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OpenAI’s Board May Not Have Been Able To Do Anything About CEO’s ‘Lack Of Candor,’ But The SEC MightEven self-professed good guys like Sam Altman are subject to securities law. The post OpenAI’s Board May Not Have Been Able To Do Anything About CEO’s ‘Lack Of Candor,’ But The SEC Might appeared first on Above the Law.
What could be better for a Biglaw firm than bringing in record revenue? Bringing in record revenue for 10 consecutive years! Over the course of the past decade, the U.S. economy has seen many ups and downs, with extreme turbulence in recent years thanks to the pandemic — but Greenberg Traurig has been posting promising revenues, against all odds. The elite firm — which brought in $2,171,720,000 gross revenue in 2022, putting it at No. 14 in the most recent Am Law 100 — recently announced its 2023 financial results, and the firm is quite likely to move up the rankings. As noted by Bloomberg Law, Greenberg Traurig brought in $2.3 billion gross revenue in 2023, a 6% increase over 2022’s numbers. Richard A. Rosenbaum, Greenberg Traurig’s executive chairman, offered the following statement on the firm’s success: “Our consistent, record-breaking financial performance over the past decade of change and disruption underscores the resilience of Greenberg Traurig’s platform and business model, as well as our uniquely diversified set of clients, talent, practices, industries, and locations, across the U.S. and the world.” Congratulations to Greenberg Traurig on another record-breaking year! Greenberg Traurig Hits 10th Consecutive Year of Record Revenue [Bloomberg Law] Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter and Threads or connect with her on LinkedIn.
(Photo by Evan Vucci-Pool/Getty Images) Last week, Donald Trump finally got around to asking the court to excuse him from posting bond in the E. Jean Carroll defamation case. His lawyers spent almost four whole weeks after the jury rendered its $83 million verdict thinking up reasons that their client should be able to fend off collections without fronting the cash, and literally the best they could come up with is “our guy is so rich, that there’s no need to make him put up the money.” (Slight paraphrase.) They also added in some wishcasting about the likelihood that Judge Lewis Kaplan will knock down the jury verdict, along with even more fantastical claims that a 3.6:1 ratio of punitive to compensatory damages is illegal. Judge Kaplan, was not impressed. But before he addressed the defendant’s request for an unsecured stay, he allowed the plaintiff to weigh in on the matter. And weigh in she did, filing a scathing opposition last night through her attorney Roberta Kaplan. Trump “simply asks the Court to ‘trust me’ and offers, in a case with an $83.3 million judgment against him, the court filing equivalent of a paper napkin; signed by the least trustworthy of borrowers,” Carroll scoffed, noting that the defendant’s motion made zero concrete representations about his assets. Instead Trump pointed to Carroll’s own argument in favor of punitive damages, claiming that she had conceded the existence of his vast wealth and was functionally estopped from claiming that she might not be able to collect from him. He even had the nerve to suggest that the public interest “weighs against imposing additional, needless financial consequences from a manifestly excessive verdict.” As Carroll notes, that is not how this shit goes under Rule 62(b). “Trump has it exactly backwards,” she argued. “Rule 62(b)’s plain text, which applies to all civil litigants in federal court and has no exception for former presidents or people who claim to be very rich, reflects a public interest against unsecured stays.” Nor is it in accord with the relevant Second Circuit precedent, a case called In re Nassau Cnty. Strip Search Cases, 783 F.3d 414 (2d Cir. 2015), which sets out a five-factor test for courts to consider in assessing whether to accept “other security” in lieu of a bond. Trump suggests that he should be exempt under the fourth factor: “whether the defendant’s ability to pay the judgment is so plain that the cost of a bond would be a waste of money.” This argument was undercut in Trumps own brief when he immediately pivoted to whining that he’d be “irreparably harmed” by having to front the $95 million that it will take to secure a bond, despite his alleged wealth. But in reality, there’s nothing remotely “plain” about the defendant’s ability to pay, much less his willingness to do it. Trump is facing half a billion of judgments between Carroll and the State of New York. In an unsuccessful emergency motion to stay the state judgment pending appeal, he tacitly admitted to the First Judicial Department that he doesn’t have the cash to post the entirety of the judgment as a bond. On top of which, he’s facing 91 felony counts in four different courts, a fact his counsel just plum forgot to mention in their motion. As Carroll argues, it’s impossible to predict Trump’s financial state, or even his county of residence, by the time appeals in this case are exhausted. He could then be President of the United States; he could then be a convicted criminal serving time behind bars; or, given his advanced age, Carroll may be forced to reckon with his estate. Any of these developments could substantially complicate collection efforts here. And not for nothing, but Trump was just found liable for massive financial fraud and is about to go on trial for creating false business records, suggesting that he is “not an example of someone who has fostered transparency or trustworthiness when it comes to his financial situation.” “There is absolutely no reason to believe that Trump has so much readily collectible cash on hand that requiring him to secure the judgment with a supersedeas bond would be superfluous,” Carroll’s lawyers concluded, adding that “it is hard to imagine greater risk and potential harm to Carroll than requiring her to bear the burden of the uncertainty surrounding Trump’s finances and assets (not to mention the collectability of a judgment).” Paging David Cross … TL, DR? It didn’t work with the First Judicial Department. But it might work for us! Carroll v. Trump [Docket via Court Listener] Liz Dye lives in Baltimore where she produces the Law and Chaos substack and podcast.
