Agency senior legal adviser, as a partner in Brussels. He was most recently at Hogan Lovells as counsel. Arnold & Porter also added life sciences intellectual property litigator Beatriz San Martin in London. San Martin, who on top of her law degree has a doctorate in natural sciences, was previously at Fieldfisher. (ArnoldPorter.com)

  • Cleary Gottlieb elected seven partners, including two women, and six counsel, effective Jan. 1, 2020. The firm said that after the promotions it will have 180 partners and 62 counsel across its offices worldwide. (ClearyGottlieb.com)

Legal Actions, Decisions

  • General Electric Co.'s Goodwin Procter lawyers couldn’t get the company out of facing a proposed class action over the fees and affiliated mutual funds in its 401(k) plan, despite convincing a federal judge in Boston to revise her opinion green-lighting part of the case. (BLAW)

  • The Massachusetts Supreme Court sided with a black police cadet who was refused a job by the Boston Police Department after he failed a controversial hair follicle drug test. (Associated Press via U.S. News & World Report) Boston-based Lawyers for Civil Rights and pro bono counsel from WilmerHale filed an amicus brief on behalf of the Massachusetts Association of Minority Law Enforcement Officers stressing the unreliability of the test. (LawyersforCivilRights.org)

  • Johnny Depp settled with his former entertainment lawyer for “eight figures.” Depp had accused the lawyer of collecting more than $30 million in contingent fees without a written contract. (BN)

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