The George Washington Bridge (Rudy Balasko / iStockphoto.com)
The $1.1 million in fees that Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher billed to New Jersey for the firm’s George Washington Bridge closure investigation may be just the first installment. Acting state Attorney General John Hoffman told ­legislators on May 12 that Gibson Dunn cut its hourly rate from $650 to $350 investigating Gov. Chris Christie’s administration’s possible involvement in last fall’s bridge-access lane closures. Asked whether the firm was continuing to bill, he said, “I assume so.”
RECORD FINE FOR GM
General Motors Co. will pay a record $35 million fine for waiting years to notify federal ­investigators about an airbag flaw that has led to at least 13 deaths. Although the fine — the maximum allowed by law — is the biggest civil ­penalty ever for failing to report a safety defect promptly, Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx called it “a rounding error” and asked Congress to raise the top penalty to $300 million, an amount he called “attention-grabbing and capable of creating a deterrent value for ­automakers.”
DEWEY ESTATE CLAWBACK
The trustee overseeing the ­liquidation of Dewey & LeBoeuf’s bankruptcy estate has filed 11 new suits — nine of them against former Dewey partners — seeking to claw back a total of $22.5 million. With the latest batch of claims, filed on May 13, liquidating trustee Alan Jacobs has now targeted 32 ­former Dewey partners in hopes of recovering as much as $40 million to pay off the debts racked up by the largest U.S. law firm ever to file for bankruptcy. The nine partners chose not to join roughly 450 other former firm partners who signed an October 2012 settlement that raised $71.5 million for the estate.
ROBINS KAPLAN’S LA MOVE
Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi has brought in a Los Angeles boutique to start a corporate restructuring and bankruptcy practice. Howard Weg, founding partner of Peitzman Weg, will become chairman of the new practice and a partner in the Minneapolis firm’s L.A. office on June 2. Peitzman Weg has managed Chapter 11 bankruptcy restructurings including that of Halcyon Holding Group, owner of the “Terminator” movie franchise. The firm represented Citibank as a secured lender to bankrupt Howrey and Heller Ehrman.
GUN CONTROLS APPROVED
The New Jersey Senate on March 12 gave final approval to gun-control measures that would reduce the capacity of magazine clips for automatic weapons and restrict travel with firearms. Passage came despite stern opposition from gun-rights activists, who argued the bills violate their rights under the Second Amendment and would do nothing to reduce gun violence. Gov. Chris Christie has not said whether he will sign either bill.
SAMSUNG’S CONSUMER ALLIES
Consumers can join Samsung Electronics Co. in pursuing price-fixing allegations against three other manufacturers of flash memory cards. The Ninth Circuit ruled on May 14 that a trial judge was wrong to rule that purchasers of SD memory cards waited too long to bring antitrust claims against Panasonic Corp., Toshiba Corp. and SanDisk Corp. and their joint ventures, SD Group and SD-3C. Because the purchasers seek only an injunction against anticompetitive behavior, the four-year statute of limitation set out in the Clayton Act did not apply, the court said.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott on May 12 signed a family law bill that brings to an end a four-year dispute between anti-Islamists and the Florida Bar. The impetus for the measure was a widespread conservative religious movement determined to restrict the use of Islamic, or Shariah, law. The bar’s international law ­section argued the legislation was ­unnecessary because existing Florida case law specifies a standard for applying foreign law in the state. A compromise was reached that had the Legislature adopt case law. Eight state legislatures have passed anti-Shariah bills, but the governor of Missouri vetoed the bill and an Oklahoma federal judge struck it down as unconstitutional.