Alison Frankel

Plaintiffs lawyers’ fee fight is lesson in dismissal standards

July 29, 2016

(Reuters) – There’s not much dispute on the basic facts in a $1 million fee fight between the plaintiffs’ firms Grant & Eisenhofer and Bernstein Liebhard.

The SEC’s twisty argument to toss pay-to-play muni bond rule challenge

July 28, 2016

(Reuters) – Last December, Congress wanted to make sure that the Securities and Exchange Commission would keep its nose out of campaign finance reform. As you know, there’s been considerable debate in recent years about whether the SEC should require corporations to disclose their political spending. The agency hasn’t shown much eagerness to do so, but in the Appropriations Act of 2016 (which was actually passed in December 2015), the House and Senate seemed to take the issue out of the SEC’s control. The law barred the commission from using SEC funds to “finalize, issue or implement any rule, regulation or order regarding the disclosure of political contributions.”

Around the world, pro bono is catching on – new report

July 28, 2016

Nicholas Glicher, legal director of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, was trained as an English solicitor and worked as a Mayer Brown attorney in London and Chicago. He winces at lawyer jokes and pop-culture portrayals of lawyers as villains. So for him, the results of the foundation’s third annual survey of law firm pro bono activities around the world was an antidote. Pro bono is thriving, from China – where lawyers reported working an average 37 hours a year on pro bono – to South Africa, where nearly half of the lawyers at reporting firms logged at least 10 hours of pro bono work in 2015.

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.