Good morning. A federal judge in Arkansas asked his future clerks and interns if they or groups they belong to have condoned the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel. Plus, several major U.S. business groups led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce sued the NLRB to block a rule treating many companies as employers of contract and franchise workers; law firm Allen & Overy said it suffered a “data incident” that impacted some storage servers; and Shellsued Greenpeace for $2.1 million after activists boarded the company’s oil production vessel. Let’s get this Friday going!
A federal trial judge in Arkansas asked his future clerks and interns to confirm they or groups they belong to have not done anything that could be construed as condoning the Oct. 7 Hamas attack on Israel or acts of antisemitism or Islamophobia, our colleague Nate Raymond writes.
Little Rock-based U.S. District Judge Lee Rudofsky, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, asked law students who plan to clerk for him to confirm they or any organizations they belong to had not done anything that could be construed as “celebrating or condoning the 10/7 massacre perpetrated by Hamas in Israel.”
Rudofsky, in an email reviewed by Reuters, stressed he was not interested in his future clerks’ policy views on a variety of matters tied to the conflict between Israel and Hamas. The email was first reported on the podcast Advisory Opinions. Rudofsky previously held a senior director legal post at Walmart.
Pro-Israel and pro-Palestinian demonstrations continue to roil U.S. college campuses a month into the Israel-Hamas war. Two major law firms have rescinded offers to incoming associates at law schools who had made or signed on to public statements supporting Palestine or saying Israel bore responsibility for Hamas’ Oct. 7 attack, which killed over 1,400 Israelis.
A longtime Northwestern law professor has sued the university for age discrimination, alleging his salary is lower than faculty colleagues with significantly fewer years of teaching experience. Philip Postlewaite, 78, claimed in his lawsuit that he has been awarded “substantially” lower increases to his base pay than have less experienced faculty colleagues since 2013 when he declined a buyout offer.
Allen & Overy said it has suffered a “data incident,” after social media posts suggested the London-founded law firm had been hacked by the Lockbit cybercrime gang. The attack comes after seven countries, including the U.S. and Britain, in June named Lockbit as the world’s top ransomware threat.
The U.S. Senateconfirmed two more of President Joe Biden’s federal trial court nominees. Brandy McMillion, a federal prosecutor, was picked to become a judge in Detroit. Monica Ramirez Almadani, the president and CEO of pro bono legal services provider Public Counsel, will serve on the bench in Los Angeles.
That’s the damages amount Shell is seeking in a lawsuit against Greenpeace after the environmental group’s activists boarded the company’s oil production vessel in transit at sea this year. The British oil and gas company filed the claim in London’s High Court. Greenpeace activists boarded the vessel in January near the Canary Islands off the Atlantic coast of northern Africa to protest oil drilling and traveled on it as far as Norway. Shell is seeking damages for costs including shipping delays and expenses for extra security.
Billionaire investor Ryan Cohen, dubbed the “meme king” for his ability to mobilize an army of retail investors during the pandemic-era meme stock craze, owned a big equity stake in home goods chain Bed Bath & Beyond for only a short stint in 2022. But litigation stemming from Cohen’s highly profitable sale of that stake is raising novel legal questions whose answers will outlive the peculiar moment in internet history when investors hung on Cohen’s every tweet. Alison Frankel has the story.
“That makes my head explode when I try to understand that.“
—U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said at a hearing, regarding a theory comedian Sarah Silverman and other authors’ argued in a copyright lawsuit they brought against Meta over its artificial-intelligence system Llama. Chhabria said at the hearing that he would grant Meta’s motion to dismiss the authors’ allegations that text generated by Llama infringes their copyrights, and indicated that he would give the authors permission to amend most of their claims. Read more about the case.
The Federalist Society’sannual convention will feature a “fireside chat” with FTC Chair Lina Khan, whose agency is suingAmazon in a blockbuster antitrust case in Seattle federal court. Another panel — featuring Stanford Law’s Michael McConnell and William Baude of the University of Chicago — is titled “insurrection and the 14th Amendment.” Some scholars argue that Donald Trump can be barred from public office under a provision of the post-Civil War 14th Amendment that punishes officials who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.”
Court calendars are subject to last-minute docket changes.
In the courts
A 7th Circuit panel blocked for now a decision requiring Samsung Electronics to pay millions of dollars in administrative fees to initiate arbitration proceedings with consumers who claim the mobile device maker violated their privacy rights. The court paused the arbitration fee order and agreed to fast-track Samsung’s appeal seeking to overturn it. Skadden represents Samsung, and Labaton Sucharow represents the consumers. (Reuters)
Apple will pay $25 million to settle claims by the DOJ that the company illegally favored immigrant workers over U.S. citizens and green card holders for certain jobs. The settlement is the largest ever for the DOJ involving claims of discrimination based on citizenship, the agency said. Apple did not immediately respond to a request for comment. (Reuters)
U.S. District Judge Rolando Olvera in Brownsville, Texas, blocked the DOJ from pursuing an administrative case accusing Elon Musk’s SpaceX of illegally refusing to hire refugees and asylum recipients, holding that DOJ administrative judges who hear cases involving anti-immigrant bias were not properly appointed. The judge blocked the department’s case, filed in August, from moving forward pending the outcome of SpaceX’s September lawsuit claiming the administrative case violates the U.S. Constitution. (Reuters)
A group of Indiana abortion providers including Planned Parenthood are asking a judge for an order safeguarding a right to abortion to protect a mother’s life or health, which the state’s highest court recently recognized in a decision that otherwise upheld a near-total abortion ban. (Reuters)
Walmart and Vanssettled a trademark lawsuit that accused the retail giant of ripping off the designs of Vans’ best-selling shoes. The companies, which did not respond to requests for comment, told the court that they resolved the dispute and that Walmart agreed to a court order permanently blocking it from selling the alleged knockoffs. (Reuters)
A group of active duty service members sued the U.S. government over a 2021 fuel spill that tainted drinking water at the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam in Honolulu. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of five members of the U.S. Navy or U.S. Army who said they were sickened when jet fuel from Pearl Harbor’s Red Hill Bulk Fuel Storage Facility contaminated the water system on the base. (Reuters)
Crowell rehired partner Michael Shaheen, seven months after he left the firm to co-lead the new False Claims Act practice at Quinn Emanuel. Shaheen rejoined Crowell’s healthcare group in D.C. (Reuters)
Reed Smith hired Daniel Connelly as a partner in the firm’s global corporate group in Philadelphia. Connelly was previously at Kirkland. (Reed Smith)
Massumi + Consoli added private equity partner Nathan Sawyer in New York. He previously was at Willkie. (Massumi + Consoli)
State attorneys general are keenly interested in the development and regulation of AI, and are moving quickly to understand their role in harnessing the advantages of the technology, while protecting the public from harm, write Martine Cicconi and Mark Herring of Akin Gump. Read more about where state AGs might focus their efforts.