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

May 23 2018

Unprecedented 5th Circuit case tests scope of nationwide injunctions

For opponents of federal government policies, nationwide injunctions have become an indispensable weapon. The strategy - developed by Republican state Attorneys General and business groups during the Obama administration and widely deployed by Democratic AGs and civil rights organizations in the Trump era - is to challenge new federal rules or regulations in a friendly jurisdiction, seeking an injunction against implementation that will apply across the country. By issuing a nationwide injunction, a single federal judge can halt federal policy. The wisdom and propriety of these injunctions is hotly debated, and the U.S. Supreme Court could curtail them when it issues a ruling in Hawaii’s challenge to President Trump’s travel ban. But, at least for now, the law allows trial judges broad reach to enjoin rules and regulations far beyond their courtrooms.

May 22 2018

Pervasive fraud in NFL concussion settlement? Judge wants to hear more

The National Football League has been grousing for months about dubious claims in its billion-dollar class action settlement with retired players who blame the NFL for their neurological impairment. The settlement agreement includes an elaborate fraud detection system, in which the independent claims administrator, BrownGreer, audits not only a random sample of 10 percent of all filings but also any claims that contain warning signs of fraud, like a diagnosis by a doctor with a suspiciously heavy caseload of NFL retirees. If BrownGreer concludes there is a reasonable basis to suspect fraud, it refers the questionable claim to two court-appointed special masters, Jo-Ann Verrier and Wendell Pritchett of the University of Pennsylvania Law School, for more investigation and a final determination. But the system has been swamped, at least according to a motion last month by the NFL’s lawyers at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison.

May 21 2018

DOJ independence, entrenched and ingrained, will survive Trump: historian, law prof

Making good on threats to intervene in the U.S. Justice Department’s investigation of possible collusion between his campaign and Russia, President Donald Trump on Sunday tweeted a “demand” that DOJ “look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump campaign for political purposes.” The Justice Department quickly announced that its inspector general would expand his ongoing review of investigators’ surveillance applications to determine if “any impropriety or political motivation” tainted the FBI’s early counterintelligence probe.” Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who is overseeing the case, promised “appropriate action” if the inspector general concludes the Trump campaign was inappropriately infiltrated.

May 18 2018

Democratic AGs send a message in DOL fiduciary rule case at 5th Circuit

The odds are infinitesimal that the attorneys general of New York, California and Oregon will succeed in reinstating the Obama Labor Department’s rule requiring retirement investment advisers to put the interests of their clients ahead of their own. But they may have had another good reason for filing a last-ditch motion this week, asking the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider a May 2 order denying the AGs’ motion to intervene in the litigation.

May 17 2018

Experts bash Giuliani claim that Mueller can’t subpoena Trump

In a media blitz Wednesday night and Thursday, President Donald Trump’s lawyer Rudolph Giuliani told Fox and CNN he had received assurances that Special Counsel Robert Mueller will not indict the president while he is in office.

May 16 2018

The trouble with lodestar fee awards, Anthem class action edition

A special master appointed by U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of San Jose to recommend a fair fee for class counsel in the $115 million Anthem data breach settlement succeeded in pleasing no one with a vested interest in the outcome, based on filings Tuesday by lawyers for the class and the objector who first pushed for scrutiny of class counsel’s request for nearly $40 million in fees and expenses.

May 15 2018

Arkansas judge bars TV ads attacking state Supreme Court justice. Is that constitutional?

On Monday, Circuit Judge Doug Martin of Fayetteville, Arkansas, granted a temporary restraining order to Arkansas State Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson, who is running for reelection. The order bars local television stations from airing an attack ad on Goodson by the deeply conservative Judicial Crisis Network. Judge Martin concluded that Justice Goodson, who sued a half-dozen television stations in Fayetteville and Little Rock on Monday, was likely to prevail on her allegations that the JCN ads were defamatory. Because early voting is already underway in the judicial election, Judge Martin said, Justice Goodson will suffer irreparable harm if the ads continue to run until Election Day on May 22.

May 14 2018

How can states block mandatory arbitration clauses? Vermont may have found a way

There are two very significant words you will not find in a consumer protection bill passed last week by Vermont lawmakers: mandatory arbitration.

May 10 2018

CVS wins appeal of opioid prescriber’s $1 million defamation verdict

You may not realize it, but your local pharmacy clerk is actually a soldier in the war on prescription opioid abuse. As CVS explained in a brief to the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, federal law requires pharmacy workers to refuse to fill illegitimate prescriptions for controlled substances.

May 09 2018

Judicial Crisis Network’s new ad targets powerful women. Coincidence?

I was watching CNN’s Anderson Cooper interview the ubiquitous Stormy Daniels lawyer Michael Avenatti last night when a stark advertisement caught my eye. The commercial opened with warm color video of Republican Senators Mitch McConnell and Chuck Grassley, then cut to shots of President Trump shaking hands with Justice Neil Gorsuch and smiling proudly as the new justice was sworn into office. The accompanying audio celebrated the Trump administration’s conservative makeover of the federal judiciary.


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