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Posts Tagged ‘class action scandals’

Class Action Blogosphere Weekly Review’s “Lay Down the Gauntlet” Challenge of the Week

I know this is going to make me sound like Ayn Rand, but why would we possibly want to encourage a public policy that imposes liability on employers for failing to force all of their hourly employees not to work during meal and rest breaks?

I sense that there are a few bloggers out there who will have an answer (or who will take great issue with the premise of the question).

For continuing coverage of proceedings in the California wage and hour class action decision, Brinker Restaurant Corp. v. Superior Court, and other recent decisions involving wage and hour claims for unpaid time worked during meal and rest breaks, see this post and others from The Complex Litigator…

http://www.thecomplexlitigator.com/2008/10/brinker-redux-in-brinkley-v-public-storage-inc.html

… and this post from Wage Law:

http://wagelaw.typepad.com/wage_law/2008/10/old-and-busted-brinker-new-hotness-brinkley.html

With that out of the way, here are some more blog entries from the week that was that might be of interest to class action practitioners:

Class Action Decisions

William Shatner stars in this typically colorful case review from CAFA Law Blog of a California federal court’s order remanding to state court a class action that had been removed under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA), finding that the defendant had filed to establish by a preponderance of the evidence that the $5 million amount in controversy threshold was met:

http://www.cafalawblog.com/-case-summaries-dont-be-a-namby-pamby-negotiate-your-own-amount-in-controversy-for-cafa-removal.html

Classified discusses another CAFA amount-in-controversy decision accepting jurisdiction where the damages requested only “likely exceed” the $5 million amount:

http://www.carltonfields.com/classactionblog/blog.aspx?entry=243

North Carolina Business Litigation Report summarizes a North Carolina Business Court’s decision permitting a plaintiff to withdraw class claims and enter into a confidential settlement with the defendant:

http://www.ncbusinesslitigationreport.com/2008/10/articles/class-actions/business-court-allows-confidential-settlement-of-individual-claims-in-class-action-suit/

Class Action Defense Blog provides a synopsis of a Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals decision addressing choice of law issues and their impact on the enforceability of a class arbitration waiver:

http://classactiondefense.jmbm.com/2008/10/ucl_class_action_defense_cases_7.html

This guest post on Drug and Device Law Blog addresses the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals’ recent decision concluding that a “reverse payment settlement” in which a the holder of a patent to a branded drug agreed to make payments to a generic challenger in settlement of a patent infringement lawsuit did not violate antitrust laws:

http://druganddevicelaw.blogspot.com/2008/10/federal-circuit-upholds-reverse-payment.html

How Appealing summarizes a decision by Judge Richard A. Posner that “offers a useful discussion of the pros and cons of class actions” and draws from the personal experience of the wives of the panel’s members in reversing class certification in a deceptive advertising case:

http://howappealing.law.com/102808.html#030880

Class Action (and Related) Commentary

Overlawyered reports on an order compelling the transfer of more than 600 mentally disabled residents of a nursing facilities to group homes entered as the result of a settlement in a public interest group’s class action against the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the objection of the parents of one of the residents arguing that their son’s health would be endangered by the transfer, and proposed legislation to require courts to notify parents and guardians in class actions and give them a right to opt out:

http://overlawyered.com/2008/10/evicted-by-his-own-class-action-lawyers/

In this Huffington Post entry, Tracy Siska comments on the indictment of former Police Commander Jon Burge and class actions filed against the Chicago Police Department alleging that illegal detentions and prisoner abuse persisted in the department persisted until as recently as 2005, years after the events underlying Burge’s indictment:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tracy-siska/chicago-police-burge-and_b_138242.html

Point of Law offers an abstract from a National Review article discussing the Alaska “loser-pays” rule for shifting attorneys fees:

http://www.pointoflaw.com/archives/2008/10/commonsense-jus.php

Class Action Trends

Jan Norman on Small Business discusses trends in California wage and hour class actions and offers tips for employers from employment lawyer John McKasson:

http://jan.freedomblogging.com/2008/10/28/californias-fad-workplace-class-action-lawsuits/3411/

The D&O Diary discusses “The New Phase of Credit Crisis Litigation” as well as other class-action-related trends, and provides a bit of comic relief at the end of this post:

http://www.dandodiary.com/2008/10/articles/subprime-litigation/the-new-phase-of-credit-crisis-litigation/