Ed. note: Welcome to our daily feature, Quote of the Day. I am honored that the partnership has put its trust in me to lead A&O Shearman as its first senior partner. Working closely with Hervé [Ekué], Adam [Hakki], Doreen [Lilienfeld], and other senior leadership, as A&O Shearman we will take forward our combined expertise and deep legal knowledge to achieve unparalleled outcomes for our clients on their increasingly complex legal and commercial challenges, wherever they and we operate in the world. — Khalid Garousha, who was recently elected as senior partner of A&O Shearman, commenting on what he and his leadership team will be able to accomplish for the newly merged firm in the future. Effective May 1, Garousha will be joined by Hervé Ekué as managing partner, Adam Hakki as co-chair of the firm’s global board and executive committee (as well as chair of the firm’s U.S. business), and Doreen Lilienfeld as co-managing partner of the firm’s U.S. business. Wim Dejonghe, Allen & Overy’s current senior partner, had this to say about the merged firm’s new senior leadership team: “A&O Shearman will bring together some of the greatest legal talent in the world while maintaining a focus on clients, our people and wider society. I’m delighted to pass the leadership baton to Khalid, Hervé, Adam, and Doreen on May 1, and I wish them all every success in their new roles at A&O Shearman.” Staci Zaretsky is a senior editor at Above the Law, where she’s worked since 2011. She’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to email her with any tips, questions, comments, or critiques. You can follow her on Twitter and Threads or connect with her on LinkedIn.
Court: Turning A Minor Parking Violation Into A String Of Rights Violations Is A Great Way To Lose Your Evidence – Above the LawNo matter how minor the infraction, it still deserves the court’s full attention. That’s the ultimate lesson of this New York court decision, brought to us by FourthAmendment.com. It starts with an alleged window tint violation (always a favorite of cops on fishing expedition), morphs into a fire hydrant parking violation, and finally ends with a full inventory search of a car that didn’t need to be towed, solely for the purpose of some general rummaging. The court makes it clear in its decision that it’s not going to gloss over a bunch of rights violations just because the end result was a citation. The court’s responsibility to meaningfully review the factual basis for police conduct in situations like this is critical to preserving “the interest of individuals in living their lives free from governmental interference.” (People v. Howard, 50 NY2d 583, 589 ). Automobile stops alleging excessively tinted windows are common and can have major consequences. (See, e.g., Alysia Santo, The Marshall Project, When ‘Broken Windows’ Meets Tinted Windows, Aug. 17, 2015, https://www.themarshallproject.org/2015/08/17/when-broken-windows-meets-tinted-windows [noting that in 2014, the NYPD issued an average of 204 tickets for tinted windows each day, every day]… […] In fact, here the police intrusion based upon purportedly excessive tints escalated into violence against a New Yorker who was sitting peacefully in his own lawfully parked car. At the very least, a suppression court must fulfill its responsibility to determine whether an officer’s conclusion that the tints were unlawful was reasonably warranted. The alternative—simply adopting the officer’s conclusion—reduces the court to a rubber stamp. A rubber stamp here would only reward bad cops for bad behavior based on pretexts that can’t be meaningfully measured in courts. You know, like claims the odor of marijuana was present. Without more evidence, a claim a window was too dark is nothing more than an officer’s opinion. The court digs into everything about this stop and finds very little to like about it. It began with NYPD officer Scott Edwards approaching the car Mr. Davis was sitting in. According to Officer Edwards’ testimony, he and two other officers were in uniform but in an unmarked vehicle as part of a “Neighborhood Safety Team” that apparently felt the neighborhood would be safer if people didn’t immediately recognize the presence of officers. Edwards claimed Davis’s windows were “excessively tinted” and that his car was parked too close to a fire hydrant. The officers ordered Davis to roll down his window and open his door. He refused to open his door. The officers then entered Davis’s car (the court notes it’s unclear how they achieved this, although it does note one officer discovered his rear passenger door was unlocked). The officers forced Davis out of his car and placed him under arrest — not for the window tint or the fire hydrant, but for “obstruction.” The officers then had Davis’s car towed and performed what they referred to as an “inventory search” of the vehicle. These are, of course, permissible. They help officers and towing companies avoid being falsely accused of theft. But there are rules. And they weren’t followed here, as Officer Edwards (inadvertently) admitted in court: After arresting Mr. Davis, the officers moved his vehicle back to the 101st Precinct, where they conducted an inventory search. Officer Edwards explained that he believes an inventory search is one conducted “to attempt to locate any valuables or contraband in the vehicle.” Such contraband, he explained, includes weapons, drugs, and “things like that.” The NYPD has