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Sonnenschein hires Orwig to head its new Dallas office

Chicago-based Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal hired Matthew D. Orwig, former U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Texas, as managing partner for its newly opened Dallas office. Orwig will assume office on June 1. He will also act as the national chair of Sonnenschein's Government Litigation and Investigations Group.

In the new capacity, Orwig will look after the growth of the Dallas office, and will focus on patent litigation, healthcare, and government enforcement action, among other areas. Orwig is confident that adding more lawyers to the 700-lawyer international firm is not an uphill task and hopes to make the firm the "fastest-growing firm in the region." Besides these duties, Orwig is also expecting to make rapid strides in his own practice in patent and healthcare law.

Besides Orwig, Matthew E. Yarbrough, a former assistant U.S. attorney and cyberlaw specialist and T. David Cowart, an expert in employee benefits and executive compensation, will join Sonnenschein's Dallas office as partners. Elliott I. Portnoy, the Sonnenschein chairman, remarked that the region's emerging market will offer significant opportunities for the firm in a number of core practices. Orwig is optimistic about the area's development in patent litigation, which has become the "second busiest judicial district in the country," he said.

The Dallas office will cater to the firm's existing clients with their Texas-related matters, and also serve the companies that have their local head offices in the area. It will offer services to all clients, particularly the Texans on litigation and investigations in IP and government related matters; healthcare enforcement and compliance; and ERISA.

As the U.S. Attorney, Orwig handled some of the very successful prosecutions in the country including corruption, money laundering, securities fraud, and domestic terrorism, among others.

Charter sues Irell & Manella for $150 million
Prominent Los Angeles-based law firm Irell & Manella, LLP, was sued because of its "critical errors" while completing a 1999 cable TV acquisition. In the malpractice lawsuit of $150-million, filed by St. Louis-based Charter Communications Inc., the plaintiff leveled charges alleging the law firm of concealing mistakes it committed while documenting the acquisition. It also alleged that even after knowing about them, for many months, the firm was silent on the issue.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, accused Irell of causing substantial financial loss to the company. It also said that a significant portion of its ownership position in CC VIII, LLC, was lost. The subsidiary, CC VIII, LLC, was created by Charter to hold the acquired cable systems.

Charter officials stated that Irell's faults cannot be solved by less than a lawsuit. On the other hand, the law firm accused the company of failing to honor its deal with the law firm which was even approved by Charter's board. The law firm has counseled the company and its controlling chairman, Paul G. Allen, "on a variety of deals, including recent refinancings."

Irell partner David Gindler said the law firm did not cause Charter to suffer any loss and is "confident that it will prevail as the whole story emerges in court." Charter Communications, Inc. is the nation's third largest publicly traded cable and broadband telecommunications company providing a full range of advanced broadband services.


Flight cancelled due to captain's swearing
Question: Why did Northwest Airlines cancel its flight? Answer: The passengers heard their captain swearing. The pilot of the Las Vegas-Detroit Northwest Airlines was heard using foul language while talking on his cell phone. While the 180 passengers were boarding the flight, the pilot left the cockpit and continued his "heated" conversation by locking himself in the front lavatory. According to a federal official, the captain was "yelling obscenities during a cell phone conversation." When confronted by a passenger, the pilot prompted more abuses. The Airlines apologized to the passengers and accommodated them on other flights. Perhaps they can start some anger management classes to streamline things.

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