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High court to decide double jeopardy question
Law Firm Business | 2011/10/11 16:47
The Supreme Court will decide whether a jury forewoman's offhand comment that the jury was unable to make a decision on a murder charge means the suspect can't be retried on that charge.

The high court on Tuesday agreed to hear an appeal from Alex Blueford, whose murder trial in Arkansas ended in a hung jury.

The jury forewoman told the judge before he declared a mistrial that the jury had voted unanimously against capital murder and first-degree murder. The jury had deadlocked on a lesser charge, manslaughter, which caused the judge to declare a mistrial.

Blueford argued the forewoman's statement, said in open court, meant that he has been acquitted of capital murder and first-degree murder.

Prosecutors decided to retry Blueford on all three charges. He contended he could not be retried on capital murder and first-degree murder because of Fifth Amendment double jeopardy protections.

Arkansas courts have disagreed. The high court will now review that decision.

Blueford was on trial for killing his girlfriend's 20-month-old son.


2 Attorneys From Girard Gibbs Selected to Best Lawyers in America 2012
Law Firm Business | 2011/09/26 16:47
Girard Gibbs LLP (www.GirardGibbs.com) announced today that two attorneys in the firm’s San Francisco office were recently selected by their peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2012 (Copyright 2011 by Woodward/White, Inc., of Aiken, S.C.). Girard Gibbs’ Daniel Girard was honored for his work in class action and securities litigation, and Eric Gibbs was recognized for his work in class action litigation.

Daniel Girard has served as lead counsel in a wide range of cases, including class actions arising under the securities, financial services, civil rights and telecommunications laws. He serves as outside counsel to the California State Teachers Retirement System and the Kansas Public Employees Retirement System. His current work includes serving as lead counsel for investors in litigation against several major banks, including multi-district proceedings against UBS AG in connection with the Lehman Brothers collapse. He also represents individual and corporate clients in international arbitration proceedings.

Mr. Girard was appointed by Chief Justice William Rehnquist to the United States Judicial Conference Committee on Civil Rules in 2004. He was reappointed to a second three-year term by Chief Justice John Roberts in 2007. He is a member of the American Law Institute, and serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System, a national, non-partisan organization dedicated to improving the process and culture of the civil justice system.

Mr. Girard was selected for inclusion in Northern California Super Lawyers from 2007 through 2011, and has earned an AV-Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, recognizing him in the highest class of attorneys for professional ethics and legal skills. 2011 is the first year he is listed in The Best Lawyers in America.

Eric Gibbs is a founding partner at Girard Gibbs and specializes in the prosecution of consumer and employment class actions. Mr. Gibbs serves as court-appointed lead counsel, class counsel and liaison counsel in various class and collective actions in federal court and in arbitration throughout the United States. His experience in complex litigation extends to matters involving defective products, false advertising, unfair competition, privacy rights, employment misclassification and wage and hour issues.

Mr. Gibbs is the immediate past co-chair of American Association for Justice’s Class Action Litigation Group and past editor of the group’s Quarterly Newsletter; he also serves on the Board of Governors of the Consumer Attorneys of California and is a member of Public Justice’s Class Action Preservation Project Committee.

Mr. Gibbs was selected for inclusion in Northern California Super Lawyers in 2010 and 2011, and has earned an AV-Preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubbell, recognizing him in the highest class for professional ethics and legal skills. Mr. Gibbs frequently speaks on current issues concerning class action litigation. 2011 is the first year he is listed in The Best Lawyers in America.


National Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2011
Law Firm Business | 2011/09/22 15:35
National Mesothelioma Awareness Day 2011 carries special meaning for New York-based Weitz & Luxenberg, P.C., one of the nation's leading personal injury law firms, because so many of its clients are mesothelioma victims on whose behalf hundreds of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements have been won.

Arthur Luxenberg, founding partner of Weitz & Luxenberg, explains that mesothelioma is a relatively rare form of cancer that strikes as many as 3,000 Americans each year.

