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A federal judge has upheld the $36 million malpractice verdict against Ness Motley, Loadholt, Richardson & Poole. U.S. District Judge Rebecca R. Pallmeyer agreed that the defunct South Carolina firm put its fees above the interests of Irish client Interclaim Holdings. Defense counsel Jeffrey Cole of Cole & Staes says he will appeal. Meanwhile, the firm’s former shareholders are fighting each other over liability. Ron Motley and Joe Rice, now of Motley Rice, have sued to force Michael J. Brickman and H. Blair Hahn to pick up the tab … Former Baylor basketball player Chad Elsey is suing his alma mater and ex-coach Dave Bliss for allegedly breaking a promise to get him admitted to the university’s law school and to pay for its costs. The 6-foot-6-inch forward, who averaged six points and 2.3 rebounds in two seasons at Baylor, is seeking $100,000 — though some might say the education he’s receiving as a result of the alleged breach is priceless. Now a student at the University of Tulsa’s law school, Elsey believes he’s learned enough to represent himself in the suit … Offshore firms Appleby Spurling & Kempe and Hunter & Hunter have announced plans to merge April 1. The combined firm, which would number about 100 attorneys, would be the first to have a strong practice in both Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, according to the firms … Fat chance, said Colorado lawmakers eyeing potential fast-food obesity suits in their state. By a 6-1 margin, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a bill to ban people from suing restaurants for making them overweight. No such suits are pending in the state. The bill will now go before the full Senate for debate. – Lori Patel

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