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FIVE STAFFERS LAID OFF IN BINGHAM OFFICE Bingham McCutchen has laid off five staff members in its 50-attorney Silicon Valley office. Donn Pickett, the vice chairman of the firm, said the layoffs are part of an effort to regionalize staffing for purposes of efficiency. The firm has recently shuffled various staffers and administrators between its San Francisco, Silicon Valley and Walnut Creek offices. “As part of that we’ve decided that there are certain positions in Silicon Valley that were either redundant or unnecessary, and it’s in that context that we’ve made those decisions,” Pickett said. The eliminated positions were either secretarial or lower-level staff, he said. All laid-off workers will receive a severance package based on length of service with the firm. Bingham McCutchen is also considering having floating secretaries, who work at more than one office, as part of the regional strategy. Pickett said the layoffs did not constitute a net loss for the Silicon Valley office, as the firm is currently hiring for other staff positions. He said Bingham McCutchen was having a record year, noting that the San Francisco office had hired 17 lateral attorneys this year. — Alexei Oreskovic 11TH CIRCUIT SAYS BANK NOT TO BLAME FOR THEFT ATLANTA — When someone with authority to withdraw funds from a bank account asks a bank to disburse funds, in most cases the bank has to do it, the Eleventh Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has found. That’s true even if the bank suspects that the person requesting the funds might be committing fraud, even if the funds total more than $6 million and even if that $6 million comes from what Seventh Circuit Judge Richard Cudahy termed “a vast Ponzi scheme.” Cudahy, sitting by designation on a panel also comprising judges Gerald Tjoflat and R. Lanier Anderson III, wrote that Kevin O’Halloran, bankruptcy trustee for Greater Ministries International of Tampa, Fla., will probably have a hard time suing First Union National Bank of Florida for allowing Greater Ministries Director Gerald Payne to withdraw $6 million in church funds in O’Halloran v. First Union National Bank of Florida. U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Kovachevich of the Middle District of Florida threw out the suit, finding that the trustee lacked standing to sue and that the plaintiffs had failed to state a cause of action. In an unusual move, Cudahy wrote that the appeals court panel agreed with Kovachevich’s reasoning, but the court still vacated her order of dismissal and remanded the case to give the plaintiffs a chance to amend their complaint. — Fulton County Daily Report

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