Best Buy Lawyer Admits Falsifying Docs in Suit

Best Buy finds itself in the embarrassing position of having to explain its lawyer's conduct after he admitted to falsifying documents in a class-action lawsuit against the company.

The suit alleges that the electronics retailer was signing up customers for MSN Internet service without their consent between 1999 and 2003, which resulted in credit card charges the consumer did not authorize. Best Buy received a cut for each customer it registered.

Approximately 100,000 were affected by the practice, and Microsoft is accused of allowing it to continue. However, with these latest developments, if the judge enters a decision against Best Buy, Microsoft would basically no longer be liable.

Minneapolis lawyer Timothy Block acknowledged that he altered both e-mails and a memo before turning them over to plaintiffs. In addition, Best Buy has been chastised in the past for not cooperating with the court in turning over documents.

Block's law firm has since asked to be removed from the case, and the judge will rule June 22 whether to grant the withdrawal. He has told the court that neither Best Buy nor his firm -- Robins, Kaplan, Miller and Ciresi -- were aware of his actions.

He has also reported his actions to Minnesota and the three other states in which he holds licensing, and is said to be on leave for stress and depression.

While Block claims Best Buy was not aware of his actions, lawyer's for the plaintiffs are not buying it.

"Best Buy has been violating court orders willfully. This is sort of the last step," lawyer Beth Terell told the Associated Press.

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