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David Boies cleared on bar ethics complaint The Florida Supreme Court dismissed last week an ethics complaint against prominent litigator David Boies, who was charged with violating Florida Bar rules by paying more than $400,000 to help his law firm’s chief financial officer pursue a contract dispute in Palm Beach County Circuit Court. The court approved the ruling of Leon County Circuit Judge George Reynolds III to dismiss the bar complaint with prejudice. Reynolds, acting as the case referee, dismissed the complaint on May 10. He ruled that it was not a violation for lawyers to advance legal fees and court costs to their clients. Many Florida lawyers would be in trouble if the bar prosecuted them every time they advanced fees to their clients, he said. Client names ordered A U.S. district court judge has ordered Dallas-based Jenkens & Gilchrist to release names of tax shelter investors to the Internal Revenue Service, which believes taxpayers used abusive shelters sold or organized in the firm’s Chicago office to shield at least $2.4 billion from federal income taxes. The order, issued by Judge James B. Moran of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, follows a separate court decision ordering accounting giant KPMG to release the names of its tax shelter investors to the IRS. In both cases, judges rejected claims that revealing the investors’ identities to the IRS would violate confidentiality privileges between attorneys and their clients. The cost of bad mergers A federal judge in New York has made a key decision on which classes of shareholders can sue for the damages caused by a collapsed merger. Southern District of New York Judge John G. Koeltl found that the third-party beneficiaries of a scheduled merger between Consolidated Edison and Northeast Utilities in 2001 are those shareholders who owned the stock on the day the merger broke down. Deciding a case of first impression that he said has “far-reaching” effects on litigation involving large-scale transactions, Koeltl rejected the position of Northeast Utilities, which argued that New York commercial law dictates that the right to sue for damages from a broken merger is passed on to the purchaser of the stock. Consolidated Edison Inc. v. Northeast Utilities, No. 01 Civ. 1893. Judge removed from trio of asbestos cases Despite finding that the federal judge overseeing five massive asbestos bankruptcy cases has not “done anything wrong or unethical or biased,” a divided panel of the 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled that he must be taken off three of the cases due to a “perception of bias” stemming from his consultation with court-appointed advisers who suffered from conflicts of interest. But a dissenting judge said that he believed the advisers had no real conflicts of interest and that the lawyers seeking the disqualification of Senior U.S. District Judge Alfred M. Wolin had “employed a guerrilla tactic timed to serve their own economic interests in this case, rather than the interests of justice and judicial integrity.” In re Kensington Int’l Ltd. and Springfield Associates. Oregon attorney freed An American attorney arrested two weeks ago in connection with the deadly train bombings in Spain was set free after fingerprints found on a bag of detonators were linked to another man. Brandon Mayfield, 37, was released on May 20, soon after Spanish officials said fingerprints on a bag left near the bombing site were that of an Algerian. U.S. authorities had previously said the prints were Mayfield’s. The bag contained detonators similar to those used in the March 11 blasts, which killed 191 people and injured 2,000 others. Mayfield, a former Army lieutenant who ran a small Portland, Ore., law firm, was arrested on May 6 as a material witness and was never charged. It is not clear whether the investigation against him has been dropped. Gray Cary loses three Gray Cary Ware & Freidenrich lost three litigators, including Donald Rushing, former firm chairman, to Morrison & Foerster’s San Diego office last week. Going with Rushing are litigation partners Mark Zebrowski and James Huston. San Francisco-based Morrison “has a huge national and international footprint that allows people with national litigation practices like ours to go across practice group lines and get good support for our clients,” said Rushing, who started his career at Gray Cary in 1979. Morrison’s 50-lawyer San Diego office is one of its fastest growing, with a focus on corporate finance, technology licensing and patent prosecution. The move was brokered by recruiter Larry Watanabe of San Diego-based Watanabe Nason & Seltzer.

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