It was only last week that Steven Helfand, a disbarred lawyer who frequently objects to class action settlements, was featured as a champion of public access in my stories about a troubling document in a class action against Walmart.
The financial software company Intuit Inc reached a proposed $40 million settlement last week with millions of consumers who claim they were steered into paying for Intuit tax preparation services instead of receiving free services. Class counsel from Girard Sharp and Stueve Siegel Hanson told U.S. District Judge Charles Breyer of San Francisco in their motion for preliminary approval that the proposed class action will deliver substantial refunds to class members who file claims and, as importantly, will notify millions of people that they're entitled to use a free Intuit product to file their taxes. Judge Breyer has scheduled a preliminary approval hearing for Dec. 17.
On Sunday night, literally on the eve of a scheduled trial in state court in Michigan, the mall operator Simon Property and the luxury mall developer Taubman Centers settled litigation over the deal they originally announced in February. Simon, as you know, claimed in June that it was entitled to walk away from its $3.6 billion deal to acquire an 80% stake in Taubman because COVID-19 disproportionately affected Taubman’s business, triggering the material adverse event clause in their M&A agreement. Taubman said the agreement specifically shifted COVID-19 risk to Simon. We’ll never know which side would have prevailed in court, but Simon is paying 18% less per share for its stake, saving hundreds of millions of dollars.
U.S. District Judge Jose Martinez of Miami has done the right thing.
A new decision from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (2020 WL 6578223), vacating a $14.8 million fee award to class counsel in a case alleging that Whirlpool dishwashers were prone to overheat, seems likely to discourage plaintiffs' lawyers from agreeing to settlements in which a big chunk of the relief can be characterized as a coupon.
President Donald Trump’s campaign filed its most sweeping post-election lawsuit on Monday night in federal court in Scranton, Pennsylvania, alleging that state election officials devised and executed “an illegal two-tiered voting system” that unconstitutionally favored mail-in voters over those who voted in person. Reuters’ report on the new complaint noted that the president’s cases challenging election results have so far not fared well, with judges in Michigan and Georgia dismissing suits and experts predicting that Trump’s legal campaign has “little chance of changing the election result.”
In the class action system, we rely on lead plaintiffs and their lawyers to act in the best interests of everyone else whose interests are at stake. It’s the whole point of class actions! The class mechanism streamlines the process to enable the vindication of claims by hundreds or thousands or even millions of people that might otherwise be too small to justify litigation.
The Federal Trade Commission detailed a truly black-hearted alleged fraud scheme in a complaint and motion for a temporary restraining order filed Wednesday in federal court in Akron, Ohio.
The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has given Michelle Cochran one more chance to block the Securities and Exchange Commission from pushing ahead with an administrative proceeding against her.
The Justice Department filed a fascinating petition Tuesday night in Boston federal court, asking for a court order to compel the consulting firm to turn over about 2,000 documents related to Bain’s work on a confidential project for Visa. DOJ said its antitrust lawyers need to see the Bain materials as part of their investigation of Visa’s planned $5.3 billion acquisition of the fintech startup Plaid, arguing that Bain’s “business strategic consulting work” on the confidential project could affect DOJ’s analysis of the impact of the Plaid acquisition on the market for debit services. The government sent Bain a demand for the documents in June, but, according to DOJ’s petition, the consulting firm has claimed that its communications with Visa are protected by attorney-client privilege.