Alison Frankel

In “Lost Boys” suit over 2014 movie, judge OKs novel copyright theory

March 31, 2016

(Reuters) – Is an interview a creative collaboration between questioners and their subjects? And, if so, do interview subjects have copyrights? They might, according to a provocative ruling last week by U.S. District Judge Leigh May of Atlanta.

In mesh litigation, how a casual corporate decision ruined one woman’s life

March 30, 2016

(Reuters) – In 2005, as Johnson & Johnson was preparing to roll out Prolift, a new medical device designed to treat a urogynecological condition that affects millions of women, a French physician sent an urgent email to the J&J product director in the United States. Clinical evidence in Europe, the doctor’s email said, showed that Prolift mesh occasionally eroded through the walls of the vagina in women implanted with the device. Prolift also had a tendency to retract, according to the French physician, who said both of those complications could interfere with a patient’s ability to have sex. The doctor proposed adding cautionary language to the information J&J planned to provide to doctors in the U.S., warning them about potential complications of implanting Prolift in sexually active women, especially those who’d had hysterectomies.

Benchmark rate-rigging divides N.Y. trial courts in big-money antitrust cases

March 29, 2016

It’s a good thing the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has already heard arguments about whether collusion among banks attempting to manipulate key benchmark rates constitutes an antitrust injury – because the lower courts in Manhattan, where these big rate-rigging cases are being litigated, can’t seem to agree on that issue.

Philip Morris to SCOTUS: Don’t revisit corporate money in judicial elections

March 28, 2016

(Reuters) – It now costs, on average, at least $1 million to run a successful campaign for a seat on the state-court bench in Illinois, Wisconsin, North Carolina, Michigan and Ohio, according to an October 2015 report: “Bankrolling the Bench,” by Justice at Stake, the Brennan Center and the National Institute on Money in State Politics. In the two most expensive states for judicial campaigns, Michigan and Illinois, prospective judges spent more than $3 million, on average, in the most recent elections.

Unresolved in Tyson, uninjured plaintiffs issue back to SCOTUS on Friday

March 24, 2016

(Reuters) – With class action lawyers on both sides wondering exactly how the death of Justice Antonin Scalia will affect the U.S. Supreme Court’s appetite for class action issues, the justices will consider three notable class action certiorari petitions at their conference Friday.

Holdout investors urge DOJ not to back Argentina in bond appeal

March 23, 2016

(Reuters) – Lawyers for three bondholder groups that have not reached settlements with Argentina sent letters this week to the U.S. Justice Department, arguing that the U.S. government should not reenter long-running litigation over defaulted Argentine sovereign debt.

In Tyson, SCOTUS OKs statistical samples, leaves open uninjured plaintiffs issue

March 22, 2016

(Reuters) – U.S. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy used some quite definitive language Tuesday in his opinion for the six justices in the majority in Tyson v. Bouaphakeo, the wage-and-hour case that asked the court to resolve two big questions about class action litigation.

Gun dealers who sell to criminals can be liable to shooting victims: new ruling

March 21, 2016

(Reuters) – An Indiana state law immunizing gun manufacturers and dealers from lawsuits by victims of illegal shootings does not offer blanket protection for defendants that put weapons in the hands of criminals, according to a March 17 opinion by an intermediate state appeals court.

American Apparel founder Dov Charney sues former lawyers

March 18, 2016

(Reuters) – When all else fails in litigation – as it pretty much has for Dov Charney, the ousted CEO of American Apparel – the last resort is to sue your own lawyers.

Caesars examiner: Paul Weiss was probably conflicted – but not liable

March 17, 2016

(Reuters) – Under ordinary circumstances, according to former Watergate investigator Richard Davis, it’s not a problem for a single law firm to represent private equity investors and their portfolio companies simultaneously. That makes sense: When the portfolio companies do well, their private equity owners make money. But there is an important exception. If a portfolio company becomes insolvent, its creditors – typically noteholders – take precedence over the private equity sponsors, who are equity holders. Law firms have to be very, very careful when insolvency looms, according to Davis, and they attempt to represent both the private equity interests and the interests of the subsidiary. If those interests diverge, the law firm is conflicted.