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Okla. attorney challenges citizen lawsuit change - RealClearPolitics
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October 06, 2011The Associated Press

Legislation that makes it more difficult for residents to file a legal action to stop government wrongdoing violates the Oklahoma Constitution and provides increased protection for government corruption, an attorney argued in a lawsuit filed Thursday.

Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent is trying to prevent the law from taking effect Nov. 1. He argues in his lawsuit, filed at the Oklahoma Supreme Court, that the plan approved during the last legislative session would make it more difficult for taxpayers to sue over government corruption.

"Why would the Legislature want to do that? Unless they want to make it harder for the taxpayer to find out what the corruption is in the government," Fent said.

Under the proposed new law, the number of signatures required for so-called "qui tam" lawsuits _ or filings by a group of citizens to stop a questionable government action _ would change from 10 taxpayers to 100 registered voters.

Sen. Rob Johnson, who wrote the bill, said the intent was to keep a small group of disgruntled citizens from delaying government projects. He said he believes the new 100-voter requirement is "very reasonable."

Under current law, if such a taxpayer action against government wrongdoing is successful, the resident taxpayer who initiated the suit is entitled to recover half of the value of the money or property that is in dispute as a reward. That provision also was changed under Johnson's bill to allow only for the recovery of reasonable attorney fees and court costs.

"Qui tam" is short for a Latin phrase meaning "one who sues the king and on his own behalf."

Source: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/news/ap/politics/2011/Oct/06/okla__attorney_challenges_citizen_lawsuit_change.html

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States' attorney generals concerned about Express Scripts-Medco merger - STLtoday.com
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A coalition of state attorneys general have launched an inquiry into the proposed merger of St. Louis-based Express Scripts and pharmacy benefit giant Medco Health Solutions.

The states have voiced their concerns about the planned merger to the Federal Trade Commission, which is scrutinizing the deal to determine whether it complies with antitrust laws and consumer protection goals.

Reuters reported on Thursday that more than 25 states were examining the merger. The news agency quoted James Donahue, the chief deputy attorney general in Pennsylvania, who has led a multistate task force that coordinates antitrust cases and advocates competition before federal and state courts and administrative agencies including the FTC and Justice Department.

An Express Scripts spokesman acknowledged that the company had held discussions with representatives from some of the states.

"We understand there are a number of state attorneys general who are looking into the transaction," said Express Scripts spokesman Thom Gross. "This is an ordinary course for a merger of this nature.

"As is generally the case, they are working in conjunction with the FTC and we have spoken to some of them directly. We will continue to work with the FTC and those states that have requested information."

Gross declined to say what type of information the states were seeking. "We're still expecting to get the deal done in the first half of next year. That hasn't changed," he said. "At this point, we can't speculate on the FTC's timing."

Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster's office is reviewing the merger but called the inquiry routine.

"We are looking at it as we often look at mergers," said office press secretary Nanci Gonder. "At this point we're just reviewing."

The proposed $29.1 billion merger, announced in July, would combine two of the nation's three largest pharmacy benefit managers, double the size of Express Scripts, and produce the largest company in its field. The combined entity would have one third of the multi-billion dollar U.S. market for managing prescriptions for employers and insurers.

Express Scripts reported revenue last year of $111 billion. Medco, based in Franklin Lakes, N.J., had revenue of $66 billion.

Express Scripts has tussled previously with state regulatory agencies.

In 2008, Express Scripts and CIGNA Life Insurance Co. agreed to pay $27 million to settle a lawsuit filed by New York's attorney general that accused the two companies of switching patients to higher-priced or higher profit-margin drugs by contacting their doctor without their knowledge.

The same year, Express Scripts agreed to pay a $9.3 million settlement to a coalition of 29 states, as well as up to $200,000 in reimbursement to patients who incurred expenses related to certain switches regarding cholesterol drugs. The states had accused the pharmacy benefit manager of deceptive business practices. Express Scripts also agreed to make certain disclosures to consumers, doctors and employers about its business practices.

The FTC's Bureau of Competition is tasked with reviewing mergers and acquisitions, and challenging those that would probably lead to higher prices, fewer choices, or less innovation.

Community pharmacists have challenged the proposed merger on the grounds that it will result in part in higher consumer prices and limit consumer choice. In particular, they fear that the combined entity will have more power to steer clients toward receiving their prescriptions through its own mail-order business rather than retail pharmacies.

In a filing lodged at the Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday, Express Scripts stated that the merger talks were initiated by Medco chairman David Snow, who telephoned Express Scripts chairman George Paz on June 10 to discuss the possibility of a business combination. Several weeks later, on July 21, the two companies announced the deal.

Source: http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNFssQIYhw3hlbgg4LjiW3mfDm2L9g&url=http://www.stltoday.com/business/local/article_f0700196-efab-5cea-a618-60f351531ef6.html

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Attorney cites 'anger' in underwear bomb jury pool - Atlanta Journal Constitution
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National / World News 12:11 p.m. Thursday, October 6, 2011

By ED WHITE

The Associated Press

DETROIT ? A juror has been dismissed just 30 minutes after being selected for the trial of a Nigerian man accused of trying to bring down a plane over Detroit with a bomb in his underwear.

