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Wake Up Call: Monsanto Accuses Roundup Plaintiffs’ Counsel of ‘Misconduct’

June 19, 2019, 11:32 AM
  • Monsanto Co.'s Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner lawyers accused plaintiffs’ counsel of “repeated misconduct” and “over the top” arguments that swayed jurors who ended up awarding a $2 billion-plus May 13 verdict to a California couple in a trial over Roundup weed killer. Monsanto, a subsidiary of Bayer A.G., made the accusations in court documents in which it is trying to overturn the verdict, or at least get it whittled down to size. R. Brent Wisner of Baum Hedlund is lead plaintiffs attorney in the case. (The Recorder)

  • Seventy-five LGBT rights and allied groups have signed a letter describing Trump federal district court nominee Matthew Kacsmaryk as an “anti-LGBT activist.” He still looks like he’s headed for confirmation. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Goodwin Procter’s growing London office grabbed a four-partner life sciences and technology team away from U.K. firm Taylor Wessing. They include Malcolm Bates, David Mardle, Tim Worden, and Adrian Rainey. (Legal Business)

  • Greenspoon Marder said it has been hired by California cannabis dispensary Harborside Health Center to appeal a 2018 Tax Court decision that found that Harborside must repay certain business deductions taken from 2007 to 2012, because the IRS code stipulates that businesses cannot take deductions or credits if they are engaged in the “trafficking” of controlled substances. Although legalized in many states, cannabis sales remain illegal under federal law. (

  • San Francisco-based contract management company DocuSign hired tech in-house veteran Trâm Phi as its new general counsel, corporate secretary, and senior vice president, to replace the retiring chief legal officer Reginald Davis. Phi arrives from cyber security company Imperva Inc., where she spent eight years, most recently as CLO. She earlier spent seven years as an associate at Fenwick & West. (Corporate Counsel)

  • Paul Hastings is the latest Big Law firm to expand its parental leave policy. (BLAW via BLB)

  • An update on this week’s $3.7 billion purchase of art auction house Sotheby’s by French telecom titan and art collector Patrick Drahi’s BidFair USA: Mayer Brown said it advised Bidfair as structuring counsel on the deal. Several other Big Law firms are also advising on the deal. ( (BLB via BLAW)

  • Debevoise & Plimpton poached Simpson Thacher & Bartlett’s business development director, Margaret H. Nicholls, to fill a new role that integrates key business and marketing functions at the firm. Nicholls, who joins Debevoise as global director of practice management and marketing, was also previously a capital markets attorney at Simpson Thacher. ( (

  • Northwestern University named its interim general counsel, Stephanie Mills Graham, as the school’s new vice president and general counsel. Graham joined the university’s in-house legal team in 1993. (

Lawyers, Law Firms

  • Midsize Seattle law firms Foster Pepper and Garvey Schubert Barer are planning to combine in September to form a firm with about 180 lawyers. The new firm, Foster Garvey, will be one of the region’s biggest. (Seattle Times)

  • Hinshaw & Culbertson said it is partnering with major malpractice insurers to expand its subscription-based risk management advice and services for attorneys. (

  • The American Bar Association published a new opinion on divvying up fees with a client’s prior counsel. (BLAW via BLB)

  • Seattle-based cannabis information company Leafly hired Yoko Miyashita, the ex top lawyer of Getty Images, as its first general counsel. (Corporate Counsel)

  • Houston, Texas, headquartered global law firm network Lex Mundi, which claims 160 member firms in over 100 countries, said it added Floissac Fleming & Associates as its exclusive member firm for the Caribbean island of Saint Lucia. (


  • Morrison & Foerster is advising VMware, Inc. on its acquisition, for undisclosed terms, of Avi Networks, which provides multi-cloud application delivery services. (TechCrunch) (

  • Milbank advised German Equity Partners V, an equity fund managed by ECM Equity Capital Management, on its investment in Berlin-based software company PikeTec GmbH. No terms were disclosed. ( (PrivateEquityWire)

Laterals, Moves, Promotions

  • Worklaw firm Jackson Lewis poached veteran employment litigator Greg Coulter from Littler in Phoenix, adding him as a principal. (

  • Cozen O’Connor said it added commercial leasing attorney James Grier Hoyt to its real estate practice group as a member in Washington. According to his LinkedIn, Hoyt arrives from regional real estate and business firm Linowes and Blocher. (

  • Cooley said Hong Kong-based capital markets lawyer Michael Yu joined the firm as a partner, arriving from Sidley Austin. Cooley opened in Hong Kong last month, as a registered foreign firm in association with local firm Cai, Lee & Partners.(

  • Buchalter promoted two L.A.-based attorneys to shareholder: corporate attorney Masahisa “Masa” Mitsunaga, who is chair of the firm’s Japan practice, and real estate transactions lawyer Mercedes O. Martin. (


  • U.K. firm Ashurst announced a partnership with managed legal services provider Cognia Law to boost its own unit providing legal process, resourcing, and technology solutions. (

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