Class Action Scandals

The New York Times Deal Book Blog reports on the sentencing of two former Milberg Weiss partners for their role in an illegal kickback scheme (see CAB entry here):

http://dealbook.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/28/bershad-gets-6-months-in-class-action-scheme/

Mass Tort Litigation Blog reports on the Kentucky Supreme Court’s decision to disbar two lawyers involved in a scandal involving alleged wire fraud in connection with a Fen-Phen class action settlement:

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/mass_tort_litigation/2008/10/lawyers-involve.html

Class Action Potpourri

FP Legal Post comments on a video game featuring vicious class action lawyers.  (See CAB entry here) …

http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/legalpost/archive/2008/10/28/surefire-class-action-defence.aspx

… and Securities Docket doesn’t think the game is a good idea:

http://www.securitiesdocket.com/2008/10/27/worst-video-game-ever-class-action-killers/

The Australian newspaper’s Letters Blog includes a reader’s entry suggesting a government-sponsored class action is a better response than a bailout to the economic crisis:

http://blogs.theaustralian.news.com.au/letters/index.php/theaustralian/comments/class_action_will_show_wall_st_we_mean_business/

and finally, The UCL Practitioner offers “An Introduction to the California Blogosphere,” which includes reviews of several of the great California-and-class-action-centric blogs often featured on CABWR and others covering a variety of legal topics:

http://www.uclpractitioner.com/2008/10/blawg-review-183.html

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Here are some blog entries from the week that was that might be of interest to class action practitioners:

Class Action Decisions

For a “brief” commentary on a case addressing the removability under the Class Action Fairness Act (CAFA) of a class action counterclaim by a plaintiff/counterclaim defendant, see this guest commentary from Dallas attorney Jonathan Bridges on CAFA Law Blog:

http://www.cafalawblog.com/-case-summaries-guest-commentary-fourth-circuit-to-decide-whether-to-let-att-pull-up-its-shorts-class-action-to-federal-court.html

Class Action Defense Blog summarizes a Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals decision holding that a state’s parens patriae action brought on behalf of its citizens was removable under CAFA:

http://classactiondefense.jmbm.com/2008/09/cafa_class_action_defense_case_19.html

Mass Tort Defense summarizes a Kentucky federal court decision denying class certification in a toxic tort lawsuit in part based on plaintiffs’ ability to articulate an appropriate class definition:

http://www.masstortdefense.com/2008/09/articles/federal-court-rejects-toxic-tort-class-action/

Consumer Law & Policy Blog summarizes a September 8, 2008 decision of the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals applying Missouri law in upholding a class arbitration ban in a consumer class action involving prepaid gift cards:

http://pubcit.typepad.com/clpblog/2008/09/eighth-circuit.html 

Class Action Commentary

Training Marketer discusses potential impacts from a class action settlement involving claims under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) seeking access to a retail store’s website for persons with disabilities…

http://trainingtime.wordpress.com/2008/09/15/target-settles-class-action-ada-lawsuit-is-your-site-compliant/

… more on providing online access to visually impaired users from That Credit Union Blog

http://thatcreditunionblog.wordpress.com/2008/09/16/providing-online-accommodations-for-the-visually-impaired/

… and The Industry Standard:

http://www.thestandard.com/news/2008/09/15/target-pact-wont-lead-web-access-standards

The Defense Base Act Blog discusses possible impacts that the Defense Base Act could have on pending class action litigation involving claims that a company’s acts of not training its employees properly for work in Iraq has led to injuries to other employees:

http://defensebaseactblog.com/2008/09/12/will-the-defense-base-act-foil-the-recent-class-action-law-suit-against-kbr/

Class Action Scandals

Health Care Renewal comments on the University of Minnesota’s recruitment of a health insurance company executive who resigned in the wake of a stock option backdating scandal:

http://hcrenewal.blogspot.com/2008/09/university-of-minnesota-courts-mcguire.html

Class Action Reform

Watchdog Blog endorses proposed legislation that would prohibit class arbitration waivers in credit card agreements:

http://citizen.typepad.com/watchdog_blog/2008/09/arbitration-wil.html

Class Action Settlements

Overlawyered updates earlier commentary on a $688 million attorneys fee awarded in an Enron class action settlement:

http://overlawyered.com/2008/09/coughlin-stoia-amlaw-daily-and-prof-john-coffee-contd/

