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Afternoon Briefs: Bar exam pass rate hits new low in California; Ben & Jerry's 'happy cows' suit tossed

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California’s February bar exam pass rate drops to less than 27%

The pass rate for California’s February 2020 bar exam was 26.8%, which, according to the Recorder, is a record low. The state’s February 2020 exam was taken by 4,205 people, according to information that the State Bar of California released Friday. Comparatively, the state’s overall February pass rate was 31.4% in 2019, 27.3% in 2018 and 34.5% in 2017. Other states also recently released February 2020 bar passage rates. The pass rate was 60% in Florida, 46% in Tennessee, 40% in New York, 58% in Virginia and 52.2% in Pennsylvania. (The Recorder, State Bar of California press release)

Suit tossed over Ben & Jerry’s ‘caring dairy’ claims

U.S. District Judge Christina Reiss of Vermont has tossed a lawsuit claiming that the Ben & Jerry’s ice cream company misled consumers when it said its milk and cream comes from “happy cows” on “caring dairy” farms. The phrase “happy cows” is a nonactionable opinion, and the company website makes clear that its caring dairy standards are voluntary, Reiss wrote in her May 7 opinion. (The Burlington Free Press, Courthouse News Service, Law360, Reiss’ opinion)

Man pleads guilty to faking death to hide assets, posing as lawyer

Russell Geyer, 50, of Saltville, Virginia, has admitted to faking his death to hide assets in bankruptcy and posing as a lawyer to obtain $70,000 from his wife. Geyer pleaded guilty to contempt of court, bankruptcy fraud, wire fraud and aggravated identity fraud. (Department of Justice press release, Law360, the Daily Beast)

Skadden reportedly paid $11M to avoid Ukraine-related lawsuit

Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom reportedly paid at least $11 million to avoid a lawsuit over its report on the trial of former Ukrainian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, anonymous sources told the New York Times. Skadden’s report for the Ukraine Ministry of Justice concluded that Tymoshenko was denied counsel at critical stages of her trial, but her conviction for abusing her office was supported by evidence. Tymoshenko has claimed that her trial and imprisonment were a political reprisal, and the Skadden report aided her persecution. Skadden apparently paid the money to Tymoshenko and her lawyer. Skadden did not reply to a request for comment by the ABA Journal or the New York Times. (The New York Times)

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