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

Jan 17 2018

If SCOTUS finds SEC ALJ appointments unconstitutional, what happens to tainted cases?

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed Friday to hear Lucia v. Securities and Exchange Commission, in which the justices will decide whether the SEC’s bureaucratic hiring process for its administrative law judges violates the U.S. Constitution’s Appointments Clause (2017 WL 6383147). The government isn’t putting up much of a fight on that question. The Justice Department’s response to the Lucia petition at the Supreme Court(2017 WL 6383147) acknowledged that SEC ALJs wield enough authority to qualify, for Appointments Clause purposes, as officers of the U.S., not mere employees whose hiring need not meet constitutional standards. With Lucia and the government in agreement, the Supreme Court is expected to name an amicus lawyer to argue the contrary position.

Jan 11 2018

Louis Vuitton spared from fee-shifting in 'obvious' parody case; appeal expected

Neither U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman nor the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals thought much of Louis Vuitton’s trademark and copyright case against a small company that sold canvas tote bags riffing on Vuitton’s hallowed toile monogram design. Judge Furman granted summary judgment (156 F.Supp.3d 425) to My Other Bag in January 2016, holding that the canvas totes were an “obvious” parody that, if anything, enhanced the power of Vuitton’s brand. The 2nd Circuit affirmed (674 Fed.Appx. 16) summary judgment a mere two weeks after the court heard oral arguments – during which Judge Gerard Lynch said Vuitton was trying to “bully” My Other Bag and would be “laughed out of the room” if it asserted its trademark dilution arguments to jurors or jury consultants.

Jan 10 2018

How an obscure SCOTUS employment ruling put the brakes on DACA rollback

U.S. Supreme Court precedent has a way of turning up in the most unexpected places. The latest example: A blockbuster immigration ruling on Tuesday turns on the Supreme Court’s 2016 decision about whether service advisers at a Mercedes-Benz dealership are entitled to sue for overtime.

Jan 09 2018

Unlikely provocateur emerges to challenge Libor class settlements

The two law firms leading antitrust litigation for over-the-counter investors in financial instruments pegged to the benchmark London Interbank Offered Rate unquestionably deserve hosannas for reaching two proposed class action settlements totaling $250 million. The Libor litigation, which accuses more than a dozen of the biggest banks in the world of colluding to manipulate the benchmark rate, has been as complex as any class action in memory.

Jan 08 2018

Hetero employees can’t claim reverse discrimination when federal law doesn’t shield gays, lesbians - judge

As advocates for LGBTQ employees push to reverse appellate rulings that they’re not protected against workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, a Louisiana federal judge held last week that a heterosexual employee who was fired after she posted an anti-LGBTQ comment on Facebook cannot claim reverse discrimination or retaliation at the hands of her LGBTQ boss. The scope of protection under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, it would seem, cuts two ways.

Jan 05 2018

Chiquita must face jury in Colombian terror-funding case - Miami judge

In a sweeping summary judgment opinion issued Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Kenneth Marra of West Palm Beach, Florida, rejected Chiquita’s attempt to head off a jury trial of claims the company is liable under the Anti-Terrorism Act for the deaths of six Americans killed by the Colombian paramilitary group Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia (FARC).

Jan 03 2018

New SCOTUS brief: no circuit split on standing in data breach class actions

Circuit splits, like beauty, can be in the eye of the beholder.

Jan 02 2018

At heart of FDIC’s win v. PwC, an unsettled theory

The accounting giant PricewaterhouseCoopers is facing hundreds of millions of dollars in exposure to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation after U.S. District Judge Barbara Rothstein ruled last week that PwC negligently failed to uncover a $2.3 billion fraud scheme between PwC audit client Colonial Bank, now in FDIC receivership, and the now bankrupt mortgage lender Taylor, Bean & Whitaker. PwC already paid an undisclosed amount in 2016 to settle related claims by Taylor Bean's trustee.

Dec 21 2017

Facing contingency fee cap in NFL concussion case, lawyers push back

Lawyers deserve to be paid for their work. Contingency fee lawyers, who assume the risk that their clients’ cases will flop, deserve to be rewarded when their clients win. That’s how our system assures access to the courts for people who can’t afford to pay hourly rates.

Dec 20 2017

Prominent shareholder firm must face fee-splitting claims: Penn. Supreme Court

The justices of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court’s Eastern District couldn't quite agree on why a law firm shouldn’t be allowed to duck behind ethics rules to avoid liability under an unethical fee-splitting contract. The six justices who heard the case of a consultant who claims Barrack Rodos & Bacine reneged on an oral contract to pay him a share of its profits produced four different opinions Tuesday as they attempted to figure out whether the public’s best interest lies in a hard-and-fast rule that unethical contracts cannot be enforced or in a more flexible, fact-specific approach. But all of the Pennsylvania justices, whether in dissent or concurrence, agreed on one thing: Law firms that dupe unsuspecting non-lawyers into unethical agreements must be held accountable.


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