Alison Frankel

Distressed debt diva Lynn Tilton on ‘unfair’ SEC trial: ‘You don’t believe it could happen’

July 27, 2016

(Reuters) – Lynn Tilton, the flamboyant financier sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission last March for allegedly defrauding investors in three distressed debt funds, accused the commission in an interview Tuesday of depriving her of due process rights.

Litigation funders hit with sanctions in $180 million case v. Cigna

July 26, 2016

(Reuters) – Litigation funding is an opaque industry. Sure, extremely large funds like Burford Capital, Bentham IMF and Gerchen Keller put out occasional press releases to announce new capital or quarterly results. Once in a while, as in the burgeoning European litigation over Volkswagen’s clean-diesel cars, a big litigation fund publicly teams up with a plaintiffs’ firm. But mostly, funders prefer not to reveal what cases they have invested in. Disclosures are generally not required in U.S. courts and, in an extremely competitive industry, funders don’t want to give away their secrets.

Ongoing shareholder suit could be snag for Yahoo sale

July 25, 2016

Yahoo announced plans Monday to sell its Internet communications business to Verizon for $4.83 billion while retaining its $40 billion stakes in Yahoo Japan and Alibaba, the Chinese online retailer. After the Verizon deal closes, Yahoo intends to rename itself and register with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as an investment company.

Appeals courts split on seizing assets connected to state terror sponsors

July 22, 2016

(Reuters) – It is exceedingly difficult for U.S. victims of state-sponsored terrorism to collect money, even when they’ve won default judgments against Iran, Syria and the Sudan. My colleague Dan Levine reported in 2015 that victims in cases filed after the September 11 attacks managed to obtain only nine final orders directing defendants to turn over assets. The combined value of the seized assets in seven of those cases (the only ones Levine could ascertain) was only $37 million.

Why do securities class actions drag on once SCOTUS gets involved?

July 21, 2016

(Reuters) – When Connecticut State Treasurer Denise Nappier announced Wednesday that the state retirement fund, as the lead plaintiff in a securities class action against the biotech company Amgen, had settled the case for $95 million, I was startled to realize the litigation was still going on.

In rare public order, judge denies DOJ access to murder suspects’ private data

July 20, 2016

U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Harvey of Washington, D.C., is a brave man.

It cannot have been easy for the judge to deny the Justice Department’s sealed application for access to Facebook, Gmail, WhatsApp and other online accounts supposedly connected to nine suspects involved in the murder of a U.S. citizen abroad.

‘Inappropriate’ tweet prompts social media clampdown at DOJ

July 19, 2016

The U.S. Department of Justice has more than 1 million followers on Twitter, so someone was bound to notice a very odd tweet from the official Justice account on Tuesday morning.

Tarnished brand doesn’t give consumers right to sue: GM judge

July 19, 2016

(Reuters) – Corporate scandal is like a spot of rot on a piece of fruit: Even if the rot hasn’t ruined the whole apple, you’d rather pick a different one. It’s the downside of corporate branding. One wormhole can make the whole brand seem unappetizing to prospective customers. Or, to put the phenomenon in a real-world context, after news broke that GM failed to recall cars with a potentially deadly flaw in their ignition switch mechanism, sales of GM cars and trucks dipped, even though they weren’t affected by the defect. The GM brand was at least temporarily devalued by the ignition switch scandal.

Litigation funder facing SEC fraud claims made bad bets on mass torts

July 15, 2016

The Securities and Exchange Commission on Thursday accused the litigation financier RD Legal Capital and its founder, New Jersey lawyer Roni Dersovitz, of deceiving investors in the $170 million fund about where their money was being deployed. By 2015, as The Wall Street Journal was the first to report, Dersovitz’s interrelated funds were heavily concentrated in an anti-terror case accusing Iran of responsibility for the 1983 bombing of Marine barracks in Beirut. But even though more than $100 million of RD Legal’s capital was tied up in the litigation against Iran, according to the SEC order instituting an administrative proceeding against the funds, RD principals allegedly told investors repeatedly that their exposure to the case was limited and that the funds’ primary strategy was buying legal fee receivables in cases that had already been settled.

Fee fight blights $1.3 billion Chinese drywall case

July 14, 2016

(Reuters) – The litigation over allegedly defective Chinese-made drywall should be a triumphant emblem of the American tort system.