Comverse

david souter.jpg* Another day, another deepening of the doo-doo over at HP. Now the plot is taking on a “made-for-television-movie” feel: “[D]etectives tried to plant software on at least one journalist’s computer that would enable messages to be traced.” [New York Times]
* National security adviser Stephen Hadley indicates that the White House is trying to reach a compromise with Republican Senators over what the CIA can and cannot do when interrogating terror suspects. [New York Times]
* A medical examiner hired by successful Supreme Court litigant Anna Nicole Smith performed a second autopsy on Smith’s 20-year-old son over the weekend. The cause of death has not yet been determined, but heart disease, stroke, or a “congenital anomaly” have been ruled out. [Associated Press]
* Options backdating defendant William Sorin was outside general counsel at Comverse Technology — a rather unusual arrangement. Sorin was awarded millions of dollars worth of stock options, even though he wasn’t even a salaried employee of the company. [Corporate Counsel]
* A happy 67th birthday to Justice David H. Souter. And some advice: Don’t eat that cupcake sent over by Ann Coulter, even if she did stick a cute little candle in it. [How Appealing]

Sometimes a dying person twitches and convulses violently before finally biting the big one. Such is the case with Milberg Weiss, which is showing a few final signs of life. The New York Law Journal passes along this good news for our favorite class-action complaint assembly line:

A New York judge has given a boost to Milberg Weiss Bershad & Schulman by appointing the embattled law firm co-lead counsel in a consolidated suit over stock-option backdating….

Manhattan Supreme Court Justice Richard Lowe said in a decision dated July 13 that the firm’s indictment had no bearing on its ability to handle a batch of derivative suits on behalf of individual investors in voicemail software company Comverse Technology, Inc., whose top executives allegedly enriched themselves by almost $400 million by repricing stock option grants.

In addition, in a catty footnote, the judge took a swipe at Bernstein Litowitz, one of the firms that tried to replace Milberg Weiss as lead counsel:

Justice Lowe also said in his footnote it was “disingenuous” for Bernstein Litowitz to raise the issue of Milberg Weiss’ indictment and its impact on the Comverse matter “since the attorney representing LSERS [Bernstein's client] was himself a partner at Milberg Weiss, a member of its Management Committee, and was at Milberg Weiss when this action was commenced.”

The judge was referring to Salvatore Graziano, who announced plans to leave Milberg Weiss in March.

There are few things more fun to watch than scrappy plaintiffs’ lawyers going at each other’s throats. Milberg Weiss and Bernstein Litowitz deserve each other.
NY Judge Backs Indicted Firm for Spot in Backdating Case [New York Law Journal]