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WilmerHale, Jenner, Hunton, Skadden: Business of Law

Stephen Luparello, vice chairman at the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, is taking a job at Washington law firm Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP, after working at the brokerage industry’s self-regulator for more than 16 years, Finra said in a statement.

Luparello, who served as interim chief executive officer of Finra before being named vice chairman in 2009, will leave Oct. 7 for WilmerHale, Finra said in a statement yesterday. As vice chairman, he oversaw Finra’s enforcement and market regulation and helped establish systems for monitoring markets, detecting fraud and protecting whistle-blowers, Finra said.

“He helped lead the organization through one of the most critical times for securities regulators and helped build and shape many of Finra’s regulatory programs,” Richard Ketchum, the organization’s chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

Finra oversees U.S.-listed broker-dealers under the authority of the Securities and Exchange Commission. Luparello, who was set to receive a $1.3 million compensation package this year, started with the regulator when it was the National Association of Securities Dealers Inc. He also has worked for the Commodity Futures Trading Commission and the SEC, Finra said.

Jenner Hires Former Homeland Security Chief Privacy Officer

The former U.S. Department of Homeland Security chief privacy officer, Mary Ellen Callahan, joined Jenner & Block LLP as a partner in the Washington office. Callahan will lead the firm’s newly formed privacy and information governance practice.

Callahan joined the DHS in March 2009 as head of its Privacy Office, overseeing 45 federal employees. She also served as chief Freedom of Information Act officer. She reported directly to the Secretary of Homeland Security and was responsible for embedding and enforcing privacy protections and transparency in all DHS activities, the firm said in a statement.

Callahan said in an interview that in her new practice she will counsel Jenner’s clients, particularly media, retail and technologic clients, on how to best use, understand and manage information.

“My skills at Homeland Security will help me to understand the obligations on in-house counsel and privacy officers and work to get the best result,” she said.

Callahan said she expects the new practice, which has about 10 people, to expand.

Callahan has served as vice-chair of the ABA Privacy and Information Security Committee of the Antitrust Division; co-chair of the Privacy Committee of the Chief Information Officers Council; and co-chair of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Subcommittee of the Information Sharing and Access Interagency Policy Committee. Before joining the DHS, Callahan was a partner at Hogan & Hartson, now Hogan Lovells LLP.

Senior SEC Counsel Joins Hunton & Williams in Washington

Hunton & Williams LLP hired Scott H. Kimpel, former counsel to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commissioner Troy A. Paredes, as a partner in the Washington office.

At the SEC, Kimpel served as Paredes’s liaison to the commission’s senior staff as well as external constituencies, including issuers and other SEC registrants, investors, press, members of Congress and trade associations. Kimpel advised the commissioner on all aspects of federal securities laws and SEC policy, focusing especially on the Division of Corporation Finance and the Division of Enforcement, according to the firm.

“Scott’s experience will be an advantage for our public company and emerging growth clients who need sophisticated securities advice and insights into SEC policies, procedures, operations and enforcement,” said Steve Patterson, co-head of the firm’s corporate finance and mergers and acquisitions practice.

Before the SEC, Kimpel practiced for 10 years at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, Hunton said.

Hunton & Williams has more than 800 lawyers at 19 offices around the world.


NYPD Abuse Increases Settlements Costing City $735 Million

New York City plans to spend $735 million this year on settlements or awards in lawsuits claiming negligence, police abuse and property damage, the most in its history and almost six times what Los Angeles pays per capita.

The cost of claims is forecast to rise to $815 million by 2016, more than the city pays to run the Parks and Recreation Department, according to budget documents. Among the incidents triggering payments are malpractice in public hospitals, police beatings, improper arrests, collisions with fire trucks and potholes causing accidents.

The increase in litigation payouts may put pressure on Mayor Michael Bloomberg as he weighs job and service cuts to close a $3.5 billion deficit in a $72 billion budget next year. The gap widened by $1 billion last month when a court struck down a plan to sell 2,000 new taxi medallions.

“It’s a huge problem for the city and trial lawyers will say it’s only justice, but it’s also a matter of some people considering a case before a New York jury the same as winning the lottery,” said E.J. McMahon, a research fellow for the Manhattan Institute’s Empire Center for New York State Policy. The institute calls for changes to contingency fees for plaintiffs’ lawyers and advocates a so-called loser pays system for legal costs.

One reason New York’s legal payouts are rising, according to the Law Department, is that unlike California, Illinois and Pennsylvania, the state has no laws that cap damages or limit liability in suits against municipal governments.

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Philippines Says Rule Seen to Cut Trial Time by 50% Approved

The Philippine Supreme Court approved a rule allowing affidavits to replace testimony in court as it aims to cut trial times by 50 percent, Deputy Court Administrator Raul Villanueva said in a briefing in Manila.

Under the process that takes effect on Jan. 1, lawyers will submit “judicial affidavits” containing a witness’s testimony in question-and-answer format before the trial, doing away with direct-examination transcriptions, Villanueva said yesterday. It will apply to civil and special proceedings in lower courts and in criminal cases where the penalty doesn’t exceed six years, he said.

The process was tested in Quezon City courts, where trial time was cut in half, Villanueva said.


Valeant to Buy Medicis Pharmaceutical in $2.6 Billion Deal

Valeant Pharmaceuticals International, Inc. agreed to buy Medicis Pharmaceutical Corp. in a transaction valued at about $2.6 billion.

Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom LLP  and Sullivan & Cromwell LLP served as Valeant’s legal counsel. Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP were outside legal counsel to Medicis.

Skadden attorneys on the deal included New York partners Stephen Arcano, mergers and acquisitions, and Robert Copen, banking.

