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ABC’s prime-time trial attorney over the past decade, Andrew M. White, is going to court for The Eye. On Jan. 19, CBS — represented by White, O’Connor, Curry, Gatti & Avanzado — sued Carsey-Werner Productions in Los Angeles Superior Court for $50 million-plus. Both sides are “quite guarded” about airing their dispute in public, says White, considerably less voluble than usual. The lawsuit says that CBS lent Carsey-Werner Productions the money to produce the television series “Cybill” with the understanding that Carsey-Werner would make a good-faith effort to pay it back out of syndication profits. Except, CBS complains, the Studio City, Calif.-based production company sought to find rerun markets for its other shows rather than the Emmy-winning sitcom because “syndication deals for those projects would generate profits that defendants would not have to repay CBS.” Carsey-Werner’s stable of programs includes “Roseanne,” “The Cosby Show” and “3rd Rock From the Sun.” Its spokesman isn’t speaking. LET THE SUNSHINE IN San Diego County’s local rules of court, which frown on closed-door sessions in general and on confidential settlements in particular, were a model for reformers at last October’s meeting of the state Judicial Council. Now it looks like we’ll be able to see how well the system performs in a low-stakes but politically charged case. The San Diego Union-Tribunesued on Jan. 26, seeking the details surrounding a quick $17,000 settlement that the county cut with Giovanna Vinsconi. Vinsconi worked for the chairman of the county Board of Supervisors before she was fired, and she says that she got in trouble for not wanting to organize — on county time — a prayer luncheon for a private group. AFTERSHOCKS It’s a “myth” that a law firm needs a wad of cash and depth on the bench before it undertakes a class action against corporate big boys, says Tina Nieves. Her minority-owned, Pasadena, Calif.-based firm Gancedo & Nieves started up three years ago “out of thin air — as in, we had to arrange financing,” she says. Employing all of five lawyers today, the firm is supporting major cases against Warner Lambert Co., Lockheed Martin Corp. and American Home Products Corp. But any penny-pinching days may be over. On Jan. 30, a judge approved the $7 million settlement of Gancedo & Nieves’ federal class action against Pilot & Associates. The company provides insurance companies with adjusters who work in the field after disasters, and the plaintiff/adjusters alleged that they worked around the clock in the aftermath of the 1994 Northridge earthquake without adequate overtime and other benefits. Sharing the fees with Nieves’ firm is co-counsel Stephen C. Ball, a sole practitioner, also of Pasadena. DALY EVENT Movie producer John Daly says that he got caught in the cross-hairs when his company, Hemdale Film Corp., went belly-up — and it’s all allegedly the fault of New York’s Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom for not adequately protecting his interests when he guaranteed a bank loan for Hemdale. Daly has sued Skadden for $100 million, alleging legal malpractice and raising conflict-of-interest charges. In response, the managing partner in Skadden’s Los Angeles office, Rand April, came close to commenting on Daly’s affinity for courtrooms — then reconsidered, with a judicious “I’d better not.” But the Los Angeles Times went on the record years ago with the observation that the British-born Daly has “a reputation for being frequently embroiled in litigation.” In the 1980s, Daly won back-to-back Oscars for “Platoon” and “The Last Emperor,” as well as critical praise for “Hoosiers.” His production company — with a library of 178 titles and creditors ranging from the Screen Actors Guild to Credit Lyonnaise Bank Nederland N.V. (CLBN) — went into bankruptcy in 1992. Now he says that Skadden, while purporting to represent his best interests, “accepted monies from the attorneys for CLBN” behind his back in connection with the negotiation of the loan guaranty. ALI FIRST When the American Law Institute gathers next May at Washington, D.C.’s Mayflower Hotel for its 78th annual convention, it’ll be the group’s first meeting ever with a president from the West Coast. He’s Michael Traynor, a litigator in the San Francisco office of Cooley Godward and the son of former California Chief Justice Roger Traynor. Most recently, he made headlines worldwide representing Yahoo Inc. against a French court order barring the online auctioning of Nazi memorabilia.

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