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5th Circuit curtails shareholder suits Suing public companies for shareholder losses arising from allegedly false registration statements accompanying public stock offerings will be more difficult under a recent ruling by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. A three-judge 5th Circuit panel affirmed a 2003 decision by U.S. District Judge Sam Sparks of Austin, Texas, to dismiss claims of shareholders who filed a class action under Section 11 of the Securities Act of 1933 against pcOrder.com and the company’s staff. Jerry Krim v. pcOrder.com Inc., No. 03-50737. Sparks found that the lead plaintiffs were unable to show that the shares they bought could be traced to the company’s two 1999 public offerings that the plaintiffs allege were accompanied by false or misleading registration statements. Civil suits may come from Atlanta shootings As memorial services continue for the victims of the March 11 Atlanta courthouse shootings, there are signs that authorities responsible for security may face civil suits. Atlanta lawyer Gilbert H. Deitch, who has won big verdicts for clients attacked in parking lots and apartment complexes, said last week he has been contacted by a lawyer making inquiries for the family of one of the victims. A judge, court reporter and sheriff’s deputy were killed in the shootings. [See Page 7.] Scalia criticizes court on juvenile death penalty Justice Antonin Scalia criticized the Supreme Court’s recent decision to strike down the juvenile death penalty, calling it the latest example of politics on the court that has made judicial nominations an increasingly bitter process. In a speech last week, Scalia said unelected judges have no place deciding issues such as abortion and the death penalty. The court’s 5-4 ruling on March 1 to outlaw the juvenile death penalty based on “evolving notions of decency” was a mask for personal policy preferences, he asserted. “If you think aficionados of a living Constitution want to bring you flexibility, think again,” Scalia told an audience at the Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington think tank. “You think the death penalty is a good idea? Persuade your fellow citizens to adopt it.” U.S. judge upholds N.Y.’s indoor smoking ban New York’s strict smoking ban last week survived a key challenge in which restaurant and tavern owners claimed the law was pre-empted by a federal statute and unconstitutionally vague. U.S. District Judge Lawrence E. Kahn’s ruling grants broad authority to local enforcement officers to determine if and under what circumstances a waiver can be granted. An appeal is expected. In Empire State Restaurant and Tavern Association v. New York State, No. 1:03-CV-918, bar owners targeted a law banning smoking in most indoor public places. Key Drinker Biddle trio moves to Morgan Lewis A decade-old friendship with a fellow ex-federal prosecutor and the chance to grow his practice at a global law firm led Michael Holston to take his three-partner practice group from Drinker Biddle & Reath to Morgan, Lewis & Bockius. The loss cripples Drinker Biddle’s white-collar criminal defense litigation capability in Philadelphia, as fellow partners Lisa Chanow Dykstra and John Schultz started with Holston at Morgan Lewis. Dykstra works with Holston on white-collar and criminal investigations. Schultz works with Holston in handling commercial class action litigation. King & Spalding bulks up its government group Atlanta’s King & Spalding has catapulted its Washington government relations efforts to a new level with the addition of former U.S. senators Connie Mack and Daniel R. Coats. Mack brings the five-person government relations practice of Shaw Pittman, while Coats comes fresh from serving as ambassador to Germany. The two former senators will chair the team, which becomes a freestanding practice group. The team from Shaw Pittman includes Andrew Woods, a campaign adviser to President George W. Bush; Thomas J. Spulak, a Democrat whose years of Capitol Hill experience include stints as the lawyer to the U.S. House of Representatives and the House Committee on Rules; and Mark Smith, a longtime Mack staffer who served as his chief legislative assistant on health care policy.

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