Alison Frankel

Facebook’s new non-voting shares plan arouses Delaware plaintiffs’ bar

May 4, 2016

In the good old days of Delaware Chancery Court litigation – a mere 9 or 10 months ago – major corporate announcements would routinely be followed by shareholder suits. Then came last summer’s crackdown on disclosure-only settlements of M&A class actions. And just like that, Chancery Court filings dried up. When is the last time you heard about, say, a fight among plaintiffs’ firms to grab control of a Delaware shareholder suit?

Scalia’s Comcast legacy is at stake in Google Adwords case

May 3, 2016

The best test of the future of class action litigation at the U.S. Supreme Court may be the justices’ disposition of Google’s petition for certiorari in a case involving claims that the company deceived hundreds of thousands of California advertisers about the placement of Adwords ads.

NYU prof is 0-for-3 at SCOTUS this term – which is just what clients want

May 2, 2016

Last week, New York University law professor Samuel Issacharoff filed a brief in his fourth U.S. Supreme Court case of the term, once again standing up for class action plaintiffs. This time, Issacharoff’s client is a union benefits fund prosecuting a racketeering class action against GlaxoSmithKline for allegedly defrauding private insurers by falsely marketing the diabetes drug Avandia. If Issacharoff is successful – as he has been in his three other cases this term – the justices will decide not to take the case.

At age 92, Judge Manuel Real is still abusing his power

April 29, 2016

(Reuters) – In 1971, when U.S. District Judge Manuel Real of Los Angeles had been on the court for only about five years, he got into a spat with defense lawyer Victor Sherman over Sherman’s attempt to impeach the government’s only witness against his client James Hibler, who was accused of robbing a postal carrier. In front of the jury, Judge Real taunted Sherman about the rules of procedure. “If you don’t know it Mr. Sherman, I am not here to teach you,” he said.

Amazon, the FTC and the dark art of corporate secrecy in court

April 28, 2016

(Reuters) – The court system in this country is supposed to be open to the public. That’s a core principle, codified in the First Amendment and centuries of common law. Yet American corporations constantly push to restrict access to court records. Once in a while, media organizations or public interest groups get involved and orders to seal turn into First Amendment blowouts, but those cases are increasingly likely to be exceptions. Far more often, no one stands up in opposition when a corporation asks to seal or redact court filings.

Digital publisher not liable for freelancers’ infringement – 10th Circuit

April 27, 2016

(Reuters) – The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals just widened the divide between old-school journalism outfits like Reuters and online “journalism” sites.

Redskins throw serious shade at The Slants’ counsel in new cert petition

April 26, 2016

(Reuters) –

On Monday, the National Football League’s Washington Redskins asked the U.S. Supreme Court to review the cancellation of several of the team’s long-held trademarks for violating the Lanham Act’s non-disparagement clause. One of the team’s arguments is that if the justices plan to consider the constitutionality of the Lanham Act’s non-disparagement provision, they need to hear from the team’s lawyers, who are “best positioned to ensure that this court enjoys the full benefits of the adversarial process.”

Infamous objectors’ counsel targeted in sanctions motion in MLB class action

April 25, 2016

(Reuters) – The New York plaintiffs’ firm Samuel & Stein took seriously a threat last week from the class action lawyers who negotiated a settlement of claims against Major League Baseball for colluding with teams to monopolize broadcast rights to games. Samuel & Stein represented an objector to the proposed settlement, which reduces the price of MLB viewing packages. But when class counsel from Langer Grogan & Diver said they would move for sanctions unless the objection was withdrawn, Samuel & Stein asked for leave to drop out of the case.

Behind the scenes in VW clean emissions deal, a former FBI director

April 21, 2016

(Reuters) – U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco made the formal announcement in court Thursday morning: Volkswagen has reached an agreement in principle to resolve the clean diesel emissions cheating mess in the U.S. The company’s settlement encompasses U.S. and California officials, including the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, and owners of clean diesel cars, most of whom will have the option of selling their cars back to Volkswagen or getting the cars fixed to meet U.S. emissions standards. All of the details will be revealed in June, when the government and counsel for the car owners submit deal documents.

Data privacy proponents are counting on the public’s right to know

April 20, 2016

In the latest front in the great data privacy war, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the Justice Department on Tuesday, demanding that the government reveal whether it has obtained orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) compelling private companies to help investigators break into customers’ cellphones and devices.