Good morning. Another relatively young U.S. federal district judge is leaving the bench for private practice. Plus, we’ve got the latest on the court venue fight for Texas’ ESG lawsuit, and the NFL must face racial bias claims in open court, not arbitration. Also, a California federal judge will be subject to a disciplinary probe over a handcuffed 13-year-old girl. Let's go.
Were you forwarded this email? Subscribe here.
Maryland’s U.S. District Judge George Hazel is the latest in a spate of younger judges stepping down from the bench to take jobs at some of the country’s biggest law firms, reports Chinekwu Osakwe.
Hazel, 47, an Obama-nominee who has served on the court since 2014, will join Gibson Dunn in Washington, D.C. A few weeks ago, the Chicago federal court lost 57-year-old U.S. District Judge Gary Feinerman, who resigned to take a job at Latham & Watkins.
Last year, Alabama federal judge Abdul Kallon resigned at 53 and later joined Perkins Coie, and Gibson Dunn hired Gregg Costa after he left the 5th Circuit at age 50.
The judges have remained mostly mum about why they left.
To retire or take senior status, federal judges must be 65 and have served 15 years on the bench. Whether or not they continue to work, they receive their salary.
Longtime U.S. Supreme Court practitioner Tom Goldstein, who has argued more than 40 cases before the high court, said he has retired from his small appellate law firm, which has relaunched and changed its name to Goldstein, Russell & Woofter. He said he is not joining another law firm, but will explore business opportunities. (Reuters)
U.S. Education Secretary Miguel Cardona criticized U.S. News & World Report's annual higher education rankings, saying they have "created an unhealthy obsession with selectivity." Cardona delivered his critique at a conference on law school data that was organized by Yale and Harvard's law schools. "It’s time to stop worshiping at the false altar of U.S. News & World Report,” he said. (Reuters)
Steptoe & Johnson said its revenue increased by 3% to $434.6 million in 2022, a slowdown from its growth in 2021 but still representing record receipts for the firm. Steptoe chair Gwen Renigar attributed the growth in part to the firm's government-related practices. (Reuters)
U.S. Attorney John Lausch said he will leave his position as the top federal prosecutor in Chicago on March 11, leaving open a post that was last filled by former President Donald Trump in 2017. (Reuters)
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has ordered Orlando State Attorney Monique Worrell to hand over information on why Keith Moses was free to allegedly carry out a deadly shooting spree last week, despite his criminal history. "We must determine if Mr. Moses was enabled by gaps in our sentencing laws that must be corrected, or, to be frank, your office's failure to properly administer justice," Ryan Newman, the governor's general counsel, wrote to Worrell in requesting Moses’ criminal record. (Reuters)
That’s how many times Vice President Kamala Harris so far this week has cast a tie-breaking vote in the U.S. Senate to confirm one of President Joe Biden's judicial nominees. Harris’ vote on Wednesday allowed Margaret Guzman to become the first Hispanic federal judge in Massachusetts. The Democratic-controlled Senate voted 49-48 in favor of the former public defender and state court judge. Harris a day earlier cast the tie-breaking vote to confirm Oakland civil rights attorney Araceli Martínez-Olguín as the second Latina to serve as a federal judge in the Northern District of California. The vote on Guzman marked the 109th confirmed judicial nominee of Biden's tenure.
On Wednesday, New York City tentatively settled claims by more than 300 of people who alleged that police mistreated or abused them during the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. The expected payouts of $21,500 to each individual may sound substantial, but the resolution of the case does not amount to “accountability,” columnist Hassan Kanu writes. In fact, recent court decisions regarding law enforcement’s violent suppression of Black Lives Matter demonstrations in the summer of 2020 illustrate how U.S. courts are failing to adequately protect Americans’ right to protest in the wake of one of the largest social movements in U.S. history, Kanu writes.
U.S. District Judge Vince Chabbria in San Francisco will weigh Facebook owner Meta Platforms’ agreement to pay $725 million to resolve a class action accusing the social media company of allowing third parties to access users' personal information. The proposed settlement, which was disclosed in a court filing in December, would resolve a lawsuit prompted by revelations in 2018 that Facebook had allowed the now-defunct British political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica to access data of as many as 87 million users. Meta did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement. Lawyers for New Mexico want to speak at today’s hearing to argue that the settlement in the federal court case should not affect the state’s separate and parallel lawsuit against Meta.
