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JUDGE IN L.A. SET TO DISMISS 17200 CASES SACRAMENTO — In a blow to attorneys at the center of a recent debate over California’s unfair competition law, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge is expected today to dismiss cases they filed against hundreds of auto repair shops. The Trevor Law Group, a Beverly Hills law firm that has been sanctioned by the State Bar and sued by the attorney general’s office for its practices, filed the suits last year. Trevor attorneys, representing a group called Consumer Enforcement Watch Corp., said the shops’ minor breaches of state regulations constituted a violation of the unfair competition law, Business & Professions Code � 17200. On Thursday, Judge Carl West indicated he was going to toss those cases — though he said he was doing so without prejudice. His tentative ruling says the cases were improperly joined, as a group of attorneys representing the auto shops had argued. “And on the further ground that the court finds that it would be inappropriate for the court to exercise its equitable powers in these cases … it is the tentative ruling of the court that the above cases should be dismissed, in their entirety, without prejudice,” West wrote. Earlier this week, attorney Kevin Gerry — who represents Trevor attorneys Shane Han, Allan Hendrickson and Damian Trevor — cited the fact that a judge had not tossed any of their cases as evidence that the Bar is inappropriately pursuing disbarment. He could not be reached late Thursday, nor could anyone at the Trevor firm. Those opposed to reforming 17200 likely will seize upon Judge West’s ruling as an indication that the courts can police allegedly frivolous lawsuits themselves. Democratic Sen. Martha Escutia, head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, will likely be pleased too. In a letter to West, she said Trevor’s suits had no merit. The case is Consumer Enforcement Watch Corporation v. Porters Automotive, BC281693, and eight related cases. — Jeff Chorney PILLSBURY GETS LEADER IN NANOTECHNOLOGY Tom Thomas, the co-chair of Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly’s nanotechnology group, has moved to Pillsbury Winthrop to co-chair its nanotechnology team. Thomas joined Pillsbury as a partner in its 77-attorney Silicon Valley office. He will share management responsibilities for the firm’s nanotechnology group with New York Partner Ronald Fleming Jr., who has headed up the group until now. Thomas has practiced at Minneapolis-based Oppenheimer since earning his J.D. from the University of Minnesota in 1985. Last month, partners at Oppenheimer’s Palo Alto office announced they were interested in divesting themselves from Oppenheimer and selling the 40-attorney office to a separate firm. Thomas said his decision to move to Pillsbury was unrelated to those events. “Pillsbury is very interested and committed to the nanotechnology space,” said Thomas. While Thomas represents corporations in a number of industries, much of his practice focuses on the nanotechnology sector. “It’s the classic startup company type of work,” said Thomas, with matters such as setting up companies, getting the technology licensed and helping the companies raise capital. — Alexei Oreskovic HALF OF FEES REQUESTED FOR HELMSLEY LAWYERS NEW YORK — A Manhattan judge Thursday awarded less than half the fees billed by Herrick Feinstein in its successful discrimination lawsuit against Leona Helmsley, saying he was dismayed by the firm’s unreasonable request. The decision will be published Wednesday. Supreme Court Justice Walter Tolub, writing in a 16-page opinion, said Herrick’s prosecution of the case was “top-heavy with chieftains,” or partners, and resulted in a final tally of legal fees — $1.6 million — that was not “remotely comparable” to a “substantial body” of discrimination cases tried in federal courts. “The court is frank to admit that it is dismayed by the vast resources committed” to this case, Justice Tolub wrote in Bell v. Leona Helmsley, 111085/01. The judge settled on fees of $568,000 after subtracting “excessive research” and work that he said had been duplicated among associates at the firm. He also reduced the average hourly rates of the firm’s partners from $448 an hour to $300 an hour, and awarded an additional $70,350 to cover expenses. Herrick’s team — which comprised 32 lawyers (13 of them partners or counsel) and 12 paralegals who billed from one half to 1,051 hours — won an $11.2 million verdict for Charles Bell, who was fired by Helmsley, a jury found, because he is gay. — The New York Law Journal

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