Wednesday, October 27, 2010

LAW.COM Newswire Highlights October 27, 2010

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October 27, 2010.

GlaxoSmithKline to Pay $750M to Settle Federal Charges Over Adulterated Drugs

The National Law Journal
GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to pay $750 million to settle federal charges in the fourth-largest health care fraud settlement in the U.S. The deal calls for GSK to plead guilty to introducing four types of adulterated drugs for delivery into interstate commerce from March 2003 to October 2004. The drugs were made by subsidiary SB Pharma Puerto Rico at a since-closed facility. The GSK settlement is the first significant settlement of a criminal case that includes an adulteration charge, according to a U.S. Attorney.

Judge Credits AstraZeneca's 'Prior Invention' Claim in Patent Fight

The Legal Intelligencer
A federal judge has dismissed a patent infringement suit brought by Teva Pharmaceuticals after finding that allegedly infringing product formulations in the cholesterol drug Crestor were "conceived of and reduced to practice" by AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals prior to Teva's patent. The decision by U.S. District Judge William H. Yohn Jr. in Teva v. AstraZeneca was premised on the century-old axiom in patent law that "a product which would literally infringe if later in time anticipates if earlier."

Government's 'Duty to Defend' Not a Given

The National Law Journal
The vaunted governmental "duty to defend" acts of Congress has been invoked often in recent weeks in connection with the "don't ask, don't tell" law barring gays from the military -- a law that the Obama administration opposes but still is poised to defend. But history shows that this longstanding practice is not always followed, and solicitors general have been throwing provisions of federal laws under the bus for decades. Thirteen times in the past six years, the Justice Department has opted not to defend a statute.

Baker & McKenzie Hit With $103 Million Malpractice Verdict

The American Lawy
A Mississippi jury has found in favor of a former Baker & McKenzie client by returning a $103 million malpractice verdict against the firm and a lawyer in its Dallas office. Plaintiff S. Lavon Evans Jr. claimed that Baker & McKenzie represented him at the same time that it advised his partner in an oil rig drilling business, according to reports. Evans further claims he was unaware that his partner, Charles Reed Cagle, was insolvent and was using his own assets as leverage to obtain millions of dollars in loans.

Gay Mich. Student Drops Protection Request Against Assistant AG

The Associated Press
The gay student government president at the University of Michigan dropped a request Monday for a personal protection order against a state lawyer who heckled his speeches and criticized him on a blog. Chris Armstrong had accused Assistant Attorney General Andrew Shirvell of videotaping a late-night party at his off-campus house, showing up at campus appearances with a sign that said "racist" and "liar" and lambasting him as someone with a "radical homosexual agenda" on his blog.

Disbarment Sought for Attorney Who Claimed to Channel Client's Dead Wife

The National Law Journal
The State Bar of Arizona wants to throw the book at an attorney who told a client she was channeling his dead wife, then allegedly lied about it during an unrelated disciplinary proceeding. Earlier this month, the Disciplinary Commission of the Supreme Court of Arizona upped Charna Johnson's suspension from six months and a day to one year followed by two years of probation. However, the State Bar is still not satisfied and has filed a notice of its intent to ask the Supreme Court to review the case and disbar Johnson.

9th Circuit Delivers Death Blow to Off-Label Marketing Suit Against Amgen

The American Lawyer
The 9th Circuit has affirmed the dismissal of a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act class action accusing Amgen of falsely marketing its anemia medicines, Epogen and Aranesp, for off-label purposes such as heart failure and cancer. The court concluded that none of the Amgen statements cited by plaintiffs were actually false or misleading when their complaint was made, and also found that the class, led by the Sheet Metal Workers National Health Fund, failed to link the statements to any alleged injury.

Court Declines to Sanction Former Partner Suing Holland & Knight

New York Law Journal
A New York state judge has declined to sanction a former Holland & Knight partner who is suing the firm over his 2002 termination. In a decision filed Monday, the judge declined to adopt a referee's recommendation to fine John K. Weir $2,500 plus attorney fees and costs for failing to file a timely notice that his case was ready for trial. The judge said the finding that Weir missed the deadline to file the notice does not rise "to the level of harassment or other frivolous conduct" within the meaning of the law.

Free Speech Protects Amazon Buyers' Data, Federal Judge Rules

The Associated Press
Lists that identify the books, music and movies individual customers bought from online retailer are protected from North Carolina tax collectors, a federal judge has ruled. Amazon said in an April lawsuit that disclosing the names, addresses and purchases of customers as requested by the North Carolina Revenue Department would harm anyone who may have bought controversial books or movies. At stake are potentially millions of dollars in taxes that North Carolina contends Amazon was responsible for collecting.

Lawyer Arrested for Allegedly Making Threatening, Racist Phone Calls

New York Law Journal
A lawyer for the New York state Department of Civil Service was arrested last week for allegedly making threatening phone calls over the summer. In the first, the caller used racial slurs and threatened to kill a black woman. In the second, the caller threatened to "kidnap the little black boy who plays outside and tie him up." The calls blamed on James A. Hennessey Jr., which authorities said were masked by using a website called, were traced by police and the FBI.

Lawyer Files Continuance for 'Very Important Baseball Business' -- Attending World Series

Texas Lawyer
A Dallas lawyer filed a continuance motion Monday so he can attend his favorite team's first-ever World Series appearance today. Darrell W. Cook says he has tickets to Game 1 of the World Series between the Texas Rangers and the San Francisco Giants, which falls on the same day as a pretrial hearing in his client's code enforcement case. "I would really rather be there ... at the court," the motion says, "But I can't be there and attending to some very important baseball business in San Francisco. I'm only one dude.

Sidley Austin Looks to Riverbed to Build a Broader Network

Legal Tech Newsletter
Sidley Austin had a legacy network connecting its 17 offices in the U.S., Asia and Europe, resulting in slow data transfers and limiting the firm's ability to centralize IT resources. To create better connectivity between offices, the firm upgraded its network with Riverbed appliances.

Visit Legal Technology

The Careerist: The Power Look -- White Males Only?

The Careerist

Check out some of the latest posts on the blog, The Careerist. The Power Look -- White Males Only? Plus Law Schools Face More Pressure to Provide Job Data -- Maybe; Ugandan Women Get Rare Chance to Go to Law School And MBAs More Uncouth Than J.D.s?

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Managing Partners Have Positive Outlook, Survey Shows

Daily Business Review
After two years of increasing pessimism, the Daily Business Review's annual managing partner survey found that the vast majority of managing partners at firms with South Florida offices feel "somewhat" or "quite" optimistic about the future of both their law firms and the industry.

Visit News & Views
Some Disabled Lawyers Find Going Solo Works Best

The National Law Journal

George Walls Jr., who is paralyzed from the shoulders down, has worked for another lawyer, and as an in-house lawyer, but found that going solo is the best fit for him -- and he's not alone. Disabled lawyers across the country say hanging out a shingle helps them manage their physical needs and limitations. Those who receive Social Security disability benefits can maximize income without exceeding government-benefit restrictions and even provide low-cost or free legal help to disabled and low-income clients.

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