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July 13, 2004

NYT on Lerach-Weiss divorce, cont'd

While yielding some interesting detail, that Times profile of Milberg Weiss and its descendant firms was also moistly uncritical, making little secret of its admiration for Messrs. Weiss and Lerach and doing little to explore the contentions of their critics, who are not exactly sparse on the ground. It skims very quickly over the ongoing investigation of the firm by the U.S. Attorney's office in Los Angeles, and as Larry Ribstein notes, doesn't even deign to mention the $50 million payout the firm made after it was exposed to a punitive damage claim arising from alleged abuse of process in the Lexecon/Fischel case.

Nor (or did I miss it?) does reporter Timothy L. O'Brien mention the firm's embarrassment earlier this year in the Terayon/Cardinal affair (written up by the San Francisco Chronicle's Ren Holding, by Lyle Roberts, and by Brenda Sandburg at, in which Judge Marilyn Hall Patel removed two lead plaintiffs in a securities case as class representatives after it came out in discovery that they had been massive short sellers of the stock of the company, a maker of cable modem equipment, and had engaged in a concerted effort to spread negative information about the firm to talk its stock price down -- not exactly a position representative of other shareholders.

None of which can be accounted surprising, exactly: the Sunday New York Times business section for some time has served pretty much as a bulletin board for the securities plaintiff's bar to vent its various themes and allegations. And Mr. Lerach, in particular, doesn't take kindly to unflattering press attention. I believe Mickey Kaus refers to this kind of story as a "beat sweetener".

Posted by Walter Olson at 12:02 AM | TrackBack (2)

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