Courts Litigation

<b>CHALLENGERS:</b> Bert Rein will argue again for Abigail Fisher, right, at the Supreme Court.

Race & Admissions: Round 2 at Supreme Court

By Tony Mauro |

When the U.S. Supreme Court hears a second round of arguments Dec. 9 on the use of racial factors in admitting new students at the University of Texas, it will mostly — but not totally — be a case of déjà vu all over again.

Sumner Redstone (February 10, 2014)

Power Lawyers Battle Over Sumner Redstone's Mental Capacity

By Amanda Bronstad |

A woman claiming to be the longtime companion of Sumner Redstone has turned to powerhouse entertainment lawyers Bertram Fields and Pierce O’Donnell to challenge the media mogul’s mental capacity to make decision about his health care.

Judge Furman

Judge Denies Access to King & Spalding's Internal GM Notes

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal judge has found that although there was probable cause to believe General Motors Co. committed a crime in failing to disclose a deadly ignition switch defect, plaintiffs lawyers failed to prove that GM's outside lawyers at King & Spalding should have to turn over their internal notes and memos on the matter.

Opioid Makers Fight, Again, to Get City’s Suit Tossed

By Amanda Bronstad |

The makers of pharmaceuticals including OxyContin and Percocet are moving a second time to dismiss a groundbreaking suit filed by the city of Chicago that links the use of the opioids to a growing population of drug addicts.

Brief of the Week: Madden Video Games Hope for High Court Touchdown

By Jamie Schuman |

The maker of the popular Madden NFL video games is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to decide whether the First Amendment protects it from lawsuits by athletes who want to be paid for the use of their likenesses.

Rally on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court, on the day of oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, a case challenging Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. February 27, 2013. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Fee-Fight Fallout From Voting Rights Decision Reaches High Court

By Marcia Coyle |

Fallout from the U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 blockbuster voting rights decision has reached the justices in two multimillion-dollar battles over attorney fees.

Read Vincent Schmeltz's Response to Rule to Show Cause

By Zoe Tillman |

A committee of federal judges in Chicago will decide whether to punish Barnes & Thornburg partner Vincent "Trace" Schmeltz III, who was caught tweeting photos from a federal criminal trial. Schmeltz appeared in court Tuesday, where he apologized. On this page, read Schmeltz's response to the rule to show cause.

Vincent Schmeltz's Twitter page.

Chicago Law Partner Caught Tweeting From Federal Trial Apologizes

By Zoe Tillman |

A committee of federal judges in Chicago will decide whether to punish a white-collar partner at Barnes & Thornburg who was caught tweeting photos from a criminal trial. In a written response filed with the court, Vincent "Trace" Schmeltz III admitted tweeting photos of evidence. Schmeltz "formally apologizes" and is "sincerely remorseful for his conduct," his lawyer at Sidley Austin wrote in the document.

U.S. Federal Trade Commission building

Medical Company LabMD Sues FTC Lawyers Over Data-Privacy Case

By C. Ryan Barber |

An Atlanta-based medical testing company that claims to have been put out of business under the weight of a Federal Trade Commission data-privacy investigation is now suing three agency attorneys for allegedly bringing a case based on "fictional" evidence.

G. Robert Blakey.  November 23, 2013.

Prominent Law Prof Sanctioned For D.C. Ethics Violation

By Zoe Tillman |

Law professor G. Robert Blakey—famous for writing federal anti-racketeering laws and investigating the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy Jr. and Martin Luther King Jr.—was recently sanctioned in Washington for advising a former student to disclose confidential client documents.

Verdicts & Settlements

A summary of this week's notable cases.

European Court of Justice.

Uneasiness After E.U. 'Safe Harbor' Decision

By Jeffrey W. McKenna and Shea G. Leitch |

The European Court of Justice rejects program that allowed for data transfer. The fallout is messy.

Justice Antonin Scalia delivers a speech to first year law students at Georgetown Law Center, on Monday, November 16, 2015.

Scalia Sees Slippery Slope After Historic Gay-Rights Ruling

By Tony Mauro |

When U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia suggested last week that allowing judges in a democracy to decide which minorities to protect could encourage pederasts and child molesters to seek constitutional protection, his remarks were offensive to some but old-hat to others.

Civil Actions

Cases recently filed in the Washington-area district courts.

Jenna Greene, Litigation Daily

Rodeo Cowboys Invade 5th Avenue

By Jenna Greene |

It's hard to imagine a world more removed from Weil, Gotshal & Manges' Fifth Avenue offices in Manhattan than a dusty rodeo ring.

Advertisement promoting high fructose corn syrup, part of a campaign by the Corn Refiners Association  to convince people that high fructose corn syrup isn't dangerous.

Brawl Between Sugar and Corn Syrup Groups Settles

By Amanda Bronstad |

A court fight between the sugar and high-fructose corn syrup industries ended on Friday after both sides announced they had settled their dispute over competing advertising claims.

James Cole, left, and Sally Yates, right.

DOJ's 'Yates Memo' Goes Too Far, Former Deputy AG Says

By Katelyn Polantz |

James Cole, the U.S. deputy attorney general from 2010 until January, swung repeatedly at his Justice Department successor's signature reforms on white-collar criminal prosecutions Friday, calling them a departure from reality and "impractical." Cole, who spoke at an American Bar Association Section of Business Law meeting, said: "As the memo is put into practice, I think this all-or-nothing approach [on corporations earning credit for cooperating with the government] will prove to be impractical."

A young man chants in favor of immigration law reform during a massive rally held at the Mall in Washington, D.C., on Monday, April 10, 2006.

Justice Dept. Wants Immigration Case Fast-Tracked in Supreme Court

By Marcia Coyle |

Against a contentious national debate over immigration and refugee policies, the U.S. Justice Department on Friday urged the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a lower court's "unprecedented nationwide injunction" against the Obama administration's plans to temporarily defer deportation of nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants. The administration said the decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit warranted "immediate review."

The MetLife building at 200 Park Ave.

Consumer Group Fights Secrecy in MetLife's Suit Over 'Too Big to Fail' Designation

By C. Ryan Barber |

A nonprofit consumer advocate on Thursday challenged extensive redactions and sealed filings in MetLife Inc.'s lawsuit in Washington federal court over the company's designation by financial regulators as "too big to fail." Better Markets said MetLife's lawyers at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher and the Justice Department attorneys for the oversight panel "have created a litigation record largely shrouded in secrecy."

People walk under large banners hanging in an atrium at the headquarters of Johnson & Johnson, parent of Ethicon, maker of a power morcellator, in New Brunswick, N.J., Tuesday, July 30, 2013.

In a First, Women Compose Majority of MDL Committee

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal judge has appointed the first plaintiffs steering committee in multidistrict litigation made up of a majority of women members, according to the lawyers in the case.

An advertisement for the daily fantasy sports site DraftKings, on display in New York, on  October 15, 2015.

Mass. AG Pushes for Fantasy Sports Restrictions

By Sheri Qualters |

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey has proposed regulations for daily fantasy sports industry that would expose the companies to triple damages under the state’s consumer protection laws.

Justice Stephen Breyer delivers the keynote address at the 32nd annual Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award, held at the Russell Senate Office Building. The award was given to Natalia Taubina, of Russia, seated-right, director of the Public Verdict Foundation. November 19, 2015.

Breyer, in Human Rights Lecture, Emphasizes Rule of Law

By Mike Sacks |

Justice Stephen Breyer spoke Thursday about the centrality of the rule of law to guarantee human rights, and its fragility even in the countries where it is most established. Breyer made his remarks at the 32nd annual Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award ceremony honoring Russian lawyer Natalia Taubina for her work on behalf of police abuse victims in her country. Forty-seven activists from 29 countries have received the award since 1984.

Former Chief Judge Richard F. Cebull makes a speech during a naturalization ceremony at the federal courthouse in Billings, Montana, on June 23, 2011.

DOJ: Judge's Racist Emails Are Secret

By Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Department of Justice is fighting the public release of emails sent by former Montana federal judge Richard Cebull, who retired after reports surfaced that he sent a racist email about President Obama from his courthouse account.

Vanita Gupta, Acting Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee during a hearing titled “The War on Police: How the Federal Government Undermines State and Local Law Enforcement.”  November 17, 2015.

Cruz's Subcommittee Grills DOJ Civil Rights Leader on Police Oversight

By Mike Sacks |

U.S. Department of Justice Civil Rights Division leadership came under attack during a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing on Tuesday about the DOJ's relationship with state and local law enforcement.

$40.5M Fee to Plaintiffs Firms Upheld Against Western Union

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal appeals court has upheld $40.5 million in attorney fees in a settlement with The Western Union Co. over unclaimed money transfers.

Not Quite 'Don't Worry, Be Happy' in This SEC Case

By C. Ryan Barber |

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission brought fraud charges Tuesday against nine people who allegedly carried out a $78 million "pump-and-dump" scheme with stock of Jammin' Java Corp., a coffee company that was founded by one of Bob Marley's sons and uses trademarks of the late reggae legend.

Loretta Lynch, testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee, on January 28, 2015.

'Significant and Robust' Refugee Screening in Place, Lynch Tells Congress

By Mike Sacks |

U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, making her first appearance before the House Judiciary Committee for a wide-ranging oversight hearing, distanced the U.S. Justice Department from comments made last month by FBI Director James Comey on the country's ability to adequately vet Syrians who seek refuge in the United States.

Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins, during a game against the Jacksonville Jaguars on September 14, 2014.

How Arnold & Porter Walled Off a New Hire From the Redskins Case

By Zoe Tillman |

Court papers filed this week by Arnold & Porter offer a behind-the-scenes look at how the firm screened off a recent hire from the Washington Redskins trademark dispute. The new attorney clerked for the federal trial judge who oversaw the case and whose ruling is now on appeal.

Justice Antonin Scalia delivers a speech to first year law students at Georgetown Law Center, on Monday, November 16, 2015.

Elected Officials, Not Judges, Should Protect Minority Groups, Scalia Says

By Tony Mauro |

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Monday that allowing judges in a democracy to decide which minorities deserve protection could encourage child molesters and other unpopular groups to seek constitutional protection. During the talk Monday, Scalia also ridiculed recent proposals to cut law school programs to two years, suggesting instead that it might be better to go up to four years.

Sally Yates, left, and Alex Kozinski, right.

Justice Department Rebuts Judge Kozinski's Criticism of Prosecutors

By Zoe Tillman |

In a rare public war of words, top officials at the U.S. Department of Justice are pushing back against recent criticism about prosecutors' ethics from Judge Alex Kozinski of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

<b>PLAYING DEFENSE:</b> Critics of the daily fantasy sports sites say they promote gambling.

Sports Sites Blitzed by Suits

By Amanda Bronstad |

FanDuel Inc. and DraftKings Inc. are facing about 40 class actions claiming that the online daily fantasy sport sites fraudulently enticed customers into participating in illegal gambling.

Duke University School of Law.

Duke Law School Gets $5M for Faculty Positions

By Sheri Qualters |

Duke Law School has snagged a $5 million grant to boost its number of faculty, with plans to attract an equal amount from donor matching gifts.

