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Trials & Litigation

Lawyers Seek Lead Status in West Suit

Posted Jun 15, 2007 7:52 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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Lawyers are battling over lead counsel status in the class action lawsuit that claims West Publishing Corp. conspired with Kaplan Inc. to monopolize their markets for test preparation courses.

West owns BAR/BRI, the nation's largest provider of bar review courses, and Kaplan offers courses to prepare for the Law School Aptitude Test.

Ben Nutley, of Kendrick & Nutley based in Pasadena, Calif., represents seven people who object to a proposed $49 million settlement that would give each class member about $125. He has asked the court to make him co-lead counsel along with Los Angeles-based Howarth & Smith, the National Law Journal reports.

Current lead counsel is McGuireWoods, which acquired the firm that first represented the class.

Nutley told the legal newspaper he estimates that more than 20 lawyers have filed objections to the proposed settlement.

Eliot Disner, a former McGuireWoods partner who brought the case, also wanted to be named co-lead counsel and to have access to case files. Disner was kicked out of his firm after he filed briefs for three name plaintiffs objecting to West’s part of the settlement.

U.S. District Judge Manuel Real denied Disner’s request on Wednesday, the legal newspaper reports.

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