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Tobacco payment cuts must go to arbitration Employing broad language, a New York appellate court handed tobacco companies a victory last week by ruling that disputes over reductions in their payments to the states under a $206 billion nationwide settlement must go to arbitration. The ruling by the intermediate-level New York Appellate Division, 1st Department, has enormous fiscal implications for the states since the reduction could amount to more than $1 billion a year. Under the 1998 settlement, which compensates states for funds they spent under Medicaid for treating smoking-related illnesses, the states receive $6.2 billion annually from the 45 companies participating in the settlement. New York’s annual payments have been running around $800 million. Arizona names law school for O’Connor Arizona State University has named its college of law after retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. The law school is the first to be named after a contemporary woman and was done so solely on the basis of O’Connor’s integrity and public service, university officials announced last week. The school is now the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. Calif. court may see need to disclose sexual history In a case that could have major implications for sexual privacy and tens of thousands of people with HIV, the California Supreme Court seemed ready last week to impose liability on those who actually know that they have a sexually transmitted illness, but fail to tell their sex partner. “Is it that burdensome of an obligation to warn a partner?” Justice Marvin Baxter asked attorneys arguing the case. “That partner would then have a choice of taking that risk or not taking that risk.” At least three of the seven justices seemed to agree, including Chief Justice Ronald George and Justice Carol Corrigan. The underlying suit was filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court by a woman against her husband, who, she claimed, infected her with HIV soon after they married in July 2000. John B. v. Bridget B., No. S128248. DOJ reviewers rap Ryan’s management style Justice department reviewers assert that Kevin Ryan, the U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, is inaccessible to his subordinates and has a detached management style that engenders low morale, according to sources with knowledge of a recent presentation to managers in Ryan’s office. Such reviews are performed every three years on each federal prosecutor’s office by the Justice Department’s Executive Office for U.S. Attorneys. In a recent e-mail, Ryan said, “[g]iven the size of this office and its three branches in San Francisco, San Jose and Oakland, and other competing work demands, I do not always get the chance to interact with our prosecutors and staff as much as I would like,” he wrote. “However, as with any other matter, I am open to suggestions for improvement.” ‘Pellicano’ downplayed in Greenberg exodus Ten Greenberg Glusker Fields Claman Machtinger & Kinsella lawyers will leave by the end of the month to form Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert, a business and entertainment litigation firm in Santa Monica, Calif. The new firm will likely consist of up to 15 lawyers. The Greenberg Glusker attorneys leaving the firm as early as April 17 include Dale Kinsella, Howard Weitzman, Lawrence Iser, Michael Kump, Gregory Aldisert, Alan Kossoff, Gregory Korn, Kristen Spanier, Jennifer McGrath and Gregory Gabriel. Greenberg Glusker managing partner Norman Levine said in a prepared statement that the group’s decision to leave is unrelated to the ongoing Anthony Pellicano case, which has put the firm in the midst of an investigation into the alleged illegal wiretapping. Weitzman also denied that the ongoing investigation into the firm’s use of Pellicano prompted the departure: “I do not believe the firm is going to be indicted, nor do I believe any lawyer with the firm will be indicted.”

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