Moez Kaba Named on Benchmark Litigation Top Lawyers Nationwide Under 40 for Third Time


Moez Kaba Talks Diversity with Benchmark Litigation

For the third time, Benchmark Litigation has recognized Moez Kaba as one of the country’s top lawyers under 40.  The exclusive list commemorates the most notable up-and-coming litigation attorneys in the United States.

Benchmark described Mr. Kaba as “a trial force, with street smarts and experience beyond his years.  Kaba has been a frequent peer favorite, with enthusiastic plaudits regularly being voiced by colleagues who have observed his prowess in litigation.”

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Hueston Hennigan Obtains U.S. Supreme Court Review In Class Action Appeal

Today, the Supreme Court of the United States granted Hueston Hennigan’s petition for a writ of certiorari, filed on behalf of client Nutraceutical Corp., in a significant class action matter presenting the question of whether equitable exceptions apply to mandatory claim-processing rules.

After the district court granted Nutraceutical’s motion to decertify Plaintiff Troy Lambert’s class action suit, the Ninth Circuit reversed, in an opinion that excused Plaintiff’s failure to timely file his petition for permission to appeal within the mandatory 14-day window set forth in Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure 23(f).  In its opinion, the Ninth Circuit acknowledged that its decision to excuse Plaintiff’s failure to timely file conflicted with decisions of the other United States Circuit Courts of Appeals that have considered the issue (including the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Seventh, Tenth, and Eleventh).

Nutraceutical Corp. is represented by John C. Hueston, Steven N. Feldman and Joe Reiter of Hueston Hennigan LLP.

The case is captioned Nutraceutical Corp. v. Lambert, Dkt. No. 17-1094.

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Allergan Defeats CoolSculpting Class Action

Allergan subsidiary Zeltiq Aesthetics defeated a putative class action suit on Tuesday alleging that customers of the company’s popular CoolSculpting fat-freezing system were deceived by marketing materials that classified the system as “FDA-cleared,” without also stating that it was not “FDA-approved.”

Granting the motion to dismiss, U.S. District Judge Dolly M. Gee held that Plaintiffs had failed to show why Zeltiq’s claims would mislead consumers, and adopted Zeltiq’s argument that Ninth Circuit law did not require the company to make any additional, affirmative disclosures.

“This is an important ruling, particularly for medical device manufacturers,” said attorney Steven Feldman, who represented Zeltiq.  “We are pleased that the Court adopted our arguments on the case law, and granted dismissal of this putative class action at the pleadings stage.”

Zeltiq was represented by John Hueston, Doug Dixon, Steve Feldman and Matthew Kaiser




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Chambers USA 2018: Hueston Hennigan a Meteoric Success

Chambers USA 2018 has ranked Hueston Hennigan among the top California law firms in the areas of commercial litigation and white-collar defense and government investigations. In its assessment of Hueston Hennigan, Chambers representative commentary included this praise: “The firm has enjoyed meteoric success; they’re really soaring and firing on all cylinders.”

Calling Hueston Hennigan a “highly regarded litigation boutique across both plaintiff and defense-side commercial cases,” the premier legal directory cited its bench of expert trial lawyers. With lawyers who are “incredibly responsive, quick, efficient and committed,” Hueston Hennigan is a “go-to firm for bet-the-farm litigation.”

The firm’s “powerhouse white-collar criminal defense team” Chambers continued, boasts outstanding trial capabilities, “drawing from a high-quality bench of litigators which includes several former federal prosecutors.”

Name partners John Hueston and Brian Hennigan, who have both been repeatedly ranked as Band 1 attorneys, were singled out as “Notable Practioners.” Mr. Hueston, Mr. Hennigan and Partner Robert Klieger were previously named “Leaders in their Field.”

Mr. Hueston, described as a “dynamo,” is praised for his “intelligence, strategic vision and exceptional ability to see all angles and read human nature in any given situation.” And: “He is the best lawyer of his generation. He is razor sharp in every way. Whether in court, on paper or in his teams, he thinks ten steps ahead and never skips a beat.”

Mr. Hennigan is described by clients as “a real trial lawyer.” He received “considerable praise for his judgment and ability to handle extremely complex cases and achieve great results.” He widely regarded for his ability to apply his “wealth of experience” to individual and corporate representations in both litigations and investigations, achieving “great results.”

Mr. Klieger was ranked this year in the Media and Entertainment category, with Chambers noting that Mr. Klieger “is developing an impressive reputation for his handling of entertainment litigation. Sources describe him as “a really great lawyer and “beyond excellent as a writer.”