Justices' Eleventh-Hour Queries Scramble Oral Arguments

By Tony Mauro |

Twice in the last month, the U.S. Supreme Court has thrown a last-minute wrench into planned oral arguments, causing lawyers to scramble to answer unanticipated questions from the justices as they prepare to make their case.

U.S. Supreme Court. June 29, 2015.

Three Decades Later, 'Batson' Lawyer Looks for 'Fine Tuning' of Juror Strikes

By Marcia Coyle |

Nearly 30 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that prosecutors could not strike potential jurors because of their race, and the court announced a test for determining race-based strikes. After decades of experience, the decision in Batson v. Kentucky does "not work well," according to the lawyer who argued and won the case.

Justices Avoid Dispute Over Planned Parenthood Funding

By Tony Mauro |

Over the dissent of two justices, the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to wade into a dispute over the refusal of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to disclose documents about a federal grant to Planned Parenthood.

Viet Dinh of Bancroft.


By Tony Mauro |

With only 18 lawyers, Bancroft sometimes turns away potential clients "when the demand on our bandwith is highest," founder Viet Dinh said.

Kathleen Sullivan of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan

By Amanda Bronstad |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit on Aug. 4 upheld a jury's finding that Marvell Technology Group Ltd. had infringed on Carnegie Mellon University's two semiconductor patents, but Kathleen Sullivan, who leads the firm's appellate practice, convinced the panel to reverse most of a nearly $1.54 billion award against her client — a record award that had "struck a shiver of fear in the high tech industry," she said.

The 2015 Appellate Hot List: Winning Big Cases, Changing the Law

The 20 firms on these pages represent appellate advocacy at its strongest.

Neal Katyal of Hogan Lovells. November 11, 2014. Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Hogan Lovells

By Zoe Tillman |

In February 2014, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ordered Google Inc. to take down the controversial anti-Islam film "Innocence of Muslims" from YouTube. Google called Hogan Lovells.

Jones Day

By Marcia Coyle |

Potential clients regularly ask Jones Day: "Who is your U.S. Supreme Court star, your appellate star?" said Beth Heifetz, head of the firm's issues and appeals practice.

Mark Pomerantz of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison.

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

By Sherry Karabin |

Paul Weiss chairman Brad Karp believes success flows from familiarity. Instead of a stand-alone appellate practice at the firm, the lead trial lawyer generally handles the appeal.

Morgan, Lewis & Bockius

By C. Ryan Barber |

For Allyson Ho and her team at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, the most satisfying win of 2014 may have been convincing the U.S. Supreme Court just to consider a retirement benefits case between their client, M&G Polymers USA LLC, and its retired workers.

Miguel Estrada of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher.

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher

By Lisa Hoffman |

Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher scored two substantial U.S. Supreme Court victories in the span of days last year — a standout achievement for a firm that's accustomed to finding success at the high court.

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

By Amanda Bronstad |

When E. Joshua Rosenkranz founded Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe's appellate practice seven years ago, he wanted a diverse set of cases beyond just high-tech patents.

Robert Long of Covington & Burling.  June 7, 2012.  Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Covington & Burling

By Michael Moline |

Covington & Burling's appellate leader Robert Long believes in a liberal admissions policy. The practice includes 31 partners and 11 counsel. It boasts former federal judges such as Michael Chertoff, veterans of the U.S. Solicitor General's Office and 17 former U.S. Supreme Court clerks.

Christopher Landau of Kirkland & Ellis.

Kirkland & Ellis

By Sheri Qualters |

Kirkland & Ellis' appellate practice provides a home base to about 20 of the firm's lawyers, but the boundaries between appellate and trial work are porous.

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr's Seth Waxman

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr

By C. Ryan Barber |

As the Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr team prepared for arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, the odds seemed stacked against them.

Kannon Shanmugam of Williams & Connolly.

Williams & Connolly

By Katelyn Polantz |

Litigation firm Williams & Connolly's newly branded U.S. Supreme Court practice has a well-known lawyer at its head: Kannon Shanmugam, the only lawyer the firm has hired as a lateral partner in nearly 30 years.

Deanne Maynard, right, and Joseph Palmore, left, of Morrison & Foerster.  November 3, 2015.  HANDOUT.

Morrison & Foerster

By Michael Moline |

It's been one year since Joseph Palmore joined fellow U.S. Solicitor General's Office veteran Deanne Maynard as co-leader of Morrison & Foerster's 10-attorney appellate practice.

Gregory Garre of Latham & Watkins.

Latham & Watkins

By Richard Acello |

A common thread in a string of recent successes for Latham & Watkins' appellate group was the government — whether battling for or against it.

Peter Keisler of Sidley Austin.

Sidley Austin

By Sheri Qualters |

Sidley Austin's appellate lawyers tap into the firm's breadth when they've got an appeal to win.

Michael Kimberly of Mayer Brown.

Mayer Brown

By Mike Sacks |

Over the past year, Mayer Brown's U.S. Supreme Court and appellate practice racked up wins in state and federal courts for longtime clients while empowering an associate's debut argument before the justices in Washington.

Lisa Blatt of Arnold & Porter.

Arnold & Porter

By Michael Moline |

Arnold & Porter's 15-member appellate practice might seem small, but "it's a very big firm," said Lisa Blatt, the group's leader.

Jonathan Singer of Fish & Richardson.

Fish & Richardson

By Sheri Qualters |

Fish & Richardson likes a dual perspective on appeal. It commonly uses the firm lawyer who ran the trial to present oral arguments — with the help of a fresh take from at least one attorney in the firm's appellate practice.

Pratik Shah of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.  November 10, 2015.  Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

With a strong presence on both coasts, Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld's 22-lawyer U.S. Supreme Court and appellate practice has continued to achieve significant appellate victories in courts across the country.

Jessica Ring Amunson of Jenner & Block.

Jenner & Block

By Mike Sacks |

Jenner & Block's powerhouse appellate practice left its mark in courts across the country — and on some of the biggest U.S. Supreme Court decisions last year.

People protest in front of the Whole Women's Health clinic Saturday, October 4, 2014 in McAllen, Texas.

Abortion Debate Returns to U.S. Supreme Court

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday agreed to decide a Texas case that will thrust the justices back into the long-running battle over the right to an abortion. Without comment, the court granted certiorari in Whole Woman's Health v. Cole, which challenges some of the strict regulations on abortion clinics that Texas and more than 20 states enacted in recent years. The dispute could give the justices an opening to redefine the "undue burden" standard long used by the high court in deciding whether abortion restrictions are constitutional.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Gina McCarthy is sworn on  on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 17, 2015, prior to testifying before a joint House Oversight and Government Reform and Natural Resources Committees hearing on the Gold King mine spill.

'Extraordinary Circumstances': A Brief History of Top Federal Officials Ordered to Testify

By Zoe Tillman |

It takes "extraordinary circumstances" to force a sitting cabinet official to testify—a standard that in most cases is almost impossible to meet. But a federal district judge in West Virginia this week ruled that a Clean Air Act case met the threshold, and he ordered Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy to testify at a deposition. The National Law Journal looks back at other cabinet officials who fought demands to sit in the hot seat.

Amit Mehta.

Tobacco Companies Want Judge to Recuse Over Law Firm Ties

By Zoe Tillman |

U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta's law firm ties have prompted calls for him to recuse in a court fight in Washington between tobacco companies and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Their concern: Mehta's former law firm, Zuckerman Spaeder, worked for anti-tobacco groups while the judge was a partner.

In Unusual Ruling, Judge Nixes At Least 750 Diabetes Drug Cases

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal judge’s rare move has tossed out at least 750 failure-to-warn lawsuits filed against the makers of four diabetes drugs based on the federal pre-emption doctrine.

Veterans' legal Career Fair, organized by Orrick, and held at the Marriott Metro Center hotel in Washington, D.C. in May, 2015.

For Military Members, Smooth Transition to Law Jobs Isn't Easy

By Katelyn Polantz |

Military members Olaseni Bello and Corey Gray faced difficulties this year when they tried to find jobs in law. Both those challenges were surmountable after they took the same opportunity one weekend in Washington. The second annual veterans' legal career fair this spring will give veterans, active-duty military members and their spouses two days to network and interview with employers in the legal industry, Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe, the fair's founder and sponsor, said this month.

Vincent Schmeltz's Twitter page.

Chicago Lawyer Who Tweeted Photos From Federal Trial to Face Judge

By Zoe Tillman |

Vincent "Trace" Schmeltz III, a Barnes & Thornburg white-collar partner in Chicago, could face sanctions after he tweeted photos from a federal criminal trial. The tweets didn't go unnoticed. U.S. District Chief Judge Rubén Castillo has ordered Schmeltz, co-chairman of the firm's financial and regulatory litigation practice, to appear on Nov. 24 to explain why he shouldn't face sanctions for violating court rules.

Steve Berman.

With Ignition-Switch Punitives Possible, GM’s ‘War Room’ Details Sought

By Amanda Bronstad |

Amid a ruling on Monday that General Motors Co. could face punitive damages over its ignition-switch defect, plaintiffs lawyers poised for the first trial are demanding details about what they say was a “war room” the automaker created in the recalls’ aftermath.

When Justices Throw Lifelines to Advocates

By Tony Mauro |

U.S. Supreme Court justices sometimes toss lifelines to advocates during oral argument, helping them handle a hostile question or advance a winning argument.

Government's Freeze on 'Untainted' Assets Worries Justices

By Marcia Coyle |

Concerns about the government having unlimited power to require pretrial forfeiture or a freeze of a criminal defendant’s assets—unrelated to the crime charged—swarmed across the bench of the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday in a case that involves the Sixth Amendment right to counsel.

Richard Cordray.

Consumer Agency Takes For-Profit College Accreditor to Court

By C. Ryan Barber |

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recently took the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools to court over the company's refusal to comply with a so-called civil investigative demand. In taking the rare step of going to court, the consumer-protection agency has begun a legal battle that could test its investigative authority at a time when corporate lawyers and critics on Capitol Hill are trying to roll back the bureau's jurisdiction. The accreditor contends the CFPB doesn't have jurisdiction over its industry.

Justice Dept. Urges D.C. Circuit to Block Judge's NSA Injunction

The U.S. Department of Justice on Tuesday asked the D.C. Circuit to block a trial judge's injunction against the National Security Agency's bulk collection program. The trial judge, Richard Leon, earlier refused to put his ruling on hold.

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

D.C. Judge Awards $45K in Legal Fees to Federal Agency

By C. Ryan Barber |

A federal trial judge in Washington this week awarded legal fees to the Commodity Futures Trading Commission amid a discovery dispute with the company Intrade The Prediction Market. Intrade's lawyers, fighting the fee request, had argued that senior-level CFTC attorneys billed for low-level tasks. The dispute required the CFTC attorneys, who both formerly worked in Big Law, to assess their hourly rates.

