Alison Frankel pimping case will turn on what officials knew about escort ads

October 21, 2016

(Reuters) – Defense lawyers for CEO Carl Ferrer and two former owners of the online ad site, Michael Lacey and James Larkin, moved Thursday to toss felony pimping charges filed earlier this month by California Attorney General Kamala Harris.

The candidates and the Constitution

October 20, 2016

(Reuters) – Do you remember Saul Steinberg’s famous 1976 New Yorker cover, A View of the World from 9th Avenue? The drawing depicted with great wit the skewed perspective of New Yorkers who see the world beyond the Hudson River as an essentially undifferentiated nowhere land, with scattered markers for Chicago and Los Angeles, dotted lines for the Canadian and Mexican borders and a strip of light blue for the Pacific Ocean.

If it costs millions to win an appraisal case, are the suits worth it?

October 19, 2016

(Reuters) – There is a hidden message in a Delaware Chancery Court decision this week to grant the shareholder firm Grant & Eisenhofer about $8 million in fees and expenses for convincing the court that Michael Dell and his private equity partner underpriced their $24.9 billion buyout of Dell in 2013.

2nd Circuit disqualifies BakerHostetler from forfeiture case in rare mandamus grant

October 18, 2016

(Reuters) – For nine months spanning 2008 and 2009, John Moscow of BakerHostetler represented the U.S. hedge fund Hermitage Capital in the investigation of an epic, $230 million tax fraud in Russia. The alleged scheme is incredibly complicated, but for this story, all you need to know is that the U.S. Justice Department believes fraudsters in Russia co-opted Hermitage portfolio companies to effectuate their tax scam. In 2013, at Hermitage’s urging, the U.S. government brought a forfeiture action against the Cyprus-based company Prevezon, which the Justice Department accused of buying New York real estate to launder some of the proceeds of the Russian tax fraud.

Gun companies get to keep their secrets in Sandy Hook plaintiffs’ defeat

October 17, 2016

In the American justice system, plaintiffs’ lawyers are bounty hunters on the prowl for misbehaving corporations. Now we can argue forever about whether it’s good or bad to have private lawyers acting as for-profit regulators. The business lobby has been complaining for decades that unfounded lawsuits stifle innovation, drive legitimate companies into bankruptcy and benefit no one except for plaintiffs’ lawyers. Personally, I’m more inclined to side with the plaintiffs’ bar, which contends that liability litigation has made the country safer by proving the danger of products like asbestos, cigarettes and lead paint and holding accountable the companies that make and sell those products.

6th Circuit denies en banc on data breach standing issue. Prelude to SCOTUS?

October 14, 2016

(Reuters) – Someday, this endless presidential campaign will be over, a new president will take office and the Senate will confirm a ninth justice for the U.S. Supreme Court. (One hopes.) We obviously have no idea if that future justice will have the same appetite for class action issues as the late Justice Antonin Scalia. But eventually, the Supreme Court will probably have to resolve a circuit split on data breach class actions that was cemented this week by the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.

The D.C. Circuit’s gratuitous ruling on CFPB constitutionality

October 11, 2016

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, author of the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ majority opinion Wednesday in PHH Corporation v. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is a compelling writer. His tour-de-force 13-page summary at the beginning of the court’s 2-1 ruling declares the CFPB unconstitutional in words that will long be quoted by the agency’s critics.

How the Texas AG beat SEC’s fraud case

October 10, 2016

(Reuters) – In 2011, before he was elected to serve as the Attorney General of Texas, Ken Paxton was a practicing lawyer and an influential member of the Texas House of Representatives. That July, he struck a deal with the founder of Servergy, a computer company developing cloud data storage servers. After a meeting with the company’s then CEO, Paxton said he’d recruit investors to buy shares in the company’s private offerings. Servergy, in turn, agreed to pay him a 10 percent commission.

Lawyers in Florida’s ‘worst case of greed and dereliction of duties’ are disbarred

October 7, 2016

(Reuters) – Contingency fee lawyers can be heroes. Representing someone who has been wronged by a big business – and getting paid for it only if you recover money for your client – is hard, important work that gives ordinary people a fair shot against rich defendants. I am convinced that the contingency fee system makes people safer and the justice system fairer.

Mid-MDL ‘Gelboim appeals’ are rare, despite N.Y. judge’s complaint

October 6, 2016

To put it mildly, U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest of Manhattan is not a fan of the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 decision in Gelboim v. Bank of America, which she thrashed in a ruling Wednesday dismissing all claims in multidistrict antitrust litigation against banks accused of running up the price of aluminum by rigging the aluminum warehouse market. In a footnote, Judge Forrest blamed Gelboim for increasing the complexity of managing complex MDLs – exactly the opposite of the Supreme Court’s intention.