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Use of expert witnesses getting more scrutiny in class certifications (access required)

Expert witnesses

In the year since the U.S. Supreme Court made it tougher for large groups of plaintiffs to prove that they should proceed in a class action, courts have been taking a harder look at a key type of evidence plaintiffs use to make that case: expert witness testimony. Increasingly, federal trial and appellate courts at the class certification stage are applying a tougher standard for admitting expert testimony upon which purported class members often rely, particularly in cases involving toxic tort claims, antitrust actions and even allegations of discrimination.

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Wachovia not only loses case, it loses cash (access required)

Wachovia

Buddy Brand and three of his broker colleagues at the Florence, S.C., office of Wachovia Securities already had one foot out the door when Wachovia fired them in June 2008. Together they’d been planning to open an office in Florence for competitor Stifel Nicolaus & Co. But Wachovia sought to derail that plan, filing an arbitration claim with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority the very next day, alleging that the group had breached their respective contracts with Wachovia, had taken confidential information, and were soliciting existing Wachovia clients.

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A $65,000 makeover (access required)

Lawyer Makeover

South Carolina Bar president A. Marvin Quattlebaum Jr. took office in May 2011, and wasted no time creating a lawyer image task force. The eight-member group quickly began formulating plans to rebuild public perception and stand up for maligned lawyers.

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Interlock Gridlock (access required)

In January, Smart Start Inc. proudly announced its entrée into North Carolina as the first provider of breath alcohol interlock ignition devices to be certified under new DMV standards and procedures. The devices, known by the acronym BAIID, disable a car’s ignition if the driver blows a breath alcohol concentration above a set limit. But the company may have to shut down just as quickly as it started up.

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A Wish List from Attorney General Alan Wilson (access required)

Bills that would clear up South Carolina’s law against human trafficking and levy harsher sentences for some murder crimes are among a 10-point legislative wish list presented last Wednesday by the state’s top prosecutor and law enforcement leaders. “We agree on so much that we need to start working together and speak with one voice,” Wilson said.

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Cribbed plans cost builder $1.4 million (access required)

The middle class dream of four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a two-car garage can manifest itself in thousands of distinct – and copyright-protected - floor plans. So, when a Tennessee builder built more than 75 houses based on plans created by a nationally-known home design company, the company sued for copyright infringement and won $1.4 million.

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