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Today's Date: U.S. Attorney News Feed
Prosecutor in Apple Case Joins Law Firm
Headline News | 2007/01/21 22:20

Christopher J. Steskal, a lead prosecutor of a federal task force investigating the backdating of stock options at Apple Inc. and other companies, is leaving his San Francisco post to join a law firm, the United State Attorney’s office in San Francisco confirmed late Friday.

Mr. Steskal’s decision follows the recent resignation of his boss, United States Attorney Kevin V. Ryan.

Mr. Steskal also was the lead prosecutor in the government’s case against Gregory L. Reyes, the former chief executive of Brocade Communications Systems.

Mr. Steskal, who was to try Mr. Reyes’s case in June in San Francisco, is the second of five assistant United States attorneys on the task force to leave since its formation in July. He said he would join the San Francisco office of Fenwick & West within 30 days.

William J. Portanova, a criminal defense attorney and former federal prosecutor, said that he believed that the Brocade case would not suffer, no matter who is picked to succeed Mr. Steskal.

“The government has people stacked up ready to pick up the case and run with it,” he said.

Luke Macaulay, a spokesman for the United States Attorney’s office in San Francisco, said that one of two prosecutors the office is planning to hire would replace Mr. Steskal on the task force.



Klein to join law firm BLG as business adviser
Headline News | 2007/01/20 01:01

Less than a week after leaving provincial politics, former Alberta premier Ralph Klein has joined a top law firm to advise clients on business opportunities in the booming province.

Ralph Klein, the former Alberta premier whose grip on office earned him the sobriquet King Ralph, has gone from reigning to making rain.

The one-time TV reporter and high-school dropout announced yesterday he is joining national law firm Borden Ladner Gervais LLP as senior business adviser, just one month after resigning as premier and three days after relinquishing his seat in the Alberta Legislative Assembly.

Although not licensed to practise law, Mr. Klein says he will act as a resource for BLG lawyers working on files of key personal interest, such as energy development, health care reform and the evolution in securities law, among other things -- "although I need to bone up a bit on securities legislation."

Klein will devote about spend two-thirds of his time to the law firm and be based out of its Calgary office.

He is working with former Newfoundland premier Brian Tobin to develop an energy policy for the Fraser Institute and he’s joining another conservative think-tank, the Manning Centre for Building Democracy.

Klein will be a guest lecturer in the fall at the prestigious Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. The former premier also has commitments to be executive in residence at the University of Alberta, and chair of communications at Calgary’s Mount Royal College.



Secret Court to Govern Wiretapping Plan
Headline News | 2007/01/17 21:37

The Justice Department, easing a Bush administration policy, said Wednesday it has decided to give an independent body authority to monitor the government's controversial domestic spying program.

In a letter to the leaders of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales said this authority has been given to the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court and that it already has approved one request for monitoring the communications of a person believed to be linked to al-Qaida or an associated terror group.

The court orders approving collection of international communications _ whether it originates in the United States or abroad _ was issued Jan. 10, according to the two-page letter to Sens. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa.

"As a result of these orders, any electronic surveillance that was occurring as part of the Terrorist Surveillance Program will now be conducted subject to the approval of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court," Gonzales wrote in the letter, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.

"Accordingly, under these circumstances, the President has determined not to reauthorize the Terrorist Surveillance Program when the current authorization expires," the attorney general wrote.

The Bush administration secretly launched the surveillance program in 2001 to monitor international phone calls and e-mails to or from the United States involving people suspected by the government of having terrorist links.

The White House said it is satisfied that the new guidelines meet its concerns about national security.

"The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court has put together its guidelines and its rules and those have met administration concerns about speed and agility when it comes to responding to bits of intelligence where we may to be able to save American lives," White House press secretary Tony Snow said.

Snow said he could not explain why those concerns could not have been addressed before the program was started. He said the president will not reauthorize the present program because the new rules will serve as guideposts.



Tampa law firm faces contingency fees lawsuit
Headline News | 2007/01/14 00:49

A Tampa law firm that has garnered millions of dollars in neglect and abuse settlements and lawsuits against nursing homes in Florida and around the country is now on the defense end of a suit that contends the firm knowingly violated Tennessee law regarding contingency fees.

The lawsuit against the firm, Wilkes & McHugh, was filed in December in U.S. District Court in the Western District of Tennessee.

Plaintiff Debbie Howard hired the firm several years ago to sue a Memphis nursing home in the death of her grandmother for medical negligence, according to the 38-page complaint.

The class-action claim states Wilkes & McHugh engaged in an unlawful scheme to collect 40 percent or 45 percent in contingency fees of settlement amounts, although Tennessee law caps fees to 33 and 1/3 percent in medical malpractice cases. The complaint says the law firm charged the higher and unlawful contingency fee to hundreds of clients in Tennessee.

