Federal Judges

Last week we covered a controversy down in south Florida involving Greenberg Traurig. The firm was replaced as counsel in a particular case by its client, TD Bank, after a partner at the firm denied the existence of a document that, it turned out, actually does exist. The partner who allegedly made the statement is no longer with the firm, and next month, Judge Marcia Cooke (S.D. Fla.) will hold a hearing to determine whether the bank should be held in contempt of court as a result of this apparent screw-up.

This does not sound good, to be sure. But subsequent developments, as well as a closer examination of the situation, suggest that GT’s culpability may be overstated….

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “More About the TD Bank To-Do: In Defense of Greenberg Traurig”

It has been a busy week in the e-discovery world. On Wednesday, a county court in Virginia ordered litigants to use predictive coding, despite the plaintiff’s objection. Last week, the plaintiffs in Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Groupe et al. tried to boot Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck from the case, as well as roll back his landmark ruling, which endorsed the technology for the first time.

Well, despite the haters, no one can stop the march of progress. A federal judge weighed in on Da Silva Moore yesterday. It looks like the score is Robots 1, Old-school Attorneys 0….

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Federal judges don’t take kindly to misstatements by counsel appearing before them. And when the judge is unhappy, the client is unhappy. And when the client is unhappy, outside counsel gets cashiered. It’s not a pretty process.

Let’s travel down to south Florida, where an allegedly incorrect statement by a partner at Greenberg Traurig has incurred the wrath of a federal judge — apparently resulting in the client replacing the firm, and the firm parting ways with the partner.

It’s a cautionary tale for litigators….

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Matthew Powers: 'pimp hands' don't knot neckties.

The renowned IP litigator Matthew Powers, founding partner of Tensegrity Law Group, has a nickname here at Above the Law. We like to call him Matt “Pimp Hand” Powers. Back in 2008, a paralegal at Weil Gotshal alleged in a lawsuit that Powers, former cochair of litigation at Weil, ruled over his domain by alternating between use of the “pimp hand” and the “mojo hand.” The “pimp hand” was used to intimidate and coerce, while the “mojo hand” was used to stroke and cajole.

Over the years, numerous litigants have felt the sting of Powers’s pimp hand. He has been described, quite accurately, as “one of the most feared, respected, and successful patent litigators in the country.” As noted on his website bio, Matt Powers “is known for taking tough cases to trial and winning them,” on behalf of leading technology companies like Apple, Oracle, Microsoft, and Intel.

But now the tables have turned. Powers recently found himself on the receiving end of a benchslap — from a lowly administrative law judge, ick….

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The U.S. government seems to be losing ground quickly in the PR war surrounding the case against Megaupload, the massive file-sharing site, and the company’s leader, Kim Dotcom. Just over a week ago, we learned that Quinn Emmanuel had signed on as the company’s defense team; the firm hit the ground running with a brief calling B.S. on one of the government’s objections.

And on Friday evening, news broke that the FBI may have again screwed the Megaupload pooch. The potential procedural goof was apparently severe enough that a federal judge wondered aloud if it might have killed the case…

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At least a Law Hawk is better than a Law Chicken.

* Judge Mark Bennett, no stranger to these pages, issues a controversial ruling on a GPS tracking issue. [Threat Level / Wired]

* Is it more amusing that law students at the University of Georgia adopted a “Law Hawk” as an unofficial mascot, or that the student newspaper article about it reads like something out of The Onion? You decide. [Red and Black]

* Ogletree Deakins takes Manhattan (and some lawyers from Seyfarth Shaw). [New York Law Journal]

* OK, Marines lawyers. No more excuses, it’s time to suit wire up. Get your tech on, thousands of your jobs may depend on it. [Nightly Business Review]

* A North Carolina judge blocked a death sentence based on racial bias. A lot of people say that everyone’s a little bit racist, but let’s work out our prejudices in the Octagon, not the courtroom, okay? [New York Times]

* In an interview with the UVA Law student newspaper, Lat discusses blogging v. journalism, why you shouldn’t be stupid, and the state of legal education. [Virginia Law Weekly]

Over the last couple of months, we have written a few stories about Magistrate Judge Andrew Peck. Judge Peck generated headlines as the first federal judge to approve a litigation protocol for e-discovery that included predictive coding technology.

For a while, the story was pretty happy-clappy. It was a start of a new era. E-discovery — through predictive coding that had now arrived — would be cheaper, more efficient, and faster. Yay!

But, alas, all is not well in this legal technology paradise. One of the parties in Da Silva Moore v. Publicis Group, the case that started this whole saga, has requested that Judge Peck recuse himself.

They say his enthusiasm for predictive coding crosses the line into partiality…

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Judge William Alsup

With proceedings in the “World Series” of high-tech law cases underway (aka Oracle v. Google), lawyers have discovered that the judge overseeing the matter is, well… kind of a hard ass.

His idea of work/life balance? Seemingly nonexistent. He arrives at work no later than 5:30 a.m. This judicial drill sergeant reportedly gets his workouts in by running up and down the stairs of the 20-floor federal building where he works. And most of all, he’s a stickler for the rules — he likes a quiet courtroom.

Got a cough? Need to sneeze? You’d be better off calling in sick than entering this man’s courtroom….

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Judge Bruce Markell

Were there ever a time to use “fail,” as the contemporary vernacular permits, it is now, and in reference to this deplorable display of legal representation: it was an epic fail.

– Judge Bruce Markell, in a recent opinion in a Las Vegas Chapter 13 bankruptcy proceeding, which concluded that the debtors’ attorneys, Barry Levinson and Jeremy Mondejar, should be sanctioned for their ineffective representation.

(What did these Cooley Law graduates allegedly do to irk Judge Markell in this way? Take a look, after the jump.)

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Judge Jerry Smith

Above the Law readers weren’t particularly fond of Judge Jerry E. Smith’s “homework assignment” for the U.S. Department of Justice. In a reader poll, about two-thirds of you expressed disapproval of the Fifth Circuit ordering the DOJ to submit a three-page letter discussing judicial review. (The order came in the wake of, and in apparent response to, unfortunate comments on the subject by President Obama.)

But let’s say that you’re among the one-third of readers who view Judge Smith as courageous for calling out a former Con Law professor for making misleading statements about judicial review (statements that, in fairness to the president, he subsequently clarified). Let’s say that you’d like nothing better than to clerk on the Fifth Circuit for Judge Smith.

Well, aspiring law clerks to Judge Smith, there’s something you should know….

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