The Courts of Appeal decide on compensation cases for lawyers; tribes agree to settle on opioids

News roundup

Weekly Briefs: Courts of Appeal decide lawyers’ restitution cases; tribes agree to settle on opioids

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Ex-BigLaw partner to pay $537 million in tax evasion scheme

Paul M. Daugerdas, a former partner at Jenkens & Gilchrist, lost an appeal in his tax evasion case in the 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on Monday. Daugerdas had challenged the financial penalties imposed after his 2013 conviction for the fraudulent tax shelter scheme. The 2nd Circuit upheld Daugerdas’ orders to forfeit $165 million and pay $371 million in restitution. Daugerdas, 71, is not expected to be released from federal prison until 2027. (Law360, Reuters, January 31 summary order)

Confirmation of lawyer’s embezzlement conviction

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta on Tuesday upheld the conviction of former managing partner of Morris Hardwick Schneider, accused of embezzling $26 million from the real estate law firm. The appeals court said the government had provided substantial evidence to support Nathan Hardwick’s conviction. But the court overturned a $40 million restitution order imposed against Hardwick and the accounting director of his former law firm. The court ordered the remand trial judge to make factual findings about restitution. (Courthouse News Service, February 1 notice)

Tribes reach $590 million opioid deal

Hundreds of Native American tribes have reached a $590 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson and three drug distributors to settle lawsuits alleging the companies contributed to the opioid epidemic. The Cherokee Nation has already reached a $75 million settlement with the drug distributors. (The New York Times, Reuters, Bloomberg Law)

6th Circuit reinstates ban on abortion with Down syndrome

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati on Wednesday reinstated a Tennessee law that prohibits abortions if the provider knows they are wanted because of race, gender, or a diagnosis of Down syndrome. . At the same time, the court delayed hearing the challenge to Tennessee’s abortion restrictions. In a dissenting opinion, Judge Karen Nelson Moore argued that the appeals court appeared to be delaying the case, so she could be the first to apply any new standard emanating from the United States Supreme Court when she will speak out on Mississippi’s restrictive abortion law. (The Associated Press,, opinion of February 2)

Prosecutors drop disability fraud case against lawyer

A federal judge in San Francisco has dismissed a wire fraud case against an attorney accused of collecting disability benefits while working for a university and advising two law firms. Senior U.S. District Judge Susan Illston of the Northern District of California dismissed the case against Lawrence Rufrano last month after prosecutors decided to drop the charges. Rufrano, a former financial analyst for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors, told the ABA Journal he was falsely accused. He believes the allegations were based on an incomplete investigation and incomplete data on his medical history. (The dismissal of January 3)

The 9th Circuit upholds California’s net neutrality law

Last Friday, the 9th United States Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco upheld California’s net neutrality law. The law requires Internet Service Providers to treat web traffic the same. The appeals court said the state law was not preempted by a 2018 decision by the Federal Communications Commission to repeal federal net neutrality protections. (Courthouse News Service, Reuters, notice of January 28)

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