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Facebook Posts Used to Convict Gang Member Upheld as Evidence
Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations The Second Circuit recently ruled that a criminal defendant’s First Amendment rights were not violated by introduction of Facebook pages containing a rap song and images of tattoos at his criminal trial. Defendant Melvin Colon, a member of violent street gangs known as the “Courtlandt Avenue Crew” and "God's Favorite Children," was convicted in 2013 of multiple felonies including racketeering, murder, drug trafficking and illegal firearms possession. According to the New York Law Journa
California Supreme Court Permits Challenges to Pay-For-Delay Settlements
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel In a unanimous opinion, the California Supreme Court held that pay-for-delay or reverse payment settlements are “not immune from scrutiny, even if they limit competition no more than a valid patent would have.” Accordingly, the Court concluded an illegal restraint of trade occurs when parties “privately agree to substitute consensual monopoly in place of potential competition that would have followed a finding of invalidity or noninfringement.” The pay-for-delay settlement at issue
Securities Class Actions Alive, but on Life Support
J. Cullen Byrne, Esq. | Staff Writer
On June 23, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision that dealt a near-fatal blow for plaintiffs in securities class action suits by making it harder for investors to collectively sue corporations for fraud. In an opinion written by Chief Justice Roberts, the court unanimously held that defendants at the preliminary class certification stage could refute the plaintiffs’ presumption of reliance on an efficient market if they can show that an alleged misrepresentation did not affect the com
$2.4 Billion Settlement in Actos Product Liability Suits
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel Takeda Pharmaceuticals Company Limited, together with its wholly-owned subsidiary, Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A., Inc., have agreed to pay $2.4 billion to resolve thousands of product liability lawsuits pending in the U.S. involving allegations that the companies’ prescription diabetes drug, Actos, caused cancer. The settlement, announced by Takeda on April 29, 2015, will only become effective if 95 percent of current litigants opt into the agreement. According to t
U.S. Supreme Court Denies Big Tobacco’s Appeal of Florida Decisions
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
On Monday, June 10, 2014, the U.S. Supreme Court, without comment, refused to entertain ten appeals by the nation’s largest cigarette manufacturers, R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Philip Morris USA Inc. and Lorillard Inc., which would have affected more than $70 million in verdicts against them. The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling denying the appeals allows the Florida Supreme Court’s 2006 decision in Engle v. Liggett Group, Inc., et al., to remain intact. In Engle, the Florida Supreme Court reversed a
$25 Million in Punitive Damages Awarded in Engle Progeny Case
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel On Tuesday, April 21, 2015, a Florida jury decided R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. must pay $25 million in punitive damages to Thomas and Bettye Ryan for injuries sustained as a result of Thomas smoking the company’s cigarettes. The verdict came just days after the jurors awarded $21.5 million in compensatory damages to the Ryans, following a finding that R.J. Reynolds was 65% liable for Thomas’ development of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. In the suit, which is one of thousands in
Wearable Device Data as Evidence
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
Although U.S. courts are typically slow to adopt technological innovations, there has been a recent push to allow the admission of wearable device data into evidence. [1] Most prominently, it has been discussed in the context of personal injury litigation as a means to show notable changes in a plaintiff’s physical fitness or behavior after an injury. For instance, a plaintiff could support claims that their activity levels decreased after an injury by utilizing several months or even years’ wo
AMS Transvaginal Mesh Litigation Cases settle for $830 million
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
Endo International Plc, along with its subsidiary American Medical Systems, Inc., have agreed to pay approximately $830 million to resolve nearly 20,000 claims by individuals who suffered severe complications from the use of AMS’ transvaginal mesh medical device. The settlement, reached only in principle, covers the majority of the mesh-related litigation against the companies and was entered into with several plaintiffs’ law firms, including Motley Rice LLC, Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & As
Facebook Facial Scan Technology Leads to Biometric Privacy Class Action
Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations
Facebook image processing software and algorithms that are known to users as a way to identify individuals in photos uploaded to the application have been targeted in a new class action for violating privacy protections under Illinois law. In 2008, Illinois passed the Biometric Information Privacy Act (the “Act”) which seeks to set standards for collection and use of certain personally identifiable information and curtail unscrupulous use of such information.   Under the Act, a "biometric iden
Judge Denies BlackRock’s Motion to Dismiss Excessive Fee Suit
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
A New Jersey federal court denied the motion to dismiss filed by subsidiaries of BlackRock Inc. (“BlackRock”) in an action involving allegations that the company charged excessive advisory fees to BlackRock Global Allocation Fund, Inc. and the BlackRock Equity Dividend Fund (together, the “Funds”). The plaintiffs, who are shareholders that filed the lawsuit on behalf of the Funds, claim that by charging such fees, BlackRock has breached its fiduciary duty under Section 36(b) of the Investment C
StubHub Sues NBA Team for Stifling Competition in Ticket Resale Marketplace
Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations
