“The People’s Court” is not a court, body, agency, public servant or other person authorized by law to conduct a proceeding and to administer the oath or cause it to be administered… [T]he statements made on the show have no more probative force than the words of an actor reading from a script in a play.
But Judge Bennett is making waves of his own in his Iowa courtroom. He’s decided that he wants lawyers to participate in an auction to determine who will get to serve as lead counsel in some consolidated antitrust cases.
And he informed lawyers of this with a curious email. The subject line alone is not something one expects from a federal judge:
Waterman v. VS Holding Co. et al (10cv4038) – consolidated antitrust actions – “going once, twice, sold to the lowest bidder” – ready to rumble?
Not only is this judge “ready to rumble,” he’s also ready to insult lawyers from East Coast law firms…
Our typical Lawyer of the Day is an attorney you’ve never heard of, from a firm you’ve never heard of. It’s highly unusual for LOTD honors to go to a pair of legal titans, two of the nation’s leading litigators: Ted Wells (pictured) and Marty Flumenbaum, the co-chair and former chair, respectively, of the celebrated litigation department at Paul Weiss.
It appears, however, that the honors are deserved. The New York Law Journal reports:
A New Jersey judge has sanctioned two firms, Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and Lowenstein Sandler, for pursuing a “frivolous” and “ridiculous” legal claim on behalf of billionaire Ronald Perelman against his 85-year-old ex-father-in-law [Robert Cohen]….
Superior Court Judge Ellen L. Koblitz ruled that Perelman’s attorneys should have known that the claim was unsupportable. “No competent attorney could have missed the frivolous nature of this promise claim once the unhelpful testamentary documents were received,” Koblitz said in ordering the sanctions last Wednesday. “There was no legal or factual basis for the plaintiffs to proceed with their amended complaint given the evidence they had and the state of the law in New Jersey.”
Ouch — quite the stinging benchslap. The Garden State hasn’t seen such a slugging since the first season of Jersey Shore.
And other marquee names got dragged into this mess — a pair of high-powered lady lawyers, in fact….
Is the customer always right? In the legal profession, not necessarily. As a lawyer, sometimes your job is to talk some sense into your client — and to refuse to move forward if your client, ignoring your advice, orders you to prosecute frivolous (or borderline frivolous) litigation.
Perhaps this lesson needs to be learned by Kirkland & Ellis. The super-prestigious firm, known for its world-class litigation practice, recently got benchslapped by the Seventh Circuit. From Judge Posner’s opinion:
[T]he defendants’ motion for sanctions should not have been denied. The plaintiffs’ lawyers [at Kirkland] may secretly agree, for they make no attempt to counter the arguments for sanctions made in the defendants’ brief even though the district judge denied the motion without explanation. They follow suit by merely asking us, without explanation, to affirm the denial.
The motion complained that Carr is harassing the defendants with repetitive litigation, including a suit — this suit — that borders on the frivolous, even though he is an immensely successful lawyer represented on appeal by one of the nation’s premier law firms, Kirkland and Ellis, as well as by his son Bruce Carr of the Rex Carr Law Firm, which the plaintiff formed after the break-up of his old firm.
At least Judge Posner referred to K&E as “one of the nation’s premier law firms.” Slap that up on the Kirkland website?
David W. Glasser, a local attorney in Daytona Florida, received a major benchslap from U.S. District Judge Gregory Presnell. It is short, it is sweet, and it appears entirely deserved. Here’s the order from the court. Glasser is the plaintiff’s lawyer:
This matter came before the Court without oral argument upon consideration of Plaintiff’s, Carolyn Nault (“Plaintiff”), Response to this Court’s Order and Motion for Voluntary Dismissal (collectively, the “Motion”) (Docs. 21 and 22). Upon review, it is
ORDERED that the Motion is DENIED without prejudice for failing to comply with
Local Rule 3.01(g), for failing to secure a stipulation of dismissal from Defendant pursuant to FED.R. CIV. 41(a)(ii), and for otherwise being riddled with unprofessional grammatical and typographical errors that nearly render the entire Motion incomprehensible.
Just for good measure, Judge Presnell also ordered Glasser to show the judge’s order to his client:
It is FURTHER ORDERED that Plaintiff’s counsel, David W. Glasser, shall re-read the
Local Rules and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure in their entirety. Furthermore, Mr. Glasser shall personally hand deliver a copy of this Order, together with the Court’s exhibit attached thereto, to his client, Carolyn Nault, by no later than Monday, September 21, 2009. By no later than Wednesday, September 23, 2009, Mr. Glasser shall file with the Court a “Notice of Compliance,” certifying to the Court that he has fully complied with this Order.
DONE and ORDERED in Chambers, Orlando, Florida on September 15, 2009.
The “exhibit attached thereto” is presumably the judge’s corrected copy of Glasser’s memo. Let’s check it out after the jump.
Apologies for not getting to this story earlier. Sometimes things fall through the cracks around here. (We were offline for much of Thursday and Friday, attending Lavender Law.)
