Alison Frankel

Federal Circuit rules U.S. courts overcharged on PACER, plaintiffs' lawyer predicts big refunds

07 Aug 2020

Deepak Gupta of Gupta Wessler has been battling the U.S. court system since 2016 over the fees it charges for public access to electronic court filings. A ruling Thursday from the Federal U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in his case, National Veterans Legal Service Program v. U.S., might seem to be a mixed result. The appeals court rejected Gupta’s argument that the court system may use money collected from PACER users only to fund the PACER system. Instead, the Federal Circuit concluded that PACER fees may also be used to fund the federal courts’ electronic filing system for lawyers and for the courts’ electronic bankruptcy notification system.

Why is diversity so important? Read Orrick’s amicus brief on jurors and #BLM

05 Aug 2020

The last thing Tiffany Wright needed was more work.

Flight MH370 plaintiff wants SCOTUS to review forum doctrine, claiming ‘disarray’ below

04 Aug 2020

The estate of a Texas man who presumably died in the 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 asked (2020 WL 4386258) the U.S. Supreme Court last week to address “disarray” and “confusion” in the lower courts about the deference trial courts owe to U.S. plaintiffs in forum non conveniens determinations.

JPML judges struggle with 'nightmare' prospect of COVID-19 insurance coverage MDL

31 Jul 2020

No fewer than three different people used the word “nightmare” at a Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation hearing Thursday morning about whether to consolidate hundreds of federal-court suits by insurance policyholders whose claims for business interruption coverage was denied. And one of them was a judge.

Colleges have a duty to protect drunk students from imminent danger, says Mass. high court

29 Jul 2020

A young woman named Morgan Helfman lost her case this week at the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Helfman wanted to hold her school, Northeastern University, responsible for what she alleges was a sexual assault that occurred in 2013, when she was a freshman and drank too much at a dorm-room Halloween party. The Massachusetts high court ruled Monday that Northeastern was not liable for Helfman’s alleged rape, affirming Suffolk County Superior Judge Robert Gordon’s grant of summary judgment to the university.

There is no wave of COVID-19 shareholders' class actions (yet)

28 Jul 2020

Remember back in mid-March, when the stock market was gyrating and businesses were just beginning to reckon with COVID-19 lockdowns? Corporate defense firms warned that opportunistic shareholders' lawyers were poised to pounce. Plaintiffs' lawyers said at the time that they were in no rush to bring class actions against companies that failed to anticipate the impact of the coronavirus or to disclose exposure to the ill effects of pandemic shutdowns. But Kent Schmidt at Dorsey & Whitney, who started tracking COVID-19 cases in March, told me in April that COVID-19 shareholder class actions might tick up in the second quarter of the year as anxious companies looked for good news to report.

Business groups urge Supreme Court to allow pre-enforcement review of IRS regulations

24 Jul 2020

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other business group told the U.S. Supreme Court in amicus briefs filed Wednesday in CIC Services v. Internal Revenue Service that the justices should not allow the IRS and the Treasury Department to use the Anti-Injunction Act to evade pre-enforcement challenges to IRS policies. The groups called upon the Supreme Court to overturn a 2019 ruling (925 F.3d 247) that the AIA bars CIC from bringing an Administrative Procedure Act suit over a 2016 IRS policy that boosts reporting requirements for captive insurance transactions.

Judge Koh trims $7 million from fee request in “unremarkable” Yahoo data breach case

23 Jul 2020

Is there any federal judge who scrutinizes fee requests in class actions with the same rigor as U.S. District Judge Lucy Koh of San Jose? Remember the no-poach class action against Dreamworks and Disney in which class counsel asked for more than $30 million and Judge Koh gave them $18.5 million? Or the $115 million Anthem data breach class action in which the judge was so concerned about plaintiffs’ billing records that she appointed a special master to analyze them? In that case, class counsel had asked for nearly $38 million. Judge Koh agreed they’d achieved a great result for the class but awarded (2018 WL 3960068) $31 million.

On the verge of $2.65 billion Uber deal, Postmates faces mass arbitration reckoning

22 Jul 2020

The food delivery service Postmates announced earlier this month that Uber would acquire the company for $2.65 billion, a 10% premium on Postmates’ last valuation of $2.4 billion. But Uber might want to keep an eye out for wage-and-hour claims by more than 15,000 Postmates couriers who have filed demands at the American Arbitration Association.

Pushing for lawsuit immunity, Trump claims Dems are ‘captured’ by lawyers’ lobby. Stats say otherwise

21 Jul 2020

President Trump told Fox News’ Chris Wallace that he is a strong proponent of an effort by Senate Republicans to immunize businesses from liability to workers and consumers in Congress’ next COVID-19 relief bill. Otherwise, the president said in an interview that aired Sunday, businesses “are going to get sued just because somebody walked in.”

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