Alexander Dubose Jefferson Adds Former Appellate Justice

Bill Boyce, a justice on the Fourteenth Court of Appeals in Houston for 11 years, has joined Alexander Dubose & Jefferson in the firm’s Houston office.

In addition to his experience on the bench, he practiced law for 18 years as an associate and partner at Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P.

While in private practice he argued more than 60 cases in appellate courts throughout Texas and across the country, including the United States Supreme Court.  He has been board certified by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization in Civil Appellate Law since 1994 and has served on the board’s appellate exam drafting committee.  He has been selected as Appellate Judge of the Year by the Texas Association of Civil Trial and Appellate Specialists.

Read more about Boyce.

 

 




Webinar: Impact of Meritless Claims on Multidistrict Litigation

Hanzo and Duane Morris, LLP will present a joint webinar, “The Impact of Meritless Claims on Multidistrict Litigation And How Social Media Investigations Can Help,” on May 16, 2019 at 1 pm ET. The event will include a discussion about multidistrict litigation, the challenge of meritless claims, and strategic insights about how social media investigations can help.

Multidistrict litigation (MDL), came into being in 1968 with the intent to make it more efficient for parties to litigate complex cases where there is a common question of fact that are pending in different districts. Since then, MDLs have surged to more than 50 percent of all federal civil cases, of which product liability cases now comprise the vast majority of MDLs. Aside from being great for plaintiff’s counsel, however, it’s questionable whether they are good for anyone else, Hanzo says in a news release.

“Unfortunately, what was originally intended to streamline processes has turned into a magnet for meritless claims, where around a third of the MDL claims turn out to be unsupportable. Adding to the injury, these are often discovered at the settlement stage,” according to Hanzo.

In this webinar, industry leaders Sean Burke, partner, and Ryan O’Neil, both of Duane Morris, and Evan Gumz of Hanzo will discuss the problem meritless claims pose to the multidistrict litigation process and explore proactive solutions to help identify frivolous claims early in the process.

The discussion will include:

– The prevalence of meritless claims and their impact on the MDLs
– The problem with discovering meritless claims at the settlement stage
– Legal reform and possible solutions proposed by the subcommittee of the Advisory Committee on Civil Rules
– Bellwether trials
– How social media investigations can help

Speakers

– Sean Burke, Partner, Duane Morris, LLP
– Ryan O’Neil, Associate, Duane Morris, LLP
– Evan Gumz, Senior Account Executive, EDiscovery, Hanzo

Register for the webinar.

 

 




Mineral Interests: Executive Right Holder Liable for Refusing to Lease

A Texas Supreme Court ruling in Texas Outfitters Limited v. Nicholson explains why there is no bright-line rule delineating the duty of the executive right holder in resolving disputes among the mineral interest family, according to Gray Reed & McGraw.

The article in the firm’s Energy & the Law blog explains that the case presented an opportunity for the court to apply the guidelines outlined in an earlier ruling to a different scenario: whether the executive breached the duty by refusing to lease.

The ruling in “Outfitters reinforces the message that surface protection is not the only goal an executive is allowed to pursue – especially if a co-owner has leased.”

Read the article.

 

 

 




McGuireWoods Hit With Records Demand in Suit Over Energy Deal

Bloomberg Law reports that an importer-exporter who says two former partners and their attorneys at McGuireWoods LLP used dirty tricks to strip their joint venture of its assets has accused the law firm of sitting on the records he needs to prove it.

The complaint claims McGuireWoods won’t give Andrew J.C. Kunian any of the legal work it did setting up a deal to export natural gas from Texas to Chile on behalf of two companies he co-owned with Francis Smollon and Colin Williams.

Bloomberg’s Mike Leonard writes: “According to the Delaware complaint, Smollon and Williams ‘orchestrated Kunian’s freeze-out with the full knowledge, cooperation, substantial aid, and assistance of’ McGuireWoods.”

Read the Bloomberg Law article.

 

 




Federal Appeals Court Upholds $9.5 Million Judgment for Encompass Office Solutions

The 5th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals has affirmed a 2016 jury verdict and 2017 trial court judgment that ultimately awarded $9.5 million to a Dallas-based health care company, according to a post on the website of Androvett Legal Media & Marketing.

