A military judge on August 21 sentenced U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning to 35 years in prison for disclosing secret documents to WikiLeaks about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Manning faced 90 years in prison on charges including violations of the 1917 Espionage Act. He was acquitted of the most serious charge — aiding the enemy — for his disclosure of more than 700,000 classified military and diplomatic documents.
MINNESOTA 'TROLL' OUSTED
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson announced a settlement on August 20 that essentially kicks a Texas patent "troll" out of the state. MPHJ Technology Investments agreed to stop threatening to sue Minnesota businesses that use standard office equipment that scans documents to email. MPHJ, of Waco, Texas, had demanded license fees of up to $1,200 per employee. The first-of-its-kind agreement bars MPHJ from sending licensing or infringement inquiry letters in Minnesota without Swanson's permission.
PATTON BOGGS DEFECTION
The managing partner of the Patton Boggs office in Newark, N.J., has resigned seven years after establishing the outpost, amid layoffs, flagging revenues and a revamping of partner compensation. John McGahren, an environmental litigator, departed in the middle of a downsizing of the office from 80 lawyers in the spring to 48 now. A staffer answering the telephone said McGahren no longer worked there and that forwarding information was not available. McGahren did not respond to a message left at his home.
NEW LAW SCHOOL OPENS
The country's newest law school welcomed its inaugural class of 32 students on August 21. Orientation at the Indiana Tech Law School kicked off at a new $15 million building on the university's Fort Wayne campus. "One hundred [students] was our first goal," founding dean Peter Alexander said. "I think we did not fully appreciate how hard it is to market a school that must open without accreditation." Administrators at the private college announced plans to open the law school in 2011.
APARTHEID SUIT QUASHED
Three companies cannot be held liable in the United States for racial discrimination and violence in apartheid-era South Africa now that the U.S. Supreme Court has limited the use of the Alien Tort Statute, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit ruled on August 20. Under high court precedent, U.S. courts lack jurisdiction because all of the alleged wrongs took place in South Africa, the three-judge panel said.
CHANGE AT BERKELEY
Christopher Edley Jr., dean of the University of California, Berkeley School of Law since 2004, announced that he would step down on December 31 for health reasons. His second term had been scheduled to end in 2014. Colleagues credited Edley with modernizing the law school — expanding its faculty and improving its curriculum, research centers and student financial aid programs. Edley plans to remain on the faculty. The alumnus of the Carter and Clinton administrations was recruited from Harvard Law School and focuses on administrative law, civil rights and domestic policy.
PLAINTIFFS BAR IN MOURNING
Eugene Crew, a name partner at what was once Townsend and Townsend and Crew and a prominent San Francisco antitrust attorney known for going after Microsoft Corp., died on August 22 at the age of 82. His 2003 coordinated class action win against Microsoft resulted in a $1.1 billion settlement. He spent five decades practicing antitrust law on behalf of both plaintiffs and defendants.
Ronald Motley, known for groundbreaking litigation against asbestos manufacturers, tobacco companies and the alleged financial backers of the September 11, 2001, attacks, died on August 22 at 68. The co-founder with Joseph Rice of South Carolina-based Motley Rice, he died following a prolonged illness, the firm announced. Rice and Motley had practiced law together since 1979.