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Montreal’s SR Telecom Inc. has acquired San Jose-based Netro Corp. for $121 million in cash and stock. The Montreal office of Canada’s Fasken Martineau DuMoulin represented SR Telecom. Attorneys in the Menlo Park office of Davis Polk & Wardwell represented Netro in the deal. The acquisition gives both companies access to new markets. “SR Telecom is listed on the Toronto stock exchange, and now they’re registering with the SEC and becoming a Nasdaq company,” said Francis Currie, the lead partner at Davis Polk. “They will now be getting access to the U.S. market.” Both companies make wireless telecommunications equipment, but Netro’s technology is more up to date, Currie said. While Netro adds new technology to SR Telecom, the latter provides Netro with a larger sales force and entrance into the Canadian market. Some investors have publicly questioned the effectiveness of the SR Telecom deal, saying Netro stockholders would have made more money if the company had liquidated all its assets. But as part of this deal, Netro stockholders will receive a $100 million dividend payout prior to closing. “[Netro's] going to own 43 percent of the company so there’s a considerable amount of upside,” Currie said. “Stockholders are getting $100 million back — they’re getting pretty much what they would have gotten in liquidation.” In addition to Currie, Davis Polk corporate partner Jean McLoughlin and corporate associates Sarah Solum, Erin Ross, Kevin Greenslade and Cynthia Akard worked on the deal. Intellectual property associate Douglas Cardwell also worked on the deal. Fasken Martineau partner Peter Villani led the deal for SR Telecom. Lawyers in the New York office of Pillsbury Winthrop served as U.S. counsel to SR Telecom. Toronto’s Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg served as Canadian counsel for Netro. AVILA V. WILLITS ENVIRONMENTAL A federal court judge recently threw out 359 of 637 plaintiffs in a California water contamination suit related to the one featured in the movie “Erin Brockovich.” Attorneys in the San Francisco office of Latham & Watkins successfully defended PepsiAmericas Inc. in obtaining the dismissal based on California’s statute of limitations. The suit, Avila v. Willits Environmental Remediation Trust, C01-0266, is the same kind of water contamination suit highlighted in “Erin Brockovich,” and the firm Brockovich worked for, Masry & Vititoe, represented some of the plaintiffs in this case. The plaintiffs alleged a hydraulics plant owned by PepsiAmericas in Willits knowingly released chromium, a cancer-causing chemical, into the drinking water. The plant, originally owned by Remco Hydraulics Inc., closed down in 1997, and the Willits Environmental Remediation Trust is now in charge of cleanup. The defense sought the dismissal of the plaintiffs, claiming many of them had filed suit after California’s one-year statute of limitations. Judge Susan Illston of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California agreed, saying the defense met its burden “because the injuries of all of the plaintiffs at issue occurred, by their own admission in their declarations, outside of the relevant statute of limitations.” In addition, Illston wrote, “within a year of the filing of the . . . suit, attorneys gave talks in Willits warning about the consequences of the statute of limitations for filing a claim against defendants.” One of the speakers Judge Illston referred to in her order was Brockovich, Masry & Vititoe’s director of research. A videotape of the speech was entered as evidence in the case. In addition, the judge found that the contamination had been publicized in the media and that the city had posted adequate public notifications to make the plaintiffs aware of the potential danger. Latham partners Ernest Getto and Richard Raushenbush and associates Dana Linker, Kristen Cain and Ellen Brown all worked on the suit out of San Francisco. Los Angles-based partner Kirk Wilkinson also worked on the suit. The attorneys for the plaintiffs included Nancy Seidler Eichler of the Masry firm; Oakland solo William Simpich; Oakland solo Tesfaye Tsadik; Thomas Girardi and Thomas Johnston of Girardi & Keese; Mark Millard of Engstrom, Lipscomb & Lack; Barbara Guibord and Douglas Michaud of Fognani Guibord Homsy & Roberts; and Philip Hunsucker of Resolution Law Group.

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