Alison Frankel

How corporations can game their own forum selection clauses

By Alison Frankel
November 17, 2015

(Reuters) – I wouldn’t ordinarily cover Utah state-court shareholder litigation over a $115 million deal but I’m worried about the implications of a forum selection dispute fomented by FX Energy, an oil and gas exploration company that announced its sale to Orlen Upstream last month.

After Chancery crackdown on M&A settlements, shareholder filings drop off

By Alison Frankel
November 16, 2015

(Reuters) – Class action lawyers can’t stay in business unless they earn contingency fees from settling cases. That’s just a plain economic truth. And based on new data compiled by the indefatigable folks at The Chancery Daily, it has not taken long at all for shareholder lawyers to respond like the rational economic actors they are to the new reality of M&A litigation in Delaware.

Valeant insider trading ruling: Activists beware of hostile bidder hookups

By Alison Frankel
November 12, 2015

(Reuters) – Back in April 2014, Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz put out a client alert warning of a scary new template for hostile bids: corporate raiders teaming up with activist investors for their mutual benefit and the corresponding doom of target companies. The alert was inspired, of course, by the pharmaceutical company Valeant’s partnership with Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square in a bid for Allergan.

Reading the Tyson tea leaves: This case won’t be vehicle for big class action changes

By Alison Frankel
November 11, 2015

Remember how excited the business lobby was in 2014 when the U.S. Supreme Court took a case that might have knocked out the foundation of most securities fraud class actions? The justices granted certiorari in Halliburton v. Erica P. John Fund to reconsider the presumption that, under fraud-on-the-market theory, investors relied on corporate misrepresentations. But in the end, the court left the presumption more or less intact, disappointing Halliburton amici who had hoped for fundamental change in the law governing securities class actions.

In immigration opinion, 5th Circuit endorses states’ rights to sue U.S.

By Alison Frankel
November 10, 2015

In a 135-page split opinion Monday night, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld an injunction barring the Obama administration from implementing a policy of deferring deportation actions against more than 4 million undocumented immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens or legal permanent residents of the U.S. The appellate majority, Judges Jerry Smith and Jennifer Elrod, ruled 26 states were likely to prevail in their claims that the Department of Homeland Security violated the Administrative Procedure Act when it instituted a new immigration policy by issuing a memo instead of launching the formal rulemaking process. The Justice Department said Tuesday it intends to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review the 5th Circuit’s decision.

Labor union dissenters influence political speech more than shareholders: law profs to SCOTUS

By Alison Frankel
November 9, 2015

(Reuters) – Scathing commentary about the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission has tended to focus on the court’s refusal to restrict corporate political spending. As you know, the justices struck down campaign finance reforms as an unconstitutional violation of corporations’ free speech rights, triggering an avalanche of predictions that corporate donors would wield outsized political influence. The other free speech beneficiaries of Citizens United – labor unions also subject to the invalidated campaign finance restrictions – haven’t been the subject of nearly as much fear and loathing.

In VW class actions, three trial judges are raring to go

By Alison Frankel
November 5, 2015

On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady of Alexandria, Virginia, appointed three plaintiffs’ firms – Cohen Milstein Sellers & Toll, Kessler Topaz Meltzer & Check and Cooper & Kirk – to lead the Virginia wing of the ever-expanding clean diesel emissions cheating litigation against Volkswagen.

The evil corrupt plaintiffs’ lawyers do

By Alison Frankel
October 30, 2015

(Quote in 11th paragraph may be objectionable to some readers.)

(Reuters) – If you have a few minutes, watch the YouTube video Texas plaintiffs’ lawyer Mikal Watts of Watts Guerra posted yesterday after the unsealing of a 95-count federal fraud and identity theft indictment against him and six codefendants.

In SCOTUS petition, Apple claims 2nd Circuit used wrong antitrust standard

By Alison Frankel
October 29, 2015

(Reuters) – The e-books antitrust scheme alleged by the Justice Department against Apple and five major book publishers was what’s known in antitrust lingo as a hub-and-spoke conspiracy, in which a central player supposedly enables industry competitors to fix their prices. Now Apple is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to clarify what standard of review should apply to the conduct of that central player: Is its alleged participation a per se violation of antitrust law, as price-fixing amongst competitors is deemed to be? Or should courts be required to evaluate the enabler’s actions under the more forgiving “rule of reason” standard, which takes into account the potentially pre-consumer consequences of restraints on trade?

In defense of trial lawyers advertising for clients

By Alison Frankel
October 27, 2015

The U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform came out with a new study Tuesday, highlighting what its president, Lisa Rickard, called “some of the most sophisticated and relentless marketing campaigns in our society” – television and internet advertising by plaintiffs lawyers on the prowl for personal injury clients.