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EAST BAY JURY FINDS AGAINST GUN MAKER A 7-year-old boy rendered quadriplegic by a 1994 gun accident in Willits won his case against Bryco Arms on Monday when an Alameda County jury returned a unanimous verdict in his favor. In Maxfield v. Bryco Arms, 841636-4, plaintiff Brandon Maxfield of Willits sued the gun maker for product liability and negligence. The accident occurred in a pawnshop after a gun discharged while the owner was handling it. Based in Costa Mesa, Bryco manufactures inexpensive handguns known as “Saturday Night Specials.” A lawyer for the plaintiff said the verdict is the first time Bryco had been found guilty of product liability in California, and the second time nationwide. “I do think that this verdict is a tremendous victory for the public interest,” said Victoria Ni of Oakland’s Trial Lawyers for Public Justice, which represented the plaintiff. “Bryco designed these guns with no regard for the safety of consumers or innocent bystanders. Bryco has too long evaded responsibility for the cost that its products impose on society.” The plaintiff’s lead attorney, Richard Ruggieri, argued that the .38-caliber pistol was designed in a way that made it impossible to load and unload safely. Bryco has been sued before. In Anderson v. Bryco Arms, 00-L-007476 the company was sued in Illinois in connection with white supremacist Benjamin Nathaniel Smith’s 1999 shooting spree that left two dead and nine wounded. The attorney for Bryco, Mike Hewitt of Costa Mesa’s Bruinsma & Hewitt, did not return calls before press time. The damages phase of the trial will begin today. Alameda County Superior Court Judge John Kraetzer is presiding. – Jason Dearen DAVIS WRIGHT HIRES 10 FROM KAY & BOOSE Davis Wright Tremaine is acquiring six partners and four associates from New York’s Kay & Boose, giving the firm a total of 30 attorneys in its Manhattan outpost. The 20-attorney Kay & Boose is ceasing operations, and the lawyers joining Davis Wright will begin May 1. The group includes managing partner R. Andrew Boose and partners David Callahan, M. Graham Coleman II, Nancy Felsten, Leonard Orkin and Marcia Paul. Kay & Boose focuses on entertainment, intellectual property and corporate and commercial law for clients in the publishing, theater, film, television and music industries. The firm shares several clients with Davis Wright, including Viacom Inc., Village Voice Media Inc. and St. Martin’s Press. Seattle-based Davis Wright set up shop in New York in 1998. Sharon Schneier, the partner in charge of the New York office, said the firm is continuing to look at various growth opportunities to expand its practice and will be moving to bigger digs in March 2004. Davis Wright has more than 400 lawyers in nine offices, including San Francisco. – Brenda Sandburg 2ND CIRCUIT REVIVES DIABETES DRUG CASE NEW YORK — A fraud suit brought by health insurance companies over the controversial anti-diabetes drug Rezulin has been revived by the Second Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Reversing a district court victory for drug maker Warner-Lambert Co., Judge Guido Calabresi, writing for the Second Circuit, said major health insurers had adequately stated a claim they were the “direct victims of defendants’ fraudulent marketing” in Louisiana Health Services Indemnity Co. v. Warner-Lambert Co., 01-9318. Southern District Judge Lewis Kaplan had ruled the plaintiffs had failed to allege the required causal connection between the marketing of the drug and their financial injury. Rezulin’s introduction in 1997 by Warner-Lambert Co. subsidiary Parke-Davis & Co. was hailed as a sign of real progress in the treatment of Type II diabetes. And although the Food and Drug Administration approved the drug for use in conjunction with insulin or for use with two other drugs in January 1997, and then approved its use as a “stand alone” therapy in August 1997, the FDA later accused the company of making “false and misleading claims” about the drug’s effectiveness. But the FDA began hearing reports of liver failure and liver injury in some patients who took the drug, and in 1998 the National Institutes of Health stopped a clinical study of the drug out of concern for the safety of patients. Warner-Lambert was also forced to change labels on the drug several times, on one occasion to state that regular liver testing should accompany its use. Another change came after the FDA allowed the drug to stay on the market, but only if labeling made it clear that Rezulin could not be used as a stand-alone drug. – The New York Law Journal MILBERG FIRM STILL TOPS IN SECURITIES FRAUD NEW YORK — Enemies of plaintiffs firm Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach may do well to heed the words of Friedrich Nietzsche: What does not kill me makes me stronger. Take, for instance, the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, a 1995 law that many observers say was aimed at putting Milberg Weiss — and especially partner William Lerach, the lawyer many corporate executives love to hate — out of business. As one securities defense lawyer who lobbied for the PSLRA told The New Yorker last year, “The whole idea behind the law was to destroy Lerach.” Instead, according to a new study by Stanford Law School’s Securities Class Action Clearinghouse and Cornerstone Research, Milberg Weiss is doing better than ever. The study found that the firm has served as lead or co-lead plaintiffs counsel “in over 50 percent of all post-Reform Act cases settled to date.” Even more impressive, the study reported that “the proportion of cases with Milberg Weiss as lead or co-lead plaintiff counsel has actually been increasing over the last few years,” stating “it was almost 60 percent in 2002,” although it did not specify the precise increase. – The New York Law Journal

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