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Ex-broker Sihpol cleared of late-trade charges Former Bank of America broker Theodore Sihpol III was found not guilty last week of facilitating late trades for a client. The jury acquitted Sihpol of 29 counts of larceny, securities fraud and related charges after six days of deliberations. The New York trial judge, Justice James Yates, declared a mistrial on four other counts on which the jury could not reach a decision. The 37-year-old broker was the first person to stand trial arising from New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer’s probe into the financial sector. Spitzer had accused Sihpol of facilitating late trades for hedge fund Canary Capital Partners. Shearman & Sterling elects senior partner Shearman & Sterling of New York has elected Rohan Weerasinghe to its top spot, senior partner. Weerasinghe’s practice includes representing underwriters and corporate clients in public offering transactions, especially complex transactions such as those involving leveraged buyouts, high-yield debt issuances, initial public offerings and cross-border offerings. He also advises companies on corporate and securities law issues and corporate governance matters. Weerasinghe has asked New York-based M&A partner John Madden and D�sseldorf, Germany-based partner Georg Thoma to continue as firmwide co-managing partners. ‘Big Business’ courtapproved in Georgia the georgia Supreme Court has cleared the way for the Fulton County Superior Court in Atlanta to establish a division devoted solely to business disputes in which more than $1 million is at stake. The Georgia high court’s action makes real a dream of Raymond D. Fortin, general counsel to SunTrust Banks, who decided that Georgia needed a designated business court after returning from a trip to North Carolina a few years ago and seeing that state’s operation in action. Although parties to cases before the court must agree to its oversight, said Fortin, he hopes that his corporate colleagues will see the value of a dedicated business venue. “Now the crucial part is whether the commercial bar will support it, because it is completely voluntary right now,” he said. Sidley Austin’s bid to block partner suit fails A federal judge in Chicago has denied a bid by Sidley Austin Brown & Wood to block some 30 partners from receiving money damages if they prevail in a lawsuit brought by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. [NLJ, Jan. 17.] EEOC v. Sidley Austin, No. 05 C 0208, alleges that the firm violated federal age discrimination laws when it lowered its retirement age and downgraded the attorneys from partnership status. Denying partial summary judgment to the firm, U.S. District Judge James Zagel was not persuaded that the attorneys were barred from obtaining money damages in the EEOC’s lawsuit since they had not filed individual claims against the firm within the statute of limitations period. Casinos that run ads in Calif. can be sued there Nevada casinos came up snake eyes last week after rolling the dice on the hope that they wouldn’t be subject to California’s laws on misleading advertising. The California Supreme Court held that casinos and other out-of-state businesses that advertise in California-by any method including billboards, newspapers and the Internet-can be sued in the state’s courts. Snowney v. Harrah’s Entertainment, No. 05 C.D.O.S. Business groups had warned that a decision against the casinos could subject California to a flood of litigation. Justice Janice Rogers Brown ignored those threats, writing for the unanimous court that by “purposely and successfully soliciting the business of California residents, [the casinos] could reasonably anticipate being subject to litigation” in the state.

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