Good morning. Despite Elon Musk calling for a Perkins Coie boycott, Twitter is still relying on the law firm — even hiring it for new work this week. Goodwin Procter became the latest firm to announce layoff plans, and the Miami market has lured another big law firm. Plus: South Carolina strikes down abortion restrictions, while Idaho upholds a ban, and Peloton’s paying a penalty to resolve treadmill safety claims. Happy first Friday of the new year. Let’s jump in.
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Twitter CEO Elon Musk has pilloried Perkins Coie (and other large U.S. law firms) and said last month his company would not work with the Seattle-founded firm and that others should boycott it. But David Thomas reports Twitter just hired Perkins Coie to defend it in a lawsuit filed by a far-right activist who was banned from the site in 2018.
Perkins Coie lawyers are replacing attorneys from Jenner in the California federal court case brought by Laura Loomer, who claims Twitter and other tech companies are censoring conservative voices. Musk last month criticized former Perkins Coie lawyer Michael Sussmann, who had advised Hillary Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign while at the firm. Musk, Twitter and Perkins Coie did not immediately respond to messages seeking comment. Musk famously has long had rocky relationships with lawyers.
Jenner’s departure from Loomer’s case was tied to Twitter shaking up its in-house and outside legal teams since Musk took over the company in October. Perkins Coie is known for its work for Democratic political candidates and the party itself, and the firm also has a deep bench on privacy and technology fronts. Google hired a team from Perkins Coie last month to fight the RNC over claims that gmail was sending its emails to users’ spam folders.
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That’s how much Peloton agreed to pay in civil penalties levied by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission after the agency said Peloton failed to immediately report a defect in its Tread+ treadmills that could cause serious injury or death. The settlement signed by Peloton, represented by Morrison Foerster’s Erin Bosman, does not require it to admit to the CPSC’s charges. The CPSC said Peloton had received more than 150 complaints that the treadmills could pull people or pets underneath them by the time it told the agency about the problem.
If you didn’t look at the case captions, you’d think that Wahlburgers and SmileDirectClub had been socked this week with consumer fraud class actions. Wahlburgers was accused of falsely advertising pickles sold in grocery stores as fresh and all natural. SmileDirect was sued for allegedly lying to consumers about the medical care they can expect to receive when they sign up for the company’s mail-order teeth-straightening devices. But the plaintiffs suing Wahlburgers, which didn't immediately respond to a request for comment, and SmileDirect, which called the allegations "baseless," are not consumers. Instead, writes Alison Frankel, they are competitors asserting Lanham Act false advertising claims. So are suits by competitors more effective than consumer class actions at warding off consumer fraud?
"Dobbs does not control, nor even shed light on, our decision today since the South Carolina Constitution expressly includes a right to privacy."
Temple University Law professor Rachel Rebouche explains what to expect now that the FDA has authorized the sale of abortion pills by retail pharmacies.
What to catch up on this weekend
A former senior associate athletic director at USC will be sentenced after admitting she participated in the U.S. college admissions scandal. Donna Heinel pleaded guilty in November 2021. Prosecutors said Heinel submitted information to a USC admissions committee from the scheme's mastermind, Rick Singer, about students that misled it into believing their applications came from coaches. Heinel has agreed not to appeal any prison sentence of 46 months or less. Singer was sentenced this week to serve a little more than three years in prison.
U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein in Manhattan federal court will weigh the fairness of a $245 million settlement involving antitrust claims against Swiss drugmaker Novartis. The company said last week it was resolving allegations that it tried to delay the launch in the U.S. of generic versions of its Exforge hypertension drug. Retail plaintiffs include CVS, Kroger, Rite Aid and Walgreens. Direct-purchase plaintiffs include Rochester Drug Co-Operative and KPH Healthcare Services. Novartis, represented by a team from Cravath, has denied liability.
“Real Housewives of Salt Lake City” star Jen Shah is scheduled to be sentenced before U.S. District Judge Sidney Stein in Manhattan for her role in a massive telemarketing fraud. Shah pleaded guilty to leading the scheme, which claimed to offer business opportunities to people who wanted to earn money from home, selling them coaching, tax preparation services and more that prosecutors said never amounted to a business. Prosecutors are seeking 10 years in prison for Shah, while she has asked for three years.
