Alison Frankel

Minority students can’t intervene in Harvard admissions case – 1st Circuit

December 10, 2015

The legal world was quite understandably transfixed Wednesday by U.S. Supreme Court arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas, the justices’ latest consideration of the role race may play in admissions decisions at public universities. In particular, Justice Antonin Scalia incited an Internet firestorm with a question about whether black and Hispanic students admitted under affirmative action policies might be better off at less competitive schools.

SEC’s revised view of antifraud law survives State Street appeal

December 9, 2015

Former State Street chief investment officer John Flannery was the unfortunate victim of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision to broaden the scope of liability under antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934.

Who is behind the ‘grassroots’ campaign against trial lawyer ads?

December 9, 2015

(Reuters) – Trial lawyers’ television ads are, as a genre, so over-the-top that you might think they’re parody proof. If you watch late-night TV you know what I’m talking about: “Toxic drug warning!” “Legal Alert!” “Attention: You may be entitled to compensation!” The ads aren’t artful, to say the least, but they are effective. If they weren’t, trial lawyers would not be spending nearly a billion dollars a year, according to a study the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) released in October, to reach out to potential clients.

Do employers deserve fees when EEOC missteps? Justices will decide.

December 7, 2015

A truck driver named Monika Starke gave the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission a very distressing account of her on-the-road training at CRST Expedited. According to Starke’s 2005 EEOC complaint, she was sexually harassed and abused during the 28 days she rode with two different lead drivers. One of them, she said, forced her to have sex under the threat of issuing her a failing evaluation.

No lodestar for failed M&A class action objectors – Delaware judge

December 4, 2015

(Reuters) – There is no doubt that Fordham law professor Sean Griffith has contributed to Delaware Chancery Court’s deepening skepticism about disclosure-only settlements in M&A class actions. Griffith was co-author of the influential 2015 Texas Law Review paper, “Confronting the Peppercorn Settlement in Merger Litigation,” which Vice-Chancellor Travis Laster cited at the July 8 hearing that touched off a series of decisions questioning settlements that granted defendant corporations broad releases from claims in exchange only for beefed-up proxy disclosures.

2nd Circuit ‘cannibal cop’ opinion deepens appellate rift on anti-hacking law

December 3, 2015

 A divided panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of New York’s infamous “cannibal cop,” Gilberto Valle, on Thursday. The decision is full of the lurid details of the case, describing online exchanges in which Valle, a New York City police officer, and other participants in the Dark Fetish Network plotted to kidnap, murder and cook real women Valle knew, including his own wife. The appeals court concluded that as shocking and horrific as Valle’s posts were, they were sexual fantasies, not actual kidnapping schemes. “Fantasizing about committing a crime, even a crime of violence against a real person whom you know, is not a crime,” wrote Judge Barrington Parker, who was joined by Judge Susan Carney.

U.S. law firms are betting on control of VW litigation overseas

December 2, 2015

For all of the Sturm und Drang over class actions in the United States, Europe is borrowing not only the American concept of consolidated litigation but also U.S. lawyers to figure out how to deal with one of the biggest corporate liability exposures in the world.

A silver lining for banks in Delaware aiding-and-abetting opinion?

December 1, 2015

(Reuters) – There was good news and bad news for investment banks in Monday’s hotly anticipated Rural/Metro opinion from the Delaware Supreme Court. The bad: The state justices affirmed a $76 million judgment against RBC Capital Markets, finding that the bank manipulated Rural/Metro’s 2011 sale process in an attempt to win a lucrative financing deal from the ambulance company’s private equity acquirer. The decision marks the first time the Delaware justices have held a financial adviser liable to shareholders for aiding and abetting a corporate board’s breach of duty – certainly a scary prospect for banks.

On eve of MDL hearing, VW taps Sullivan & Cromwell, plaintiffs file yet more cases

November 30, 2015

When the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation hears arguments Thursday in New Orleans on whether to consolidate about 350 class actions against the automaker, VW will be represented by Sullivan & Cromwell, which will argue that securities cases against the automaker should be consolidated, as well as Herzfeld & Rubin, VW’s lead in class actions by clean diesel car owners, sellers and leasers.

Nobel laureate says British Airways class action expert botched economic test Nobelist devised

November 25, 2015

One of the most famous moments in Woody Allen’s cinematic oeuvre is in “Annie Hall,” when Allen and Diane Keaton are stuck in line for a movie in front of a Columbia professor pontificating on Marshall McLuhan’s theories. Allen tells the prof he doesn’t know what he’s talking about – and proves it by producing none other than Marshall McLuhan himself to discredit the prof’s proclamations.