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European trade group must turn over docs In an antitrust class action against the top manufacturers of automotive refinishing paint that has generated $66 million in settlements, plaintiffs’ lawyers battling the remaining two defendants won a ruling that forces a European trade group to turn over documents. In In re Automotive Refinishing Paint Antitrust Litigation, U.S. District Judge R. Barclay Surrick in Philadelphia ordered the European Council of the Paint, Printing Ink and Artists’ Colours Industry to respond to most of the plaintiffs’ request for documents. Significantly, he rejected the argument that the plaintiffs are required to invoke the procedures of the Hague Convention to conduct international discovery. California courts survive another state budget The California state budget deal crafted last week contains relatively few surprises for California courts, but stops short of some of the ambitious plans envisioned by court leaders. The state will give $3 billion to the courts, including $2.74 billion for trial courts and $178 million for the state’s appeal courts. That provides $130.7 million in new funding for the trial courts, the result of a new budgeting system that ties trial court funding to increases in California’s population and cost of living. U.S. asks panel to remove judge in terror case Government prosecutors have asked the 2d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to remove U.S. District Judge Shira Scheindlin from the perjury case of a San Diego college student who allegedly lied about knowing one of the 9/11 hijackers. Saying the New York judge has made statements that could be viewed as advocating for defendant Osama Awadallah, the government asked the 2d Circuit to reassign the case to another judge on remand. While Scheindlin refused a motion to dismiss the indictment against Awadallah, Assistant U.S. Attorney Robin Baker said the judge “sua sponte raised two other possible bases for dismissal of the indictment”: that Awadallah was the victim of a “perjury trap” and that the judge might exercise her “supervisory power” over the grand jury to dismiss the charges given the alleged illegal search and seizure of Awadallah’s premises by the FBI. Court faults unsealing of protesters’ records The New York High Court last week shot down an attempt by New York City prosecutors to bolster their sentencing case against anti-war protesters by using information contained in the records of dismissed cases. The Court of Appeals unanimously said in Matter of Barnhart v. Cataldo, No. 113, that the trial judge wrongly unsealed records of prior criminal cases involving the protesters. It said Acting Justice John Cataldo acted outside his statutory authority in that unsealings are permitted after commencement of a criminal proceeding only when the accused has moved for adjournment of a marijuana charge on contemplation of dismissal. Former Brooklyn bar head draws 27 months Despite some harsh words, U.S. District Judge John Gleeson last week sentenced Edward S. Reich, a former president for the bar association of Brooklyn, N.Y., to 27 months in prison, six months less than the minimum called for by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines. In imposing Reich’s sentence for accepting $10,500 in bribes while acting as a court-appointed referee in the trial-level Brooklyn Supreme Court, Gleeson called his acts “a flat out abuse of power.” Gleeson also fined Reich $75,000 and required him to remain under court supervision for three years after his release from prison. Reich’s 2003 arrest on charges of accepting bribes while acting as a referee over three foreclosure sales shattered his career as leader of the Brooklyn bar. ‘Patient dumping’ not allowed, U.S. judge rules In a significant win for plaintiffs bringing claims under the federal Emergency Medical Treatment and Assisted Labor Act-a law designed to prohibit hospitals from engaging in a practice known as “patient dumping”-a federal judge has ruled that such a plaintiff need not show that she was indigent or uninsured to invoke the law. The opinion in Love v. Rancocas Hospital by U.S. District Judge Joseph Irenas of the District of New Jersey marks the first time that any judge within the courts of the 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has addressed the act’s requirements. Irenas found that the federal circuits are split, and that “the better view is represented by those courts which hold that [the act] applies regardless of the patient’s ability to pay or whether the patient has health insurance.”

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