The Kaplan Hecker & Fink team with their victorious client, E. Jean Carroll (courtesy photo via Kaplan Hecker & Fink).

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I didn’t have the greatest of weeks, since I’ve been feeling under the weather. But after seeing the doctor and receiving some antibiotics, I think I’m on the mend. And Harlan is fully recovered from the recent injury that sent him to the emergency room; thanks to everyone who asked after him over the past week.

Despite my lack of energy, I did manage to record two podcasts. I joined Patrick Smith of the American Lawyer’s Legal Speak podcast to discuss a controversial Paul Hastings slide deck that went viral last month. Then on Movers, Shakers & Rainmakers, Zach Sandberg and I interviewed Allie Fennell of Lateral Link about the vibrant Southeast legal market, which seems to be weathering recent storms better than the East and West Coasts.

Speaking of podcasts, I’m excited to be guest-hosting my favorite legal podcast, Advisory Opinions, this coming week. Host Sarah Isgur and I will record tomorrow and Wednesday for episodes airing on Tuesday and Thursday, so please tune in.

Now, on to the news—of which there was a ridiculous amount. (The torrent of news and my illness explain why this edition of Judicial Notice is late, for which I apologize.)

Lawyers of the Week: Robbie Kaplan, Shawn Crowley, Mike Ferrara, and Joshua Matz.

The week’s biggest legal news story was the victory of writer E. Jean Carroll in her battery and defamation case against former president Donald Trump. After deliberating for less than three hours, a jury in the Southern District of New York found Trump liable for sexual assault and defamation—and issued a $5 million verdict in Carroll’s favor.

Congratulations to Roberta Kaplan, Shawn Crowley, Michael Ferrara, and Joshua Matz, the partners who led the large team at Kaplan Hecker & Fink responsible for Carroll’s historic win. For a behind-the-scenes look at their effort, check out this Q&A with Am Law’s Ross Todd, who named them Litigators of the Week.

Crowley delivered the opening statement, Kaplan delivered the closing argument, and Ferrara delivered the rebuttal. Kaplan also took Trump’s deposition, a key piece of evidence in the case (and I interviewed her on my podcast shortly after she deposed Trump, although she wasn’t at liberty to discuss it at the time). I concur with Lara Bazelon’s post-mortem of the trial in the Free Press: “In that deposition, [Kaplan] savvily offered up bait she knew Trump lacked the willpower to refuse: chance after chance to treat Carroll, and Kaplan herself, like garbage. Then she made him eat it.”

Although Kaplan, Crowley, and Ferrara had the most prominent speaking roles at the trial, it was also wise to involve an appellate expert like Joshua Matz. Carroll’s lawyers and Judge Lewis Kaplan made a solid record, and I agree with David French of Advisory Opinions that Trump could face an uphill battle with his appeal to the Second Circuit. As noted by French, Trump’s best appellate argument would have been challenging the admission of evidence that he committed sexual assault in the past. But under Federal Rule of Evidence 415, Judge Kaplan enjoyed broad discretion to “admit evidence that the party committed any other sexual assault,” which he exercised in a detailed, thorough ruling. I don’t think any member of the Second Circuit will give serious consideration to Trump’s appeal (with the possible exception of Judge Steven Menashi, the “Trumpiest” member of that court).

Judge of the Week: Judge Pauline Newman.

Is the best defense a good offense? Embattled Federal Circuit Judge Pauline Newman, the 95-year-old judge that her colleagues are trying to oust from the bench for alleged incapacity, seems to think so.

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