By  on July 13, 2006

PARIS — Morgan Stanley said Wednesday that it has been refunded the 30 million euros, or $37.5 million at current exchange, the Paris commercial court had ordered the investment bank to pay to LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton in 2004 for "gross misconduct" in a long-running bias suit.

The refund follows an appeals court ruling in June that upheld the commercial court decision, but demanded a court-appointed expert retabulate moral and material damages.

The Paris commercial court had found Morgan Stanley guilty of a biased portrayal of the French luxury group's fortunes versus its archrival Gucci Group, a client of the investment bank. But the appeals court absolved analyst Claire Kent of unfair equity research.

"Morgan Stanley believes any damages suffered by LVMH, and any eventual damages award, is likely to be limited," the firm said in a statement.

LVMH has characterized the appeals court ruling as an unqualified victory and reiterated Wednesday that it is seeking more than 100 million euros, or about $127 million, in damages, the amount it claimed when it first lodged the complaint in November 2002, casting a chill throughout the analyst community.

The court-appointed expert, Didier Kling, is expected to resume work in September with a deadline to tally damages by July 2007.

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