Wilkinson Walsh Associates Win Client’s Release in Pro Bono Resentencing Case

Washington, D.C. — Wilkinson Walsh associates Betsy Henthorne and Hayter Whitman, with assistance from partner Rakesh Kilaru, helped secure the early release of their pro bono client, Momolu Stewart, who had been sentenced to life in prison at the age of 16. Following Wilkinson Walsh’s successful efforts, Stewart, who is now 39 years old, was released from prison this week.  Under a recent Washington, D.C., law, the Incarceration Reduction Amendment Act (known as “IRAA”), Stewart was eligible to ask the court to reduce his sentence because he was under 18 at the time of the crime and had served more than 15 years in prison. Wilkinson Walsh successfully argued that Stewart should be resentenced based on, among other factors, the circumstances of his childhood, his accomplishments during his time in prison, and his demonstrated rehabilitation and fitness to society.  “The Wilkinson Walsh team is honored to stand beside Mr. Stewart …

Maximus Dismissal Affirmed by Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals

WASHINGTON — The United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously upheld a major victory for Wilkinson Walsh client MAXIMUS Inc., affirming the dismissal of a securities fraud class action case at the motion to dismiss stage, before any discovery was taken.  Just 38 days after Wilkinson Walsh’s Brant Bishop argued the case in the Fourth Circuit, the Court issued a two-page opinion stating that, after “having carefully considered the record and the briefs and arguments of the parties, we find ourselves in agreement with the district court that the complaint fails to allege a material misrepresentation.” The opinion was joined by Circuit Judges Motz, King, and Thacker. In August 2017, MAXIMUS was sued under sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, based on allegations that the company, along with several members of its executive team, had over the course of several months made …

Wilkinson Walsh Secures Victory in Pro Bono Employment Discrimination Case

Washington, D.C. — Wilkinson Walsh associate Amelia Frenkel helped secure victory in a pro bono case challenging alleged employment discrimination by the U.S. State Department. Frenkel was appointed by the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit to argue on behalf of a pro se litigant who challenged employment decisions on disparate treatment and impact bases but had lost on summary judgment. On behalf of Richard Figueroa, a foreign service officer in the State Department who alleged employment discrimination in promotions, Frenkel and Wilkinson Walsh partner James Rosenthal successfully argued that the United States District Court for the District of Columbia had misapplied the McDonnell Douglas framework, a three-step process to help employees make their cases for employment discrimination. After “thank[ing] Rosenthal and Frenkel for ably discharging their duties” in court, Circuit Judges Henderson and Wilkins and Senior Circuit Judge Edwards ordered that “the District Court …

Wilkinson Walsh Secures Trial Win for Bayer in $600 Million One A Day Class Action

WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Wilkinson Walsh team, led by Sean Eskovitz, Alex Walsh, James Rosenthal, and Kieran Gostin, won a decisive victory for Bayer in a $600 million certified consumer class action lawsuit brought on behalf of One A Day multivitamin consumers.  Without calling any witnesses in the defense case, the team relied on devastating cross-examinations of plaintiffs’ expert and fact witnesses to convince the jury to reject plaintiffs’ claims that Bayer had misrepresented the health benefits of One A Day multivitamins.  The jury deliberated for just an hour before returning a complete defense verdict.  The class action suit, filed on behalf of purchasers of One A Day multivitamins in California, New York, and Florida, challenged as false and misleading Bayer’s claims that One A Day multivitamins support heart health, immunity, and physical energy. Plaintiffs originally sought over $4 billion in damages, which Wilkinson Walsh successfully reduced to $600 million …

Appeals Court Upholds Major Antitrust Win for Wilkinson Walsh Client Georgia Pacific

WASHINGTON,D.C. — The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit unanimously upheld a major trial court win for Wilkinson Walsh client Georgia Pacific, affirming the dismissal of a high stakes antitrust class action lawsuit involving over $10 billion in claimed damages. Georgia Pacific hired Wilkinson Walsh to handle all aspects of summary judgment briefing and trial after the trial court certified Plaintiffs’ proposed class. The Wilkinson Walsh team, led by Beth Wilkinson, Alexandra Walsh, Brant Bishop, and Rakesh Kilaru, developed an evidentiary record focused on the absence of any evidence against Georgia Pacific, and filed independent briefs challenging Plaintiffs’ expert witnesses and seeking summary judgment. In June 2017, the court issued a Daubert opinion that imposed key limits on the testimony Plaintiffs’ witnesses could offer at trial, adopting several of Wilkinson Walsh’s arguments. On August 3, 2017, Wilkinson Walsh won summary judgment for Georgia Pacific. The court’s decision came …

