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COURT REVIVES GRASSO SUIT AGAINST NYSE NEW YORK � The state’s appellate division has reinstated a libel claim initiated by deposed head of the New York Stock Exchange Richard Grasso against the stock exchange and John Reed, the executive who replaced Grasso as chairman. In March, Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Charles Ramos dismissed the claim, one of five cross-claims Grasso made in the ongoing litigation over his compensation. On Thursday, an appellate panel unanimously reversed Justice Ramos’ decision. “The challenged statements, although expressing opinions, are actionable because an average reader rationally could have construed them � to imply that the opinions being expressed were based on detrimental facts that were known to the speaker � but which facts were not disclosed to the audience,” the panel held in its unsigned opinion. Justices Angela Mazzarelli, David Friedman, Eugene Nardelli and John Sweeny Jr. sat on the panel. At issue are two statements attributed to Reed, the former chairman of Citigroup who took over for Grasso in September 2003. The first allegedly defamatory remark appeared in The New York Times in December 2003. The newspaper quoted Reed as saying that if a person “trained in the law” were to read an internal report the NYSE had commissioned, that person “would say that there is information in that report that would support a potential legal action.” The second statement appeared in a NYSE press release the following month. The release stated that Reed had informed the SEC and the New York attorney general that the stock exchange had reviewed the internal report and concluded that “serious damage has been inflicted on the exchange by unreasonable compensation of the previous chairman and CEO, and by failure of governance and fiduciary responsibility that led to the compensation excesses.” &# 151; New York Law Journal DLA ACQUIRES MOST OF COUDERT IN BRUSSELS PHILADELPHIA � DLA Piper Rudnick Gray Cary announced Monday that it will be acquiring the bulk of Coudert Brothers’ office in Brussels � roughly 35 attorneys � with eight joining as partners. The move, which is still subject to partner approval, will give DLA Piper more than 100 lawyers in Belgium. According to Steven De Keyser, managing partner of DLA Piper’s Belgium practice, its managing director of continental Europe and the main person behind the expansion, the Coudert attorneys will probably bring with them about 10 million euros worth of business, or roughly $12.5 million. “That’s very healthy revenue per lawyer” for the market, he said. The new lawyers will bolster DLA Piper’s capabilities in Belgium and the European Union in practice areas including arbitration, environment, antitrust, technology and intellectual property. De Keyser added that the new lawyers will help the firm domestically because they speak French and most of DLA Piper’s existing attorneys have been Dutch-speaking. DLA Piper announced earlier this month that it was opening a Frankfurt, Germany, office with five former Coudert partners and that it is in discussions with partners from Coudert’s Antwerp, Belgium and Asian offices. &# 151; The Legal Intelligencer U.S. MUST RELEASE 74 ABU GHRAIB PHOTOS NEW YORK � The Department of Defense must give the American Civil Liberties Union 74 photographs of mistreated detainees at the infamous Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq, a federal judge ruled Thursday. Southern District of New York Judge Alvin Hellerstein rejected claims by the department that the photographs, seized by investigators probing the abuse at the prison, were exempt from production under the Freedom of Information Act. The judge’s ruling in American Civil Liberties Union v. Department of Defense, 04 Civ. 4151, dismissed the government’s argument that it was entitled to withhold the photos, as well as some videotapes, because their release would likely incite violence against American troops and Iraqi and Afghan personnel and civilians. “The terrorists in Iraq and Afghanistan do not need pretexts for their barbarism; they have proven to be aggressive and pernicious in their choice of targets and tactics,” he said. “My task is not to defer to our worst fears, but to interpret and apply the law, in this case the Freedom of Information Act, which advances values important to our society, transparency and accountability in government.” Judge Hellerstein also could not accept the government’s claim that the release of the photos would constitute an “unwarranted invasion of personal privacy.” The photos were taken by Joseph Darby, a military policeman assigned to Abu Ghraib. &# 151; New York Law Journal

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