(Reuters) – By this time next year, class action lawyers could be looking back with nostalgia and regret at the good old days when they only had to worry about Wal-Mart v. Dukes and Comcast v. Behrend.
The 2nd U.S Circuit Court of Appeals undid an injustice Monday when it ordered a new trial for David Parse, a one-time Deutsche Bank broker who was convicted in 2011 for his alleged participation in a tax shelter scheme supposedly masterminded by the now-defunct law firm Jenkens & Gilchrist. In an opinion by Judge Amalya Kearse, the appeals court said Parse’s conviction was tainted by a biased juror who admitted after trial that she had told a series of breathtaking lies during voir dire. Even though Parse’s former lawyers at Brune & Richard had turned up Internet evidence before and during trial that raised suspicions about the juror, the 2nd Circuit said, Parse had not waived his right to an impartial jury.
Margot Freeman Saunders of the National Consumer Law Center was braced for bad news from the Federal Communications Commission on reform of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). Since last year, Saunders has been trying to file responses to an onslaught of petitions at the FCC by business groups complaining about supposedly baseless TCPA class actions, but consumer advocates couldn’t match industry’s lobbying campaign. Saunders said she met twice with FCC staffers to push for more stringent prohibitions on spam phone calls, faxes and texts. Business groups, by contrast, made dozens of trips to the agency.
(Reuters) – The commissioners of the Securities and Exchange Commission seem to think there may just be something to the latest defense arguments that its in-house administrative law judges are unconstitutional.
The military contractor Kellogg Brown & Root Services won at the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday, when the justices ruled unanimously in KBR v. U.S. ex rel Carter that the Wartime Suspension of Limitations Act extends the time limit only for criminal fraud cases, not for civil suits under the False Claims Act. KBR lawyer John Elwood of Vinson & Elkins told my Reuters colleague Lawrence Hurley that the decision should effectively kill a 2011 whistleblower suit accusing the company of billing the U.S. government for months of water purification services in Iraq it didn’t actually provide.
Citigroup revealed last week that it has agreed to pay $394 million to settle private antitrust litigation over manipulation of a benchmark price average for trades in the foreign exchange market, bringing the total recovery for plaintiffs in the consolidated forex litigation to nearly $810 million. That number is expected to rise. Citi is the fourth bank to reach a deal in the private case – JPMorgan Chase, UBS and Bank of America have already settled – and at least two other of the eight remaining forex defendants are also reportedly in talks with plaintiffs lawyers.
The judge overseeing litigation over Target’s epic 2013 data breach has serious qualms about Target’s $19 million deal with MasterCard, which proposes to resolve claims by banks that issue MasterCard credit and debit cards. But in a ruling Thursday night, U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson of St. Paul, Minnesota, said there’s nothing he can do to stop it.
(Reuters) – The plaintiffs’ firm Lieff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein, working with regular appellate counsel Samuel Issacharoff of New York University School of Law, submitted a compelling petition last week at the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, asking the appellate court to reconsider a three-judge panel’s ruling in Graham v. R.J. Reynolds. In that April 8 decision, the 11th Circuit held that Florida smokers’ strict liability and negligence claims against tobacco companies are implicitly preempted because Congress has imposed federal regulation on cigarettes but has not banned them. Lieff Cabraser’s brief argues not only that the 11th Circuit opinion is at odds with a previous 11th Circuit decision based on the same basic facts and case law but that it’s also contrary to U.S. Supreme Court precedent.
The well-known libel and defamation lawyer Lin Wood left Bryan Cave four years ago because he wanted to represent two whistleblowers – a doctor and nurse – who claimed that the kidney dialysis company DaVita had rigged its drug delivery protocols to overcharge Medicare, Medicaid and other government health programs for unused medications. The False Claims Act whistleblowers had filed their case back in 2007 and already had lawyers, including Marlan Wilbanks of Wilbanks & Bridges. But in March 2011, the Justice Department made the decision not to intervene in the case, leaving the whistleblowers to litigate against DaVita without help from the government. Wood entered his appearance in July 2011.