News Roundup

Weekly Briefs: 96-year-old judge must mediate suit to keep job; DOJ reverses stance on Trump shield

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Pauline Newman

Judge Pauline Newman of the Federal U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has resisted calls from her to step down from the bench. (Photo by Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images)

Mediation ordered in judge’s bid to keep job

A 96-year-old judge on the Federal U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Pauline Newman, must mediate her lawsuit seeking to stay on the bench, a federal judge said in a July 11 order. A special court committee investigating Newman is focusing on the judge’s refusal to participate in its review of her competency. (Law360)

DOJ changes course on Trump shield

The U.S. Justice Department now says former President Donald Trump isn’t shielded from claims in a defamation lawsuit filed against him for denying sexual assault claims by E. Jean Carroll. The department previously said it should be substituted as a defendant in the suit under the Westfall Act, the law that shields federal employees in lawsuits related to acts undertaken in their official capacity. Trump had made the statements while he was president.

The department now says there is evidence that Trump’s comments were motivated by a “personal grievance” and were not made within the scope of his employment. Carroll has filed an amended complaint in the lawsuit, which is known as Carroll 1, to add Trump’s May 2023 statements calling her a “wack job” and her claims a “made-up story.” Trump made the new statements after a jury determined in a separate case known as Carroll II that Trump sexually assaulted Carroll. (The New York Times, Reuters)

Suit challenges Idaho’s abortion-trafficking ban

A July 11 lawsuit alleges an abortion-trafficking law in Idaho violates the First Amendment and the right to travel between states. The law makes it a felony for any adult to help a minor get an abortion or abortion pills with the intent to conceal the abortion from the minor’s parents. The suit was filed by Legal Voice, Stoel Rives and the Lawyering Project on behalf of an abortion-funding group, an indigenous alliance and a lawyer who works with victims of domestic and sexual violence. The lawsuit is Matsumoto v. Labrador. (Legal Voice press release, CNN, the lawsuit)

ABE’s annual grant program looking for next round of recipients

The American Bar Endowment is now accepting applications for its Opportunity Grant Program. The ABE, an independent, not-for-profit public charity, awards these annual grants to projects that are new and innovative, and that directly impact individual and community law-related needs. This year, 12 grantees received nearly $300,000. To apply for the 2023-2024 cycle, candidates should send in a letter of inquiry by Sept. 1. To learn more about the Opportunity Grant Program and how to apply, visit the ABE’s website. (American Bar Endowment website)

Lewis Brisbois spinoff firm loses more than 30 lawyers

A new law firm made up of nearly 140 lawyers from Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith is itself experiencing defections. The leaders of the new law firm, John Barber and Jeff Ranen, resigned after internal Lewis Brisbois emails released last month showed they used racial and LGBTQ slurs and other offensive language. Now the new firm, called Daugherty Lordan, has lost more than 30 lawyers. One of the departing lawyers is name partner Joseph Lordan. Daugherty Lordan says it is participating in discussions with several law firms about its “incredibly capably attorneys.” (Bloomberg Law, Reuters,

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