"A common cause of mesothelioma is asbestos exposure," he says. "Victims tend to be electricians, plumbers, armed forces veterans -- anyone who worked with or around asbestos. The condition develops decades after exposure, but the disease can prove fatal within a year of diagnosis. At present, there is no cure. And to make matters worse, family members also often fall prey to mesothelioma as a result of secondary exposure to asbestos fibers carried into the home by the primary victim."

Weitz & Luxenberg has been able to play a pivotal role in the ongoing effort to compensate mesothelioma victims thanks to its extensive experience and vast resources.

"Mesothelioma awareness is an extremely serious issue, and we at Weitz & Luxenberg are grateful for the opportunity National Mesothalioma Awerness Day 2011 affords us to inform people about it, to build broader partnerships that hopefully can deliver more help to victims," says Luxenberg.

The disease -- which affects internal organs by attacking surrounding membranes -- receives less attention than it deserves, health advocates insist. Their raised voices helped convince Congress to acknowledge the problem of mesothelioma by proclaiming Sept. 26, 2011 National Mesothelioma Awareness Day.


Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP Announces Class Action Lawsuits
Law Firm Business | 2011/08/26 17:18
The law firm of Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, LLP is investigating potential securities law violations as alleged in class action lawsuits brought on behalf of all purchasers of American Depository Shares (“ADS”) of SinoTech Energy Limited (“SinoTech” or the “Company”) between November 3, 2010 and August 16, 2011 (the “Class Period”), including purchasers of SinoTech ADSs in the Company’s initial public offering (the “IPO”) on November 3, 2010.

If you purchased or acquired SinoTech ADSs during the Class Period and/or in the IPO, you may move the Court for appointment as lead plaintiff by no later than October 18, 2011. A lead plaintiff is a representative party who acts on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. Your share of any recovery in the action will not be affected by your decision of whether to seek appointment as lead plaintiff. You may retain Lieff Cabraser, or other attorneys, as your counsel in the action.

SinoTech shareholders who wish to learn more about the action and how to seek appointment as lead plaintiff should click here or contact Sharon Lee of Lieff Cabraser toll free at (800) 541-7358.


$168 million securities fraud settlement proposed
Law Firm Business | 2011/08/12 17:38
The New York State Common Retirement Fund has announced a proposed $168 million settlement of its securities fraud class-action lawsuit against National City Corp. alleging misrepresentations to investors.

State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, trustee of the $146.5 billion fund and lead plaintiff, says the defendants agreed to the settlement but admitted no wrongdoing.

PNC Financial Services Group Inc., which bought Cleveland-based National City in 2008, declined to comment.

The suit alleges National City misrepresented the quality of its mortgages and home equity loans and the severity of its losses.

The settlement is expected to go before U.S. District Judge Solomon Oliver Jr. in the Northern District of Ohio for preliminary approval in the next few weeks, with all class members notified after that.


Bank of America starts overdraft rebate outreach
Law Firm Business | 2011/08/09 16:28
If you had a Bank of America account with a debit card between January 2001 and May of this year, you may be due some cash.

The nation's largest bank has started contacting customers who may be entitled to a refund. It recently reached a class-action settlement over the way it charged overdraft fees. Most of the other suits are continuing to work their way through federal court in Florida.

Bank of America agreed to set up a $410 million fund to settle the lawsuit. The money will be used to pay back customers who were charged overdraft fees as a result of the company's policy of processing debit card transactions based on the size of the transaction, rather than when the purchases occurred.

The bank is one of about three dozen named in a series of class-action lawsuits over the practice of "reordering." A policy that became widespread in the 2000s, reordering involves deducting purchases from an account starting with the largest dollar amount first. That means a customer may end up paying additional overdraft fees.

For instance, someone with an account balance of $95 and who made three purchases in one day, the first for $5, the next for $25 and the last for $75, would be charged two overdraft fees, rather than one.