In a majority opinion, the appellate court found that BlueCross BlueShield of Louisiana failed to properly reimburse Encompass Office Solutions for in-office medical procedures, and distributed a defamatory letter to physicians with false information regarding the company and its services. That letter threatened to terminate the network contracts of doctors who continued to work with Encompass.

Subsequent to the opinion in the case, the court has denied a motion for rehearing.

A trial team from Thompson & Knight LLP represented Encompass throughout the district court hearings and before the 5th Circuit.

“This case has a lengthy history spanning several years, and we’re pleased that finally Encompass will be properly compensated for the services it provided and the damages the company has incurred,” said Jennifer Rudenick Ecklund, a trial partner at Thompson & Knight who argued the case before the trial court and 5th Circuit. The judgment remains subject to the awarding of interest and legal fees to Encompass.

Other members of the Thompson & Knight trial team included William L. Banowsky, Andrew C. Cookingham, Greg W. Curry, Richard B. Phillips, Jr. and Reed Randel.

Encompass provides mobile ambulatory surgery services that allow doctors to safely perform surgeries in their offices. Encompass’s business is primarily focused on women’s health, allowing patients to have sensitive gynecological procedures done in the comfort and safety of the doctor’s offices while providing the necessary anesthesia care. This method reduces the infection risks associated with hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers, and provides both doctors and patients with a more efficient and cost-effective means of delivering medically necessary surgical care.

 

 




Webinar: Ensuring Copyright Protection in a Changing Legal Landscape

Fitch, Even, Tabin & Flannery LLP will present a free webinar, “Ensuring Copyright Protection in a Changing Legal Landscape,” featuring Fitch Even attorneys Alisa C. Simmons and Kerianne A. Strachan.

The event will be on Thursday, May 2, 2019, at 9 am PDT / 10 am MDT / 11 am CDT / 12 noon EDT. It also will be available as an on-demand webinar after presentation.

The recent Supreme Court decision in Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com, LLC, established that a copyright owner may not file an infringement suit until the U.S. Copyright Office has acted on the copyright owner’s application to register its copyright in the work. Moving quickly to register copyrights is now an important step in safeguarding your rights.

During this webinar, presenters will share insights on the following:
• The practical effects of the Fourth Estate Public Benefit Corp. v. Wall-Street.com decision and other benefits of early registration
• Strategies for protecting copyright rights in work product produced by employees
• Strategies for obtaining and maintaining necessary permissions to use third-party materials in advertisements and promotions
• Recent updates enacted by Congress to benefit music publishers through the Music Modernization Act

Register for the webinar.




Apple, Qualcomm Settle Bitter Dispute Over iPhone Technology

iPhone -SmartphoneApple and Qualcomm have dueled on three continents over the division of billions of dollars of smartphone profits and even how much consumers pay for their phones but as a trial on the issue began Tuesday, the two companies said they had essentially made up.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports:

The companies, one the maker of iPhones and the other one of the largest providers of mobile chips, said they had agreed to dismiss all litigation between them worldwide. They added that they had reached a six-year agreement for Cupertino’s Apple to pay royalties on Qualcomm’s patents, which was effective as of April 1.

Read the SF Chronicle article.

 

 




Revenge of the Robocall Recipients: Jury Finds Marketer ViSalus Liable for 1.8 Million Calls

The outcome of a three-day class action trial accusing the nutritional supplement marketer ViSalus of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act hinged on the testimony of the named plaintiff, reports Reuters.

Jurors heard Lori Wakefield testify about four automated calls from ViSalus on her home phone line, according to Reuters’ Alison Frankel.

Jurors believed Wakefield and found that the calls violated the TCPA, and that the class Wakefield represents had received a grand total of 1.85 million improper robocalls. Their verdict exposes ViSalus to statutory damages of about $925 million, which could be trebled.

Read the Reuters article.

 

 




White Paper: The Essentials of a Defensible Legal Hold Process

A new white paper published by Exterro takes a look at six e-discovery cases from the recent past that spell out the key elements of a defensible legal hold process.

The paper can be downloaded from Exterro’s website at no charge.

“A solid legal hold process is the foundation of all your e-discovery efforts,” the company says on its website. “After all, if your organization fails to preserve relevant electronically stored information, you’re opening up the door for potential problems during litigation. While practitioners, vendors, and thought leaders can offer their opinions on what constitutes a defensible process, the courts are the ultimate authority who determine whether or not your process passes muster.”

