Yahoo! Inc., owner of the largest U.S. Web portal, is in talks to resolve a patent-infringement dispute with Facebook Inc., according to a court filing.
Lawyers for Yahoo asked U.S. District Judge Jeffrey S. White in San Francisco on June 19 for a two-week extension on deadlines to file replies in the lawsuit while the companies hold discussions. The lawyers also asked for a two-week delay in a motion hearing now set for Aug. 10, according to the filing.
“The parties are currently engaged in settlement negotiations to resolve this dispute,” Kevin Smith, a Yahoo lawyer, said in the filing. “The parties believe that a further extension will facilitate settlement.” Smith is a partner in the San Francisco office of Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan LLP.
Yahoo sued Facebook in March, alleging that the social-networking provider infringes patents covering such functions as Internet privacy, advertising and information sharing. Facebook countersued in April, accusing Yahoo of infringing 10 of its patents. Facebook is represented by Cooley LLP and Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP.
Scott Thompson, who was Yahoo’s chief executive officer at the time, has since resigned after failing to correct misstatements in his academic record.
Dana Lengkeek, a spokeswoman for Sunnyvale, California-based Yahoo, declined to comment on the proposed delay. Andrew Noyes, a spokesman for Menlo Park, California-based Facebook, also declined to comment.
The case is Yahoo! Inc. v. Facebook, 12-cv-01212, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California (San Francisco).
Lawyer Investigating Chesapeake CEO’s Loans Stays Under Radar
The lawyer Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s audit committee hired to investigate possible conflicts of interest in its chief executive officer’s loans has a record of managing probes with minimum publicity about himself or his client.
Craig Weinstock, a Houston-based attorney with Locke Lord LLP has handled more than a dozen internal investigations of alleged corporate malfeasance since 2002, including one for a company run by Chesapeake’s lead director Merrill A. “Pete” Miller Jr., a member of the audit committee, a person familiar with Weinstock’s work said.
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission began an investigation after the company disclosed more than $800 million in loans made to its chief executive, with some involving company financiers. Weinstock tends to resolve such matters with little fanfare, keeping his own role a secret in most cases, according to a rival Houston lawyer.
“He said his reports are submitted to the government or the board, and no one hears of it,” said Lance Lubel, a Houston-based plaintiffs’ lawyer who has litigated cases against Weinstock.
Weinstock, 54, has handled internal reviews for other oil and gas companies, such as Nabors Industries Ltd., according to Lubel. He had investigated allegations that the oil-drilling company may have backdated stock options for executives, according to the person familiar with Weinstock’s work.
The SEC announced in May 2007 that it had ended its review of Nabors’s stock-option practices without penalizing the company, according to a regulatory filing. Laura Doerre, a spokeswoman for the Hamilton, Bermuda-based energy company, declined to comment on Weinstock’s work.
Chesapeake announced in May that the audit committee had hired outside counsel to probe loans made to Chief Executive Officer Aubrey McClendon, the natural-gas company’s founder. Reuters had reported that he’d borrowed as much as $1.1 billion over several years against his personal stakes in company wells, including from a firm that does business with Chesapeake. McClendon said in April that as of Dec. 31 he had $846 million in outstanding loans tied to the company’s well-participation program.
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Latham, Willkie, Davis Polk, Cadwalader, Corroon on Quest Deal
Quest Software Inc., a maker of tools to help companies manage computer systems, accepted a sweetened $25.75-a-share bid from Insight Venture Partners and agreed to the addition of Vector Capital to the buyout group.
Insight’s new cash offer of about $2.17 billion topped a per-share bid of $25.50 that Quest received last week. That offer came from personal-computer maker Dell Inc., a person familiar with the matter said June 19. The deal’s termination fee was increased to $25 million from $6.3 million, Aliso Viejo, California-based Quest said in a statement.
Latham & Watkins LLP is representing Quest. From Latham are partners Charles Ruck, Michael Treska and Scott Shean in the firm’s Orange County office, Glen Collyer, Pardis Zomorodi and Jason Silvera in Los Angeles, Michael Egge in Washington, Brad Williamson in New York, and Anthony Klein in Silicon Valley.
Partner Gordon Caplan of Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP represents Insight. Partners Martin Wellington and Jinsoo Kim of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP represents Vector Capital.
Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP represents Vincent Smith, Quest’s chairman and Chief Executive Officer, who recused himself from the vote. Smith is represented by Cadwalader partners R. Ronald Hopkinson, Linda Swartz and William Mills.
