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MORGAN, LEWIS LAWYER MAKES JUMP TO ORRICK After a six-month stint at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, Barbara Pletcher has jumped to Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. An ERISA specialist, Pletcher was a partner at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison before the firm disbanded in February. She said she decided to leave Morgan, Lewis because of possible conflicts of interest with clients. “Morgan, Lewis was wonderful,” Pletcher said. “It would be hard to leave except Orrick’s benefits group is top of the line.” There are 13 lawyers in the group. A 14-year Brobeck veteran, Pletcher joins former Brobeck partners James Baker, Grady Bolding, Frederick Holden Jr. and Gregory Lemmer, who all jumped to Orrick following Brobeck’s demise. Morgan, Lewis hired 58 partners from Brobeck. Two other Brobeck partners have since left Morgan, Lewis. Janet Brody recently joined the U.S. Justice Department, and Timothy Meltzer retired. — Brenda Sandburg N.Y. LAWYER’S DEFENSE TEAM DEALT A SETBACK NEW YORK — Government surveillance of indicted attorney Lynne Stewart and her co-defendants was properly conducted under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, a Southern District judge ruled Monday. Judge John Koeltl upheld the use of wiretaps and other surveillance during the investigation of Stewart’s client, imprisoned Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, and his attempts to maintain contact with his followers in the alleged terror organization Islamic Group. In doing so, Koeltl dealt a setback to a defense team that only two months ago had scored a major victory in the case. In July, Koeltl had dismissed two counts in the indictment charging Stewart, Ahmed Abdel Sattar, Yassir Al-Sirri and Mohamed Yousry with providing material support and resources to the Islamic Group. Following the July ruling, the remaining counts of the indictment charged Sattar and Al-Sirri with soliciting crimes of violence; Sattar, Stewart and Yousry with conspiring to defraud the United States; and Stewart with making false statements. The defense had hoped to undermine those charges by winning suppression of the evidence seized under the federal Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Judge Koeltl denied that motion Monday in a 54-page ruling in U.S. v. Sattar, 02 Cr. 395. More than 85,000 audio recordings of voice calls, faxes and computer transmissions were made by the government during its seven-year investigation as it worked to build a case that Stewart and the three men were conduits for the sheikh to his terrorist followers, and helped him, among other things, to communicate to them his desire for a resumption of terror attacks. — The New York Law Journal VERDICT SET ASIDE OVER LAWYER’S CONDUCT NEW YORK — A Bronx, N.Y., judge has set aside a $16 million jury verdict for what he called “reprehensible” conduct by one of New York’s top medical malpractice attorneys, who challenged the judge in numerous heated exchanges. Supreme Court Justice Stanley Green said the attorney, Thomas Moore of Kramer, Dillof, Livingston & Moore, “created a hostile climate that obscured the issues, rendered the trial unfair and was degrading to the institution of the court.” Writing in Smith v. Sophia AU, M.D., 22183/99, an 11-page opinion dated late last month, Justice Green cited numerous instances of combativeness found in trial transcripts, which reveal Moore and the judge squabbling over the judge’s instructions, his rulings on objections and how to question witnesses properly. Moore said Tuesday that he was “upset” by the ruling and already had filed a notice of appeal. Though some remarks cited in the judge’s opinion were inflammatory, Moore said, they did not justify reversing a verdict from a two-week trial that ended without sanctions, a motion for a mistrial or a curative instruction to the jury. After the trial, the jury sustained three of five malpractice claims against two of three doctors at Montefiore Medical Center who treated Kevin Smith, a former law-firm clerk who claimed the doctors failed to diagnose medical problems that eventually led to a stroke. Justice Green wrote that he tried to finish the trial “without declaring a mistrial or holding [Moore] in contempt of court.” But “upon reflection” and consideration of a motion to set aside the verdict in part based on Moore’s conduct, the judge said, “It is apparent that plaintiff’s counsel’s conduct was reprehensible.” — The New York Law Journal

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