Alison Frankel

Argentina’s public comments put U.S. lawyers in awkward spot

By Alison Frankel
June 19, 2014

At a hearing Wednesday afternoon in Manhattan, Argentina’s lawyer, Carmine Boccuzzi of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, informed U.S. District Judge Thomas Griesa that Argentine officials “will be in New York next week” in order to begin negotiations with the hedge funds whose bond litigation has forced the country to the brink of a sovereign debt crisis.

Now Argentina wants to negotiate with hedge funds. Is it too late?

By Alison Frankel
June 18, 2014

If Argentina truly wants to resolve its debt crisis without defaulting on tens of billions of dollars in restructured bonds, its politicians had better stop giving speeches.

The weird proviso in Apple’s e-books settlement

By Alison Frankel
June 17, 2014

There’s a very unusual sentence near the beginning of the letter that class action lawyer Steve Berman of Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro sent Monday to U.S. District Judge Denise Cote of Manhattan. Cote is presiding over the consolidated antitrust litigation in which the Justice Department, 33 U.S. states and territories and a class of book purchasers have accused Apple of conspiring with publishers to fix e-book prices. A year ago, after a bench trial of the Justice Department’s case, Cote found Apple liable for violating federal antitrust law. Since then, the company has been pursuing an appeal of the liability decision at the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals while continuing to battle with the states and private plaintiffs in Cote’s courtroom.

If Argentina restructures bonds to evade hedge funds, sanctions loom

By Alison Frankel
June 16, 2014

Argentina is just about out of legal options in its blood feud with NML Capital, Aurelius Capital and other holdout bondholders.

Can market competitors police false ads better than class actions?

By Alison Frankel
June 13, 2014

Companies should not mislead consumers about their products. Some do anyway. Those companies should be held accountable for their deception, not only because they lied but also to deter other companies from lying.

Bain, Goldman settlements in collusion case undercut shareholder releases

By Alison Frankel
June 12, 2014

As inevitably as thunder follows lightning, shareholder class actions follow deal announcements. Debate has been raging for years now about whether shareholders derive any real benefits from the resolution of these cases, with judges increasingly skeptical about awarding big fees to plaintiffs lawyers who win only enhanced disclosures in deal documents. For defendants, the upside of settlements is more obvious: They obtain global releases of shareholder claims related to the transactions.

Judge says Cleary Argentina memo is privileged, he won’t ‘make use of it’

By Alison Frankel
June 10, 2014

The hedge fund NML Capital is going to have to execute some fancy footwork to maintain its argument that Argentina is plotting to evade a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that prohibits the foreign sovereign from making payments to holders of its restructured debt before paying off hedge funds that refused to exchange defaulted bonds.

SCOTUS repose opinion is good news for securities defendants

By Alison Frankel
June 9, 2014

As of April, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has recovered about $15 billion from 15 big banks that supposedly misrepresented the quality of the mortgage-backed securities they peddled to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHFA is expecting more to come: The conservator still has cases under way against Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Nomura and Royal Bank of Scotland. The National Credit Union Administration, meanwhile, has netted more than $330 million in settlements with banks that duped since-failed credit unions into buying deficient MBS. NCUA is also still litigating against several other defendants, some of which it sued only last September. When you add in MBS suits by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation on behalf of failed banks, there are about four dozen ongoing cases, involving some $200 billion in rotten mortgage-backed securities, brought by congressionally created stewards.

Asbestos plaintiffs lawyers: Garlock is the bad guy, not us

By Alison Frankel
June 6, 2014

Last January, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge George Hodges of Charlotte, N.C., issued a doozy of a ruling in the Chapter 11 of the gasket maker Garlock Sealing Technologies. Lawyers for asbestos claimants wanted Garlock to set aside more than $1 billion in a trust for thousands of current and future victims of asbestos exposure. Garlock, which maintains that anyone exposed to its long-ago products was also exposed to more potent products manufactured by other companies, argued that its liability was no more than $125 million. Plaintiffs lawyers based their estimate on Garlock’s settlement history; Garlock contended that it was manipulated into overpaying in settlements with plaintiffs lawyers who withheld evidence that their clients were exposed to other manufacturers’ products.

How GM’s legal department failed the company and its customers

By Alison Frankel
June 5, 2014

There’s a heartbreaking moment deep in the internal investigation report GM released Thursday, detailing the company’s botched response to a sometimes fatal defect in Cobalt ignition switches. A young lawyer named Nabeel Peracha, who had joined GM in April 2012, was at a meeting just a few months later with other GM lawyers. Their topic was the settlement of a West Virginia product liability case stemming from a crash in 2009 of a Chevrolet Cobalt that skidded on black ice, ran off the road and hit two trees. The front-seat passenger sustained head injuries when the Cobalt’s airbag failed to deploy.