Alison Frankel

Exposing the underbelly of mass torts litigation

May 24, 2016

(Reuters) – On Monday, Harris County Judge Jeff Shadwick of Houston agreed to stay most discovery in a Vietnamese seafood industry worker’s fraud and conspiracy case against two noted Texas plaintiffs’ lawyers, Robert Hilliard of Hilliard Munoz Gonzales and John Cracken of the Cracken Law Firm.

2nd Circuit in Libor case v. banks: Rigging rates is price-fixing collusion

May 23, 2016

Common sense has prevailed at the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in litigation over an alleged conspiracy among 16 global banks to manipulate the London Interbank Offered Rate (Libor), a key interest rate benchmark. The appeals court held Monday that price-fixing collusion among competitors is a violation of antitrust law, even if it takes place in the context of an ostensibly cooperative rate-setting process.

Early Spokeo fallout: Privacy defendants try to capitalize

May 20, 2016

Andrew Pincus of Mayer Brown is exasperated with the early reaction to the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Monday in Spokeo v. Robins.

2nd Circuit’s repose opinion vindicates banks’ billion-dollar MBS settlements

May 19, 2016

(Reuters) – I’d bet big law firms across New York read a split opinion issued Thursday by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals with an enormous sense of relief.

Brace for more class action challenges post-Spokeo

May 16, 2016

(Reuters) – When both sides in one of the biggest business law cases of the U.S. Supreme Court term claim victory, you know the one indisputable outcome of the court’s decision will be more litigation.

Device makers, telecoms face competing government demands on privacy

May 12, 2016

(Reuters) – For tech companies, there was a confounding juxtaposition in the news this week.

2nd Circuit splinters over rehearing Alien Tort Statute case v. Arab Bank

May 11, 2016

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals prides itself on putting up a united front. The court almost never grants requests to reconsider rulings by three-judge panels. (Maybe that’s why the 2nd Circuit’s “in banc” locution hasn’t displaced the more common “en banc.”) Instead, 2nd Circuit judges working on controversial opinions typically circulate drafts to the rest of the appeals court to probe for and resolve disagreements before the three-judge panel issues its opinion.

Uber can’t bootstrap arbitration clause to evade antitrust class action – N.Y. judge

May 10, 2016

(Reuters) – Last month, facing what we now know to be as much as $852 million in exposure to drivers in California and Massachusetts, the ride-sharing company Uber agreed to a class action settlement with drivers in those states. At the time of the agreement, valued at between $84 and $100 million, Uber was in the midst of appealing a series of decisions by U.S. District Judge Edward Chen of San Francisco, who held that the company’s mandatory arbitration clause was unenforceable.

Lawyers remain deeply skeptical of non-lawyers investing in law firms

May 9, 2016

(Reuters) – More than 40 individual lawyers took the time to respond to a request for comments from a working group of the American Bar Association’s Commission on the Future of Legal Services, which is contemplating whether the ABA should relax its longtime opposition to non-lawyers investing in law firms. Of the 43 attorneys and law students who submitted their own comments, exactly one thinks it would be a good idea for the legal profession to allow alternative business structures.

Should law firms have non-lawyer owners? ABA reopens debate

May 5, 2016

(Reuters) – In 2012, after a bruising yearlong debate, the American Bar Association’s Commission on Ethics 20/20 chose not to propose a new model rule to permit lawyers to practice in firms owned in part by non-lawyers. At the time, Washington, D.C., was the only jurisdiction in the U.S. that allowed non-lawyers to take an ownership stake in a law firm, though other countries had begun to experiment with alternative law firm structures. An ABA working group dedicated to the issue drafted a proposal based on Washington’s rule, but, as the working group’s co-chair later recounted in a law review article, lawyers were overwhelmingly suspicious.