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A U.S. judge hands out praise and $61M in fees In a decision brimming with praise, a federal judge has awarded more than $60.7 million in attorney fees to the team of lawyers who brought an antitrust class action against the leading manufacturers of corrugated paper products and secured more than $202 million in settlements. “The lawyering in the case at every stage was superb,” Senior U.S. District Judge Jan E. DuBois wrote in his 37-page decision in In re Linerboard Antitrust Litigation, MDL No. 1261 (E.D. Pa.). DuBois said the plaintiffs’ lawyers handled the case skillfully and efficiently at every stage. More than 200 lawyers logged 51,000 hours over six years of litigation. However, a core of 61 lawyers handled most of the work. DuBois noted that the lawyers agreed to leave the fee allocation to the lead attorney, Howard I. Langer of Philadelphia’s Langer & Grogan. Former Del. chief justice lands at Weil Gotshal Weil, Gotshal & Manges announced last week that E. Norman Veasey, former chief justice of Delaware, has joined the firm as a senior partner. Veasey will serve the New York firm as a strategic adviser on a wide range of issues, with particular emphasis on corporate governance and related issues involving the responsibilities of corporate directors in complex financial transactions and crisis management. Veasey stepped down last month from the Delaware Supreme Court after 12 years as the top judicial officer. He served a single 12-year term. Weil Gotshal senior partner Ira M. Millstein said that the “Delaware courts are critical in the development of corporate law, and especially the laws impacting corporate governance. Justice Veasey has been instrumental in the process.” Boston firm bulks up Boston-based Sullivan & Worcester has added 10 attorneys to its New York office. Seven of those appointments come from Salans Hertzfeld & Heilbronn, which recently shortened its name to Salans, including intellectual property attorneys Jeffrey Laytin and Mitchell Stein, whose clients include Tiger Woods, Arnold Palmer and Comedy Central. With about 170 attorneys, Sullivan & Worcester focuses its practice on corporate, tax and securities law with an emphasis on financial and commercial transactions. Court pares Jewell libels In a victory for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, a Georgia judge has determined that all but one of the statements relying on confidential sources that the newspaper published about former security guard Richard Jewell after the 1996 Centennial Olympic Park bombing were not libelous. Fulton County State Court Judge John R. Mather also declined to compel the Journal-Constitution to reveal confidential sources that provided information about Jewell, who became, for a time, the focus of the bombing investigation. Jewell v. Cox Enterprises, No. 97 VS 0122804 (June 1, 2004). The ruling leaves Jewell free to pursue a libel claim on only one statement by the newspaper for which he sought the identities of confidential sources-that authorities once believed he made a 911 call warning of the bomb. Mather’s order does not address other statements that Jewell claims are defamatory. California punitive plan: not what it seems to be California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger shocked lawyers last month when he tucked into his budget proposal a plan to have the state take 75% of punitive damages awards, which he said would raise $450 million. The state’s independent legislative analyst said $200 million was more likely, a figure slashed again last week to about $60 million. The true haul could be even less, the analyst pointed out, given that damage awards are often negotiated into settlements, and the fact that the governor’s proposal included no mechanism for the state to know about or collect its share. Those and other questions have led to speculation that the proposal is all but dead. It’s still slated to go to conference committee, but Democratic legislative leaders have said that they want the proposal dealt with separately, through the legislative process.

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