A defense lawyer for Richard "Alex" Murdaugh will deliver closing arguments in the state’s prosecution accusing the now-disbarred South Carolina attorney of killing his wife and adult son. State prosecutor Creighton Waters said a "gathering storm" of scrutiny on financial misdeeds caused Murdaugh to murder the pair. Murdaugh's lawyers have sought to portray him as a family man who would not harm his family, despite facing financial troubles and addiction to opioids that led him to lie and steal. Murdaugh admitted to lying about his whereabouts the night of the killings but has denied the murders.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is set to vote on several of President Joe Biden's judicial nominees. The slate includes U.S. Magistrate Judge Matthew Brookman, a nominee to a district court judgeship in the Southern District of Indiana who has been the rare district court pick under Biden to receive home state support from GOP senators. Others under consideration are Charnelle Bjelkengren for the Eastern District of Washington; Michael Farbiarz and Robert Kirsch in New Jersey; and Orelia Merchant for the Eastern District of New York.
In the D.C. Circuit, the DOJ faces a court deadline to say whether it believes former President Donald Trump was acting in his official capacity when he urged his supporters to march to the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. The government’s friend-of-the-court filing — invited by the appeals court panel — may influence the future of civil lawsuits filed by lawmakers and police officers against Trump over the Capitol riots. A lawyer for Trump told the panel at a hearing last year that he should be immune. Trump is fighting a ruling in February 2022 from U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta allowing claims to move forward.
Court calendars are subject to last-minute docket changes.
Drug distributors Cardinal Health, McKesson and JM Smith prevailed at trial in Georgia in a case brought by families of opioid addicts accusing the companies of acting as drug dealers. It was the first trial of opioid claims filed by individual plaintiffs, rather than government entities, and involved claims under the state's Drug Dealer Liability Act, which allows people injured by illegal drug use to sue dealers. (Reuters)
Roche's Genentech sued Biogen in San Francisco federal court, claiming Biogen owes additional patent royalties from worldwide sales of its blockbuster multiple-sclerosis and Crohn's disease drug Tysabri. Genentech's legal team includes Williams & Connolly. A Biogen spokesperson declined to comment on the lawsuit. (Reuters)
The chairman and CEO of healthcare company Ontrak was hit with an insider trading charge in California federal court, marking the first criminal case involving the use of a special trading plan designed to help shield executives from such charges. Authorities said Terren Peizer sold more than $20 million of Ontrak stock between May and August 2021 while in possession of material nonpublic negative information related to the company’s largest customer. King & Spalding’s Alec Koch, an attorney for Peizer, declined to comment. (Reuters)
U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman said Sotheby's must face part of Russian billionaire oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev's lawsuit accusing the auction house of helping his former art dealer overcharge him by hundreds of millions of dollars on 15 pieces of world-class art. The works include "Salvator Mundi," a depiction of Christ attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, and others by Gustav Klimt, Rene Magritte and Amedeo Modigliani. (Reuters)
A California couple sued Pasadena-based fertility clinic HRC Fertility, claiming it implanted an embryo carrying a rare gene that causes deadly stomach cancer and then falsified records to cover up its mistake. Jason and Melissa Diaz say they specifically went to HRC to avoid having a child with the gene, which Jason carries. HRC said in a statement the family "wished to have a male embryo transferred, which we carried out according to the family's explicit wishes and in accordance with the highest level of care." (Reuters)
Paul Hastings hired partner Jennifer Conn as co-chair of the firm’s securities litigation practice. She was previously at Gibson Dunn. (Reuters)
Finnegan hired D.C.-based partner Lynn Parker Dupree to head the firm’s privacy group. She was previously chief privacy officer at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. (Reuters)
Haynes and Boone added Charlotte-based finance partners Charlie Harris, Ben Baucom, MacKenzie Henry, Isaac Neill and Ben Owens from Moore & Van Allen. (Haynes and Boone)
Simpson Thacher hired Karen Kazmerzak as a D.C.-based litigation partner focused on antitrust. She was previously at Sidley. (Simpson Thacher)
Morgan Lewis added Heather MacDougall, former vice president of worldwide workplace health and safety at Amazon, as a partner based in Miami. (Morgan Lewis)
Vinson & Elkins brought on antitrust partner Kara Kuritz in the firm’s D.C. office from Goodwin. (Vinson & Elkins)
McGuireWoods added Baltimore-based public finance partner Melissa Messina from financial services firm HJ Sims, where she was associate general counsel. (McGuireWoods)
Greensfelder, Hemker & Gale announced that Christina Randolph joined the firm from Thompson Coburn. Randolph will be an officer in the firm’s healthcare practice group, based out of St. Louis. (Greensfelder)
>> More moves to share? Please drop us a note at LegalCareerTracker@thomsonreuters.com.
Sponsors are not involved in the creation of newsletter or other Reuters news content.
Get Reuters News App
Want to stop receiving this newsletter? Unsubscribe here.
To manage which newsletters you're subscribed to, click here.