Expert Columns

Corporate Update

David E. Kahen and Elliot Pisem

Deductibility of Payments to Settle False Claims Act Liability

By David E. Kahen and Elliot Pisem |

David E. Kahen and Elliot Pisem write about a recent First Circuit decision relating to the deductibility for income tax purposes of a portion of payments made in settlement of Medicare fraud claims under the False Claims Act.

Robert Gerber.

Bankruptcy Judge Delays Briefing in GM Ignition Cases

By Amanda Bronstad |

Southern District Bankruptcy Judge Robert Gerber on Monday delayed briefing to give plaintiffs attorneys suing General Motors Co. over ignition-switch defects time to file a consolidated complaint.

New Deals

Coca-Cola Company has agreed to purchase a 16.7 percent stake in Monster Beverage Corporation for $2.15 billion in cash as it looks to accelerate its growth in the booming energy drink business. Also, FleetCor Technologies Inc. has agreed to buy electronic payment processing company Comdata Inc. for $3.45 billion.

New Guidelines Map Nonparty Electronic Discovery

By Suevon Lee |

The Office of Court Administration released guidelines Tuesday on obtaining electronic discovery from nonparties in the Commercial Division that are set to take effect Sept. 2.

New Deals

By Wenxiong Zhang |

In a reversal of trend of U.S. companies moving overseas to save on taxes, Walgreens said on Wednesday it would buy the stake in Alliance Boots it doesn't already own, for $15.3 billion in cash and stock but keep its current Illinois tax address once it takes full ownership of the chain. Also, NorthStar Realty Finance Corp. said on Tuesday it would acquire Griffin-American Healthcare REIT II Inc. for approximately $3.4 billion in cash and stock.

Joseph M. McLaughlin

Attorney-Client Privilege in Internal Investigations

By Joseph M. McLaughlin |

In his Corporate Litigation column, Joseph M. McLaughlin analyzes the D.C. Circuit's decision in 'In re Kellogg Brown & Root,' which restores much of the predictability attendant to the availability of attorney-client privilege in the business setting and will likely be the leading decision for some time applying the touchstone principles of corporate attorney-client privilege set forth in 'Upjohn Co. v. U.S.'

New Deals

By MP McQueen |

Russian steelmaker OAO Severstal has agreed to sell its North American subsidiaries to U.S. competitors Steel Dynamics and AK Steel Holding Corp. for a combined $2.3 billion. Also, Scientific Games Corporation said on Friday it has agreed to buy Bally Technologies for $5.1 billion in cash and debt.

Barbara M. Goodstein

Figuring Out Fixtures

By Barbara M. Goodstein |

In her Secured Transactions column, Barbara M. Goodstein, a partner at Mayer Brown, examines challenging questions that arise when assets are or become fixtures, and discusses the treatment generally of these assets under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code.

Ruling Affirms Barclays' Position in Battle Over Lehman Assets

By Ross Todd |

An Second Circuit panel on Tuesday affirmed a big victory for Barclays plc and its lawyers at Boies, Schiller & Flexner in long-simmering litigation over the collapse of Lehman Brothers, ruling that Barclays is entitled to billions in disputed Lehman assets.

Thao Do and James Walker

'Troice' Has Important Risk Management Implications

By Thao Do and James Walker |

Thao Do and James Walker, partners at Richards Kibbe & Orbe, discuss (i) the implications of 'Troice' for third-party advisors with respect to aiding and abetting claims in class actions and (ii) how law firms can limit increased exposure to third-party liability.

Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, Southern District of New York

Judge Slashes $1.4B Damages Claim in Wyly Brothers Case

By Jan Wolfe |

After winning the liability phase of its securities fraud case against Texas entrepreneur Samuel Wyly and the estate of his deceased brother Charles, the SEC has encountered a major setback in its bid to collect $1.4 billion from the duo.

New Deals

Bargain retailer Dollar Tree Inc. is buying rival Family Dollar Stores Inc. for $8.5 billion in cash and stock in a bid to create one of the largest discount retailers in North America. Also, online property website Zillow will acquire rival Trulia for $3.5 billion.

