Christie Withdraws Gay Marriage Appeal as Couples Wed
Hours after New Jersey’s first same-sex weddings began amid flowers and camera flashes, Republican Governor Chris Christie withdrew his legal objections to them, saying courts had made their position clear.
Christie, who is seeking re-election next month, lost a bid last week to block the ceremonies. His administration submitted a formal letter of withdrawal to the state Supreme Court today.
Twitter, Pfizer, Prada, Kim Dotcom: Intellectual Property
Profits aren’t the only thing lacking at Twitter Inc. (TWTR) ahead of its planned initial public offering. It’s got a dearth of patents, too.
The microblogging service said in its prospectus last week that it has nine issued U.S. patents. That compares with 774 cited by Facebook Inc. before its initial public offering in May 2012 and International Business Machines Corp.’s 6,478 patents accrued last year alone. Twitter’s smaller patent trove reflects its philosophy of letting engineers and designers own their inventions.
SAC Defections Accelerate as Cohen Approaches Settlement
As Steven Cohen nears a settlement that may put his SAC Capital Advisors LP out of business over allegations of insider trading, some of his overseas money managers aren’t waiting.
Lia Forcina, who managed more than $700 million at SAC Capital out of London, quit this month to join BlueCrest Capital Management LLP, three people with knowledge of the matter said last week. At least four other money managers have recently left SAC in the U.K., according to regulatory records and people familiar with their departures.
Detroit Fee Examiner Gets Paid to Second-Guess Bills
The attorney charging $600 an hour to decide how much lawyers and other professionals should get paid for shepherding Detroit through its record bankruptcy gets his first batch of bills to review today.
Robert Fishman, 59, of Shaw Fishman Glantz & Towbin LLC in Chicago, is the rare fee examiner to be appointed in a municipal bankruptcy. His job is to inspect and approve, or reject, bills that so far total about $19 million and may reach $60 million under contracts approved by the city.
Texas Abortion Restrictions Tested at Trial in Austin
New Texas laws requiring abortion doctors to have local hospital admitting privileges and allowing only physicians to dispense pregnancy-ending drugs will be challenged in a trial in the state’s capital city.
Planned Parenthood last month sued to block the measures signed into law by Governor Rick Perry on July 18 and scheduled to take effect Oct. 29, arguing they unconstitutionally burden women’s rights.
Record JPMorgan Settlement Wouldn’t Deter Some Investors
JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s (JPM) tentative agreement to pay a record $13 billion to end civil claims over its sales of mortgage bonds, a deal that won’t absolve the bank of potential criminal liability, hasn’t shaken some investors’ faith in Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon.
KKR to Goldman Joined in Scraps Skirmish as LBO Bankruptcy Looms
KKR & Co., Goldman Sachs Capital Partners and TPG Capital, the firms that led the $48 billion buyout of Energy Future Holdings Corp. in 2007, are fighting to receive barely 3 percent of their initial investment when the power generator files for bankruptcy as soon as this month.
Johnson Named NY Protection Bureau Chief: Business of Law
New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman named securities litigator Chad Johnson as chief of the office’s Investor Protection Bureau. The former head, Marc B. Minor, resigned in August.
Johnson, a former partner from Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, joined the executive division of the Office of the Attorney General in 2012, first as senior trial counsel and later as deputy attorney general.
White & Case Hires Linklaters Duo: Business of Law
Linklaters LLP’s private-equity co-heads, Ian Bagshaw and Richard Youle, are joining White & Case LLP in London.
“As the European economy continues its recovery, private equity in Europe will see increasing opportunities,” John Reiss, head of the White & Case global mergers and acquisitions practice, said in a statement. “The addition of these talented individuals will allow us to capitalize on these opportunities.”
Ex-Madoff Workers, U.K. Branches, JPMorgan: Compliance
Former employees of Bernard L. Madoff who are on trial on charges they aided the convicted con man’s $17 billion Ponzi scheme were unaware of the fraud and were duped into helping him keep it going, lawyers told a jury.
Daniel Bonventre, 66, the operations chief who signed checks for Madoff’s securities firm and worked with its general ledger, was fooled by Madoff’s “depraved and pathological lies,” and never knew about the fraud, Andrew Frisch, his lawyer, said yesterday in his opening statement in federal court in New York.
Obama Said to Pick Former Pentagon Counsel for DHS Post
President Barack Obama has decided on Jeh Johnson, former Pentagon general counsel, as his next Homeland Security secretary, an administration official said.
Johnson, 56, will be formally announced as the nominee by Obama today, according to the official, who asked for anonymity because the decision hasn’t been made public.
