By Cara Salvatore Law360
Law360, Phoenix (March 30, 2018, 1:22 PM EDT) – a Phoenix federal jury awarded $2 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages on Friday to a woman who said a clot-stopping vein filter manufactured by Bard broke apart in her body, finding the device maker responsible for 80 percent of the harm for a total of $3.6 million in damages . . .
By Cara Salvatore Law360
Law360, Phoenix (March 29, 2018, 11:30 PM EDT) – a Phoenix federal jury began deliberations Thursdays in the first bellwether trial in multidistrict litigation over claims that device maker Bard’s clot-stopping vein implants splinted and migrated towards patients’ hearts, after Bard closed its case by arguing evidence concerning predecessor implants and FDA warnings were red herrings . . .
Law360, Phoenix (March 28, 2018, 11:19 PM EDT) – A former quality-assurance executive at Bard Periopheral Vascular defended the company’s internal complaint-recording procedures Wednesday, the last day of evidence in first bellwether trial over a vein implant that patients say was known to sometimes pierce through to other organs. …
By Trent Toone, Deseret News Published: August 19, 2015
A small group that included two LDS Church apostles and Brigham Young University administrators witnessed the unveiling of an original Greg Olsen painting at the Gordon B. Hinckley Alumni and Visitors Center on Wednesday during BYU Education Week.
The painting, titled “Treasures of Knowledge,” was commissioned by university supporters Leo and Annette Beus and donated to BYU. Annette Beus cut the string to show the 52-by-84-inch oil on canvas painting, which features two young adults reading in a room surrounded by books, globes, artwork, scientific instruments and other tools of learning.
Elder M. Russell Ballard and Elder Neil L. Andersen of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles attended the unveiling, along with BYU President Kevin J. Worthen.
McKay Christensen, managing director for alumni relations at BYU, said the university is grateful for the gift.
“The painting represents so well what happens here at BYU,” Christensen said. “It tells the story of what happens to students and alumni … in their discovery of learning and faith. To have that represented in this strong visual way in the Hinckley Center, our alumni house, is really incredible.”
Olsen, an artist known for his paintings of Jesus Christ, said the painting is a metaphor for a journey of discovery.
“I hope this painting will be a reminder to those who see it that the world is a wonderful workshop of alchemy, where we can take simple, ordinary things and transform them through our own efforts and inspiration into treasures of knowledge,” said Olsen, who began working on the painting years ago.
Elder Ballard and Elder Andersen each spoke briefly, thanking the Beuses for their gift and complimenting Olsen on his work.
“The Lord has given you a gift and you’ve used it in such a beautiful way,” Elder Ballard said to Olsen.
“An example like this helps us see that everything does testify of the Savior,” Elder Andersen said. “Everything shows the magnificence of the gifts we’ve received. That’s not to feel shorted in the pre-mortal life, but to admire with great appreciation that someone could have that gift to create something so beautiful and memorable. That’s really the story of BYU.”
The painting will be on permanent display in the Hinckley Center and is open for public viewing.
By Kurt Orzeck, Law 360 Published: March 16, 2015
Ira Rennert and his company, Renco Corp., will have to pay a total of roughly $213 million for allegedly taking shareholder dividends from bankrupt Magnesium Corp. of America, sources told Law360 on Monday, after a New York federal judge added interest to a jury’s previous award to Magnesium’s trustee.
U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan ordered the defendants to make up for missed interest payments on MagCorp debt by paying 6 percent interest per annum from August 2001 — when MagCorp and its parent, Renco Metal, filed for bankruptcy — to March 2015. The interest applies to the $101 million that a jury said Renco must return after deciding last month that the dividends were fraudulent conveyances.
Plaintiffs had argued for the New York statutory rate of 9 percent, while defendants contended that — if prejudgment interest had to be applied — it should be fixed at a federal post-judgment interest rate that would amount to roughly .25 percent. Judge Nathan replied Monday that a 9 percent rate would have been unlikely during the financial crisis that occurred during the time frame at issue.