New Deals

By Vinayak Balasubramanian and Alexandra Wilson |

Italian lottery operator GTECH S.p. has announced that it would acquire Las Vegas-based slot machine maker International Game Technology for $6.4 billion. Albemarle Corporation announced that it plans to acquire competitor Rockwood Holdings for $6.2 billion in a cash and stock deal, a move that will combine two of the world's largest specialty chemical companies.

David A. Katz and Laura A. McIntosh

Heightened Activist Attacks on Boards of Directors

By David A. Katz and Laura A. McIntosh |

In their Corporate Governance column, David A. Katz, a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and Laura A. McIntosh, a consulting attorney for the firm, write: The tactics being used by today's activist investors in their approaches to corporate targets are unprecedented. Boards should be forewarned and forearmed as they pursue their plans for long-term value creation in the current, precarious environment that clearly favors the activist investor.

Patent Litigation Comes to an End After 14 Years

By Jan Wolfe |

After 14 years of litigation, 200 days of deposition testimony and a wealth of attorneys fees, Convolve Inc.'s billion-dollar infringement case against Seagate Technology and Compaq Computer Corporation (now Hewlett-Packard Company) may finally be at an end.

New Deals

By MP McQueen |

Reynolds American Inc., maker of Pall Mall and Camel cigarettes, has agreed to buy Lorillard Inc. for $27.4 billion, including debt. If completed, the merger would create a powerful rival to the largest tobacco company in the U.S.

John C. Coffee Jr.

High Frequency Trading After Barclays: What's Next?

By John C. Coffee Jr. |

In his Corporate Securities column, John C. Coffee Jr., the Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law at Columbia University Law School and Director of its Center on Corporate Governance, writes: The transition to dark pools, high frequency trading, and the maker/taker model has come since the adoption of Regulation NMS in 2007. That is one cause, but not the deepest cause. With the privatization of securities markets, markets are no longer self regulators in any meaningful sense, but instead are aggressive profit maximizers. That cannot be changed, but it states the case for closer regulation.

Judge Engelmayer

Judge Halts Litigation Blitz Over Diet Planning Patent

By Ross Todd |

For three years, the patent holder DietGoal Innovations has sued dozens of food and media companies all over the country, alleging infringment of its patent for a system of computerized meal planning—a patent Southern District Judge Paul Engelmayer now says is invalid.

Uber Agrees to Put Brakes on Pricing During Emergencies

By Michael Virtanen |

The car service Uber has agreed to limit prices during emergencies, natural disasters or other unusual market disruptions consistent with New York's law against price gouging, the company and state attorney general said Tuesday.

Philip Berkowitz

'Presumption of Prudence' Axed in ESOP Stock-Drop Cases

By Philip M. Berkowitz |

In his Employment Issues column, Philip M. Berkowitz writes that although the Supreme Court's recent decision in 'Fifth Third Bancorp v. Dudenhoeffer' didn't garner the same attention as other employment cases, it may be the most significant, possibly putting at risk the right of Employee Stock Ownership Plan fiduciaries to invest in company stock.

FBI Director James Comey, center, flanked by Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance, left, and Southern District U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, speaks Monday about an $8.9 billion settlement between the government and French bank BNP Paribas. The offices of Vance and Bharara have spearheaded investigations of banks accused of violating U.S. sanctions.

BNP Deal Shines Spotlight on Law Firms' Sanctions Advice

By Susan Beck |

The Justice Department's $8.9 billion settlement with BNP Paribas gave prosecutors a chance to argue that they're not afraid to get tough on big banks. But it also highlighted the roles of two large law firms that counseled BNP on transactions at the heart of the government's case, suggesting that the French Bank relied on questionable advice to justify violating U.S. sanctions regimes.

