Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Milberg Weiss Update

So even though it has been over a year since the indictments came down, very little has moved, it would seem, that is visible in the Federal case against Milberg Weiss. At least until recently.

A few days ago, it was announced that David J. Bershad, the former financial head of Milberg Weiss, has agreed to a plea deal where he will forfeit almost $ 8 million and pay a $250,000.00 fine. In return, he will become a government witness in the case against his former employers. This was followed on July 10, by the announcement that former client Steven Cooperman would be pleading guilty to receiving more than $6 million in kickbacks from the firm.

Now today, the government filed its response to the motion to dismiss the indictment filed by defendants Steven Schulman, named plaintiff Seymour M. Lazar and Lazar's former lawyer, Paul T. Selzer. Schulman, Lazar and Selzer argue that the "honest services fraud" alleged in the indictment against them should be dismissed because the government cannot show that the class members of any of the cases were harmed by their arrangement. The amended motion to dismiss contends that under the law, they did not violate it since their agreements with the named plaintiffs did not cause an actual divergence of interests.

The government's position is that harm to the class members is irrelevant, that there simply needs to be a showing that there was a "fraudulent concealment of material facts". Simply put, it seems to say, there just needs to be the secret agreement that is hidden by the alleged conspirators.

As this is going on, William Lerach and Melvyn Weiss have been in negotiations with the prosecution to get some sort of a plea deal. The sticking point seems to be jail time. Neither Lerach or Weiss wants to go to jail. Of course, if they were contributors to Bush's administration, maybe they could get the Scooter Special. Hell, if they were in Nebraska, ... let's not go there.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007


dol·drums (dōl'drəmz', dôl'-, dŏl'-) pl.n. (used with a sing. or pl. verb)
    1. A period of stagnation or slump.
    2. A period of depression or unhappy listlessness.
    3. A region of the ocean near the equator, characterized by calms, light winds, or squalls.
    4. The weather conditions characteristic of these regions of the ocean.
    1. A region of the ocean near the equator, characterized by calms, light winds, or squalls.
    2. The weather conditions characteristic of these regions of the ocean
(Courtesy of the American Heritage Dictionary, Dictionary of the English Language)

This last month, I slipped into the doldrums. Now I need to learn how to harness the little whisps of breeze around me to get me out of it when they come.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Sometimes Being Useful Means Just Standing There


This afternoon I volunteered with the S.F. Bar Association's Courthouse Project to try and help some people stay housed. For the most part, I did alright. Had three clients. Got three deals that the clients wanted and worked in their favor.

And then as I was dropping off my files with the coordinator, there was another case that was not moving towards settlement. Part of it was the landlord's belief that there was no way in hell that anyone would take the tenant's case to trial at the last minute. The pro tem, who has a mediation practice, was looking for a way to get the landlord convinced that doing a deal today would be better. When he saw me, since I've appeared before him before, he came up with an idea.

A statute of liberty play.

Basically, I sat on a bench in the hallway reading my treo (science fiction not law related) and looked over at the tenant next to me every so often.

Suddenly the landlord changed his tune and started dealing. Amazing what I can accomplish when I do nothing.