Instead, she held that a 6 percent rate of return would be equitable, saying it strikes a balance between the need to compensate continued noteholders without providing an unfair windfall for entities who bought the notes at a bankruptcy-related discount. That would amount to just under $96 million, if judgment is entered this week, sources told Law360.
“This rate exceeds the rate of inflation, and therefore serves to ensure plaintiffs’ damages award does not lose absolute value because of the intervening period between the bankruptcy and the judgment, and provides a modest but reasonable rate of return on any investment of the funds,” her decision said.
The case has put a spotlight on Rennert, an industrial magnate who built Renco into a powerhouse conglomerate with holdings from the Rust Belt to South America by buying and selling distressed businesses, often in bankruptcy. Perhaps best known for erecting a lavish and controversial 67,000-square-foot mansion in the Hamptons, Rennert made a rare public appearance on the stand to defend his stewardship of MagCorp, which operated from a Rowley, Utah, facility that wrung magnesium out of brine dredged from the Great Salt Lake.
The verdict, reached at the conclusion of a four-week trial, delivered a resounding win to Chapter 7 trustee Lee Buchwald in a tortured, 12-year legal saga and a windfall to the asset management firms now holding MagCorp’s defaulted bonds. Renco owned the Utah-based magnesium producer and allegedly extracted handsome dividends from 1996 and 1998 when the company was already beset with massive pollution liabilities and brutal overseas competition. The extractions allegedly left MagCorp too weak to survive.
Bondholders were left unpaid when MagCorp entered bankruptcy amid a glut of cheaper magnesium from Asia and a $900 million pollution lawsuit from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Rennert’s lawyers denied wrongdoing and blamed MagCorp’s collapse on the economic recession and vicissitudes in the global magnesium market.
After a day and a half of deliberations, the jury on Friday found dividends that Renco allegedly extracted from MagCorp to be fraudulent conveyances and ordered the return of $101 million from Renco and $17.2 million from Rennert. The jury also leveled $1 million in punitive damages against Renco.
Earlier this month, Judge Nathan said she refused the defendants’ request for a mistrial because they had failed to make their argument on the grounds of a “dramatic inconsistency in the verdict” before the jury was dismissed.
A Renco spokesman told Law360 on Monday that they are disappointed by Judge Nathan’s interest-rate ruling, and fighting to have the jury verdict and damages award vacated.
“The jury verdict, which found that Renco Metals was solvent according to each test under the law and that Mr. Rennert acted in good faith, remains fundamentally irreconcilable,” the spokesman said.
Buchwald and his attorneys didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment late Monday.
The trustee is represented by Leo R. Beus, Scot C. Stirling, Malcolm Loeb and Robert O. Stirling of Beus Gilbert PLLC.
Renco is represented by H. Peter Haveles Jr. and Jeffrey A. Fuisz of Kaye Scholer LLPand Tai H. Park and Steven C. Bennett of Park Jensen Bennett LLP.
The case is Magnesium Corp. of America et al. v. Renco Group Inc. et al., case number1:13-cv-07948, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
By The Associated Press, New York Law Journal Published: March 2, 2015
A Manhattan federal jury on Friday found that billionaire Ira Rennert plundered a now-bankrupt mining company to pay for personal luxuries, including a Hamptons mansion that’s one of the world’s largest private homes . . .
By Ginny Romney, Deseret News Published: February 26, 2015
If anyone knows what it’s like to be a struggling college student, it’s Leo Beus, who has come a long way from his days of looking for rides from Salt Lake City to Provo.
“I would go out in a white shirt and a tie,” said the 71-year-old attorney who makes his home in Phoenix, Arizona. Beus attended BYU, and his wife, who had the car, attended the University of Utah. “I would take a legal pad and I would (write) in big bold letters … ‘BYU STUDENT, PROVO PLEASE.’ I could literally pick the car I wanted to ride in and they would take me to where I needed to go on campus.”
It’s just one experience that helps Beus empathize with students who are struggling to pay for schooling.
“I grew up in humble circumstances,” Beus said in an article published by Arizona State University, which has been the beneficiary of the Beuses’ generosity to the total of $15 million. “I grew up without the ability to attend a quality school without a scholarship.”