Last week, a federal magistrate judge questioned the propriety of the U.S. Attorney’s Office moving to dismiss a marijuana possession charge against Andrew Sullivan. Yes, thatAndrew Sullivan — the noted political pundit, author, and blogger (and proponent of marijuana legalization).
Judge Collings issued his saucy opinion (PDF) on Thursday. Later that day, the story was broken by The Docket. The case has also been covered by Gawker, Wonkette, and the WSJ Law Blog, among other outlets (links collected below).
So we won’t rehash what you’ve probably already read. But feel free to take our reader poll and to discuss the case in the comments.
The Texas judge who ordered Microsoft to pay $290 million for infringing a patent included a $40 million enhancement that he said was partly justified because of alleged trial misconduct by a lawyer from Weil, Gotshal & Manges.
U.S. District Judge Leonard Davis tacked on the $40 million penalty because of evidence of willful infringement. But also “favoring enhancement,” he said in an opinion, was trial conduct by lawyer Matthew Douglas Powers, a Weil Gotshal partner.
Matthew Douglas Powers is a big name in IP circles. And he’s the co-chair of Weil’s litigation department. But he’s not going to comment on Judge Davis’s $40 million critique of his trial performance.
What were the judge’s reasons for admonishing Powers? Check after the jump.
Pity the poor partners of McDermott Will & Emery. Sure, their firm is highly regarded and highly profitable. But when they head off to try cases in far-off places, they often get benchslapped silly.
You may recall the case of bankruptcy partner William Smith, who found himself in the deep-fat fryer after telling a judge she was “a few French Fries short of a Happy Meal.” Although the judge was upset, in the end Smith got a slap on the wrist.
Things didn’t end as happily for Terrence McMahon and Vera Elson, MWE partners based in Silicon Valley. Judge Richard P. Matsch — the tough, well-regarded trial judge who presided over the Oklahoma City bombing case — sanctioned McMahon and Elson for “cavalier and abusive” misconduct and a “what can I get away with?” attitude during trial. From the Denver Post:
A federal judge recently got so infuriated by the conduct of two highly regarded trial attorneys that he overturned a jury’s $51 million verdict, then ordered the lawyers to pay the fees and costs of the opposing lawyers, a sum that could total several million dollars.
Ouch. So is that coming out of their partnership draws?
Or maybe the firm will find other ways to cut costs. Read more, after the jump. Update: Please note that this post has been corrected since it was first published. The correction appears after the jump.
The evolution of relationships between the genders continues. Currently, in law firms, there is an interesting conundrum; balancing the desire for a gender-blind workplace where “the best lawyer gets the work and advances” and the reality of navigating the complicated maze created by the fact that, in general, men and women do possess differences in their work styles. These variations impact who they work with, how they work, how they build professional connections and how organizations ultimately leverage, reward and recognize the talents of all.
Henry Ford sat on his workbench and sighed. A year earlier, he had personally built 13,000 Model Ts with his own hands. Fashioning lugnuts and tie rods by hand, Ford was loath to ask for help. Sure, there were things about the car that he didn’t quite understand. This explains the lack of reliable navigation systems in the Model T. But Ford persevered because he knew that unless he did everything, he could not reliably call these cars his own.
“Unless my own personal toil is responsible for it, it may as well be called a Hyundai,” Ford remarked at the time.
The preceding may sound unfamiliar because it is categorically untrue. And also monumentally stupid. Henry Ford didn’t build all those cars by hand. He had help and plenty of it. Almost exactly one hundred years ago, Henry Ford opened up the most technologically advanced assembly line the world had ever seen. Built on the premise that work can be chopped up into digestible pieces and completed by many men better than one, the line ushered in an age of unparalleled productivity.
Today, an attorney refers business because he can’t do everything the client asks of him.
There are three reasons why this is way dumber than a made-up Henry Ford story…
Ed. note: The Asia Chronicles column is authored by Kinney Recruiting. Kinney has made more placements of U.S. associates, counsels and partners in Asia than any other recruiting firm in each of the past six years. You can reach them by email: [email protected].
Since late last year, things have been booming in Hong Kong / China in cap markets, especially Hong Kong IPOs. M&A deal flow has recently been getting a bit stronger as well. Although one can’t predict such things with any certainty, all signs are pointing to a banner entire 2014 for the top end US corporate and cap markets practices in Hong Kong / China. This is not really new news, as its been the feeling most in the market have had for a few months now and things continue to look good.
The head of our Asia practice, Evan Jowers, has been in Hong Kong for about 10 days a month (with trips every other month to both Shanghai and Bejing) for the past 7 months, and spending most of his time there meeting with senior US hiring partners at just about all the major US and UK firms there, as well as prospective candidates at all associate levels and partner levels, and when in the US, Evan works Asia hours and is regularly on the phone with such persons, as our the other members of our Asia team. Our Yuliya Vinokurova is in Hong Kong every other month and Robert is there about 5 times a year as well. While we have a solid Asia team of recruiters, Evan Jowers will spend at least some time with all of our candidates for Asia position. We have had long standing relationships, and good friendships in some cases, with hiring partners and other senior US partners in Asia for 8 years now.