Afternoon Briefs: $2B verdict against Roundup maker slashed; law firm breakup now a play
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• For the second time in two weeks, a judge in California has reduced a verdict against the maker of Roundup weed killer in a suit by cancer victims. Judge Winifred Smith of Alameda County reduced the award to Alva and Alberta Pilliod from $2 billion to $86.7 million. Defendant Bayer AG called the reduction “a step in the right direction” but said it continues to think its product is safe. An appeal is planned. (The Wall Street Journal, Bayer AG, Judge Winifred Smith’s order)
• The breakup of the New York personal injury law firm Cellino & Barnes is the subject of a new play to be staged next month in Brooklyn. The writers and stars are two comedians. “We started reading about the breakup, and it was just too juicy, too funny, not to write about,” said one of the writers, David Rafailedes. (The New York Law Journal, the New York Post)
• The U.S. Department of Justice has given final approval to a $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint. The companies won approval after agreeing to sell Sprint’s prepaid business and some of its airwaves to satellite TV company Dish Network. Attorneys general from 13 states and Washington, D.C., who have sued to block the deal say they still have serious concerns. (The Washington Post, the New York Times, U.S. Department of Justice , New York attorney general)
• Nebraska’s attorney general has filed a lawsuit claiming that Hilton is violating state consumer law by charging hidden resort fees at some of its properties that aren’t disclosed up-front on its website. Washington, D.C.’s attorney general recently filed a similar suit against Marriott International. (Fox News, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nebraska attorney general, amended complaint)
• A Philadelphia lawyer who said he was a scam victim when he was charged in an alleged stock-market manipulation scheme has pleaded guilty to a single misdemeanor charge of withholding information from the IRS. Lawyer Michael Garnick was accused with Chris Messalas, a former broker who was barred from the securities industry by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, in 2012, according to Law360. Garnick told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he was “just an investor” who “got caught up in someone else’s nefarious activities.” (Law360, the Philadelphia Inquirer)