| KENNEDY RETIRES
A circuit split on whether Title VII’s ban on workplace sex discrimination includes bias based on sexual orientation had civil rights advocates hoping the U.S. Supreme Court would eventually declare that federal law protects gay workers, but Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement means that’s a long shot, experts say.
The retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy means that Chief Justice John Roberts is now the U.S. Supreme Court’s most important member not just in title but also in reality, empowering him to advance a muscular conservative agenda and perhaps broker deals with outgunned liberals.
High-ranking Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee stood firm Thursday on keeping Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s promise to vote this fall on a replacement for retiring U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, with one saying Democrats’ calls to wait until after the November midterms “ain’t going to happen.”
Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy spent his three decades on the high court making a name for himself as a champion of individual freedoms, but he also authored the majority opinion in Ashcroft v. Iqbal that changed corporate litigation so much, it is cited in nearly every dismissal bid and has become the bane of the plaintiffs bar.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Thursday asked the Seventh Circuit to re-evaluate its opinion in a suit looking to recoup $32 million in fees the Service Employees International Union Healthcare Illinois & Indiana collected from a group of nonmember home health care workers, saying its Wednesday ruling regarding unauthorized union-fee collection warrants further consideration in the case.
Although the ink is barely dry on the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark Janus decision barring public-sector unions from collecting so-called fair share fees from workers, the ruling has spurred quick actions to handle the fallout, including from congressional Democrats, nearly two dozen mayors and a right-to-work nonprofit. Here, Law360 looks at four post-Janus developments to keep tabs on.
The Tenth Circuit ruled Thursday that a Kansas-based fireworks distributor violated three Occupational Safety and Health Administration health and safety rules at a facility where a fire killed one worker and injured another.
The National Football League on Thursday fined Carolina Panthers outgoing owner Jerry Richardson $2.75 million following an investigation led by former U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission chair Mary Jo White that found a pattern of workplace misconduct, including sexual harassment.
Seyfarth Shaw LLP dragged its feet while handling an employee discrimination suit, ex-client Landmark Worldwide’s attorney told a California jury during closings in a $2.6 million malpractice suit Thursday, while Seyfarth’s attorney countered that Landmark was shifting blame for its general counsel’s failure to renew an insurance policy.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit Thursday in Texas federal court accusing a sandblasting and painting services company of discriminating against a recovering drug addict by refusing to employ him because he was on a supervised methadone withdrawal treatment program.
A New Jersey appeals court on Wednesday ordered two state agencies to turn over bias complaints in a racial discrimination suit against the agencies, ruling that the state’s concerns about the privacy of employees who made those complaints were unfounded.
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission sued the Kroger grocery store chain in Georgia federal court, accusing it of wrongfully firing a new employee hired as a bagger and shopping cart clerk because the company believed his visual impairment would threaten the health and safety of others.
WAGE & HOUR
Republican Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker on Thursday signed legislation that will gradually raise the state’s minimum wage, implement a family and medical leave policy and make a sales tax holiday permanent, according to his office.
The U.S. Trustee’s Office received a tongue lashing Thursday as a New York bankruptcy judge categorically overruled an objection to Nine West’s request to retain its interim CEO and the services of consultants at Alvarez & Marsal, calling the government’s challenge “nonsensical” and in conflict with Chapter 11 principles.
A Delaware bankruptcy judge delayed a Chapter 11 plan confirmation decision for remnants of the Boston Herald’s estate Thursday, after balking at a proposal for sweeping, nonconsensual third party releases shielding former reporters and other content creators from defamation claims.
As the Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act — signed by President Bill Clinton on June 30, 2000 — reaches the age of maturity after being tested in the courts, and as more employers adopt or broaden their use of electronic signatures, now is a good time to review the basic requirements and lessons learned from the developing case law, says August Heckman of Morgan Lewis & Bockius LLP.
The long-awaited decision in Janus v. AFSCME was the second within a month in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled against unions, putting employers in a strong position at the bargaining table. But if employers appear too eager to exploit the moment, they risk facing a backlash, say Jack Schaedel and Christian Scali of Scali Rasmussen.
Today, members of Congress often seem able to blame colleagues of the other party for not getting anything done for their constituents. In law practice, you can’t really blame a bad result for your clients on the lawyers on the other side, says former Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., of Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP.
With law firms increasingly exposed to professional liability risks associated with their corporate client relationships, firms must craft well-structured client engagement letters to help protect against malpractice claims. Two key elements of an engagement letter are how it defines the scope of engagement and how it handles conflicts of interest, say Stuart Pattison and John Muller of Sompo International Holdings Ltd.
Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP, Paul Hastings LLP and Thompson & Knight LLP were among the firms that said they would be joining the trend of hiking salaries and offering mid-year bonuses for associates, according to internal memos made public on Thursday.
The owner of the building that housed Sedgwick LLP’s New York financial district office said the now-defunct law firm missed a payment related to the early termination of its lease and, as a result of the breach of contract, owes $23 million, according to a suit filed in state court just days after the landlords of its Chicago office made similar claims.
The Senate Judiciary Committee advanced several district court picks on Thursday, even as Sen. Jeff Flake, R-Ariz., has continued to stonewall advancing nominees for the Third and Eleventh circuits until the chamber votes on a tariff measure.
Foley Hoag LLP has announced that it is implementing a new parental leave policy that offers up to 18 weeks off in the 12 months after the birth or adoption of a child for all parents, regardless of whether they are the primary caregiver or not.
A Vinson & Elkins LLP partner was hit with an arrest warrant earlier this month over his alleged role piloting a boat that crashed in Travis County, Texas, injuring three of his fellow partners, according to documents filed in state court, though the warrant has reportedly since been rescinded.
Williams & Connolly LLP partner Kannon Shanmugam landed on the legal lions list after the U.S. Supreme Court granted review on three of his cases during the past week, while attorneys at Haynes and Boone and Skadden ended up legal lambs after a judge slashed client ZeniMax’s $500 million intellectual property verdict in half.
Pro Bono Spotlight
In response to the administration’s zero-tolerance and family separation policies, BigLaw firms across the country are partnering with each other and a constellation of nonprofits to provide pro bono legal aid to parents and children seeking to be reunited and be granted asylum.