PARIS — A public prosecutor has once again sided with LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton in its bias suit against investment firm Morgan Stanley.

The prosecutor recently filed an opinion with the appeals court here saying the French luxury group has the right to claim for moral and material prejudice. LVMH is said to be seeking a total claim of 232 million euros, or $276.3 million at current exchange.

In January 2004, the Paris commercial court ordered Morgan Stanley to pay LVMH 30 million euros, or $35.8 million, for "gross misconduct" related to the writings of its luxury goods analyst, Claire Kent. Three months before that, a public prosecutor told the judges he detected fault under French tort law.

Morgan Stanley, which filed its appeal in June 2004, denies any wrongdoing and stands by Kent's research. A spokeswoman for the investment bank could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Public prosecutors occasionally weigh in on high-profile cases, or ones where laws may need clarification. LVMH noted the appeals court is not obliged to follow the prosecutor's opinion, but historically it carries some weight.

The appeals court here is expected to hear the case in late October or early November.

Meanwhile, a court-appointed expert is still tabulating damages for what LVMH described as a systematic effort by the investment bank from 1999 to 2002 to denigrate LVMH while favoring rival Gucci Group, which received financial advice from Morgan Stanley.

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