22:17, September 27 69 0 abajournal.com

2019-09-27 22:17:08
Afternoon Briefs: Judge refuses to step down from opioid litigation; BigLaw joins law profs in climate change fight

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Judge overseeing nationwide opioid litigation refuses to step down

The federal judge overseeing more than 2,000 lawsuits over alleged opioid addictions and overdoses refused to remove himself from a bellwether trial scheduled to begin Oct. 21 in Cleveland. Judge Dan Aaron Polster of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio rejected drug companies’ assertion that comments he made about the opioid epidemic prove his bias against them. “Acknowledging the immense scope of the opioid crisis, and calling on all entities who have the power to ameliorate it to join me in doing so without delay, does not reflect any bias or prejudice toward any party to the litigation,” Polster said on Thursday. (The Washington Post, Bloomberg, NBC News)

BigLaw and 2 law professors team up to fight climate change

More than 20 BigLaw firms are joining two law professors in a new pro bono project aimed at addressing climate change. Columbia Law School professor Michael Gerrard and Widener University law professor John Dernbach will lead the effort to develop model laws and regulations that increase energy efficiency, reduce carbon spending and decrease fossil fuel reliance. Participating firms include White & Case, Allen & Overy, Davis Wright Tremaine, Morrison & Foerster, Kilpatrick Townsend & Stockton and Arnold & Porter. (Bloomberg)

New York attorney general sues Dunkin’ parent company over cyberattacks

The New York attorney general announced a lawsuit against Dunkin’ Brands on Thursday for allegedly failing to notify nearly 20,000 customers that a cyberattack compromised their accounts in 2015 and inadequately notifying more than 300,000 customers about another attack in 2018. Attorney General Letitia James said in the complaint that instead of disclosing that customer accounts were targeted, “Dunkin’ customer service personnel told many customers that the customers’ own actions may have led to the fraudulent activity.” (Time, NBC News, Courthouse News Service, Sept. 26 complaint)

Baltimore judge resigns while suspended for ‘uncontrollable incivility’

A Baltimore judge resigned from the bench Wednesday in the midst of serving a six-month suspension without pay for combative and volatile behavior. The Maryland Court of Appeals found that Baltimore City District Judge Devy Patterson Russell’s conduct “exhibited a pattern of discourtesy and uncontrollable incivility that had pervasive effects on the administration of justice.” Russell, who had been a judge for 12 years, was accused of yelling at other judges and staff and pushing a courthouse employee. She faces new allegations that she threatened and retaliated against another judge. (The Baltimore Sun)