United States

Alison Frankel

Jeff Mason is a White House Correspondent for Reuters and the 2016-2017 president of the White House Correspondents’ Association. He was the lead Reuters correspondent for President Barack Obama's 2012 campaign and interviewed the president at the White House in 2015. Jeff has been based in Washington since 2008, when he covered the historic race between Obama, Hillary Clinton and John McCain. Jeff started his career in Frankfurt, Germany, where he covered the airline industry before moving to Brussels, Belgium, where he covered the European Union. He is a Colorado native, proud graduate of Northwestern University and former Fulbright scholar.

Twitter handle: @jeffmason1

2:49pm EDT

Yes, we have no confidentiality: Plaintiffs’ lawyer goes rogue in Chiquita MDL

The real story of the long-running human rights litigation against Chiquita is that it has gotten as far as it has. Thousands of Colombians are plaintiffs in the case, which is consolidated in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. They claim that Chiquita aided an array of Colombian terror groups in order to maintain its hold on banana-growing regions. Chiquita, which is represented by Covington & Burling, succeeded in knocking out the plaintiffs’ Alien Tort Statute claims but not in killing the case entirely.

May 23 2017

Watergate, Whitewater precedent sets stage for Russia probe

On Monday, lawyers for former Trump administration national security adviser Michael Flynn informed the Senate Intelligence Committee that Flynn does not intend to produce documents subpoenaed by the committee. In a six-page letter explaining why, Flynn’s counsel from Covington & Burling cited (among other cases) the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2000 decision in U.S. v. Hubbell, which held that a witness can’t be compelled to respond to a subpoena so broad that it amounts to a prosecutorial fishing expedition.

May 22 2017

The deepening appellate divide over when copyright owners can sue

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week in Fourth Estate v. Wall-Street.com that copyright holders can’t sue for infringement until the U.S. Copyright Office has registered their works, deepening a split in the federal circuits over whether the copyright enforceability kicks in when IP owners apply for protection or when the federal government acts on their applications.

May 19 2017

Should courts allow anonymous suits against law firms?

A Washington, D.C. litigation partner suing Proskauer for gender discrimination cuts a very sympathetic figure. According to her complaint, over her four years at the firm she’s been subjected to a barrage of creepy comments about her “sexy” body and clothing and offered insufficient help for the challenge of single motherhood. She annually generated more than $7 million in billings, her suit said, yet she was paid millions of dollars less than male counterparts – and when she complained about her treatment, she was met with threats of retaliation. Things have gotten so bad, the partner contends, that she has developed serious stress-related health problems.

May 18 2017

Former client says BakerHostetler lied to court to avoid disqualification

For nine months in 2008 and 2009, BakerHostetler represented the hedge fund Hermitage Capital Management in the investigation of a $230 million fraud scheme in Russia that began with the theft of the corporate identities of Russian companies in Hermitage’s portfolio. BakerHostetler earned $200,000 in the engagement.

May 17 2017

Former FBI chief Mueller an inspired choice for special counsel

In 2016, when San Francisco federal judge Charles Breyer needed to appoint someone with impeccable credentials to orchestrate a three-way settlement between Volkswagen, the U.S. and state governments and VW “clean diesel” car owners suing the company for cheating them, he tapped former FBI director Robert Mueller. “There are few, if any, people with more integrity, good judgment, and relevant experience,” wrote Breyer, who has known the former FBI director for more than 40 years, since Mueller was a young federal prosecutor in San Francisco.

May 17 2017

Time for the president to lawyer up, say legal experts

If President Trump wants to protect his own interests as the FBI and Congress move forward with investigations of possible ties between the Trump campaign and Russian officials, he should hire a private lawyer to advise him, according to six lawyers with experience in the sort of mushrooming Washington probes that have enveloped Trump.

May 16 2017

Spokeo backlash: Dismissed in federal court, class actions move to states

The discount brokerage Scottrade did everything right when it was hit with multiple class actions after a 2013 hack exposed the personal information of some of its customers. Scottrade persuaded plaintiffs' lawyers to agree to transfer their cases to a single federal district, St. Louis, Missouri. Then the brokerage moved for the dismissal of its customers’ consolidated class action, arguing that plaintiffs could not establish their constitutional right to sue in federal court because they couldn’t show a concrete injury.

May 15 2017

4th Circuit: In fee awards, judges must consider risk and results

In 2010, the law firm Gilbert, working on contingency, went to trial and won a $26 million judgment for Alpha, a specialized U.S. tire maker suing foreign competitors for stealing its trade secrets. Before Gilbert could attempt to enforce the judgment, Alpha fired the firm, replacing Gilbert with a new firm co-founded by two former Gilbert lawyers. The new firm went on to defend Alpha’s judgment on appeal and, eventually, to reach a $15.5 million settlement with the defendants.

May 12 2017

Judge in Waymo trade secrets case calls out Uber litigation tactics

Uber’s legal strategy to ward off a trade secrets suit by Waymo backfired spectacularly on Thursday night.

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