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HIGH COURT TAKES SLAVE LABOR CASES The California Supreme Court agreed Wednesday to decide whether state legislators infringed on the federal government’s executive powers with a law letting individuals sue over being used as slave labor by Japanese and German companies during World War II. By a unanimous vote, the court granted review in two lower court cases that came down with opposite views. In Taiheiyo Cement Corp. v. Superior Court (Jeong), S113759, Los Angeles’ Second District Court of Appeal in January upheld the state’s 1999 law, saying it “validly extends” the statute of limitations allowing former slaves to sue for unpaid work and personal injuries. But in Mitsubishi Materials Corp. v. Superior Court (Dillman), S114470, Santa Ana’s Fourth District held in February that the law, Code of Civil Procedure � 354.6, is unconstitutional and trumped by the peace treaties that ended the Second World War. In Taiheiyo, the plaintiffs were mainly former Korean citizens now living in California, while in Mitsubishi, they were mostly Americans who were held as prisoners of war. In 2001, a San Francisco federal court judge declared the state law unconstitutional. — Mike McKee MCDERMOTT ADDS ROPERS, MAJESKI VET McDermott, Will & Emery added another partner to its growing Silicon Valley office, this time plucking Daniel Alberti from Ropers, Majeski, Kohn & Bentley in Redwood City. Alberti, a veteran trial lawyer, has specialized in intellectual property and complex commercial disputes while at Ropers. He joined McDermott’s trial team and started work at the firm’s Palo Alto office April 23. The move caps Alberti’s 22-year tenure with Ropers, where he represented the likes of Kendall-Jackson Wine Estates Ltd., Maxim Integrated Products Inc. and Natural Organics Laboratories Inc. “It’s an exciting opportunity with an international firm who was very serious about increasing their focus on California in the trial and intellectual property areas,” Alberti said. Prior to joining Ropers in 1981, Alberti spent five years as a San Francisco prosecutor. — Renee Deger AG SCUFFLES OVER ANTI-SLAPP MOTION SACRAMENTO — The attorney general’s office wants a Los Angeles judge to strike an anti-SLAPP motion filed by a law firm that prosecutors sued over alleged abuses of the state unfair competition law. In a response filed Wednesday, state lawyers argued that an anti-SLAPP motion filed by Beverley Hills’ Trevor Law Group is “wholly frivolous and intended to cause unnecessary delay” because actions by the attorney general’s office are immune under the Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation statute. Trevor filed the anti-SLAPP motion after Attorney General Bill Lockyer sued the firm over its practice of filing suits against small businesses over minor regulatory violations. Lockyer compared the firm’s practices to extortion and used the same state unfair competition law — Business & Professions Code � 17200 — the lawyers had used for their cases as the basis of his suit. In the anti-SLAPP motion, Trevor’s attorney, Kevin Gerry, a former deputy attorney general who is now a solo in Beverly Hills, acknowledged that AG actions are exempt. Even so, Gerry argued that the exemption shouldn’t apply because that would violate constitutional equal protection guarantees. The AG’s motion tries to refute Gerry: “Because the attorney general is not similarly situated to other plaintiffs, [the exemption] does not implicate equal protection guarantees.” Gerry could not be reached for comment Wednesday. Besides Lockyer’s suit, the three Trevor attorneys — Damian Trevor, Shane Han and Allan Hendrickson — are also facing disbarment proceedings and an investigation by federal prosecutors. Actions uncovered in the various investigations have fueled a push in Sacramento to reform 17200 this year. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wilhite Jr. is scheduled to hear the anti-SLAPP issue May 14. The case is People v. Trevor Law Group, BC 290989. — Jeff Chorney ADR ADDS A JUDGE FROM CONTRA COSTA Retiring Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge James Trembath has joined Action Dispute Resolution Services. “He is among the rare jurists that already has a wealth of ADR experience stemming from his activities while still on the bench,” Lucie Barron, president of ADR Services, said in a press release. Trembath served as a judge in Contra Costa County for 13 years after being appointed by Gov. George Deukmejian. Prior to becoming a judge, Trembath practiced law at Trembath, McCabe, Schwartz, Evans, Levy & Dawe, which he helped found. In addition to his regular judicial duties, Trembath spent three years as the judge responsible for the court’s ADR program. He also served as supervising civil judge and was honored in 1995 as judge of the year by the Alameda-Contra Costa County Trial Lawyers Association. He earned his J.D. from Hastings College of the Law in 1964. ADR Services is in San Francisco and has a statewide panel of more than 140 jurists. – Jason Dearen

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