Partners Mark Morton and T. Brad Davey of Potter Anderson Corroon LLP are representing the special committee to the board of directors.
Quest said on March 9 it agreed to be acquired by Insight for $23 a share, and two months later said it received several other proposals that it anticipated would lead to a superior offer. Smith prefers a sale to Insight over Dell because it would allow him to keep running the company, said the person, who asked not to be named because the negotiations are private.
David Frink, a spokesman for Dell, declined to comment.
Taylor Bean’s Lee Farkas Loses Bid to Overturn Convictions
Taylor Bean & Whitaker Mortgage Corp.’s former chairman, Lee Farkas, lost a bid to overturn his fraud convictions for orchestrating a $3 billion bank-looting scheme prosecutors called among the biggest recorded in the U.S.
The U.S. Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia yesterday found nothing in Farkas’s trial that would warrant reversing the convictions, rejecting arguments he was deprived of a fair trial.
“Having carefully considered Farkas’s contentions in light of the record presented to us, we discern no reversible error,” Circuit Judge Andre Davis wrote for the three-judge panel.
Davis said that the federal court was correct in allowing the trial to take place in the Eastern District of Virginia, in appointing a lawyer to defend Farkas, in limiting cross examination of a witness and in giving instructions to the jury about the meaning of “beyond a reasonable doubt,” among other challenges raised by Farkas in his appeal.
Prosecutors presented evidence at trial that “amply justified” his jury conviction, Davis wrote.
Farkas was found guilty of bank, wire and securities fraud in April 2011 and sentenced to 30 years in prison in June of that year.
Prosecutors said the scheme was one of the U.S.’s largest and longest-running bank frauds, which duped some of the country’s biggest financial institutions, targeted the federal bank bailout program and contributed to the failures of Taylor Bean and Montgomery, Alabama-based Colonial Bank.
David Coorssen, the Louisville, Kentucky lawyer who represents Farkas, said in a telephone interview “We aren’t surprised by the ruling but obviously are very disappointed for Lee.” He said hadn’t yet been able to discuss with his client whether to request a review by the Supreme Court or to file a claim for “insufficient assistance of counsel” during the trial.
Assistant Attorney General Lanny Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division said the decision “confirms that justice was done in this case,” in an e-mailed statement.
The district court case is U.S. v. Farkas, 10-cr-00200, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Virginia (Alexandria). The appellate case is U.S. v. Farkas, 11-4714, 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (Richmond).
Law Firm Moves
Hogan Lovells Adds IBM Chief Privacy Officer as Partner
Harriet P. Pearson will join the privacy and information management practice of Hogan Lovells LLP on Aug. 1.
Pearson joins Hogan Lovells from IBM, where she serves as vice president, security counsel and chief privacy officer. Pearson will counsel clients on privacy and information security policy and compliance as well as cross-border data transfers, data security incident response and remediation, and information and cyber security risk management and governance, among other matters.
According to a statement, Pearson was responsible for information policy and practices affecting over 400,000 employees and thousands of clients at IBM. She led global teams of legal, data protection, and technical professionals at IBM providing legal, policy and compliance services to internal clients.
Pearson currently serves on the advisory boards of the Electronic Privacy Information Center and the Future of Privacy Forum.
Haynes & Boone Adds Partners in its Real Estate Practice
Two real attorneys have joined Haynes & Boone LLP from Bryan Cave LLP.
Bradford Lavender and Steven Monteforte have become partners in the firm’s New York office. Lavender represents publicly traded REITs, private equity firms and closely held real estate companies.
Monteforte specializes in the representation of large, institutional tenants in all aspects of their corporate facility needs in New York City and throughout the country, including commercial lease transactions and national and worldwide brokerage and facility management agreements.
Haynes & Boone has more than 525 attorneys with offices in Texas, New York, California, Washington, Mexico City and Moscow.
Litigators Mesher, Zeringer Join Sedgwick Firm in Seattle Office
Barry Mesher and Brian Zeringer have become partners in the Seattle office of Sedgwick LLP. The two, who previously practiced at Lane Powell PC, are working in the complex-litigation division of the firm.
Mesher focuses his practice on toxic, mass and municipal torts; premises liability; insurance coverage; product liability; professional liability; and labor and employment law.
Zeringer is a litigator with experience handling commercial, real estate and product-liability litigation. For the last 15 years, his practice has focused on toxic-tort litigation, particularly asbestos personal-injury cases.