United States

Alison Frankel

Mar 29 2017

In Waymo v. Uber, honing the craft of litigation gamesmanship

You know a case is momentous when a seemingly routine proposed briefing schedule turns into a hot dispute. Waymo’s patent and trade secrets suit accusing Uber of hijacking its technology for driverless cars is only five weeks old, but lawyers for both sides are already deep in litigation chess games.

Mar 28 2017

Shareholder lawyers accuse Delaware justices of ditching materiality standard

Two prominent shareholder firms, Grant & Eisenhofer and Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann, filed a provocative motion for re-argument Monday at the Delaware Supreme Court, accusing the Delaware justices of tacitly abandoning decades-old precedent on whether boards must tell investors about credible bids received after a company announces an M&A deal. The plaintiffs’ firms said that if the state Supreme Court really wants to adopt a tough new standard for the materiality of competing bids – one so stringent, they said, that seminal Delaware cases wouldn’t have met it – the justices should do so explicitly.

Mar 27 2017

For-profit law firms have no First Amendment right to expand business - 2nd Circuit

In a highly anticipated ruling on Friday, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals explained why, for constitutional purposes, the personal injury firm Jacoby & Meyers is not like the NAACP Legal Defense Fund and the American Civil Liberties Union.

Mar 24 2017

Delaware Chief Justice Strine writes cautionary tale for deal lawyers

A dissent Thursday by Chief Justice Leo Strine of the Delaware Supreme Court has no practical consequences whatsoever. In The Williams Companies v. Energy Transfer Equity, Strine’s Supreme Court colleagues affirmed a Chancery Court ruling that allowed ETE to walk away from a $20 billion agreement to acquire Williams because ETE’s tax lawyers at Latham & Watkins declined in good faith to issue a tax opinion required in the merger agreement. The majority ruling means the deal is dead. ETE wins. Latham can begin to forget the awkwardness of defending its integrity at a 2016 trial in Chancery Court.

Mar 23 2017

Feds try for toss of hedge fund founder’s misconduct case at 2nd Circuit

On Friday morning, the Justice Department will appear before Judges Reena Raggi, Denny Chin and Susan Carney of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to argue that even if an FBI agent misrepresented government evidence to obtain a search warrant in 2010 against hedge fund founder David Ganek, it doesn’t really matter.

Mar 22 2017

3rd Circuit judge joins anti-Chevron-deference brigade

Against all odds, the nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to the U.S. Supreme Court has made a mainstream issue of whether federal judges should defer to executive-branch agencies in interpreting laws and regulations the agencies enforce. As you’ve doubtless heard if you’re paying attention to Gorsuch’s Senate confirmation hearings, the judge revealed last summer, in a concurrence in a complicated immigration case, his constitutional concerns about 1984’s Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, the Supreme Court decision that directs judges to defer to agencies’ interpretation of the laws they administer.

Mar 21 2017

Litigation funder in Cigna case: ‘Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine this would happen’

When Irish real estate developer Garrett Kelleher agreed to put up about $3 million to back Cayman Islands litigation to enforce Liberian judgments against the insurer Cigna, he thought the worst possible outcome was that he’d lose his money.

Mar 17 2017

VW judge okays $175 million for car owners' lawyers, hints blow to dealers' counsel

Early Friday, U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco approved a request for $175 million in fees and costs for the plaintiffs lawyers who led car owners’ $10 billion class action against Volkswagen in the emissions cheating scandal. Judge Breyer was widely expected to award that $175 million to class counsel Elizabeth Cabraser of Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein and other lawyers who worked on behalf of the class. He has been consistently complimentary of the “extraordinary results” they obtained. Moreover, the fee request garnered only four objections, which Breyer brushed aside, and was not opposed by Volkswagen.

Mar 16 2017

Why future presidents will rue Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ comments

In 2001, after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, President George W. Bush and Attorney General John Ashcroft instituted a program called the National Security Entry-Exit Registration System. The program required men over the age of 16 who were living in the United States but were citizens of 25 foreign countries – 24 Muslim-majority countries and North Korea – to be registered with and fingerprinted by U.S. authorities.

Mar 15 2017

After key appellate wins on privilege, Halliburton stomps out FCA case

Halliburton’s long fight to preserve attorney-client privilege over its internal investigation of Iraq War-era kickback claims was vindicated Tuesday when U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth of Washington granted the company summary judgment in a False Claims Act suit accusing Halliburton of defrauding the federal government.

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