Author Archive: Brian Sanchez

PriceWaterhouseCoopers will open Washington law firm

Law firms already elbowing one another for multinational clients will soon have a new competitor: PricewaterhouseCoopers, the Big Four accounting firm that now calls itself PwC, plans to open a law firm in Washington this week.

The law firm, ILC Legal, will advise clients on international matters such as corporate restructuring. Its lawyers will act as special legal consultants, rather than fully licensed U.S. lawyers, allowing them to provide counsel on foreign law but not U.S. law.

ILC Legal, nonetheless, aims to vie with big law firms as a one-stop shop offering multinational companies access to other Pricewaterhouse services, including tax consulting and its network of 3,200 lawyers spread across 90 countries. The firms in that network operate separately but follow the same standards and practices under the brand name.

“We won’t be a traditional law firm, where legal services are offered in isolation, but one part of a broader offering,” said Richard Edmundson, a British solicitor based in London who is the leader of international business reorganizations for the accounting giant and will lead the new firm.

“There will be five international lawyers and myself, from London,” he said in a phone interview Friday. They include Spanish, Canadian, Polish and German attorneys who have been practicing at firms in the network, he said.

Another advantage of opening ILC Legal in Washington is its proximity to U.S. clients, Edmundson said.

“We can talk to them … and put them in contact with others more easily,” he said.

ILC Legal hopes to attract multinational companies seeking counsel in areas like digital security and data protection, dispute resolution, international corporate structuring, and mergers and acquisitions, Edmundson said. It will operate like a traditional law firm, soliciting clients and billing them directly for services.

Although overall demand for legal services is flat and corporations are increasingly handling routine business internally, Edmundson said he hopes that ILC Legal will eventually add more international lawyers.

“We hope it will grow,” he said.

Accounting giants Deloitte, KPMG and Ernst & Young, which now calls itself EY, also offer legal services and have more than 2,000 lawyers each.

But PricewaterhouseCoopers is the first to create a separate legal entity, said Jeffrey Lowe, the law firm practice group leader at Major, Lindsey & Africa, a legal recruiting firm in New York.

Accounting firms are generally prohibited from providing legal or other services to companies they audit. That means ILC Legal can provide services only to companies that are not auditing clients.

The decision to open a law firm in the United States, which was first reported by the American Lawyer, faced another restriction: Most jurisdictions prohibit non-lawyers from owning or operating law firms or sharing fees with non-lawyers. Washington has no such rule.

Elizabeth Olson is a New York Times writer.


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hires new law firm to prepare CEO for Senate appearance

Tim Sloan, CEO and President of Wells Fargo & Co., speaks during the Milken Institute Global Conference in Beverly Hills

Wells Fargo & Co. has hired law firm Sidley Austin to take the lead in preparing Chief Executive Tim Sloan for his appearance before the U.S. Congress next month to answer questions about a year-long sales practices scandal, according to four sources with knowledge of the decision.

Sloan will appear before the Senate Banking Committee, which writes rules for his industry, at a hearing titled “Wells Fargo: One Year Later,” on October 3.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Jennifer Dunn declined to comment. No one from Sidley Austin was available to comment outside of office hours.

The testimony will be Sloan’s first congressional appearance since he took over as CEO in October of last year, roughly a month after Wells Fargo reached a settlement with regulators over the creation of as many as 2.1 million unauthorized accounts.

The bank has since disclosed problems with other products, including auto and life insurance, and recently revised its estimate for the number of accounts that were potentially opened without customers’ authorization to 3.5 million.

In his own congressional appearances last year, Sloan’s predecessor, John Stumpf, often lacked answers to questions posed by legislators. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren accused him of “gutless leadership.” He left the bank less than a month later and was replaced by Sloan.

The law firm that prepared Stumpf for his testimony, Gibson Dunn, will still be working for Wells Fargo, but in a supporting role, said one of the sources.

No one from Gibson Dunn was immediately available to comment outside of office hours.

Hundreds of outside law firms work for Wells Fargo on various matters, and the bank’s new general counsel, Allen Parker, recently hired a new chief operating officer for the legal team, Tom Trujillo, who is reviewing those relationships.

The hiring of Sidley Austin, however, was directed by Wells Fargo’s government affairs office, said one of the sources.