William F. Johnson

High Frequency Trading: The Regulatory Debate

By William F. Johnson |

In his Corporate Crime column, William F. Johnson, a partner at King & Spalding, writes: As the SEC wades into the regulatory pool on high frequency trading, all eyes will be focused on whether subsequent regulations are appropriately and narrowly tailored to promote market stability without limiting the advances that technology has provided for market access and structure.

New Deals

By Vinayak Balasubramanian |

Alcoa Inc. has said it will acquire jet engine component producer Firth Rixson in a $2.85 billion deal expected to enhance the company's aerospace production.

Corinne Ball

Bankruptcy Court Foils Competitor's Attempted Takeover

By Corinne Ball |

In her Distress Mergers & Acquisitions column, Corinne Ball, a partner at Jones Day, discusses 'In re LightSquared', in which an activist distressed investor faces the subordination or disallowance of his claim due to what the bankruptcy court determined was the investor's inequitable conduct with the intent to manipulate the bankruptcy proceedings and the bankruptcy court.

New Deals

By Vinayak Balasubramanian |

Private equity firm Apax Partners has agreed to sell its majority stake in Advantage Sales and Marketing to two other private equity firms, Leonard Green & Partners and CVC Capital Partners. Wisconsin Energy Corporation has announced it will buy energy holding company Integrys Energy Group for $9.1 billion, including debt, a deal that would expand the company's geographic base.

New Deals

In the latest, and perhaps largest, example of a U.S. company ditching its borders, medical device maker Medtronic Inc. announced Sunday it would purchase Dublin-based Covidien in a $42.9 billion deal that would move the combined company to Ireland. Also, Priceline Group said Friday it has agreed to buy online restaurant-reservation service OpenTable.com for $2.6 billion in cash.

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin

Trade Groups Challenge Vermont's Food Labeling Law

By Jan Wolfe |

Food industry trade groups have tapped Hogan Lovells to challenge a first-of-its-kind state law requiring the labeling of genetically engineered food.

David E. Kahen and Elliot Pisem

Stock Rights Under §457A: Revenue Ruling 2014-18

By Elliot Pisem and David E. Kahen |

In their Taxation column, Elliot Pisem and David E. Kahen, members of the law firm of Roberts & Holland, write: Rev. Rul. 2014-18 does not appear to reflect any major change in IRS thinking with respect to the treatment of options and SARs under §457A as previously expressed in IRS Notice 2009-8.

Joseph M. McLaughlin

Litigation Fee-Shifting Bylaws Facially Valid in Delaware

By Joseph M. McLaughlin |

In his Corporate Litigation column, Joseph M. McLaughlin writes: Last month, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that a board-approved provision in a non-stock corporation's bylaws shifting legal expenses in intra-corporate litigation to unsuccessful claimants can be valid in Delaware. Although 'ATP Tour v. Deutscher Tennis Bund' pertained to a non-stock corporation, the decision has provoked an outpouring of debate because its reasoning applies equally to stock corporations.

New Deals

By Vinayak Balasubramanian |

Moving to expand its product offerings aimed at treating hepatitis C, pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co. announced Monday that it has agreed to buy Cambridge, Ma.-based Idenix Pharmaceuticals, Inc., for $3.85 billion.

Whistleblower Funds Are Getting Little Use

By Susan Beck |

Although huge sums have been set aside to reward those who report wrongdoing in the financial markets—$739 million is sitting there, waiting to be paid out—awards to date have barely dented those accounts, according to a new report.

Wells Fargo.

Bank Must Face Suit Despite Previous Deal, D.C. Circuit Says

By Jenna Greene |

The D.C. Circuit on Tuesday rebuffed Wells Fargo Bank's request to bar all claims against it in a suit over its mortgage practices brought by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Southern District just six months after the bank paid $5 billion to settle similar claims in a suit brought by the federal government, 49 states and the District of Columbia.

Barbara M. Goodstein

Unitranche Credit Facilities: An Untested Trend Gains Traction

By Barbara M. Goodstein |

In her Secured Transactions column, Barbara M. Goodstein, a partner at Mayer Brown, explores the characteristics of unitranche credit facilities, the advantages of those structures, and the issues and uncertainty that surround them.

