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FORCED ARBITRATION BACK BEFORE COURT The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will take another look at its ruling permitting employers to force workers to sign pre-dispute arbitration agreements. In a majority vote Friday, the court agreed to an en banc review of EEOC v. Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps, 303 F.3d 994 (2002). The September decision by the 9th Circuit was a victory for employers, holding that San Diego law firm Luce, Forward, Hamilton & Scripps did not violate workplace laws when it fired Donald Scott Lagatree for refusing to sign an arbitration contract. Under the terms of the contract, Lagatree would have waived his right to sue his employer for discrimination. So-called mandatory arbitration contracts are popular among employers who wish to limit their exposure from potential lawsuits. Critics contend that the agreements are unfair, since workers don’t have the same bargaining power as employers. The 9th Circuit’s EEOC v. Luce decision overturned its own 1998 ruling ( Duffield v. Robertson Stephens, 144 F.3d 1182), which stated that workers cannot be fired for refusing to settle workplace discrimination complaints through arbitration. Judge Stephen Trott cited the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision Circuit City Stores v. Adams, 532 U.S. 105, which he claimed implicitly overturned Duffield. It is unclear when the 11-judge en banc review will occur. In the meantime, EEOC v. Luce can no longer be cited as precedent. – Alexei Oreskovic BANKRUPTCY BOUTIQUE EXPANDS ITS NAME Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl, Young & Jones, a Los Angeles-based bankruptcy boutique, has expanded its name and moved its newest name partner to its fledgling New York office. William Weintraub, an insolvency expert with 25 years of experience, will now figure in the firm’s revised masthead: Pachulski, Stang, Ziehl, Young, Jones & Weintraub. The 49-year-old Weintraub joined Pachulski, Stang in 1996 to launch the firm’s San Francisco office. He has served as lead counsel on several of the firm’s largest cases, including Pachulski, Stang’s co-representation of the Official Bondholder’s Committee in the Excite At Home bankruptcy case. Weintraub has relocated to the East Coast to become the fifth attorney at the firm’s New York office, which was founded in 2001. Pachulski, Stang has 80 lawyers with offices in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Wilmington, Del., and New York. – Alexei Oreskovic IP EXPERT JOINS SHEPPARD, MULLIN Veteran intellectual property attorney David Schnapf is joining Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton to launch the San Francisco office’s patent prosecution practice. Schnapf officially became a partner at Sheppard, Mullin’s 70-attorney San Francisco office Monday, after eight years at Coudert Brothers. Before that, he was a partner at IP boutique McCubbrey, Bartels & Ward, which was almost entirely absorbed by Coudert Brothers in 1995. In his nearly 20 years of practice, Schnapf has represented electronics companies, Silicon Valley startups and Japanese clients in the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. He has also litigated numerous IP matters in federal district and appeals courts. Schnapf would not disclose the size of his book of business or cite specific clients of his, but said that most of his clients have moved with him. “David is extremely experienced and fits right into our plan to build our IP practice,” said Sheppard, Mullin Chairman Guy Halgren. “We do licensing and trademark and copyright and patent litigation up there now, but this will be the first patent prosecution, so it kind of rounds out our expertise.” – Alexei Oreskovic

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