Legal Briefing: Lehman Examiner's Report Nears Publication

A daily look at legal news and the business of law:

Lehman Bankruptcy Details May Get Thorough Public Airing

After Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 15, 2008, Anton Valukas of Jenner & Block was appointed bankruptcy examiner, charged with figuring out if and how Lehman management blew it. Specifically, he was charged to investigate allegations of "fraud, dishonesty, incompetence, misconduct, mismanagement or irregularity in the management of the affairs" of Lehman.

As Valukas prepares to give his slightly redacted report to the court on Thursday, both he and Lehman's bankruptcy counsel, Weil, Gotschal & Manges, have asked the court to make the report public.

The report, weighing in at 2,200 pages, citing 3,158 documents, and based on over 100 interviews and a review of 10 million documents (including 20 million pages of emails alone), may become the definitive history of Lehman's final days. It will certainly give ammunition to suing shareholders and government prosecutors.

Key questions expected to be addressed in the report include: Did Barclays (BCS) get a sweetheart deal when it purchased Lehman's North American operations? How (and why) were billions of dollars moved among Lehman units in the hours before the bankruptcy filing? And, were JP Morgan Chase's (JPM) actions appropriate?

We will see what the judge says on Thursday about making the report public.

Google and Facebook Sued for Patent Infringement

Privacy isn't Google Buzz's only problem. Yesterday Wireless Ink Corp. sued Google (GOOG), alleging that Buzz infringes one of its patent. Wireless Ink also sued Facebook for the infringement of the same patent of a technology that enables people to join social networks using their mobile phones.

Employers Need to Watch Medical Marijuana Laws

Using Paxil on the job isn't illegal, and I'm not aware of any workplace drug policy that forbids it. However, marijuana is commonly prohibited, even for purely off-the-job use, since a drug test isn't precise enough to tell when the drug was used.

So does the proliferation of medical marijuana laws mean that companies will have to tolerate on-the-job pot smoking by an employee prescribed it to manage anxiety? What about firing someone who tested positive for pot but has a valid prescription? According to Corporate Counsel, employers don't seem to have anything to worry about yet, but it is an issue to keep on the radar.

And in the Business of Law...