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

Oct 19 2017

Will Trump DOJ side with disabled plaintiffs in ADA website suits?

Businesses are not at all happy about a boom in suits by disabled consumers who claim corporate websites are insufficiently accessible under the Americans with Disabilities Act. These cases have mushroomed since 2015. Disabled plaintiffs, many of them represented by the same handful of firms, filed 240 suits in 2015 and 2016, according to a Wall Street Journal report on the trend last November. This year, the number of new ADA website accessibility cases has already topped 400, according to the Florida Justice Reform Institute.

Oct 18 2017

All the money in the world can’t buy redress from FBI, prosecutors

When Institutional Investor wrote last year about David Ganek’s Manhattan federal court suit accusing the government of violating his constitutional rights, the magazine portrayed Ganek as a man who does not lack for millions. Ganek was the founder of Level Global, a hedge fund that once managed $4 billion in assets. The fund abruptly shut down in 2011, after a much-publicized raid by prosecutors investigating insider trading. Ganek himself was never charged. After the fund’s collapse, according to Institutional Investor, he became known for his philanthropy, his service on corporate boards and his modern art collection. Ganek reportedly sold a single painting from his collection for $26.5 million in 2013. This summer, he and his wife sold their Park Avenue duplex for $25.25 million (admittedly, a discount from the co-op’s original 2014 asking price of $44 million).

Oct 16 2017

DOJ: Trump tweets are not presidential actions. Except when they are

President Donald Trump has more than 40 million followers at @realdonaldtrump, the Twitter account he started in 2009 and has used to such consequential effect during and after the presidential campaign. President Trump sometimes announces policies, such as his proposed ban on transgender troops in the U.S. military, on Twitter. He regularly uses the @realdonaldtrump account to advance his agenda. The president goes to Twitter to push legislation, boost loyal supporters and attack those he perceives as disloyal, from Republican Senators John McCain, Mitch McConnell and Bob Corker to pro football players who kneel during the national anthem and the news media.

Oct 13 2017

Don’t even bother trying to hide wage-and-hour settlements before this N.Y. judge

Employers have a powerful incentive to hide their settlements with workers claiming wage and hour violations. Keeping those agreements secret minimizes the risk that other employees will bring copycat suits. For Fair Labor Standards Act defendants, it’s probably a good bet to throw some extra money at plaintiffs who agree to keep settlements confidential. That extra money, of course, gives employees a good reason to accede to secrecy.

Oct 12 2017

Justice Gorsuch’s strange detour in Alien Tort Statute case

Justice Neil Gorsuch wasn’t a member of the U.S. Supreme Court back in 2004, when the justices ruled in Sosa v. Alvarez-Machain (124 S.Ct. 2739) that in certain limited circumstances, foreign nationals can use a 1789 law, the Alien Tort Statute, to sue in U.S. courts for violations of the law of nations. Though the Sosa opinion, written by then-Justice David Souter, agreed that Congress intended the ATS to grant jurisdiction for “a relatively modest set of actions,” the court cited two modern examples of ATS cases: Filartiga v. Pena-Irala (630 F.2d 876), a suit by Paraguayans accusing a former Paraguayan official who had moved to the U.S. of torture; and In re Estate of Marcos Human Rights Litigation (25 F.3d 1475), in which torture victims from the Philippines sued former president Ferdinand Marcos.

Oct 11 2017

Texas judge poised to decide if Allergan patent deal with Mohawks was a sham

Last month, in the midst of post-trial briefing in Allergan’s patent suit against generic drug makers that want to begin selling a version of Allergan’s dry eye medication Restasis, Allergan sent a one-paragraph letter to U.S. District Judge William Bryson of Marshall, Texas. Allergan informed the judge that it had just assigned its rights to the patents at issue in the case to the Saint Regis Mohawk Tribe, which, in turn, had granted Allergan an exclusive license to the patents. Allergan assured Judge Bryson that it did not expect its deal with the tribe to affect the Texas case, except for a routine motion for the tribe to join as plaintiff.

Oct 10 2017

Disgraced and disbarred, Stan Chesley is trying to shield assets from former clients

Stanley Chesley, once one of the most powerful plaintiffs' lawyers in the country, is no longer a lawyer. After hundreds of former clients sued him and three other lawyers for allegedly stealing millions of dollars from settlement funds for diet drug victims, Chesley was disbarred in Kentucky in 2013. He resigned from the Ohio bar soon thereafter.

Oct 09 2017

Should Trump DOJ get a mulligan on 4th, 9th Circuit travel ban opinions?

In letters last week to the U.S. Supreme Court, the American Civil Liberties Union and the State of Hawaii urged the justices not to allow President Trump to evade high court review of his second executive order barring travelers and refugees from several Muslim-majority countries. The Justice Department, meanwhile, submitted a letter brief arguing that the challenges by Hawaii and the ACLU are now moot: The executive order’s temporary travel ban has expired and been replaced by a new policy, the Justice Department said, and the order’s suspension on refugee admissions will soon end as well.

Oct 03 2017

In SCOTUS class waiver case, DOJ, employers say don’t trust NLRB

A big question went unasked at the Supreme Court on Monday, when the justices opened their new term with oral arguments in a three cases that will decide whether employers can require employees to agree to individual arbitration of employment disputes. Though several justices were so engaged that Chief Justice John Roberts had to step in to stop his colleagues from interrupting one another, no one asked Deputy Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall to explain why the Justice Department switched sides on the issue after President Donald Trump took office, leaving the National Labor Relations Board as the lone government agency to argue (2017 WL 3447770) that mandatory individual arbitration provisions are illegal under the National Labor Relations Act.

Oct 02 2017

5th Circuit: Trust government, not juries, to decide if feds have been defrauded

It’s becoming increasingly clear that unless the federal government backs whistleblowers who bring False Claims Act suits, the cases are doomed to fail.


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