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D.C. COURT WATCHDOG GROUP GETS CAUGHT IN DOUBLE PLAY The Council for Court Excellence, a nonprofit that monitors D.C.’s federal and local courts, is searching for a new leader after the unexpected resignation of its executive director. Jeanne Milliken Bonds, 40, who was hired in April 2002 to replace longtime Executive Director Samuel Harahan, abruptly resigned Aug. 15, citing serious family and medical issues. The move stunned council officials, who say they had been trying to schedule a meeting with Bonds to discuss concerns about her performance. Council officials say they were also surprised to learn that Bonds has been mayor of Knightdale, N.C., (pop. 6,250) at the same time that she was running the council. According to the town manager, the mayor of Knightdale is a part-time job that pays about $5,800 a year. Council for Court Excellence officials say their executive director job is full-time and pays around $100,000. “I’m baffled,” says council President Timothy May, a partner at D.C.’s Patton Boggs. “Earlier in the year, we had a lot of accolades from people important to us about her performance. Then some of us began to notice: ‘Gee, I can’t seem to get her on the phone,’ but you would get an e-mail reply.” May adds, “As we began to look at it, there were a few dropped balls here that were evident.” Some council officials say Bonds had not been seen in the office since June. Last week, Legal Times learned that Bonds was hired by Electricities of North Carolina Inc., a Raleigh, N.C.-based nonprofit, as its director of political action and communications on July 28 � 18 days before she tendered her resignation at the council. Bonds says she made a mistake by taking the Electricities job before quitting the council and says she plans to discuss it with May. She adds that the council didn’t require her to leave her Knightdale government post. “They never asked me if I resigned,” says Bonds, whose term as mayor will expire in November. “I just continued to do it.” Bonds adds that until August, she never received any negative feedback from the council. “All I got were positive comments,” she says. In a March 2002 e-mail to council Vice President and Bryan Cave partner Rodney Page, Bonds wrote that the Knightdale town council was “expecting my resignation at any time.” Page says the council is searching for Bonds’ replacement and will see if any of last year’s candidates are available. Assistant Director Priscilla Skillman is acting executive director. � Tom Schoenberg LIGHTS OUT London’s CMS Cameron McKenna is pulling the plug on its D.C. office, home to about a dozen energy lawyers. Last week, the D.C. office of Houston’s Bracewell Patterson announced it was picking up a six-lawyer group from the firm, led by partners Joel Zipp and Greg Williams. “We could do the most for Bracewell, and they can do the most for us,” says Zipp, who was managing partner of Cameron’s D.C. office and is a former assistant director of the Office of Enforcement at the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The addition brings Bracewell’s energy regulatory practice in Washington to 15 lawyers. As for Cameron McKenna, which has about 700 lawyers, D.C. isn’t the only market that’s been scaled back � in January, Cameron shut down most of its operations in Hong Kong. � Lily Henning HELPING HAND When Dechert employees created a $640,000 fund for the Sept. 11 recovery efforts, they wanted to reach victims who weren’t getting help from more-mainstream funds. That’s why the Philadelphia-based firm’s Washington office chose to sponsor projects at the three D.C. public schools that lost students and teachers in the attacks. To correspond with the two-year anniversary of the attacks, a new playground funded by Dechert was officially opened at Leckie Elementary School in Southwest on Sept. 11, 2003. “It was so heartwarming” to see the children play on the new equipment, says Dechert’s D.C. managing partner, Sander Bieber. The playground, intended for the school’s 115 pre-kindergarten through first-grade students, was dedicated to Leckie teacher Hilda Taylor and student Bernard Curtis Brown. They were on their way to California for a field trip with other D.C. teachers and students when their hijacked plane was crashed into the Pentagon. Dechert’s projects at the two other schools, Ketchum Elementary School in Southeast and Backus Middle School in Northeast, should be completed by the end of the year, Bieber says. � Marie Beaudette OH, BEHAVE Herbert Fenster, a lawyer for Interior Secretary Gale Norton, believes that the long-running federal litigation over the Interior Department’s management of Indian trust accounts has gone seriously wrong. Lawyers for the Indian plaintiffs, he says, are deploying “outrageous personal attacks” against Norton and other defendants in their court papers. In a motion filed Sept. 9 with U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth, Fenster asks the judge to admonish the plaintiff’s counsel to cease all “gratuitous invective.” Fenster, a partner at McKenna Long & Aldridge, points to times when plaintiff’s lawyers referred to Norton’s “deviant behavior” and told the court that she is “either a liar, a fool, or both.” Dennis Gingold, the lead plaintiff’s attorney, seems disinclined to change his tune. “There has been episode after episode of deception,” he says. “The court has found that Interior has engaged in malfeasance. If and when the secretary decides to tell the truth and obey orders, there will be no need to call her deceptive.” Gingold says he is preparing a response to Fenster’s motion. � Jonathan Groner JUST DID IT In a surprise announcement on Sept. 12, Nike Inc. and its nemesis Marc Kasky said they settled their dispute over statements Nike made in defense of its labor practices � statements that Kasky said violated California fraudulent advertising laws. Nike agreed to pay $1.5 million to the D.C.