Newly Released Documents Show Rehnquist's Private Side
Headline Legal News | 2009/08/24 20:55
The National Law Journal reports that in the dark days after he announced that he was suffering from thyroid cancer in late October 2004, Chief Justice William Rehnquist's in-box filled up with anxious notes from his colleagues.

"Top priority at Court," wrote Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, is "to have our Chief back with us, steadily on course toward a cancer-free future."

Justice David Souter reported to the chief that, after an overly long discussion among the justices of a minor case in Rehnquist's absence, "I could hear Tony [Kennedy] muttering under his breath, 'Five minutes on [the case]. The chief better get back here fast.'" Souter added, "That's certainly the sense of the Court as we all pull for you in your ordeal."

From Justice Stephen Breyer also came a handwritten note: "You are missing nothing here! The cases are routine; our lunchtime discussions need your input -- particularly on recent films." Breyer did joke that Rehnquist had missed a chance to win some money from him in the justices' apparently low-stakes wagering over the presidential election. "I paid $1 to CT [Clarence Thomas]," Breyer said. It's a safe bet that Breyer had put his money on John Kerry and Thomas on George W.Bush.


Corporate Partner Louis Lehot Expands
Legal Topics | 2009/08/21 16:18
According to a press release distributed by Shepard Mullin today, Louis Lehot has joined the Silicon Valley office of Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP as a partner in the firm's Corporate practice group.  Lehot joins Sheppard Mullin from Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP in Palo Alto. 


Lehot's Silicon Valley practice is focused on advising technology companies and their financial sponsors and investment banks in M&A transactions, capital raising transactions, strategic and commercial transactions, as well as corporate governance and securities law compliance matters.


Lehot's recent M&A experience includes advising SiRF Technology in its public stock-for-stock merger with CSR plc, and recent capital markets deal credits include advising the underwriters in Oracle Corporation's $4.5 billion debt financing, in Micron Technology's concurrent public common stock and convertible note offerings and in GLG Partners' convertible note offering.  His clients have included technology names such as AOL, Seagate Technology and SiRF Technology, investment banks including Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Citi, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, UBS and Wachovia, as well as leading Bay Area-based financial sponsors.


"Louis is a rising star in the deal world and an excellent fit firm wide with both our Corporate practice group and technology practice, as well as our Silicon Valley office.  His Wall Street law firm expertise coupled with his Silicon Valley experience will be of great value to our clients," said Guy Halgren, chairman of the firm.


Commented Lehot, "Sheppard Mullin offers a large statewide footprint for a technology company practice in Silicon Valley.  Additionally, the firm's New York, Washington, D.C. and Shanghai offices and leading digital entertainment, media, energy and high technology practices provide a full-service and international platform to support our clients.  I am thrilled to be joining the firm and look forward to growing the Silicon Valley corporate and transactional practice with partner Riaz Karamali." 



3rd Circuit Appeal Challenges Judge's Outside Research In Bench Trial
Legal Topics | 2009/08/20 16:24
According to the New Jersey Law Journal, a federal appeals court has been asked to limit the right of judges to do their own research in bench trials, lest they be swayed by facts not before them.

US Magistrate Patty Shwartz in Newark, N.J., no-caused a medical malpractice claim after consulting published and unpublished cases -- not cited by the parties -- that dwelled on the type of injury the defendant doctor was accused of inflicting.

A three-judge panel of the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the verdict, saying the research was for "informational" purposes only and was not the basis for Shwartz's decision.


Asbestos Tests Must Continue
Headline Legal News | 2009/08/19 16:13
Courthouse News reports that air tests for asbestos-like fibers must continue at a Minnesota mining plant because a 1975 order to do so has been folded into the state's environmental laws, the 8th Circuit ruled.

Northshore Mining Co., a taconite processing facility in Silver Bay, Minn., has tried for several years to get fiber tests removed from state permits.

But the St. Louis-based 8th Circuit agreed with a district court that the 34-year-old law is moot because it "has been effectively incorporated into state administrative law."


Split Supreme Court Orders Review Of Death Row Inmate's Claims That Witnesses Recanted Testimony
Legal Topics | 2009/08/18 16:15
According to the Fulton County Daily Report, the case of Troy Anthony Davis took another extraordinary turn on Monday as the US Supreme Court ordered a federal district judge to hear testimony on the death row inmate's claims that he did not murder a Savannah, Ga., police officer.

Justice Antonin Scalia said in a dissent that the high court hadn't made a similar move in nearly 50 years.

The decision was welcomed by supporters of Davis, who for years have claimed that prosecution witnesses have recanted their testimony from the 1991 trial in which a jury condemned Davis to die for the 1989 killing of Officer Mark Allen MacPhail.

Georgia Attorney General Thurbert E. Baker, whose office has fought Davis' efforts to gain relief, issued a measured response to the ruling, saying simply that he hoped the hearing would resolve doubts about the case.


Bogus 'Emergency' In Forest, Groups Say
Headline Legal News | 2009/08/17 16:23
Courthouse News reports that the US Forest Service declared a bogus "emergency situation" to push through a salvage timber sale in Northern California's Klamath National Forest, three environmental groups say in Federal Court. The Forest Service can declare an emergency when a project threatens imminent economic loss to the government, but the only ones who will lose if this project doesn't proceed is a private, third-party timber auction bidder, the groups say.

Under the National Environmental Policy Act, instead of the inaccurate and incomplete environmental analysis the Forest Service prepared, it needs to complete a more comprehensive environmental impact statement that also considers cumulative impacts and a full range of alternatives, the groups say.

Joining the Klamath-Siskiyou Wildlands Center as plaintiffs are the Environmental Protection Information Center and the Klamath Forest Alliance.

Represented by René Voss of San Anselmo, the groups seek withdrawal of the faulty environmental assessment, want the "emergency situation" to be set aside, and injunctive relief.


Redbox Says Fox Is Trying to Kill It
Legal Topics | 2009/08/14 16:11
Courthouse News reports that Redbox, the DVD kiosk rental giant, says Twentieth Century Fox is trying to kill its business by cutting off the supply of DVDs because Redbox refused to agree to a 30-day "blackout period," during which it will withhold new releases. In its antitrust complaint in Delaware Federal Court, Redbox claims Fox is conducting an illegal boycott in restraint of trade.

Redbox says Fox ordered its distributors, Ingram Entertainment and Video Product Distribution, to cut Redbox off.

In remarkably self-serving language written in high dudgeon, Redbox cites "tough economic times," during which "people simply need some form of release from their financial pressures, even if just for a couple of hours." Redbox says it provides this through its cheap movies, but Fox demands a "business-killing blackout period ... during which consumers would be allowed to procure these DVDs only through more expensive channels ... despite the fact that consumers are being battered by one of the toughest economic recessions in history."


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