In this courtroom drawing, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab appears in U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds' courtroom in Detroit, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. Jury selection in the trial of the Nigerian man accused of trying to bring down a jetliner with a bomb in his underwear got under way in Detroit with a dozen people accepted into the jury pool and four excused. The government alleges Abdulmutallab says he wanted to become a martyr when he boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253 in Amsterdam on Christmas 2009. In the background is U.S. District (AP Photo/Jerry Lemenu)
In this courtroom drawing, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, left, appears in federal court in Detroit, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011 with Anthony Chambers, a lawyer who is assisting him in his defense. Jury selection in the trial of the Nigerian man accused of trying to bring down a jetliner with a bomb in his underwear got under way in Detroit with a dozen people accepted into the jury pool and four excused. The government alleges Abdulmutallab says he wanted to become a martyr when he boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253 in Amsterdam on Christmas 2009. (AP Photo/Jerry Lemenu)
In this courtroom drawing, Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab appears in U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds' courtroom in Detroit, Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2011. Jury selection in the trial of the Nigerian man accused of trying to bring down a jetliner with a bomb in his underwear got under way in Detroit with a dozen people accepted into the jury pool and four excused. The government alleges Abdulmutallab says he wanted to become a martyr when he boarded Northwest Airlines Flight 253 in Amsterdam on Christmas 2009. In the background is U.S. District (AP Photo/Jerry Lemenu)

U.S. District Judge Nancy Edmunds on Thursday dismissed the woman who is from the defendant's home country shortly after a final jury was selected.

Edmunds did not explain the dismissal in court.

___

October 06, 2011 12:11 PM EDT

Copyright 2011, The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNEZ05u2UpmvOs1RRQ7qxNl-nBWb-A&url=http://www.ajc.com/news/nation-world/attorney-cites-anger-in-1195433.html

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Republicans Say Holder Received at Least 5 Fast and Furious Memos - Fox News
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eric holder_091911

AP2011

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder speaks during the Secretary-General's Symposium on International Counter-Terrorism Conference during the 66th session of the General Assembly at United Nations headquarters on Monday, Sept. 19, 2011.

Top congressional Republicans said Thursday that Attorney General Eric Holder received at least five weekly memos starting in July 2010 about the controversial gunrunning probe known as Operation Fast and Furious, though he claimed this past May he only learned of the operation a few weeks prior. 

Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, and Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., released a series of heavily redacted memos apparently sent to Holder from Michael Walther, the director of the National Drug Intelligence Center. They appear to describe an operation involving the straw purchase of hundreds of firearms that went to Mexican drug cartels. 

"With the fairly detailed information that the attorney general read, it seems the logical question for the attorney general after reading in the memo would be 'why haven't we stopped them?'" Grassley said in a statement. 

Issa claimed Holder "has failed to give Congress and the American people an honest account of what he and other." 

The release of the documents comes as House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, requests President Obama instruct the Department of Justice to appoint a special counsel. 

But Obama on Thursday said he has "complete confidence" in Holder and his handling of the Justice Department. 

"He has been very aggressive in going after gunrunning and cash transactions that have been going to these transnational drug cartels," Obama told reporters at a White House press conference. 

"He's indicated that he was not aware of what was happening in Fast and Furious and certainly I was not, and I think both he and I would have been very unhappy if somebody had suggested that guns were allowed to pass through that could have been prevented by the United States of America."

Through Fast and Furious, hundreds of firearms were allowed to walk across the U.S.-Mexico border, some later turning up at bloody crime scenes. The focus has turned lately to what Holder knew and when he knew it. 

He said under oath in May: "I'm not sure of the exact date, but I probably heard about Fast and Furious for the first time over the last few weeks." 

But documents that started to surface earlier in the week suggested Justice officials at least tried to inform Holder. The latest memos show he was notified of the program repeatedly, though it's not clear to what degree Holder paid attention to the memos. 

The Justice Department defended Holder earlier this week in a statement. 

"The Attorney General's testimony to both the House and the Senate was consistent and truthful," the statement said. "He said in both March and May of this year that he became aware of the questionable tactics employed in the Fast and Furious Operation in early 2011 when ATF agents first raised them publicly, and at the time, he asked the Inspector General's office to investigate the matter."

Source: http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNGVtgOBcN6yvu83wW9bZJ4V0DfA7A&url=http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2011/10/06/republicans-say-holder-received-at-least-5-fast-and-furious-memos/

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US and New York Sue BNY Mellon - Wall Street Journal
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BY CARRICK MOLLENKAMP

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. was hit by a one-two legal punch that escalates a currency-trading crisis for one of the nation's largest banks.

The Justice Department and New York's attorney general filed separate civil lawsuits alleging that the bank fraudulently charged clients for currency transactions.

Filed within hours of each other late Tuesday, the suits allege that BNY Mellon defrauded or misled state and public pension funds, private companies, universities and banks in a decade-long scheme of overcharging for foreign exchange.

