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AG’S CASH ON THE LINE AS CASE NEARS SETTLEMENT Although the bean counters in Sacramento believe there will be a settlement soon in a suit against the California Youth Authority, attorneys say they’re still waiting for the other shoe to drop before they can proceed. Actually, there are two shoes that need to drop in the case, which alleges the CYA incarcerates youths under inhumane conditions. The first is a decision by U.S. District Judge David Levi, who is considering whether to allow the plaintiffs to dismiss their class action in his Eastern District courtroom so they can pursue a taxpayer case they filed in Alameda County. Donald Specter of the Prison Law Office — part of a plaintiffs team that includes attorneys from Latham & Watkins, Jones Day and Oakland’s Disability Rights Advocates — said they filed in Alameda because Levi indicated that his court might not be the appropriate venue. “Judge Levi’s interpretation of the federal court’s responsibilities and limitations … suggested to us that he believes the federal court has very limited authority to clear up the problems that exist with the CYA,” said Specter, who added that he doesn’t know when Levi will rule. The other shoe is a report by a panel of experts that was supposed to look into the plaintiffs’ allegations. That panel was created to help limit the amount both sides would pay in expert fees. Specter said there’s no due date on the report but he hopes, when it comes out, that it can be used as the basis for a settlement. The Sacramento number crunchers entered the picture when legislators started combing through the budget requests of state Attorney General Bill Lockyer, whose office defends the CYA. The AG’s office wanted $4.3 million to litigate the case this year — but the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office is under the impression the case is close to settling. So the LAO recommended stiffing Lockyer on additional litigation funds. So is the case about to settle? Not according to the AG’s office — but maybe that’s because its budget is still being negotiated in the Capitol. The federal case is Stevens v. Harper, 01-0675. The state case is Farrell v. Harper, RG03079344. — Jeff Chorney THAI’D UP While an international manhunt ended last week with an arrest at a Bangkok ice cream parlor, the extradition battle over an alleged copyright pirate has just begun. And it will take place on a very unusual stage for 25-year-old Ukrainian national Maksym Kovalchuk, accused of selling counterfeit software over the Internet. Thailand has an international reputation for having — at best — a passing observance of copyright laws. The streets of Bangkok and other popular Thai tourist destinations are lined with booths selling software, music CDs, video games and DVDs of dubious legality. Movies that Hollywood hasn’t even released on DVD can be bought — on DVD. Kovalchuk is accused of selling pirated copies of titles published by Autodesk Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Macromedia Inc. through Web sites available here, including eBay. The U.S. attorney’s office in San Jose, where the charges were filed, says the sales were worth more than $3 million. U.S. Secret Service agents (who are charged with investigating certain kinds of financial fraud) tracked Kovalchuk from his native Ukraine to Thailand, where the Royal Thai Police arrested him. Extradition proceedings have begun, but there’s no telling how long they’ll take. His chances of extradition from Thailand are slightly better than they would be from Ukraine. According to the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, Ukraine is the No. 1 country of concern for its flouting of copyright laws, while Thailand is on an official “watch list.” — Jason Hoppin A DOG-EAT-DOG WORLD Pets Are Wonderful Support, a San Francisco nonprofit, cites “preserving the human-animal bond” as its mission. But for one San Francisco resident who is suing the group for $250,000, not all pets are so wonderful. In a complaint filed in San Francisco Superior Court on May 16, Francisco Alfaro claims he was attacked by a pit bull owned by the organization’s executive director. According to a complaint, Alfaro, who is blind, was visiting the PAWS office with his guide dog on July 10, 2002, when the pair was attacked by an unleashed pit bull. “Said pit bull dog, without warning or provocation, attacked plaintiff, causing plaintiff great bodily injury and severe emotional distress,” reads the complaint. Alfaro’s lawyer, Tiburon solo George Martinez, refused to provide any details about what type of injuries Alfaro suffered, saying he was not going to get into “proof.” PAWS, which provides assistance to low-income pet owners with illnesses like HIV and cancer, released a statement saying it had not been served with or seen the complaint, and therefore was unable to comment on its content. A case management conference for the canine case is set for October. — Alexei Oreskovic

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