Justices Skewer Tyson Foods in Class Action Case

By Tony Mauro |

A majority of U.S. Supreme Court justices appeared unsympathetic toward Tyson Foods Inc. on Tuesday in the company's quest to torpedo a class action brought by employees seeking payment for time spent donning and doffing protective gear. If the court's liberal members and Justice Anthony Kennedy end up voting against Tyson, it would be a rare win for the class action bar from a court that has been making such lawsuits incrementally harder to maintain in recent years.

Neal Katyal

Neal Katyal Passes a Milestone for Minority Supreme Court Advocates

By Tony Mauro |

Neal Katyal's 26th argument before the U.S. Supreme Court, given in an otherwise routine case Monday, marked a major milestone: He has appeared at the lectern more times than any other male minority lawyer except for Thurgood Marshall.

Sotomayor Wears the Mantle of Lone Dissenter

By Marcia Coyle |

Justice Sonia Sotomayor dissented Monday in a case that involved a police car chase that ended tragically. Her dissent was a reminder of her continued willingness to stand alone in criminal procedure and related areas of the law.

Jay Bybee.

Allegations of Panel-Rigging on Ninth Circuit Fail

By Zoe Tillman |

A federal district judge in California has dismissed a suit that accused a private company of interfering with the judge assignment process in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Justices Hang Up on Call for Cellphone Location Protection

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to decide whether law enforcement officers must have a warrant to obtain cellphone location information. The court denied a petition from the Eleventh Circuit. A split among the circuits disappeared last month when the Fourth Circuit agreed to rehear a case in which a three-judge panel—contrary to the Eleventh Circuit—said authorities need a warrant to obtain tower location data.

<b>FOR HIRE:</b> A sticker indicating the rideshare service Uber on a parked car in Washington D.C.

On-Demand Companies Spur Workers' Suits

By Kristin E. Michaels and Anne D. Harris |

Actions filed by non-employees challenge the "instant gratification" business models.

<b>WHO’S INVITED?:</b> “The rules preclude one from, for example, going to a program that’s closed to the public,” Chief Judge Diane Wood of the Seventh Circuit said.

Judges' Trips Reflect Gray Area in Ethics Rules

By Zoe Tillman |

Federal appeals judges routinely travel across the country to speak and teach, and their hosts pay the cost. Rarely do judges visit legal advocacy groups that appear often in court, according to a National Law Journal review of judges' annual financial reports.

New Business Models in the Age of the Independent Contractor

The "gig economy," or use of mobile apps and similar technology to meet consumer demand, is fueling lawsuits by workers challenging their "independent-contractor" status. We review the developing law in this special section.

<b>HISTORY MADE:</b> Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court moments before the court announced its decision in the same-sex marriage case of <i>Obergefell v. Hodges</i> on June 26.

Workplace Impact From Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

By Tim Garrett |

Following Obergefell decision, employers must re-evaluate benefits and guard against cultural tensions.

Confusion Expected Over 'Joint-Employer' Definition

By Zachary Fasman |

National Labor Relations Board's new test hinges on companies' influence over working conditions.

Civil Actions

Cases recently filed in the Washington-area district courts.

<b>TRAVELS:</b> Alice Batchelder was reimbursed by a group that has appeared in front of her.

Lawyers Unaware of Judges' Reimbursed Trips

By Zoe Tillman |

In reviewing the 257 financial reports filed last year by federal appeals judges, The National Law Journal identified several cases in which groups that reimbursed a judge's travel expenses also appeared in a case decided by that judge within the next year and a half.

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, during arguments in <i>Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.</i>

Foes, Backers of Contraception Coverage Face Another High Court Battle

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court's decision Friday to hear religious nonprofit organizations' claims to an outright exemption from providing their female employees with contraceptive health insurance under the federal Affordable Care Act triggered immediate reactions from both sides of the controversial issue.

Foie Gras terrine.

Animal Rights Group Cries Foul Over Foie Gras Labeling

By Amanda Bronstad |

The Animal Legal Defense Fund has waged another battle to ban foie gras from America’s dinner menus. On Nov. 5, the group filed a lawsuit alleging the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s failure to respond to its petition to add warning labels to foie gras violates the Administrative Procedure Act.

Harvard University.

Minority Students Fight to Intervene in Harvard Admissions Case

By Sheri Qualters |

A lawyer for a group of Harvard College students and prospective applicants faced tough questions in a federal appeals court on Thursday about its bid to intervene in a suit over the school’s use of race in the undergraduate admissions process.

Advertisement promoting high fructose corn syrup, part of a campaign by the Corn Refiners Association  to convince people that high fructose corn syrup isn't dangerous.

Lawyers Come Out Swinging in Corn Syrup Trial Opener

By Amanda Bronstad |

The trial over America’s sweet tooth began on Wednesday with prominent litigators W. Mark Lanier and Dan Webb sparring over scientific and advertising claims between the sugar industry and the makers of high-fructose corn syrup.

Maryland's 2011 congressional redistricting plan underlies a challenge to the meaning of the 100-year-old Three-Judge Court Act.

Maryland Redistricting Case Tests Scope of 'Three-Judge Court Act'

By Marcia Coyle |

The scope of a century-old act designed by Congress to handle some of the most politically sensitive challenges in the law appeared to leave U.S. Supreme Court justices with more questions and concerns than answers during arguments Wednesday.

(l-r) Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, Jr., and Stephen Breyer.

Justices Cross Swords Over Role of Congress and Legislative History

By Tony Mauro |

A debate among U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday over the meaning of a federal statute ended with an angry exchange between Justice Stephen Breyer and Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. over the role of members of Congress and their staff.

Stuart Delery, during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee to be the Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division at the Department of Justice on June 11, 2013.

Stuart Delery, Nominated for Key Slot at Main Justice, Takes Heat at Senate Judiciary

By Mike Sacks |

Senate Republicans on Wednesday grilled Stuart Delery, the Obama administration's pick for associate attorney general at Main Justice, over a federal law enforcement operation that they say inappropriately targeted law-abiding gun retailers. Delery defended the department's actions. If confirmed, Delery would replace Tony West as the department's third in command.

Unidentified people grieve at the site where 15-year-old Sergio Adrian Hernandez Huereca was killed under the Paso Del Norte border bridge in Ciudad Juarez, northern Mexico, on June 7, 2010. A federal appeals court ruled for the U.S. border patrol.

Justices Asked to Define the Constitution's Borders

By Marcia Coyle |

In a court where, as one justice has said, Fourth Amendment cases are a "growth industry," the current U.S. Supreme Court term stands in stark contrast with only one, rather traditional case granted so far. But the stakes could change dramatically with the addition of one more—a politically sensitive challenge that involves a U.S. Border Patrol agent's shooting of a 15-year-old Mexican boy on Mexican soil.

Takata airbag components presented before a U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation at a hearing on Nov. 20, 2014.

$200M Takata Penalty Is Traffic Safety Agency's Largest

By Amanda Bronstad |

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has fined Takata Corp. as much as $200 million—the largest amount ever imposed by the agency—for failing to disclose a defect that caused its air bags to rupture. The fines, announced Tuesday, are the latest in a series of increasingly severe penalties that NHTSA has imposed on automobile companies over safety defects.

Antonin Scalia's book tour in San Francisco for his book Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts.  August 20, 2013.

Scalia's Book on Statutes, Often Cited, Is Now Argued Over

By Tony Mauro |

Justice Antonin Scalia's book "Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts," co-written by legal writing expert Bryan Garner, catalogues the canons or rules that guide judicial interpretation of statutes. It has been cited in more than 100 petitions and briefs filed with the high court, and it has appeared in at least six recent decisions of the court. A search of past transcripts revealed that Tuesday's mention of the book at oral argument might be a first.

Jessie Rossman.

Opaque Privacy Policies Rife in Schools, ACLU Finds

By Sheri Qualters |

Amid a patchwork of state privacy laws regarding the collection of student data, the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts released a report on Oct. 28 that examined practices in 29 school districts. ACLU of Massachusetts staff attorney Jessie Rossman, one of the study's authors, spoke with The National Law Journal about the findings and federal laws.

Op-Ed: Supreme Court Gets Chance to Ban Racism in Jury Selection

By Gil Garcetti |

The U.S. Supreme Court made it clear in Batson v. Kentucky in 1986 and in other cases that a state denies defendants equal protection of the laws when it puts them on trial before a jury from which prospective jurors have been purposefully excluded on the basis of race. This term, we will find out if the court really meant it.

Items sold by Washington State's Christine Palmerton, bearing the name and slogan “NautiGirl Dare to be naughty.”

Suffolk Law Students Help Sink Nautica's Fight Against 'NautiGirl' Trademark

By Sheri Qualters |

Suffolk University Law School in Boston successfully represented a Washington state businesswoman in a trademark fight with Nautica Apparel Inc. over a cheeky marine-themed logo. The law school's Intellectual Property & Entrepreneurship Clinic won for Christine Palmerton at the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office’s Trademark Trial and Appeal Board. Nautica had petitioned to cancel Palmerton's "NautiGirl Dare to be naughty" trademark.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan

Justices Weigh Concrete Injuries in a Digital Age

By Marcia Coyle |

The business community's fear of massive class-action liability and consumers' quest for privacy and accuracy in the Internet age collided before a divided U.S. Supreme Court on Monday in a case that involved the data collection website Spokeo Inc.

Stephen Bright of the Southern Center for Human Rights in Atlanta.

Advocates Switch Gears for Last-Minute Issue Raised by Justices

By Tony Mauro |

Stephen Bright was making last-minute preparations on Oct. 30 for his U.S. Supreme Court argument Monday in Foster v. Chatman when a surprise letter arrived via email from Scott Harris, the clerk of the high court.

The names of black potential jurors in the murder trial of Timothy Foster were highlighted in green on this Floyd County, Georgia document cited in Foster's Supreme Court case claiming race discrimination in jury selection.

Justices Weigh Evidence of Racial Bias in Georgia Jury Selection

By Tony Mauro |

U.S. Supreme Court justices on Monday criticized Georgia prosecutors who used race as a factor in striking all potential black jurors from the 1987 murder trial of a black defendant. "Isn't this as clear a Batson violation as we are ever going to see?" Justice Elena Kagan asked of Deputy Georgia Attorney General Beth Burton, who represented the prosecutors' actions.

Demonstrators celebrate outside the U.S. Supreme Court moments after the court announced its opinion in the case Obergefell v. Hodges, making same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states.  June 26, 2015.

Ohio Pays $1.3M in Legal Fees in Landmark Same-Sex Marriage Case

By Zoe Tillman |

Ohio will pay $1.3 million in legal fees to the lawyers who represented James Obergefell—the lead plaintiff in the landmark U.S. Supreme Court's same-sex marriage case this summer—and other individuals who successfully challenged the state's gay marriage ban.

Shown (from left) are some of the 2014-2015 Supreme Court law clerks Jones Day has hired: Benjamin Flowers, Vivek Suri, Andrew Bentz, Lauren Pardee, Brinton Lucas, Ryan Snyder and Robert Stander. Not shown are Ilana Gelfman, Amanda Rice and Eli Savit.

Jones Day Continues Its Run On Former Supreme Court Clerks

By Tony Mauro |

Ten U.S. Supreme Court law clerks from last term have joined Jones Day as associates, the firm announced Monday, topping its record-breaking number of seven clerk hires last year. Counting the new hires, 45 former Supreme Court clerks now work at Jones Day.

