Alison Frankel

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 But when class counsel from Langer Grogan & Diver said they would move for sanctions unless the objection was withdrawn, Samuel & Stein asked for leave to drop out of the case.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.

In NFL concussion case, 3rd Circuit reopens door for personal injury class actions

April 19, 2016

(Reuters) – Can the National Football League tackle 19-year-old U.S. Supreme Court precedent?

The dubious business of investing in mass torts

April 18, 2016

Have you heard the latest in get-rich-quick investment ideas? All you have to do is find thousands of people injured by a drug or medical device, sign them up as clients, find lawyers to file and settle their cases and collect a share of the legal fees. It’s easy! You can’t lose!

Federal judge finds foul play, collusion in Arkansas insurance class action

April 15, 2016

(Reuters) – In January 2014, the insurer United Services Automobile Association removed a property insurance class action to federal court in Fort Smith, Arkansas. About 14 months later, plaintiffs’ and defense lawyers informed the presiding judge, U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes, that they had reached a settlement. Judge Holmes entered a scheduling order in May 2105.

New Delaware forum selection fight: Shareholders sue directors for waiving clause

April 14, 2016

(Reuters) – In Delaware shareholder litigation, to quote the immortal Roseanne Roseannadanna, it’s always something. Just two years ago, plaintiffs lawyers were squirming under the strictures of forum selection bylaws and charter amendments that required shareholders to litigate their claims in Delaware Chancery Court rather than friendlier jurisdictions. But now plaintiffs’ lawyers at Andrews & Springer and Gainey McKenna & Egleston are suing board members at the biopharma company CytRx for waiving the company’s forum selection bylaw.