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Enron mediator The federal judge who oversaw litigation in some of the major accounting fraud scandals of the 1990s has been called upon to mediate among claimants in the Enron Corp. bankruptcy and shareholder class actions. White Plains, N.Y.-based Senior U.S. District Court Judge William C. Conner was named by joint order of Bankruptcy Judge Arthur J. Gonzalez, who has been presiding over Enron’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy in New York, and Judge Melinda Harmon, who has been overseeing Enron shareholder litigation in Houston. Conner will mediate among three groups: a plaintiffs’ group represented by William S. Lerach of New York-based Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach; a debtor’s group represented by Martin J. Bienenstock of New York’s Weil, Gotshal & Manges; and a financial institutions group represented by Richard W. Clary of New York’s Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Conner replaces Judge Kevin J. Duffy, who recused himself. eeoc settlement The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has resolved a sexual harassment case against Illinois-based Pickus Construction and Equipment Co. for $29,750. In the suit, the EEOC alleged that Pickus, the general construction contractor managing a work site in Lake Barrington, Ill., and Gurtz Electric Co., an electrical subcontractor, violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 by permitting sexually explicit and offensive graffiti about women, including a Gurtz employee, in portable toilets and elsewhere at a construction site. Gurtz settled with the EEOC in March of this year for $50,000. Under the consent decree, Pickus will be required to implement an anti-harassment employment policy that specifically prohibits any graffiti on the basis of sex at its work sites, to provide training to its managers and work force on how to avoid sex harassment and to make periodic reports to the EEOC regarding any complaints of sexual harassment. EEOC v. Pickus Construction and Gurtz Electric Co., No. 02-C-4976 (N.D. Ill.). directv sues Thousands of satellite television “pirates” in Florida and across North America are under attack by lawyers for DirecTV who have filed hundreds of federal lawsuits against consumers who allegedly bought mail-order decoders enabling them to steal the company’s digital programming. In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, more than 300 suits were filed in May alone against consumers in Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. And many more actions are on the way-both locally and elsewhere, according to a spokesman for DirecTV. The new wave of litigation is the latest move by Los Angeles-based DirecTV in the Internet war between the company and satellite pirates looking to tap in for free. So-called pirate Web sites that sell decoders and advocate their use sometimes cast the fight as a matter of freedom of access to information. One site even taunts DirecTV for its “ineffective” strategy to solve “their tremendous piracy problem.”

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