The S&C team was led by Los Angeles mergers and acquisitions partner Alison Ressler, together with Palo Alto corporate partner Sarah Payne and New York partners Matthew Friestedt, executive compensation and benefits; Yvonne Quinn, antitrust; and Neal McKnight, financing. New York partner Ronald Creamer Jr. provided tax advice.

The Weil team comprised partners Michael Aiello and Matthew Gilroy, mergers and acquisitions; Ann Malester, Steve Newborn and Steve Bernstein, antitrust; Ken Heitner and Chayim Neubort, tax; Jeffery Osterman, intellectual property; Steve Margolis, benefits; and Greg Danilow, litigation.

Latham’s corporate deal team was led by partners Charles Ruck in Orange County, California, Wesley Holmes in New York and Joshua Dubofsky in Silicon Valley.

Advice was also provided on antitrust matters by partner Michael Egge in Washington; on benefits and compensation matters by partner Jim Barrall in Los Angeles; on litigation matters by partners David Schindler in Los Angeles and Michele Johnson in Orange County; on regulatory matters by partner John Manthei in Washington; on intellectual property matters by partner Judith Hasko in Silicon Valley; on environmental matters by partner Christopher Norton in Orange County; and on tax matters by partner Nicholas DeNovio in Washington.

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Firm News

Culotta Named King & Spalding Global Transactions Head

King & Spalding LLP appointed partner Kenneth S. Culotta leader of the firm’s global transactions practice. He had served as the practice’s deputy leader since August 2011.

Culotta succeeds Philip R. Weems, the firm’s global transactions practice leader since 2003. Weems will continue to be co-leader of the firm’s global energy industry initiative.

The global transactions practice has expanded under Weems’s leadership, growing from two offices to include lawyers in Houston, London, the Middle East, Moscow, Singapore and Washington.

Culotta is a partner in the Houston office and was a founding member of the firm’s London office. His 27 years of experience encompass a range of domestic and cross-border oil, gas and mining-industry transactions, the firm said. Culotta is a fluent Spanish speaker and has experience in Latin American energy matters.

King & Spalding’s energy practice has more than 250 lawyers, with more than 120 dedicated to energy-related matters full-time. The firm has 800 lawyers in 17 offices in the U.S., Europe, the Middle East and Asia.


Lawyer Files Five-Page Cartoon Brief in Apple E-Books Case

Bob Kohn, an expert in music-licensing law and chairman of RoyaltyShare Inc., filed a five-page brief in panel-cartoon format, urging a judge to reject a settlement in a price-fixing case over e-books.

Kohn, a nonparty to the lawsuit who said he’s a consumer of e-books, asked U.S. District Judge Denise Cote in New York last month for permission to file a friend-of-the-court brief opposing the U.S. Justice Department’s suit against Apple Inc. and its April settlement with three publishers.

Kohn yesterday filed the cartoon, or “graphic novelette,” version of what he’d proposed as a more conventional 25-page, prose-only, brief after Cote limited him to just five pages, he said in an interview.

“The high court said that collusive conduct is OK under rule of reason where there is a countervailing pro-competitive virtue,” Kohn explains to his daughter, a Harvard University graduate student, in one of the panels.

The panels, which include citations to court papers and legal rulings, are preceded by a page of authorities for Kohn’s arguments.

Kohn said he believes the brief complies with local court rules, which require text of 12-point or larger and one-inch margins on all sides.

“I’m hopeful I can have an impact on the court’s thinking in a positive way,” said Kohn, a lawyer who has written on music licensing.

RoyaltyShare, based in San Diego, provides Web-based royalty processing and content management services to the entertainment industry.

The Justice Department sued Apple and five publishers in April, claiming they colluded to set prices for electronic books. Three of the publishers settled the case. Cote must approve the settlement for it to take effect.

The case is U.S. v. Apple Inc., 12-cv-02826, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Barnes & Noble’s Riggio’s Investor Suit Settlement Approved

Barnes & Noble Inc. founder Leonard Riggio’s $29 million settlement of investors’ claims that he wrongfully pushed the biggest U.S. bookstore chain to acquire his college-textbook firm won a judge’s approval.

Riggio’s agreement to give up payments due him as part of the $596 million buyout of the textbook seller was a reasonable resolution of claims the Barnes & Noble’s chairman reaped excessive benefits from the 2009 acquisition, Delaware Chancery Court Judge Leo Strine concluded.

“The only reason this got done was the plaintiffs’ time and effort,” Strine said yesterday at hearing in Wilmington.

The settlement, which will be paid personally by Riggio and won’t be covered by insurance covering Barnes & Noble officers and directors, came less than a week before Strine was slated to hear investors’ claims over the buyout in June.

Under terms of the settlement, Riggio will forgo $22.75 million in payments he was to receive under a $150 million promissory note Barnes & Noble issued as part of the buyout of Barnes & Noble College Booksellers Inc.

Riggio also will cut $6.3 million in interest payments due on the note, which matures in 2014, according to court filings outlining the settlement.

Shareholders’ lawyers argued the board allowed Riggio to dictate terms and timing of the buyout and didn’t force him to seek other offers for the company to justify the purchase price.

Both sides were gearing up for trial in June when they were able to reach the $29 million settlement, Pam Tikellis, a Wilmington-based lawyer for Barnes & Noble shareholders, told Strine.

“This was a hard-fought case where nothing was easy,” Tikellis said. The lawyer and her colleagues asked Strine in court filings to award them more than $11 million in fees and costs for their work in the Barnes & Noble suit.

The judge cut the total award to $7 million for fees and costs after Barnes & Noble officials objected to the $11 million request, saying the final figure provided “reasonable reward” for the plaintiffs’ efforts.

The case is In re Barnes & Noble Stockholder Derivative Litigation, 4813, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington).

For more, click here.

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