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JUSTICES TAKE UP CASE ON REPRESSED MEMORY Elizabeth Loftus, a well-known critic of repressed memory therapy, is getting another chance to defend her work. On Wednesday, six California Supreme Court justices voted to grant review of a case in which the UC-Irvine psychology professor is accused of defamation and invasion of privacy. Justice Marvin Baxter didn’t vote. The suit was filed by Nicole Taus, a former “Jane Doe” who was the subject of a 1997 case history by David Corwin, a therapist who had interviewed Taus at ages 6 and 17. The girl had relied on repressed memories to accuse her mother of sexually abusing her. Loftus, author of a book called “The Myth of Repressed Memory,” hired a private eye to gather information about Taus’ past, and then published a two-part article in Skeptical Inquirer, a magazine published by the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal, debunking Corwin’s findings. The articles referred to “Jane Doe,” but Taus made her name public when she sued Loftus. The First District ruled in April that Taus had presented evidence that Loftus and University of Michigan psychiatry professor Melvin Guyer, a co-author of the articles, had “used deception and trickery to penetrate a zone of privacy” around Taus “in order to obtain private information” that “would not have been disclosed in a truthful encounter.” The case is Taus v. Loftus, S133805. — Mike McKee JUDGE OKS TAX SUIT AGAINST SIDLEY AUSTIN NEW YORK — A federal judge has declined to dismiss a civil suit brought by a husband and wife who claim that Sidley Austin Brown & Wood and Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., offered a tax shelter the firms knew would be challenged by the Internal Revenue Service. Southern District Judge Shira Scheindlin said William and Sharon Seippel’s complaint sufficiently alleged fraud and that the couple’s allegations against the defendants could stand because they went further than alleging aiding and abetting liability. Judge Scheindlin’s ruling came on motions to dismiss the second amended complaint in Seippel v. Sidley Austin Brown & Wood, 03 Civ. 6942. The first complaint, which alleged claims including racketeering and excessive fees, was dismissed last year by the judge. The tax shelters at issue involved digital options or swaps in foreign currency, known as COBRA. Alleged misrepresentations about the legality of the shelters were made by Charles Paul of Ernst & Young, but the Seippels charged that Paul was acting on behalf of Deutsche Bank and others, including Brown & Wood, the previous incarnation of Sidley Austin. Scheindlin quickly disposed of the defendants’ first objection in the motions to dismiss, finding that the Seippels had alleged fraud with sufficient particularity under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. The judge then ruled that the claims regarding the COBRA transaction were not time barred, finding that the defendants did not “point to any press reports, complaints or other public documents” referring to an IRS notice on the propriety of COBRA, “or explicitly calling COBRA’s lawfulness into question, or to anything that might have caused ordinary taxpayers to suspect that it was not safe to rely on the advice of their tax lawyers.” New York Law Journal

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