Court calendars are subject to last-minute docket changes.
Facebook parent Meta Platforms lost a bid to dismiss a lawsuit brought by an artist who said Facebook violates creators' copyrights by allowing counterfeit ads on the platform. Meta, represented by Randi Singer of Weil Gotshal, did not show that it was entitled to safe harbor from sculptor JL Cook's claims under federal copyright law and could be liable for copyright infringement, U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said. (Reuters)
Juul Labs’ largest stakeholder, Altria Group, has asked a federal judge to order the e-cigarette company to turn over details of its settlement with about 10,000 plaintiffs seeking to hold it responsible for an epidemic of youth vaping. Altria, which is represented by John Massaro of Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer, said the settlement remains "shrouded in secrecy" even from other parties in the litigation. (Reuters)
U.S. District Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald accepted Danske Bank's guilty plea to a bank fraud conspiracy charge and agreement to pay more than $2 billion to end probes into anti-money laundering failures in a now-shuttered branch in Estonia. The DOJ said Danske defrauded U.S. banks about its Estonia customers and its anti-money laundering controls to enable high-risk customers who lived outside Estonia, including in neighboring Russia, to access the American financial system. (Reuters)
JPMorgan Chase must face a lawsuit by the French maker of Ray-Ban sunglasses, which said cybercriminals withdrew $272 million from its New York account after the bank ignored "red flags" of suspicious activity. U.S. District Judge Lewis Liman ruled that a Thailand unit of EssilorLuxottica SA can try to prove that JPMorgan violated a New York law governing commercial contracts that requires refunds of unauthorized payment orders. (Reuters)
New York Attorney General Letitia James sued Celsius Network founder Alex Mashinsky, claiming he defrauded investors out of billions of dollars in digital currency by concealing the failing health of his now-bankrupt cryptocurrency lending platform. Mashinsky persisted in promoting Celsius as a safe alternative to banks, paying interest as high as 17% on deposits, while concealing hundreds of millions of dollars of losses in risky investments, according to the suit. Neither Mashinsky nor his lawyer immediately responded to requests for comment. (Reuters)
Latham hired former U.S. judge Gary Feinerman as a commercial litigation partner in the firm’s Chicago office. Prior to joining the federal bench in 2010, Feinerman worked at Mayer Brown and Sidley Austin, and he served as Illinois' solicitor general from 2003 to 2007. (Reuters)
- King & Spalding added Houston-based partner Michael Fishel, who joined the corporate, finance and investments practice. He was previously at Sidley. (King & Spalding)
Morgan Lewis hired SEC veteran Frederick Block as a D.C.-based partner focused on securities enforcement, investigations and trials. Block was a supervisory trial counsel at the agency. (Morgan Lewis)
Greenberg Traurig added intellectual property partner Jayadeep “Jay” Deshmukh in the firm’s New York office from Kasowitz Benson. (Greenberg Traurig)
Venable picked up partner David Bonelli for the firm’s autonomous and connected mobility group based in Washington, D.C. Bonelli was previously a senior manager of federal policy at Lyft. (Venable)
Miller & Chevalier brought on Joanne Roskey as a D.C.-based partner focused on ERISA and employee benefits. She previously was chief of the health investigations division of the U.S. Labor Department’s employee benefits security agency. (Miller & Chevalier)
Littler Mendelson hired Kim Carter, previously at Schor Vogelzang & Chung, as a San Diego-based partner focused on management-side employment matters. In San Francisco, Littler brought on partner Michael Guasco from Buty & Curliano.
- McKool Smith added patent litigator Kevin Burgess as a partner based in the firm’s Marshall, Texas, office. He was previously at Caldwell Cassady & Curry. (McKool Smith)
Womble Bond Dickinson brought on Harry Rimm as a business litigation partner based in the firm’s New York office. He was previously at Sullivan & Worcester. (Womble)
>> More moves to share? Please drop us a note at LegalCareerTracker@thomsonreuters.com.
The U.S. Supreme Court is set to address whether communications that involve legal advice and other purposes can be covered by attorney-client privilege protections, but attorneys can take action now to ensure their advice remains privileged while we wait for the court’s decision, write Susan Combs and Richard Kiely of Holland & Hart. Here’s what they say lawyers should do.
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