Obama speaks to high schoolers in Syracuse. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

Student Loan Rules May Get Tighter

By David A. Elliott and Christina D. Olivos |

"Best practices" could limit number of servicers and enhance penalties.

Laundry List Gets Bigger

By Peter M. Skinner and Matthew L. Schwartz |

Proposal would add advisers to money-transfer rules.

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates

Yates Memo Could Bring Balance to Prosecutions

By Matthew E. Fishbein |

New focus on individual corporate wrongdoers might discourage multibillion-dollar settlements.

Verdicts & Settlements

A summary of this week's notable cases.

Joseph Re, Knobbe Martens partner

Knobbe Martens Olson & Bear

By Sheri Qualters |

Joseph Re scored a $466.8 million award for Masimo Corp. by keeping his case simple — going light on scientific terminology and foregoing many of the client's patent claims against Philips Electronics North America Corp. — in Delaware federal court last year.

John Keker-Keker & Van Nest Partner.courtesy photo.8/14/2012.058-2012

Keker & Van Nest

By Ginny LaRoe |

When you think of the former Marine Purple Heart recipient who prosecuted Oliver North in the Iran-Contra scandal and has spent his career defending celebrities and business executives, you don't necessarily think "public-agency counsel."

Andrew P. Bridges of Fenwick & West.  HANDOUT.

Fenwick & West

By Sheri Qualters |

Andrew Bridges cited the minutiae of copyright law to defeat a serial plaintiff's claims against clients Giganews Inc. and Livewire Services Inc. and collect $5.6 million in attorneys' fees and costs.

Jamil N. Alibhai is a partner at Munck Wilson Mandala in Dallas

Munck Wilson Mandala

By Ginny LaRoe |

Even in the world of patent litigation, where it can take an engineering degree to understand the technology, occasionally a dispute comes down to old-fashioned trial lawyering.

Kirby Griffis of Hollingsworth.  2015.  HANDOUT.


By Susan Kostal |

Kirby Griffis faced a rough playing field as counsel for Novartis Corp. in serial litigation over a cancer-fighting drug alleged to cause the death of bone tissue in the jaw.

William Lee of WilmerHale. May 2, 2013. HANDOUT.

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr

By Sheri Qualters |

Bill Lee and Michael Summersgill stuck with an overarching theme in their winning defense of Ford Motor Co. against patent plaintiffs seeking hundreds of millions of dollars.

Paul Schmidt of Covington & Burling.  October 21, 2015.  Photo by Diego M. Radzinschi/THE NATIONAL LAW JOURNAL.

Covington & Burling

By Sherry Karabin |

Covington & Burling partner Paul Schmidt relies on a simple formula to score major victories for pharmaceutical companies facing high-stakes litigation.

Thomas Long of Nossaman. HANDOUT.


By Sherry Karabin |

With more than 30 years' experience in complex civil litigation, Nossaman partner Thomas Long understands that winning takes skill, planning and, of course, time. But Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority v. Parsons-Dillingham gave new meaning to the phrase, "Stay the course."

Doug Baldridge of Venable. HANDOUT.


By Amaris Elliott-Engel |

The judge in the first pharmaceutical pay-for-delay trial since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that such deals might violate antitrust law had a big surprise for Venable litigator J. Douglas Baldridge.

Robert Giuffra of Sullivan & Cromwell. HANDOUT.

Sullivan & Cromwell

By Amaris Elliott-Engel |

High stakes don't faze Robert Giuffra Jr. The trick, he said, is to concentrate on "credibility and simplicity and figuring out what the winning strategy is in the case."

Sean O'Donnell of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld.  HANDOUT.

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld

By Sherry Karabin |

Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld partner Sean O’Donnell is no stranger to restructurings worth billions of dollars. But it’s not every day he snags a win in a developing area of law with big implications for bondholders.

Stephen Korniczky of Sheppard Mullin. October 21, 2015. HANDOUT.

Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton

By Lisa Hoffman |

While others settled without a fight, Stephen Korniczky went to trial against plaintiffs attorney Raymond Niro and patent licensing company Intellect Wireless Inc. — and won.

Anne McClaine Sidrys of Kirkland & Ellis. HANDOUT.

Kirkland & Ellis

By Ginny LaRoe |

For Anne McClain Sidrys, it was a "pinch-me" moment: The trial team was gelling, the client was great and the judge so inspiring that Sidrys considered taking her young daughter to court. And then came the judgment entirely in favor of her client, IBM Corp.

Neil Barofsky of Jenner & Block.  October 23, 2015.  HANDOUT.

Jenner & Block

By Richard Acello |

Recovering $331 million earmarked to assist struggling California homeowners required detective work. Representing the plaintiffs was Neil Barofsky, a partner at Jenner & Block, who said the key to the win was careful, meticulous trial preparation.

Lynne Hermle, Orrick by Jason Doiy.8-13-2012.058-2012...

Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe

By Amanda Bronstad |

Ellen Pao had some salacious details to tell a San Francisco jury in her sexual discrimination case against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Beth Wilkinson of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison

By Ginny LaRoe |

To Beth Wilkinson, it’s all "commonsensical." That’s her word for the instincts that help her turn daunting challenges into decisive victories.

Eric Kuwana of Katten Munchin Roseman. October 28, 2015. HANDOUT.

Katten Muchin Rosenman

By Susan Kostal |

Eric Kuwana faced a daunting challenge when brought in to represent iStar Financial Inc., a bridge loan lender, in a $200 million residential real estate deal gone bad. He was new both to the client and to his law firm.

Jeffrey Kessler of Winston & Strawn. 2015. HANDOUT.

Winston & Strawn

By Amaris Elliott-Engel |

One client was caught on video knocking his fiancée out cold in an elevator. Another took a plea for child abuse after hitting his 4-year-old son with a switch.

Brad Brian, Munger, Tolles & Olson. Photo by Jason Doiy.

Munger, Tolles & Olson

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal judge in New Orleans in September 2014 found that Transocean Ltd.'s negligence contributed to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Remarkably, that verdict was a resounding victory for Transocean's legal team, led by Brad Brian, a partner at Los Angeles-based Munger, Tolles & Olson.

Craig Hoover of Hogan Lovells.

Hogan Lovells

By Susan Kostal |

Defeating class actions after they have been certified is a difficult and highly risky business. Typically at that stage, it's all about who should get how much money.

Civil Actions

Cases recently filed in the Washington-area district courts.

House Financial Services Committee member Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., holds up an empty box as he questions Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 24, 2014, during the committee's hearing entitled “The Annual Report of the Financial Stability Oversight Council.”

SEC In-House Venue is Target of House Bill

By Mike Sacks |

A new bill in Congress seeks to curb securities regulators' purported in-house advantage over defendants who are brought before the agency's administrative law judges. But law scholars who have crunched the numbers say the legislation is inspired by incomplete data.

Illinois High School Association Class 8A high school championship football in 2014.

High School Football Concussion Class Action Thrown Out

By Amanda Bronstad |

The first class action filed against a high school football governing body over concussion-related injuries was tossed out of an Illinois court this week.

Anthony Kennedy.

Op-Ed: Justice Kennedy, Heed Justice Kennedy: Money Buys Influence

By Richard L. Hasen |

Many people know of Justice Anthony Kennedy's controversial 2010 Supreme Court opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, in which he assured the American people that independent spending in elections cannot corrupt or create the appearance of corruption, and that "ingratiation and access" aren't corruption.

Colombian paramilitary Hernan Giraldo Serna, second right, is escorted by U.S. DEA Agents at his arrival in Opa-locka, Fla., Tuesday, May 13, 2008.

A Drug Case in Washington Tests Global Reach of Victims' Rights Law

By Zoe Tillman |

Leo Cunningham of Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, and Roxanna Altholz, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, represent the family of Julio Henríquez Santamaria, a Colombian man who disappeared in 2001. His body was found six years later. The man the family believes is responsible for his death will be sentenced in Washington federal district court for his role in a drug conspiracy. The legal issue: Are the family members victims? The U.S. Justice Department says no.

Top Litigators Share Winning Strategies

"I just show up in court and wing it," said no Winning Litigator—ever. But the lawyers in our special report bring more to the table than just meticulous preparation.

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito

Alito: Donald Trump's Sister Was 'Wonderful to Work For'

By Tony Mauro |

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Jr. said Thursday that Maryanne Trump Barry, the sister of Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, was his first boss after his judicial clerkship, and "she was wonderful to work for." The Alito-Trump connection was one of many autobiographical tidbits Alito offered during an unusual discussion at the National Archives with Yale Law School professor Akhil Amar.

Volkswagen Emissions Litigation Turning Unwieldy

By Amanda Bronstad |

Chaos is building in courts across the country as about 400 Volkswagen emissions class actions have raced forward—with two federal judges ordering immediate settlement talks—despite a pending decision on whether to move the cases to multidistrict litigation.

Mythili Raman.

Don’t Sit on That Compliance Presentation to Feds, a Top DOJ Lawyer Says

By C. Ryan Barber |

A top U.S. Justice Department lawyer and a corporate in-house counsel found common ground Thursday in a discussion about how to make an effective compliance presentation to regulators: Don't wait to engage prosecutors. Covington & Burling's Mythili Raman, who formerly led the Criminal Division, moderated the panel.

U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) building.

Calculating the Hourly Rate of a Federal Agency Lawyer? It's Complicated

By C. Ryan Barber |

After convincing a Washington judge to sanction a company for violating a court order, two federal agency lawyers turned to calculating the dollar value of their time. It was an uncommon task for salaried attorneys in the public sector. After all, what's the billable hour for a government lawyer?

Hogan Lovells In the Hot Seat over Seat Heaters?

By Amanda Bronstad |

Hogan Lovells is fighting a subpoena to turn over all its files associated with two federal regulatory investigations into defective seat heaters in certain Mercedes-Benz vehicles.

(l-r) Steven Bright of Southern Center for Human Rights, Anthony Shelley of Miller & Chevalier, Michael Kimberly of Mayer Brown, and William Consovoy of Consovoy McCarthy Park.

Docket Chat: Fresh Faces Get Argument Time in November Cycle

By Tony Mauro |

The November cycle of arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court will bring a large number of relatively new faces to the lectern. Even Solicitor General Donald Verrilli Jr., who usually argues at least one case during each two-week session, will sit this one out.

The Long Push to Get Another High-Court Gun Ruling

By Marcia Coyle |

Gun rights advocates hope an assault weapons challenge will finally draw the U.S. Supreme Court back into the realm of the Second Amendment even as gun-related tragedies dominate headlines.

Michael Millikin, former Executive Vice President and General Counsel of General Motors Company, left, and Mary Barra, CEO, right, testify before the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation’s Subcommittee on Consumer Protection, Product Safety, and Insurance during a hearing titled, “Examining Accountability and Corporate Culture in Wake of the GM Recalls.” July 17, 2014.