-based Fair Labor Association for its efforts to improve worldwide labor conditions. The California Supreme Court had sided with Kasky, and Nike appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court. But after its high court case fizzled in June on procedural issues, Nike foresaw an unappealing and risky path back to the Supreme Court. “We would have had to go through a trial � and lose � before we could get the First Amendment issue to the Supreme Court again,” says Nike Vice President and General Counsel Jim Carter. “We felt this was a better way to put $1.5 million to use.” The downside for the company: the California ruling stands, and Carter says Nike continues to curtail its public profile in the state as a result. “We are creating a bit of an island out of California,” says Carter. � Tony Mauro SINGLED OUT Echoes of the Elizabeth Morgan case, one of the most bitter child custody battles of the 1980s, continue to ring even though the child at its center, Hilary Foretich, just turned 21. On Sept. 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit heard an appeal brought by Jonathan Turley, a George Washington University law professor, on behalf of Eric Foretich, Morgan’s ex-husband. Morgan went to jail for contempt and sent her daughter to New Zealand in 1987 rather than permit her to visit with Foretich, whom Morgan accused of sexual abuse. In 1996, Congress passed a law that nullified the D.C. Superior Court’s sanctions against Morgan. Foretich is challenging that law as an unconstitutional bill of attainder, claiming it was directed at him alone. “Congress reached out to only one family and negated its rights,” Turley told a very animated panel of Judges Harry Edwards, A. Raymond Randolph, and David Tatel. During the argument, Randolph told Assistant U.S. Attorney Marina Braswell, “It’s clear that Congress made a value judgment that this individual is not entitled to see his daughter. That seems to reflect on the individual.” Braswell, defending the statute, replied that Congress “made no judgment on whether the child was abused” and merely intended to “reunite a family.” � J.G. COLLECT CALL Last week, Judge Gerald Bruce Lee made a small dent in WorldCom Inc.’s financial woes, ordering that a former employee pay back a $900,000 retention bonus, plus $85,000 in interest. Back in 2000, WorldCom (now MCI) doled out $237 million in retention bonuses. After employee Kevin Boyne quit that December, the now-bankrupt company sued Boyne as well as fellow defector Melissa Pizzo in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, with the help of Emmett McGee Jr. and Robert Mathias of Piper Rudnick. After a protracted bench trial, Lee ruled for WorldCom in March 2002. Boyne appealed; Pizzo filed for bankruptcy. In June, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit affirmed Lee’s ruling and sent the case back to his courtroom to order payment, which he did on Sept. 10. Boyne had taken out an insurance bond to cover the $985,000 judgment. Bankrupt Pizzo owed WorldCom $562,500 but ended up paying just $10,815. The company, in its own bankruptcy proceeding, last week offered to repay creditors about 36 cents on the dollar. Boyne’s attorney, Stephen Sayers of the McLean, Va., office of Hunton & Williams, could not be reached. � Siobhan Roth GROWTH SPURT After weathering a series of defections, Arent Fox Kintner Plotkin & Kahn is shoring up its intellectual property practice. Partner Edwin Komen, of four-lawyer D.C. boutique Cleary & Komen, and three associates will join the group, an area that firm managing partner William Charyk has targeted for growth. In addition, Marlee Jenkins, formerly with Robin, Blecker & Daley, joins Arent Fox as a partner in its New York office. Last spring the D.C. office of Squire, Sanders & Dempsey snagged five Arent Fox IP lawyers, including Douglas Goldhush. � L.H. ON TRIAL The man accused of murdering Appalachian School of Law Dean L. Anthony Sutin has been found mentally competent to stand trial, according to a Sept. 5 ruling by a Virginia state judge. Sutin, who headed up the Department of Justice’s legislative affairs office under then-Attorney General Janet Reno, was killed in January 2002 at the Grundy, Va., law school during a shooting rampage that also left a law professor and a student dead. Former student Peter Odighizuwa, a diagnosed schizophrenic, is charged with capital murder, and prosecutors say they will seek the death penalty. Last year, Buchanan County General District Court Judge Fred Combs ruled Odighizuwa incompetent and sent him to a psychiatric hospital for treatment. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Sept. 26. Tom Schoenberg

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