Alison Frankel

Accused lawyer says SEC has no power to police alleged pay-to-play scheme

March 15, 2016

(Reuters) – Remember Robert Crowe, the Nelson Mullins partner and pre-eminent Democratic lobbyist who was targeted in a Securities and Exchange Commission fraud suit in January? The SEC, as I reported at the time, claimed Crowe felt so much pressure to hold on to State Street as a client that he illicitly steered $20,000 in campaign contributions to an Ohio official who controlled a contract State Street wanted to be awarded. The SEC characterized the arrangement as a pay-to-play scheme, accusing Crowe of securities fraud and aiding and abetting State Street’s fraud.

Why does Hulk Hogan even have a case against Gawker?

March 14, 2016

(Reuters) – You know that old saying about how you’d never eat sausage if you really knew how the sausage was made?

Medical device defendant probes origin of mesh claims

March 10, 2016

By Alison Frankel and Jessica Dye

(Reuters) – A major defendant in the 100,000-case pelvic mesh litigation has subpoenaed the mid-sized Houston law firm AkinMears, as well as several smaller law firms and a company that sells personal-injury claims, seeking documents and testimony related to AkinMears’ acquisition last summer of the smaller firms’ mass torts practices.

2nd Circuit to issuers: Don’t worry about Omnicare

March 7, 2016

(Reuters) – It’s been just about a year since the U.S. Supreme Court said in Omnicare v. Laborers District Council Construction Industry that securities issuers can be liable to investors even if their misstatements are couched as opinions. But in a ruling Friday in In re Sanofi, the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held that despite Omnicare, issuers don’t have to tell investors about important information that may contradict the opinions they are expressing.

Apple, Justice and the First Amendment

March 4, 2016

Apple and the dozens of Apple supporters who filed amicus briefs Thursday in federal court in Riverside, California, have left little doubt that ultimately, the Supreme Court will be called upon to decide whether the government may rely on the 1789 All Writs Act to compel Apple to help investigators access data from the phone of San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook.

From Russia with fraud: BakerHostetler fights former client to stay in money-laundering case

March 2, 2016

(Reuters) – It is no exaggeration to call the theft of $230 million from the Russian Treasury in 2007 a life and death matter. The money was stolen in a complex tax fraud that began with the alleged misappropriation of the corporate identities of three companies in the Russian portfolio of Hermitage Capital, a U.S. hedge fund. A Hermitage lawyer in Moscow who helped expose the fraud, Sergei Magnitsky, was arrested in 2008, detained for nearly a year and ultimately died in custody at the age of 37. Russian authorities later charged Magnitsky posthumously. Hermitage’s American founder, William Browder, was convicted in absentia by Russian courts and faces the possibility of additional charges.

Why Brooklyn judge’s All Writs Act decision is huge win for Apple

March 1, 2016

(Reuters) – U.S. Magistrate Judge James Orenstein of Brooklyn does not have the power to bind other courts. The 50-page opinion he issued Monday, denying the Justice Department’s application for an order under the All Writs Act to compel Apple to help the government unlock the phone of a convicted drug dealer, will not end the California federal-court showdown between Apple and the Justice Department over an iPhone belonging to San Bernardino shooter Syed Farook. Judge Orenstein’s decision isn’t even the last word in the Brooklyn case – the Justice Department told Reuters Monday that it will ask for the order to be overturned by a district court judge.

With Scalia gone, defendants lose hope for class action reprieve

February 29, 2016

(Reuters) – Carter Phillips of Sidley Austin is one of the most experienced U.S. Supreme Court litigators in the country. According to his official bio, Phillips has argued 74 cases before the justices, more than anyone else in private practice, but if you hire Phillips, you’re not just paying for his quick thinking at the podium. You want his strategic advice about how – and whether – you can win your case.

Judge Breyer steers VW case with extremely firm hand

February 26, 2016

(Reuters) – U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco does not intend to permit the consolidated litigation between Volkswagen and owners of clean diesel VWs to be detoured by Volkswagen’s negotiations with the U.S. government or by the company’s proposal to resolve car owners’ claims out of court. Based on the transcript of the first substantive hearing since Judge Breyer appointed lead counsel for the car owners, the judge wants the consolidated litigation to be the arena where Volkswagen solves its problems in the United States.

In latest Argentina bond flap, mediator scolds hedge fund lawyer for disclosures

February 25, 2016

(Reuters) – Big news came from an unexpected quarter on Wednesday. At an open hearing on an arcane procedural issue before a panel of judges at the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, a lawyer for hedge funds entrenched in a 15-year fight with Argentina over defaulted sovereign bonds revealed that the hedge funds and Argentina have worked out the economic terms of a $5 billion settlement. The only remaining obstacles to a deal, according to hedge fund counsel Matthew McGill of Gibson Dunn & Crutcher, were “hiccups on mechanics.”