The Consumerist reports on frustrations in trying to participate in a class action settlement after receiving notice:

http://consumerist.com/5048989/join-the-verizon-etf-class-action-if-they-would-only-let-you

Class Action (and Related) Scholarship

California Punitive Damages provides a synopsis and brief commentary on a recent scholarly work entitled “Punitive Damages and Class Actions” written by Professors Fransesco Parisi (Minnesota) and Marta Cenini (Milan)…

http://calpunitives.blogspot.com/2008/09/law-review-article-punitive-damages-and.html

… and more on the same article from Mass Tort Litigation Blog:

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/mass_tort_litigation/2008/09/parisi-and-ceni.html

Point of Law reviews a paper entitled “The Use of Litigation Screenings in Mass Torts: A Formula for Fraud?” authored by Cardozo Law Professor Lester Brickman:

http://www.pointoflaw.com/archives/2008/09/brickman-of-1-m.php#more

Wage Law recommends the paper “Class Certification in the Age of Aggregate Proof” by Vanderbilt Professor Richard A. Nagreda:

http://wagelaw.typepad.com/wage_law/2008/09/class-certification-in-the-age-of-aggregate-proof.html

Class Action News

Fitz & JenLuke Ford.net, paidContent.org, and Portfolio.com discuss an ERISA class action filed by editors, writers, and other employees of a major newspaper recently acquired through the alleged misuse of an Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP): 

http://www.fitzandjen.com/2008/09/jen-if-you-thin.html

http://lukeford.net/blog/?p=5006

http://www.paidcontent.org/entry/419-jack-nelson-among-current-ex-tribune-co-staffers-trying-class-action-su/

http://www.portfolio.com/views/blogs/mixed-media/2008/09/16/la-times-refugees-sue-for-control-of-paper

Class Action Trends

The D&O Diary discusses the latest in options backdating settlements:

http://www.dandodiary.com/2008/09/articles/options-backdating/options-backdating-settlement-news-apple-and-unitedhealth/

Real Lawyers Have Blogs discusses a well-known plaintiffs’ class action firm’s use of social networking website Twitter to find prospective class representatives:

http://kevin.lexblog.com/2008/09/articles/social-networking-1/law-firm-using-twitter-to-find-plainitiffs-for-class-action-law-suit/

Rhondak discusses the use of small claims court as a “poor man’s class action” to vindicate consumer’s rights:

http://rhondak.livejournal.com/1036526.html

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Class action settlement issues provided fuel for commentary in the class action blogosphere this week, and there was still plenty of analysis and debate about the recent class action lawyer scandals.  Here are links to those and other blog postings that might be of interest to class action practitioners:

Class Action Settlements

Wage Law analyzes a series of recent decisions by the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California reluctantly approving a settlement in a wage and hour class action, ultimately granting final approval, but reducing the fee award requested by plaintiffs’ counsel.  The opinions offer a warning to both sides in making sure to tend to the details negotiating and implementing a class action settlement:

http://wagelaw.typepad.com/wage_law/2008/06/the-emerging-tr.html

Trial Ad Notes has an interesting discussion of a provision of the Washington State version of Rule 23 that requires that a portion of “residual funds” from class action settlements be paid to the state’s legal aid foundation.

http://trialadnotes.blogspot.com/2008/06/cy-pres-and-class-action-funds-in.html

Unusual Activity profiles a “professional objector” to class action settlements.

http://www.unusualactivity.com/2008/06/profile-of-a-pr.html

The D&O Diary comments on the social utility of a changes made to the terms in a settlement in a options backdating derivative action that reportedly was preliminarily approved last week after an earlier settlement had been rejected:

http://www.dandodiary.com/2008/06/articles/corporate-governance/restatements-clawbacks-and-cfo-career-consequences/

Class Action Scandals

Overlawyered offers a rebuttal to disgraced class action lawyer William Lerach’s recent essay “I am guilty.”

http://overlawyered.com/2008/06/rebutting-bill-lerach-in-portfolio/

See the full rebuttal article on Portfolio.com here…

http://www.portfolio.com/executives/features/2008/06/16/Walter-Olson-Answers-Bill-Lerach 

