Alison Frankel

Microsoft tax case highlights conflict concerns when U.S. hires private firms

November 24, 2015

(Reuters) – On Monday, U.S. District Judge Ricardo Martinez of Seattle ruled that Microsoft must comply with summonses issued by the Internal Revenue Service in the government’s seven-year investigation of the company’s cost-sharing agreements with affiliates in Puerto Rico and Asia. The decision, which Judge Martinez reiterated late Monday in a followup order responding to post-decision evidence submitted by Microsoft, seems to put an end to the company’s attempt to restrict the role of the IRS’s hired guns from Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan.

Serial class action objector smacked with serious sanctions

November 23, 2015

(Reuters) – Pro tip for class action objectors hoping to extract six-figure payoffs in exchange for dropping protests to big-ticket settlements: Make sure you are actually a member of the class whose settlement you are trying to hold up.

The case for openness in MetLife’s too-big-to-fail challenge

November 20, 2015

(Reuters) – The insurance conglomerate MetLife doesn’t agree on much with the Financial Stability Oversight Council. The FSOC, in MetLife’s view, made a grievous mistake when it dubbed the company (in the infelicitous lingo of financial reform) a “nonbank systemically important financial institution” that needs extra oversight from the Federal Reserve’s Board of Governors, lest its financial distress bring down the entire U.S. economy.

New fantasy sports suit accuses Visa, MasterCard of racketeering

November 19, 2015

(Reuters) – A newly filed class action claims that FanDuel and DraftKings could not have become billion-dollar businesses had it not been for the help of the credit card industry, which enabled players to enter online fantasy sports contests. The suit, filed in Manhattan federal court on behalf of FanDuel and DraftKings players nationwide, accuses, Visa, MasterCard, American Express and other defendants of participating in a racketeering scheme to facilitate illegal gambling operations.

If past is prelude, SCOTUS will just tinker in this term’s class action cases

November 18, 2015

(Reuters) – To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Chief Justice John Roberts’ inauguration, the Akron Law Review has published a collection of papers on the impact of the Roberts Court’s decisions on class actions. The articles, a mix of studies by law professors and class action practitioners, were all written before the U.S. Supreme Court heard arguments this fall in a trio of cases posing some fundamental questions about class actions, such as whether Congress can legislate constitutional standing and whether classes can be certified if they contain members who have not been injured.

How corporations can game their own forum selection clauses

November 17, 2015

(Reuters) – I wouldn’t ordinarily cover Utah state-court shareholder litigation over a $115 million deal but I’m worried about the implications of a forum selection dispute fomented by FX Energy, an oil and gas exploration company that announced its sale to Orlen Upstream last month.

After Chancery crackdown on M&A settlements, shareholder filings drop off

November 16, 2015

(Reuters) – Class action lawyers can’t stay in business unless they earn contingency fees from settling cases. That’s just a plain economic truth. And based on new data compiled by the indefatigable folks at The Chancery Daily, it has not taken long at all for shareholder lawyers to respond like the rational economic actors they are to the new reality of M&A litigation in Delaware.

Valeant insider trading ruling: Activists beware of hostile bidder hookups

November 12, 2015

(Reuters) – Back in April 2014, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz put out a client alert warning of a scary new template for hostile bids: corporate raiders teaming up with activist investors for their mutual benefit and the corresponding doom of target companies. The alert was inspired, of course, by the pharmaceutical company Valeant’s partnership with Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square in a bid for Allergan.

Reading the Tyson tea leaves: This case won’t be vehicle for big class action changes

November 11, 2015

Remember how excited the business lobby was in 2014 when the U.S. Supreme Court took a case that might have knocked out the foundation of most securities fraud class actions? The justices granted certiorari in Halliburton v. Erica P. John Fund to reconsider the presumption that, under fraud-on-the-market theory, investors relied on corporate misrepresentations. But in the end, the court left the presumption more or less intact, disappointing Halliburton amici who had hoped for fundamental change in the law governing securities class actions.

In immigration opinion, 5th Circuit endorses states’ rights to sue U.S.

November 10, 2015

In a 135-page split opinion Monday night, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction barring the Obama administration from implementing a policy of deferring deportation actions against more than 4 million undocumented immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents of the U.S. The appellate majority, Judges Jerry Smith and Jennifer Elrod, ruled 26 states were likely to prevail in their claims that the Department of Homeland Security violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it instituted a new immigration policy by issuing a memo instead of launching the formal rulemaking process. The Justice Department said Tuesday it intends to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the 5th Circuit’s decision.