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Reunited . . . and It Feels So Good What fun would antitrust lawyers have if they couldn’t find ways to reunite companies that were previously split up as a result of anti-competitive concerns? Lawyers in Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton’s D.C. office have been busy preparing for aluminum giant Alcoa’s $27 billion takeover bid for Canadian rival Alcan Inc. If successful, the acquisition would bring the Montreal-based company back into the fold, decades after Alcoa was forced to divest itself of its stake in Alcan. The merger, which would create a company with $54 billion in revenues and approximately 20 percent of worldwide capacity, is sure to draw serious regulatory scrutiny. Alcoa released a statement acknowledging the antitrust issues raised by its bid and expressing the belief that they can be solved by “targeted divestitures and proactively working with regulators to address competitive concerns.” The deal will need antitrust approval in the United States, Canada, the European Union, Brazil, and Australia. Cleary Gottlieb, Alcoa’s longtime antitrust counsel, is representing the company on the antitrust issues in both the United States and Europe, says D.C.-based partner David Gelfand. D.C. partner Mark Leddy and associates Patricia McDermott and Kathleen Bradish are also working on the deal. Lead counsel for Alcoa is Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, led by New York-based partners David Fox and Neil Stronski and of counsel Margaret Wolff. Skadden’s team also includes D.C.-based tax partners Paul Oosterhuis and Cliff Gross.
An Israeli Connection A team of Arnold & Porter lawyers won its third victory for senior Israeli officials when a district court threw out a war crimes lawsuit against Avraham Dichter, former head of Israel’s General Security Service. In Matar v. Dichter, Judge William Pauley of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled May 2 that Dichter could not be sued in the United States by a group of Palestinians who were injured or whose family members were killed during a 2002 bombing of a Gaza City apartment building by the Israeli Defense Forces. Robert Weiner, a Washington-based partner, led Arnold & Porter’s team, which won the dismissal in late 2005 of similar claims involving Israel’s security policy in the West Bank in Doe v. State of Israel, a suit against then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, other senior officials, the state of Israel itself, and its defense and intelligence agencies. Weiner’s team also successfully defended Israeli Gen. Moshe Ya’alon in a similar suit thrown out last December. Both cases were in D.C. federal court. In this case, the plaintiffs, represented by the New York-based Center for Constitutional Rights, claimed that Dichter authorized, planned, and directed a July 22, 2002, attack that targeted an alleged Hamas leader but also killed 14 civilians and wounded nearly 150 people. The CCR filed suit against Dichter, now Israel’s internal security minister, in 2005, when he was in the United States as a fellow at the Brookings Institution. The complaint also alleged that Dichter developed Israel’s “targeted killing policy,” which involved pre-emptively executing military strikes against suspected terrorists without regard to the likelihood that civilian bystanders could also be killed or injured. The Palestinians sued Dichter for war crimes and a host of other human rights abuses under the Alien Tort Claims Act. Pauley dismissed the case against Dichter, ruling that his actions were protected by sovereign immunity because he had “plainly acted pursuant to his official duties.” The judge also threw out the case because it involved a political question and seemed to weigh heavily that Israel asserted that Dichter acted to promote official government policy. “The Complaint criticizes military actions that were coordinated by Defendant on behalf of Israel and in furtherance of Israeli foreign policy,” Pauley wrote. Both the State Department and Israel’s ambassador had urged dismissal of the suit. “This was a clear case of a claim that had no business being in a U.S. court,” Weiner says. Arnold & Porter’s team also included New York-based partner Kent Yalowitz, D.C.-based counsel Jean Kalicki, and D.C.-based associate Matthew Eisenstein. The Ya’alon case is currently on appeal with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Maria LaHood, a senior attorney at the CCR, criticizes the ruling and calls it a big disappointment. “Just because a government stands behind its human rights abuses doesn’t mean that a defendant should have immunity,” she says.
Revolving Door Spins Some More Hunton & Williams has named D.C.-based partner Brian Buroker as the new head of its intellectual property practice. The move comes after Thomas Scott, the chair of the firm’s IP practice, decamped two weeks ago to the D.C. office of Boston-based Goodwin Procter to chair that firm’s practice. Six other IP partners from Hunton’s D.C. office joined Scott at Goodwin. Continuing its hiring spree, Venable added three McGuireWoods communications lawyers last week, including James Troup. Troup, who joins as a partner, headed McGuireWoods’ telecom and media practice group. Partner Tony Lee and associate Grace Chiu also made the jump. Troup and Lee represent more than 300 small-market and rural telecommunications companies throughout the country. The hires come on the heels of two others: Derick Berlage, former adviser to Gov. Martin O’Malley (D-Md.) and Patricia McDermott, former legislative counsel to Congress’ Joint Committee on Taxation, also joined the firm. D.C.-based Dickstein Shapiro also made a hiring move last week, nabbing Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe bankruptcy lawyers Arnold Gulkowitz and Brian Goldberg in its first foray into the New York bankruptcy market. The move comes after Crowell & Moring looked to Orrick to beef up its bankruptcy practice. Last month, Crowell added bankruptcy and restructuring partner Monique Almy and counsel Matthew Cheney from Orrick in Washington.
Keeping Score is Legal Times ‘ weekly column devoted to the legal business scene. Got a tip? Contact Business Editor Anna Palmer at [email protected].

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