The Philadelphia plaintiffs' firm Sheller is at the center of a novel case that raises a rather disturbing prospect: Does anyone have legal standing to challenge FDA decisions based on citizen petitions?
Every time I read a decision upholding the public’s presumed right of access to court records, I’m proud of our justice system. And never more so than now, when good, hard facts – the sort of stuff that emerges in litigation – seem to be on a devaluation skid, right along with the news organizations dedicated to providing facts to the public. Even in an “age of post-truth politics,” as a New York Times op-ed dubbed the 2016 campaign, U.S. courts continue to believe – thank goodness! - that facts matter to the public.
There’s been a lot of talk since the election about dismantling the Dodd-Frank financial reform act. On his website, President-elect Donald Trump blames Dodd-Frank’s “bureaucratic red tape and Washington mandates” for strangling economic growth. The chairman of Trump’s panel of business advisers, Blackstone CEO Steve Schwartzman, said at a Goldman Sachs conference Tuesday that the president elect expects to effect the biggest financial regulatory roll-back in decades.
These are not happy days for plaintiffs' lawyers who practice in Delaware. Chancery Court has pretty much shut down the controversial but lucrative “deal tax” business of suing to block announced M&A deals, then settling cases for a few hundred thousand bucks in legal fees and some immaterial proxy disclosures. The Delaware Supreme Court, meanwhile, added to the pain when it ruled in Corwin v. KKR that corporate boards’ M&A decisions are entitled to deference when informed shareholders vote to approve deals. Chancery Court discouraged the shareholder bar from suing before deals close. The Delaware Supreme Court took away plaintiffs’ incentive to claim post-closing damages. No wonder shareholder lawyers are voting with their filing fees, bringing cases in other jurisdictions.
So-called professional objectors - lawyers who make a living by objecting to class action settlements in order to extract payoffs from class counsel eager to see their deals go through – are enough of a scourge in the class action process that the advisory committee on the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure has proposed a rule change that would require judges to look harder at payments to objectors and their lawyers. That’s one possible way to scare off abusive serial objectors.
Derivative suits against the board members of companies that suffered data breaches appears to be a losing proposition for shareholders. On Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Thomas Thrash of Atlanta tossed a shareholder derivative suit against board members of Home Depot, which was hacked over the course of several months in 2014. Judge Thrash agreed with Home Depot’s lawyers at Alston & Bird that plaintiffs in the consolidated case failed to prove that it would have been futile for shareholders to demand the board take action against directors and officers in the name of the corporation. This is the second big data breach derivative suit, after a similar case against Target’s board, to be dismissed in the last six months.
In the age of the mobile app, should courts change their expectations of what it means for a customer to assent to a seller’s terms and conditions? Is it even possible to expect that consumers rushing to download an app will read small-print legalese on their phones?
For a smart man, New Jersey lawyer Harold Hoffman makes a lot of bad purchases.
Under federal law as it exists right now in the United States, gay men and lesbians can marry their partners over the weekend and can be fired the following Monday for doing so, without any recourse under the Civil Rights Act.
In ordinary circumstances, the U.S. Supreme Court would almost certainly agree that it’s time for the justices to decide whether employers can require employees to arbitrate disputes individually instead of banding together in group actions.