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Wake Up Call: Melania Trump’s Lawsuit Approach to Tabloids

Jan. 31, 2019, 12:41 PM
  • First ladies have long been targeted by tabloid newspapers, with stories about affairs with space aliens and secret agents and other made-up stuff. But Melania Trump is the first first lady who has gone after tabloids and other publications in court, the Post reports. Her attorney is Charles Harder, among other things known for winning the $140 million Hulk Hogan privacy verdict that wiped out Gawker Media. Harder is also representing President Trump in his legal fight with porn star Stormy Daniels. (Washington Post) (Bloomberg News)

  • Although PG&E Corp.'s Chapter 11 filing freezes lawsuits against the utility brought by victims of California’s wildfires, it doesn’t affect the criminal case related to the 2010 explosion of one of its gas pipelines, which killed eight people and which led to felony convictions against the company. Investors, regulators, ratepayers and Californians are keenly watching federal Judge William Alsup, who is overseeing the utility company’s probation for safety violations in the case. PG&E’s Cravath lawyer is Kevin Orsini. (Bloomberg News via BLB)

  • Companies worldwide increasingly rely on their chief legal officers for advice on such things as new regulations, brand and reputation issues and disruptive technology, according to a new survey from the Association of Corporate Counsel. (Corporate Counsel)

  • Nestle USA Inc.'s White & Case lawyers convinced a federal judge to dismiss a class action claiming the company’s failure to disclose ties between cocoa production and child and slave labor violates Massachusetts law. (Bloomberg Law)

  • JPMorgan Chase Bank, N.A. and other banks lost a key skirmish this week in a lawsuit in which a litigation trust in General Motors’ 2009 bankruptcy trust seeks to claw back $1.5 billion the banks received under an early order. JPMorgan Chase is getting advice from Wachtell; Kelley Drye; and Jones Day. (Bloomberg Law)

  • Arent Fox hired former Senate Intelligence Committee staff member David R. Hanke as a Washington-based partner in its international trade and national security practices. Hanke, who was also an adviser to Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn, worked on the 2018 Foreign Investment Risk Review Modernization Act, which aimed to bolster national security reviews of foreign investments through the interagency entity known as CFIUS. (

  • Former Jones Day and Morgan Lewis partner Andrew D. Ness joined alternative dispute resolution provider JAMS, on its panel in Washington. Over a 40-year career, Ness has helped resolve complex business disputes in the construction, engineering, design and energy sectors, JAMS said. (

  • Student loan servicer Navient Corp., advised by Latham & Watkins and others, convinced a Delaware federal court to partially dismiss an investor suit alleging its misleading disclosures led to a drop in stock price. Shearman & Sterling and others represent underwriters in the suit. (Bloomberg Law)

Lawyers, Law Firms, Deals

  • Some attorneys are partners in life, and in legal practice, too. (BLB)

  • Government workers challenging the legality of the partial government shutdown will face Judge Richard Leon, who has participated in investigations of three administrations, and who isn’t easy to pigeonhole. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

  • In fiscal year 2018, disability discrimination represented the highest number of cases filed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, more than race, age, religion, and national origin cases combined, according to management-side worklaw firm Littler’s latest annual report on EEOC developments. (

  • Greenspoon Marder represented GFTF, LLC in a ~$5 million purchase, from seller Antela Holdings, Inc., of an 87,100 square foot industrial warehouse facility near Miami International Airport. (

  • A former Iowa prosecutor who admitted stealing a female colleague’s underpants had his law license suspended indefinitely. He can’t get it reinstated for at least a year and then he’ll need certification that he’s mentally fit to practice law. (

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Holland & Knight said former Morgan Lewis worklaw litigator William J. Delany joined the firm as a partner in its Philadelphia office. He focuses his practice on Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) class actions and other labor and employment litigation. (

Legal Actions, Bankruptcies, Decisions

  • Fitness company Crunch San Diego LLC, advised by Greenberg Traurig, is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to weigh in on the type of equipment businesses can use to send robocalls. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

  • American Express Co. was hit with a class action challenging rules in its merchant agreements that bar retailers from steering customers to use credit cards with lower merchant fees. (Bloomberg Law)

  • A class of California exotic dancers advised by plaintiffs lawyer Shannon Liss-Riordan is suing their club management claiming they were reclassified as employees and their pay was reduced in retaliation for taking part in a previous wage lawsuit. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

  • Eversheds Sutherland lawyers for health-care insurance provider CareFirst Inc. convinced a federal court to dismiss class claims stemming from a 2015 data breach that compromised 1.1 million consumers’ information. (Bloomberg Law)

Regulators and Enforcement

  • Wells Fargo & Co., Deloitte, and Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc. are among more than 200 federal contractors that received notices of violation from the Labor Department between 2016 and 2018. Known as NOVs, the notices can lead to hefty settlements or costly litigation. (Bloomberg Law via BLB)

Legal Education

  • Brigham Young University J. Rueben Clark Law School says storytelling is an essential skill for lawyers to have. It’s holding what it calls the first national storytelling competition for law students, who can win an all-expenses paid trip to Utah to tell their stories. (

To contact the correspondent on this story: Rick Mitchell in Paris at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Rebekah Mintzer at; Molly Ward at

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