LAW.COM Newswire Highlights August 17, 2007

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Qualcomm Cites Client Confidentiality in Discovery Mess The Recorder
In a case marred by discovery errors, Qualcomm’s trial counsel are in a place no lawyers want to be. The Day Casebeer Madrid & Batchelder and Heller Ehrman lawyers face the prospect of individual sanctions and possible State Bar discipline for their mistakes in a San Diego patent case. But they have yet to explain to the judge how those discovery blunders came to pass. That’s because Qualcomm has told the magistrate judge in the case that such an explanation would violate attorney-client privilege.

2nd Circuit’s ERISA Ruling Revives Benefits Claim by Firm ‘Partner’
New York Law Journal
A lawyer who rose from secretary to “partner” at a New York firm will get a second chance to show she is due benefits under the firm’s profit-sharing and cash-balance pension plans. Attorney Karen Strom said she was denied the benefits when she left the firm because she was not considered a “profit-sharing partner” or “shareholder.” The 2nd Circuit has revived her claim by reversing a partial summary judgment in favor of the firm. Strom’s attorney said he will pursue damages that could exceed $1 million.

Reading the Roberts Court Legal Times
The first full term of the Roberts Supreme Court was a blockbuster, viewed by many as a historic turning point. Legal Times held a panel discussion, moderated by Supreme Court correspondent Tony Mauro, to analyze the arguments and opinions. Four leading high court advocates offered candid views on a variety of topics, including how it feels to have Justice Scalia all over you “like a cheap suit,” why it’s Justice Kennedy’s world and we all just live in it — and which cases to watch for next term.
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Federal Indictment Looms Over Pa. Superior Court Judge’s Retention Race The Legal Intelligencer
Judge Michael T. Joyce could be suspended until mail fraud and money laundering charges filed against him Wednesday are resolved, judicial experts say. According to the indictment, Joyce received $440,000 in settlements for injuries he claimed “affected his professional and personal life in a very significant way” after an SUV rear-ended his car. During the same period Joyce claimed to be suffering from pain and impaired mobility, he played several rounds of golf and went scuba diving, prosecutors said.

7th Circuit Breaks With Six Circuits Over Waiver of Appeal The National Law Journal
The 7th Circuit has broken with six other circuits to chart its own course on when criminal lawyers may forgo appeals. Six circuits have held that a waiver of appeal in plea bargain cases does not relieve counsel of a duty to file a notice of appeal at the client’s request. But 7th Circuit Chief Judge Frank Easterbrook confesses “[s]ome doubt about the constitutional reasoning of the circuits that have located in the Sixth Amendment a rule that a lawyer is the client’s puppet.”

‘Excruciatingly Slow’ Testimony Results in Added Discovery New York Law Journal
A state appeals court in Manhattan has ruled that plaintiffs seeking to enforce a $116 million terrorism verdict are entitled to further deposition of the Palestinian Authority’s New York lawyer, whose “excruciatingly slow” testimony apparently caused plaintiffs to run afoul of a previous discovery deadline. The majority in the 4-1 decision wrote that it accepted as fact that the lawyer spoke unusually slowly because the plaintiffs lawyer’s assertion had gone “uncontradicted.”

Multiple Lawsuits Allege Laxative Causes Kidney Failure The Associated Press
A popular over-the-counter laxative used to flush out patients’ bowels before procedures such as colonoscopies has caused serious kidney damage and even death, a series of lawsuits filed across the country alleges. The lawsuits target Fleet Phospho-soda, made by C.B. Fleet Co. Inc. of Lynchburg, Va. More than 50 have already been filed in at least 20 states, Stephen Foley, one of the lawyers involved in the litigation, said Thursday. Nine of them were filed this week in federal court in Minnesota.

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