Archive for the ‘Miscellania’ Category

EFF Suit Blasts Web Prankster for Abusing DMCA

November 2, 2006

Michael Crook is a New York criminal justice student who this summer posed as a young woman in several adult-themed Craigslist ads, exchanged e-mails with several men who responded, and then posted the men’s addresses, employers on his Web site, “craigslist-perverts.com.” (The site has been taken down). Crook is considered a copycat of Jason Fortuny, who similarly this year posed as a woman on Craigslist then posted the responses online, to the great irritation of privacy advocates. But Crook took Fortuny’s “activism” a step further, even contacting one of the respondent’s wives and several of his work colleagues.

Crook dubs himself a “champion of copyright and DMCA” issues on his site, but now he’s got another title: Defendant.

(more…)

CPAs Grill Prosecutor, Partner on Backdating

October 24, 2006

Can you think of a more intimidating crowd than a roomful of accountants? They know all the issues, understand all the details, and can assail you with a stumper at any point in the question-and-answer session.

Still, Melinda Haag and Michael Wang — a defense lawyer and federal prosecutor, respectively — made an admirable showing Tuesday surrounded by the panoramic windows of the Carnelian Room, where they talked about stock option backdating before a group of CPAs. And while there’s been no shortage of verbiage on the subject of backdating over the past six months, the event put on by the California Society of Certified Public Accountants’ litigation section brought up some new questions, perhaps because of the crowd.

(more…)

SEC to GCs: Disclose … or Else

October 23, 2006

In a roomful of in-house counsel, an SEC lawyer is a 600-pound gorilla. Everyone’s keenly aware of him, and nobody wants to draw his attention.

At an “SEC Update” seminar Monday at the Association of Corporate Counsel’s annual meeting in San Diego, SEC Deputy Director Martin Dunn did about 70 percent of the talking, and his fellow panelists — two in-house attorneys and a Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher partner — weren’t about to shut him down. At one point Dunn jokingly referred to a report he’d written as “a work of genius” — but none of the 200 or so lawyers in the audience dared laugh. Which, of course, drew a rebuke from Dunn.

Substantively speaking, though, Dunn had an important message for every public company lawyer:

(more…)

Kevin Ryan: Cheap or Mean?

October 20, 2006

Got a big event on an important issue? Want the media there to get your message out? Well, here’s a statement you probably shouldn’t include in your press release: “Please arrive at 8:30 a.m. for set-up. Please bring valid press credentials. Lunch will be not be available for members of the press.”

Those are the closing words of an e-mail sent to journalists by a spokesman for U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan, announcing a Northern California Gang Summit on Monday. And while the event sounds exciting — who wouldn’t want to wake up early to hear Sen. Dianne Feinstein bloviate on how to stop gang violence? — the absence of food for the hacks at an eight-hour event is a bit of a slight. Or, given Ryan’s prickly relationship with the press, a less-than-subtle way to discourage the Fourth Estate.

If there were food, you’d be able to read about the collected wisdom of would-be gang stoppers such as Feinstein, Ryan and Father Gregory Boyle of Homeboy Industries. We’re sorry not to provide full coverage — we just couldn’t stomach it.

Justin Scheck

China Experts Handicap a Complex Market

October 11, 2006

The latest round of changes in China’s financial regulations have left a lot of potential investors — and their lawyers — confused about how they affect the chance to play in one of the world’s hottest markets.

Lawyers from O’Melveny & Myers’ China practice joined other experts in San Francisco on Wednesday to discuss how the emerging nation’s economic opportunities will shape up.

While the panelists were generally optimistic about China in the longer term, they said the next few years might be harder to predict.

(more…)

Hunsaker, Dunn Headed for Big House?

October 4, 2006

Kevin Hunsaker, who until last week was a top HP lawyer, and Patricia Dunn, the company’s ex-chair, were both criminally charged Wednesday in connection with the pretexting scandal. Are they going to the big house?