…and the original essay here:

http://www.portfolio.com/executives/features/2008/06/02/Bill-Lerach-Essay

WSJ Law Blog reports on the testimony of class action “guru” Stan Chesney in the trial of two Kentucky lawyers accused of wire fraud in connection with the settlement of a fen-phen diet drug class action.

http://blogs.wsj.com/law/2008/06/17/class-action-guru-stan-chesley-takes-stand-in-fen-phen-trial/

Letter of Apology reports on the settlement reached between class action firm Milberg Weiss and the Department of Justice to resolve various criminal charges arising out of illegal kickback schemes involving several of its former partners.

http://letterofapology.com/2008/06/17/milberg-settles-criminal-case/

Class Action Decisions

The Complex Litigator comments on recent California authority on shifting of the burden of proof in wage and hour class actions.

http://www.thecomplexlitigator.com/2008/06/more-on-amaral.html

Technology Law Update discusses a recent class certification decision by the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas in a case filed against several online travel companies involving occupancy taxes.

http://brownraysman.typepad.com/technology_law_update/2008/06/texas-district.html

Virtually Perfect 3.0 discusses recent decisions on both class certification and the merits of a lawsuit filed under the Americans with Disability Act and several California laws against an online retailer for allegedly failing to make its Website accessible to the blind.

http://fritzboyle.edublogs.org/2008/06/11/legal-precedent-set-for-web-accessibility/

CAFA Issues

Classified offers multiple recent entries discussing CAFA (Class Action Fairness Act) removal decisions:

http://www.carltonfields.com/classactionblog/blog.aspx?entry=220

http://www.carltonfields.com/classactionblog/blog.aspx?entry=219

How Appealing details a Seventh Circuit opinion authored by Chief Judge Frank H. Easterbrook on the proper interpretation of the time limitation for appealing remand orders under CAFA.

http://howappealing.law.com/061108.html#029130

Civil Procedure

SCOTUSBlog recaps a recent U.S. Supreme Court addressing complex sovereign immunity and FRCP 19 indispensable party issues in an interpleader action brought to resolve a dispute over assets attached by a class of human rights victims who had previously obtained a judgment against former Philippines President, Ferdinand Marcos where the same assets were also being claimed in a separate action under Philippine law by the Republic of the Philippines.  If you think that description is complicated, read the opinion!

http://www.scotusblog.com/wp/opinion-recap-republic-of-the-philippines-v-pimentel/

Class Action Defense Blog reviews a recent order of the Federal Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) granting a home lender’s motion centralization of related subprime class action lawsuits filed in various federal courts.

http://classactiondefense.jmbm.com/2008/06/class_action_defense_casesin_r_96.html

Other Representative Actions

Mass Tort Litigation Blog and Drug and Device Law Blog review a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision addressing the concept of nonparty virtual representation:

http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/mass_tort_litigation/2008/06/taylor-v-sturge.html

http://druganddevicelaw.blogspot.com/2008/06/taylor-v-sturgell-on-virtual.html

Canadian Class Action Trends

thespec.com summarizes recent trends in Canadian class actions.

http://www.thespec.com/article/385060

The Bizop News discusses an unsuccessful Canadian class action in which the defendant was awarded a more than $200,000 in costs.

http://www.bizop.ca/blog2/canlii-2008-canlii-27822-on-sc.html

Class Action and Tort Reform

See these links for a spirited debate between the authors of American Courthouse and AttorneyButler.net about the merits of a proposed $1.6 billion tax break for lawyers who front expenses in contingent fee lawsuits.

http://americancourthouse.com/2008/06/05/a-16-billion-earmark-for-trial-lawyers.html

http://www.attorneybutler.net/2008/06/dan-pero-americ.html

and more on the news on the same proposed legislation from Point of Law:

http://www.pointoflaw.com/archives/2008/06/tax-break-for-trial-lawyers-bl-1.php

Law and More offers an analysis on possible ways to combat mass food contamination, offering litigation, including “the threat of class-action, individual, and shareholder lawsuits” and the imposition of strict liability against manufacturers. 

http://lawandmore.typepad.com/law_and_more/2008/06/a-lawyers-perspective-on-global-food-poisoning—bill-marler-in-london.html

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