Weekly News Update


*News came that a judge acted prematurely in awarding a $55 million bonus payment to thousands of rescue and cleanup workers at the WTC site who settled lawsuits against New York City over damage to their health, a federal appeals court decided. [Reuters]

*A Queens Republican operative, accused of pocketing $25,000 as part of a failed scheme to help state Sen. Malcolm Smith rig last year’s mayoral race, was so boozed up when he took the cash that he thought he was being paid for legal consulting services, a lawyer claimed. [New York Post]

*The latest Clinton papers contain some juicy tidbits for legal nerds. For example, then-Judge Stephen Breyer got dissed as a “rather cold fish” while being considered for a Supreme Court seat that ultimately went to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. [Above the Law]

*The U.S. government sued a New York tax lawyer for allegedly cheating the IRS out of $130 million by engineering and concealing from investigators dozens of illegal tax schemes on behalf of clients. U.S. authorities said Harold Levine earned more than $5 million by implementing or participating in at least 90 illegal tax schemes. [KFGO.com]

*Some legal experts say that the New Jersey state constitution’s judicial retirement age — set at 70 — is a little behind the times as debate swells on raising judges’ retirement age to 75. [NJ.com]

*Too-big-to-jail banks don’t have to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Last week the U.S. Second Circuit Court of Appeals smacked down Judge Jed Rakoff, a lower-court judge, who dared to suggest otherwise. [Nasdaq]

*Libraries that digitize books in order to make them searchable don’t infringe copyright, a federal appellate court ruled. The decision, issued by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, marks a major defeat for the Authors Guild who contended that the HathiTrust infringes writers’ copyright by making digital copies of the books. [Media Post]

*In a 3-1 decision reversing a lower-court ruling, a New York state appeals court breathed new life into the Taxi of Tomorrow. The court ruled against an industry group suing to stop a New York City mandate that would require taxi owners to purchase a specific vehicle. [Wall Street Journal]