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Adorno & Yoss blasted by court over settlement A Florida state appellate court has issued a scathing opinion against Adorno & Yoss for its representation of a class of Miami residents who sued the city for imposing fire rescue service assessments. Adorno & Yoss had sought to reinstate some $2 million in legal fees as part of a settlement with the city. In affirming the lower court’s decision to throw out the settlement and the fees, the 3d District Court of Appeal found the firm’s conduct “defie[d] the bounds of ethical decency.” The court determined that the law firm, which represented five individual plaintiffs and a separate class of plaintiffs, negotiated a $7 million settlement for the individuals and abandoned its duty to represent the entire class. “We became the scapegoats,” said managing partner George Yoss. “We never abandoned the class.” City of San Diego sues Willkie Farr The San Diego City Attorney’s Office has sued Willkie Farr & Gallagher for $29.3 million related to the law firm’s handling of an investigation into the city’s underfunded pension plan. San Diego City Attorney Michael Aguirre filed two lawsuits on Aug. 7, one on behalf of the city and another on behalf of California residents, in San Diego County Superior Court. The suits allege fraud, negligence and violations of the California’s False Claims Act. New York-based Willkie Farr did not return a phone call seeking comment. Thelen Reid dismantles its U.K. joint venture Thelen Reid Brown Raysman & Steiner and U.K. law firm Pinsent Masons are ending the global construction law joint venture they built in 2003. The firms recently announced that they’re reconstructing their relationship into a less firmly cemented “best friends” bond, and said they will work together on a wider assortment of legal matters. Stephen O’Neal, Thelen’s co-chairman, cast the change in a positive light. “We achieved the branding goal,” O’Neal said. “We have firmly established between the two of us . . . the go-to shops for construction law.” The joint venture, Masons Thelen Reid, was launched with great fanfare four years ago. Both firms crowed that the U.K. limited liability partnership would pool resources, manage international clients and target new ones. Pilot programs put U.S. court proceedings online Coming soon to a federal court near you � digital audio recordings of courtroom proceedings available online. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts recently announced that two federal courts will launch the pilot project to make digital audio recordings of their proceedings publicly available online. The two courts are the U.S. District Court for the District of Nebraska and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Those courts have integrated their recording and case management/electronic case files systems to make some audio files available on the Internet. Suit alleges equity firm hid problems at Refco Private equity firm Thomas H. Lee Partners, which recently sued Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw over the law firm’s role in the collapse of commodities brokerage Refco Inc., was itself sued last week by the liquidated company’s creditors. The complaint filed in New York federal court by the Refco Litigation Trusts claims that Boston-based Lee, which bought a controlling interest in Refco in 2004, knew about serious problems with Refco’s internal governance, but concealed or ignored them because it wanted to push ahead with an initial public offering that promised to earn the firm hundreds of millions of dollars. Six Holland & Knight partners form new firm Holland & Knight suffered its first large partner exodus in several years when six of its top Miami attorneys announced last week that they are leaving to start their own firm. The new Coral Gables, Fla., firm, to be known as Avila Rodriguez Hernandez Mena & Ferri, includes the former head of Holland & Knight’s banking and finance group, Alcides I. Avila. Other partners leaving include Wilfredo Rodriguez, former head of the firm’s international litigation and arbitration practice and Eugenio Hernandez, former chairman of the firm’s national immigration practice group.

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