Beus and his wife, Annette, have made it possible for students to attend college through individual scholarships. And even though neither of them attended ASU, the couple recently gave $10 million to the university’s Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law’s Center for Law and Society. The Beuses have also forged ties with ASU students through missionary work and service in a young single adult student ward.
In an interview with the Deseret News, Beus talked about growing up in Oregon and Washington in two vastly different towns. As a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he was in the religious minority in both places. He grew up in a town that was “a very friendly place to be a Mormon.” But after moving in the middle of his sophomore year of high school, he discovered that his new home was much more antagonistic.
“I ran for student body president at the end of my junior year,” he said. “All the signs that I had were marked up (with) beat up Mormon adjectives that weren’t nice.”
But Beus prepared for a full-time mission by participating in missionary discussions and memorizing over 600 scriptures.
“We had missionary lessons in our home almost every Thursday night while I was in high school,” he said. “By the time I graduated from high school, we had about 25 people who had joined the church.”
He described his home as a place where the four missionaries serving in their branch were always welcome.
Beus decided to forgo a scholarship to Dartmouth to attend BYU. After a semester in Provo, he went on a mission to Belgium and Holland and learned two languages, even though his only request had been to serve in an English-speaking mission.
Following his mission, Beus returned to BYU and started dating Annette, who was a sorority sister to his cousin at the U. They met on a blind date to a Mormon Tabernacle Choir concert.
The couple graduated from their respective schools at the same time, then relocated to Michigan, where Beus received a full-ride scholarship at the University of Michigan Law School that required he stay in the top 10 percent of his class.
When he graduated, Beus interviewed at 16 law firms in New York and received 16 offers.
“After that experience, I said, ‘That’s too much concrete for a farm boy,’ ” he said.
After interviewing with different firms in different states, Beus ended up in the Phoenix area.
Other than attending football games at ASU, he had “no connection” to the school until Patricia White, who served on the University of Michigan board of visitors with Beus, became the dean of ASU’s law school. Some time later, Beus was called as the bishop of an ASU student ward.
“I saw the best kids I’ve ever seen in my life,” he said. “(They were) smart — I had doctors, I had law students, I had people getting Ph.D.s in physics. I had 97 percent attendance in sacrament meeting. They didn’t need a bishop. You could have just disappeared. It was really a marvelous experience.”
As bishop, he made missionary work a priority in the ward.
“The missionary piece of it really changes what happens in a ward,” he said. “In that entire time I was bishop, I never heard one person say one thing that was negative about another person. You know why? We never had a meeting where we didn’t have nonmembers. Ever. Nobody wants to be responsible for somebody not joining the church. That’s a whole level of guilt they don’t need. So we had none of that.”
Marcus Johnson, a former ward mission leader in the ward where Beus served as bishop, said Beus is a “member missionary extraordinaire.”
“To say missionary work is important to Leo would be an understatement,” Johnson wrote in an email. “Wherever he is at in the world, he is talking about the gospel, whether to a waiter at a restaurant or those within his circle of influence.”
Johnson said the ward had between 25 and 30 ward missionaries at a time.
“Our baptisms would have the chapel completely full,” said Beus, crediting the success to members who would attend 30 to 35 weekly meetings with investigators. “I don’t think we had a month, we might have had one or two, where we didn’t have a convert baptism.”
As he worked with the students, Beus watched ASU become a comfortable place for students of faith to pursue spiritual and academic excellence.
White introduced Beus to ASU President Michael Crow, and the two became friends. Crow invited Beus to speak at some lectures for the law school. In return, Beus invited Crow to speak during sacrament meeting and later at a devotional with Elder D. Todd Christofferson.
After positive experiences with ASU students in his ward and the support he received from school leaders like White and Crow, Beus said, he thought, “maybe I need to make an investment in this.”
The Beuses started the Beus Family New American University Scholarship for incoming freshmen or community college transfer students who are worthy LDS members and academically impressive students invested in science, technology, engineering, math or music degrees.
“So we’ve got STEM with two M’s,” Beus said, explaining that his wife, who is a great lover of music, insisted they add the second M.
