David Brennan is one of about 4,000 current and former California employees of Robert Half International who reached a $19 million wage-and-hour class action settlement with the company in 2012. The state court judge overseeing the case awarded class counsel from the Law Offices of Kevin T. Barnes one-third of the class fund, or $6.3 million. Brennan, represented by class action ombudsman Lawrence Schonbrun, objected to the settlement, arguing that under 40-year-old California precedent, the fee award should have been based on plaintiffs’ lawyers’ hourly billings, not a percentage of the class recovery. When that argument failed to persuade the trial court and the intermediate appellate court, Brennan and Schonbrun took the case to the California Supreme Court, which agreed to hear his appeal.
(Reuters) – The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is not a fan of U.S. Court of Federal Claims Judge Thomas Wheeler, who ruled in June that the Treasury Department’s $87 billion bailout of AIG violated the Fifth Amendment rights of AIG shareholders.
(Reuters) – A couple of years ago, Chief Justice John Roberts appended an unusual statement to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision not to review a privacy class action settlement in which all of the class recovery (except for legal fees) was delivered to a new online privacy education group Facebook was to help oversee. The chief justice said the Facebook settlement challenge was too tightly focused on the particulars of the case to warrant Supreme Court review but he basically invited future cert petitions raising the issue of when, if ever, class action settlements can deliver money to charities under the doctrine of cy pres, or “as near as possible.”
(Reuters) – U.S. District Judge David Godbey of Dallas didn’t do a lot of explaining in his order Wednesday denying the Texas Health and Human Services Commission a temporary restraining order to block the resettlement in Houston of nine Syrian refugees. The entire ruling is less than three pages long, and, as Reuters reported, concludes simply that Texas hasn’t met the requisite showing of irreparable harm.
The legal world was quite understandably transfixed Wednesday by U.S. Supreme Court arguments in Fisher v. University of Texas, the justices’ latest consideration of the role race may play in admissions decisions at public universities. In particular, Justice Antonin Scalia incited an Internet firestorm with a question about whether black and Hispanic students admitted under affirmative action policies might be better off at less competitive schools.
Former State Street chief investment officer John Flannery was the unfortunate victim of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s decision to broaden the scope of liability under antifraud provisions of the Securities Act of 1933 and the Securities and Exchange Act of 1934.
(Reuters) – Trial lawyers’ television ads are, as a genre, so over-the-top that you might think they’re parody proof. If you watch late-night TV you know what I’m talking about: “Toxic drug warning!” “Legal Alert!” “Attention: You may be entitled to compensation!” The ads aren’t artful, to say the least, but they are effective. If they weren’t, trial lawyers would not be spending nearly a billion dollars a year, according to a study the Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) released in October, to reach out to potential clients.
A truck driver named Monika Starke gave the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission a very distressing account of her on-the-road training at CRST Expedited. According to Starke’s 2005 EEOC complaint, she was sexually harassed and abused during the 28 days she rode with two different lead drivers. One of them, she said, forced her to have sex under the threat of issuing her a failing evaluation.
(Reuters) – There is no doubt that Fordham law professor Sean Griffith has contributed to Delaware Chancery Court’s deepening skepticism about disclosure-only settlements in M&A class actions. Griffith was co-author of the influential 2015 Texas Law Review paper, “Confronting the Peppercorn Settlement in Merger Litigation,” which Vice-Chancellor Travis Laster cited at the July 8 hearing that touched off a series of decisions questioning settlements that granted defendant corporations broad releases from claims in exchange only for beefed-up proxy disclosures.
A divided panel of the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the conviction of New York’s infamous “cannibal cop,” Gilberto Valle, on Thursday. The decision is full of the lurid details of the case, describing online exchanges in which Valle, a New York City police officer, and other participants in the Dark Fetish Network plotted to kidnap, murder and cook real women Valle knew, including his own wife. The appeals court concluded that as shocking and horrific as Valle’s posts were, they were sexual fantasies, not actual kidnapping schemes. “Fantasizing about committing a crime, even a crime of violence against a real person whom you know, is not a crime,” wrote Judge Barrington Parker, who was joined by Judge Susan Carney.