“Although it has never actually tried any of these nursing home lawsuits in Tennessee, defendant Wilkes & McHugh has reaped tens of millions of dollars in legal fees from settlements ... paid by nursing home defendants to their Tennessee clients during the Class period,” according to the complaint.



Supreme Court to review light cigarette dispute
Headline News | 2007/01/13 03:31


The US Supreme Court Friday granted certiorari in four cases, including one that will determine if tobacco companies are protected from judgments in state courts on the grounds that cigarettes are federally regulated. The appeal, Watson v. Philip Morris, Cos. (05-1284), was filed by two Arkansas women who found their state court case against Phillip Morris for advertising claims of low tar and nicotine in “light” cigarettes, being removed to federal jurisdiction. Phillip Morris argued that the “unprecedented, detailed, and direct control” exerted by the Federal Trade Commission over cigarette advertising made the company a “person acting under” a federal officer, and convinced the US Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that removal on those grounds were justified.


Moss Adams New Audit Firm for Cherokee, Inc.
Headline News | 2007/01/12 20:51

SALT LAKE CITY-ZEVEX International, Inc. (NASDAQ: ZVXI) has executed a definitive Merger Agreement with Moog Inc. (NYSE: MOG.A and MOG.B). Upon the closing of the merger, ZEVEX will become a wholly-owned subsidiary of Moog. The merger is expected to close in March, 2007.

Upon the closing of the merger, each share of ZEVEX common stock that is issued and outstanding immediately prior to the closing, and each outstanding restricted stock unit that is convertible into shares of ZEVEX common stock, will be converted into the right to receive from Moog $13.00 in cash. Each outstanding option for shares of common stock will automatically be converted into the right to receive $13.00 per share for each share of common stock that is purchasable pursuant such option, less the per share exercise price of each such share. The maximum aggregate purchase price in the merger is $83.8 million. Moog intends to pay this purchase price from an existing line of credit.

The per share price of $13.00 represents a premium of approximately 36 percent above the average trading price of ZEVEX common stock during the past 30-day period. A.G. Edwards & Sons, Inc. was engaged to act as financial advisor to ZEVEX's Board of Directors and delivered an opinion to the Board that, as of the date of the opinion, the consideration to be received by the shareholders pursuant to the terms of the merger agreement is fair, from a financial point of view, to the shareholders of ZEVEX. The law firm of Jones, Waldo, Holbrook and McDonough acted as legal advisors to ZEVEX.

The merger is subject to certain conditions, including regulatory approval and approval by ZEVEX stockholders. ZEVEX will solicit approval of the merger from its stockholders by means of a proxy statement, which will be mailed to ZEVEX stockholders upon completion of the required filing and review process by the Securities and Exchange Commission. That proxy statement and other relevant documents filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission will contain information about ZEVEX, Moog, and the proposed merger. STOCKHOLDERS ARE URGED TO READ THE PROXY STATEMENT AND OTHER RELEVANT DOCUMENTS CAREFULLY WHEN THEY ARE AVAILABLE BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION THAT STOCKHOLDERS SHOULD CONSIDER BEFORE MAKING A DECISION ABOUT THE MERGER. In addition to receiving the proxy statement by mail, stockholders will also be able to obtain the proxy statement, as well as other filings (including annual, quarterly and current reports) containing information about ZEVEX, without charge, at the Securities and Exchange Commission’s website (http://www.sec.gov). Stockholders may also obtain copies of these documents without charge by requesting them from ZEVEX in writing at 4314 ZEVEX Park Lane, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84123, or by phone at (801) 264-1001, extension 203.

Following the merger, ZEVEX will become a part of Moog’s Medical Devices Segment. ZEVEX will continue normal operations through its two primary divisions, Applied Technology and Therapeutics, located in Salt Lake City. ZEVEX President and Chief Executive Officer, David J. McNally, said, “We are delighted to announce our acquisition by Moog. We are pleased that our operations will remain in Salt Lake City, where 178 employees continue to serve the customer base that we have developed over the past 20 years. For our customers, we will expand our offering of fluid delivery technologies, based upon Moog’s electronic and disposable infusion products, as well as on Moog’s proven fluid management expertise in demanding industrial, commercial aircraft, and aerospace applications.”

Martin Berardi, Vice President and head of the Medical Devices Segment of Moog, said, “This acquisition is a perfect fit, based upon the excellent product offering and quality reputation of ZEVEX. We believe that ZEVEX’s personnel, technology portfolio, and existing customer base provide a platform on which we can generate new growth in fluid delivery applications, including enteral feeding, and from which we can expand our product lines of medical sensors and surgical tools.”



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