April 22, 2024


Built General Tough

Trump Defamation Case Moves Forward, Legal Departments Still Spending, Abortion Ruling Doubletake: The Morning Minute

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IMMUNITY RULING FALLOUT – A New York judge has allowed a defamation lawsuit against President Trump to move forward, citing a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last month that presidents do not have absolute immunity in state court proceedings, Jane Wester reports. New York County Supreme Court Justice Verna Saunders said the high court’s decision in Trump v. Vance —which ruled President Trump must comply with a New York state grand jury subpoena—doesn’t just apply to criminal cases, but instead is “applicable to all state court proceedings in which a sitting President is involved, including those involving his or her unofficial/personal conduct.”  Author and advice columnist E. Jean Carroll is suing the president for defamation over his denial of her sexual assault accusation against him in the 1990s.

IN-HOUSE KEEPS SPENDING – Here’s some good news during this pandemic: most legal departments aren’t reining in their spending. Phillip Bantz reports on a new survey by ALM Intelligence and consulting firm Wicker Park Group that found that over half of the 130 in-house respondents expect their legal department budgets to remain the same. Outside counsel are sure to benefit from steady in-house spending: less than a third of respondents said the pandemic is pushing them to bring more legal work in-house, while a majority said they’ve been  satisfied with their outside counsels’ effectiveness, accessibility and level of communication since the health crisis began. To be sure, there’s likely one big reason in-house is still spending:  COVID-19 has saddled legal departments with a much heavier workload than usual.

ROBERTS REDUX? – Last week, U.S Vice President Mike Pence called Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr. a “disappointment to conservatives” for siding with the high court’s liberal wing on a host of issues—including a ruling that struck down a Louisiana abortion clinic law. But a new federal appeals court ruling undercuts the criticism Roberts received for his vote in the Louisiana case. Marcia Coyle reports that the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit relied on Roberts’ opinion when it lifted an injunction on Arkansas laws restricting abortion rights. Though Roberts provided the critical fifth vote in the Louisiana case, the district court noted that the chief justice “concurred in the judgment, not the plurality’s reasoning.”



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REDUNDANT ROLES? Irwin Mitchell is the latest UK firm to consider staff layoffs as the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic shows little signs of abating. Simon Lock reports that the firm launched a consultation review process that could affect 110 roles, including many in the firm’s business support and group services and at least two fee-earning positions. Andrew Tucker, Irwin Mitchell’s group chief executive, noted that the move to a remote workforce has reduced the firm’s reliance on paper document handling and changed a number of roles. Just last month, the firm brought back a majority of its furloughed staff.


“The law is going to evolve because at the end of the day nobody wants the companies to be out of business.”

Perrie Weiner,  a securities litigation partner at Baker McKenzie who now leads the  firm’s new
lease litigation and restructuring practice, on how judges will be reluctant to throw tenants out for not being able to meet their lease terms during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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