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Connecticut Lawyer Picked, Foley, Gibson Dunn: Business of Law

Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy nominated his general counsel, Andrew J. McDonald, to the state Supreme Court to replace Justice Lubbie Harper Jr., who reached the mandatory retirement age.

McDonald is a former litigation partner at Pullman & Comley LLC, where he led the firm’s appellate practice. He was also director of legal affairs and corporation counsel for the city of Stamford from 1999 to 2002, when Malloy was mayor. He was elected state senator for the 27th district from 2003 to 2011, serving as deputy majority leader and chairman of the judiciary committee, Malloy’s office said in a statement.

“In each of the roles he has served, Andrew has proven to have an exceptional ability to understand, analyze, research and evaluate legal issues,” Malloy said in the statement. “He has undertaken his legal work with a focus on giving back extensively to his community and a commitment to the equal rights of all residents. He will be an exceptional justice on the Connecticut Supreme Court.”

If confirmed, McDonald will be the first openly gay appellate jurist in Connecticut’s history, the governor’s office said.

Firm News

Foley Partner Appointed U.S. Bankruptcy Judge in Wisconsin

Foley & Lardner LLP Milwaukee partner G. Michael Halfenger was appointed to serve as U.S. Bankruptcy Judge for the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Halfenger will begin his 14-year term on Jan. 11, the firm said.

Halfenger is co-chair of Foley’s appellate practice and a member of the appellate, antitrust and business litigation and dispute resolution practices. He has handled a variety of complex commercial matters including antitrust, patent, RICO, Lanham Act, trade secret, unfair trade practices, civil rights and shareholder disputes.

Foley has 21 offices in the U.S., Brussels and Asia.


CFTC Mutual Fund Rule Appeal Sought by Chamber of Commerce

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce is seeking to appeal a judge’s decision to uphold a rule by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission requiring mutual funds with commodities investments to register with the agency.

The Chamber of Commerce and the Investment Company Institute, which have been represented by Eugene Scalia, the son of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and a partner at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP, filed a notice of appeal yesterday in federal court in Washington. The appeal will seek to reverse a Dec. 12 ruling by U.S. District Judge Beryl Howell that the CFTC acted properly and within its authority when it issued the rule.

Howell, writing in a 93-page opinion, rejected arguments by the Chamber of Commerce and the Investment Company Institute that the rule is unnecessary and that the commission didn’t properly assess the costs and benefits when it approved the regulation in February.

Under the rule, funds would have to file reports with the CFTC about their use of leverage, exposure to risk from counterparties and other investment trading data.

The groups argued the measure isn’t needed because mutual funds are already overseen by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

The case is Investment Company Institute v. U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission, 1:12-cv-00612, U.S. District Court, District of Columbia (Washington).

For more, click here.

Porsche Wins Dismissal of Hedge Fund Case Over Volkswagen

Porsche Automobil Holding SE won an appeals court ruling dismissing a lawsuit by hedge funds that accused the German carmaker of concealing a plan to corner the market in Volkswagen AG shares.

There is an “inadequate connection” between New York and the events at issue in the case, with only e-mails and phone calls taking place in New York, the Appellate Division of the state Supreme Court said in a decision yesterday.

Porsche in November asked the appeals court to reverse a lower court’s decision rejecting its motion to dismiss the 2011 suit by 26 hedge funds including David Einhorn’s Greenlight Capital Inc.

The funds, which bet that Volkswagen stock would fall, claimed Stuttgart, Germany-based Porsche misled investors by denying through much of 2008 that it intended to acquire Volkswagen and by using manipulative trades to hide its stock positions. The plaintiffs sought more than $1 billion in damages.

“This is an important victory for Porsche. The appeals court squarely held that these cases do not belong in a New York state court,” said Robert Giuffra, an attorney for Porsche at Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, said in a statement.

Porsche is also being sued in Europe over the issue.

James B. Heaton, an attorney for the plaintiffs, declined to comment about the decision.

The case is Viking Global Equities LP v. Porsche Automobil Holdings SE, 650435/2011, New York State Supreme Court, New York County (Manhattan).

For more, click here.


Lehman’s Cash Rises as it Pays Bills Owed Professionals

Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., which is due to make a third payment to creditors in March, had $5.6 billion in free cash on Nov. 30, an increase of $1.1 billion during the month.

Lehman, which paid lawyers and managers almost $1.8 billion for bankruptcy work, will meet additional bills of $122 million in one-time fees this month, on top of its regular costs for post-bankruptcy work, it said.

The December bills include incentives and amounts owed to professionals that were previously held back, according to the report filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan. A judge last month approved $42 million in incentive fees for Alvarez & Marsal LLC, which continues to manage the defunct firm after making almost $536 million during the bankruptcy.

Overseen by a new board since leaving bankruptcy in March, Lehman paid advisers and managers $12.8 million in November for their work during the bankruptcy. About $9.5 million went to White & Case LLP, the law firm that advised an unofficial group of creditors, according to the filing. Lehman’s fee for post-bankruptcy work was $27.9 million in November, including $13.2 million for lead law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP and $5.2 million for A&M. Total fees since March were $126.1 million. Including back bills for bankruptcy work and bills for the continuing liquidation, November’s fee tally was $40.7 million.

Lehman, once the fourth-largest investment bank, failed because of too much debt and risky real estate investments, according to a bankruptcy examiner’s report.

The average creditor of what was the biggest-ever U.S. bankruptcy will get about 18 cents on the dollar for an estimated $370 billion in allowed claims, Lehman has said.

The case is In re Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc., 08-13555, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

For more, click here.

Corporation Counsel

Apple GC Bruce Sewell Gets $69 Million Compensation

Apple Inc. awarded pay increases to several senior executives, including Bruce Sewell, the company’s general counsel.

Sewell, who has managed Apple’s patent litigation, received $69 million, compared with $1.41 million in 2011, according to a regulatory filing.

Chief Executive Officer Tim Cook received compensation for 2012 valued at $4.17 million after receiving one of the biggest payout packages on record last year.

Cook, who succeeded Apple co-founder Steve Jobs as CEO last year, has in the past several months led an overhaul of Apple’s entire product line, including the introduction of a new iPhone, iPads and Mac computers. He received 2011 compensation of $378 million, one of the biggest pay packages on record, boosted by $376.2 million in stock awards that he’ll get over a decade.

For more, click here.

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