Good morning. The U.S. Supreme Court could soon decide whether to take up claims that Bayer’s Roundup weedkiller causes cancer, and lawyers who say their employers value revenue the most tend to have worse mental health. Plus, we've got a compilation of notable quotes from the first U.S. congressional hearing on the Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol. The Senate advanced nominees for the 7th and 9th Circuits, and lawyers for Roy Moore today will ask a court to revive his defamation case against Sacha Baron Cohen. Let’s kick off Friday by diving into the latest legal news.
Our colleague Jacqueline Thomsen is co-writing The Daily Docket while Diana Novak Jones is on parental leave. Were you forwarded this email? Subscribe here.
Bayer's bid at the U.S. Supreme Court to dismiss claims that its Roundup weedkiller causes cancer was on the justices’ private conference list yesterday and the court could soon announce whether it will take up the dispute, Lawrence Hurley and Ludwig Burger report.
Bayer’s lawyers at WilmerHale, led by appellate veteran Seth Waxman, are seeking review of a 9th Circuit appeals court decision that upheld $25 million in damages awarded to California resident Edwin Hardeman, a user of glyphosate-based weedkiller Roundup, who blamed his cancer on the product. How the Supreme Court acts could help determine whether thousands of similar cases go forward.
The Biden administration’s Justice Department last month urged the justices to shun Bayer’s appeal. The government’s brief was a reversal from the position taken by the administration of Republican former President Donald Trump, which had largely backed Bayer. Kellogg Hansen’s David Frederick is the lead attorney representing Hardeman. The justices are expected to announce their next round of court orders on Monday.
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Lawyers who said their employers mainly value them for their productivity and financial worth tend to have worse mental and physical health than attorneys who feel valued for their talent, skill and humanity, according to a new study.
The survey, as Karen Sloan reports, divided nearly 2,000 lawyers in California and Washington, D.C., into three groups based on what they said their employer valued the most. The group that said their bosses value them for their skill and professionalism reported better outcomes than those who said their employers most valued their ability to produce revenue. Attorneys who report that their employers do not value them or provide no feedback have the worst health outcomes overall, researchers found.
The peer reviewed study, published this month, is the first empirical analysis of connections between lawyer well-being and employer values, according to co-author Patrick Krill, an attorney who advises legal employers on wellness issues. Krill said he hopes the findings prompt leaders to assess their values and how they communicate them to employees: “What’s the message? Do people feel like you just care about their billable hours, or do you actually care about how good of a lawyer and a person they are?”
Disbarred legal author and public interest litigator Joel Joseph failed to show he is fit to resume practicing in the profession, a Washington, D.C., attorney ethics panel said in a new report. A committee said Joseph, disbarred over conduct involving “pro hac vice” applications, had not shown “his present character justifies reinstatement.” Joseph has argued he was wrongly disbarred and the punishment was “unreasonably severe.” (Reuters)
Chicago federal judge John Lee’s nomination to the 7th Circuit advanced to the full Senate along with fellow appeals court nominee Salvador Mendoza, a federal judge in Washington state whom the Biden administration picked to serve on the 9th Circuit. Lee had faced Senate Republican criticism over an order early in the pandemic that upheld restrictions on gatherings. (Reuters)
U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, publicly sanctioned veteran trial lawyer Jeffrey Steinback of Illinois over repeated bids to continue hearings in a case where he was representing a client on fraud charges. “I have profound respect for Judge Williams and the power of the district court, generally, and I advised the court during the hearing that I would accept whatever the judge felt was appropriate, and I am standing by that statement,” Steinback told the Iowa Capital Dispatch. (Des Moines Register)
That’s the number of female Sterling Jewelers employees whose gender bias claims were at the center of a $175 million settlement resolving the long-running litigation. The plaintiffs, represented by the firm Cohen Milstein, alleged the retailer paid women less and promoted them less often than men. Gina Drosos, chief executive of parent company Signet Jewelers, said the settlement lets Signet focus on having an "inclusive and highly engaged culture" while ensuring pay equity and diversity. The settlement averts a Sept. 5 arbitration that would have proceeded on a classwide basis.
If you thought that the U.S. Supreme Court has already said everything there is to say about constitutional standing and federal consumer rights laws, four judges on the 7th Circuit would like a word. They joined in an impassioned dissent on Wednesday, faulting seven colleagues for refusing to reconsider a panel ruling that emotional distress is not enough to establish a plaintiff’s Article III right to sue a debt collector for demanding repayment of time-barred “zombie” debt. Brace yourself, says Alison Frankel, for yet another round of calls for the Supreme Court to clarify exactly when plaintiffs can sue over statutory violations.