Since opening its doors in 2015, Hueston Hennigan has been ranked as a national Top 10 Boutique by Benchmark Litigation, named by Law360 as one of five top national trial boutiques, and one of California’s top boutiques by the Los Angeles Daily Journal. The firm’s clients include T-Mobile, Amazon, SpaceX, Tesla, Western Digital, Edison International and Southern California Edison, the Navajo Nation, Amgen, Sumner Redstone, the University of California, PricewaterhouseCoopers and many others.

London-based Chambers and Partners, is one of the World’s preeminent directories of law firms and lawyers, producing annual guides after months of objective, in-depth research.







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Alison Plessman Named to 2018 Top Women Lawyers

Alison Plessman named to Top Women lawyers

The Los Angeles Daily Journal has named Alison Plessman to the 2018 list of “Top Women Lawyers” in California. This marks the third time in three years she has been honored as one of the state’s most accomplished female lawyers.

“Alison is such a talented attorney,” said Brian Hennigan, managing partner at the firm. “We’re thrilled to see her abilities recognized in this way.”

The Daily Journal cited Ms. Plessman’s role as co-lead counsel for Edison International and Southern California Edison in dozens of cases arising from the Thomas Fire in Ventura and Santa Barbara counties. She also represents the utility in litigation arising out of the Montecito mudslides.

The newspaper also noted her successful representation of T-Mobile USA, Inc. in its trade secrets suit against smartphone maker Huawei Technologies Co.

About Alison Plessman

Ms. Plessman is a co-founder of Hueston Hennigan LLP. She represents plaintiffs and defendants in a wide range of high-stakes litigation matters involving securities, healthcare, and insurance fraud, trade secret misappropriation, RICO violations, accounting irregularities and market manipulation, professional negligence, and breaches of contract and fiduciary duties. Ms. Plessman has also successfully defended companies, boards of directors, and individuals facing regulatory investigations and criminal enforcement actions, and she has obtained pre-indictment and post-indictment dismissals in numerous cases.





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Brian Hennigan Honored with CLAY Award

Brian Hennigan honored with CLAY award.

Brian Hennigan, Managing Partner of Hueston Hennigan, has been honored with a 2018 California Lawyer of the Year (CLAY)  award.  The CLAY award recognize lawyers whose work has had a significant impact on public policy, the law, and the profession.

Mr. Hennigan was cited for his work with former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos R. Moreno in the high-profile investigation into allegations that the University of California’s Office of the President interfered with a state audit.

The UC Board of Regents hired the legal team last summer, after the state auditor publicly accused UC President Janet Napolitano’s office of revising answers on campus surveys.  Auditor Elaine M. Howle maintained that Napolitano’s office altered the answers to reflect more favorably on her performance.

Mr. Hennigan led the independent fact-finding project. The team reviewed more than 427,000 pieces of electronic data and documents, and it conducted dozens of interviews. The report ultimately found that although Napolitano knew surveys were being reviewed, there was insufficient evidence to conclude she knew about her aids’ systematic alteration of unfavorable responses.

Judge Moreno and Mr. Hennigan both said work of Michael Behrens, counsel at Hueston Hennigan, and Kasey Mitchell, an associate at the firm, as instrumental to the investigation.

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Alex Romain Named to Lawdragon 500

Alex Romain named to Lawdragon 500

Alex Romain has been named to Lawdragon’s  2018 list of the “500 Leading Lawyers in America,” one of the legal profession’s most elite directories.

Lawdragon is a legal media company that provides online news and features about the legal industry, including guides to the nation’s leading lawyers. The annual guide is the company’s highest distinction. It recognizes the top practitioners across all practice areas and represents .04 percent of all U.S. lawyers.

About Alex Romain

Alex Romain is a leading national trial lawyer with more than 18 years’ experience in high-stakes complex civil and commercial litigation. Mr. Romain previously was a litigation partner for 10 years at Williams & Connolly LLP, in Washington, D.C. He currently Chairs Hueston Hennigan’s Professional Liability Defense Practice.

In 2017, Benchmark Litigation recognized Mr. Romain as a local “Litigation Star” in the area of general commercial litigation. He was featured in Law360’s Minority Powerbrokers” series and was selected to Savoy Magazine’s list of “Most Influential Black Lawyers.” As a result of his work as lead counsel in the favorable decision, In re Fannie Mae Securities Litigation, 552 F.3d 814 (D.C. Cir. 2009), the National Law Journal named Mr. Romain to its “Appellate Hot List.” That decision that affirmed the trial court’s holding a government agency in contempt. For his work at the USDOJ, in the Office of the Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights, Mr. Romain received the U.S. Attorney General’s special Commendation Award for Outstanding Service.

