Dewey Fees Approved
NEW YORK — A bankruptcy judge in New York approved $17 million in fees and expenses on June 20 for advisers working on failed law firm Dewey & LeBoeuf's Chapter 11 case.
U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Martin Glenn approved nine pending applications. The fees went to firms including Dewey counsel Togut, Segal & Segal, $8.8 million; Brown Rudnick, which advised the bankruptcy's unsecured creditors committee, $3.4 million; special benefits counsel Keightley & Ashner; $164,000; and Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, which worked for an official committee of former Dewey partners, $1.35 million.
Dewey & LeBoeuf filed for bankruptcy in May 2012, marking the largest law firm collapse in U.S. history.
Howrey Settles Disputes
SAN FRANCISCO — Three law firms that hired partners from Howrey settled on June 18 with the now-defunct law firm, whose bankruptcy trustee claimed the firms owed the Howrey estate for fees that they earned from business matters left unfinished when they departed.
Howrey bankruptcy trustee Allan Diamond notified U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali in California's Northern District of the settlement agreements. The deals require Novak Druce Connolly Bove + Quigg, which hired four former Howrey partners, to pay the estate $75,000; Dickstein Shapiro to pay $25,000 for the four partners it hired; and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, which recruited two former Howrey partners, to settle with the estate for a confidential amount.
Howrey partners voted to dissolve in March 2011. The bankruptcy followed a month later.
Defense win for Verizon
DALLAS — A federal judge on June 18 handed Verizon Communications Inc. a defense win in a $9.5 billion lawsuit stemming from the collapse of the company's former phone-directory unit, Idearc Inc.
Idearc's litigation trustee, U.S. Bank N.A., had claimed that Verizon saddled its subsidiary with debt during its November 2006 spinoff, dooming Idearc to file for Chapter 11 protection a little more than two years later. In a 22-page decision, U.S. District Judge A. Joe Fish in Dallas dismissed U.S. Bank's fraudulent-transfer claims, finding that Idearc was solvent at the time of the spinoff.
Flonase Case Settles
PHILADELPHIA — A federal judge has approved a $35 million settlement between GlaxoSmithKline PLC and the indirect purchasers of nasal spray Flonase.
U.S. District Senior Judge Anita Brody, in approving the agreement, also awarded nearly $11.7 million in attorney fees and $1.85 million in expenses to the plaintiffs' class counsel. The settlement with indirect purchasers followed a $150 million settlement with direct purchasers.
The indirect purchasers alleged that Glaxo filed sham citizen petitions with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to delay entry of a cheaper, generic version of Flonase to the market.
UTC Fined in Bid Case
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) — A judge has ordered United Technologies Corp. to pay $473 million plus interest for giving misleading price quotes to the U.S. Air Force, bringing a likely close to a False Claims Act case pending since 1999.
Having already found in 2008 that the company manipulated bids to supply the military with fighter jet engines, U.S. District Judge Thomas Rose on June 17 awarded the U.S. government $109 million in common law damages, plus $364 million in trebled damages. Interest on the award is expected to run into the hundreds of millions of dollars.
Rose previously ruled that the government had suffered no damages, but the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit reversed him in 2010 and remanded for a damages recalculation.
Vacuum Case Proceeds
CHICAGO — A federal judge has denied dismissal of false-advertising claims brought by vacuum cleaner company Dyson Inc. against rival Bissell Homecare Inc.
In a 52-page summary judgment ruling, U.S. District Judge Samuel Der-Yeghiayan on June 14 refused to dismiss Dyson's claims that Bissell overstated the respiratory benefits of its upright vacuums.
The judge also granted Dyson summary judgment on Bissell's various affirmative defenses. In addition, he refused to block Dyson's expert-witness testimony. Dyson's products account for 27 percent of U.S. upright vacuum sales, and Bissell is Dyson's chief competitor.
In 2010, Bissell asserted in commercials that several of its models contain technology that "captures over 99.9 percent" of allergens like ragweed and pollen. Dyson, which hired a company to conduct separate studies to test Bissell's assertions, claimed that its rival was misleading consumers.
Settlement for Law Firm
NEW YORK — Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney has settled a federal shareholder class action targeting the law firm for the advice it gave Adelphia Communications Corp., the cable giant that went insolvent in a massive accounting and securities fraud scandal in 2002.
Under a deal proposed on June 14, a class of Adelphia investors would receive $12 million as part of a $40 million insurance-funded settlement that Buchanan Ingersoll agreed to last year.
Following Adelphia's collapse, shareholders claimed that Buchanan Ingersoll approved misleading and false statements by Adelphia's board relating to the company's stock. Since 2005, they've been locked in mediation with Buchanan Ingersoll's lawyers.
Myanmar Women Guilty
YANGON, Myanmar (AP) — A court has found two Muslim women guilty of sparking a recent outbreak of sectarian violence, one of them by bumping into a Buddhist monk.
The two women in the central township of Okkan were convicted of "insulting religion." Both were sentenced to two years in prison with hard labor. A police officer in Okkan, who did not want to be named because he is not authorized to speak to the media, confirmed the sentences.
Human rights groups claim that Myanmar's court system is biased in favor of the country's Buddhist majority.
Memorial Case Settles
NEW YORK (AP) — The September 11 memorial has settled with a former manager who said he was fired for flagging health and security concerns at the former Ground Zero site.
Thomas Cancelliere's suit against the National September 11 Memorial and Museum was settled and closed earlier this month, court records show.
Cancelliere alleged that he lost his job as the memorial's facilities director last year because he alerted bosses to problems including illness-causing bacteria in the memorial's signature fountains; narrow exit gates that could hinder an evacuation; and a lack of security checks at a public parking garage directly below the off-site room where memorial visitors are screened. The World Trade Center site has drawn more than 8 million visitors since its outdoor plaza opened in September 2011.
Insurer Settles with L.A.
LOS ANGELES (AP) — The city attorney announced a $6 million settlement on June 20 to resolve a lawsuit that alleged health insurer Anthem Blue Cross illegally dropped more than 6,000 policyholders from coverage.
The settlement would provide much less than the $1 billion in fines and restitution former Los Angeles City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo called for when the lawsuit was filed in 2008. At the time, Delgadillo said some of the dropped policies affected elderly patients and those with health costs that topped $100,000. Anthem denied the allegations and admitted no fault in the settlement.
The settlement took into account Anthem's steps to enhance policyholder safeguards, including revised applications and implementation of an independent review process for dropped policies, the city attorney's office said.
Apple Prevails in Japan
TOKYO (AP) — Apple Inc. has won a patent infringement lawsuit against Samsung Electronics Co. in a Japanese court, one of dozens of legal battles around the world between the technology giants.
The Tokyo District Court issued a partial verdict on June 14 in favor of Apple. The amount of any damages was not announced.
The court said in a summary that further examination was needed to determine if Samsung must pay compensation, and if so, how much. A final verdict was expected later. Apple and Samsung are embroiled in similar battles in the United States, South Korea, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Britain, France and Australia.