Beus said they gave eight scholarships this year — some to students who had been accepted to Ivy League schools. The Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law’s Center for Law and Society is scheduled to open in 2016 at the downtown Phoenix campus.
“Leo and Annette Beus are great friends to ASU,” Crow wrote in an email. “They are committed to bettering the lives of young people and have embraced our institutional mission to provide broad access to a high-quality education for all qualified students, regardless of socioeconomic status.”
Beus said his experience wouldn’t have been the same if he hadn’t been the bishop of the student ward. “Where do you get the experience where you can have a great university, a really warm culture and a missionary experience?” he said.
Andrew Scurria, Law360 Published: February 2, 2015
Lawyers for a bankruptcy trustee accusing industrial magnate Ira Rennert of plundering $118 million from Magnesium Corp. of America told a Manhattan jury on Monday that dividends extracted by the billionaire’s Renco Group Inc. left MagCorp “doomed to fail” and creditors out of the money.
After seating a 10-person jury for the multiweek trial, U.S. District Judge Alison Nathan let attorneys for MagCorp’s Chapter 7 trustee present an opening statement outlining how they say Rennert drove the magnesium producer he owned into bankruptcy and wiped out its creditors.
More than a decade in the making, the lawsuit turns on a $150 million bond offering in 1996 that Rennert allegedly used to pay himself and his deputies while leaving MagCorp overleveraged and undercapitalized.
The trustee, Lee Buchwald, says that Rennert caused MagCorp to pay out improper dividends, stock redemption payments and executive compensation while the facility was struggling with the overseas competition and environmental liabilities that foretold its demise. MagCorp operated primarily from a Rowley, Utah, facility that produced magnesium out of brine dredged from the Great Salt Lake.
MagCorp entered bankruptcy in 2001, and “not one penny” of principal on the bond debt was repaid, the trustee’s attorney Leo R. Beus of Beus Gilbert PLLC told the jury.
“They could never get out from under that $150 million in debt,” Beus said. “Mr. Rennert made a bad business decision when he bought the facility … but he doesn’t take responsibility for that bad decision.”
The case has put a spotlight on Rennert, an industrialist who built Renco into a powerhouse conglomerate with holdings from the Rust Belt to South America by buying and selling distressed businesses, often in bankruptcy.
Perhaps best known for erecting a lavish and controversial 67,000-square-foot mansion in the Hamptons, Rennert is expected to make a rare public appearance on the stand during the three- to four-week trial. Rennert’s attorneys are scheduled to wrap up their opening statement Tuesday. They tried and failed to preclude the trustee from showing the jury photographs of the Hamptons residence.
In court papers, the trustee has accused Renco of seizing on a brief spike in magnesium prices to justify raising new debt in 1996. The bond offering allegedly doubled MagCorp’s long-term indebtedness and pushed its shareholders’ equity underwater by $81 million.
Rennert justified the offering based on predictions that magnesium prices would stay at record levels for years, but prices quickly dropped well below the $1.60 per pound that MagCorp needed to break even, according to the trustee.
The lawsuit contends that Rennert profited while knowing the company would soon be unable to service its bond debt or install badly-needed technology upgrades.
The final blow came in January 2001, when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sued MagCorp for $900 million in cleanup costs connected to the facility’s release of chlorinated hydrocarbons and other pollutants. MagCorp filed for Chapter 11 less than eight months later and subsequently converted the case to a liquidation.
The trustee sued Renco in 2003 along with other firms involved in the bond offering, including Renco’s law firm Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft LLP, accounting firm KPMG LLP and financial adviser Houlihan Lokey LLP.
In 2009, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Robert E. Gerber cut Cadwalader, KPMG and Houlihan Lokey from the suit but refused to release Renco, Rennert or his deputies, whose compensation was allegedly tied to the improper dividends. The trustee then took his claims against the remaining defendants to federal court for trial.
The lawsuit brings claims for unjust enrichment and depends on a finding that MagCorp was inadequately capitalized or insolvent after taking on the new debt.
The trustee is represented by Leo R. Beus, Scot C. Stirling, Malcolm Loeb and Robert O. Stirling of Beus Gilbert PLLC.
