Paul Weiss Fees in NBA Player Group Audit: Busines of Law

Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP received $3.56 million in fees for its work on an internal audit of the National Basketball Association Players Association, according to public records.

The nine-month review found that the union’s former executive director, Billy Hunter, failed to manage conflicts of interest, lacked proper corporate governance and didn’t disclose that his $3 million-a-year contract wasn’t properly ratified. Hunter was fired in February 2013.

The union spent about $5.42 million on the audit, which was disclosed in its annual filing with the U.S. Labor Department. Deloitte Financial Advisory Services, which Paul Weiss retained for the audit, received $1.23 million.

Lauren Nussbaum, a spokeswoman for Paul Weiss, declined to comment on the firm’s work for the association.

The union has been without an executive director since the players’ representatives voted for Hunter’s ouster. The union’s annual summer meeting is scheduled for next week, when membership might pick Hunter’s replacement.

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Lawsuit News

Wal-Mart Told by Delaware Court to Turn Over Bribery Probe Files

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. must hand over internal documents about what directors and executives knew of alleged bribes tied to Mexican real-estate deals, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled.

The court yesterday upheld a lower-court decision in favor of pension funds seeking the files for lawsuits against Wal-Mart directors. The funds sought officer-level documents and information about the company’s internal probe of the allegations.

Internal documents showed Wal-Mart’s Mexican unit used a state governor in Mexico to facilitate $156,000 in bribes, Bloomberg News reported last year.

Wal-Mart argued it didn’t have to disclose the files because they were private communications with its attorneys.

“Today’s ruling was limited to procedural questions about whether plaintiffs had the right to inspect certain company documents,” Brooke Buchanan, a Wal-Mart spokeswoman, said yesterday in an e-mail. “It had nothing to do with the merits of the allegations.”

The company’s internal investigation hasn’t reached a final conclusion, she said.

“Now finally after two years we will get the documents we are entitled to,” Stuart Grant, a lawyer for investors, said in an e-mail.

The case is Indiana Electrical Workers Pension Trust Fund IBEW v. Wal-Mart Stores Inc., CA No. 7779-CS, Delaware Chancery Court (Wilmington). The Supreme Court case is Wal-Mart Stores v. Indiana Electrical Workers Pension Trust Fund IBEW, No. 614,2013, Delaware Supreme Court (Wilmington).


Prempro Plaintiffs’ Lawyers Settle $62 Million Fee Fight

Plaintiffs’ lawyers who battled Pfizer Inc. for more than a decade over women’s cancers linked to the company’s Prempro menopause drug settled a dispute over fees, according to court papers.

Zoe Littlepage and Rainey Booth, attorneys who won half a dozen verdicts for women who blamed their breast cancer on Prempro and other menopause medicines, are slated to receive more than $21.8 million in fees under the settlement, unveiled in court filings in Arkansas.

That’s more than twice what the lawyers were originally assigned to get from the so-called common benefit fund, court filings show. Common-benefit fees are paid for work done on behalf of all litigants in a consolidated case.

Littlepage and Booth objected last year to recommendations by colleagues that they share $9.52 million in fees for more than 11 years of litigation against Pfizer and its Wyeth and Upjohn units over the hormone-replacement drugs. In a rare tactic, Littlepage and Booth made their fee fight public.

“Sometimes it just pays to object to your fee allocation,” Carl Tobias, who teaches mass-tort law at the University of Richmond in Virginia and follows consolidated cases, also known as multidistrict litigations, said in an interview. “These two lawyers were instrumental in leading the litigation, and they more than earned their fee awards. It seems they got what they deserved.”

Tobias Millrood, a Philadelphia-area lawyer who tried several Prempro suits against Pfizer and led the fee-allocation committee, didn’t reply to a call and an e-mail seeking comment on the fee settlement. Millrood and his firm are to receive more than $5.6 million in fees from the fund.

The consolidated Prempro case in Arkansas is In re Prempro Products, 03-cv-015070, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Arkansas (Little Rock).

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Law Firm Moves

Bingham, Arnold & Porter, Crowell Among Firms With Lateral Hires

David Miller, a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York, has joined Bingham McCutchen LLP as a partner in its New York office. While at the U.S. attorney’s office, Miller served in the Securities and Commodities Fraud Task Force and was also part of a team of prosecutors leading the government’s investigation and prosecution of Operation Perfect Hedge, which has resulted in the conviction of more than 80 individuals for insider trading offenses since 2009, according to a statement from the firm. Miller is joining Bingham’s white collar investigations and enforcement group.

Arnold & Porter LLP announced that Charles Bethill has joined as a partner and Mark Sokolow as senior counsel in the firm’s New York office. Bethill specializes in transactions, complex financing and corporate governance for financial-services companies. Sokolow advises on regulatory, corporate and securities issues including securities law compliance. Both were previously partners in the New York office of Alston & Bird LLP.

Crowell & Moring LLP announced that Teresa Miller has joined the firm’s health-care group as a partner in Washington. Miller most recently was the acting director for both the state exchanges group and the oversight group at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, s part of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, a federal agency. Previously, Miller served as the administrator of the insurance division for the Oregon Department of Consumer and Business Services

Jon Michaelson and Linda Usoz have joined the Silicon Valley office of Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton LLP as partners. Both were previously at K&L Gates LLP. Michaelson will join Kilpatrick’s complex-business litigation team and Usoz will join the labor and employment team.

Geoff Silver joined the Indianapolis office of Jackson Lewis LLP as of counsel. He previously worked for almost 10 years at the national office of the National Collegiate Athletic Association, most recently serving as director of academic and membership affairs.

Parker Ibrahim & Berg LLC, a firm with offices in New York, New Jersey and Philadelphia, opened one in Chicago. The firm named Robert Emanuel, who advises financial institutions on litigation and compliance, as is managing partner. Emanuel was previously a principal at Much Shelist PC, a Chicago firm.

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