Phillips Nizer LLP | Helene Freeman named as <em >Law360's</em > Legal Lion - March 13, 2020
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Helene Freeman named as Law360's Legal Lion - March 13, 2020

03/13/2020
Law360 (March 12, 2020, 5:20 PM EDT) -- Davis Wright Tremaine kicks off this week’s legal lions list with a win for Led Zeppelin in copyright litigation over the intro to “Stairway to Heaven,” while Seattle law firm Lane Powell ended up among the legal lambs after client Albertsons was hit with a $12.6 million employment verdict.

Legal Lions

The full Ninth Circuit sided with Led Zeppelin on Monday and rejected a high-profile copyright lawsuit accusing the band of stealing the intro to "Stairway to Heaven" from a little-known song, landing the group’s attorneys at Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and Phillips Nizer LLP on this week’s legal lions list. Led Zeppelin and its affiliated music companies are represented by Peter J. Anderson of Davis Wright Tremaine LLP and Helene Freeman of Phillips Nizer LLP.

Attorneys with the New York County District Attorney's Office earned a spot on the lions list Wednesday when a state judge sentenced disgraced Hollywood powerbroker Harvey Weinstein to 23 years in prison for sex crimes, a sentence significantly above the five-year mandatory minimum his defense team had requested. The government is represented by Joan Illuzzi, Meghan Hast, Harriett Galvin and Valerie Figueredo of the New York County District Attorney's Office.

Next up on the legal lions list is Sterling Attorneys at Law PC. The Sixth Circuit put the law firm client’s age discrimination suit against a Ford dealership back in gear Wednesday, saying fired salesman Dennis Willard's claims that he faced a "medley of ageist slurs" before being replaced by a younger worker should go before a jury. Willard is represented by Raymond J. Sterling and Brian J. Farrar of Sterling Attorneys at Law PC.

The D.C. Circuit on Tuesday ordered the Trump administration to give the House Judiciary Committee redacted portions of grand jury materials from former special counsel Robert Mueller's probe into Russian election interference in a lion’s win for the U.S. House of Representatives' Office of General Counsel. The House Judiciary Committee is represented by Douglas N. Letter of the U.S. House of Representatives' Office of General Counsel.

A joint venture guided by New York law firm Wachtel Missry has landed $545 million in refinancing from Dechert-counseled Goldman Sachs and Bank of America for a Fifth Avenue property in New York City, real estate department chair Morris Missry told Law360 on March 6. The borrower venture is represented by Morris Missry of Wachtel Missry LLP. The lender group is represented by Krystyna Blakeslee of Dechert LLP.

Legal Lambs

Lane Powell PC ended up on this week’s legal lambs list after a federal jury in Seattle awarded more than $12.6 million — including $10 million in punitive damages — to a former longtime Albertsons and Safeway district manager who the jury found was fired by grocery chain Albertsons in retaliation for a discrimination complaint. Albertsons is represented by Sean Jackson, D. Michael Reilly, David Hosenpud and Beth Joffe of Lane Powell PC.

Morrison & Foerster LLP and Meyer Law Group LLC landed on the lambs list Wednesday when the Seventh Circuit decided that their client, health information technology company IQVIA, can't cut national consumers out of a proposed class suit over unwanted faxes, finding a key high court ruling limiting personal jurisdiction in mass torts didn't apply to a federal class action. IQVIA is represented by Joseph R. Palmore, Bryan J. Leitch, Tiffany Cheung and James R. Sigel of Morrison & Foerster LLP and Edward C. Eberspacher IV of Meyer Law Group LLC.

The Second Circuit revived a suit March 6 alleging Marriott allowed severe harassment toward an Egyptian-American worker and later fired him for complaining, saying a Manhattan federal judge jumped the gun when she ruled that the worker wasn’t treated badly enough to sue. The decision placed Marriott’s counsel at FordHarrison LLP among this week’s legal lambs. Marriott is represented by Mark Saloman of FordHarrison LLP.

Next up on the lambs list is Matthew J. Baker Law Office. A Kentucky appeals court affirmed a $582,000 verdict March 6 in U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s suit accusing his neighbor, Rene A. Boucher, of attacking him after the Republican lawmaker blew leaves onto Boucher's property, rejecting the neighbor’s argument that $200,000 in pain and suffering damages and $375,000 for punitive damages was excessive. Boucher is represented by Matthew J. Baker of Matthew J. Baker Law Office.

The California Secure Choice Retirement Savings Program survived a legal challenge Tuesday, with a federal judge ruling that it is not preempted by the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, dealing a blow to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and its attorneys. HJTA is represented in-house by Laura E. Dougherty, Jonathan M. Coupal and Timothy A. Bittle.

--Additional reporting by Y. Peter Kang, Emily Brill, Anne Cullen, Braden Campbell, Cara Salvatore, Bill Donahue, Vin Gurrieri, Frank G. Runyeon, Khorri Atkinson and Andrew McIntyre. Editing by Jill Coffey.