written procedures for inventory searches, and they are published in the NYPD Patrol Guide. Officer Edwards has seen those procedures before, and the People introduced a copy of them as an exhibit. During the inventory search, the officers looked in the car, including the trunk, glove box, sides of the vehicle, and under the seats, “just trying to get — you know, find any contraband or valuable material,” according to Officer Edwards. In the glove box, Officer Edwards found a photocopy of an NYPD parking placard. Mr. Davis’s name was written at the bottom. Officer Edwards said that other “items were recovered,” but he did not specify who found other items or what they were. A different officer invoiced the placard as arrest evidence. To Officer Edwards, the photocopy was not a genuine placard. It was on printer paper, whereas a normal NYPD parking placard—which Officer Edwards personally owns—is on thicker, cardboard-like paper. Officer Edwards testified that the items recovered were “invoiced,” which means that an itemized list of the property was created. However, Officer Edwards did not create this list. No such list was introduced into evidence. Nonetheless, Officer Edwards concluded that the process for the inventory search matched the procedure in the Patrol Guide. No officer ever witnessed Mr. Davis attempting to use the photocopied placard. This is problematic, says the court. There are permissible reasons to perform an inventory search on a towed vehicle. First and foremost, the towing of the vehicle needs to be justified. Here, it wasn’t. It could have been moved, rather than towed. Second, even if the inventory search is a pretext itself, testifying officers shouldn’t tell the courts the real reason for the search was to (hopefully) discover evidence of criminal activity. Here, Officer Edwards indicated that multiple officers conducted the inventory search. However, he did not specify who those officers were, nor did he articulate how each of them reasonably followed the requirements of an inventory search. The point of an inventory search is to create an inventory of the items in a vehicle. That Officer Edwards instead explained the officers’ general goal as “just trying to get — you know, find any contraband or valuable material,” like “drugs” or “things like that,” does not inspire much confidence that this search was conducted for the specific purpose of creating an inventory. This record is insufficient to assure the court that each of the officers “was not merely rummaging for incriminating evidence.” (See Mortel, 197 AD3d at 221). And it’s not enough to claim in court that windows are excessively tinted without providing any factual basis for that determination. The officer here testified that he observed “excessively dark window tints,” but he did not provide any facts on which he based his conclusion that the tints were “excessive.” An officer who only testifies that he concluded the tints were “excessively dark” might as well only testify that the tints were “unlawful.” Such a hearing record leaves the court with no objective facts on which to adjudicate whether the officer’s conclusion was “reasonabl[e].” The People elicited nothing regarding the officer’s training or experience in gauging tints, or any factual observations that he made about the tints here… Without evidence, the rousting of Mr. Davis and the eventual arrest (not to mention the towing/rummaging of his car) isn’t justified. That being said, the NYC court is somewhat constrained by precedent, which (somehow) says some of this is acceptable justification for these officers’ actions. Constrained to find that the officers’ detention was lawful, the court is likewise constrained to find that there was probable cause for the arrest. If the detention was lawful, Mr. Davis was not entitled to resist the officers’ commands to lower his window or open his door. As a result, the People established probable cause for obstructing governmental administration. But that won’t save the sole piece of evidence (the fake PD placard) officers recovered during their illegal search of Davis’s car. The court says the government failed to prove the vehicle was legally impounded. So, the inventory search (which the officer admitted was performed almost solely for the purpose of discovering contraband) was unconstitutional. That means Davis is still on the hook for obstruction, due to his resistance of the officers’ (seemingly unlawful) orders. But the offending placard is no longer in play. [T]he fruits of the inventory search, including any resulting police observations and the photocopied parking placard, are suppressed. This was a minor stop with minimal repercussions (comparatively) for the defendant. But the court still did its job. It’s not the size of the constitutional violation that matters. It’s the violation itself. Even if this case didn’t put Davis in jeopardy of losing his freedom for years or decades, it still matters. And the court here took care to ensure even the most minimal of violations would receive the proper scrutiny. Court: Turning A Minor Parking Violation Into A String Of Rights Violations Is A Great Way To Lose Your Evidence Alabama Couple Awarded $1 Million Over Warrantless Raid Of Their House That Saw Cops Walk Off With All Their Cash Meta’s Plans To Downplay Political Content Is, Itself, A Political Decision The Net Neutrality Fight Will Soon Return, And The Bickering Will Be As Stupid As Ever