Courts Litigation

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.

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

A Rough Ride in Store for VW Shareholders in U.S.

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.

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.

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.

King & Spalding Associate Reflects on 'Intensity' of High Court Debut

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.

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"?

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.

When Hackers Take Your Digital Data Hostage

By John F. Stephens |

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

Civil Actions

Cases recently filed in the Washington-area district courts.

<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.

<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?

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.

Ex-Law School Employee in Fraud Case Fires Back

By Karen Sloan |

A former graduate and employee of Arizona Summit Law School is claiming that she has ample grounds to sue for discrimination and fraud despite the school’s arguments that her lawsuit is meritless.

Richard Leon.

Health Law Opponents Win Ruling

By Zoe Tillman |

The contraceptive coverage mandate of the federal health care law unconstitutionally distinguishes between religious and non-religious groups that oppose abortion, a federal district judge in Washington ruled on Monday.

New Look at Juvenile Sentencing

By Marcia Coyle |

The U.S. Supreme Court this term will decide whether its 2012 ban on mandatory life without parole sentences for juvenile murderers is retroactive. But some of those offenders and their lawyers hope for more from the justices.

Civil Actions

Cases recently filed in the Washington-area district courts.

<b>SEARCHED:</b> Federal agents in 2013 take evidence from the Florida office of Dr. Salomon Melgen, a co-defendant in the public corruption case against Sen. Robert Menendez in New Jersey court.

Prosecutors Push Back Against Menendez in Corruption Case

By Charles Toutant |

In a sharp rejoinder to U.S. Sen. Robert Menendez's effort to dismiss his corruption indictment, the U.S. Department of Justice said last week the New Jersey Democrat is interpreting the U.S. Constitution's speech or debate clause broadly to immunize criminal activity.

Verdicts & Settlements

A summary of this week's notable cases.

<b>CALIFORNIA:</b> Protesters have long debated constitutionality of the state’s system.

Death Penalty Under Review

By Marcia Coyle |

A federal appellate panel on Aug. 31 will begin to determine whether California's "dysfunctional" death penalty system is unconstitutional.

Police outside the U.S. Supreme Court moments after the court announced its opinion.  June 26, 2015.

Speech Restrictions on Supreme Court Plaza Upheld

By Marcia Coyle |

The elevated, white marble plaza in front of the U.S. Supreme Court's home is a nonpublic forum where demonstrations and displays are constitutionally prohibited, a Washington federal appeals panel ruled Friday. In 'Hodge v. Talkin,' the unanimous three-judge panel, led by Judge Sri Srinivasan, upheld the constitutionality of the federal law barring assemblages and displays as it applied to the high court's plaza. The court reversed a trial judge.