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Senate Approves Four for Federal Bench

The U.S. Senate yesterday confirmed four nominees for the bench in the Southern and Eastern districts. Unanimously approved for the Southern District were P. Kevin Castel, a partner at Cahill Gordon & Reindel; Richard J. Holwell, a partner at White & Case; and Stephen C. Robinson, a former U.S. Attorney for the District of Connecticut. Appellate Division, Second Department, Justice Sandra J. Feuerstein was also unanimously approved for the Eastern District. The nominations of Justice Feuerstein and Mr. Holwell, both supported by Governor George E. Pataki, were delayed for nearly a year by wrangling between the Republican governor and New York’s Senator Charles E. Schumer, a Democrat, over how much say each would have on nominations to the federal courts in the state. The matter was finally resolved in July, when the two came to an agreement on a package of 10 candidates, including the four confirmed yesterday. The deal also provided that the Messrs. Pataki and Schumer would back six other candidates, four for existing vacancies and two for future vacancies. — Daniel Wise

Cadwalader Agrees to Remain in Lower Manhattan

Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft will remain in lower Manhattan and move into more spacious offices at One World Financial Center, the firm and Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced jointly yesterday. The partnership has signed a lease for 450,000-square-feet and will move its 800-person legal and administrative staff there in early 2005. Cadwalader, which plans to sell its current offices at 100 Maiden Lane, received financial assistance from the federally funded Job Creation and Retention Grant Program administered by the city and state. Chairman Robert O. Link Jr. said the firm intends to grow from its current 400 lawyers to 750 lawyers, “a goal that can comfortably be accommodated” in the new offices. — Associated Press

Visa/MasterCard Ruling Is Upheld

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit yesterday upheld Southern District Judge Barbara S. Jones’ ruling that Visa USA and MasterCard violated the Sherman Act with exclusionary rules preventing member banks from issuing the credit cards of rivals. The court said: “We find no fault with the district court’s finding that the exclusion of Amex and Discover from the ability to market their cards and programs to banks harmed competition in the market for network services, and that Visa . . . and MasterCard would be impelled to design and market their products more competitively if the banks to which they sell their services were free to purchase network services from Amex and Discover.” — Mark Hamblett

Door Closed on Late Enron Filings

Southern District Bankruptcy Judge Arthur J. Gonzalez yesterday closed the door on a late claim or amendment to existing claims in the Enron bankruptcy. He found that Midland Cogeneration Venture Limited Partnership’s request to file a claim against Enron had missed by more than six months the Oct. 15, 2002, date by which proof of claims had to be filed. Even though Midland acted in good faith in filing its original claim, its request to amend or add to the claim could prejudice Enron by “possibly opening the floodgates for similar late-filed guaranty claims,” the judge said. Enron filed a reorganization plan on July 11, and approximately 20,000 creditors are owed an estimated $67 billion in one of the most expensive bankruptcies in history. The decision in In re Enron Corp. will be published Wednesday. — Cerisse Anderson

Courts Offer Hotlines if Weather Turns Rough

Federal and state courts are planning to carry on business as usual tomorrow as Hurricane Isabel is expected to batter parts of the East Coast. Should the weather take an unexpected turn, however, contingency plans and emergency information may be obtained by calling the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit hotline at (212) 857-2199 or by checking its Web site at www.ca2.uscourts.gov. State court information will be available at (800) COURTNY.

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