Start tracking the train suits.


The widow of the Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy killed in the Jan. 26 Metrolink crash has retained three local attorneys to file a lawsuit against Metrolink.


Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi LLP partner Jerome Ringler will be joined by Tom Kearney and Gregory Emerson, attorneys from other firms, in representing Rita Kay Tutino, whose husband James Tutino was one of 11 people killed in the crash.


Earlier this month, Ringler received an $8.5 million settlement on behalf of a Metrolink conductor who was injured in 2002 after the train he was riding collided with a Burlington Northern and Santa Fe Railway train in Orange County. Ringler also represented a woman in December who received a $9 million jury verdict for injuries sustained from the Orange County crash.


Technology Boon


A duo of transactional attorneys opened a new firm last month, seeking to capitalize on new business being generated by a reviving technology and venture capital sector.


Lee Weinberg, a senior executive at AEi Systems, and Louis Dienes, a sole practitioner, formed Weinberg Dienes LLP in Century City last month. Dienes said the firm is in final talks with two other attorneys to join them.


Geared toward startups, the firm expects to offer better prices for work such as private placements, acquisitions and negotiating terms with venture funds.


"A lot of learning has occurred in the last four years in the down cycle," said Dienes, who had been at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP for nine years before leaving in late 2003 because of a shortage of work. "The risk has gone out of the marketplace, and people are starting to make investments of this type again."


Prior to joining AEi, Weinberg was co-founder and chief executive of marketing firm Sales Mountain, which was sold in 2002. He also is a former associate at Riordan & McKinzie, now part of Bingham McCutchen LLP. The firm's clients include Chanin Capital Partners and Axium International, Dienes said.


New Properties


A former associate at Allen Matkins Leck Gamble & Mallory LLP has become senior vice president and general counsel at Los Angeles commercial real estate firm BentleyForbes.


William Birney said he will be involved in transactions at BentleyForbes, a privately held firm that manages a $1 billion portfolio nationwide. "I don't sit on the executive committee, but will be part of the team that reviews and analyzes the transactions," he said.


Before joining Allen Matkins six years ago, Birney was a project leader of the correspondent lending division of Countrywide Home Loans.


Staff reporter Amanda Bronstad can be reached at (323) 549-5225, ext. 225, or at abronstad@labusinessjournal.com .

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