Renco is represented by H. Peter Haveles Jr. and Jeffrey A. Fuisz of Kaye Scholer LLP;and Tai H. Park and Steven C. Bennett of Park Jensen Bennett LLP.
The case is Magnesium Corporation of America et al. v. The Renco Group Inc. et al., case number 1:13-cv-07948, in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
By Erik Ketcherside, ASU News Published: September 22, 2014
When Leo and Annette Beus arrived in Arizona in 1970, he was fresh out of law school and the young couple was, he says, “starting out broke.”
When it came time to donate to their most cherished causes, Arizona State University didn’t make the list. As a graduate of Brigham Young University and the University of Michigan Law School, Leo says he was fiercely devoted to his alma maters, and Annette to hers: the University of Utah.
They still are, Leo Beus says, but their relationship with ASU is another story.
During 43 years successfully practicing law in the Valley, Leo Beus says he and Annette have forged strong ties to ASU that have given them an insiders’ view of the university. They have seen ASU dramatically improve its academics and research, and become an invaluable asset to the community – one that they are proud to support.
The Beuses believe so strongly in ASU’s potential that they recently gave $10 million to the Sandra Day O’Connor School of Law’s Center for Law and Society, scheduled to open in 2016 at the Downtown Phoenix campus.
“Leo and Annette Beus have long supported ASU because they recognize the meaningful ways this university can positively impact our communities and society in general,” said ASU President Michael Crow in announcing the gift. “Their most recent investment is a reflection of their deep commitment to helping us build a center that will become a major part of our city and state’s future; theirs is a contribution to the well-being of our fellow citizens.”
The gift is the most recent evidence of the Beuses’ generosity to ASU, and brings their total commitment to $15 million. Past gifts have enriched a range of programs, including student scholarships and service groups; a teaching award and an endowed chair; the college of law; and Sun Devil Athletics.
They felt drawn to contribute to the law school because Leo Beus says it reflects ASU’s commitment to access – affording students of every economic background the opportunity to earn a degree without accruing great amounts of debt.
Leo Beus says he empathizes with students who struggle to pay for higher education. “I grew up in humble circumstances,” he says. “I grew up without the ability to attend a quality school without a scholarship.” ASU’s commitment to include people who otherwise could never attain higher education meets a great need in society.
“I’m seeing ASU just close that gap,” he says. “It’s a blessing to the community, it’s a blessing to the downtown and it’s a blessing to the students.”
He and Annette are also deeply impressed by Crow’s vision to embed ASU within the community and produce scholarship that improves peoples’ lives. The Center for Law and Society is a great example of that commitment, he says.
The center is designed to be a model for public legal education. Situated in the heart of downtown near state and federal courts and many law offices, it will allow students unprecedented access to and cooperation with legal professionals. It will offer forums for continuing education, lectures and conferences. One of its greatest innovations will be the world’s first nonprofit, teaching law firm that will serve Arizonans. The Beuses’ gift, the largest philanthropic investment to date on behalf of the law school, will be used for building and capital support.
“The concept from the start has been that the Center for Law and Society will be a community centerpiece that will strengthen our connections to those we serve,” says Douglas Sylvester, dean of the College of Law. “With such generous support from Leo and Annette, this center will help transform the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, its students and faculty, our community and this great state for many generations to come. The Beuses have set a standard of support for what we are today and what we will become in the future.”
The Beuses’ generosity also demonstrates the positive impact of private investment in ASU, says R. F. “Rick” Shangraw Jr., CEO of the ASU Foundation. “This most recent commitment to the Center for Law and Society is further evidence of Leo and Annette’s belief in the vision of a New American University that exists to better our communities,” he says. “Their continued support is making a meaningful difference in the lives of this university’s students and faculty, and in the advancement of its programs.”
The story of how the couple created strong ties to ASU can be told one relationship at a time, Leo Beus says. Many were forged when he served as bishop with Annette of a Young Single Adult Ward at the LDS Institute at ASU.
Each week, they heard from students how ASU was changing their lives. Sometimes it was a scholarship that provided access to higher education; other times it was a program that nurtured a student’s talents and ambitions. “What ASU was doing for their lives was enormously important,” he recalls.
