A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a fee opinion by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan of Manhattan, who decided that a request by class counsel for 13 percent of a $346 million settlement with underwriters of IndyMac mortgage-backed securities was just too much. Even though the 13 percent request was in line with the fee deal plaintiffs’ firms had negotiated in advance of the litigation with the lead plaintiff, a public pension fund, Kaplan cut the fee award to 8 percent, based on his own experience with securities class actions and skepticism about the hours reported by class counsel.
(Reuters) – Way back in October 2013, the home appliances company Electrolux first petitioned the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to permit its appeal of the certification of a class of washing machine purchasers. At the time, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Comcast v. Behrend was only seven months old. Electrolux’s lawyers at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom cited the decision to argue that U.S. District Judge Lisa Wood of Augusta, Georgia, should not have granted certification to two statewide classes of consumers who claimed their front-loading Electrolux washers were defectively designed with a tendency to develop a moldy smell.
(Reuters) – The Anti-Terrorism Act – which grafts civil remedies onto criminal statutes aimed at international attacks by militant groups – is confusing. As U.S. District Judge Brian Cogan of Brooklyn explained Wednesday in an opinion upholding a jury verdict of liability under the ATA against Jordan-based Arab Bank, the civil provisions “are derived from a complicated series of incorporations by reference” from the criminal laws – not, in other words, the easiest statutory texts for judges to interpret.
(Reuters) – On Monday, U.S. District Judge Jed Rakoff of Manhattan got up onto his well-worn soapbox to suggest that if Congress wants to protect U.S. markets from inside traders, lawmakers ought to specify when it is illegal to trade on confidential information.
(Reuters) – On Friday, plaintiffs lawyer Gary Osen filed an amended complaint in federal district court in Brooklyn for more than 200 former U.S. soldiers (or their survivors) who claim to have been victims of Iran-sponsored attacks during the Iraq war. The original complaint in Freeman v. HSBC, filed in November, accused five Western banks – HSBC, Credit Suisse, Standard Chartered, Royal Bank of Scotland and Barclays – of conspiring with Iranian banks that the U.S. has designated as agents of state-sponsored attacks. The supposed goal of the conspiracy was to mask wire transactions to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran, facilitating Iran’s alleged funding of militant groups operating in Iraq at Iran’s direction, including Kataib Hezbollah and Quds Force, the overseas arm of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
For the second time in the last six months, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom has reframed the debate over the Securities and Exchange Commission’s right to bring enforcement cases as administrative proceedings before in-house judges instead of federal court suits before U.S. district judges.
Hey, antitrust plaintiffs’ lawyers! Have I got a case for you.
It’s against Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, the multinational mining and commodities trading company Glencore and their subsidiary warehouse operations, which supposedly conspired to manipulate the price of aluminum.
Will bank defendants come to regret shelling out nearly $20 billion to the Federal Housing Finance Agency and about $350 million to the National Credit Union Administration to resolve allegations that they misrepresented mortgage-backed securities peddled to government-regulated entities? In the not-too-distant future, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is going to be looking again at an issue that might have wiped out most of the FHFA and NCUA claims. The 2nd Circuit sided against the banks when it first looked at the defense in 2013 – which is one big reason why FHFA and NCUA have been able to squeeze so much money from them. But this time around, the appeals court is going to have to figure out what to do about a 2014 U.S. Supreme Court case that has persuaded two federal district judges in Manhattan to disregard the 2nd Circuit’s 2013 precedent.
This is getting to be an annual rite. The U.S. Supreme Court agrees to take a case that could significantly reshape the securities class action business. Defendants get their hopes up, loading the docket with amicus briefs calling on the justices to impose new restrictions on the cases. But ultimately the justices leave the status quo more or less intact, to the relief of shareholder lawyers across the land.