New Deals

Ventas said on Monday that it will acquire American Realty Capital Healthcare Trust in a stock-and-cash transaction valued at $2.6 billion. Also, four firms have landed roles in connection with the sale of 24 Hour Fitness by Forstmann Little & Co., the New York-based buyout shop that has been liquidating its portfolio following the November 2011 death of its cofounder.

U.S. Supreme Court building

Supreme Court Reverses Two More Patent Case Rulings

By Jan Wolfe |

A rough year for the Federal Circuit got rougher on Monday, when two more of its rulings were unanimously reversed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Korea and U.S. Clash Over Application of U.S. Antitrust Laws

By Jan Wofe |

The governments of South Korea and the United States are clashing over whether an appeals court should resurrect Motorola Mobility Inc.'s price-fixing case against the world's LCD manufacturers.

Panel Upholds Enforcement of English Judgment in New York

By Brendan Pierson |

A $40 million judgment arising from a suit against a Saudi Arabian company in an English court can be enforced in New York, the First Department has held.

Christopher L. Garcia and Amanda Burns Shulak

Recent SEC Trial Losses Highlight Evidence Problems

By Christopher L. Garcia and Amanda Burns Shulak |

In their White-Collar Crime column, Christopher L. Garcia and Amanda Burns Shulak of Weil, Gotshal & Manges write: Recently, the SEC has had some missteps, most notably at trial. The losses in those cases were likely the result of the SEC having brought enforcement actions for conduct that was not provable based on the available evidence. Each of the cases suffered from proof issues that made them difficult cases to win.

Justice Opposes High Court Review of Arab Bank Sanctions

By Andrew Keshner |

Although agreeing that an order for sanctions against a Jordanian bank for not producing records in a lawsuit filed by terrorism victims was flawed, the DOJ is arguing that it would be premature for the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the bank's appeal.

Website's RICO Suit Against Accused Patent Troll Is Dismissed

By David Bario |

Even amid the ongoing backlash against patent trolls, FindTheBest.com's response to infringement claims by accused troll Lumen View Technology stands out from the crowd, with FindTheBest's CEO vowing to "slaughter" Lumen View in court.

New Deals

By Brian Baxter |

At least a dozen firms are advising on telecommunications giant AT&T's proposed $48.5 billion acquisition of DirecTV. Also, Darden Restaurants has agreed to sell Red Lobster to private equity firm Golden Gate Capital for $2.1 billion in cash.

Apple Struggles to Restrain Court's Antitrust Monitor

By Jan Wolfe |

Apple Inc. has lost a skirmish in its battle to rein in the company's court-appointed antitrust monitor, Michael Bromwich, failing to persuade a judge to slash one of Bromwich's recent bills or to limit his access to Apple top brass.

New Deals

By Brian Baxter |

Two global legal giants are raising their mugs to the formation of a $5 billion coffee joint venture between Mondelez International and rival D.E Master Blenders 1753, and Skadden Arps has snagged the lead role representing Hillshire Brands on a $6.6 billion acquisition of Pinnacle Foods.

John C. Coffee Jr.

Hedge Fund Activism: New Myths and Old Realities

By John C. Coffee Jr. |

In his Corporate Securities column, John C. Coffee Jr., the Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law at Columbia University Law School and Director of its Center on Corporate Governance, writes: Two recent developments have changed the playing field of corporate governance. In their wake, every pundit has announced that this is the heyday of hedge fund activism.

U.S. District Court Judge Denise Cote

Judge Allows Claims Against Another Bank to Move Forward

By Susan Beck |

Southern District Judge Denise Cote once again has ruled against a bank facing claims over mortgage-backed securities they sold or underwrote.

Facebook Underwriters can Retain Profits From IPO, Court Rules

By Jan Wolfe |

Legal battles over Facebook Inc.'s initial public offering continue to dog the social media company and its bankers, which tried and failed to escape a consolidated securities class action over the IPO in December.