“The Third Circuit’s interpretation broke new ground, and at this juncture, it appears to me that that interpretation is very likely wrong.”
—Justice Samuel Alito, writing in dissent in a U.S. Supreme Court order that allows the counting of undated mail-in ballots in an undecided 2021 election for a Pennsylvania judgeship. The decision by the justices against Republican judicial candidate David Ritter, represented by Consovoy McCarthy, means that Pennsylvania officials can count 250 mail-in ballots in that election that lacked a handwritten date. Alito has November on his mind.
Former U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore will ask the 2nd Circuit to revive a $95 million defamation lawsuit against British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, Showtime and Paramount Global. Moore claims he was tricked into being portrayed falsely as a sex offender on Cohen's Showtime series "Who Is America?" The defendants say Moore signed a consent agreement waiving his claims and that the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment protects them because reasonable people would not have believed Moore was a sex offender.
Lawyers for former Harvard University fencing coach Peter Brand and Jie “Jack” Zhao, the chief executive of a telecommunications company, will ask a federal judge to dismiss part of a case against them over an alleged bribery scheme aimed at securing the admission of Zhao’s two sons to the Ivy League school. Brand’s lawyer Douglas Brooks of Libby Hoopes Brooks and Zhao’s attorney William Weinreb of Quinn Emanuel will argue the motion before U.S. District Judge George O'Toole in Boston.
A white police officer who fatally shot a Black man during an April traffic stop in Grand Rapids, Michigan, will be arraigned on a second-degree murder charge. Kent County prosecuting attorney Christopher Becker said the officer, Christopher Schurr, surrendered to the authorities. The killing of Patrick Lyoya, a 26-year-old Congolese refugee, touched off protests by activists who condemned the shooting as an example of unjustified deadly force by police against young Black men.
Court calendars are subject to last-minute docket changes.
What to catch up on this weekend
Ryan Kelley, a Republican running to be governor of Michigan, was arrested on misdemeanor charges in connection with the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Kelley was captured on video “standing in a crowd of people who were "assaulting and pushing past law enforcement officers" at the Capitol, according to an FBI agent’s sworn statement. (Reuters)
A federal judge said the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust lawsuit against American Airlines and JetBlue will go forward. U.S. District Judge Leo Sorokin in Boston set a September trial date in the case, in which the government is asking the court to order the airlines to end a “Northeast Alliance” that allows them to sell each other’s flights in the Boston and New York-area networks. (Reuters)
R. Kelly should be sentenced to more than 25 years in prison after being convicted of sex trafficking, federal prosecutors in Brooklyn said in new court papers. The federal court filing said the R&B singer showed a “callous disregard” for his victims and remains a “serious danger” to the public. Kelly’s attorney Jennifer Bonjean will argue ahead of the June 29 sentencing that her client should spend fewer than 14 years in prison. (Reuters)
Paul Hastings added Eduardo Gallardo in the firm’s New York office as the new co-leader to the mergers and acquisitions practice. Gallardo formerly was co-chair of global M&A at Gibson Dunn. (Reuters)
- Latham said Gary Boss and Analisa Dillingham joined the firm’s New York office as mergers and acquisitions partners. They arrive at Latham from Clifford Chance, where Boss was co-chair of the global insurance sector group. (Latham)
Cozen O’Connor added partner Vanessa Hew as a New York-based corporate intellectual property litigator. She arrives at the firm from Duane Morris. (Cozen O’Connor)
Fox Rothschild said partner Jeanette McPherson joined the firm’s Las Vegas office and will work on the financial restructuring and bankruptcy team. She earlier was managing partner of Schwartzer and McPherson in Las Vegas. (Fox Rothschild)
Alston & Bird brought on New York-based derivatives partner George Cahill from Jones Day. Cahill’s clients include fund managers and banks. (Alston & Bird)
Saul Ewing added Katherine Barrett Wiik as a Minneapolis-based litigation and appellate partner. She earlier practiced at Best & Flanagan. (Saul Ewing)
The indictment and trial of Michael Sussmann, acquitted last month in Washington, D.C., federal court on a charge of lying to the FBI, illustrates the limits of political spin, writes Kevin O’Brien of Ford O’Brien Landy. O’Brien writes that several aspects of the Sussmann indictment suggested problems with the case. Read more about an essential defense strategy.
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