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  • Class Actions
  • Federal Jurisdiction
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Fairness in Class Litigation Act

Litigation Practice Group Teleforum
Howard M. Erichson, Andrew Grossman March 31, 2017

On Saturday, March 11 the House passed the Fairness in Class Litigation Act by a vote of 220-201. The stated purpose of the Act is to “(1) assure fair and prompt recoveries for class members and multidistrict litigation plaintiffs; (2) diminish abuses in class action and mass tort litigation; and (3)  restore the intent of the framers…by ensuring Federal court consideration of interstate controversies of national importance consistent with diversity jurisdiction principles” (H.R.985, 2017).

The Bill amends the federal judicial code’s standards for the certification of class action. For example, the bill requires that proposed class members to show that they suffered the same type and degree of injury. The bill also limits the amount and timing of attorney’s fees in a class action. Attorney’s cannot be paid more than the class members, and they must be paid after the class members receive payment.

Andrew Grossman Partner at Baker & Hostetler LLP and Adjunct Scholar at the Cato Institute will join Professor Howard M. Erichson of Fordham to discuss the legislation as deliberations begin in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Featuring:

  • Professor Howard M. Erichson, Professor of Law, Fordham University School of Law
  • Andrew Grossman, Partner, Baker & Hostetler LLP, Adjunct Scholar, the Cato Institute

"Deep Pocket Jurisprudenceā„¢" and Meaningful Civil Justice Reform

Litigation Practice Group Teleforum
Victor E. Schwartz March 24, 2017

This Teleforum will discuss what Victor Schwartz has labelled "Deep-Pocket Jurisprudence™." According to Mr. Schwartz, this occurs when state appellate courts expand tort law to include an innocent defendant because the wrongdoer is "judgment proof" or cannot be reached by the judicial process. The Supreme Court of Iowa has used the term and condemned the practice.

This call will also focus on the possible enactment of federal civil justice reform. On March 9 and 10th 2017 the House of Representatives passed three federal civil justice reform measures, namely the H.R. 720, Lawsuit Abuse Reduction Act, H.R. 725, Innocent Party Protection Act and H.R.925, the Fairness in Class Litigation Act. Each enjoy strong support from Speaker Paul Ryan and this marks the earliest in a congressional term that such federal civil justice reform measures have passed the House. Nevertheless, it remains to be seen whether they will pass through the Senate and be approved by President Trump.

Featuring:

  • Victor E. Schwartz, Partner, Shook, Hardy & Bacon LLP

Courthouse Steps: Microsoft v. Baker - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Cory L. Andrews March 23, 2017

On March 21, 2017, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Microsoft v. Baker. The case involves a class action lawsuit against the Microsoft Company by plaintiffs who alleged that during games on their Xbox video game console, the game disc would come loose and scratch the internal components of the device, permanently damaging the Xbox. Since only .4% of Xbox consoles experienced this issue, the district court determined that "a class action suit could not be certified and individuals in the suit would have to come forward on their own." The named plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims with prejudice. The case was then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit where the court overturned the lower court's decision and held that the district court misapplied the law and abused its discretion in removing the class action allegations.

As Microsoft v. Baker comes before the Supreme Court, the major question is whether or not appellate courts have the jurisdiction to review a class action suit after the plaintiffs voluntarily dismiss their claims with prejudice.

Featuring:

  • Cory L. Andrews, Senior Litigation Counsel, Washington Legal Foundation

Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado: Post Decision Recap

Criminal Law & Procedure Practice Group Teleforum
John C. Richter March 23, 2017

On March 6, 2017, the Supreme Court released its 5-3 decision in Pena-Rodriguez v. Colorado. The majority opinion, written by Justice Kennedy, reveresed and remanded the case holding that when there is a juror's clear statement that he or she relied on racial stereotypes or animus to convict a criminal defendant, the Sixth Amendment requires that the trial court consider the evidence of the statement and any resulting denial of the jury trial guarantee. John Richter, Partner at King & Spalding, will join us to discuss the important ramifications of the Court's striking decision. 

Featuring:

  • John Richter, Partner, King & Spalding

Courthouse Steps: Microsoft v. Baker

Litigation Practice Group Teleforum
Cory L. Andrews March 22, 2017

On March 21, 2017, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Microsoft v. Baker. The case involves a class action lawsuit against the Microsoft Company by plaintiffs who alleged that during games on their Xbox video game console, the game disc would come loose and scratch the internal components of the device, permanently damaging the Xbox. Since only .4% of Xbox consoles experienced this issue, the district court determined that "a class action suit could not be certified and individuals in the suit would have to come forward on their own." The named plaintiffs voluntarily dismissed their claims with prejudice. The case was then appealed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit where the court overturned the lower court's decision and held that the district court misapplied the law and abused its discretion in removing the class action allegations.

