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Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Sunday, May 29, 2005

Misplaced Anger

On May 16th a Palm Beach County jury awarded Ronald Perelman 1.4 billion dollars in his suit against Morgan Stanley Dean Witter, the investment house. The suit was due to a deal Morgan Stanley brokered over the sale of a Perelman company to Sunbeam Inc. Shortly after the deal was completed, Sunbeam disclosed it had misreported earlier earnings and its stock plummeted. Including Stock Mr. Perelman got as a result of this business deal.

Morgan Stanley unhappy over the verdict has continued a vendetta against the Judge who presided over the trial, Elizabeth Maass. Accusing her of bias, and filing a motion to have her dismissed before the trial and now continuing to complain to the Florida bar over her rulings at trial. Here is the Palm Beach Post Story from today. For the whole story-

WEST PALM BEACH — A Wall Street firm's criticism of Circuit Judge Elizabeth Maass is rankling local attorneys who describe her as one of the brightest and hardest-working judges on the bench.

"It's a lot like tar and feathering," said Stuart Z. Grossman, a Boca Raton attorney and former member of the Florida Bar's board of governors. "There isn't any question that it's going over the line."

Maass became a target of the Morgan Stanley investment bank, which lost a $1.45 billion fraud case in her courtroom this month. After the five-week trial, the bank issued a statement saying it was a victim of "judicial bias."

Earlier, personal shots were leveled at the judge in mid-April when the bank labeled her "an advocate and advisor" for Ronald Perelman, the billionaire investor who sued Morgan Stanley over a 1998 business deal.

"To insinuate that a judge is biased for or against a side, I think, is inappropriate," said Stanley Klett Jr., president of the Palm Beach County Bar Association. "I very seldom have heard of anyone come out so blatantly and attack the judge."

Maass, a judge since 1990, was given above-average marks for impartiality in a 2002 poll of Bar Association attorneys.

Morgan Stanley moved to remove Maass from the case in mid-April when she shifted the burden of proof from Perelman to Morgan Stanley to punish the bank for withholding of e-mail evidence. The ruling meant the jury would be instructed by the court that Morgan Stanley participated in the fraud. The jury's job was limited to deciding whether Perelman relied on fraudulent representations from the bank and, if so, how much he should recover in damages.

In its motion to disqualify the judge, Morgan Stanley said that even her body language favored the other side. During opening statements, the motion charged, Maass paid close attention to attorneys for Perelman but at times worked on her computer when the bank's attorney spoke.

It seems pretty clear to me MS tried to coverup their sorry conduct in the Sunbeam fraud. I am glad that I stopped doing business with these people some years back. They will sell their souls and screw their investors for a dollar. Save the PR and ante up Morgan Stanley.

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