Philip Berkowitz

The eBay Settlement: a Look at No-Hire Agreements

By Philip M. Berkowitz |

In his Employment Issues column, Philip M. Berkowitz writes: Despite the significant brouhaha over the agreements at issue in 'eBay,' the settlement with the DOJ is far from a death knell for no-poaching agreements.

New Deals

By Brian Baxter and The Associated Press |

In the latest large M&A deal in the pharmaceutical sector, at least eight firms are advising on the $14.2 billion sale of Merck & Co.'s consumer care business to German drug giant Bayer AG.

New Deals

By |

The healthcare industry continues to dominate the M&A market with the announcement last week that Zimmer Holdings has agreed to acquire rival medical device specialist Biomet Inc. The cash-and-stock deal is worth $13.35 billion. Also, six major firms have tuned in for the latest episode in Comcast's dramatic $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable.

Steven M. Witzel

'Grimm' Outlook for Continuing Conspiracy Prosecutions?

By Steven Witzel |

In his Corporate Crime column, Steven Witzel, a partner at Fried, Frank, Harris, Shriver & Jacobson, writes: If sustained, the decision in 'United States v. Grimm' may significantly limit the government's ability to prosecute otherwise time-barred actions and provides defendants with new grounds to assert statute of limitations defenses.

Judge Dismisses Suit Filed by Investors in Madoff Feeder Fund

By Brendan Pierson |

Investors who put their money in a fund that invested heavily with Bernard Madoff cannot get damages from the administrator of the fund, Bank of New York Mellon, a Manhattan commercial division judge has ruled, dismissing a suit filed by a group of law firms on behalf of a class of investors.

Corinne Ball

'Emoral': Third Circuit Provides Comfort to Distressed Purchasers

By Corinne Ball |

In her Distress Mergers and Acquisitions column, Corinne Ball, a partner at Jones Day, writes about a recent Third Circuit decision in which the court held that prepetition personal injury claims that relied upon the "mere continuation" theory of successor liability were, in reality, causes of action that were property of the bankruptcy estate and thus eligible for settlement, release and discharge through the bankruptcy court.

Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Over Twitter Offering

By Jan Wolfe |

A Southern District judge has dismissed a $124 million fraud case in which two asset management firms claimed that Twitter bamboozled them into creating an artificial market for its private shares, thereby making it easier for Twitter to justify its $10 billion valuation.

New Deals

By Tom Huddleston Jr. |

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and Hogan Lovells are helping Novartis undergo a massive restructuring involving a series of transactions worth more than $20 billion. Also, Post Holdings, maker of cereal and other dry goods, confirmed last week that it has agreed to buy Michael Foods from its private equity owners for $2.45 billion.

Deal Value Increases, But Number Declines

The value of worldwide announced M&A totalled $756.1 billion during the first quarter of 2014, a 52 percent increase from comparable 2013 levels, according to the latest survey by Thomson Reuters.

Experts Seek the Right Regulatory Box for Bitcoin

By Jenna Greene |

Following a series of multimillion-dollar thefts and losses, federal regulators want to step up their oversight of virtual currency bitcoin. But bitcoin—a nationless digital money that uses cryptography to control its creation and transaction—doesn't fit neatly in any regulatory box.

David E. Kahen and Elliot Pisem

Loss Deduction for Forfeiture of Insider Trading Profits

By David E. Kahen and Elliot Pisem |

In their Taxation column, Elliot Pisem and David E. Kahen, members of Roberts & Holland, write about a recent decision of the Court of Federal Claims relating to a court-ordered forfeiture by a corporate executive found to have engaged in illicit insider trading.

Survey: Companies See Sharp Rise in Regulatory Probes

By Sue Reisinger |

In-house legal departments saw the number of regulatory actions increase in U.S. companies for the third year in a row, according to the latest Annual Litigation Trends survey released Tuesday by Norton Rose Fulbright. About 20 percent of responders said their companies faced a regulatory/investigation matter in 2013, up from 9 percent in 2012.

All work and no pay?

