The Canal Street Blog

Business-focused legal discussion

iVLG News Roundup Week 43: Whistleblower Wins, Google Venture, Dodd Frank, etc.

Regional News

Whistleblower Receives Multi-Million Dollar Settlement
The former CFO of Seattle-based biopharmaceutical company Omeros Corp., Richard Klein, received nearly $4 million in settlement to resolve a wrongful termination and whistleblower lawsuit. According to Klein’s attorney, the former CFO alleged that Omeros falsified timekeeping records on a National Institute of Health research grant. Klein alerted Omeros’ audit committee and was subsequently fired from Omeros.

Omeros denies any wrongdoing, and stated its reason for settling as, “given a ruling by the court that deprived Omeros of evidence that Omeros would have offered at trial, the inherent uncertainty in a jury trial that could have resulted in an award to Mr. Klein that significantly exceeded the limits of Omeros’ insurance policy…the overall costs of a likely appeals process regardless of outcome, and Omeros’ ongoing dispute with (their insurance company), Omeros elected to settle its suit with Mr. Klein.”

Commercial Real Estate Investment Fund with $1 Billion of Potential
Two Seattle companies have announced that they have agreed to team up to buy significant amounts of commercial real estate in the Puget Sound region and other West coast markets.

Urban Renaissance Group, a real estate operating company, and The Joshua Green Corp., a longtime investment firm, announced Friday that they will merge certain assets in order to enhance their financial capabilities and reputations. The Joshua Green Corp. has committed up to $50 million in the Urban Renaissance Group’s first investment fund. The fund plans to seek out properties in Seattle, Portland, Denver, and San Francisco.

Venture Capital News

Google Ups its Venture Capital Arm to $300 Million
Google Ventures, Google’s venture capital fund, increased its fund from $200 million to $300 million annually. Google Ventures typically invests in 40-50 startups, investing roughly $250,000 or less in each company, and 15 or so companies with investments up to $10 million. Some of the notable Google Venture-backed companies include Nest, Foundation Medicine, Relay Rides, and Silver Spring Networks.

With its increase in cash allocated to investments, Google Ventures has catapulted into the upper echelon of venture capital funds in the U.S.

National (Wall Street) News

Dodd Frank Faces Yet Another Set Back
The Wall Street reform has suffered another setback as another financial industry lawsuit is challenging a critical piece of Dodd Frank. The CME Group sued its regulator, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, Thursday over a new rule that aims to clarify the less-than-clear derivatives trading industry.

This case is only a part of the barrage of attacks on the Dodd Frank bill. Regulators have been hashing out the finer details in the 400 or so new rules, and the financial industry has been less than cooperative, now seeking to litigate many of the issues it contests. Much of the financial industry fuss comes due to the heightened requirements the Dodd Frank imposes on the financial industry. In particular, the CME Group stated in its complaint that the trading commission overstepped its bounds under the law when it required CME to release certain private information to data warehouses. The rules, CME argues, “would impose costly, cumbersome, and duplicative requirements.”

Election News

Just in case you’ve been hiding in a dark cave with no internet, radio, or television for the past week, our President for the next four years will be Barack Obama. President Obama won the electoral vote (303 to 206), and the popular vote (50% to 48%). Congratulations to the Obama administration and his campaign team for all their hard work!