The suits claim that reordering was done to intentionally increase the number of overdraft fees collected. Banks took in about $39 billion in overdraft fees annually before the Federal Reserve put new rules in place last year. Now banks are required to obtain a customer's written permission before providing overdraft protection.

To inform customers that they may be eligible for a refund of some overdraft fees, Bank of America is sending postcards to customers with a brief explanation of the settlement and the address of a website where more information is available.


Ryan & Maniskas, LLP Announces Class Action Lawsuit Against Ebix, Inc.
Law Firm Business | 2011/07/16 05:21
Ryan & Maniskas, LLP (www.rmclasslaw.com/cases/ebix) announces that it has filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York on behalf of purchasers of the common stock of Ebix, Inc. ("Ebix" or the "Company") (NASDAQ: EBIX) between May 6, 2009 through June 30, 2011, inclusive (the "Class Period").

For more information regarding this class action suit, please contact Ryan & Maniskas, LLP (Richard A. Maniskas, Esquire) toll-free at (877) 316-3218 or by email at rmaniskas@rmclasslaw.com or visit: www.rmclasslaw.com/cases/ebix.

Ebix supplies software and electronic commerce solutions to the insurance industry. The Complaint alleges that during the Class Period, Defendants issued a series of materially false and misleading statements regarding the Company's business and financial results. Specifically, Defendants made false and/or misleading statements and/or failed to disclose that: (1) the Company's tax provisions did not conform to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles; (2) the Company overstated its account receivables; (3) the Company consistently failed to tie customer payments to specific invoices; (4) the Company lacked adequate internal and financial controls; and (5) as a result of the foregoing, the Company's statements were materially false and misleading at all relevant times.

On March 24, 2011, Seeking Alpha published a report ("Report”) accusing the Company of engaging in a number of accounting manipulations, including: (a) manipulating stated organic growth; (b) overstating profit margins; (c) overstating its accounts receivables; (d) manipulating tax liabilities; and (e) inflating cash flows. The Report concluded that the Company’s "problems run deeper than accounting. The EBIX story also comes with multiple auditor resignations, governance abuses, misrepresented organic growth, questionable cash flow and a contentious CEO.” On this news, the Company’s shares plummeted $7.20 per share, or nearly 24%, to close on March 24, 2011, at $22.52 per share, on unusually heavy trading volume.
On June 30, 2011, the media reported that the shareholders of Peak Performance Solutions, Inc. ("Peak”), who sold their business to Ebix, filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, claiming that Ebix was consistently unable to bill customers properly, tie customer payments to invoices, and provide basic financial data or calculate revenues for Peak. On this news, the Company's shares declined an additional $1.30 or more than 6% and closed at $19.05.

If you are a member of the class, you may, no later than September 12, 2011, request that the Court appoint you as lead plaintiff of the class. A lead plaintiff is a representative party that acts on behalf of other class members in directing the litigation. In order to be appointed lead plaintiff, the Court must determine that the class member's claim is typical of the claims of other class members, and that the class member will adequately represent the class. Under certain circumstances, one or more class members may together serve as "lead plaintiff." Your ability to share in any recovery is not, however, affected by the decision whether or not to serve as a lead plaintiff. You may retain Ryan & Maniskas, LLP or other counsel of your choice, to serve as your counsel in this action.

For more information about the case or to participate online, please visit: www.rmclasslaw.com/cases/ebix or contact Richard A. Maniskas, Esquire toll-free at (877) 316-3218, or by e-mail at rmaniskas@rmclasslaw.com. For more information about class action cases in general or to learn more about Ryan & Maniskas, LLP, please visit our website: www.rmclasslaw.com.

Ryan & Maniskas, LLP is a national shareholder litigation firm. Ryan & Maniskas, LLP is devoted to protecting the interests of individual and institutional investors in shareholder actions in state and federal courts nationwide.


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