Developer Larry Silverstein has lost his attempt to win as much as $3.5 billion from airlines to pay for extra losses he endured as a result of the September 11, 2001, attacks on the World Trade Center complex. U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein ruled that Silverstein was fully compensated by his own insurers for the cost of ­rebuilding and his lost lease income. He cannot obtain additional money because of the alleged negligence of the airlines in allowing ­hijackers to board their planes, the judge said.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit has ruled that would-be whistleblowers are protected from retaliation only if they report their employer's wrongdoing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission — contradicting virtually every other court to consider the matter and the SEC's own rules. Employees who report violations internally have no recourse under the Dodd-Frank Act if they are fired as a result, the court held in a 17-page ruling that may undermine painstakingly developed corporate compliance programs.
LAW SCHOOLS LESS PICKY
At least 25 law schools are accepting late applications from prospective students who sat for the Law School Aptitude Test as recently as last month. Normally, law schools look at February test-takers for their fall classes, but the number of applicants is down by 13 percent compared to last year. Even highly ranked schools including the University of Alabama School of Law and the University of North Carolina School of Law are following the trend. "This is a relatively new phenomenon," said Jeff Thomas, director of pre-law programs for Kaplan Test Prep. "This is the first year I have heard of schools explicitly stating as a policy that they would consider June LSAT scores."
ENERGY MARKET MANIPULATION
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission hit Barclays PLC with a $435 million penalty and fined four of its traders a combined $18 million for alleged manipulations of electric energy prices in California and other Western markets. Meanwhile, The Wall Street Journal reported on July 18 that JPMorgan Chase & Co. and the energy commission were in settlement talks that would result in the bank paying hundreds of millions of dollars — including a fine that would eclipse the one levied against Barclays — for its role in the alleged market manipulation.
Fifty disparate organizations — including the American Bankers Association, the Motion Picture Association of America, the National Association of Broadcasters, the National Retail Federation and the National Association of Realtors — urged Congress to crackdown on "patent trolls." "There is a growing consensus that now is the time to address this issue," the organizations said in a letter delivered on July 17. The letter referred to companies that exist primarily to buy up patents and assert them.
BOOK BRINGS DISBARMENT
An attorney who wrote a book marketed as an exposé of a Washington political insider has been disbarred for breaching client confidences. The Indiana Supreme Court cited Joseph Stork Smith's book Rove-ing Her Way to the White House: Machiavelli's Sexy Twin Sister. It purports to be a biography about Dee Dee Benkie, a Republican Party strategist who says she once worked for the George W. Bush White House.
GLOCK'S EX-GC FREED
A state trial judge freed former Glock general counsel and chief operating officer Paul Jannuzzo on July 17, saying that it would be unconstitutional to continue to hold him because, "We don't have debtors' prisons in this country." Cobb County, Ga., Superior Court Judge Robert Flournoy set aside a contempt order directing that Jannuzzo remain confined, despite the reversal of his racketeering conviction last week, until he paid his ex-wife tens of thousands of dollars in back child support and her lawyer's fees.