Millikin Faces Subpoena as GM Bellwether Looms

By Amanda Bronstad |

The former general counsel of General Motors Co. is fending off a subpoena to testify in the first bellwether trial over the ignition switch defect that prompted recalls of 2.6 million cars and trucks last year.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, left, during a conversation with Harvard Law Dean Martha Minow, right, on October 22, 2015.

Justice Anthony Kennedy Loathes the Term 'Swing Vote'

By Marcia Coyle |

A public official who cannot in good conscience enforce a law he or she thinks is morally corrupt has a duty to either resign or enforce the law, Justice Anthony Kennedy told a group of Harvard Law School students recently. Kennedy covered a broad range of topics and in doing so may have revealed a source of his concern and dislike of solitary confinement.

Attorneys from Katten Muchin Rosenman race down the Potomac River during the firm’s inaugural regatta event as part of its commitment to support Food From the Bar.

Pro Bono Week: The Best of This Year's Giving and Defending

From Rwanda to a tiny Catholic Charities office in downtown Washington, lawyers took on cases, founded projects and reflected on the good they do and what more they can achieve. As the American Bar Association celebrates pro bono work nationally this week, The National Law Journal highlights the leaders, cases and efforts that have helped lawyers give back in the last year.

U.S. Capitol

In Pursuit of Washington's 'Perfect Four' for Lobbying

By Katelyn Polantz |

Few of Washington's large lobbying groups achieve perfect harmony in the demographics of their Honorables. The perfect harmony is the ultimate of Washington: between House and Senate, between Republicans and Democrats. The 26 firms with public policy groups worth $15 million or more last year employed 51 former members of Congress, according to The National Law Journal's annual Influence 50 survey.

<b>GM CEO MARY BARRA:</b> GM’s problems were in focus at the ACC meeting.

In-House Anxiety Over Cybersecurity

By Sheri Qualters |

What keeps corporate counsel up at night? Cybersecurity and crisis management, judging by the intense focus on both topics at the annual meeting of the Association of Corporate Counsel in Boston last week.

Quinn Emanuel and Hagens Berman Sue VW on Behalf of S. Koreans

By Amanda Bronstad |

Two prominent law firms filed a federal class action in Los Angeles on Friday against Volkswagen A.G. on behalf of South Korean consumers, making it the first case of its kind against an automaker in the United States.

​A Washington federal trial judge this week released a redacted opinion in a dispute between companies and the CFPB. The names of the businesses that challenged the agency remain shielded from the public.​

Unsealed Ruling Reveals Test Over Secrecy of CFPB Investigations

By C. Ryan Barber |

In the crosshairs of a secret federal investigation, companies can face a dilemma: challenge the agency and risk public exposure or keep everything confidential as investigators assert their authority. A Washington federal judge's ruling, published this week, kept the identities of the companies and an individual secret—some measure of comfort for businesses and their lawyers who are navigating consumer-protection enforcement by a relatively new agency that doesn't have much guidance yet from the courts.

Jesse Benton in  2011.

Former Ron Paul Campaign Staffer Acquitted at Trial

By Zoe Tillman |

A federal jury in Iowa on Thursday acquitted Jesse Benton, a top official in Ron Paul’s 2012 presidential campaign and a former campaign manager for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, on a charge that he lied to law enforcement.

Stephen Breyer.

Looking For Conflicts at High Court

By Tony Mauro |

U.S. Supreme Court justices, aided by their staff, do their own manual checking for potential conflicts of interest, unlike lower federal judges who use more systematic methods that include computer software. The process may help explain why Justice Samuel Alito Jr. recused in an energy case argued on Oct. 14 because he owned stock in Johnson Controls Inc., while Justice Stephen Breyer participated in the argument even though his wife owned stock in the same company.

VW Cases Spark Call For Fairness

By Amanda Bronstad |

With more than 300 consumer lawsuits filed against Volkswagen A.G. over its emissions scandal, one prominent class action critic has elbowed into the litigation to voice an emerging concern: that settlements in mass tort multidistrict litigation need more judicial review.

Emmet Sullivan.

Federal Judge Slams 'Shocking' DOJ Deal with GM Over Safety Defect

By Zoe Tillman |

U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington on Wednesday criticized the U.S. Department of Justice’s recent agreement with General Motors Co. as "a shocking example of potentially culpable individuals not being criminally charged."

2006 Chevrolet Cobalt in which Kelly Irvin suffered brain injuries following a 2012 accident in Missouri. Her lawyers say an ignition switch defect caused her  to lose power and prevented the airbags from deploying.

GM Ignition-Switch Mess Is Focus at In-House Counsel Conference

By Sheri Qualters |

The takeaway for lawyers from the GM ignition-switch debacle is for legal staff to have an open path for full disclosure—up the chain.

Sally Yates.

Grassley: 'We Are Not Going To Do Better Than This' on Sentencing Reform

By Mike Sacks |

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates and former U.S. Attorney General Michael Mukasey threw their weight behind a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Monday.

Cyber Attacks Demand Rapid Response, ACC Panel Says

By Sheri Qualters |

Be ready and act fast. That’s the advice a panel on cybersecurity attacks at the Association of Corporate Counsel’s annual meeting on Monday told in-house lawyers.

Uterine Surgical Device Suits Consolidated in MDL

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal judicial panel has coordinated more than two dozen lawsuits alleging that power morcellators—medical devices used in laparoscopic surgeries—have caused women to develop an aggressive form of cancer.

U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit at 717 Madison Place, N.W.

The Supreme Court and Federal Circuit Meet Again

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court will soon have another chance to revisit its often chilly relationship with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit. In the last five terms, the court has heard 24 appeals from Federal Circuit decisions, and affirmed only eight.

Allyson Ho.

Brief of the Week: Making the Case for Anonymous Donors

By Jamie Schuman |

For all of the donors who like to publicize their charitable gifts, there are many who prefer to give anonymously. But California is making nonprofits that want to solicit funds there turn over their donors’ names to the state. A cert petition before the U.S. Supreme Court in Center for Competitive Politics v. Harris challenges this policy. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit found that the requirement imposes no First Amendment injury.

U.S. Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Adds Patent Infringement Cases to Docket

By Tony Mauro |

Until Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court's docket for the new term was devoid of its usually steady flow of intellectual property cases. The justices ended the dry spell by granting review in two patent disputes arising from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, both of which could establish the standard for awarding enhanced damages in cases of willful infringement.

Civil Actions

Cases recently filed in the Washington-area district courts.

Chief Justice John G. Roberts

When the Justices Sit On the Side

By Tony Mauro |

An anger-filled petition to the U.S. Supreme Court prompted five justices to recuse themselves last week, raising the knotty question of what happens to a case before the high court when it lacks a quorum.

Verdicts & Settlements

A summary of this week's notable cases.

Union Pacific train.

Texas Lawyer Who Bribed State Judge Loses Appeal

By Sheri Qualters |

A federal appeals court has upheld attorney Marc Garrett Rosenthal's criminal conviction for his role in a fraud and bribery scheme that involved a former Texas state lawmaker and a former state judge.

Jill Kelley leaves her home Tuesday, Nov 13, 2012 in Tampa, Fla.

Feds Accuse Sidley Lawyers of Harassing Witnesses in Petraeus-Related Suit

By Zoe Tillman |

The lawyers representing Florida socialite Jill Kelley in a privacy suit connected to the David Petraeus sex scandal were harrassing witnesses and misusing the legal system, the U.S. Justice Department told a federal judge on Thursday.

Laurie Higginbotham, of Whitehurst, Harkness, Brees, Cheng, Alsaffar & Higginbotham, during a press conference held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to discuss a pending U.S. Supreme Court case involving the liability of the United States when the children of active-duty military mothers are injured during birth.  October 13, 2015.

Military Family Presses Novel Gender-Bias Case Before Supreme Court

By Tony Mauro |

A petition filed with the U.S. Supreme Court this week raises a novel challenge to the 65-year-old rule that bars military personnel from suing the government for injuries on the job. The family of Air Force Major Heather Ortiz is claiming she was the victim of gender discrimination because the rule prevented recovery of damages for the severe brain damage suffered by her child during birth at a Colorado military hospital in 2009.

Advertisement promoting high fructose corn syrup, part of a campaign by the Corn Refiners Association  to convince people that high fructose corn syrup isn't dangerous.

Sanctions Bid over Squire Patton Boggs Fails in Sugar Case

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal judge has tossed a bid to sanction a group of sugar companies for violating an order disqualifying their law firm, Squire Patton Boggs, from a high-stakes case against the high-fructose corn syrup industry that goes to trial next month.

A Divided Supreme Court Resumes Class Action Scrutiny

By Tony Mauro |

Conservative U.S. Supreme Court justices on Wednesday renewed their long-running disdain for class actions in the first of three cases the court will hear on the topic this term.

Texas A&M University acquired the Texas Wesleyan School of Law in 2013.

Texas Law Schools Fire Back at Graduates' Suit

By Sheri Qualters |

Texas Wesleyan University, its president and Texas A&M University School of Law have asked a federal court to dismiss a proposed class action brought by Texas Wesleyan University School of Law graduates.

(l-r) Carter Phillips, Paul Clement, and Donald Verrilli.

In Supreme Court's Big Energy Case, a Discussion of Hamburgers and Cars

By Zoe Tillman |

An argument over federal regulations aimed at easing demands on the electric power grid turned to hamburgers and expensive cars Wednesday in the U.S. Supreme Court.

West Point Cadet Chapel.

Air Guardsman, Disciplined After Anti-Same-Sex Marriage Comments, Loses Suit

By Mike Sacks |

A federal judge in Washington on Tuesday threw out a Utah national guardsman's religious-liberty lawsuit that arose from his objections to a same-sex marriage held in West Point's Cadet Chapel. The plaintiff, Layne Wilson, a member of Utah Air National Guard and the Federal Air Force Reserves, called such a use of the chapel a "mockery to God and our military core values."

Hillary Rodham Clinton, right, looks on as Sen. Bernie Sanders, of Vermont, speaks during the CNN Democratic presidential debate Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)

Supreme Court's a No-Show at First Democratic Debate

By Marcia Coyle |

New gun regulations, criminal justice reform, legalization of recreational marijuana and even the reincarnation of Glass-Steagall triggered impassioned moments during the first televised debate of Democratic presidential hopefuls on Tuesday night. Missing from the debates? Not one word about the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court.

When the Supreme Court Loses a Quorum

By Tony Mauro |

An anger-filled petition to the U.S. Supreme Court prompted five justices to recuse themselves Tuesday, raising the knotty question of what happens to a case before the high court when it lacks a quorum.

Lawyers for bank traders under investigation have asked the Fourth Circuit to seal upcoming arguments in a dispute over a grand jury subpoena.

Fourth Circuit to Seal Argument in Bank Traders' Subpoena Fight

By Zoe Tillman |

A federal appeals court will hear arguments in secret about whether a grand jury subpoena seeking documents and testimony from a lawyer violates the attorney-client privilege.

<b>GERMAN ENGINEERING:</b> Suits over the drop in VW stock have a better chance abroad.

