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US Judge Awards $37M in Peru Massacre
Headline News | 2008/03/05 21:43
A federal judge has ordered a former Peruvian army officer to pay $37 million for his role in a 1985 massacre in Peru in which 69 civilians were slain, including elderly people and infants.

U.S. District Judge Adalberto Jordan ruled Tuesday in a lawsuit filed against former Maj. Telmo Hurtado by two women — Ochoa Lizarbe and Pulido Baldeon — who were 12 at the time and survived the attack.

Jordan had previously found in the lawsuit that Hurtado was had committed torture, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Hurtado, 46, is in federal custody in Miami while fighting deportation to Peru, with a hearing set for March 26. He did not contest the lawsuit, did not have a lawyer and refused to testify last month when he was brought to court for a hearing on damages.

Jordan said the money can be awarded under a 1991 U.S. law allowing torture victims to collect damages in this country for violations if a foreign government refuses to do so. Neither woman has received any compensation from Peru's government.



Alston & Bird LLP Forms Subprime Taskforce
Firm Websites | 2008/03/05 20:57
The national law firm of Alston & Bird LLP announced today that it has formed a multidisciplinary taskforce of 50 partners to assist clients in the U.S. with issues arising from the current credit crunch.

The subprime taskforce is comprised of attorneys from across the firm who specialize in financial litigation, securitization, class actions, finance, insurance coverage disputes, real estate, bankruptcy, workouts, structured products, retirement plans, banking regulation and derivatives. The group is chaired by Brian Cox, a finance partner in the firm's Charlotte office, and John Latham, a securities litigation partner in the Atlanta office. Contacts in the New York office are Gary Roth, a partner in the financial services group, and Michael Johnson, a litigation partner.

About Alston & Bird
With more than 800 attorneys, Alston & Bird is a leading national AmLaw 100 firm. The core practice areas of the firm are complex commercial litigation, corporate, tax and intellectual property, with national industry focuses in energy, financial services, health care, and public policy. The firm has been highly recognized for its workplace environment, having been ranked on Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” for the past nine years, including four rankings in the top ten.

For more information on Alston & Bird please visit www.alston.com.


Johnson Bottini, LLP Announces Update on Brocade Options
Press Releases | 2008/03/05 20:56
Johnson Bottini, LLP, Co-Lead Counsel in the shareholder derivative lawsuit involving the manipulation of stock options at Brocade Communications Systems, Inc., announces the following update on the case. Several motions in the case will be heard on March 28, 2008 in Santa Clara, California. Plaintiffs are seeking to amend the complaint to assert declaratory relief claims against Gregory Reyes, the ex-CEO of Brocade, and Stephanie Jensen, the former V.P. of Human Resources. Reyes, who was convicted of securities fraud by a jury in San Francisco on August 7, 2007, was sentenced on January 16, 2008 to 21 months in prison.

Jensen was convicted on December 6, 2007 of conspiracy to commit securities fraud and of falsifying Brocades books and records. She has not yet been sentenced. In the lawsuit, Plaintiff is seeking to recover damages for the benefit of Brocade and against Reyes, Jensen, KPMG LLP and other defendants. Plaintiff believes that the damages Brocade has suffered exceed $200 million. If you are a Brocade shareholder and would like more information about the status of the case, contact Frank A. Bottini, Esq. at 619-230-0063 or frankb@johnsonbottini.com or go to www.johnsonbottini.com.


Touro chief says law school not for sale
Legal News | 2008/03/05 20:50

Discussions about the sale of the Touro Law Center to Stony Brook University never made it past the preliminary stage, Stony Brook president Shirley Strum Kenny said yesterday.

"We had very preliminary talks," Kenny said. "We were certainly not at the point of negotiating."

Bernard Lander, founder and president of Touro College, whose main campus is in Manhattan, said yesterday he would never sell the law school. The college operates the Jacob D. Fuchsberg Law Center in Central Islip.

"I never met with anybody or spoke to anybody at the state university," Lander said in an interview. "I had one meeting with Sen. [Kenneth] LaValle. Period. I never negotiated with anybody." Lander said that when Touro law school dean Lawrence Raful asked him for his opinion and that of the school's board, "I said the law school charter is never for sale. Period."

Talk of a possible sale surfaced in early February in an effort to make Stony Brook the second university after the University of Buffalo in the State University of New York system to have a law school.

Kenny confirmed she and Lander had never met to discuss the law school. "There were conversations with people in the law school," she said, "but they were very preliminary discussions. We never got into any negotiations."

Kenny said those discussions did serve a purpose: They revived the idea of adding a law school at Stony Brook.

"Dr. Kenny and I have agreed to move forward and look at and explore the possibility of establishing our own law school at Stony Brook," said LaValle (R- Port Jefferson).

