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Women Play Leading Roles in Volkswagen’s Defense

It is apparent that Volkswagen AG understands the value of having women attorneys in lead defense roles.  Sharon L. Nelles, a New York partner in Sullivan & Cromwell’s litigation group, has served as lead and national coordinating counsel for Volkswagen advising the German automaker on the $14.7 billion resolution with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and also in the multi-district consumer plaintiff committee over diesel emissions. In addition to Nelles’ involvement in the criminal case, two women partners at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer’s New York office – Olivia A. Radin, who focuses on white collar and complex litigation, and Linda H. Martin, a member of the firm’s dispute resolution practice –  were also key players on the three-firm legal team that worked out a plea agreement to settle the DOJ criminal charges earlier this year. More recently, Nelles and two of her partners at Sullivan helped Volkswagen AG successfully stop the DOJ’s attempt to turn 25 million pages of discovery material related to multidistrict litigation in California over to GSK Stockman, a German law firm. At issue was whether a pretrial order in the U.S. diesel emissions civil case –Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation – bars the sharing of discovery material with attorneys litigating against Volkswagen outside the U.S.  The DOJ argued that GSK Stockmann was the “model plaintiff” and entitled to see the discovery documents. However, there are 1,600 plaintiffs suing Volkswagen in Germany, making it almost inevitable that information from the 25 million pages would be made public – a clear violation of the pretrial order, according to VW’s U.S. legal team. “In fact, there is nothing in [the order] authorizing a law enforcement or regulatory agency, including DOJ civil, to share the MDL production with non-U.S. private counsel for use in a non-U.S. private securities lawsuit against VWAG,” said the company in a statement. On September 15, U.S. Magistrate Judge Jacqueline S. Corley, U.S. District Court, Northern District of California, agreed with Volkswagen’s legal team and denied the DOJ request to share the MDL information with the German firm. Volkswagen’s team that argued against this DOJ overreach in a civil case included Laura Kabler Oswell, a partner in Sullivan’s Palo Alto office and a group leader for the firm’s Foreign Corrupt Practices Act practice, who was recently named a “Rising Star” by Law360 after two big litigation wins in other matters. Suhana S. Han was the third Sullivan partner on the litigation team, which included three male partners. A partner in the litigation group, Han’s practice covers commercial litigation, including securities matters.  It is almost unheard of for the women on a corporate defense team to equal or outnumber the men. Kudos to the women of Sullivan & Cromwell and to all the women involved in lead roles defending Volkswagen The post Women Play Leading Roles in Volkswagen’s Defense appeared first on Women Criminal Defense Attorneys.
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Supreme Court Calendar: 3 Cases to Watch in Feb.

With only a few days left in February, the U.S. Supreme Court's calendar includes three days of oral arguments this week -- on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. Though nine cases are listed on the Court's docket, six of those appeals are set to be heard at the same time. Here are our picks for Supreme Court cases to watch in this final week of February: Utility Air Regulatory Group v. Environmental Protection Agency This case has actually been consolidated with five other cases against the Environmental Protection Agency to evaluate federal regulation over greenhouse gas emissions from new motor vehicles. Part of the controversy over this case has been whether the U.S. Supreme Court will be convinced of the current science on greenhouse gases -- especially concerning emissions. The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals was, and it was not impressed with claims that the EPA was using "bad science." The last major decision in this area by the High Court was in Massachusetts v. EPA, which expanded the EPA's authority under the Clean Air Act. Robers v. U.S. The only criminal case to come to the U.S. Supreme Court in February is Robers v. U.S. According to SCOTUSblog, this is one of the few cases arising from the sub-prime mortgage scandal that has reached the High Court. In Robers, justices will determine how much those convicted of wire fraud related to home mortgage loans will owe in restitution to their victims. For anyone who feels they were personally cheated by a sub-prime mortgage fraudster, this is the case to watch. Octane Fitness v. Icon Health and Fitness Do you think that your case is "exceptional?" Well, in legal terms, there is a process for determining whether a case is exceptional enough to warrant the court awarding the winning side attorney's fees, but it may not hold water. Under federal law, a federal court in patent cases can award reasonable attorneys fees in "exceptional" cases to the prevailing party. It's a pretty short piece of law for which the Federal Circuit has developed a two-step test to determine whether the law applies. The problem is that this test might make it impractical for accused patent infringers to defend themselves from spurious lawsuits or the dreaded patent troll. Though there are only three days of oral arguments set for February, another 15 argument days are on the Supreme Court's calendar for March and April. Be sure to bookmark FindLaw's U.S. Supreme Court Blog for the latest updates. Related Resources: Calendar - For the Session Beginning February 24, 2014 (Supreme Court of the United States) Supreme Court Calendar: 10 Cases to Watch in Jan. (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life) U.S. Supreme Court's 2013 Term: 5 Crucial Cases to Watch (FindLaw's Decided) How Does the U.S. Supreme Court Work? (FindLaw's Law and Daily Life)
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