Alison Frankel

Influential U.S. judge calls on Congress to define insider trading

April 7, 2015

(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.

How Western banks hope to shake ex-U.S. soldiers’ Iran terror suit

April 6, 2015

(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.

Skadden’s new theory on why SEC in-house judges are unconstitutional

April 2, 2015

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.

War looms between plaintiffs’ firms after suit vs. Walmart board is tossed

April 1, 2015

(Reuters) – When Delaware shareholder lawyer Stuart Grant of Grant & Eisenhofer gets mad, he says so.

The missing finance plaintiffs in aluminum antitrust case vs. Goldman

March 27, 2015

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.

In billion-dollar MBS litigation, repose issue just won’t go away

March 25, 2015

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.

Justices stick to middle of the road in Omnicare securities opinion

March 24, 2015

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.

U.S. judge refuses to toss Libor criminal complaint vs. Swiss UBS trader

March 23, 2015

There are so many interesting jurisdictional issues in the U.S. government’s prosecution of foreign bankers allegedly involved in the manipulation of benchmark London Interbank Offered Rates, calculated in London under the auspices of the British Bankers’ Association. Last December, Covington & Burling laid out at least three solid arguments for why U.S. courts shouldn’t hear the government’s criminal case against Roger Darin, a Swiss UBS interest-rate trader charged with one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud by supposedly submitting false reports of UBS’ yen Libor, including the territorial limits of the U.S. wire fraud statute and Darin’s due process right not to be tried in U.S. courts for conduct that took place entirely outside of the United States.

Why proposed legislation in Delaware won’t end loser-pays fight

March 20, 2015

If you think the furious debate over corporate loser-pays provisions in shareholder litigation will end if Delaware legislators enact the proposal suggested earlier this month by the state bar’s Corporation Law Council, think again.

Can ex-Willkie partner’s emails undo $5.7 bln MasterCard settlement?

March 19, 2015

Remember the strange, sad tale of Keila Ravelo, once a Willkie Farr & Gallagher partner representing MasterCard in retailers’ gigantic swipe-fee class action and now a federal criminal defendant accused of defrauding Willkie, MasterCard and her former firm, Hunton & Williams? When I first wrote about Ravelo last month, Willkie had just informed lawyers involved in the $5.7 billion swipe-fee settlement with MasterCard and Visa that documents from Ravelo’s files at the firm needed to be disclosed to the court overseeing the case.