Who knows. What we can tell you — thanks to the arrest warrants and the marvels of modern technology — is where they live, what they paid, and what their homes are now worth.

Despite her lofty title, Dunn’s residence is a relatively modest 2,100 square foot home in Orinda that’s worth $1.87 million. Built in 1952, it has 4 bedrooms and 4 baths (though they must be small, if the house is just 2,100 square feet!). The aerial view suggests Dunn also has a pool (or maybe a pond). Zillow.com’s “zestimate” of the house’s worth indicates it’s doubled in value since it was purchased in 2000.

Hunsaker’s home in Menlo Park is worth about $3.17 million. It’s a much roomier 3,000 square feet, with 5 beds and 4 baths. The house was purchased three years ago for $2.8 million.

— Greg Mitchell

Conference Pushes to Help Ex-Cons

September 29, 2006

At a conference in San Francisco pushing for more ways to help ex-inmates adjust to life outside the clink, the crowd Wednesday was pretty much in agreement that increasing re-entry programs is good, for the inmates and for public safety in the long run.

But between the panelists calling for more resources and coordination, and offering up grim statistics to demonstrate the need, one named Dr. Barry Krisberg squeezed in a reality check. (more…)

Gentilucci Gets Firm Invite to Congress’ HP Party

September 25, 2006

He’d rather stay home in Boston, but now it looks like Anthony Gentilucci, the manager of Hewlett-Packard’s global security unit, is going to have to testify before a congressional committee after all. “They sent an invitation for him to appear voluntarily, which he politely declined,” Gentilucci’s lawyer, Berkeley-based Miles Ehrlich, said Monday. “And then last Friday, we received a subpoena. So he’ll be appearing Thursday.”

The House Energy and Commerce Committee is investigating the methods used to track the communications of HP board members, employees and journalists as a probe led by former HP Chairwoman Patricia Dunn — who stepped down last week in the scandal’s wake — tried to figure out who was leaking information to the press. Internal strife over the investigation came to a head at the beginning of September, when the Wall Street Journal reported that former HP director Tom Perkins had left the board in May to protest the leak investigation’s tactics, which included impersonating board members and employees to obtain their phone records.

Gentilucci will appear along with several other HP executives, including CEO Mark Hurd, Dunn and General Counsel Ann Baskins, as well as outside investigators. In addition to the congressional committee, the SEC, California Attorney General Bill Lockyer and San Francisco U.S. Attorney Kevin Ryan are investigating the leak probe. Ehrlich — who was the head of the white-collar unit in Ryan’s office until late last year — said Gentilucci has not heard from any of those agencies. “Tony hasn’t received any contact from either the AG or the U.S. attorney’s office,” Ehrlich said.

Justin Scheck

Brad Pitt Stirs the Gay-Marriage Pot

September 21, 2006

Any time Brad Pitt drops a hint about marrying — or not marrying — Angelina Jolie, it gets the world’s entertainment press all in a froth. And judging by recent events, that goes double when he simultaneously seems to take a stand on the politics of marriage laws in America.

So can the attention he draws to the cause, in publications ranging from Us Weekly to the Baltimore Sun, be counted on to help the strategy of those fighting for gay marriage in the courts, Legislature and among the public in California? If celebrity news gets your cerebrum to mulling such things, you might have enjoyed the question posed yesterday by a reporter at a media briefing hosted by the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality California: For groups like them, how much is an aside worth from the likes of People magazine’s Sexiest Man Alive (1995, 2000)?

(more…)

Grubman: The ‘It’ Factor? Or Just Good PR?

September 19, 2006

In the latest issue of Vanity Fair, New York entertainment lawyer Allen Grubman has more to savor than just a saccharin photo spread (World Exclusive!) of the Tom Cruise-Katie Holmes progeny. The Grubman Indursky & Shire lawyer can enjoy his own tiny photo on page 259, since he squeaked onto the top 100 list of the “New Establishment” crowned by the magazine this year.

He’s the only lawyer Legal Pad saw on the list, landing at No. 94.

(more…)