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Pfizer halts Bextra sales at FDA’s request The painkiller Bextra was pulled off the market last week, and the government ordered that 19 other popular prescription competitors—from Celebrex to Mobic to high-dose naproxen—carry new warnings that they too may increase the risk of heart attacks and strokes. The warnings encompass an entire class of anti-inflammatory medicines called NSAIDs that are the backbone of pain treatment, not just newer versions of the painkillers initially suspected when heart concerns made headlines last fall. The move was a blow to Pfizer Inc., which said it “respectfully disagrees” with the Food and Drug Administration that the drug, which had $1.3 billion in sales last year, is too risky. School district denied immunity in gun case A federal judge has held that a school district is not entitled to 11th Amendment immunity in a case where a student was suspended for off-campus misconduct involving handguns. Northern District of New York Judge Lawrence E. Kahn refused to dismiss First Amendment and equal protection claims against the New Paltz School District. He also held the superintendent personally accountable for the alleged violation of the student’s equal protection rights. Cohn v. New Paltz, No. 1:04-CV-1066. Shearman sues in bid to smoke out blog critic Shearman & Sterling is trying to root out the identity of someone-it suspects a current or recent employee-who posted a “highly offensive” message about a firm staff manager on community Web site www.craigslist.org. The New York firm is relying on a tool that’s become increasingly common among companies and others targeted by anonymous Internet users: filing suits against John or Jane Does that can help identify them. The firm sued a Jane Doe in San Francisco Superior Court late last month based on a copy of the Craigslist posting she allegedly e-mailed to the manager. “This was a hateful and racist e-mail that verbally assaulted one of our staff members,” said Shearman & Sterling spokeswoman Jolene Overbeck. “If somebody asks us to breach privacy in any case, we do insist that due process be followed,” noted Craigslist founder Craig Newmark. Judge rejects claim that Jews barred from juries A former prosecutor whose claims of jury bias against Jews rocked the Alameda County, Calif., district attorney’s office, “is dishonest and unethical,” a judge found last week. In a report to the California Supreme Court, Santa Clara County Superior Court Judge Kevin Murphy said John “Jack” Quatman lied when he said he removed jurors because they were Jewish and when he said he did so at the direction of then-Alameda County Judge Stanley Golde. Murphy found “ample evidence” that Quatman made up his story to exact revenge on Alameda County District Attorney Tom Orloff, who transferred the long-time prosecutor from capital cases in 1993. [NLJ, March 28]. Some Louisiana residents too poor to prosecute The Louisiana Supreme Court has ruled that judges can halt the prosecution of poor defendants until there is money available to pay for their defense lawyers, scolding lawmakers for not providing a system to defend the indigent. Defense attorneys said the ruling could provoke a flurry of legal motions on behalf of poor defendants around Louisiana, which critics contend has one of the worst indigent defense systems in the nation. Louisiana’s constitution requires a defense lawyer be provided to defendants too poor to pay for one. Critics claim the state doesn’t provide enough funding, and that it is not unusual for a poor defendant to spend up to nine months in jail before a lawyer is appointed. In its ruling, the Louisiana Supreme Court said the duty of providing a working indigent defense system falls “squarely on the shoulders of the Legislature,” which hasn’t come up with a way to pay for it. Louisiana v. Adrian Citizen, No. 2004-KA-1841.

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