(Reporting by Dan Freed; Editing by Carmel Crimmins and Mary Milliken)

By Dan Freed


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Tort Action Against Casselman’s Law Firm Not a SLAPP—Court of Appeal

Metropolitan News-Enterprise

 

Friday,
September 22, 2017

 

Page 1

 

Tort Action Against Casselmans Law Firm Not a SLAPPCourt of
Appeal

Investigators Harmful Disclosures About a Man Soliciting Investments
Are Held to Be Extraneous to  The Inquirers Purpose in Seeking
Information to Assist in Enforcing Judgments Against the Solicitor

 

By a MetNews
Staff Writer

 

DAVID CASSELMAN

Founder, Casselman Law Group

A lawsuit against
trial lawyer David B. Casselmans firm by a company that lost a potential
investor because an investigator for the law firm bad-mouthed the companys
agent is not a SLAPP, the Court of Appeal for this district held yesterday.

The
opinion, by Acting Justice Michael Johnson, a Los Angeles Superior Court judge
sitting on assignment, affirms the decision of Los Angeles Superior Court Judge
Ruth Ann Kwan in denying an anti-SLAPP motion. Johnsons opinion, for Div.
Three, was not certified for publication.

The
action was brought Feb. 3, 2016, against Wasserman, Comden, Casselman &
Esensten, LLP, which had engaged the services of private investigator Paul
Cohen, who is also a defendant. Casselman Law Group is the successor law firm,
and Johnson refers to both law firms, collectively, as Casselman.

David
Casselman was the 2009 president of the California chapter of the American
Board of Trial Advocates and 2005 president of the Los Angeles chapter. He has
obtained several multi-million dollar judgments.

The
plaintiff is Eye Machine, LLC, headquartered in Michigan. It makes devices used
in treatment of macular degeneration.

The
company sued for intentional interference with prospective business advantage,
negligent interference with prospective business advantage and unfair
competition and business practices, seeking compensatory damages in an amount
in excess of $100,000.00 plus punitive damages.

Warning
Providing

The
conduct of which it complains is Cohen contacting Harris Hatzissmou Phillip,
who was contemplating an investment in the company of $100,000 to $150,000, and
warning him of the peril inherent in dealing with Peter Pocklington, who was
soliciting investors for Eye Machine. Pocklington, a Canadian now living in
Palm Desert, was owner of the Edmonton Oilers, a hockey team, from 1976-98 and
was a candidate in 1983 for the leadership of Progressive Conservative Party in
Canada.

The
Casselman firm was seeking to collect on two judgments against Pocklington: one
in the amount of $806,475.60 from a U.S. district court in Florida, in favor of
a foundation and an individual, and a Canadian judgment, in favor of the
Government of the Province of Alberta, in the amount of $10 million in Canadian
dollars (about $810,600 in U.S. dollars).

Cohens
purpose in contacting Phillip was to learn something of Pocklingtons finances.
He learned nothing, but provided detailed information as to Pocklingtons
activities, including his conviction for bankruptcy fraud.

Follow-Up Email

The
investigator followed up by sending Cohen an email, with attachments. He said:

As
discussed, I have attached some articles along with the docket of the Riverside
Federal Court regarding the Pocklington conviction.

Again,
he was never vindicated.

He
supplied the name and phone number of an FBI agent Phillip could phone to
verify the information, adding:

You
can also check me out by calling the attorney I am working on who represents
the Canadian Government on their judgement. His name is David Casselman.

Cohen
provided the phone number.

Phillip
forwarded the email to Pocklington, saying: I trust you and I will leave all
this to your judgement.

But
in the end, he did not invest in Eye Machine, resulting in the lawsuit.

Eye
Machine alleged in its complaint that that Cohen was acting on behalf of the
law firm and that the communications were not privileged.

Bases of Motion

Casselmans
anti-SLAPP motion was based on the contention that Cohens statements were in
connection with litigation, coming under Code of Civil Procedure 425.16(e)which
protects (1) any written or oral statement or writing made before ajudicial
proceeding, (2) any written or oral statement or writing made in connection
with an issue under consideration or review by a judicial body.

Also
cited was subsection (e)(4): any other conduct in furtherance of the exercise
of the constitutional right of petition or the constitutional right of free
speech in connection with a public issue or an issue of public interest.

On
appeal, Casselman abandoned the contention that Cohens statements were made
before a judicial body, but the contention that they were made in connection
with a judicial proceeding.

