Judicial Notice (05.29.21): A Motley CREW
A Paul Weiss associate’s big win, Amazon’s prime acquisition, and other legal news from the week that was.
This is a free preview of the latest installment of Judicial Notice, the weekly legal news roundup that I send out each Saturday to paid subscribers of Original Jurisdiction (“OJ”). Ellipses indicate omitted or altered material.
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This week, I received some nice media mentions, as I continue to try and grow the audience of Original Jurisdiction:
Washington Post: I spoke with David Nakamura about Kristen Clarke’s nomination to lead the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division (which was just approved by the Senate, 51-49);
USA Today: I spoke with John Fritze about the end of the current Supreme Court Term, including the possibility of Justice Breyer retiring;
Law360: I spoke with Aebra Coe about my switch from legal recruiting back to legal journalism; and
This Week in Legal Blogging: I spoke with Robert Ambrogi about how legal blogging has evolved from back when Bob and I started — he’s one of the few people who’s been doing this longer than I have — to the present day.
Next week, I’m participating in a panel discussion about how the coronavirus pandemic has affected litigation, including international arbitration, and litigation funding. If you’d like to join me, William Marra (Validity Finance), Ina Popova (Debevoise & Plimpton), and moderator Charles Eldering (CAsE Analysis), please register here. It’s free and open to all.
On the personal rather than professional front, I continue to be blessed. I’m recovering my fitness with a return to running, and our three-year-old son is really stinking cute — as well as very good at math, unlike his dads.
On the downside, our son just tested positive for Covid-19. We took him to get tested after his preschool informed us that he may have been exposed to a person with Covid on Friday, May 21. The test itself went better than I expected; they needed to have the swab up his nose for just three seconds per nostril. We rewarded him with his requested treat of lollipops after the ordeal.
As of now, fortunately, he’s showing no symptoms and seems to be in good spirits. Serious illness from Covid in kids his age is rare but not unheard of, so please pray for him or send him good vibes.
Now, on to the news.
Lawyer of the Week: Aimee Brown.
Most winners of Lawyer of the Week are fairly far along in their careers. Today I’m honoring a younger lawyer as a way of recognizing all the associates who have been working so hard for their firms and clients during these challenging times.
Congratulations to Aimee Brown, a former SCOTUS clerk (Alito/Kennedy) and seventh-year associate at Paul, Weiss, whom her mentor, noted Supreme Court advocate Kannon Shanmugam, praised as “a superstar associate.” He nominated her for Lawyer of the Week based on “a truly remarkable victory she had in the D.C. Circuit for Spirit Airlines,” in which she successfully challenged the way that the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) allocated flight authorizations at Newark Liberty International Airport.
Hold on — the notoriously cheap Spirit Airlines paid up to hire Paul, Weiss? That must have been an interesting fee agreement. Apparently PW said it could handle the appeal for $10,000, by which it meant filing a notice of appeal. The firm then charged Spirit $500,000 if it wanted an opening brief, $250,000 if it wanted a reply brief, and $250,000 if it wanted an oral argument….
Judge of the Week: Judge Robin Ransom.
On Monday, Gov. Mike Parson (R-Mo.) announced that he was elevating Judge Ransom from the Missouri Court of Appeals to the Missouri Supreme Court. This makes her the first Black woman to serve on Missouri’s high court, as noted in the media coverage collected by How Appealing, and only the third African-American judge in the history of the court. Here’s what Judge Ransom had to say about her nomination….
In other news about judges, we now know the contents of the will of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, including the approximate value of her estate….
Ruling of the Week: Magadia v. Wal-Mart Associates, Inc.
In the final weeks of the Supreme Court Term, the Court often likes to tease us, alternating between exciting days/weeks and sleepy days/weeks. This week, in which the Court handed down three non-controversial, unanimous decisions, qualifies as sleepy.
For Ruling of the Week, I’m heading to the Ninth Circuit and going with Magadia v. Wal-Mart Associates, Inc. — a big-ticket appeal, involving a class action with $100 million on the line, with big-name lawyers and law firms on both sides….
Litigation of the Week: CREW v. U.S. Department of Justice.
The best thing about Donald Trump no longer being president is Donald Trump no longer being president. You don’t need to be a left-wing partisan — I’m certainly not — to realize that President Trump was terrible for the country. But another nice thing about Trump no longer being president is not always having to talk about Trump being president. Hasn’t it been nice to discover other topics of conversation?
Still, the “former guy” occasionally pops up in the news. This brings us to the latest Litigation of the Week, the lawsuit by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) seeking the release of a memo by the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel — a memo that attorney general William Barr said he relied upon in defending his controversial handling of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation. As you probably recall all too well, Bill Barr took Bob Mueller’s noncommittal report and spun it as an exoneration of Trump….
As for Bill Barr, the creator of all this controversy, what’s he up to these days? Right now he’s busy writing a book about his time running the DOJ. I hope Bob Mueller reviews it before it’s released and convinces everyone it’s an indictment of Trump….
Deal of the Week: Amazon’s $8.45 billion acquisition of MGM.
Another week, another mega-deal in the media and entertainment space. This week brought news of Amazon’s acquisition of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer for $8.45 billion. Congratulations to the legal advisors on this super-sexy transaction….
Law Firm of the Week: Skadden Arps.
As May draws to a close, Skadden can say it had a very good month. It advised Dell Technologies on the $4 billion sale of its Boomi cloud business, advised Performance Food Group on its $2.5 billion acquisition of Core-Mark Holding Company, and scored some nice litigation wins — before the Central District of California, in a high-profile trademark case, and the U.S. Supreme Court, in an interesting pro bono case about a supposed “community caretaking” exception to the Fourth Amendment (which SCOTUS held is, well, not a thing).
What put Skadden in the news this week, though, wasn’t anything client-related….
Lateral Move of the Week: Biglaw hiring Tom Perez.
Tom Perez — former Secretary of Labor, Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, and most recently, Chair of the Democratic National Committee — was in the running for a position in the Biden Cabinet, either attorney general or his old job of labor secretary. But after not getting tapped for either role, he’s taking his talents to the private sector….
As always, thank you for reading and subscribing to Original Jurisdiction. I wish you and your families a restful, enjoyable, and meaningful Memorial Day weekend. As we mark the unofficial start of summer and enjoy time with family and friends, let us reflect on the reason we celebrate Memorial Day: to honor the women and men who lost their lives while serving in the U.S. armed forces.
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If you’re not familiar with the Spirit Airlines business model, please see 10 Hilarious Memes About Spirit Airlines That Are (Sadly) All Too Real.
The cases the Court decided this week might not be the highest-profile ones of the Term, but of course they’re important — they went all the way to SCOTUS, after all — and they matter greatly to the litigants. Take Guam v. United States, a dispute over who should foot the bill for a $160 million cleanup of a toxic waste dump. According to Kelley Drye, which won the case for Guam, that amount is “equivalent to one trillion dollars when extrapolated from Guam’s annual budget and compared to the United States’ annual budget.” Congrats to the firm and its team — John Gilmour, Bill Jackson, Bezalel (Bez) Stern, and Fabio Dworschak — on the victory.