Alison Frankel

In bond litigation endgame, Argentina’s leverage-shifting play

February 16, 2016

(Reuters) – Cravath Swaine & Moore made quite a splashy debut last week as new counsel to Argentina in its 15-year fight with hedge funds holding billions of dollars in defaulted Argentine debt. At the same time that Cravath lawyers entered appearances on behalf of the recently elected Argentine government, the firm obtained an order from U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa directing NML Capital, Aurelius Capital and other hedge funds that have refused to settle with the new government to show why he shouldn’t lift the 2012 “equal footing” injunction that forced Argentina to negotiate with the holdouts.

Lance Cooper lost big in attack on GM lead counsel – but did MDL process win?

February 11, 2016

(Reuters) – Renegade plaintiffs’ lawyer Lance Cooper – who helped expose GM’s ignition switch defect, was named to the executive committee leading consolidated litigation against the company and then, in lacerating filings over the last couple of weeks, asked the judge overseeing the case to bounce rival lawyers – lost his quest Wednesday. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman of Manhattan issued an order refusing to remove Robert Hilliard of Hilliard Munoz Gonzales as lead counsel in the GM multidistrict litigation and refusing to overturn Hilliard’s months-old settlement with GM of about 1,400 of his personal injury cases against the company.

The mind-bending international comity debate in RJR RICO case at SCOTUS

February 9, 2016

(Reuters) – The irony is running thick in a debate at the U.S. Supreme Court between the Justice Department and 26 European governments suing the tobacco company RJR Nabisco under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act. The issue is international comity and the reach of U.S. courts – but the two sides haven’t taken the positions you might expect.

$8.5 billion payout remains elusive for BofA MBS investors

February 5, 2016

(Reuters) – Nothing has come easy in Bank of America’s groundbreaking $8.5 billion deal to resolve put-back claims by investors in 530 Countrywide mortgage-backed trusts. So maybe it’s fitting that just days before BofA is scheduled to deposit the $8.5 billion with the Countrywide MBS trustee so the money can finally be distributed to investors, the deal has run into yet another obstacle. The trustee, Bank of New York Mellon, went to New York State Supreme Court to ask for a delay in payouts. BNY Mellon wants instruction from the court on precisely how to distribute the money to investors.

Google wants Orrick sanctioned for disclosing Android profits, Apple payments

January 28, 2016

(Reuters) – The world learned a couple of very interesting facts last week about Google’s Android operating system. Since its release, Android has generated about $31 billion in revenue and $22 billion in profit. Google meanwhile pays Apple big money – $1 billion in 2014 – to keep its search bar on the iPhone. Those previously unknown details of Google’s finances, as my Reuters colleague Dan Levine has reported, became public via Oracle’s epic litigation accusing Google of infringing its copyrights on Java application programming interfaces.

First Amendment won’t shield defendants in Planned Parenthood scandal

January 27, 2016

We journalists like to think we are special. We are cloaked in the First Amendment. We are a pillar of liberty. If Thomas Jefferson had been forced to choose between a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, he’d have sided with us.

Attack on lead counsel in GM switch case critiques MDL system

January 27, 2016

(Reuters) – Anyone who has ever entertained fantasies of being in charge of a really big case – and, as we know from the lead counsel contest in the consolidated Volkswagen litigation, that’s an inclusive group – ought to be required to read a motion filed Monday in federal court in Manhattan by Lance Cooper, the plaintiffs’ lawyer who broke open GM’s ignition switch scandal.

So now what happens to Delaware M&A cases? Chancellor offers answers!

January 25, 2016

(Reuters) – It has only been a few months since Delaware Chancery Court launched its disruption of M&A shareholder litigation but the data already show the class action bar has responded. As Securities and Exchange economist Matthew Cain and Berkeley law professor Steven Davidoff Solomon demonstrated in their latest analysis of shareholder class actions filed in the wake of big merger announcements, new suits fell off a cliff in the last quarter of 2015, after Delaware judges informed plaintiffs and defendants that they’d no longer routinely approve disclosure-only settlements.

Want to get your case to the Supreme Court? New study tells you which lawyers to hire.

January 22, 2016

(Reuters) – Past performance, as they tell us in mutual fund advertisements, does not guarantee future results. But a new study of 93,000 certiorari petitions filed at the U.S. Supreme Court between the court’s 2001 and 2015 terms is more evidence that a small group of Supreme Court practitioners enjoy outsized success in persuading the justices to accept cases from their clients.

Judge Charles Breyer, MDL disruptor?

January 21, 2016

(Reuters) – These are early days in the consolidated consumer litigation over Volkswagen’s emissions cheating software, but U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco has already shown lawyers that he – and not the class action bar – is firmly in charge. I have a strong suspicion that the judge will continue to ignore the usual MDL dance steps as he nears a decision on which plaintiffs’ lawyers will lead the case.