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ADAPTEC SETTLES CASE AFTER ARBITRATION Bingham McCutchen announced it has secured a nearly $53 million settlement for Adaptec Inc., following a favorable ruling in private arbitration. The settlement ends a breach of contract and breach of warranty suit that the San Jose-based digital storage company brought against the owner of Distributed Processing Technology Corp., a company Adaptec acquired in 1999 for $235 million. The case was tried in arbitration before retired Judge Charles Legge. On April 17, Legge ruled that DPT President Stephen Goldman had misrepresented the basis of the company’s projected and historical sales, finding Goldman personally liable for $50 million. Legge also invited Adaptec to file motions for attorneys fees and punitive damages. The parties decided to settle the case rather than get the arbitration ruling approved in state court, said Bingham partner Holly House, who was lead counsel for Adaptec. House was assisted by Bingham partner Alfred Pfeiffer Jr. and a team of four associates. Ronald Ryland, a partner at Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton who was Goldman’s local counsel, did not return a call for comment. House said the settlement was particularly gratifying because of the client’s willingness to entrust the case to a young, female litigator. “It’s always safer to go with a known name,” said House, especially when companies are facing big cases and outside counsel must be approved by the board of directors. “It’s nice to try big cases and not be the most senior person in the firm,” said House. – Alexei Oreskovic CUMMINGS, NIXON TALKS BREAK DOWN HARTFORD, Conn. — Merger discussions between Cummings & Lockwood and Nixon Peabody have fizzled, and Cummings is now focusing its sights on New Jersey powerhouse McCarter & English, sources say. Management at both Stamford-based C&L and Newark, N.J.,-based McCarter & English refused to either confirm or deny they are in the midst of discussing a possible union. But Andrew Berry, chairman of McCarter’s executive committee, acknowledged last week that his firm’s goal is to substantially expand its Hartford office. It’s uncertain how many Cummings & Lockwood lawyers would join McCarter under such a move, but former C&L partners say its unlikely that the trusts-and-estates group would part with the “Cummings & Lockwood” title, a brand name in the group’s line of work. At roughly 280 lawyers, McCarter & English is New Jersey’s largest legal outfit. In recent weeks, sources say, it has become the leading merger candidate for Cummings & Lockwood, after talks with Nixon Peabody stalled. Reached on Wednesday, William Narwold, C&L’s former managing partner and a lawyer in its Hartford office, said the negotiations with Peabody were still ongoing. The next day, however, Peabody spokesman William Albert confirmed that the talks are over. Neither Albert nor C&L officials would comment on the specifics of the negotiations. But one source who did not want to be identified said Peabody officials believe Cummings & Lockwood’s cost structure is too high, and that Peabody sought a level of support staff reductions that C&L wouldn’t agree to. – The Connecticut Law Tribune COURT: PA. WOMAN HAS RIGHT TO CHANGE NAME PHILADELPHIA — A trial court should have granted a woman’s petition to change her last name to that of her same-sex life companion, the Philadelphia Superior Court has ruled. The three-judge panel in In re Miller admonished the trial court judge for basing his decision on his opinion that the name change would hold the couple out as married and would violate public policy. Writing for the court, Superior Court Judge Justin Johnson noted that in Pennsylvania, the policy regarding change of name requests is liberal. “In denying the application for name change in this matter, the trial court concluded that approval ‘would have held them out to society as folks that were legally married,’” Johnson said. “There is no evidence on the record to support the decision of the trial court.” Stacey Sobel, executive director of the city Center for Gay and Lesbian Rights, said her organization was “extremely pleased” with the decision. – The Legal Intelligencer

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