Suing VW? Maybe Overseas

By Amanda Bronstad |

Volkswagen A.G.'s emissions scandal has sent the German company's stock tumbling, but shareholders looking to recover their losses have a difficult road ahead in court.

King & Spalding associate Ethan Davis outside the U.S. Supreme Court after arguing his first case before the court, Ocasio v. United States.  October 6, 2015.

Rookies Take Bat Before High Court

By Zoe Tillman |

King & Spalding associate Ethan Davis made his high court debut on Tuesday—a rare feat for a law firm associate. Davis argued for a former Baltimore police officer charged in an extortion conspiracy. "The intensity of it was something that you can’t prepare for," he said.

Fig & Olive restaurant in Washington, D.C.

D.C. Lawyer Sues Fig & Olive for Food Poisoning As Lawsuits Mount

By Zoe Tillman |

A Washington lawyer is the latest patron of restaurant Fig & Olive to sue the restaurant for alleged food poisoning. Five lawsuits have been filed in federal courts in D.C. and Los Angeles.

New York Judge's Role in D.C. Gun Case Challenged

By Zoe Tillman |

A New York federal judge who declared the District of Columbia's gun regulations unconstitutional should never have been assigned to the case, lawyers for the city argue. The fight over U.S. District Judge Frederick Scullin Jr.'s special assignment in Washington threatens to derail the litigation in a federal appeals court.

Study: Juvenile Life Sentences on the Decline

By Tony Mauro |

Fewer juveniles are being sentenced to life in prison without parole, according to a new study by a public interest law firm that is advocating for an end to the practice altogether. The study was released with an eye toward the U.S. Supreme Court's consideration on Tuesday of a case that involves such sentences, Montgomery v. Louisiana.

Ray Pepper, general counsel, left, and Phillip Rudolph, chief legal & risk officer, right, of Jack in the Box Inc.

Jack In The Box Inc.

By Sheri Qualters |

The legal team at restaurant company Jack in the Box Inc. doesn't want any surprises when it hires outside lawyers for its litigation needs.

Larry Tu, chief legal officer of CBS Corp.

CBS Corp.

By Sheri Qualters |

The legal team at CBS Corp. helps the company keep a sharp focus on compliance, diversity and the bottom line while engaging in pro bono work to reflect the company's service image.

Wendy Hager, senior corporate counsel, law and public policy, and legal services division at Solar Turbines Incorporated.

Solar Turbines Inc.

By Amanda Bronstad |

Although most of the lawyers on Solar Turbines Inc.'s in-house team are licensed outside of California, they have found a way to play a big role in providing pro bono legal assistance to the San Diego community.

Gregory Brown, general counsel and chief administrative officer of Breitburn Energy Partners LP.

Breitburn Energy Partners L.P.

By Sheri Qualters |

When oil and gas development and production company Breitburn Energy Partners L.P. set out to buy QR Energy L.P., it couldn't rely on its primary outside counsel, Vinson & Elkins, because Houston-based Vinson represented QR in the deal.

Boston Scientific.

$100M Pelvic Mesh Verdict Shocks the Conscience, Judge Finds

By Amanda Bronstad |

A Delaware judge has slashed as "grossly disproportionate" a $100 million award against Boston Scientific Corp. down to $10 million in a case over one of the company’s pelvic mesh devices.

Thomas Miles.

Chicago Law Appoints New Dean from Within

By Sheri Qualters |

University of Chicago Law School has tapped its own criminal justice scholar and law and economics professor, Thomas Miles, to be the next dean.

Michael Horn, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, testifies Thursday on Capitol Hill at a House hearing. From left to right, behind Horn: Anthony Cooke, assistant general counsel for product and regulatory matters at Volkswagen of America; Steve Ross of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld; David Geanacopoulos, executive vice president of corporate affairs and general counsel of Volkswagen Group of America; and David Schertler and Danny Onorato of Washington's Schertler & Onorato.

VW Exec, on Capitol Hill, Vows Thorough Internal Investigation

By Mike Sacks |

An apologetic Volkswagen executive on Thursday tried to assure members of Congress that the German automaker will take full responsibility for its effort to cheat U.S. emissions standards for diesel cars. Jones Day will manage "all the investigations in terms of who did what, when how and why and what we need to do,” Michael Horn, president and chief executive of Volkswagen Group of America, said.

Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders

Michigan Pays $1.9M in Legal Fees in Same-Sex Marriage Case

By Zoe Tillman |

The state of Michigan will pay $1.9 million in legal fees to lawyers who successfully challenged the state's ban on same-sex marriage. It is the single largest payout to date by a state in the federal court marriage cases. Mary Bonauto of Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders in Boston, who argued for the challengers in the Supreme Court, will receive $278,845.

U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, Jr.

How to Write Briefs Like the Solicitor General

By Tony Mauro |

Next time you use the word habeas—as in habeas corpus, the great writ—don’t use italics. The Latin word has become so common in English usage that it doesn’t need slanted letters, according to the latest edition of the U.S. Solicitor General’s style manual.

Will the Justices' Barriers to Class Actions Fall?

By Marcia Coyle |

The Roberts Court’s dislike of class actions and its loyalty—sometimes divided—to arbitration have levied knock-out blows to consumers and small businesses. But a counterpunch may be on the way.

2001 Nissan Pathfinder.

Tort Reform Groups Prevail in Nissan Punitives Suit

By Amanda Bronstad |

The Kentucky Supreme Court has sided with the nation’s largest tort reform groups seeking to uphold a general rule that companies sued over products that meet government regulatory standards shouldn’t be subjected to punitive damages.

Edith Ramirez.

FTC Chairwoman Sees Antitrust Bill as Threat to Authority

By Mike Sacks |

Federal Trade Commission chairwoman Edith Ramirez on Wednesday pushed back against a Senate bill that would harmonize the U.S. Justice Department's and FTC's overlapping antitrust authority. "In my view the bill is unnecessary and would remove authority the commission has used successfully for over 100 years to promote competition and advance consumer welfare," Ramirez told a Senate Judiciary subcommittee.

Baltimore Cop's Extortion Case Raises Question of Prosecutorial Overreach

By Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday considered how much flexibility prosecutors should have to bring charges for an extortion conspiracy when the person paying the bribe is in on the scheme.

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia spoke with Judge Andrew Napolitano at a Q and A session sponsored by Brooklyn Law School. The event was held at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on Friday March 21, 2014

When It Comes to Angry Dissents, No One Beats Scalia

By Tony Mauro |

Justice Antonin Scalia has long relished punctuating his dissents with withering criticisms of the court's majority, but he outdid himself last term. "His dissents are a lot like those of Felix Frankfurter, who was on the wrong side of history on many issues," said high court scholar Melvin Urofsky, who's written a new book called Dissent and the Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Inadvertently Announces Argument Date in Voting Case

By Tony Mauro |

The closely watched "one person one vote" election law case Evenwel v. Abbott is set to be argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Nov. 30, according to an apparently inadvertent post on the court's website.

U.S. Supreme Court

Back to Basics on Supreme Court Opening Day—For Now

By Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro |

There were no missing pages in the 76-page "orders" list as there were a year ago. There was no rapid hunt through those pages by reporters scanning for a long-anticipated, high-profile issue of the year as there was with same-sex marriage. What a difference a year can make in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Waiting outside the U.S. Supreme Court on June 22, 2015.

Supreme Court Confronts 'Line-Standing,' Secret Changes to Opinions

By Tony Mauro and Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court announced Monday a series of policy changes that respond to public complaints about secret changes to the justices' decisions, hiring "line-standers" for high-profile oral arguments and "link rot" in the court's rulings.

Dr. Brian Stacy, NOAA veterinarian, prepares to clean an oiled Kemp's Ridley turtle, as part of ongoing animal rescue and rehabilitation efforts.

BP Gets 'Punishment it Deserves,' Feds Say in Record $20B Settlement

By Mike Sacks and Amanda Bronstad |

BP PLC has agreed to pay $20 billion in fines—the largest in U.S. history—for the Deepwater Horizon disaster spill and cleanup of 3.1 million barrels of oil that spilled into the Gulf of Mexico and onto the shores of coastal states, the U.S. Justice Department announced Monday.

<b>LESSONS:</b> “Don’t speak so much. Empathize,” Kenneth Feinberg said.

Who You Gonna Call? Ken Feinberg

By Mike Sacks |

Ken Feinberg is no stranger to difficult, emotionally charged tasks. Over the past 15 years the federal government has enlisted him to oversee the victim compensation funds set up after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, BP's Deep Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the General Motors' faulty-ignition-switch settlement. Feinberg, who turns 70 this month, was appointed this summer as special master to oversee the implementation of the Multiemployer Pension Reform Act of 2014.

<b>REPRESENT:</b> The California Teachers Association is at the center of a fees dispute.

Supreme Court Gets Back to Business

By Marcia Coyle and Tony Mauro |

With the future of affirmative action, union's agency shop fees, and the counting of one person, one vote in redistricting in the balance, the Roberts Court's conservative majority may return to dominate major rulings in the new term. But will it be conservative with a small or a big "c"?

<b>SERIOUS BUSINESS:</b> Hacking by North Korea over the release of the comedy “The Interview” in 2014 provided lessons, but criminals are becoming more sophisticated in choosing their targets.

Get Ready for the Next Phase in Cyberattacks

By Michael J. Gottlieb and Matthew L. Schwartz |

Professional criminals know where the valuable information is, and they know who's vulnerable. Do you?

<b>DRONE ON:</b> These types of “smart” devices have microprocessors connected to the Internet. Sellers and others in the supply chain need to be aware of their legal responsibilities.

Managing Liability from the 'Internet of Things'

By William B. Bierce |

"Smart" devices — from phones to drones — leave parties in the supply chain vulnerable to lawsuits.

Civil Actions

Cases recently filed in the Washington-area district courts.

When Hackers Take Your Digital Data Hostage

By John F. Stephens |

A plan to combat cyber extortion includes establishing relationships with law enforcement.

Hack Attacks and Liability:
The Evolving Law on Cybersecurity

Devious minds are devising ways to purloin private data and are figuring out how to best use it to their financial and, in some cases, political advantage. Here are some ways to keep at least a step or two ahead of the hackers.

Judge Nixes 'E-Cigarettes Are Safer' Argument

By Sheri Qualters |

A Boston federal judge has blocked plaintiffs suing Philip Morris USA from arguing that the company should have provided e-cigarettes to consumers as a safer alternative to tobacco cigarettes.

SEC Asks Full D.C. Circuit to Hear 'Conflict Minerals' Case

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday asked the full D.C. Circuit to hear the agency's "conflict minerals rule." A panel earlier ruled in part against the commission. Read the commission's petition here.

Texas Solicitor General Scott Keller, attorney for petitioners, speaks to reporters outside the Supreme Court in Washington, Monday, March 23, 2015, after the court heard arguments in Walker v. Sons of Confederate Vets case.

Texas Wants Supreme Court to Strike Legal-Fee Award in Voting Case

By Zoe Tillman |

Texas wants the U.S. Supreme Court to review an order that forces the state to pay more than $1 million in legal fees to groups that challenged the state’s redistricting plans.