The paper covers:

  • Why you need to be timely and specific
  • Why collect-everything approaches aren’t necessary
  • What you’re risking if you fail to show good faith

Download the white paper.

 

 




Dykema Matter Wins Global Competition Review Litigation of the Year

Dykema announced that a case the firm was involved in was named the winner of the Litigation of the Year – Cartel Defence at the Global Competition Review’s 9th annual GCR Awards. The award recognizes the decision from the Eastern District of Michigan denying class certification in Automotive Parts Antitrust Litigation in which Dykema served as Counsel to AB SKF, a leading Swedish-based bearings technology provider.

In a release, the firm said Dykema attorneys involved in the matter include Howard Iwrey, Cale Johnson, Cody Rockey and Brian Moore. The decision by the court was the first certification ruling in long-running multidistrict litigation (MDL) involving 44 separate lead cases alleging price-fixing and bid-rigging against dozens of Tier 1 suppliers of 44 separate parts.

In its ruling, the court ruled first that the direct purchase plaintiffs (aftermarket distributors of bearings impacted by one type of alleged conspiracy) failed to demonstrate that their claims were typical of other putative class members (which included OEMs allegedly impacted by other types of conspiracies) or that they could adequately represent the interest of all putative class members.

The firm’s release said the court also ruled that the plaintiffs failed to satisfy the Rule 23(b) predominance requirement (that questions of law or fact common to class members predominate over any questions affecting only individual members). The court (following the Supreme Court’s decision in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend) reasoned that the plaintiffs failed to isolate the effects of a given conspiratorial effort upon all or a significant portion of the proposed class, rejecting experts’ regression analyses and testimony about the overall nature and characteristics of the market for bearings.

GCR editors selected the finalists in each category, and readers voted on the winners. The awards were presented at a ceremony on March 26 in Washington, D.C.

 

 




Madoff Victims May Proceed With Suit Against Attorney

Victims of Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme convinced a federal magistrate judge April 11 that their class action against the attorney who represented them belongs in federal court, reports Bloomberg Law.

Investors claimed attorney Helen Chaitman of Chaitman LLP and Becker & Poliakoff LLP improperly represented clients with competing interests while at the two firms.

A magistrate judge found that the case shouldn’t be dismissed, writes Bloomberg’s Perry Cooper.

Read the Bloomberg Law article.

 

 




When Union Contracts And Overtime Law Conflict: Court Provides Balance For Employers

The 9th Circuit recently handed down an opinion that helps provide guidance to those employers trying to comply with collective bargaining agreements while simultaneously being challenged to apply potentially inconsistent definitions in California’s overtime law, writes Rebecca King for a Fisher & Phillips website post.

The case involved an offshore oil worker whose contract called for 12-hour shifts for a week and required him to be on the off platform between shifts. He wanted to be paid for the hours he was required to be on site.

Read the article.

 

 




Download: Zapproved’s Latest Guide for a Quick Reference to Essential Ediscovery Law

Zapproved has published “The Essential Guide to Ediscovery Law and Practice” and made it available for downloading from the company’s website at no charge.

The new guide covers relevant critical sections of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and includes case law examples.

The company says the guide summarizes those portions of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure that pertain specifically to ediscovery: from Rule 26’s definitions of scope and proportionality to Rule 37’s explanation of spoliation and delineation of available sanctions.

And the guide includes interspersed targeted advice and case law illustrations.

Download the guide.

 

 




Boeing Shareholder Files Class-Action Lawsuit, Alleges Plane Maker Concealed 737 Max Safety Risks

The Washington Post is reporting that a Boeing shareholder has filed a class-action lawsuit accusing the company of covering up safety problems with its 737 Max, the commercial jet at the center of two crashes that killed 346 people.

Shareholder Richard Seeks claims Boeing “effectively put profitability and growth ahead of airplane safety and honesty.” The suit said investors suffered economic losses because of Boeing’s omissions and is seeking damages for alleged securities fraud violations, writes the Post‘s Hamza Shaban.

Seeks said he bought 300 Boeing shares in early March and sold them weeks later at a more than $14,000 loss.

Read the Washington Post article.

 

 




Former Hertz General Counsel Rebuffs Demand for Clawback

Hertz Global Holdings has filed a lawsuit against its former general counsel and some other former managers after they refused to pay back at least $70 million in incentive compensation for their roles in an accounting scandal five years ago, reports The Global Legal Post.