The Beuses also saw that ASU leaders were serious about making the university a place where students of faith could pursue spiritual and academic excellence.
Leo Beus also notes his friendship with former law school dean Patricia White, with whom he worked to create an endowed chair named for Charles Jones, Jr., a former chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. Leo Beus credits White with laying the groundwork for the spirit of openness and cooperation between the law school and the wider community that will be realized in the new downtown center.
He and Annette are eager to contribute to its momentum. “This donation was a big step for us,” says Leo Beus, a principal in the firm Beus Gilbert. “But we have been very fortunate in big-case litigation, and Annette and I are happy to do it.”
He says private support from the community is a vital component to ASU’s rise to excellence. “If we could get ASU to the next level, the blessing it would be on the lives of the people of Arizona would be monumental.”
By Tom Harvey, The Salt Lake Tribune Published: May 2, 2012
One month from the scheduled beginning of a complex eight-week trial, Brigham Young University and drug giant Pfizer Inc. settled a lawsuit Tuesday for $450 million over whether the Utah school had been cheated out of billions of dollars in royalties for aiding in the development of the wildly successful anti-pain drug Celebrex.
Terms of the settlement of the nearly 6-year-long legal dispute were not disclosed in a Pfizer press release but the New York-based company reported separately that it had taken a $450 million charge against its earnings to settle the matter.
BYU claimed in the lawsuit filed in October 2006 that professor Daniel Simmons had discovered an enzyme and a gene called Cox 2 that would allow for development of an anti-inflammation drug that did not have the long-term side effects of aspirin. The school entered into a contract with Monsanto for a joint research project to develop a drug with BYU supposed to receive royalties.
The Provo school claimed that discovery was a key to development of Celebrex but Monsanto, which eventually became part of Pfizer, arbitrarily canceled the contract, did not place Simmons on patents and misappropriated his work to create the drug. The product was one of the most financially successful of all time, bringing in revenues of perhaps $35 billion, according to court papers.
BYU has claimed it was owed at least $9.7 billion in royalties, but Pfizer’s exposure at trial was possibly much greater because the jury could have taken the total revenue from Celebrex sales and imposed triple damages.
With a trial scheduled to begin May 29, the two parties sat down Friday for settlement talks in Salt Lake City before U.S. District Judge David Sam. Pfizer put out a news release Tuesday morning announcing that the company had “reached an amicable settlement on confidential terms.” The company declined further comment.
BYU said only, “We are very pleased with how this matter has been resolved. By terms of the settlement, our response this morning can only reiterate what is stated in the released press statement.”
As part of the settlement, Pfizer said that BYU will establish a Dan Simmons Chair in recognition of Simmons.
“We are pleased to resolve this matter and the uncertainty of litigation, and to be in a position to support Dr. Simmons’ research efforts at BYU,” Pfizer said in its statement.
Pfizer had argued in court documents that Simmons’ discovery was not a key to development of Celebrex, which was largely the result of the work of its own scientists.
Pretrial rulings in March by U.S. District Judge Ted Stewart largely had favored BYU and would have allowed the school’s attorneys, led by Leo Beus of Beus Gilbert of Phoenix, to go to the jury with their legal arguments and evidence largely intact.
In other pretrial jockeying last week, Pfizer had claimed that BYU had tainted the potential jury pool by way of a news media blitz that included interviews given to local television stations. BYU is owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and about 60 percent of Utah residents are members.
In an emergency motion calling for the trial to be moved, Pfizer said, “Whatever hope there may have been of obtaining jurors who, despite potential ties to important local institutions such as BYU or the LDS Church, could be impartial, BYU has now willfully made that task impossible.”
BYU’s attorneys said the claim was without merit.
A BYU spokesperson on Tuesday declined to say what the school’s annual budget is or to what use it might make of the settlement monies.
According to court papers, BYU also had been pursuing a licensing agreement with Teva Pharmaceuticals, a generic drug maker, to license Simmons’ discoveries should BYU have prevailed at trial on patent claims. With the settlement, that apparently is no longer a possibility.