February 11, 2008

William Lerach Sentenced to Maximum Term

Although not directly relevant to punitive damages, since William Lerach has been responsible for seeking major punitive damage awards in the past, his recent sentence and conviction (as well as the information on how he found certain clients) is noteworthy. As reported in the Recorder:

"After criticizing a plea deal, Los Angeles federal Judge John Walter accepted it, but sentenced star plaintiff attorney William Lerach to the highest term under the agreement -- 24 months in federal prison.

Walter hammered prosecutors in court Monday about why they cut the deal with Lerach, who pleaded guilty in connection with kickbacks to lead plaintiffs of his former law firm, now known as Milberg Weiss. Lerach pleaded guilty to a single count of giving an improper payment to a plaintiff.

Checking his famous bravado at the courtroom door, the former securities class action king expressed humble regret as Walter reluctantly accepted the deal hashed out between Lerach and federal prosecutors.

Lerach’s lawyer, John Keker of San Francisco’s Keker & Van Nest, had asked that Lerach serve six months in prison and six months' home confinement, while the government wanted 24 months behind bars."