Another Suit by Interns May Face Circuit Review

By Julie Triedman |

Another employment class action brought on behalf of unpaid interns cleared a hurdle last week, when a Southern District judge conditionally certified a class of interns suing Viacom Inc. But plaintiffs lawyers behind a crush of intern cases still have to contend with the Second Circuit, which is considering two appeals that could derail the litigation—or open the floodgates for even more claims.

Joseph M. McLaughlin

Privilege and Work Product in Internal Investigations

By Joseph M. McLaughlin |

In his Corporate Litigation column, Simpson Thacher & Bartlett partner Joseph M. McLaughlin reviews recent decisions which, while not upending familiar principles of privilege and work product protection available in the internal investigation context, remind clients and practitioners that immunity from disclosure will not attach or be preserved without careful attention to the structure and conduct of internal investigations.

New Deals

Buyout firm The Blackstone Group has agreed to buy Denver-based industrial manufacturer Gates Global from its current owners in a $5.4 billion deal announced Friday. Also, India's Sun Pharmaceutical Industries will become the world's fifth-largest generic drug maker with its $3.2 billion buy of struggling rival Ranbaxy Laboratories.

 A 1st generation Apple iPad showing iBooks.

Cote Certifies Class in Apple Alleged Antitrust Case

By Amanda Bronstad |

The ruling came ahead of a damages trial set for this summer against Apple over the alleged conspiracy aimed at devouring Amazon.com's hold on a $9.99 price point for e-books.

Barbara M. Goodstein

The N.Y. Uniform Commercial Code Comes of Age

By Barbara M. Goodstein |

In her Secured Transactions column, Barbara M. Goodstein, a partner at Mayer Brown, writes: The growing divergence between New York UCC law and the remainder of the states should be of enormous concern. As New York statutes lag further behind other states, the incidence and risk of erroneous UCC section cross-references in legal documents and memoranda rises.

Hewlett-Packard headquarters in Palo Alto, CA.

HP Reaches $57 Million Deal to End Class Action

By David Bario |

Hewlett-Packard Co. shocked investors in August 2011, when former CEO Leo Apotheker pulled the plug on the company's much-touted WebOs operating system and signaled a wholesale shift in business strategy. A month later, Apotheker was ousted, and HP was hit with a securities fraud class action accusing the company of snookering shareholders into thinking it planned to build a vast "ecosystem" of millions of WebOs-enabled devices, including tablets, PCs and printers.

Mary Jo White.

Protection of Individual Investors Is SEC's Focus, White Tells Consumers

By Jenna Greene |

In a speech last week before the Consumer Federation of America, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission head Mary Jo White touted the agency's efforts to protect individual investors, describing the mission as "a constant focus of the SEC."

David A. Katz and Laura A. McIntosh

Shareholder Activism in the M&A Context

By David A. Katz and Laura A. McIntosh |

In their Corporate Governance column, David A. Katz, a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, and Laura A. McIntosh, a consulting attorney for the firm, write: Shareholder activism is poised to have an even greater impact in the M&A context this year and companies should be aware of and prepared for this possibility if they pursue an M&A transaction.

New Deals

By Tom Huddleston Jr. and Brian Baxter |

Privately-held Swiss trading house Mercuria Energy Group has agreed to buy JPMorgan Chase's physical commodities trading unit in a deal worth $3.5 billion. Also, Media General announced Friday that it has agreed to acquire LIN Media LLC in a $1.6 billion cash-and-stock deal that, if completed, will create the second-largest local television broadcasting company in the country.

New Deals

By Tom Huddleston Jr. |

Jenner & Block and Debevoise & Plimpton advised The Hertz Corporation on the company's spin-off of its equipment rental business to shareholders in a transaction valued at $2.5 billion.

CEOs Express Concern About Regulation's Impact on Investment

By Andrew Ramonas |

Almost nine out of 10 chief executive officers of major companies agree that new U.S. government regulations are having a substantial effect on investment and hiring, according to a Business Roundtable (BRT) survey released Tuesday.

