November 3, 2016Food Calendar.
It’s a good day to...
October 31, 2016
This monster regulation stands in the way of average Americans’ access to bank services. He came to life after being cobbled together in response to the 2007-2008 financial crisis. Dodd-Frankenstein was made out of good intentions, but the unintended consequences to small banks and main street have been devastating.
October 25, 2016
Today the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California approved a settlement in the Volkswagen Clean Diesel MDL that puts the interests of the attorneys ahead of consumers. The class action, In re Volkswagen “Clean Diesel” Marketing, Sales Practices, and Products Liability Litigation, No. 3:15-md-2672, arose from the emissions scandal that erupted last year following the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (“EPA”) issuing a Notice of Violation to Volkswagen for manufacturing and installing defeat devices in certain model year 2009 through 2015 diesel vehicles, resulting in violations of the Clean Air Act’s emission standards.
The Court also approved settlements in actions against Volkswagen by the U.S. Department of Justice (“DOJ”), on behalf of the EPA, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (“FTC”), and California state agencies.
August 31, 2016
A plaintiffs’ attorney and an insurance executive have created a business, Risk Settlements, that offers a “post-lawsuit settlement insurance product specifically designed to manage settlement risk, cap exposure and provide certainty to the uncertain world of class action settlements.” That this business model is viable—and that it purports to save class-action defendants millions of dollars in claims-made settlements—demonstrates the need for courts to provide scrutiny of what class-action settlements actually provide consumers, and to structure incentives for class counsel to minimize conflicts of interest.
Under Risk Settlements’ class action settlement insurance, “in exchange for a fixed premium payment, the insurer covers all valid claims made pursuant to...
August 11, 2016
August 2, 2016the settlement in Rougvie v. Ascena Retail Group, No. 15-cv-724 (E.D. Pa.). Ascena is the corporate owner of the Justice brand clothing franchise, which caters to pre-adolescent girls in 900 stores throughout...
June 2, 2016
The average merger and acquisition has as much chance of escaping litigation as you have of winning the lottery.
OK, that’s a slight exaggeration. In recent years, about 97 percent of sizable mergers (those valued at $100 million or more) have been hit by shareholder challenges. These challenges usually produce bupkis for shareholders themselves; the typical settlement results in meaningless additions to the proxy materials, extravagant attorney fees to the lawyers bringing the case, and nothing else. And that, unfortunately, is not an exaggeration. The supplemental proxy additions hardly ever provide useful information to the shareholders themselves, who essentially pick up the tab for their attorneys and get nothing in return. And because the merging companies are as eager to finish the deal as the shareholder attorneys are to collect their fees, the settlement proposals...
March 30, 2016
CEI’s Center for Class Action Fairness has appealed the district court’s approval of the Subway Footlong settlement to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
The saga began in January 2013 when an Australian teenager’s tweet of a not-quite-footlong Subway Footlong sandwich went viral, spawning nine U.S. lawsuits that were eventually centralized in federal court in Milwaukee.
After two plus years of wrangling (most of that time just spent negotiating class counsel’s fee award), the plaintiffs and defendants sought to have the court sign off on their proposed agreement. Subway agreed to require franchisees to keep a measuring tool on their premises, require monthly inspectors to inspect five loaves of white and five loaves of wheat bread, and maintain certain other trivial best-baking practices. Although the parties wouldn’t exactly let on, it is a good bet that Subway...
March 14, 2016
Class-action lawsuits are commonly settled for things that benefit the lawyers bringing them, not the class of allegedly victimized people they are supposedly suing on behalf of.
A classic example is Frank v. Poertner, pending before the Supreme Court. Ripped-off class members asking the Supreme Court to hear their challenge to a class action settlement that awarded class lawyers $5.7 million, while 99 percent of class members get nothing, and a third-party nonprofit got a bunch of donated batteries. As Roger Parloff of Fortune asks, “Should Plaintiffs Lawyers Get 94% of A Class Action Settlement?” The Supreme Court should answer with a loud “No.”
The class-action lawsuit was brought against Gillette, the maker of...
December 11, 2015
Today, the Center for Class Action Fairness petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to hear a case challenging an abusive class action practice where trial lawyers pay themselves the bulk of the cash recovery ($5.7 million), the class members receive just a fraction of that ($344,000), and the settlement hands out millions to third parties who are not part of the class.
The original class action lawsuit, Joshua D. Poertner v. The Gillette Co. et al., centers on seven million class members who sued over dubious advertising about Duracell batteries. Class counsel structured a settlement that paid class counsel $5.7 million in fees and expenses and provided a cy pres award of $6 million in batteries to a third-party charity, while class members were awarded $3 to $6 in claims for future battery purchases...