The company accused the former executives of pressuring employees to use fraudulent accounting techniques to inflate income and earnings, according to a March 25 lawsuit.

Former general counsel Jeffrey Zimmerman has refused to return incentive compensation tied to the erroneous accounting results.

Read the Global Legal Post article.

 

 

 




Chicago Lawyer, Client Sanctioned More Than $1M for Frivolous Condo Association Lawsuits

The Cook County Record is reporting that a county judge has ordered more than $1 million in sanctions and penalties against a lawyer and his client in connection with a litany of legal actions against a condo association.

The lawyer is John Xydakis, a Chicago real estate lawyer. He represented Marshall Spiegel, who sued the 1618 Sheridan Road Condominium Association. On Feb. 8, 2018, Judge Margaret Ann Brennan denied Spiegel’s request to file a 99-count, 223-page fifth amended complaint and later that year denied his motion to reconsider that ruling, writes Scott Holland.

The judge’s order noted “Xydakis filed claims against nearly every resident” of the condo and “without any factual basis … alleged serious offenses, including theft, slander, harassment and stalking.” She said the claims they brought “have no basis in law or fact.”

Read the Cook County Record article.

 

 




Halliburton’s Top Lawyer Helps Fend Off Billions in Lawsuits

During his five years as Halliburton’s top lawyer, Robb Voyles has won two cases at the U.S. Supreme Court, successfully concluded a nine-figure tax dispute with its former KBR subsidiary and convinced the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to end its investigation of the company without a fraud finding.

Mark Curriden of the Texas Lawbook, writing for the Houston Chronicle, profiles the chief legal officer, one of the most senior and respected executives at Halliburton and widely recognized as a leader of the legal profession.

Just three weeks ago, Voyles won what may have been his sweetest victory yet — and it involves the first case that brought Voyles to the attention of Halliburton executives, Curriden writes. Chief U.S. District Judge Barbara Lynn of Dallas officially dismissed the final remnants of a nearly two-decade-old securities class-action lawsuit.

Read the Houston Chronicle article.

 

 




What Did I Agree To? Importance of Reviewing Arbitration Provisions

The law firm Polsinelli recently defeated a motion to dismiss a client’s judicial review of an arbitration award, successfully arguing that adopted arbitration rules that waive appellate rights do not waive a party’s right to judicial review under the Federal Arbitration Act.

A post on the firm’s website introduced the case:

The case presented a conflict between the parties’ contractually-adopted arbitration rules and an individual party’s statutory rights under the FAA. Although ultimately successful, the case served as an important reminder for parties to thoroughly review contractual arbitration provisions – and any procedural rules referenced therein – before agreeing to them.

Read the article.

 

 

 




Female Attorneys Sue Biglaw Firm Over ‘Fraternity’ Atmosphere, Allege Bias Against Women

Cleveland-based BigLaw firm Jones Day, which has struggled with its reputation in the past as a diverse and inclusive workplace, is being sued for gender, pregnancy and maternity discrimination to the tune of more than $200 million, reports Crain’s Cleveland Business.

“The firm’s admitted practice of pay confidentiality, combined with the “nearly absolute control” exercised by Jones Day’s Managing Partner Steve Brogan, has resulted in an opaque review system that allows bias and retaliation to run unchecked, Nilab Tolton, Andrea Mazingo, and four Jane Does say in their April 3 complaint,” writes Crain’s Jeremy Nobile.

“Jones Days’s fraternity culture presents female attorneys at Jones Day with an unpalatable choice: participate in a culture that is at best inhospitable to women and at worst openly misogynistic or forego any hope of success at the Firm,” the lawsuit states.

Read the Crain’s article.

 

 




Hospital’s Ex-GC Sues Former Employer and Two Board Members

The former general counsel for the South Florida Hospital District has sued the district and two of its board members, claiming they fired her in retaliation for trying to stop them from violating the law, reports the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Reporter Cindy Krischer Goodman of the Sun-Sentinel explains:

Kimarie Stratos claims the district’s board of commissioners wrongly fired her in September after eight years on the job. In her lawsuit, she alleges her termination happened in retaliation for repeatedly reporting Sunshine Act violations, as well as objections to releasing confidential medical information, wasting of public funds, and other actions by board members. By firing her, she alleges the district has violated the Florida Whistle Blowers Act.

Read the Sun-Sentinel article.