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SAN DIEGO SUES ORRICK, 3 OTHER FIRMS The city of San Diego filed suit on Wednesday against four of the firms that aided it in drafting bond documents under investigation for the past several years. The city seeks at least $100 million in damages. In the suit, filed in San Diego Superior Court, the city accuses two law firms and two auditors of negligence, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duties in their handling of financial statements and investment disclosure documents. One of the firms under fire is Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. The city alleges that Orrick engaged in a cover-up of its misconduct by failing to admit its errors to the city and by refusing to hand over documents. Orrick partner (and former special counsel to Bill Clinton) Lanny Davis called the city’s suit frivolous and “the epitome of gall.” He said San Diego had admitted that its financial statements describing a money reserve were false, then blamed Orrick for not knowing. He said that law firm Vinson & Elkins found that Orrick had, in fact, been the whistle-blower on the problem. “It is the functional equivalent of the liar accusing the victim of not figuring out that they were being lied to,” he said over the phone from New York. “Now you have the same City Council that failed to oversee its own finances scapegoating Orrick and everybody else,” he said, adding that Orrick would fight the case. � Petra Pasternak DEPUTY DA APPOINTED TO ALAMEDA BENCH Alameda County Deputy District Attorney Morris Jacobson was appointed to the superior court bench Thursday by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The 46-year-old Orinda Democrat has been with the DA’s office since 1989, having worked previously for one year as a deputy attorney general in San Francisco. Jacobson graduated from Hastings College of the Law and got his bachelor’s degree from the University of Oklahoma. He fills the vacancy left by the retirement of Judge Horace Wheatley and will be paid $149,160 a year. Also on Thursday, the governor appointed Ginger Garrett, 53, a family law commissioner for the San Luis Obispo County Superior Court, to that county’s bench, and Deputy Nevada County Counsel Julie McManus, 48, to her county’s superior court. Garrett, who lives in Arroyo Grande, is a Democrat, while McManus, of Nevada City, is a Republican. � Mike McKee JUDGE CONSOLIDATES NEW JERSEY VIOXX CASES NEWARK, N.J. � The judge presiding over 3,500 Vioxx cases in New Jersey has set Feb. 27 as the next trial date, this time for a consolidated trial of two plaintiffs’ claims, despite Merck & Co.’s urging that each case be decided on its own facts. One plaintiff, John McDarby, 76, of Park Ridge, took Vioxx for arthritis pain from March 2000 until his heart attack in April 2004. The other, Thomas Cona, 59, of Cherry Hill, took Vioxx from August 2001 until his heart attack in June 2003. Superior Court Judge Carol Higbee in Atlantic County also scheduled three cases for trial on April 24 and two for June 12. Higbee grouped the cases based on the alleged damage as well as the specific years and length of time the plaintiffs took the prescription painkiller. The seven plaintiffs, including McDarby and Cona, are N.J. residents who took Vioxx for more than 18 months and then suffered a heart attack. One died. Merck attorney Ted Mayer of New York’s Hughes Hubbard & Reed says his legal team will soon ask Higbee to reconsider her decision to combine cases. “These cases should be tried on their individual facts,” says Mayer. “Each plaintiff presents unique medical histories and issues.” Plaintiffs’ lawyers, who favor consolidation so that more of the cases can be heard sooner, say the groupings would avoid duplication of evidence. Higbee’s decision to focus on plaintiffs with longer-term exposure came after a defense verdict in the state’s first Vioxx trial last month. That plaintiff, Frederick Humeston of Idaho, took Vioxx intermittently for two months before suffering a nonfatal heart attack. � New Jersey Law Journal New Partners LATHAM ELEVATES 30 TO PARTNERSHIP Latham &Watkins has promoted 30 associates to its partner class, one more than last year’s record-setting total. The promotions are effective Jan. 1. Of the associates promoted to partner in California, four are in the Los Angeles office, one in the Orange County office, two in the San Diego office, two in the San Francisco office and two in the Silicon Valley office. In Los Angeles, the firm promoted corporate lawyers Adel Bebawy, 38, who received his J.D. in 1996 from University of Pennsylvania Law School; Robert O’Shea, 36, who received his J.D. from Boston College Law School in 1995; and Gregory Rodgers, 33, who, received his J.D. from University of Virginia School of Law in 1997. The firm also tapped tax attorney Ana Genender O’Brien, 33, who received her J.D. from Columbia Law School in 1996. In Orange County, the firm promoted corporate lawyer Kevin Espinola, 35, who received his J.D. from Notre Dame Law School in 1997. In San Diego, the firm elevated corporate lawyer Cheston Larson, 33, who received his J.D. from Harvard Law School in 1997; and environmental lawyer Christine Rolph, 33, who received her J.D. from University of Virginia School of Law in 1997. In San Francisco, the firm promoted corporate lawyers Bradley Bugdanowitz, 34, who received his J.D. from University of Chicago Law School in 1996; and Andrew Williamson, 33, who received his J.D. from Georgetown University Law Center in 1997. In Silicon Valley, the firm promoted IP litigator Matthew Rawlinson, 36, who received his J.D. from University of Chicago Law School in 1996; and corporate lawyer Mark Roeder, 35, who received his J.D. from University of Michigan Law School in 1995. The associate promotions follow the April 1 promotion of six counsel. Last year, the partnership election included two counsel. � Kellie Schmitt

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