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Hogan Lovells Opens Office in Sao Paulo: Business of Law

Jan. 16 (Bloomberg) -- Hogan Lovells LLP opened an office in Sao Paulo, its second in Brazil.

Isabel Costa Carvalho, a capital markets lawyer formerly with Clifford Chance LLP, joined the firm as a partner in Sao Paulo. Costa Carvalho recently handled the largest initial public offering in Latin America in the past five years, an IPO for BB Seguridade SA with an estimated value of $6 billion, the firm said in a statement.

The Sao Paulo office will operate as a foreign legal consultancy, the firm said.

Moves Round-up

New Hires at K&L Gates, WilmerHale, White & Case, Jones Day

The Washington office of K&L Gates LLP hired Jonathan N. Eisenberg as a partner in the government enforcement practice and Randolph M. Goodman, J. Barclay Collins and Michelle A. Wakino as partners in the tax-exempt organizations practice.

Eisenberg returns to K&L Gates from UBS Wealth Management where he was general counsel. Collins, Goodman and Wakino join the firm from Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP.

Heather Tewksbury joined WilmerHale as a partner in the Palo Alto, California, office in the antitrust and competition practice. She was a trial attorney with the Justice Department’s antitrust division in San Francisco, where she worked on cases included allegations of price-fixing against AU Optronics Corp. The liquid-crystal-display maker in 2012 was ordered to pay a $500 million fine for colluding with rivals.

White & Case LLP also hired a former Justice Department lawyer. Kathleen Hamann joins the global white collar practice as a partner in Washington. She was an anticorruption policy counsel and trial lawyer assigned to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act Team in the Criminal Division’s fraud section.

Also in Washington, Jones Day added former Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP partner Mark Mansour as a partner in the health-care and life sciences practices, focusing on food and drug law.

Litigation

Hill Peterson Sues Over West Virginia Chemical Spill

Hill, Peterson, Carper, Bee & Deitzler, working with two fellow West Virginia firms, sued Freedom Industries Inc. on behalf of businesses temporarily shut down by a chemical leak that fouled the Elk River.

Their lawsuit also names the West Virginia unit of American Water Works Co., the largest publicly traded U.S. water utility. The sole intake for the Charleston-area water system is a mile-and-a-half from Freedom’s chemical-storage facility.

The leak of 7,500 gallons of a coal-processing chemical from a Freedom storage tank cut off tap water to 300,000 West Virginians. Plaintiffs allege that Freedom and the utility didn’t do enough to prepare for the risk of a spill.

Lawsuits filed in local courts eventually will be consolidated before a special judicial panel, predicted Anthony Majestro of Powell & Majestro, one of the lawyers on the case. Lost revenue, wages and other economic harm in Charleston and surrounding counties will total a half billion dollars, the plaintiffs’ lawyers estimated.

For more, click here.

News

OGX Minority Creditors Sought by Law Firm for Counter Committee

McDermott Will & Emery LLP is organizing a group to represent minority creditors in OGX Petroleo & Gas Participacoes SA after the investors were left out of the reorganization talks.

OGX, which defaulted on about $3.6 billion of dollar debt in 2013, reached an accord last month with a committee of majority bondholders led by Pacific Investment Management Co. and BlackRock Inc. Under the accord, the group will commit about $200 million to OGX, now known as Oleo & Gas, in the form of debtor-in-possession financing in exchange for 65 percent equity in the new company. Bondholders not involved in the financing deal and other creditors will get a 25 percent equity stake.

“The current plan agreed to by OGX and the ad-hoc committee of majority bondholders will result in discriminatory treatment of minority bondholders, who were not part of the negotiations,” according to an e-mail from McDermott Will & Emery obtained by Bloomberg News. “Minority bondholders should have the right to participate in the entire proposed DIP financing facility on a pro rata basis.”

Christopher Rieck, a spokesman at the law firm, said Tim Walsh is leading its team.

Blagojevich Prosecutor Hired by N.J. Lawmakers for Bridge Probe

New Jersey lawmakers investigating political tricks that emanated from Governor Chris Christie’s office hired as special counsel the lead prosecutor in the corruption trials of former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich.

Reid Schar, a former assistant U.S. attorney, will aid the New Jersey Assembly’s investigation of the decision to close George Washington Bridge access lanes in September. While working under former Chicago U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald, Schar was part of a team of prosecutors pursuing Blagojevich, adviser-fundraiser Antoin “Tony” Rezko and others accused of trying to profit from their political connections.

The four-day traffic jam paralyzed Fort Lee, a town of 35,700 at the end of the bridge to Manhattan whose Democratic mayor, Mark Sokolich, refused to endorse Christie in the November election. The intention was to punish the mayor, according to e-mails and text messages.

Schar is now a partner at the Chicago law firm Jenner & Block LLP.

For more, click here.

Judges

Burton R. Lifland, Judge in Madoff Bankruptcy Case, Dies at 84

Burton R. Lifland, a U.S. bankruptcy judge in New York whose 34 years on the bench included unwinding Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and changing how asbestos liability is treated, has died. He was 84.

For more, click here.

To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Amon in New York at eamon2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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