U.S. Anti-Bribe Head Joins Morrison & Foerster: Business of LawEllen Rosen
Charles Duross, who secured almost $2 billion in corporate penalties as the head of the U.S. Justice Department unit devoted to pursuing foreign bribery cases, has left the government to join Morrison & Foerster LLP in Washington.
Duross led the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act unit from April 2010 through Jan. 24. He oversaw several of the largest FCPA settlements in U.S. history, including those involving Alcoa Inc., Weatherford International Ltd. and Total SA. Duross also secured convictions of more than two dozen individuals.
“In order to have the greatest deterrence possible, it was always our goal to hold individuals accountable and not just corporations,” Duross, 43, said yesterday in an interview.
Under Duross, the Justice Department began an FCPA investigation of Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer. He declined to confirm the Wal-Mart probe, which the company announced, or discuss any specific investigations. He said 2014 will be a “significant year” in FCPA enforcement.
“You’re going to continue to see FCPA enforcement in large-scale corruption cases, involving both corporations and individuals,” he said.
Patrick Stokes, who helped run the securities and financial fraud unit, will take over the FCPA unit, according to the department. Stokes investigated banks accused of manipulating the London interbank offered rate, or Libor, and was a lead prosecutor in the trial of Lee Farkas, convicted in 2011 of running a $3 billion scheme involving fake mortgage assets.
At San Francisco-based Morrison & Foerster, Duross will lead the global anti-corruption group, working on “a healthy mix” of internal investigations and corporation compliance, he said.
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Securities Class Actions Rose Slightly in 2013, Study Finds
The number of securities class actions filed last year increased slightly over 2012, according to an annual report prepared by Cornerstone Research and the Stanford Law School Securities Class Action Clearinghouse. According to the report, the number of suits filed was still 13 percent below the historical averages from 1997-2012.
Smaller public companies were sued more than larger companies, and the new suits were concentrated in four areas: telecommunications, health care, information technology and what the report calls “consumer discretionary.”
Joseph Grundfest, a Stanford Law professor and the director of the Clearinghouse, said, “The more interesting result is the maximum dollar loss,” based on a defendant company’s market capitalization during the time when plaintiffs contend a securities violation occurred.
The figure, he says, “is a very reliable predictor of how much the cases will settle for” in a few years. For 2013, the maximum dollar loss was $279 billion, almost one-third lower than the 2012 maximum loss of $405 billion. It hasn’t been this low since 1998, he said.
As a result, “the cohort of cases filed in 2013 are likely to settle for much less than those filed in 2012,” Grundfest said yesterday in a telephone interview.
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Journalist Glass Can’t Practice Law in California, Court Says
Stephen Glass, the former The New Republic reporter who made up quotes, cited sources that didn’t exist and was depicted in the 2003 movie “Shattered Glass,” can’t practice law in California, the state’s highest court ruled.
Glass’s dishonesty “involved significant deceit sustained unremittingly for a period of years,” the California Supreme Court said yesterday in a unanimous ruling, rejecting a 2-1 state bar court recommendation that Glass be granted a law license.
Glass, 41, was in his 20s when he wrote the fabricated stories. Glass’s lawyers said that he had apologized for his conduct, entered therapy, done charitable work and shown he was rehabilitated. His admission to the bar should depend on his current moral character, they said.
He graduated from Georgetown Law School in 2000. New York State declined to license him, and he subsequently took and passed the California bar examination. A committee of examiners for California’s state bar association challenged his application.
Jon Eisenberg, Glass’s attorney, didn’t immediately respond to a voice-mail message seeking comment on the ruling.
The case is In the Matter of Stephen Randall Glass, S196374, California Supreme Court (San Francisco).
Law Firm Moves
Lawyers Move to Loeb & Loeb, Bracewell, Blank Rome, Lowenstein
Scott S. Liebman has joined Loeb & Loeb LLP in the firm’s New York and Washington offices as a partner. Liebman will lead the firm’s new FDA regulatory and compliance practice. Liebman has been a principal in the New York office of Porzio Bromberg & Newman PC, where he also was vice president of the firm’s subsidiary, Porzio Life Sciences LLC.
R. Casey Low joined Bracewell & Giuliani LLP in its Austin office as a trial and appellate partner. He previously was a partner at Andrews Kurth LLP.
Blank Rome LLP hired Matthew J. Thomas as a partner in its Washington office to join its maritime, international trade and public-contracts group. Thomas previously was a partner in the Washington office of Reed Smith LLP.
Lowenstein Sandler LLP announced that Matthew Boxer will rejoin the firm as a partner and chairman of its corporate investigations and integrity practice. Boxer previously served as New Jersey’s first state comptroller from 2008 to 2014. He was with Lowenstein Sandler from 1997 to 2001 before taking a government position.