Relationship Too
Tenuous

Johnson
agreed that statements in connection with post-judgment proceedings can be
covered by the anti-SLAPP statute. However, the relationship between Cohens
disclosures and the efforts to collect on two judgments was too tenuous, he
said, for the statute to apply.

He
explained:

Eye
Machines claims against Casselman are based on Cohens statements to Phillip
that Pocklington engaged in misconduct during his bankruptcy proceeding, was
denied a discharge in bankruptcy, had a criminal conviction and criminal
record, and engaged in other acts of misconduct. These statements were made in
a setting that was only remotely related to the litigation against
Pocklingtonan informal telephone interview in which Cohen was seeking
information about Pocklingtons assets. They were not made during a proceeding
that was sanctioned by statute or court rule, they were not made by an attorney
or an officer of the court, and they were not directed to a party or
participant in the underlying litigation.

More
important, the content of Cohens statements had no relationship with the
issues in the underlying litigation against Pocklington.

 

AP

In this 2010 file photo, Peter Pocklington,
former owner of the Edmonton Oilers NHL hockey team, leaves the Riverside courthouse
of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California after
agreeing to pay more than $5 million to settle a securities fraud case in
Arizona.

 

Personal Gibes

Johnson
said that questions about Pocklingtons assets were relevant to the purpose of
collecting on the judgments, but that Cohens gratuitous comments about
Pocklingtons bankruptcy misconduct and criminal conviction were not,
declaring the personal gibes to bear no relationship to the purpose.

The
jurist went on to say:

Casselman
has argued that Cohens statements about Pocklingtons bankruptcy misconduct
and criminal conviction advanced the collection efforts because Cohen
subjectively believed that his comments might encourage Phillip to reveal
information about Pocklingtons bank accounts. This is hard to believe, but in
all events the test is objective rather than subjective.

Evidence
Inadequate

With
respect to Pocklington being someone in whose activities there is of public interest,
Johnson said that the appellant had provided evidence of that which was too
slight. It pointed to an article on one Canadian Internet site, with 36
comments posted by readers.

In
short, the Edmonton Sun internet posting is not evidence of a robust public
debate about the misdeeds of someone in the public eye; it involves a small
group of Oilers hockey fans reliving the old days and making a wide range of
sports comments that include some negative and positive things about
Pocklington, Johnson wrote. This is insufficient under section 425.16,
subdivision (e)(4).

The
case is The Eye Machine, LLC v. Wasserman, Comden, Casselman & Esensten,
LLP
, B270815.

The
attorneys on appeal were David B. Casselman, David Polinsky and Kirk S. Comer
of Casselman Law Group for the appellants and James Andrew Hinds, Jr., Paul R.
Shankman and Rachel M. Sposato of Hinds & Shankman, for Eye Machine.

Casselman
did not respond to a request for comment.

Sposato
said only:

We
are pleased with todays decision. As the underlying case is still pending, we
cannot provide further comment.

 

Copyright
2017, Metropolitan News Company

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Wells Fargo hires new law firm to prepare CEO for Senate appearance

NEW YORK (Reuters) – Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC.N) has hired law firm Sidley Austin to take the lead in preparing Chief Executive Tim Sloan for his appearance before the U.S. Congress next month to answer questions about a year-long sales practices scandal, according to four sources with knowledge of the decision.

Sloan will appear before the Senate Banking Committee, which writes rules for his industry, at a hearing titled “Wells Fargo: One Year Later,” on October 3.

Wells Fargo spokeswoman Jennifer Dunn declined to comment. No one from Sidley Austin was available to comment outside of office hours.

The testimony will be Sloan’s first congressional appearance since he took over as CEO in October of last year, roughly a month after Wells Fargo reached a settlement with regulators over the creation of as many as 2.1 million unauthorized accounts.

The bank has since disclosed problems with other products, including auto and life insurance, and recently revised its estimate for the number of accounts that were potentially opened without customers’ authorization to 3.5 million.

In his own congressional appearances last year, Sloan’s predecessor, John Stumpf, often lacked answers to questions posed by legislators. Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren accused him of “gutless leadership.” He left the bank less than a month later and was replaced by Sloan.

The law firm that prepared Stumpf for his testimony, Gibson Dunn, will still be working for Wells Fargo, but in a supporting role, said one of the sources.

No one from Gibson Dunn was immediately available to comment outside of office hours.

Hundreds of outside law firms work for Wells Fargo on various matters, and the bank’s new general counsel, Allen Parker, recently hired a new chief operating officer for the legal team, Tom Trujillo, who is reviewing those relationships.

