Alison Frankel

Behind the scenes in VW clean emissions deal, a former FBI director

April 21, 2016

(Reuters) – U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco made the formal announcement in court Thursday morning: Volkswagen has reached an agreement in principle to resolve the clean diesel emissions cheating mess in the U.S. The company’s settlement encompasses U.S. and California officials, including the Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, and owners of clean diesel cars, most of whom will have the option of selling their cars back to Volkswagen or getting the cars fixed to meet U.S. emissions standards. All of the details will be revealed in June, when the government and counsel for the car owners submit deal documents.

Data privacy proponents are counting on the public’s right to know

April 20, 2016

In the latest front in the great data privacy war, the Electronic Frontier Foundation sued the Justice Department on Tuesday, demanding that the government reveal whether it has obtained orders from the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (FISC) compelling private companies to help investigators break into customers’ cellphones and devices.

In NFL concussion case, 3rd Circuit reopens door for personal injury class actions

April 19, 2016

(Reuters) – Can the National Football League tackle 19-year-old U.S. Supreme Court precedent?

The dubious business of investing in mass torts

April 18, 2016

Have you heard the latest in get-rich-quick investment ideas? All you have to do is find thousands of people injured by a drug or medical device, sign them up as clients, find lawyers to file and settle their cases and collect a share of the legal fees. It’s easy! You can’t lose!

Federal judge finds foul play, collusion in Arkansas insurance class action

April 15, 2016

(Reuters) – In January 2014, the insurer United Services Automobile Association removed a property insurance class action to federal court in Fort Smith, Arkansas. About 14 months later, plaintiffs’ and defense lawyers informed the presiding judge, U.S. District Judge P.K. Holmes, that they had reached a settlement. Judge Holmes entered a scheduling order in May 2105.

New Delaware forum selection fight: Shareholders sue directors for waiving clause

April 14, 2016

(Reuters) – In Delaware shareholder litigation, to quote the immortal Roseanne Roseannadanna, it’s always something. Just two years ago, plaintiffs lawyers were squirming under the strictures of forum selection bylaws and charter amendments that required shareholders to litigate their claims in Delaware Chancery Court rather than friendlier jurisdictions. But now plaintiffs’ lawyers at Andrews & Springer and Gainey McKenna & Egleston are suing board members at the biopharma company CytRx for waiving the company’s forum selection bylaw.

In first appellate analysis of Halliburton, 8th Circuit boosts securities defendants

April 13, 2016

(Reuters) – At 8 a.m. on Sept. 14, 2010, the electronics retailer Best Buy issued an optimistic press release boosting its projected earnings per share by ten cents. The company’s opening stock price that day reflected the good news. Best Buy was up by nearly $3 per share, a 7.5 percent rise over the previous day’s close.

Oaktree accused of shuttering fund to evade $50 million GM clawback suit

April 12, 2016

Remember the story of the Mayer Brown paralegal mistake that could cost GM lenders $1.5 billion? Now there’s a new development in the clawback litigation spurred by that fatal error. Creditors of the pre-bankruptcy GM are alleging that an Oaktree fund found a brazen way to sidestep their demand for the return of their money: The fund shut itself down before a court could decide whether it must pay back about $50 million.

Meet the Thai math prof whose copyright case is headed for SCOTUS – again

April 11, 2016

(Reuters) – In the eight years since the publisher John Wiley & Sons first sued him for copyright infringement, almost all of the particulars of Supap Kirtsaeng’s life have changed. Back then, he was an unmarried graduate student in mathematics at the University of Southern California with a side business reselling Asian-produced versions of American textbooks. Today, after nearly a decade of litigation setbacks and advances, Kirtsaeng is back in Thailand. His textbook business is shuttered and he and his old girlfriend broke up, but he found a job as a professor, married a colleague and is finally feeling financially secure.

D.C. Circuit sends ominous signal on CFPB constitutionality

April 8, 2016

Next Tuesday morning, three judges on the District of Columbia U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments about whether the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – a centerpiece of the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act – is unconstitutional. And based on an order issued this week by the three Republican appointees who will hear the case, CFPB lawyer Lawrence DeMille-Wagman had better be ready to defend his agency’s legitimacy.