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$50M Settles Suit Vs. N.Y. Law Firm

April 13, 1999

CHICAGO (AP) _ The dean of the University of Chicago’s law school and his former partners in a consulting company agreed to a $50 million settlement today in their lawsuit against a law firm that they claim abused the legal system in an act of revenge.

The settlement came one day after a U.S. District Court jury awarded Daniel Fischel and his former partners $45 million in compensatory damage in their lawsuit against the New York firm of Milberg Weiss Bershad Hynes & Lerach. If the lawsuit had not been settled today, the jury would have been asked to award punitive damages on top of the $45 million.

Fischel would not comment on the settlement, which concludes a nearly decade-old legal battle between the law firm and Chicago-based Lexecon Inc., a legal and economics consulting firm.

``Because he’s the dean of the law school he just doesn’t want to fan the flames,″ his attorney, Alan N. Salpeter, told reporters. ``He’s extremely pleased with this result.″

Under the settlement, the parties agree that no appeals will be filed. Milberg Weiss denied any wrongdoing.

Jerold Solovy, who represented Milberg Weiss, said after the verdict Monday that he was shocked by the decision. He left the courthouse today without commenting.

The dispute began when Milberg Weiss named Lexecon in a lawsuit brought on behalf of investors in Charles Keating’s failed Lincoln Savings and Loan. The consulting firm had prepared financial reports for the California-based S&L, which was seized by federal regulators in 1989 and then collapsed, costing taxpayers $3.4 billion.

Investors who lost money sued, naming Lexecon as a defendant. Lexecon paid more than $700,000 to investors in 1992 to resolve claims, but sued Milberg Weiss alleging the firm had sought to destroy its business by destroying its reputation.

The law firm was accused of targeting Fischel, who had testified as an expert witness on the opposite side of shareholder class-action lawsuits involving Milberg Weiss.

Lawyers for Milberg Weiss contended Lexecon had been sued for a legitimate reason: It had once been a consultant and helped defraud investors of Lincoln Savings.

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