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COURT DENIES FEES TO GAY MARRIAGE FOES Victory will have to be its own reward for an Arizona-based legal advocacy group that helped get San Francisco’s same-sex marriages nullified last year. The Alliance Defense Fund won’t be getting the nearly $228,000 in attorneys fees it had hoped to collect. Without elaboration, the state Supreme Court denied the group’s motion Wednesday. After San Francisco began conducting same-sex marriages last year, ADF immediately tried to persuade the local courts to stop the marriages. When that failed, the group petitioned the Supreme Court. Attorney General Bill Lockyer followed suit two days later. After halting the weddings and holding a combined oral argument on both cases, the court declared the same-sex marriages null and concluded the city had overstepped its authority in offering them. State laws limit marriage to a man and a woman. The Alliance Defense Fund based its request for fees on the state’s private attorney general law, which lets courts award payment to private parties that have won the enforcement of an important right affecting the public interest. ADF argued in its October motion that its lawyers covered several arguments exclusively, or “in greater detail” than the AG. The group said it worked for more than 765 hours on the case, with lawyers’ hourly fees ranging from $200 to $475. A lawyer with the Alliance Defense Fund declined to comment on the court’s order, saying he had not seen it firsthand. The city had protested that it shouldn’t have to pay fees because ADF’s participation before the Supreme Court was redundant. “The whole idea behind the private attorney general doctrine is that public attorneys general don’t always have the resources” to pursue every case, Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart said Wednesday. “But here, the attorney general did.” The group only beat the AG to the filing window by days and was aware that Lockyer intended to file a similar case, she added. — Pam Smith WHITE & CASE NABS IP LITIGATOR FROM ORRICK White & Case has poached IP litigator William Sloan Coats from Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. Coats, whose focus is the entertainment industry, joined his new firm Monday. He joins White & Case partners Steven Hemminger and Warren Heit in spearheading the firm’s IP team in Silicon Valley. “Over the last two years, we’ve doubled in size and we are continuing to grow and looking to grow,” said Kevin Fisher, of the firm’s San Francisco office. The firm now has 40 attorneys at its Palo Alto and San Francisco offices and recently acquired a second floor in its Palo Alto Square location. Coats, who joined Orrick in 2001 from Howrey Simon Arnold & White, said he chose White & Case because of its global platform. The firm has 1,000 attorneys outside of the United States and 38 offices in 26 countries. “It’s mind-boggling how big it is,” Coats said. Coats brings with him a number of clients, including Lucasfilm Ltd., Mesa Boogie, Pioneer Corp., Avid Technology Inc., BBC Technology, DVD Copy Control Association and Digidesign. He previously worked at Brown & Bain and Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He has nearly 25 years of experience advising clients on cases involving software copyrights and patents, copyrights for movies and music, trademark and trade secret disputes and bankruptcy issues. — Marie-Anne Hogarth WITNESS IN EBBERS’ TRIAL HOLDS HIS OWN NEW YORK — Cross-examination of the government’s chief witness in the trial of former WorldCom CEO Bernard Ebbers began Wednesday with “whiz kid” Scott Sullivan, WorldCom’s ex-CFO, holding his own against veteran defense attorney Reid Weingarten. While Weingarten cast some doubt on Sullivan’s credibility, he was unable to shoot many holes in the witness’s contention that he received orders from Ebbers to commit fraud. The cross-examination of Sullivan, the linchpin of the government’s case against Ebbers, is likely to be the critical juncture of a trial lacking bountiful documents and many witnesses who can directly attest to Ebbers’ role in the fraud. Sullivan was the alleged conduit between Ebbers and the accounting machinations in which WorldCom overstated its revenues and hid expenses by $11 billion leading up to its eventual collapse into bankruptcy in 2002. Weingarten started his cross with softball questions. Then Weingarten launched the assault: “When you told him,” referring to another senior executive, “you were capitalizing line costs, did he have a stroke?” “Objection,” blurted William Johnson, an assistant in the Southern District of New York U.S. attorney’s office. Judge Barbara Jones sustained. Through hours of cross-examination Wednesday, Sullivan did not budge from this tone, avoiding a defensive posture even when admitting to repeatedly lying to investors and other WorldCom executives. He focused on jurors rather than Weingarten when answering complex questions and always tried to add favorable context to leading questions, resisting Weingarten’s efforts to narrow his responses to “yes” or “no.” — New York Law Journal

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