Katten, Sullivan & Cromwell, WilmerHale: Business of Law

Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP opened a Houston office led by former Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP partner Mark Farley, who is one of eight lawyers hired to expand its environmental and workplace safety practices.

“One of our practice’s priorities has been to expand into the health and safety arena of accident investigation. We couldn’t have found a better fit to complement our regulatory and government affairs environmental work,” Chuck Knauss, co-head of Katten’s environmental practice, said in a statement.

Farley, who will head the firm’s new workplace safety practice, is joined by three more attorneys from Pillsbury Winthrop in Houston.

Tom Kiehnhoff, former Assistant U.S. Attorney in Texas who was most recently at Reaud, Morgan & Quinn LLP in Beaumont, Texas, will also join the Houston office as a partner.

Three new partners focused on environmental matters will join Katten’s Austin, Texas, office. The three, previously of Baker Botts LLP, include Sara Marquis Burgin, who concentrates on water quality issues; Whit Swift, who focuses on state and federal air quality regulatory compliance and permitting; and Kevin Collins, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney in Texas with environmental and government investigations experience.

Farley has been a lead attorney on some of the largest industrial accidents in the U.S., including the investigation of BP’s “safety culture” in the 2005 Texas City Refinery explosion, the firm said. He also handles high-risk internal probes and crisis response for environmental health and safety matters.

Katten’s other environmental practice co-chairman, Steve Solow, a former Justice Department environmental crimes section chief, said the expansion is meant to meet the growing needs of the firm’s environmental clients. “The federal government has made clear its increased attention to industrial safety and that workplace and environmental safety are a priority, dedicating an enormous amount of time and resources to it,” he said in a statement.

Katten has more than 600 attorneys at 13 offices in the U.S., London and Shanghai.


Bayer to Acquire Conceptus for $1.1 Billion to Add Contraceptive

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP represents Bayer AG, which agreed to buy Conceptus Inc. for about $1.1 billion in cash to add a permanent contraception device to complement the German company’s offerings in women’s health. Latham & Watkins LLP advises Conceptus.

The S&C New York-based team advising Bayer includes partners Matthew G. Hurd, co-head of Sullivan & Cromwell’s health-care and life sciences group, corporate/mergers and acquisitions; Nader A. Mousavi; intellectual property; and Ronald E. Creamer Jr., tax.

Latham’s corporate team led from the firm’s Silicon Valley office with partners Michael Hall, Peter Kerman, Josh Dubofsky and Robert Phillips. Additional partners on the deal included: Kirt Switzer and Grace Chen, tax; James Metz, benefits and compensation: Karen Silverman and Joshua Holian,  antitrust; J.D. Marple; technology transactions; John Manthei, regulatory matters; and Gregory Rodgers, capital markets.

Jones Day advised Bayer on antitrust matters.

Conceptus holders will receive $31 a share in cash, the companies said in a statement yesterday. The price is 20 percent above the April 26 closing level for Mountain View, California-based Conceptus of $25.90. Conceptus rose the most in a year in U.S. trading.

Revenue for Conceptus’s Essure contraceptive, a pair of flexible metal and fiber coils inserted in the fallopian tubes, jumped 22 percent in the first quarter. The planned acquisition comes at a time when sales of Leverkusen, Germany-based Bayer’s Yaz and Yasmin oral birth-control pills are falling because of competition from low-priced copies. Bayer also sells the Natazia pill and intrauterine devices such as Mirena.

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Brown Rudnick Tech Co-Chairmen Join WilmerHale in Boston

Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP has added two high tech lawyers, David Gammell and Edwin Pease, former co-chairmen of the emerging technologies and venture capital practice at Brown Rudnick LLP, as partners in the corporate group in Boston.

“Dave and Ed have built impressive emerging technology and venture capital practices and we are excited that they have chosen to continue to grow their practices by leveraging our broad-based platform,” Mark Borden, chairman of WilmerHale’s corporate group, said in a statement.

Gammell specializes in advising startups and venture-backed companies, venture capital firms, buyers and sellers in mergers and acquisitions, and both private and public companies in tech transfer and licensing matters, joint ventures and partnerships, the firm said. Pease focuses his practice on advising startups and venture-backed companies, venture capital funds, and buyers and sellers in mergers and acquisitions, according to the statement.

“WilmerHale is a leader in the startup and venture capital market,” Gammell said in a statement. “Its deep corporate expertise, coupled with the breadth of practice areas it offers, are unmatched.”

WilmerHale has 1,000 lawyers at 14 offices in the U.S., Europe and Asia.


Sullivan & Cromwell, Hogan Lovels Advise on Kodak Pact

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP, led by partner Andrew Dietderich, is advising Eastman Kodak Co., the bankrupt photography pioneer, in its spinoff of imaging businesses to its U.K. pension plan in a deal that settles $2.8 billion in claims. Hogan Lovells LLP advised the Kodak Pension Plan on the agreement, led by London pensions partner Katie Banks.

