Ivo Labar and James Wagstaffe, Kerr & Wagstaffe leave the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California.
Ivo Labar and James Wagstaffe, Kerr & Wagstaffe leave the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. (Jason Doiy / The Recorder)

SAN FRANCISCO — A partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell hired to suss out corruption claims made by Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc.’s former general counsel said in testimony Thursday that the claims were “meritless.”


Martine Beamon.

Martine Beamon, who was retained by Bio-Rad’s independent audit committee in February 2013, also described Bio-Rad’s ousted GC, Sanford Wadler, as evasive and difficult to work with, saying he avoided direct questions, talked in circles and failed to present hard evidence to back up suspicions that the company had engaged in transactions in China that violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“We repeatedly asked him for any evidence he had that suggested an FCPA issue in China,” Beamon said under direct questioning from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner John Potter, counsel for Bio-Rad. “I could never get a clear understanding from him as to why he believed it to be the case.”

It was the last day of testimony in the jury trial that pits Bio-Rad against Wadler, who the company fired in June 2013. Wadler sued two years later, claiming he’d been wrongfully terminated for trying to uncover possible corruption in the company’s China offices. He said he found documentation of unpaid products and that some senior management members ignored his concerns. The company asserts Wadler was fired for poor performance, and put forth witnesses who described “out of control” behavior.

Beamon is the second of Bio-Rad’s outside FCPA lawyers to testify in the three-week trial. Patrick Norton, a former Steptoe & Johnson partner who now works as a neutral for JAMS, testified earlier in the case and said he had recommended that Wadler be fired.

During cross-examination, Kerr & Wagstaffe partner Ivo Labar, counsel to Wadler, attempted to portray Beamon’s work as incomplete. He pointed to a list of issues that, according to Wadler, warranted investigation. Of the entire list of items, labeled “A” through “R,” Beamon only investigated the first three, Labar claimed.

Beamon, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York, said she discussed the remaining items with Bio-Rad employees who told her the issues could be handled internally.

“After initial conversations with Bio-Rad employees and consultation with the audit committee, I determined these were better handled by Bio-Rad’s in-house counsel,” Beamon said. “This was the result of sometimes Mr. Wadler’s own counsel telling me they thought this could be handled by them.”

Labar also questioned the length of the investigation. If Wadler’s claims were so obviously without evidence, why did Davis Polk take five months to complete the investigation, generating billings of more than $900,000, Labar asked.

Wadler wasn’t satisfied with the findings, Beamon said. Wadler rejected the conclusions presented at two separate meetings, Beamon said, and prolonged the investigation by adding new issues for attorneys to look into.

“Mr. Wadler wasn’t your client, right?” Labar said.

On redirect, Quinn Emanuel’s Potter picked up on that thread. Why was it important to keep the investigation going even if Wadler wasn’t the client, Potter asked.

“It’s certainly the case that in any public company, that issues raised by the general counsel have to be taken very seriously and you have to investigate them,” said Beamon, whose firm bio says she’s represented clients in close to 100 grand jury and regulatory investigations.

Additionally, Bio-Rad was about to meet with the Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to discuss previous FCPA violations, Beamon said, and both government agencies would “scrutinize” any responses to Wadler’s allegations. “There was no option but to investigate those issues thoroughly.”

Both legal teams rested at midday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the Northern District of California, who is presiding over the case, scheduled closing statements for Feb. 6.

Contact the reporter at druiz@alm.com.

Copyright The Recorder. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

SAN FRANCISCO — A partner at Davis Polk & Wardwell hired to suss out corruption claims made by Bio-Rad Laboratories Inc.’s former general counsel said in testimony Thursday that the claims were “meritless.”


Martine Beamon.

Martine Beamon, who was retained by Bio-Rad’s independent audit committee in February 2013, also described Bio-Rad’s ousted GC, Sanford Wadler, as evasive and difficult to work with, saying he avoided direct questions, talked in circles and failed to present hard evidence to back up suspicions that the company had engaged in transactions in China that violated the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

“We repeatedly asked him for any evidence he had that suggested an FCPA issue in China,” Beamon said under direct questioning from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan partner John Potter, counsel for Bio-Rad. “I could never get a clear understanding from him as to why he believed it to be the case.”

It was the last day of testimony in the jury trial that pits Bio-Rad against Wadler, who the company fired in June 2013. Wadler sued two years later, claiming he’d been wrongfully terminated for trying to uncover possible corruption in the company’s China offices. He said he found documentation of unpaid products and that some senior management members ignored his concerns. The company asserts Wadler was fired for poor performance, and put forth witnesses who described “out of control” behavior.

Beamon is the second of Bio-Rad’s outside FCPA lawyers to testify in the three-week trial. Patrick Norton, a former Steptoe & Johnson partner who now works as a neutral for JAMS, testified earlier in the case and said he had recommended that Wadler be fired.

During cross-examination, Kerr & Wagstaffe partner Ivo Labar, counsel to Wadler, attempted to portray Beamon’s work as incomplete. He pointed to a list of issues that, according to Wadler, warranted investigation. Of the entire list of items, labeled “A” through “R,” Beamon only investigated the first three, Labar claimed.

Beamon, a former federal prosecutor in the Southern District of New York , said she discussed the remaining items with Bio-Rad employees who told her the issues could be handled internally.

“After initial conversations with Bio-Rad employees and consultation with the audit committee, I determined these were better handled by Bio-Rad’s in-house counsel,” Beamon said. “This was the result of sometimes Mr. Wadler’s own counsel telling me they thought this could be handled by them.”

Labar also questioned the length of the investigation. If Wadler’s claims were so obviously without evidence, why did Davis Polk take five months to complete the investigation, generating billings of more than $900,000, Labar asked.

Wadler wasn’t satisfied with the findings, Beamon said. Wadler rejected the conclusions presented at two separate meetings, Beamon said, and prolonged the investigation by adding new issues for attorneys to look into.

“Mr. Wadler wasn’t your client, right?” Labar said.

On redirect, Quinn Emanuel ‘s Potter picked up on that thread. Why was it important to keep the investigation going even if Wadler wasn’t the client, Potter asked.

“It’s certainly the case that in any public company, that issues raised by the general counsel have to be taken very seriously and you have to investigate them,” said Beamon, whose firm bio says she’s represented clients in close to 100 grand jury and regulatory investigations.

Additionally, Bio-Rad was about to meet with the Department of Justice and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to discuss previous FCPA violations, Beamon said, and both government agencies would “scrutinize” any responses to Wadler’s allegations. “There was no option but to investigate those issues thoroughly.”

Both legal teams rested at midday. U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero of the Northern District of California, who is presiding over the case, scheduled closing statements for Feb. 6.

Contact the reporter at druiz@alm.com.

Copyright The Recorder. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.