Afternoon Briefs: Judge's sex-bias accuser accused of seeking attention; lawyer disbarred for office assault
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• A California appellate judge accused of longtime sexual harassment is a friendly man now being judged through the lens of the #MeToo era, his lawyer told an ethics panel Monday. Lawyer Paul Meyer told the panel that Justice Jeffrey Johnson is the victim of “vile” rumors spread in part by one of his accusers, a fellow judge who considers herself “very attractive and appreciates the attention.” Nearly 20 women have claimed harassment over the last two decades. (The Los Angeles Times)
• A suspended New York lawyer has been disbarred after he was recorded on video kicking and beating his former girlfriend in his law office. The lawyer, Lawrence Nkongho Etah, allegedly told a police detective, “A bitch comes into this office and disrespects you I’d expect you to do the same thing!” A judge in a criminal case against Etah had found him guilty of third-degree assault for the attack. (Bloomberg Law; New York Supreme Court, Appellate Division)
• A federal judge in Manhattan has tossed a lawsuit filed by Cellino & Barnes that alleges that family members of a name partner infringed the law firm’s trademark when launching a competing firm. Law firm partner Stephen Barnes claimed that his partner, Ross Cellino, is secretly behind the new firm. U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford said Barnes needed Cellino’s approval to file the suit. Absent that, he needed approval from a judge overseeing Barnes’ separate suit seeking to dissolve Cellino & Barnes. (Law360; the Buffalo News)
• States are asking the U.S. Treasury to turn over information on residents who bought U.S. savings bonds decades ago and never redeemed them. States return money to residents through unclaimed property laws in programs that create political goodwill. Twenty-four states have passed laws that allow states to obtain title to the savings bonds when owners don’t come forward to collect. The federal government says states don’t have any right to the money. The dispute is pending in a federal appeals court. (The Wall Street Journal)
• The U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission have been battling over turf in antitrust cases involving the technology industry. In one antitrust case against Qualcomm over its licensing practices, the FTC prevailed at trial. Then the Justice Department filed a brief in the appeal that questioned the merits of the FTC case. (The Wall Street Journal, CNET)