 Alex Romain’s complete bio here.

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IMDb Age Law Declared Unconstitutional


A federal judge ruled Tuesday that a California law requiring IMDb to remove an actor’s age information upon request, an effort to fight age discrimination, was “clearly unconstitutional.” Ruling that “regulation of speech must be a last resort,” U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said the state should have tried less invasive options, like beefing up existing discrimination rules, rather than “censor a source of truthful information.”

AB 1687, passed in September 2016, requires database sites like IMDb — the Internet Movie Database — to remove an actor’s age if requested. The stated goal was to prevent discrimination in Hollywood casting against older actors, but IMDb said it violated the First Amendment.

In Tuesday’s ruling siding with IMDb, Chhabria described AB 1687 as a misguided law that should have instead aimed to fight discrimination against women, since age bias in Hollywood is “at root … far more a problem of sex discrimination.”

“The defendants barely acknowledge this, much less explain how a law preventing one company from posting age-related information on one website could discourage the entertainment industry from continuing to objectify and devalue women,” the judge wrote. “If the government is going to attempt to restrict speech, it should at least develop a clearer understanding of the problem it’s trying to solve.”

IMDb sued in November 2016, claiming that the recently passed AB 1687 would “chill free speech and undermine public access to factual information” without actually addressing age discrimination. SAG-AFTRA, the union for Hollywood actors, later joined the case in support of California.

Chhabria quickly sided with IMDb, issuing a preliminary injunction in early 2017 that barred the state from enforcing the law while the case progressed. At the time, he said it was “difficult to imagine how AB 1687 could not violate the First Amendment.”

Read more in Law360.

More Coverage in The Hollywood Reporter was represented by John Hueston, Moez KabaAdam Olin, and Jenna Williams.

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Gold King Contractor to Face Navajo Nation Claims

A New Mexico federal judge on Monday largely left intact the state and Navajo Nation’s consolidated lawsuits seeking damages from a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency contractor involved in the 2015 Gold King Mine spill.

Environmental Restoration LLC, which contracted with the EPA to work at the Colorado mine and is allegedly partly responsible for the disaster that polluted two rivers that flowed into the Navajo Nation and New Mexico, had asked U.S. District Judge M. Christina Armijo to toss the lawsuits, but the judge found there was enough evidence to proceed with most of the plaintiffs’ claims.

The judge first declined to toss the state and Navajo Nation’s Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation and Liability Act claims for cost recovery and injunctive relief. In particular, she rejected Environmental Restoration’s assertion that is was not a facility “operator” as defined by CERCLA.

She noted that the company was one of the parties present and working at the site on Aug. 4 and Aug. 5, 2015.

Read more in Law360  By Juan Carlos Rodriguez

The Navajo Nation is represented by John Hueston, Moez Kaba, Andrew Walsh, and Kasey Mitchell.

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DOJ Memo Signals Qui Tam Sea Change

In a column for the Los Angeles Daily Journal,  Brian Hennigan and Padraic Foran weigh in on the U.S. Department of Justice’s new directives for qui tam cases.

Brian Hennigan and Padraic Foran on DOJ Qui Tam Memo

Memo suggests shift in DOJ’s qui tam approach

By Brian Hennigan and Padraic Foran

The Department of Justice issued an internal memorandum this month that signals a shift in its approach to qui tam actions, encouraging government attorneys to act more aggressively to dismiss certain False Claims Act cases. Whether this policy will actually result in more dismissals remains to be seen. But the policy is a welcome one, especially for defendants. It also has immediate and significant implications for all qui tam litigants, especially those in the pre-intervention stage.

In every qui tam action filed under the False Claims Act, 31 U.S. Section 3739, the government is authorized to investigate and decide whether to intervene — that is, take over the litigation. About 75 percent of the time, the government declines to do so. But the scant 25 percent of cases in which it does intervene account for the overwhelming majority of recoveries. In 2017, more than 87% of total qui tam recoveries (3,011,269,763) came from intervention cases. Non-intervention cases accounted for less than 13 percent of recoveries (or $425,767,335). In 2016, non-intervenors fared even worse, accounting for just 4 percent of total recoveries.

Despite the low success rate of non-intervention cases, the government seldom seeks their dismissal. Yet dismissal, according to the memo, is necessary if the DOJ is to perform its “important gateway keeper role in protecting the False Claims Act.” And until this month, there have not been formal guidelines for seeking dismissals.

Click here to read more.




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