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Sun, Kodak make peace for ‘discount’—$92M Sun Microsystems Inc. has agreed to pay Eastman Kodak Co. $92 million to settle a patent dispute that Kodak had said was worth 10 times as much. The companies reached the agreement on Oct. 6, hours before a Rochester, N.Y., federal jury was to begin hearing arguments in the damages phase of the dispute. The jury recently found that Sun had infringed three Kodak patents. The photography giant was seeking $1 billion in damages. Kodak claimed Sun’s Java programming language infringed its patents, which cover a method by which programs can ask for help from another application to carry out computer functions. House OKs splitting 9th The Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives voted last week to break up the San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, an action, opponents said, motivated by conservatives’ ire over some of the court’s rulings. Nine states are currently covered by the 9th Circuit, but the legislation would leave just California and Hawaii in a revamped lineup. The proposal splits the seven other states into two new courts: one to handle appeals from Arizona, Idaho, Montana and Nevada; and the other to oversee Alaska, Oregon and Washington. But the measure is not expected to become law due to strong opposition in the U.S. Senate. Calif. debate brews over prevailing wage issue Four lawyers arguing before the California Supreme Court last week were hammered with questions that indicated the court’s justices want to steer clear of any expansive new rulings on wage laws. In the end, it appeared that the justices, led by Ming Chin, intend to hand down a narrow opinion that favors the city of Long Beach but falls short of a broader ruling that both sides had all but begged for during arguments. Attorney Scott Kronland, representing the State Building Trades Council as amicus curiae, told the justices that a narrow ruling would only consign workers, employers and contractors “to years of confusion about whether prevailing wages should be paid.” The case turns on the question of whether the state’s 107 charter cities are governed by state wage laws. Charter cities are self-governing. Long Beach v. Dept. of Ind. Rel., No. S118450. 9/11 arrest suit dismissed An egyptian student who sued an FBI agent after he was wrongly arrested for lying about possessing a pilot’s radio in a hotel room overlooking Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks has had his lawsuit dismissed by a federal judge. Judge Naomi Reice Buchwald in New York dismissed claims against Special Agent Michael Templeton and claims against the Millennium Hotel that were brought by Abdallah Higazy after federal prosecutors dropped criminal charges against him and indicted a security guard for lying about finding the radio in Higazy’s room. Higazy v. Millennium Hotel and Resorts, No. 02 Civ. 9802. Opt-outs snag Jenkens’ tax-shelter suit deal Jenkens & Gilchrist’s plan to erase in one fell swoop potential liabilities related to tax-shelter advice is in jeopardy. A proposed $75 million class action settlement between Jenkens and some 1,100 disgruntled former clients who received tax advice from the Dallas-based firm hit a snag last week that could ultimately unravel the tentative deal. Specifically, at least 40 former Jenkens clients have notified court-appointed special masters that they will opt out of the proposed class action settlement in Thomas Denney v. Jenkens & Gilchrist, which is pending in the Southern District of New York before Judge Shira A. Scheindlin. The opt-out deadline for the former Jenkens clients was Sept. 28. Key case on arbitrator immunity survives Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Judith Chirlin has rejected a demurrer by the American Arbitration Association and arbitrator Edward J. Costello to a fraud suit by partners of defunct medical malpractice boutique O’Flaherty & Belgum. Chirlin’s ruling last week allows allegations of fraudulent concealment to proceed despite a defense that arbitrators have quasi-judicial immunity. The case “addresses a national problem” with the growing arbitration industry, said Michael Brown of Los Angeles’ Katatecj Brown & Kellner, who represents the plaintiff partners. When the firm dissolved in 1997, a dispute between them and their ex-managing partner, Stephen Belgum, went to arbitration. The partners allege Costello concealed that his background paralleled Belgum’s and he had sued his own former law firm partners. Costello denied any wrongdoing and argued that courts nationwide have upheld arbitral immunity against allegations of nondisclosure. Cross v. Costello, No. BC313366.

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