BANK OF AMERICA SUED

The Department of Justice filed a civil mortgage fraud lawsuit against Bank of America Corp., accusing the company of defrauding government-backed home loan programs of more than $1 billion. The bank and its Countrywide Financial Corp. unit “cast aside underwriters, eliminated quality controls, incentivized unqualified personnel to cut corners, and concealed the resulting defects,” U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said.

STAT PADDING DESCRIBED

A former assistant career services dean at the Thomas Jefferson Law School has filed a declaration in a class action against the institution in which she acknowledges padding graduate employment statistics in 2006. Karen Grant blamed pressure to improve the school’s statistics and said her supervisor responded to her concerns by saying that “everybody does it.”

SAMSUNG PROBE

The Department of Justice is investigating Samsung Electronics Co.’s patent licensing strategies, according to attorneys for Apple Inc. They wrote in a motion filed with the U.S. International Trade Commission that the government is investigating whether Samsung is using “standards-essential” patents anti-competitively.

CLIMATE EXPERT SUES

Scientist Michael Mann, whose work on climate change led to contentious litigation over access to his emails, filed a libel suit on October 22 against National Review, accusing the conservative publication of defaming him by accusing him of academic fraud and comparing him to Jerry Sandusky. Review editor Rich Lowry welcomed a lawsuit as a way to further investigate Mann through discovery.

JUDGE FLETCHER DIES

Judge Betty Fletcher, a ­pioneering woman on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and a tenacious member of its liberal wing, died on October 22 in Seattle. She was 89. Fletcher was only the third woman to join the Ninth Circuit when the Senate confirmed her in 1979.
 

FITZGERALD TO SKADDEN

Former U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald is joining Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom’s Chicago office as a partner. Fitzgerald oversaw the corruption prosecutions of former Illinois governors George Ryan and Rod Blagojevich and was special prosecutor in the perjury and obstruction of justice case against Lewis “Scooter” Libby, former chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney.

FEMALE EDITORS

Women comprised 31 percent of editors-in-chief at the flagship journals of American Bar Association-accredited law schools last year, and only 29 percent of top editors at law schools ranked among the top 50 by U.S. News & World Report. New York Law School and Ms. JD, a nonprofit supporting the advancement of women in the legal profession, reported the data.

NEW LAW SCHOOL

A group of judges and prominent attorneys in Peoria, Ill., has quietly been exploring the feasibility of opening a law school at Bradley University — a private school with about 6,000 students. The school would serve aspiring attorneys who live within about 150 miles of the central Illinois city, an organizer said.