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Class Action Lawsuits

BUSINESS
July 12, 2008 | From Times Wire Services
Lawyer Paul T. Selzer, the final defendant in a federal kickback case involving class-action lawsuits against big corporations, has agreed to plead guilty to a tax-related felony, prosecutors said. In a plea agreement filed in federal court in Los Angeles this week, prosecutors said Selzer accepted $49,539 from the Milberg Weiss law firm and then transferred nearly $19,000 to Seymour Lazar, a plaintiff in class-action lawsuits brought by Milberg. Selzer failed to tell the Internal Revenue Service that Lazar was the true beneficiary of the payment and other fees, to the plea document said.
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NEWS
May 25, 2008 | John Dunbar, Associated Press Writer
The head of the Federal Communications Commission said Friday that he wanted to regulate the fees charged cellphone users who cancel their wireless contracts early. At a news conference, FCC Chairman Kevin Martin would not say whether he endorsed an industry plan to help consumers avoid "early termination fees" that was reported by the Associated Press this week. But Martin said he supported regulating the fees at a federal level, even if it affects a series of class-action lawsuits against carriers in state courts.
BUSINESS
February 23, 2008 | From Times Staff and Wire Reports
A member of the prosecution team that won guilty pleas from class-action lawyer William Lerach and two of his ex-partners has left the U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles, returning to private practice after five years. Robert J. McGahan, 44, is now a partner in the L.A. office of Goodwin Procter, a Boston-headquartered firm with 850 lawyers nationwide. He will focus on white-collar crime and government investigations. McGahan's last day as a prosecutor was Feb. 11, the day Lerach was sentenced to two years in prison for his role in a kickback scheme to pay plaintiffs who agreed to lend their names to class-action lawsuits.
BUSINESS
January 5, 2008 | Lisa Girion, Times Staff Writer
A state appeals court Thursday vacated its month-old decision that had allowed policyholders the right to sue as a class over canceled health coverage and granted Blue Shield of California a rehearing on the hotly contested issue. The Dec. 4 ruling was a victory for consumers. Then, the state Court of Appeal in Los Angeles opened the door to class-action lawsuits by policyholders who had been dropped after they filed claims for medical care.
OPINION
October 31, 2007
Famous -- or make that infamous -- class-action attorney William S. Lerach pleaded guilty Monday to one count of conspiracy, admitting his role in a $11.3-million kickback scandal that has upended his former law firm, the pathbreaking shareholder advocacy firm of Milberg Weiss. As part of his plea, Lerach will pay $8 million to the federal government, and could spend up to two years in prison.
BUSINESS
October 19, 2007 | From the Associated Press
A man prosecutors say was paid about $2.6 million to be a professional plaintiff who helped a New York law firm get lucrative class-action lawsuits pleaded guilty Thursday to obstruction of justice and two other charges. After reaching a plea deal, Seymour Lazar, 80, of Palm Springs appeared before U.S. District Judge John Walter in Los Angeles. He also pleaded guilty to one count each of subscribing to a false tax return and making a false declaration.
BUSINESS
September 22, 2007 | From Times Wire Services
TJX Cos. said it and Fifth Third Bancorp had agreed to settle class-action lawsuits brought on behalf of customers in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada who were victims of a criminal intrusion into TJX's computer system. Under the settlement, customers of TJX stores who had their driver's license or other identification information stolen after making returns without a receipt are being offered two to three years of credit monitoring and identity theft insurance and the cost of replacing IDs.
BUSINESS
September 18, 2007 | Molly Selvin, Times Staff Writer
Celebrated securities lawyer William S. Lerach, who recouped billions of dollars for defrauded shareholders and collected billions in legal fees, has agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy in an alleged kickback scheme and could serve as long as two years in prison, people familiar with the situation said Monday.
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