Alison Frankel

Do employers deserve fees when EEOC missteps? Justices will decide.

December 7, 2015

A truck driver named Monika Starke gave the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission a very distressing account of her on-the-road training at CRST Expedited. According to Starke’s 2005 EEOC complaint, she was sexually harassed and abused during the 28 days she rode with two different lead drivers. One of them, she said, forced her to have sex under the threat of issuing her a failing evaluation.

No lodestar for failed M&A class action objectors – Delaware judge

December 4, 2015

(Reuters) – There is no doubt that Fordham law professor Sean Griffith has contributed to Delaware Chancery Court’s deepening skepticism about disclosure-only settlements in M&A class actions. Griffith was co-author of the influential 2015 Texas Law Review paper, “Confronting the Peppercorn Settlement in Merger Litigation,” which Vice-Chancellor Travis Laster cited at the July 8 hearing that touched off a series of decisions questioning settlements that granted defendant corporations broad releases from claims in exchange only for beefed-up proxy disclosures.

2nd Circuit ‘cannibal cop’ opinion deepens appellate rift on anti-hacking law

December 3, 2015

 A divided panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of New York’s infamous “cannibal cop,” Gilberto Valle, on Thursday. The decision is full of the lurid details of the case, describing online exchanges in which Valle, a New York City police officer, and other participants in the Dark Fetish Network plotted to kidnap, murder and cook real women Valle knew, including his own wife. The appeals court concluded that as shocking and horrific as Valle’s posts were, they were sexual fantasies, not actual kidnapping schemes. “Fantasizing about committing a crime, even a crime of violence against a real person whom you know, is not a crime,” wrote Judge Barrington Parker, who was joined by Judge Susan Carney.

U.S. law firms are betting on control of VW litigation overseas

December 2, 2015

For all of the Sturm und Drang over class actions in the United States, Europe is borrowing not only the American concept of consolidated litigation but also U.S. lawyers to figure out how to deal with one of the biggest corporate liability exposures in the world.

A silver lining for banks in Delaware aiding-and-abetting opinion?

December 1, 2015

(Reuters) – There was good news and bad news for investment banks in Monday’s hotly anticipated Rural/Metro opinion from the Delaware Supreme Court. The bad: The state justices affirmed a $76 million judgment against RBC Capital Markets, finding that the bank manipulated Rural/Metro’s 2011 sale process in an attempt to win a lucrative financing deal from the ambulance company’s private equity acquirer. The decision marks the first time the Delaware justices have held a financial adviser liable to shareholders for aiding and abetting a corporate board’s breach of duty – certainly a scary prospect for banks.

On eve of MDL hearing, VW taps Sullivan & Cromwell, plaintiffs file yet more cases

November 30, 2015

When the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation hears arguments Thursday in New Orleans on whether to consolidate about 350 class actions against the automaker, VW will be represented by Sullivan & Cromwell, which will argue that securities cases against the automaker should be consolidated, as well as Herzfeld & Rubin, VW’s lead in class actions by clean diesel car owners, sellers and leasers.

Nobel laureate says British Airways class action expert botched economic test Nobelist devised

November 25, 2015

One of the most famous moments in Woody Allen’s cinematic oeuvre is in “Annie Hall,” when Allen and Diane Keaton are stuck in line for a movie in front of a Columbia professor pontificating on Marshall McLuhan’s theories. Allen tells the prof he doesn’t know what he’s talking about – and proves it by producing none other than Marshall McLuhan himself to discredit the prof’s proclamations.

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.