Wilkinson Walsh Secures Victory in Pro Bono Custody and Divorce Trial

Washington, D.C. — Following a six-day trial, Wilkinson Walsh associates Cali Cope-Kasten and Hal Brewster secured a favorable judgment in a pro bono custody and divorce case in D.C. Superior Court.  The Court awarded Wilkinson Walsh’s client primary residential custody and joint legal custody, with tiebreaker decision making authority, of her five minor children.  The judge also found that Wilkinson Walsh’s client was entitled to an equitable lien on all major marital assets and awarded her a monetary judgment of more than a quarter-million dollars, along with ongoing child support that will help her establish financial independence in her new life. Wilkinson Walsh’s client separated from her husband in 2016 after multiple instances of abuse within the family.  After she filed for divorce, her estranged husband filed a countersuit in which he sought primary custody of their five children.  Wilkinson Walsh took on this pro bono representation as part of …

Wilkinson Walsh Partners Secure Complete Dismissal of Securities Fraud Class Action

WASHINGTON – The Wilkinson Walsh Team, led by Founding Partners Brant Bishop and Beth Wilkinson and partner Kosta Stojilkovic, won complete dismissal of a securities fraud class action case in the Eastern District of Virginia for client MAXIMUS Inc.  In August 2017, MAXIMUS was sued under sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, based on allegations that the company, along with several members of its executive team, had made false or misleading statements on earnings calls and in SEC filings concerning MAXIMUS’s performance on a major contract with the British government. Led by Brant Bishop, Wilkinson Walsh moved to dismiss the amended complaint with prejudice, arguing that plaintiffs failed to plead facts giving rise to an inference that MAXIMUS acted with scienter, or an intent to defraud.  Wilkinson Walsh also argued that plaintiff failed to plead materiality as to certain alleged misstatements or omissions, and also …

Trial Court Throws Out $250 Million False Designation Verdict, Refuses to Impose Permanent Injunction Against Wilkinson Walsh Clients

WASHINGTON – The trial judge in Zenimax Media et al. v. Oculus VR et al. today threw out plaintiffs’ biggest win at trial—a $250 million award for false designation—and granted judgment as a matter of law to Wilkinson Walsh’s clients on that claim. U.S. District Judge Ed Kinkeade also denied plaintiffs’ motion to enjoin the use of disputed technology in the Oculus Rift headset, allowing Oculus VR to market and sell its products without restriction.  In addition, the judge granted defendants’ motion for sanctions.  Wilkinson Walsh represents all defendants in the case, including Oculus VR and its parent company Facebook. The moves come sixteen months after the jury delivered a mixed verdict, rejecting plaintiffs’ lead claim of trade secret misappropriation, but awarding $500 million on other claims against Oculus VR and two of its executives. Today’s ruling cuts that award in half, and eliminates all damages assessed against the executives. …

Wilkinson Walsh Secures Victory for NCAA in Defamation Suit by former USC Football Coach

WASHINGTON – Wilkinson Walsh, led by Partners Kosta Stojilkovic and Rakesh Kilaru, and Counsel Kori Bell, won a complete victory for the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in a lawsuit brought by former University of Southern California (USC) assistant football coach Todd McNair.  The jury concluded that the NCAA had not defamed McNair in a Committee on Infractions report issued in 2010. McNair filed this lawsuit seven years ago, shortly after the Committee on Infractions report was upheld by a separate appeals committee.  Apart from many other findings against USC, the Committee found that McNair knew about the improper benefits that star running back Reggie Bush had received while at USC, and failed to provide truthful information about them.  In his lawsuit, McNair alleged that the statements about him in the report were false and defamatory, and he sought over $27 million in damages for that claim.  He also brought …

Supreme Court Issues Landmark Affirmative Action Decision in Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin

Wilkinson Walsh partner Lori Alvino McGill played a leading role representing the University in Fisher v. University of Texas.  In a 4-3 decision authored by Justice Kennedy, the Supreme Court upheld UT’s undergraduate admissions policy, which considers an applicant’s racial background as one of many factors.  The decision reaffirms that universities have a compelling interest in seeking the educational benefits of a broadly diverse student body, and that they may use race-conscious admissions policies tailored to that goal.  The decision–which praises the University’s efforts to achieve diversity through other means, and its reasoned conclusion that those efforts were inadequate–also marks the first time that Justice Kennedy has voted to uphold a race-conscious admissions policy as consistent with the Equal Protection Clause. The Court’s ruling will allow UT and other universities to continue to “defin[e] those intangible characteristics, like student body diversity, that are central to [their] identity and educational mission.” To learn more …