The hiring of Sidley Austin, however, was directed by Wells Fargo’s government affairs office, said one of the sources.

Reporting by Dan Freed; Editing by Carmel Crimmins and Mary Milliken

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Former legal assistant at prominent Bay Street law firm at centre of insider tripping and …

OSC says law firm wasn’t named because it isn’t a respondent in the case

The Ontario Securities Commission offices in Toronto

Peter J. Thompson/National Post

A former legal assistant at prominent Bay Street law firm Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP has been caught up in accusations of insider tipping and trading.

The Ontario Securities Commission accused Donna Hutchinson, on Friday, of passing on “material, non-public information” she learned about pending corporate transactions as a result of her employment at Davies.

The same law firm was in focus during another high-profile insider tipping and trading case that concluded in 2015, in which former Davies senior partner Mitchell Finkelstein was found to have passed insider information about pending deals to a longtime friend who worked at a brokerage.

The cases aren’t connected, and, while Davies was involved in the transactions detailed in the OSC’s 14-page statement of allegations filed Friday in connection with the new case, the firm isn’t named in the document.

An OSC spokesperson said that is because the law firm is not a “respondent” – an accused person or entity — in the case.

Davies was “recently” informed of the allegations against the former employee, who was immediately terminated, the law firm said in a statement issued Friday.

“We have reviewed the allegations and have concluded that they are isolated to actions allegedly taken some time ago by a legal assistant in flagrant breach of our policies on confidentiality,” said the statement sent on behalf of managing partner Shawn McReynolds.

“Davies demands and expects that its personnel will at all times adhere to the highest legal, professional and ethical standards… We will tolerate no breach.”

Hutchinson is accused of tipping, while three others named are accused of insider trading. Cameron Edward Cornish, David Paul George Sidders, and Patrick Caruso are alleged to have made profits of more than $2 million from their trades with knowledge about pending deals.

The firms involved in the transactions Hutchinson is alleged to have learned about while working at Davies include Quadra FNX Mining Ltd., Rainy River Resources Ltd., Osisko Mining Corp., Allegan Inc., Tim Hortons Inc., and Extreme Drilling and Coil Services Corp.

In some cases, the firms retained Davies, while in others the law firm was acting for another party in the transaction.

The first hearing in the matter is to take place at the OSC’s headquarters in Toronto on Oct. 24.

None of the allegations have been proven.

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Bozeman Law Firm Fights for Montana Residents Against Equifax

The Equifax breach continues to be big news. Today on Dominick In The Morning attorney Justin Stalpes of the firm Beck, Amsden & Stalpes Law Firm in Bozeman. talked about a class action lawsuit on behalf of the people of Montana. His law firm is involved against Equifax, trying to protect Montana residents.

Stalpes, a recipient of the 2016 Appellate Lawyer of the Year award from the Montana Trial Lawyers Association, explained how hard it is to get a case in front of a jury. Credit reporting companies like Equifax have been very successful passing laws making it difficult. Credit reporting firms fear cases going to a jury where a multi-million dollar penalty might be judged against them.

The breach case against Equifax, which potentially affects every one out of every two Montanans, could not even be filed in a Montana court. It had to be in brought in federal court.

Stalpes talked about how badly Equifax seems to be handling this. People who have contacted them on the net have been sent to a bogus website. Equifax admitted Thursday it was giving out the wrong address to victims.

Equifax computer system was hacked and data for 143 million Americans was exposed. Best advice, watch your credit report and make sure no one is using your information and hurting your credit history.

Dominick

Facebook
Equifax logo

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Qatar- Exit permit: No major complaints against firms

(MENAFN – The Peninsula) By Sidi Mohamed / The Peninsula

Brig. Salim Saqr Al Muraikhi, the Head of the Exit Permit Grievances Committee, has said that there are no collective grievances against particular companies and the complaints are at the individual level.
He also said that most of the grievances had been resolved through reconciliation between employers and employees to the satisfaction of both parties.
The Committee was set up by the Ministry of Interior to look into the grievances of expatriates on exit permits, and after it was set up no employer can withhold exit permit to its employee.
According to the article No. (7) of the law No .(1/ 2017), an expatriate has the right to exit from the country on leave or for an emergency or any other reason after informing the recruiter as per the labour contract.
To study the cases from all sides, the committee is coordinating with other authorities like the Ministry of Labour, the National Human Rights Committee, Search and Follow Up Departments at the Ministry of Interior, among others.
‘The committee has to take its decision on the appeal within three working days, and in some cases the complainant got exit permit on the same day, he said, adding that in some cases they could leave the same day, for example, drivers who are not responsible for financial issues and have documents proving their emergency cases.

