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
A U.S. magistrate judge in Brooklyn has recommended that more than 200 former U.S. soldiers or their survivors be allowed to proceed with allegations that six global financial institutions – HSBC, Credit Suisse, Barclays, Standard Chartered, Royal Bank of Scotland and Commerzbank – conspired with Iran and its proxies to provide material support for terrorism against U.S. armed forces during the Iraq War.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s June 26 decision in Trump v. Hawaii (138 S.Ct. 2392) was a colossal win for President Trump and his Department of Justice. The five justices in the Supreme Court majority upheld President Trump’s modified ban on travel to the U.S. from six predominantly Muslim countries. Under the extremely deferential standard of review for presidential national security decisions, the court held, President Trump had ample justification for the travel ban.
A 70-page ruling Thursday by U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of Manhattan casts doubt on the rationale U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross has offered for asking U.S. residents about their citizenship in the 2020 census.
The chief beneficiaries of sanctionable conduct by a pair of Florida plaintiffs' firms, the Wilner Firm and Farah & Farah, will end up being the firms’ co-counsel in a $100 million settlement of federal-court litigation by Florida smokers, under an order issued Monday by four federal district court judges in Jacksonville, Florida. As part of a global resolution of the sanctions issue and fee disputes, Wilner and the Farah firm agreed to cede more than $7 million in claimed attorneys’ fees to Motley Rice, Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein and two other plaintiffs' firms, reducing the payout to Wilner and Farah to only $4.3 million.
You have to give creativity points to Reed Smith, defense counsel for a debt collection outfit called Allied Interstate. After the U.S. Supreme Court and 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals stymied Allied’s strategy to end a 2013 Fair Debt Collection Practices Act class action by paying the lead plaintiff his full potential damages, Reed Smith came up with an alternative argument: The plaintiff’s refusal to accept Allied’s offer made him an unsuitable candidate to lead the class action because he’s not a typical class member. His “unique circumstances as the only member of the putative class to have been compensated for his claim have irreparably compromised his role as lead plaintiff in this litigation,” Reed Smith argued in a brief opposing class certification.
The Justice Department said in a confidential memo to top lawyers for federal agencies that agency heads have the authority to determine when there is good cause to fire administrative law judges. ALJs, as these executive-branch judges are known, oversee administrative proceedings ranging from individual Social Security benefits disputes to big-dollar Federal Trade Commission and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau enforcement actions against corporations. The DOJ memo, marked privileged and confidential, was viewed by Reuters.
In the last month, the cities of New York and Oakland, both represented by the able lawyers at Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro, failed to persuade federal judges to allow them to proceed with nuisance claims blaming major oil companies for selling fossil fuel in the face of overwhelming evidence that oil and gas emissions are responsible for climate change. U.S. District Judge William Alsup of San Francisco dismissed Oakland’s case (2018 WL 3109726) on June 25. Manhattan federal judge John Keenan tossed New York’s suit (2018 WL 3475470) on Thursday.
It’s not unprecedented for the Justice Department to want a say when an important class action issue comes to the U.S. Supreme Court. During the Obama administration, DOJ filed at least three amicus briefs in class action cases before the justices. In Amgen v. Connecticut Retirement Plans, the solicitor general urged the court not to raise the bar for class certification in securities fraud litigation. In Campbell-Ewald v. Gomez, Justice argued that class action defendants shouldn’t be permitted to pick off named plaintiffs by offering full settlements. And in Tyson Foods v. Bouaphakeo, the department said the justices should uphold certification of a class of chicken processing plant employees claiming wage-and-hour violations.
The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is apparently not worried that the end of the Internet is nigh.
The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday (2018 WL 3421711) that hundreds of Ohio homeowners with groundwater contamination claims against Chevron, Aramark, Behr America and Behr Dayton can litigate as a class to determine seven key issues in the case, including each defendant’s responsibility for the alleged contamination.