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N.H. lawmakers move to limit eminent domain New Hampshire lawmakers gave preliminary approval last week to a constitutional amendment that would limit government’s ability to seize private property. The measure was prompted by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year that allowed New London, Conn., to take a group of older homes along the waterfront and turn them over to a developer who plans to build offices, a hotel and a convention center. Kelo v. City of New London, 125 S. Ct. 2655. The state House and Senate voted overwhelmingly in favor of identical resolutions. Then the amendment would be put to a statewide vote, probably in November. Two-thirds approval would be needed for ratification. Jury orders firm to pay $10M for dumping clients A jury ordered a Seattle law firm to pay at least $10.8 million for dropping three small bottlers from a dispute with giant Poland Spring Water Co. in order to bring a more lucrative class action. The jury found last week that lawyers from Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro violated their duty of loyalty to three small businesses that in 2003 were close to settling a claim with Nestle Waters North America, Poland Spring’s owner. Peter DeTroy, the lawyer for Hagens Berman, said, “Obviously, we’re disappointed but we don’t think this is the last word.” Amnesty agreement no bar to an indictment A federal judge has no power to enjoin prosecutors from filing an indictment on the ground that it would violate an existing amnesty agreement, the 3d U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled, because the equitable powers of the court do not exist when there is “an adequate and complete remedy at law.” The ruling was authored by Judge Thomas L. Ambro. In Stolt-Nielsen Transportation Group v. U.S., the court reversed a January 2005 ruling by U.S. District Judge Timothy J. Savage that prohibited the Justice Department from filing an antitrust indictment against a Norwegian shipping company. Savage found that Stolt-Nielsen had entered into an amnesty program with the Justice Department and had provided information about a price-fixing and bid-rigging conspiracy that led to guilty pleas from two of its co-conspirators. Because the company had fulfilled its obligations under an immunity agreement, Savage concluded that it was entitled to an injunction that barred the filing of an indictment. The 3d Circuit ruled that Savage’s decision violated the separation-of-powers doctrine. Chicago firms begin to hike associate salaries Many Chicago law firms are raising salaries for first-year associates to $135,000 a year in an effort to keep pace with firms in other major markets. Associates at firms of all sizes will see bigger paychecks this year. “The law business is picking up in volume,” said Donald Goldman, chairman of the compensation committee at McDermott, Will & Emery. The firm, which employs more than 1,000 lawyers, saw its competitors pushing salaries upward and decided to follow. Vedder, Price, Kaufman & Kammholz; Jenner & Block; and Winston & Strawn have recently made similar moves, as has Katten Muchin Rosenman, which hiked first-year salaries in January. Chapman boosts Utah hub with LeBoeuf group Ten attorneys from Mabey & Murray are joining Chapman and Cutler’s office in Salt Lake City, bringing that office’s total number of attorneys to 16. Nine of the new attorneys were previously employed at New York-based LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae’s Salt Lake City office. After the LeBoeuf office closed last spring, Kevin R. Murray and his partners formed Mabey & Murray. Chapman and Cutler’s new group of attorneys includes five partners and five associates. Their practice areas include environmental, redevelopment, energy and natural resources; corporate and securities; and commercial litigation. The 210-attorney Chapman and Cutler was founded in 1913 and opened its Salt Lake City office in 1981.

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