No legal action
Replying to a question whether the committee could take legal action against companies which prevent its workers from issuing exit permit, he said: ‘Until now there are no collective grievances against any particular company. Most of the cases are individual cases and against different companies. There exist some grievances from companies against workers because sometimes workers want to travel during the time which can badly affect the company’s operations.
About the committee’s work since the beginning of this year, he said that it has rejected only two cases for exit permit while all other cases got approval.

MENAFN2209201700630000ID1095888757


Qatar- Exit permit: No major complaints against firms

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U.S. regulators stick with existing policy for ‘systemic’ firms

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A panel of U.S. regulators decided after meeting on Friday to stick with its existing policy for stricter rules on a handful of large financial institutions it deems “systemically important.”

The Financial Stability Oversight Council convened Friday to potentially remove the label of “systemically important financial institution (SIFI),” which carries with it heightened oversight and regulatory requirements from the Federal Reserve, from an unidentified nonbank. But in a statement released late Friday, the FSOC did not announce any change to existing policy.

Rather, the panel simply “discussed an ongoing annual reevaluation of its designation of a nonbank financial company.” The panel did not identify American International Group (AIG.N) by name, but sources familiar with the panel said regulators were debating easing regulations on that firm.

The whole concept of labeling major financial institutions as systemically important had its roots in AIG’s $182 billion government bailout.

AIG was rescued just before it would have been forced to file for bankruptcy protection in September 2008 as losses on risky derivatives mounted. It repaid taxpayers in full by the end of 2012.

Since the crisis, AIG has sold dozens of businesses, including two Asian life insurance operations and one of the world’s biggest aircraft leasing businesses. It recently sold a mortgage-insurance unit. It remains the largest commercial insurer in the United States and Canada.

But with a two-thirds majority on the ten-member FSOC required to remove a SIFI designation, and four appointees of President Barack Obama still holding seats, the regulatory panel did not move to remove that label Friday. The company originally became a SIFI in 2013.

The panel only once before has removed a SIFI designation, when it did so for GE Capital in 2016 after it drastically revamped its operations.

By law, all banks with over $50 billion in assets are automatically considered SIFIs, while the FSOC can apply the label to nonbanks on a case-by-case basis.

In addition to AIG, Prudential (PRU.N) is the only other nonbank “systemically important financial institution” currently. That company is also mounting an effort to receive similar regulatory relief from the council.

A third insurance company, Metlife(MET.N), had also received the SIFI label, but pursued a legal challenge against the decision. A federal court ruled in the company’s favor in 2016. That decision was appealed by the government under President Barack Obama, and remains pending in an appeals court.

Reporting by Pete Schroeder; editing by Diane Craft

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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Exit permit: No major complaints against firms

Brig. Salim Saqr Al Muraikhi, the Head of the Exit Permit Grievances Committee, has said that there are no collective grievances against particular companies and the complaints are at the individual level.
He also said that most of the grievances had been resolved through reconciliation between employers and employees to the satisfaction of both parties.
The Committee was set up by the Ministry of Interior to look into the grievances of expatriates on exit permits, and after it was set up no employer can withhold exit permit to its employee.
According to the article No. (7) of the law No .(1/ 2017), an expatriate has the right to exit from the country on leave or for an emergency or any other reason after informing the recruiter as per the labour contract.
To study the cases from all sides, the committee is coordinating with other authorities like the Ministry of Labour, the National Human Rights Committee, Search and Follow Up Departments at the Ministry of Interior, among others.
“The committee has to take its decision on the appeal within three working days, and in some cases the complainant got exit permit on the same day,” he said, adding that in some cases they could leave the same day, for example, drivers who are not responsible for financial issues and have documents proving their emergency cases.

No legal action
Replying to a question whether the committee could take legal action against companies which prevent its workers from issuing exit permit, he said: “Until now there are no collective grievances against any particular company. Most of the cases are individual cases and against different companies. There exist some grievances from companies against workers because sometimes workers want to travel during the time which can badly affect the company’s operations.”
About the committee’s work since the beginning of this year, he said that it has rejected only two cases for exit permit while all other cases got approval.

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