As Microsoft v. Baker comes before the Supreme Court, the major question is whether or not appellate courts have the jurisdiction to review a class action suit after the plaintiffs voluntarily dismiss their claims with prejudice.

Featuring:

  • Cory L. Andrews, Senior Litigation Counsel, Washington Legal Foundation

Hardie v. NCAA: Can the NCAA Bar Convicted Felons from Coaching in NCAA-Certified Recruiting Tournaments?

Civil Rights Practice Group Teleforum
Joshua P. Thompson, Roger B. Clegg March 06, 2017

Hardie v. NCAA is a recently argued case from the Ninth Circuit.  It involves a NCAA ban on all convicted felons from coaching in NCAA-certified tournaments held for recruiting student-athletes to NCAA Division I schools. The key question is whether this policy has a “disparate impact” (disproportional statistical effect, but without any racially discriminatory intent) on African Americans -- and whether Title II of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, which precludes “discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin” in “places of public accommodation,” bans such disproportionate results. The district court ruled that Title II did not cover disparate impact, but, in a surprising move, the NCAA abandoned that winning argument on appeal.

Pacific Legal Foundation Senior Attorney Joshua Thompson will discuss the parties’ arguments and explain why PLF as amicus was the only party to support the lower court’s judgment. Roger Clegg, President and General Counsel of the Center for Equal Opportunity, will also join us to moderate the call.

Featuring:

  • Mr. Joshua P. Thompson, Senior Attorney, Pacific Legal Foundation
  • Moderator: Mr. Roger Clegg, President & General Counsel, Center for Equal Opportunity

Freddie & Fannie Shareholder Litigation Update - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Jason A. Levine, John Carney March 02, 2017

During the 2008 financial crisis, Congress provided Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with billions of dollars in emergency funds to keep them afloat, supplemented by the investments of private investors who bet that these entities would return to profitability. In 2012, just as Fannie and Freddie were indeed becoming profitable again, the Government instituted a "net worth sweep" that required them to remit to the government nearly all of their profits every quarter. Fannie and Freddie have paid the government over $246 billion so far. In the process, the stock was rendered virtually worthless. Investors filed myriad lawsuits as the net worth sweep came into effect. After four years of litigation and an initial dismissal by the district court, the D.C. Circuit has now largely affirmed but also sent key contract-based claims for monetary relief back to the district court for further review. This Teleforum discusses this historic litigation, its implications for the housing market and the proper role of the Government, and the investors' prospects for success on their claims.

Featuring:

  • John Carney, Editor, Breitbart News
  • Jason A. Levine, Litigation Partner, Vinson & Elkins LLP 

Freddie & Fannie Shareholder Litigation Update

Litigation Practice Group Teleforum
John Carney, Jason A. Levine March 02, 2017

During the 2008 financial crisis, Congress provided Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac with billions of dollars in emergency funds to keep them afloat, supplemented by the investments of private investors who bet that these entities would return to profitability. In 2012, just as Fannie and Freddie were indeed becoming profitable again, the Government instituted a "net worth sweep" that required them to remit to the government nearly all of their profits every quarter. Fannie and Freddie have paid the government over $246 billion so far. In the process, the stock was rendered virtually worthless. Investors filed myriad lawsuits as the net worth sweep came into effect. After four years of litigation and an initial dismissal by the district court, the D.C. Circuit has now largely affirmed but also sent key contract-based claims for monetary relief back to the district court for further review. This Teleforum discusses this historic litigation, its implications for the housing market and the proper role of the Government, and the investors' prospects for success on their claims.

Featuring:

  • John Carney, Editor, Breitbart News
  • Jason A. Levine, Litigation Partner, Vinson & Elkins LLP 

In Re: Walgreen Co. Stockholder Litigation Update - Podcast

Litigation Practice Group Podcast
Theodore H. Frank February 24, 2017

According to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, over 97% of mergers and acquisitions result in "strike suits," litigation seeking to enjoin a merger that often quickly settles for attorneys' fees and supplemental disclosures to shareholders. In In Re: Walgreen Co. Stockholder Litigation, 832 F.3d 718, a recent case over such a settlement, Judge Richard Posner called the practice a "racket," and the Seventh Circuit rejected the lawsuit’s claims. Meanwhile, Delaware and New York courts have come out on opposite sides of the issue.

Ted Frank of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who successfully argued Walgreen and has multiple appeals on the subject pending in other jurisdictions, discussed developments in the area over the last year and answer questions.

Featuring:

  • Theodore H. Frank, Senior Attorney & Director, Center for Class Action Fairness (CCAF), CEI