De Blasio Looks at Bratton for NYPD as Homicides Hit Record Low
New York City, which had 43 homicides a week in 1990, has been averaging six so far this year. One of the biggest challenges for the next mayor will be to keep it that way.
The first major personnel decision for Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s successor will be to choose who will run the 34,000-member police department. With less than three weeks before the Nov. 5 election, Democrat Bill de Blasio leads Republican Joseph Lhota in polls by as much as 50 percentage points.
States Clamping Down on Workers Mislabeled as Contractors
When construction slowed during the recession, some companies hired workers and wrongly designated them as independent contractors to avoid paying insurance, taxes, fair wages and overtime.
Danny Odom, chief operating officer of Odom Construction Systems, Inc. in Knoxville, Tennessee, says he wouldn’t even though the decision put the company of about 225 employees at a disadvantage as the practice would shave about 30 percent off his labor costs. He testified in support of legislation that went into effect July 1 allowing the state to fine competitors who misclassify employees.
Morgan Stanley to Face Group Suit by Singapore Investors
A group of Singapore investors who lost money on $154.7 million in credit-linked notes were allowed by a U.S. judge to pursue their lawsuit against Morgan Stanley (MS) as a group.
U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman in Manhattan said yesterday the 18 plaintiffs may represent a class of all investors who bought any of seven series of Pinnacle Notes issued in 2006 and 2007. The investors including the Singapore Government Staff Credit Cooperative Society Ltd. sued in 2010, claiming the notes were a “bait and switch” scheme designed to benefit Morgan Stanley at the expense of customers.
Fugitive CEO Shows Hungary-Croatia Energy Battle
After pushing to kick foreign energy companies out of Hungary, Prime Minister Viktor Orban is getting a taste of his own medicine from neighboring Croatia.
The affair features a Hungarian chief executive officer who is wanted by Interpol and sheltered by his home country, a Croatian bribery probe that put a former prime minister in jail, a possible downgrade for Hungary’s largest refiner and a battle over control of a $7.2-billion Croatian energy company that one analyst calls a “gem.”
No More Formaldehyde in Shampoo as J&J Girds for Rules
Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) baby shampoo contains an ingredient that might give parents pause: formaldehyde.
Deemed a “probable human carcinogen” by the U.S. government, formaldehyde is one of 164 potentially harmful chemicals targeted under a new California law that imposes stricter safety standards on a range of products made by such companies as J&J and Procter & Gamble Co. (PG) The law also takes aim at untreated mineral oils in lotions and acetaldehyde, which can irritate the skin and is used in perfume.
China Anti-Corruption Investigators Target Mayor of Eastern City
China anti-corruption investigators announced a probe into the mayor of Nanjing in the country’s east, the latest official to come into question under a Communist Party campaign to root out graft.
Ji Jianye, mayor since 2009 of the city of more than 3 million people, faces allegations of serious disciplinary and legal violations, according to a statement posted today to the Ministry of Supervision website. Such claims have in the past paved the way for formal charges such as bribery or embezzlement.
Fed’s Bernanke Can’t Be Forced to Testify in AIG Lawsuit
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke can’t be forced to testify in a lawsuit against the U.S. brought by Maurice “Hank” Greenberg over the government’s bailout of American International Group Inc. (AIG), a federal appeals court ruled.
Greenberg, the former AIG chairman and chief executive officer who sued through his firm, Starr International Co., “has not established the extraordinary circumstances necessary to justify the deposition of Chairman Bernanke at all while he holds the position of Federal Reserve Board chairman, much less to inquire into the Federal Reserve’s deliberative processes or the chairman’s mental processes,” Circuit Judge Timothy Dyk said in yesterday’s order.
SEC Loses as Mark Cuban Triumphs in Insider-Trading Trial
The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission was handed a high-profile loss in a low-stakes case with Mark Cuban’s trial lawyers outmaneuvering those for the regulator.
A federal jury in Dallas yesterday rejected SEC claims that Cuban engaged in insider trading when he sold his stake in a Canadian Internet company nine years ago to avoid a $750,000 loss. Jurors found the information Cuban acted on wasn’t confidential and that he hadn’t promised not to trade on it.
InterDigital, Mattel, Navistar: Intellectual Property
The U.S. Supreme Court let InterDigital Inc. (IDCC) pursue a bid to extract patent royalties from Nokia Oyj (NOK) for the third generation of mobile-phone technology.
The nation’s highest court yesterday rejected an appeal by Nokia, which contended that InterDigital couldn’t block imports of the disputed technology because it wasn’t making any products of its own. A federal appeals court had said InterDigital could press the case, one of several the company has filed at the U.S. International Trade Commission.