Monday, September 27, 2010

LAW.COM Newswire Highlights September 27, 2010

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Winston & Strawn Kicked Off $1 Billion Pfizer Case
The National Law Journal

Citing a conflict of interest, a federal magistrate judge in Utah has blocked Winston & Strawn from representing Pfizer in a $1 billion lawsuit brought by Brigham Young University over the drug Celebrex. The problem is that Winston & Strawn partner Gene Schaerr represented BYU in other matters at the same time that Winston & Strawn was representing Pfizer. Magistrate Judge Brooke Wells said that Winston & Strawn appeared to "abandon" BYU in favor of a more lucrative matter.

Law Firm Leaders Express 'Guarded Optimism' About Business Outlook for 2011
New York Law Journal

When managing partners of law firms large and small gathered in the same room last week at Patterson Belknap Webb & Tyler, the inevitable question arose: Will business get any better? A straw poll conducted at the meeting revealed "guarded optimism," according to a New York State Bar Association task force. Of the 21 law firm leaders who participated in the survey, only two said they expected legal business would decrease in 2011, with the rest predicting flat to modest growth.

New Recusal Controversy in W. Va. High Court
The National Law Journal

A West Virginia Supreme Court justice has refused to take himself out of a case involving the state cap on punitive damages, even though he pledged during his election campaign that he would never vote to overturn the law imposing the cap. A decision by another judge on the West Virginia high court not to recuse in a case involving one of his campaign donors was challenged all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court and led to a landmark ruling on judicial recusals last year.

Ga. Attorney Arrested on Drug Charges for Giving Prescription Pills to Friend
Fulton County Daily Report

Agents with the Georgia Bureau of Investigation have arrested a criminal defense lawyer who was acquitted last year of federal money laundering charges, charging him with eight felony counts of drug distribution for giving 11 prescription pills to a friend who turned out to be an undercover informant. J. Mark Shelnutt says that his arrest comes on the heels of calls from clients and others warning him that they were asked by law enforcement agents to "sign statements they know are false against me and wear wires."

Former Prosecutor Charged With Aiding False Confession
New Jersey Law Journal

Clifford Minor, a former Essex County, N.J., prosecutor and Newark chief judge, has been indicted on charges of accepting a $3,500 bribe for arranging a false confession in a gun possession case, federal officials said Thursday. Minor, who runs a criminal defense practice in Newark, was part of a plan to have one man serve as the "fall guy" for another, officials said. Minor and two accomplices have pleaded not guilty to criminal charges. If convicted, Minor could face up to 20 years in prison and a $250,000 fine.

Lawyers Set to Press 'Play' in Jasmine/Marvell Voice Mail Case
The Recorder

For lawyers on both sides of the infamous trade secrets case brought by Jasmine Networks against Marvell Semiconductor, which might actually reach a jury this week, plenty is at stake. The case has already featured nine years of trench warfare -- and Jasmine's key evidence, which will be laid out this week in opening statements, is as sexy as it was when the bankrupt company filed its suit in 2001: a damning voice mail accidentally left by Marvell's former general counsel.

2nd Circuit Judge Puts Out a Call for Controversial Judicial Nominee
The National Law Journal

Federal judges tend to avoid getting publicly involved in U.S. Senate confirmation battles, but a judge on the 2nd Circuit became an exception last week with a nomination involving one of his former clerks. Senior Judge Jon Newman has called at least one senator to lobby on behalf of the nomination of Robert Chatigny to the same New York-based appeals court. Chatigny has run into heated opposition from Senate Republicans, and the criticism has been strong enough to prompt a defense from Newman.

Appeals Panel Faults Judge's Finding That Lawyer Slipped Jury His Summation Notes
New York Law Journal

A judge's finding that an attorney in a wrongful-death action intentionally slipped his summation notes to the jury by including them within medical records did not constitute grounds for throwing out a $1.1 million settlement agreement that was reached as the jury deliberated, a New York state appeals court has ruled. Attorney Andrew Rosner called Judge Peter O'Donoghue's decision "insane" and "irrational," and said the judge, who is blind, "thinks he has the same superhero abilities" as the blind superhero Daredevil.

6 Partners Abruptly Depart Lytal Reiter to Launch New Firm
Daily Business Review

Six partners, including three on the masthead, abruptly quit West Palm Beach, Fla., law firm Lytal Reiter Clark Fountain & Williams, giving one hour's notice about forming their own firm. The new firm, Clark Fountain La Vista Prather Keen & Littky-Rubin, is headed by Mark Clark, a former 25-year partner at Lytal Reiter and former president of the Academy of Florida Trial Lawyers. The departing lawyers took secretaries and office staff -- and vowed to continue to recruit from their old firm.

Federal Judge Clears Way for First Calif. Execution in 5 Years
The Associated Press

A federal judge cleared the way Friday for California's first execution in nearly five years, citing the state's efforts to revise its lethal injection procedure and a Supreme Court ruling making it harder for condemned inmates to delay their deaths. Albert Greenwood Brown failed to show "a demonstrated risk of severe pain" as required by a 2008 Court decision, ruled Judge Jeremy Fogel, who gave Brown the option of choosing a one-drug injection of sodium thiopental instead of a three-drug cocktail used by the state.

Fla. Couple Awarded $10.2 Million in Significant Wrongful Death Case
Daily Business Review

A high-profile wrongful death case has been decided for the second time in favor of a Florida couple whose child suffered severe brain damage during birth at a U.S. Naval Hospital. A federal district court judge awarded the couple $10.2 million for the death of their son due to neurological damage caused by the negligence of the medical staff. The decision is unique because it caps the award under a new standard set by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which imposed caps based on state court actions.

Judge Censured Over Informal Stay-Away Order
The Recorder

California's Commission on Judicial Performance publicly censured a Placer County judge Thursday for warning a plaintiff to stay away from three defendants in a small-claims matter. In improperly ordering a car salesman to keep away from a customer, two bank employees and the employees' workplace after a Hyundai sale involving all four fell apart, Judge Joseph O'Flaherty abused his authority and got embroiled in the case, the commission determined.

Project Management With SharePoint Task Lists
Special to

The need to better manage client projects and costs is driving law firms to get up to speed on process and project management tools, says Mark Gerow of Fenwick & West. Law firms' best choices are tools that are easy to learn and use, such as Microsoft SharePoint task lists.
Visit Legal Technology

Lawyer Transitions: Figuring Out Multiple Offers
Special to

One of the best problems a job seeker can have is dealing with multiple offers. Consultants Valerie Fontaine and Roberta Kass discuss how to optimize your chances of getting multiple offers to come around the same time, and what to do if you find yourself in such a happy position.
Visit News & Views

The Careerist: So That's What Men Do!
The Careerist

Check out some of the latest posts on the blog, The Careerist. So That's What Men Do! An attorney alleges his law firm fired him because he refused to attend a man-to-man bonding event Also My Date With Speed Mentors And Law School Puppy Mills -- Part 2® 120 Broadway, 5th Floor, New York, NY 10271-1101, Customer Service Phone: (877) 256-CIRC

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