Volkswagen diesels are shown on a storage lot near a VW dealership Wednesday, Sept. 23, 2015, in Salt Lake City.

VW Hit with Onslaught of Class Actions Across 32 States

By Amanda Bronstad |

Volkswagen’s legal problems jumped into overdrive this week. More than 175 class actions in 32 states have been filed over an emissions scandal that erupted last month.

U.S. Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Adds Employee Speech, Racketeering Cases to Docket

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday added 13 new cases to its argument docket for the term that begins Oct. 5, including a new employee-speech case and a test of the application of U.S. anti-racketeering law overseas. The orders list brings the number of cases that will be argued in the coming term to 48, and more will be added in the weeks ahead.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley speaks for a bipartisan group of Senators on Thursday, introducing a wide-ranging criminal justice reform bill.

Senate Plans to Unveil Deal on Criminal Justice Reform

By Mike Sacks |

A bipartisan group of senators on Thursday plans to unveil a new criminal justice reform bill that would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug felonies, enhance prisoner rehabilitation programs and largely ban solitary confinement of juveniles, according to a Senate summary obtained by The National Law Journal.

Bert Rein, of Wiley Rein, at mic, representing Abigail Fisher, to his right, in the Fisher v University of Texas case, addressing the media after arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court.  October 10, 2012.

Affirmative Action, Labor Unions, Voting: Conservative Pushback in New Term?

By Marcia Coyle |

The justices have agreed to decide 34 cases thus far. After their long conference earlier this week, they were expected to add a number of cases to their decision docket after culling through more than a thousand petitions filed throughout the summer months. Some court observers predict conservative victories in the new term's major cases. But the key question is: "How big will the wins be?"

Clockwise from top left: Gregory Garre, Paul Clement, Carter Phillips, and Seth Waxman

Docket Chat: October Arguments Draw Veteran Advocates

By Tony Mauro |

After a headline-making June and a long summer recess, the U.S. Supreme Court returns to the bench on Oct. 5 for a bracing reminder that not all its cases will rock the world.

Mass. General Hospital Settles Controlled-Substance Allegations

By Sheri Qualters |

Massachusetts’ largest hospital has agreed to pay $2.3 million to settle federal allegations that it violated the Controlled Substances Act.

Blake Farenthold.

Ethics Investigation into Rep. Farenthold Kept Alive

By Mike Sacks |

The House Ethics Committee's chairman and its ranking member said on Monday that they will not dismiss an investigation into Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, and will wait for the outcome of the sexual harassment lawsuit filed against him before deciding whether he violated House rules or federal law.

Doug Kendall

Doug Kendall (2008): Don't Delay Over Judges

By Doug Kendall |

Doug Kendall, writing for the NLJ in 2008: "No presidential administration in history has been better positioned to get top-flight judges onto the federal bench. With a president and vice president who are both experts in constitutional law, an already distinguished team of legal advisers, and a highly favorable environment on Capitol Hill, this should be, in the immortal words of George Tenet, a slam dunk for the Obama administration."

John Boehner.

INADMISSIBLE: John Boehner to Resign from Congress

Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Sept. 25 announced his resignation and intent to retire from Congress at the end of October. Plus more in this week's column.

U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh, Northern District of California..Photo by Jason Doiy.8/2/2013.

'Good Ol' Boys Club' In MDL

By Amanda Bronstad |

The high number of plaintiffs attorneys appointed to steer multidistrict litigation and the repeated use of the same firms are drawing criticism from lawyers competing for those posts and from the judiciary involved in several prominent MDL cases this year.

<b>OIL GIANT:</b> An alleged kickback scheme uncovered within Petrobras is expected to ensnare U.S. companies with business ties to the company, which is owned by the Brazilian government.

Ripples of Petrobras Scandal Hit U.S. Companies

By Thomas Fox |

Energy corporations conducting business in Brazil should prepare for DOJ and SEC scrutiny.

'Patent Trolls' Find New Target in Energy Sector

By Jayme Partridge and Todd Patterson |

Study found 200 percent increase in nonpracticing-entity lawsuits during the first half of 2015.

Ana Reyes of Williams & Connolly

Dentons' Fee Suit to Proceed

By Zoe Tillman |

The Republic of Guinea must face allegations in a U.S. court that it failed to pay the law firm Dentons more than $10 million in legal fees, a federal district judge in Washington ruled last week.

<b>PROTEST:</b> Reproductive rights proponents outside Whole Woman's Health in McAllen, Texas. Lawyers for the clinic want the justices to review an appeals court ruling that upheld restrictions on clinics.

Abortion Clinic, Privacy Cases Wait in Wings at High Court

By Marcia Coyle |

Significant challenges that involve abortion, solitary confinement, insider trading and other contentious questions await the justices' decisions on whether to add them to the new term of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Energy: IP Rights, Carbon Emissions, and Scandal in South America

We're witnessing uneasy times in the energy sector.

Lawyers for bank traders under investigation have asked the Fourth Circuit to seal upcoming arguments in a dispute over a grand jury subpoena.

Bank Traders' Lawyers Want Sealed Argument in Grand Jury Subpoena Dispute

By Zoe Tillman |

The district court's decision marked "a novel, substantial, and unwarranted expansion in the crime-fraud exception" to attorney-client privilege, the traders' lawyer, Jeffrey Wall of Sullivan & Cromwell, wrote in court papers. The Justice Department counters that the attorney-client privilege wasn't meant to shield clients who lie to counsel to conceal alleged criminal activity. The government opposes the traders' request to hold a secret oral argument, set for next month in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.

John Boehner.

John Boehner Announces Plan to Resign From Congress

By Mike Sacks |

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, on Friday announced his resignation and intent to retire from Congress at the end of October. Over five years, Boehner struggled to control his fractious caucus even as he led his party's opposition to much of President Barack Obama's legislative agenda, including to the Affordable Care Act.


'Holy Copyright!' Batmobile Protected Against Replica Seller

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal appeals court has found that two famous versions of the Batmobile were protected under the copyright for the original Batman comic strip held by DC Comics.

Waiting in Wings for the Supreme Court: Cases to Watch

By Marcia Coyle |

Significant challenges that involve abortion, solitary confinement, insider trading and other contentious questions await the justices’ decisions on whether to add them to the new term of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Members of the Mochida family awaiting evacuation.

As Term Opens, A New Look At The Making of Landmark Cases

By Marcia Coyle |

As the U.S. Supreme Court begins to tackle new cases that could become landmarks in the October 2015 term, C-SPAN, in cooperation with the National Constitution Center, launches a new series that examines in depth 12 older landmark cases that helped to shape the meaning of the Constitution.

Musical Chairs on the Docket in Kansas Capital Cases

By Tony Mauro |

Bring a scorecard to the U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments set for Oct. 7. With six lawyers arguing in three cases that involve three defendants and two separate issues, you’ll need something to keep things straight.

Pope Francis on St. Peter's square at The Vatican.  June 6, 2014.

When Justices Talk About the Pope

By Marcia Coyle |

The word "pope," as in leader of the Roman Catholic Church, was mentioned in 11 cases during oral arguments in the last 60 years—the most recent in 2011 and the oldest in 1959, according to the NLJ's review of SCOTUS Search, a database of transcripts.

Leslie Caldwell.

'Call Us,' DOJ's Leslie Caldwell Tells White-Collar Bar

By Mike Scarcella |

Leslie Caldwell, the assistant attorney general for the U.S. Justice Department's Criminal Division, spoke at length Tuesday about the Justice Department's new prosecution guidelines that address cooperation credit and a new focus on individual accountability. Says Suits Filed as ‘Doe’ Are a No-Go

By Amanda Bronstad |

The parent company of extramarital site said it plans to get lawsuits filed in the wake of its recent security breach tossed out by arguing that the plaintiffs have improperly used “Doe” pseudonyms and that their claims belong in arbitration.

Chubby Checker

VOIR DIRE: In A Twist Over Knotz

Chubby Checker is suing a men's fashion company over cufflinks named after him. Also: a paralegal who forged signatures to save himself time at work may face time in jail.

<b>DEBATES:</b> debates: Republican presidential candidates Jeb Bush, Lindsey Graham, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, left to right, last week put the Supreme Court—including previous and would-be nominations, and this past term’s big decisions—into sharp focus.

High Court Now a Flashpoint in Presidential Race

By Tony Mauro |

Often a nonissue in presidential campaigns, the U.S. Supreme Court has emerged as a political flashpoint, with candidates from both parties attacking justices and pledging to use "litmus tests" to ensure ideological discipline in their future nominees.


What's In a Word? Maybe Clout, In Veteran Advocates' Briefs

By Tony Mauro |

On at least one measure of influence, veteran U.S. Supreme Court advocates and their firms appear to have the advantage over newcomers to the court: the language in their briefs appears more often in high court opinions.

Associate Justice Elena Kagan, left, discusses her career and the Supreme Court during a talk with Harvard Law School Dean Martha Minow, right, on September 8.

Kagan Reveals 'Killer Instinct' In Violent Video Game Case

By Marcia Coyle |

Justice Elena Kagan recently revealed some "killer instincts" in a conversation at Harvard Law School that touched on the U.S. Supreme Court's 2011 decision about violent video games. In preparation for Brown v. Entertainment Merchants Association, Kagan said, "Justice [Stephen] Breyer and I actually played the violent video games most involved in this case."

Katherine Archuleta, director, Office of Personnel Management, testifies before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government hearing to review IT spending and date security at the OPM in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.

DOJ Wants Massive Government Data Breach Suits Consolidated

By Amanda Bronstad |

It was the worst data breach in the history of the U.S. government, and now the Justice Department says the ensuing lawsuits filed in six different jurisdictions belong in a single court in Washington, D.C.

Demonstrators outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, March 25, 2014, during arguments in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, Inc.

Contraceptive Mandate Challengers Win in Eighth Circuit, Creating Split

By Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit on Thursday sided with religious nonprofits that challenged the Affordable Care Act's contraception coverage regulations, splitting with other federal appeals courts that ruled for the Obama administration. Religious nonprofits that lost similar challenges to the government's process for accommodating religious objections to the contraception mandate in other circuits have already petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court.

Pope Francis during a general papal audience at St. Peter's Square at The Vatican in Italy, on September 9, 2015.

Popemobile at Your Door?

By Katelyn Polantz and Zoe Tillman |

With just days until Pope Francis' arrival, one of Washington's largest industries is taking a wait-and-see approach to the downtown disruption the visit will bring.

Study: Veteran Advocates Influence the Language of High Court Rulings

By Tony Mauro |

New evidence of the clout of veteran U.S. Supreme Court advocates and their law firms is revealed in a study showing that the language in their briefs appears in court opinions more often than that of newcomers to the court.

Around 50 teachers, union representatives and students protest the laying off of four teachers Friday, June 12, 2015, at the Academy of Personalized Learning in Redding, Calif. Union officials say the teachers are being let go because they were among 21 teachers who joined the California Teachers Association last year. The layoffs come on the heels of five other layoffs in December.

Brief of the Week: Will Labor Case Affect Compulsory Bar Membership?