Additional S&C partners on the deal include corporate partners Stephen Kotran and Inosi Nyatta.

Hogan Lovells U.S. partner Christopher R. Donoho III advised on business restructuring and insolvency matters along with John H. Booher and Michael J. Silver on mergers and acquisitions matters and Elizabeth M. Donley on commercial matters.

Kodak’s personalized- and document-imaging businesses will be spun off to the pension plan, Kodak’s largest creditor in the bankruptcy case, for $650 million, the company said yesterday in a statement.

Kodak, based in Rochester, New York, plans to file today in court its plan to exit bankruptcy protection. The spinoff agreement settles about $2.8 billion of claims by the pension plan against Kodak, according to the statement.

Kodak said this month that it had a deal to sell document-imaging assets to Japanese office-equipment company Brother Industries Ltd. for about $210 million. It said it will withdraw the request filed in court seeking permission to proceed with the sale.

The company is selling businesses to shrink and fund its shift into commercial printing and packaging after seeking Chapter 11 protection in January 2012.

The bankruptcy case is In re Eastman Kodak Co., 12-bk-10202, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, Southern District of New York (Manhattan).

Greenberg Traurig Settles Heller Ehrman Suit for $4.9 Million

Greenberg Traurig LLP agreed to settle a malpractice suit with defunct law firm Heller Ehrman LLP for $4.9 million.

Heller alleged that Greenberg had a conflict of interest when it was retained by the firm for the bankruptcy proceedings because the firm also represented Bank of America, which was the law firm’s lender and claimed an interest in its assets.

Greenberg took the position that the claims were without merit, asserting that the scope of its engagement was narrower than alleged, according to court documents.

The settlement was a result of mediation before Ralph R. Mabey, a retired bankruptcy judge. It will be considered for approval before judge Dennis Montali on May 31.

Heller Ehrman filed under Chapter 11 in December 2008. A reorganization plan was court approved in 2010.


Olympics Bomb Lawyer Chosen to Defend Suspect in Boston Bombing

A judge approved the appointment of the lawyer who represented convicted 1996 Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph to the legal defense team of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the surviving suspect in the Boston Marathon bombing.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Marianne Bowler in Boston yesterday approved Federal Public Defender Miriam Conrad’s request to hire Judy Clarke, who has represented some of America’s most infamous murder and terrorism convicts, including “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski, to expand the defense’s expertise in federal death penalty cases. Prosecutors haven’t said if they’ll seek a death sentence.

“In light of the circumstances in this case, the defendant requires an attorney with more background, knowledge and experience in federal death penalty cases than that possessed by current counsel,” Bowler said. The appointment will “provide the defendant with adequate and proper representation.”

U.S. authorities said Dzhokhar, 19, and Tamerlan Tsarnaev, his older brother, detonated two homemade bombs near the race’s finish line April 15, killing three people and injuring more than 200. Tamerlan Tsarnaev died after a shootout with police. Dzhokhar, captured hiding in a boat in a Watertown backyard, was charged with two capital counts, including use of a weapon of mass destruction. The maximum sentence is death.

Conrad had sought approval for two lawyers with experience in federal death penalty defenses, including attorney David Bruck, a professor of law at Washington & Lee University School of Law and director of the school’s death penalty defense clinic. Bowler denied that request, saying it may be renewed later in the case.

Clarke, a former U.S. public defender in San Diego and Spokane, Washington, now in private practice, is known as an expert on death penalty cases, especially those in which mental illness is an issue.

In the Rudolph case, perhaps the most similar to the attack in Boston, a backpack with three pipe bombs encircled by nails exploded in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park during the Olympics, killing one person and injuring more than 100 others. Investigators tied Rudolph to the attack through an analysis of bomb elements and arrested him in 2003. He pleaded guilty and is serving a life sentence.

Clarke, who practices in San Diego, also represented Jared Loughner, the Tucson, Arizona, man who shot ex-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and Susan Smith, the South Carolina mother who drowned her two children.

The case is U.S. v. Tsarnaev, 13-mj-02106, U.S. District court, District of Massachusetts (Boston).

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Obama Says Nominee Foxx to Press on Transportation Agenda

President Barack Obama said Charlotte, North Carolina, Mayor Anthony Foxx will press ahead as transportation secretary with the administration’s goals to rebuild and expand the nation’s infrastructure.

Obama yesterday said he’s nominating Foxx, 41, to replace Ray LaHood, a Republican who has led the Transportation Department since the start of the president’s first term.

Foxx, a former Hunton & Williams LLP litigator, has been “one of the most effective mayors Charlotte has ever seen” and the city’s resurgence is due, in part, to his emphasis on investments in transportation projects, Obama said at the White House.

Foxx’s nomination, which is subject to Senate confirmation, comes as Obama is rounding out his second-term Cabinet. He also is close to filling two key positions on his economic team by choosing Mike Froman, currently the deputy national security adviser for international economics, as U.S. trade representative and Chicago businesswoman Penny Pritzker as commerce secretary, according to people familiar with the matter.

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