News Roundup

Weekly Briefs: Go-between sentenced in law prof's murder; $4.25B opioid settlement announced

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Convicted go-between gets life sentence in law prof’s murder

Katherine Magbanua was sentenced Friday to life in prison without parole for acting as the go-between in the murder of Florida State University law professor Dan Markel. She also received two consecutive 30-year sentences. Magbanua’s lawyer, Tara Kawass, said her client “wants each and every person who had a hand in this and knows something about this to be brought to justice.” Another defendant in the case, Markel’s former brother-in-law, Charlie Adelson, briefly appeared in court Friday. He has pleaded not guilty in the case to charges of murder, conspiracy to commit murder and solicitation of murder. Magbanua was romantically involved with Adelson and the convicted hit man. (The Tallahassee Democrat, Law & Crime)

Maker of opioids reaches tentative $4.25B settlement

Teva Pharmaceuticals, a generic maker of opioids, has reached a tentative agreement to pay $4.25 billion to settle lawsuits filed by state and local governments and Native American tribes. The company is accused of downplaying the risk of addiction, but the agreement won’t include any admission of wrongdoing. (The Washington Post, the New York Times, Pennsylvania attorney general’s press release)

Florida lawyer wins Hemingway Look-Alike Contest

Dade City, Florida, lawyer Jon Auvil has won this year’s Hemingway Look-Alike Contest sponsored by Sloppy Joe’s Bar in Key West, Florida. There were 124 other contestants. His prize is a T-shirt and “not much more than bragging rights,” according to the Florida Bar News. Two other members of the Florida Bar made it into the top five: Christopher Dutton of Pensacola, Florida, and Paul Phillips of Tampa, Florida. (The Florida Bar News, the Associated Press, Above the Law)

Former BigLaw partner pleads guilty in timber investment scheme

Jon Darrell Seawright, 50, a former partner at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz, has pleaded guilty to conspiracy to defraud investors in a timber deed investment scheme. Seawright, of Jackson, Mississippi, pleaded guilty July 14 to allegations that he solicited investors for funds that would be loaned to a “timber broker” to buy timber rights from landowners. The broker would then sell the rights to lumber mills at a profit, investors thought. If Seawright and a co-conspirator had inspected the properties and contracts, they would have discovered that the deeds and lumber mill agreements were not valid, according to the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of Mississippi. Baker Donelson has said the law firm had no involvement in the scheme. (Above the Law, U.S. attorney’s office press release)

Judge allows transgender girl to play on girls softball team

A federal judge in Indianapolis has ruled that Indiana can’t ban a 10-year-old transgender girl from playing on an all-girls softball team during litigation in her case. U.S. District Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson of the Southern District of Indiana issued a preliminary injunction Tuesday. (The Associated Press, the Indianapolis Star, American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana press release, Magnus-Stinson’s July 26 opinion)

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