By Tony Mauro |

The upcoming U.S. Supreme Court case Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association could significantly affect public sector labor unions. But a new brief discusses how the case could also affect mandatory bar membership for lawyers.


Finding the Justice with the Most Literary Chops

By Marcia Coyle |

Well, it’s not yet time yet to get really, really serious about the new U.S. Supreme Court term. So professor Scott Dodson and his wife, Ami, sought to discover who on the current court is the most literary justice and which literary authors are most cited.

Covington & Burling's new Washington, D.C. offices at CityCenterDC

Unfinished Work at Covington's New Office Sparks Litigation

By Katelyn Polantz |

Covington & Burling's offices at CityCenterDC are in the middle of two spats over payment between a general contractor and subcontracting construction firms—and not all finishing touches in the new building are done.

Florida Coastal School of Law.

Suit Claiming Botched Entrance Exam Against Law School Tossed

By Karen Sloan |

A federal judge in Nevada has dismissed a lawsuit against the Florida Costal School of Law brought by a prospective student who claims he was wrongfully denied admission to the school due to a botched exam.

Mogadishu, Somalia.  2012.

Q&A: The Fight Against Somali War Crimes

By Amanda Bronstad |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will hear oral arguments on Wednesday over whether to uphold dismissal of human rights abuse claims brought under the Alien Tort Statute against Colonel Yusuf Abdi Ali, who controlled a region in northern Somalia during the regime of military dictator Mohamed Siad Barré in the 1980s. The National Law Journal spoke with Kathy Roberts, legal director of the Center for Justice and Accountability about the case. She is representing a victim of abuse by Ali's men.

Plaintiffs Firm Accuses Ex-Members in 'Deceptive Campaign' to Steal Clients

By Zoe Tillman |

Plaintiffs firm Grant & Eisenhofer is accusing one of its former attorneys, Reuben Guttman, of orchestrating a "surreptitious and deceptive campaign" to steal clients and divert money owed to the firm when he left to start his own shop.

<b>MEMO:</b> Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates wrote the guidelines announced last week.

DOJ Sets Sights on Executives

By Katelyn Polantz and Zoe Tillman |

The new policy rewrites the way corporations are expected to cooperate with the government when they're under investigation, making cooperation and leniency an all-or-nothing approach.

Justice Stephen Breyer on Capitol Hill in March 2015.

Q&A: Justice Breyer's Interview With The NLJ

By Tony Mauro |

In an interview with The National Law Journal, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer talks not only about his new book The Court and The World but on a range of issues—including his thinking about retirement, the collegiality of the court, his recent dissent on capital punishment, and Ted Cruz, the high-court advocate.

Justice Stephen Breyer on Capitol Hill in 2012.

Justice Breyer Takes On The World

By Tony Mauro |

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer does not sound like he is retiring any time soon. "You want to know when. I don't know. I will figure it out at some point," the 77-year-old justice told The National Law Journal in a wide-ranging interview about the death penalty, collegiality on the court, and his new book The Court and the World. The book examines the range of cases in which the high court has looked beyond U.S. borders for insight. Breyer also talked about his upcoming appearance on Stephen Colbert's new "Late Show" on CBS.

Kay Jewelers.

Gender Bias Case Revived Against Nation’s Biggest Jeweler

By Amanda Bronstad |

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reinstated an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sex discrimination case against the nation’s largest jewelry retailer, ruling for the first time that courts should not scrutinize the sufficiency of the agency’s pre-suit investigation.

In 'All or Nothing' Approach, Justice Dept. Puts White-Collar Bar on Edge

By Katelyn Polantz |

The new policy, announced Thursday by Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates, rewrites the way corporations are expected to cooperate with the government when they're under investigation, taking away some avenues to build credit toward a deal. Instead, the department says it will make cooperation and leniency an all-or-nothing approach.

Melvyn Weiss of Milberg.  HANDOUT.

Appeals Court Opens Door for Class Action Against Milberg LLP

By Amanda Bronstad |

A federal appeals court has paved the way for a malpractice class action against Milberg LLP brought by clients who sued the law firm over a botched securities fraud case.

Emmet Sullivan, left, and Jed Rakoff, right.

Judges Critical of DOJ Praise New White-Collar Guidelines

By Zoe Tillman |

Two federal judges who have criticized the lack of prosecutions against senior executives in white-collar crime cases—Judge Jed Rakoff in New York and Judge Emmet Sullivan in Washington—praised new U.S. Department of Justice guidelines announced on Thursday that target misconduct by individuals.

Sally Yates.

What Sally Yates Plans to Say on White-Collar Crime

By Zoe Tillman |

The U.S. Department of Justice, which has long faced criticism that it went too easy on corporate executives after the financial meltdown, has crafted new guidelines for prosecutors that put a focus on executives and other individual actors in white-collar criminal investigations.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers play against the Washington Redskins at FedExField stadium.  November 16, 2014.

NFL On Defensive End of Suits Over Televised Games

By Amanda Bronstad |

The National Football League is playing defense against several class actions alleging antitrust violations over its Sunday Ticket package, which allows fans to watch games broadcast outside their local television market.

John Boehner.

House Suit Against Obama Administration Jumps Early Hurdle

By Mike Sacks |

The House of Representatives, alleging an unconstitutional infringement on its appropriation powers, can sue the Obama administration over Affordable Care Act spending, a federal judge in Washington, ruled on Wednesday. The court did not rule on the merits of the case.

High Court Asked for Rule on Holdout Juror Removal

By Marcia Coyle |

Jury secrecy is considered sacrosanct, as is a criminal defendant’s right to an impartial panel. In a petition filed with the U.S. Supreme Court, a convicted murderer is asking the justices what should guide a judge in a criminal trial who investigates jurors' claims that a possible holdout refuses to deliberate.

What the Justices Revealed on Their Summer Travels

By Tony Mauro |

After a tense term of issuing opinions and dissents, U.S. Supreme Court justices fanned out across the globe in the last two months, some of them sinking out of sight while others hit the speaking circuit.

It's a Small IP World After All

It's a shrinking IP world out there, from the potential for patent trolls to make headway into Europe to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that has drawn a sharper line between infringement and invalidity.

Will Trolls Make Their Way Across the Pond?

By Claudia Wilson Frost and Markus Gampp |

Court Sheds Light on Key Patent Licensing Issue

By John "Jay" Jurata Jr. |

A fight in the smartphone wars concerns intellectual property owners seeking to "hold up" development.

Federal Circuit Rules for Substance over Form

By Robert W. Dickerson and Michael I. Rothwell |

Court rejects an arcane bit of patent law in which the lack of a single word created a pivotal presumption.

<b>GATHERED:</b> Protests at the Supreme Court are allowed on the sidewalk in front of the building—as seen here in 2000 over the disputed presidential election—but not on the marble plaza and steps.

The Quest to Be Seen and Heard Outside the U.S. Supreme Court

By Marcia Coyle |

Could the justices soon confront a First Amendment challenge to the prohibition on demonstrations on their marble plaza?

A Sharp Line Between Infringement and Invalidity

By Benjamin R. Huber |

A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision makes a new type of trial proceeding an attractive option.

Headquarters of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington D.C.

Judge Orders SEC to Stop Dawdling on Disclosure Rule

By Sheri Qualters |

A Boston federal judge ordered the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to speed up rulemaking that will require energy companies to disclose their payments to governments in exchange for commercial development of natural resources.

Hiroshi Shimizu, Senior Vice President of Global Quality Assurance at Takata Corporation, during a U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing examining airbag defects and the recall process.”  November 20, 2014.

With Novel Argument, Automakers Seek Stay in Airbag Suits

By Amanda Bronstad |

Automakers sued over faulty airbags made by Takata Corp. have asked a federal judge in Florida to halt the litigation for at least six months, arguing that the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and not the courts, has "primary jurisdiction" over claims brought by consumers.

Rudy Telscher.

Supreme Court Patent Fee Fight Yields $1.8 Million Award

By Tony Mauro |

A dispute over attorney fees in a patent case that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court last year has finally brought the winning lawyer a nearly $1.8 million fee award.

People demonstrate in front of the Whole Women's Health clinic Saturday, October 4, 2014, in McAllen, Texas.

Texas Abortion Clinics Ask Supreme Court to Review Restrictions

By Marcia Coyle |

Raising the stakes that abortion will be on the decision docket in the new U.S. Supreme Court term, a Texas coalition of reproductive health clinics and physicians asked the justices on Wednesday to review a federal appellate court decision upholding state restrictions that, they say, would close more than 75 percent of the clinics in Texas.

Ronald Brock, of, demonstrating outside the U.S. Supreme Court on the court's final day of the 2014-15 term.

The Quest to Be Seen and Heard Outside the U.S. Supreme Court

By Marcia Coyle |

More than 30 years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the First Amend­ment rights of those who sought to demonstrate on the sidewalks around the high court. Could the justices soon confront a First Amendment challenge to the prohibition on demonstrations on their marble plaza?

Study: How Supreme Court Decisions Move Markets

By Tony Mauro |

When the U.S. Supreme Court handed down its first ruling on the Affordable Care Act in 2012, some news outlets reported incorrectly that the law had been struck down.

Denver Sturm College of Law professor Lucy Marsh.

EEOC Finds Women Profs Paid Less at Denver Law School

By Karen Sloan |

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has found evidence that the University of Denver Sturm College of Law has for decades paid female faculty less than their male colleagues.

Prison Officials Push to Reduce Number of Inmates in Isolation

By Tony Mauro |

New data gathered by state and federal corrections officials indicates that as many as 100,000 prison inmates were in solitary confinement in 2014, far higher than previous estimates. A report issued Wednesday by the Association of State Correctional Administrators in conjunction with Yale Law School's Arthur Liman Public Interest Program also says that prison officials regard prolonged isolation of prisoners as a "grave problem," and are moving quickly to rein in the practice.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, right, talks with David Moore following her office's refusal to issue marriage licenses at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Tuesday, Sept. 1, 2015. Although her appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court was denied, Davis still refuses to issue marriage licenses.

Defiant Ky. Clerk Ordered to Court in Same-Sex Marriage Standoff

By Marcia Coyle |

A federal judge in Ashland, Kentucky, has summoned a county clerk who continues to defy a court order to issue same-sex marriage licenses, and her entire staff to appear Thursday to explain why she should not be held in contempt.

Bert Rein, of Wiley Rein, addresses the media outside the U.S. Supreme Court, on the day of oral arguments in Shelby County v. Holder, a case challenging Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act.  February 27, 2013.

Wiley Rein Denied $2M in Legal Fees in Voting Case

By Zoe Tillman |

Wiley Rein lawyers who successfully challenged a section of the Voting Rights Act in the U.S. Supreme Court are not entitled to collect $2 million in legal fees from the government, a federal appeals court in Washington ruled on Tuesday.

Acting As Plaintiff, Lawyer Loses Award in Drink Coupon Case

By Amanda Bronstad |

Prominent class action attorney Adam Levitt has been stripped of the $15,000 incentive award he received as a lead plaintiff in litigation over Southwest Airlines Co. drink coupons after he failed to disclose he was co-counsel with his own lawyer in a separate case.