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The majority of Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison’s former partners are finally free of legal fallout from the firm’s collapse. At a hearing Monday, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali approved the individual settlement agreements that Brobeck trustee Ronald Greenspan had inked with 207 partners. The partners together will pay about $23.65 million to the estate and release the estate from claims of $36.4 million. Montali’s ruling was expected since no one had filed opposition to the settlement agreements. Bennett Murphy, a partner at Los Angeles’ Hennigan, Bennett & Dorman representing Greenspan, said partners could make payments in four installments — from April 15 through April 2006 — with 12 percent interest. He said partners may qualify for a tax deduction on payments they make by next month. Montali praised Greenspan for dealing with 207 different sets of factors and uncertain legal issues in reaching the settlements. “The trustee has overwhelmingly carried his burden” to reach satisfactory agreements, Montali said. “I’m happy to approve the settlements.” The attorneys for Brobeck’s primary landlords, Equity Office Properties and University Circle Investors, spoke in favor of the settlements, as did attorneys representing two partner groups. Cecily Dumas, of Friedman Dumas & Springwater, said 18 of the 20 Brobeck partners she represents were able to settle with the trustee. Former senior counsel Jayne Loughry, a plaintiff in an employee suit against Brobeck and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, was the only person who spoke out Monday against the settlements. She told Montali that the employees do not support them since partners would be paying only 10.5 percent of their total liability. In other Brobeck-related matters, Montali advised Greenspan to hold on to a settlement agreement he had reached with Tickets.com, a former Brobeck client. Greenspan had told the court that he was considering withdrawing a motion to approve the deal in light of an announcement that Tickets.com is to be acquired by the online arm of Major League Baseball. He also requested that the court subpoena Tickets.com to allow him to examine the company’s records. Under the settlement, the online ticket seller agreed to pay the Brobeck estate $500,000 in cash plus up to 37 percent of any recovery from its ongoing antitrust litigation against Ticketmaster Corp. Greenspan questioned whether Tickets.com would continue to vigorously pursue antitrust litigation against TicketMaster once it was acquired. “I think the trustee should take the money and be done with it,” Montali said. After a 10-minute recess, the parties came back into the room, and Murphy told Montali that the trustee would like the court to approve the settlement. He said the only caveat was that Tickets.com’s attorneys not request attorneys fees; they complied. Montali also OK’d Greenspan’s request to abandon 200,000 boxes of client files in storage. But he said the trustee must notify 10,500 former Brobeck clients that the files would be thrown out and give them 21 days to respond. A historian at the University of Maryland had filed a motion with the court seeking to preserve the documents, but it’s unclear what will come of the request. Montali also addressed the fee applications submitted by the two law firms and an accounting firm working for Greenspan. He approved Hennigan, Bennett’s request for $1 million in fees, as well as Jeffer, Mangels, Butler & Marmaro’s request for $28,741 in fees and expenses. Montali shaved $2,500 off Burr, Pilger & Mayer’s request for $64,313 in fees. He said Burr, Pilger, an accounting and consulting firm, had been around long enough that it shouldn’t have needed help from Hennigan, Bennett and Jeffer, Mangels in filing its fee application. Montali also told an official with Greenspan’s company, FTI Consulting Inc., that he was “a little disturbed” that it had billed time to correct deficiencies in its previous fee application. He approved 80 percent of FTI’s current request for $568,000 in fees, but said he would review the remaining 20 percent.

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