United States

Alison Frankel

Feb 24 2017

No shield law protection for pricey distressed debt news outfit: N.Y. judge

These are challenging times for journalism, and I’m not even talking about President Trump deriding great media organizations like the New York Times as “fake news” and “enemies of the people.” As you doubtless know, journalism companies are still working through a long, painful repositioning to convince readers and viewers that they should pay for the news we produce. As revenue models shift from advertisers to subscribers, the media business is increasingly preoccupied with selling access to valuable information.

Feb 23 2017

Should SCOTUS review nixed $7.2 billion credit-card antitrust settlement?

Depending on which side you believe, when the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals rejected the biggest antitrust class action settlement in history last June, the appeals court either: drastically misread U.S. Supreme Court precedent in a way that will make it much more difficult and expensive to resolve big cases requesting both money damages and an injunction; or squelched a novel strategy that served the interests of the defendants while cutting off the rights of unrepresented future plaintiffs.

Feb 22 2017

Second Amendment does not apply to assault weapons: en banc 4th Circuit

The en banc 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals took a bold and potentially controversial stand Tuesday in its decision on the constitutionality of Maryland’s ban on military-style semi-automatic weapons and large-capacity magazines.

Feb 21 2017

The case for Jeff Sessions’ recusal from DOJ Russia investigations

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions assured the Senate Judiciary Committee at his confirmation hearings in January that he is dedicated to fairness, impartiality and the rule of law. Sessions has been in office for a mere two weeks and his promises are already being put to the test.

Feb 17 2017

SEC gives fuel to Icahn in malpractice battle with Wachtell

The Securities and Exchange Commission issued an unusual order this week to wrap up its investigation of CVR Energy, the fuel refiner Carl Icahn acquired in a hostile tender offer in 2012. The SEC concluded that CVR failed to give investors enough information about its fee agreement with the two investment banks it hired to help the company fend off Icahn’s takeover. CVR, according to the SEC, should have said in its SEC filings that the banks, Goldman Sachs and Deutsche Bank, would be due a lavish success fee even if Icahn won control of the company.

Feb 16 2017

4th Circuit: DOJ has absolute veto power over False Claims Act settlements

Can the Justice Department force whistleblowers and defendants to keep litigating a False Claims Act case the government has declined to join, even when both whistleblowers and defendants want to settle? The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled this week that it can.

Feb 15 2017

Decoding Gorsuch’s picks for his 10 ‘most significant’ opinions

In the past 25 or so years, since the infamous U.S. Senate debates on Robert Bork in 1987 and Clarence Thomas in 1991, confirmation hearings for U.S. Supreme Court justices have not been an exercise in enlightenment. You know how these things go: Senators grandstand and nominees display their superior intellects while politely (and often wittily) refusing to disclose anything even faintly controversial. I’m sure Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will face angry questions from Senate Democrats about President Trump’s disdainful assessment of the federal judiciary, but I doubt we will learn anything substantive about Gorsuch’s judicial priorities.

Feb 14 2017

From Delaware Supreme Court, an anti-Valentine’s Day tale

Philip Shawe and Elizabeth Elting were sharing a dorm room at New York University’s business school when they cofounded TransPerfect, a translation and litigation services company, in 1992. As the company took off – it now employs 3,500 people in 92 offices around the world – their love deepened. Shawe and Elting got engaged in 1996.

Feb 13 2017

The most intriguing idea in House Republicans’ bill to gut class actions

Most of the proposed procedural rule changes in Representative Bob Goodlatte’s “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017,” introduced last week in the House of Representatives, are directly traceable to the business lobby’s anti-class-action talking points. Goodlatte - a Virginia Republican and chair of the House Judiciary Committee - has significantly expanded the changes he proposed last year in a similarly named bill that was approved in the House but died in the Senate. If Congress adopts Goodlatte’s bill in anything like its current form, class actions and MDLs will be a shadow of what we know today.

Feb 10 2017

9th Circuit to Trump: Rhetoric matters

In its historic opinion upholding a stay on the Trump administration’s immigration and refugee policy, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals did not rely on Washington State’s argument that the policy violates the Constitution because it discriminates against Muslims.

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