"It's not a new concept," Kenny said, noting that university officials first considered the addition of a law school in the 1970s and then again in the 1980s. "But now people feel it's the last piece of putting together a major research university. ... It's something we will be considering very seriously."

Though no agenda has been put in place, Kenny said a committee will be formed to study the feasibility of building a law school. "I think there is a lot of interest now in the possibility of developing a law school at Stony Brook. Now, nothing has happened on that score."



Supreme Court to Release Same-Day Tapes
Court Center | 2008/03/05 20:29

The Supreme Court announced yesterday that it will take the special step of releasing audiotapes of oral arguments on the same day that it hears a case challenging the District's gun law.

Every argument before the justices is recorded, but the tapes normally are not available until well after the court's term has ended. But beginning in 2000, with the arguments in Bush v. Gore, the court has released same-day audiotapes in high-profile cases when there is substantial media interest.

Because the court is not open to cameras, the audiotapes are the only recordings of the proceedings.

The case of District of Columbia v. Heller, to be heard March 18, will be the court's first consideration of the meaning of the Second Amendment in nearly 70 years. Last year, a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit ruled 2 to 1 that the District's ban on private handgun possession violated the amendment.

The Supreme Court is being asked to decide whether the amendment protects an individual's right to own a firearm, and if so, what restrictions government may place on that right. It is one of the most prominent cases of the court's term. More than 60 organizations and individuals have filed amicus briefs to support the city or those challenging what is acknowledged as the nation's strictest gun control law.

This term, the court released same-day audiotapes in two other important cases, one involving the rights of detainees at the Guantanamo Bay military prison and the other involving the constitutionality of lethal injections.

The arguments in the gun control case are scheduled for 10 a.m. March 18. Each side will receive 30 minutes to present its case, and U.S. Solicitor General Paul D. Clement has been granted 15 minutes for the federal government's views. The tapes will be released soon after the proceedings.

Clement's brief agrees with the law's challengers that the Second Amendment protects an individual's right to bear arms, but it argues that the appeals court too broadly decided the case against the District. It recommends that the case be returned to lower courts.



US Court Denies Injunction Sought by Verigy
Legal Watch | 2008/03/05 20:28
Chip testing equipment maker Verigy Ltd. said Wednesday that a U.S. district court has granted a preliminary injunction preventing Silicon Test Systems Inc. from selling its integrated circuit product for the next five months.

The U.S. District Court for the Northern California District of California, San Jose Division, issued its ruling on Friday. The preliminary injunction prevents the defendants from selling, licensing, distributing, transferring or marketing Flash Enhancer and any product based on Flash Enhancer.

According to Verigy, the court found that Flash Enhancer "is substantially based upon Verigy's trade secrets."

Verigy said defendant Romi Mayder was employed by the company until September 2006 and began developing an integrated circuit product for a new business venture while still employed by Verigy. Mayder's brother, Wesley Mayder, is also named as a defendant.

In a phone interview, Romi Mayder noted that the judge denied the absolute injunction that Verigy sought. Mayder said the information used to develop his product was publicly available and that his use of it amounted to a "five-month head start."

Verigy sued the defendants in August 2007 for breach of contract, trade secret misappropriation, statutory and common law unfair competition and other charges.

The court issued a temporary restraining order against the defendants on Aug. 24, which was still in effect when the preliminary injunction was issued.



EPA Head Unaware of Pressures on States
Headline News | 2008/03/05 20:26

The head of the Environmental Protection Agency said Tuesday he didn't know of behind-the-scenes efforts by EPA officials to blunt state attempts to reduce mercury emissions from power plants.

Those efforts occurred even as the Bush administration argued in court that states are free to enact tougher mercury controls from power plants, The Associated Press reported last month, based on internal EPA documents.

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., questioned EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson about the report at a hearing of the Senate Appropriations environment subcommittee.

"Has anyone with EPA ever pressured any state against instituting any more restrictive mercury regulation?" asked Leahy, who chairs the Senate Judiciary Committee.

"I don't recall having any firsthand knowledge of that," said Johnson. "I don't know if they have, no I don't," he added.

Leahy cautioned Johnson that such pressure on states was inappropriate, and if it did occur, "then the EPA gave misleading information to the courts, which is an extremely serious matter."

A federal appeals court last month struck down the Bush administration's industry-friendly approach for mercury reduction that allowed plants with excessive smokestack emissions to buy pollution rights from other plants that foul the air less.

Internal EPA documents obtained by the advocacy group Environmental Defense show attempts over the past two years to bar state efforts to make their plants drastically cut mercury pollution instead of trading for credits that would let them continue it.

Many states did not want their power plants to be able to buy their way out of having to reduce mercury pollution.

The push to rein in uncooperative states continued until the eve of the Feb. 8 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that struck down the EPA's program. A day before that ruling, the White House Office of Management and Budget approved a draft regulation to impose a "federal implementation plan" for mercury reduction in states whose mercury control measures did not meet EPA approval.



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