Houston-based Beirne, Maynard & Parsons lost a discovery dispute recently in its quest to obtain $1.2 million in unpaid legal fees for defending U.S. Silica in silicosis litigation. The 6th Court of Appeals in Texarkana, Texas, denied the firm's petition for writ of mandamus and also vacated a temporary stay of the proceedings. Discovery can proceed in the underlying case, in which the firm is suing U.S. Silica's insurer, TIG Insurance, and Riverstone Claims, which handled TIG's claims management.
The reversal of a doctor's $2.5 million claim against The Cooper Health System shows how hard it is to win punitive damages in breach-of-contract cases, even when asserting that patients' health and welfare are in jeopardy. A New Jersey judge had accepted Dr. Peter Kurnik's argument that the important issue of cardiac patient care was implicated by his dismissal from the hospital's cardiology department, but an appeals panel found that there was no evidence that harm to patients occurred.
A House panel voted Wednesday to cite Karl Rove, formerly President Bush's top aide, for contempt of Congress as its Senate counterpart explored punishment for alleged misdeeds by other administration officials. Voting 20-14 along party lines, the House Judiciary Committee cited Rove with contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena to testify on allegations of improper White House influence over the Justice Department. Rove has denied any involvement with Justice decisions.
Big out-of-town law firms can't seem to resist the allure of Silicon Valley. Now, Pittsburgh-based Reed Smith is poised to open an office there with the addition of Richard Scudellari, a veteran corporate lawyer from Morrison & Foerster, according to people familiar with the move. Legal observers say it can be difficult for out-of-town firms to land a corporate lawyer like Scudellari. But what can be even more challenging is building beyond the initial lateral hires.
Plaintiffs need not prove entitlement to punitive damages in order to begin discovery of a defendant's financial condition, a federal judge has ruled. Judge James M. Munley of the Middle District of Pennsylvania found that the test for winning a protective order under Rule 26(c) calls for proof of "good cause," which has been defined by the courts as requiring a showing that disclosure "will cause a clearly defined and serious injury." Munley concluded that the defense team failed to satisfy the test.
The cocktail party at the 9th Circuit Judicial Conference had a nervous moment this week when California attorney Cyrus Sanai -- who leaked word to the media in June about Chief Judge Alex Kozinski having a Web site that contained sexually explicit materials -- was escorted from the reception after getting too close to Kozinski. Sanai said he was waiting to talk with another judge when Kozinski passed within a few feet. That was enough to prompt U.S. marshals to ask Sanai to leave.
One year after he suffered a seizure near his summer home in Maine, Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. is not commenting on the current state of his health. In his public appearances and on the bench, Roberts has shown no signs of abnormalities in the last year. But the widely publicized episode was disconcerting, and was viewed by commentators as a potentially life-changing event for the chief justice, now 53.
Alston & Bird's partnership on Wednesday approved the firm's expansion into California by acquiring a Los Angeles firm and an intellectual property practice in Silicon Valley. The L.A. firm, Weston Benshoof, has 83 lawyers, and the IP group is Akin Gump's 11-lawyer Silicon Valley office. Alston's managing partner, Richard R. Hays, said the firm added the West Coast offices in response to client demand -- particularly in the IP, energy and sustainability, financial services and litigation areas.
Chris Johnson, a top in-house lawyer at General Motors, believes strongly in supporting military veterans because he's one himself. So when a Detroit law school wanted to expand a legal clinic for veterans, Johnson was ready to assist. By passing the hat among his fellow GM executives, Johnson raised $120,000 to help the clinic purchase and customize a specially outfitted van. The mobile clinic is now helping veterans across the country file for federal benefits that they're eligible for but aren't getting.
Learn the latest security technologies and vulnerabilities at the 2008 Black Hat Briefings and Training on Aug. 6-7 in Las Vegas. The topics of discussion this year include: root kits; zero-day exploits; application security; bots and malware; deep knowledge; and more.
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