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BINGHAM TAKES SEVEN FROM STRADLING YOCCA Bingham McCutchen has boosted its Southern California securities litigation practice with the addition of three partners and four associates from the Orange County office of Stradling Yocca Carlson & Rauth. Todd Gordinier � the former Los Angeles managing partner for Paul, Hastings, Janofsky & Walker, and former co-leader of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe’s Los Angeles office � said Bingham’s coast-to-coast capabilities were appealing. “We felt it was the right combination of a national litigation practice with a commitment to expanding the Bingham brand in Southern California,” Gordinier said. “One of the goals we’ve set is to have the same reputation in Southern California as the firm has developed in Northern California.” Gordinier said Bingham offered a better platform and more opportunities for clients. He represents clients in complex commercial litigation of various kinds, including shareholder class and derivative actions. Gordinier’s clients include Morgan Stanley, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Hyundai. Also joining Gordinier as partners at Bingham are Jason Anderson and Edward Kim. Last week, Bingham announced the arrival of three finance partners from Morrison & Foerster to the firm’s New York and Los Angeles offices, bringing the lateral partner total for 2006 to six. � Kellie Schmitt APPEAL PANEL UPHOLDS RENTERS’ ORDINANCE A state appeal court on Tuesday rejected a challenge to a San Francisco rent law that forces landlords to pay $4,500 to tenants evicted under the state’s Ellis Act. Last year, San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren had sided with the landlords, concluding that the city ordinance ran afoul of the state law that protects property owners’ right to get out of the rental business. The First District Court of Appeal rejected the plaintiffs’ facial challenge to the city ordinance in Tuesday’s unanimous, unpublished opinion, but left the door open for future plaintiffs to try to show the local law is unfair. The opinion, by Justice Maria Rivera, found that requiring payment for relocation costs doesn’t violate the Ellis Act, though it’s still an open question whether the amount San Francisco requires is reasonable. Justice Patricia Sepulveda and San Francisco Superior Court Judge John Munter, sitting by assignment, concurred. In his decision last year, Warren cited case law that concluded the Ellis Act limited such city requirements to landlords evicting low-income tenants. But the First District found that case law irrelevant, since 2003 revisions removed the low-income language that was parsed in the earlier case law. Given the current language, the appeal court said the city’s current demands do not necessarily conflict with the Ellis Act. Deputy City Attorney Vince Chhabria, who argued the case, said the Ellis Act leaves it to local policymakers to decide how to alleviate the “plight” of evicted tenants, “and the court really reaffirmed that basic principle.” Andrew Zacks, of San Francisco’s Zacks Utrecht & Leadbetter, said his clients plan to petition the First District for a rehearing. At oral argument, he noted, the justices asked him how they could tell whether a city’s requirement creates too high a burden for landlords. “I didn’t have a very good answer in oral argument, but I have a really good answer on rehearing,” Zacks said. He contends the city is using its law to discourage Ellis Act evictions, and said he’ll point out that San Francisco makes landlords pay less to tenants they kick out under other circumstances, such as an owner’s decision to move in. Tuesday’s case is Pieri v. City and County of San Francisco, A110571. � Pam Smith COURTS DEALT OUT OF BOND PROPOSAL SACRAMENTO � A $30 billion bond proposal unveiled Tuesday by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nunez scraps courthouse funding in favor of money for parks, retrofitted hospitals and housing. Nunez called his plan a “fiscally responsible” alternative to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s $68 billion bond proposal, which includes $1.8 billion for court construction. The speaker’s rejection of a courthouse bond solidifies weeks of hints and suggestions by Democratic leaders that courts should not be included in a final measure sent to voters some time this year. “It simply doesn’t make sense to be making an investment in this before the courts are even transferred over to be property of the state,” Nunez said. Some Democrats have criticized court bonding as premature in light of the fact that the state has taken ownership of just a few of the 400-plus county-owned court facilities, despite a 2002 law requiring the switch. California law prevents the state from acquiring a seismically suspect building, and counties have been unwilling to spend millions on retrofitting buildings that will only be transferred to the state. Richard Costigan, Schwarzenegger’s legislative secretary, said Nunez’s plan is at odds with public demands for an improved criminal justice system. But Costigan conceded that most bond negotiations between lawmakers and the administration have centered on housing, education and transportation. � Cheryl Miller UNLICENSED LAWYER RESIGNS IN-HOUSE JOB NEW YORK � A senior in-house lawyer at the New York Life Insurance Co. has resigned after the company discovered in recent weeks that he had never been licensed to practice law. Michael Watson, 44, first joined the insurance giant in 1996 and had been promoted in July to first vice president and deputy general counsel. One of five deputies, he was responsible for the unit of the company’s legal department focused on investments, mergers and acquisitions and financial transactions. In a statement issued Tuesday, New York Life spokesman William Werfelman said Watson had resigned immediately after admitting he was not licensed. Watson was previously an associate in the New York office of Richmond’s Hunton & Williams. He also was an associate at New York’s Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy, which he joined after graduating from Columbia Law School in 1986. � New York Law Journal

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