Viacom and YouTube Settle Their Copyright Dispute

By Jan Wolfe |

With yet another oral argument looming, Viacom Inc. and Google Inc.'s YouTube have inked an out-of-court settlement in their precedent-setting copyright fight over video uploads.

John C. Coffee Jr.

The Herbalife Circus

By John C. Coffee Jr. |

In his Corporate Securities column, John C. Coffee Jr., the Adolf A. Berle Professor of Law at Columbia University Law School and Director of its Center on Corporate Governance, addresses questions and issues stemming from the Herbalife federal securities case and also observes that the episode shows much that is dysfunctional in our current regulatory environment.

Supreme Court to Hear Statute of Repose Case

By Jan Wolfe |

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear a case that asks: if one investor in a security files a timely class action, is the statute of repose tolled for all class members?

New Deals

By Tom Huddleston Jr. |

Two competing clothiers put an end to a months-long standoff on Tuesday with Jos. A. Bank agreeing to be bought by Men's Wearhouse in a cash deal worth $1.8 billion. Also, an investor group led by Cerberus Capital Management has struck a deal to acquire grocery store chain Safeway for roughly $9 billion in the largest leveraged buyout so far this year.

Philip Berkowitz

Supreme Court Grants Lawyers Whistleblower Protection

By Philip M. Berkowitz |

In his Employment Issues column, Philip M. Berkowitz of Littler Mendelson writes: Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in favor of granting broad whistleblower rights under Sarbanes-Oxley to any individual who is employed by a third party to provide services to a publicly traded company. But the court's full-throated endorsement of attorneys bringing these claims makes no mention of confidentiality or privilege, and seems at odds with the discomfort reflected by the New York courts, as well as NYCLA's Professional Ethics Committee.

Kohn, Kohn & Colapinto's Stephen Kohn

Justices Expand Protection for Whistleblowers

By Tony Mauro |

The U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday significantly expanded legal protection for corporate whistleblowers, making it clear for the first time that thousands of workers in the mutual-fund industry and other private companies are protected from retaliation for reporting fraud.

William F. Johnson

New 'Get Tough' Stance Will Put SEC to Its Proof

By William F. Johnson |

In his Corporate Crime column, William F. Johnson, a partner at King & Spalding, writes: As the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission rolls out new policies to enforce violations of securities laws, no matter how small, and to seek admissions from defendants in more settled cases, the SEC's ability to prove what it believes will be tested. Recent trial results have suggested more belief than proof.

Losses From Lawsuits Dwarf Investor Gains, Chamber Study Claims

By Andrew Ramonas |

Investors each year have lost an average of $39 billion from securities class action lawsuits to collect only about $5 billion in settlements per year since the enactment of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act in 1995, according to a U.S. Chamber Institute for Legal Reform study released Friday.

Judge Shira A. Scheindlin, Southern District of New York

Proposals to Change Civil Rules Generate Lots of Comments

By Tony Mauro |

Another major front in the war between plaintiffs and corporate defendants over the high costs of litigation has opened up in an obscure corner of judicial bureaucracy: proposed changes to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.

Samuel Issacharoff

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Class Action Over Washing Machines

By Jan Wolfe |

Defying expectations, the U.S. Supreme Court declined on Monday to hear arguments that it should dismantle two class actions over allegedly defective Whirlpool Corp. washing machines. The cert denial is a big win for plaintiffs lawyers and consumer advocates, who have found themselves in the high court's crosshairs for years now.

SEC Rejects Proposals From Comptroller for Proxy Statements

By Michael Virtanen |

The shareholder proposals ask two banks' boards to identify employees with the ability to expose them to major losses because of their portfolios and bonus incentives, but the SEC found they were too broadly written.

Corinne Ball

'Philadelphia Newspapers' Footnote Survives 'RadLAX'

By Corinne Ball |

In her Distress Mergers & Acquisitions column, Corinne Ball, a partner at Jones Day, writes: In the wake of 'Fisker Automotive', secured creditors may think twice before acquiring secured debt with a view towards using that debt as acquisition currency through credit bidding.