The move by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan is the first time federal prosecutors have filed a ...

BY CARRICK MOLLENKAMP

Bank of New York Mellon Corp. was hit by a one-two legal punch that escalates a currency-trading crisis for one of the nation's largest banks.

The Justice Department and New York's attorney general filed separate civil lawsuits alleging that the bank fraudulently charged clients for currency transactions.

Filed within hours of each other late Tuesday, the suits allege that BNY Mellon defrauded or misled state and public pension funds, private companies, universities and banks in a decade-long scheme of overcharging for foreign exchange.

The move by the U.S. attorney in Manhattan is the first time federal prosecutors have filed a ...

Source: http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNFTWKKhmYSQDOSxzlGzMI0h-tN1ww&url=http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203791904576611313866750194.html

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Samsung Attorney Says No Deal With Apple Over Tablet In Australia
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SYDNEY -(Dow Jones)- An attorney for Samsung Electronics Co. (005930.SE) said Tuesday the company hasn't reached a deal with Apple Inc. (AAPL) that would allow the sale of the South Korean company's tablet computer in Australia.

Hoping to launch the Galaxy Tab 10.1 device in Australia in about a week, lawyers for Samsung on Friday offered Apple a deal on a patent dispute over the two companies' tablet computers.

"No agreement has been reached," Samsung's attorney Neil Young told the Federal Court on Tuesday. "The parties are a considerable distance apart," he said.

Apple has brought a number of cases against Samsung in markets worldwide since April, claiming its smartphones and tablet computers have "slavishly" copied the iPhone and iPad. It has also filed suits in Germany, Japan, France and South Korea.

In Sydney, Apple is seeking a temporary sales injunction ahead of a final hearing that could go on for months. At stake is Samsung's access to the Australian market, where Apple has sold an estimated 500,000 iPads, according to a Credit Suisse report in June.

Apple has been pushing for an early final hearing and Samsung has previously said that it would prefer for a final hearing to take place next year to allow it more time to prepare. However, as part of the deal it offered to Apple last week, Samsung was willing to consider an earlier final hearing date.

Apple attorney Stephen Burley said the company has requested more details regarding Samsung's offer and didn't reject it outright.

"There is no problem whatsoever, your honour," he said. The items of correspondence between them, which Samsung took as knocking back their offer, "were requests for details, not a rejection of the offer," Burley said.

Copyright © 2011 Dow Jones Newswires

Source: http://www.foxbusiness.com/technology/2011/10/03/samsung-attorney-says-no-deal-with-apple-over-tablet-in-australia/

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Foreclosure help among legal needs of NY poor - Forbes
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- The mortgage crisis has forced tens of thousands of New Yorkers to battle for their homes, nearly half of them facing foreclosure without a lawyer to defend them, according to the state attorney general's office.

Executive Deputy Attorney General Martin Mack said Monday that abuses by lenders and debt collectors, including foreclosures without proper documentation or chain of title, only happened because they can assume those borrowers don't have attorneys. He testified before the state's top administrative judges on the need for civil legal services for the poor.

"New Yorkers threatened with foreclosure have only the promise of a fair legal system to protect them from being homeless and having their American dream die an unjust, and untimely death," Mack said. "Even with special state legislative funding for foreclosure prevention services and the surge of pro bono assistance, across the state, 44 percent of New Yorkers facing foreclosure lack legal representation."

However, Mack said that foreclosure filings in the state have been "dramatically reduced" by Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman's requirement last Oct. 20 that lender attorneys affirm they took reasonable steps to make sure residential foreclosure documents are accurate.

According to the Office of Court Administration, New York had 22,601 residential and commercial foreclosure filings in 2005. Last year, there were 35,937 residential foreclosure filings, with the residential total projected to decline to 9,236 this year.

The attorney general's office has been investigating mortgage practices, including the bundling of troubled loans into troubled securities whose sharp decline contributed to tumbling financial markets and the national recession.

"These are difficult times. And particularly in these difficult times the least advantaged in our society are the ones most at risk in our legal system," Lippman said, opening the hearing. Recent statistics show 20 percent of New York City's people living at or below the poverty level, as well as 15 percent of New Yorkers outside the city, and he said the judiciary has a moral, ethical and constitutional obligation to support civil legal services for the poor and equal justice under law.

That also helps the economy and reduces homelessness, social services and prison time, Lippman said. A judicial task force is examining the gap in services as it relates to housing, safety, income and other basic needs. Last year, $27.5 million was put into the judiciary budget to help fund those services, he said.

Court officials have estimated that 2.3 million New Yorkers are trying to navigate the civil court system without lawyers, including at least 98 percent of tenants in eviction cases and 95 percent of parents in child support matters.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: http://news.google.com/news/url?sa=t&fd=R&usg=AFQjCNERNxo9EpZ5tWFNzt985F5BiBaITQ&url=http://www.forbes.com/feeds/ap/2011/10/04/business-us-ny-legal-services_8715507.html

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