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JUDGE SEALS DOCS IN WAL-MART WAGE CASE Wal-Mart scored a victory Tuesday in its attempt to keep documents in an employment class action under seal. Upholding a tentative February decision, Alameda County Judge Ronald Sabraw ruled that certain records from discovery and class certification motions in Savaglio v. Wal-Mart, C-835687-7 — including audits and wage information — would remain out of the public eye. Plaintiffs in the wage-and-hour suit, represented by the Furth Firm in San Francisco, claim that Wal-Mart owes them back pay for meal and rest breaks. The privacy issue came to light when the Berkeley Daily Planet — a twice-weekly newspaper — intervened in the case to get access to documents filed under seal. M. Suzanne Murphy, a partner with the Oakland labor firm Weinberg, Roger & Rosenfeld who represents the Daily Planet, said the Tuesday ruling seals more records than did the tentative opinion. However, it does not classify the documents as trade secrets. Murphy, who used to specialize in sealed records law for the Judicial Council of California, points out that several of the sealed documents were publicized in other court proceedings and on a Web site. “He doesn’t even require that Wal-Mart had used the documents confidentially,” she said. A Wal-Mart spokesperson did not return a call for comment. Murphy and Becky O’Malley, a Daily Planet editor, said they plan to appeal. One goal, Murphy said, is to prevent the case from setting a precedent. “The standard that Sabraw creates � is so broad and so vast as to basically swallow the presumption of openness of court records,” she said. — Justin Scheck ANOTHER COOLEY PARTNER JUMPS SHIP Benjamin Riley, a litigation partner at Cooley Godward, jumped to the San Francisco office of Howrey Simon Arnold & White on Tuesday. A 20-year Cooley veteran, Riley said he was lured away by the chance to grow a new practice at Howrey. “For me, clearly it was no unhappiness at Cooley [that led to the move], just a great opportunity to build a commercial practice in the Bay Area of a vigorous national and international firm,” he said. Howrey opened an office in Menlo Park in 1996 and expanded to San Francisco in 2002. The Northern California practice now has 60 attorneys, most of whom focus on intellectual property litigation. Riley represents venture capitalists, technology companies and banks, as well as other financial institutions. He has tried 20 cases to verdict, including 13 jury trials. In 2000, he co-led the trial team defending a securities class action against Cyrix Corp. in which plaintiffs were seeking approximately $240 million. He obtained his J.D. from Boalt Hall School of Law in 1983. Riley is at least the sixth partner to leave Cooley in the last two months. Intellectual property litigator William Gaede III, a 16-year Cooley veteran, joined McDermott Will & Emery’s Palo Alto office last month. Moving in the opposite direction, former Cooley partner Thomas Reicher has returned to the fold. Reicher left Cooley last year to join Howard, Rice, Nemerovski, Canady, Falk & Rabkin. The compensation and benefits lawyer rejoined Cooley’s business department in January, where he had been a partner from 1997 to 2004. — Brenda Sandburg

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