StubHub, the burgeoning online ticket exchange for sports and entertainment, is suing the Golden State Warriors and Ticketmaster for antitrust violations in the Northern District of California. StubHub alleges that the Warriors and Ticketmaster have unlawfully colluded to restrain competition by telling season ticket holders that they can only resell their tickets through Ticketmaster. The complaint alleges that the Warriors have threatened to revoke the season tickets of any individual that f
To “Friend” or “Unfriend?” 3 Simple Ways for Attorneys to Ethically use Facebook
Andrew Jones
When Facebook launched in 2004 it was aimed at college students. The social networking site is now used by 71% of adults in the U.S., according to recent data compiled by the Pew Research Center. Because Facebook is still in its infancy, yet has become so prevalent in society, attorneys are faced with uncharted ethical territory. Below are three quick tips on how attorneys can utilize Facebook without violating their duties of professional responsibility. Only Friend Your Friends Privacy set
Less Volatile Markets Lead to Decline in Class Action Settlement Values
Robert Carbone, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel, Attorney Relations A Cornerstone Research report on securities class actions in 2014 pointed out a stark decline in the value of settlements. Settlements fell 78 percent to $1.07 billion in 2014 from $4.85 billion in 2013. This represents an 84 percent drop below the prior nine-year average. The three biggest contributing factors cited by the legal consulting firm are a dearth of large cases, usually involving pension funds as lead plaintiffs, and a decline in volatility of markets: “The level of ‘es
ObamaCare Drastically Improves the Health of Qui Tam Suits under the False Claims Act
J. Cullen Byrne, Esq. | Staff Writer
One of the lesser-known sections of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (“Affordable Care Act”), colloquially known as ObamaCare, provides expansive amendments to the False Claims Act (“FCA”).[i] While these amendments are not retroactive,[ii] they will most likely increase the amount of FCA-based claims in the future. The FCA provides that a person or company who knowingly submits a false claim to the government may be held civilly liable for treble damages. Private whistle
Conquering the Economies of a Plaintiffs' Practice
Kelly Anthony, Esq. | Deputy General Counsel
Firmly established owner of time-honored New York City contingent-fee practice provides guidance on how to thwart inevitable, unpredictable cash flows. Our Deputy General Counsel, Kelly Anthony, Esq., recently sat down with Martin for a one-on-one interview on how he became the owner of Edelman & Edelman, P.C., how to deal with cash flow challenges, the biggest success his firm has had, if it is hard to practice law in New York City and more. Read what he had to say...
Counsel Financial Hosts Mikey’s Way Foundation Annual Fundraiser
Kim Gomlak | Marketing Director
Law firm financing company holds gala and golf tournament to help kids cope with cancer
Fair Labor Standards Act in Focus as Companies Attempt to Increase Their Bottom Line
Counsel Financial
As companies continue to try to improve their revenues following the economic malaise of the past several years, there appears to be a concomitant increase in litigation involving the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA), 29 U.S.C. § 201, et. seq., which became effective in July 2009. One example of this is Darden Restaurants, Inc., of Orlando, Florida, owner of popular restaurant chains Olive Garden, Red Lobster, Longhorn Steakhouse and The Capital Grille. In October 2012, Darden announced plans to
What is the Impact of Recent FDA Report on Pradaxa Bleeding Risk?
Counsel Financial
On November 2, 2012 the FDA issued a Drug Safety Communication report update addressing the risk of serious bleeding among new users of Pradaxa. On its face, the FDA appeared to conclude that the rates for uncontrolled bleeding events among Pradaxa users were the same as other blood thinner medications, most notably warfarin (Coumadin). Thus headlines suggested the report was a critical blow to plaintiffs’ claims in the MDL pending before Judge David R. Herndon in the U.S. District Court, Southe
First DePuy ASR Trial Begins as FDA Proposes Stricter Reviews of Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants
Counsel Financial
As the first DePuy ASR hip trial began in a California State Court in Los Angeles, Defendant, Johnson & Johnson (“J&J”) was reeling from the Food & Drug Administration’s proposal that manufacturers of metal-on-metal hip implants submit affirmative scientific evidence that the devices are safe and effective. Previously, manufacturers like J&J were allowed to market the implants under much less stringent guidelines that did not require submission of such safety and effectiveness da
Tylenol Liver Failure Lawsuits Consolidated into MDL
Counsel Financial
On April 1, 2013, at least 27 lawsuits pending against Johnson & Johnson concerning the over-the-counter medication Tylenol were consolidated into a federal multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania before Judge Lawrence F. Stengel. Plaintiffs’ claims against Johnson & Johnson include the manufacturer’s failure to adequately warn consumers about the side effects of acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol, specifically live
Plaintiffs Awarded Nearly $20 Million in Separate Medical Product Trials
Counsel Financial
Individuals seeking compensation for injuries caused by pelvic/transvaginal mesh (TVM) and DePuy hip implants have a reason to be optimistic after plaintiffs in two separate actions received verdicts collectively grossing approximately $20 million. Conversely, it has been a difficult few weeks for Defendant Johnson & Johnson, Inc., the parent company of the manufacturers involved in the two medical device cases. In February, a jury awarded Linda and Jeff Gross, a South Dakota couple, $3.35
Wal-Mart v. Dukes Update: California District Court Denies Wal-Mart’s Motion to Dismiss Narrowed Class of Plaintiffs
Counsel Financial
In 2011, the U.S. Supreme Court in Wal-Mart v. Dukes, 131 S.Ct. 2541 (2011), ruled in a 5-4 decision that the certification of the nationwide class of female Wal-Mart employees was not consistent with Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23(a), which requires the party seeking class certification to prove that the class has common questions of law or fact. In Dukes, Plaintiffs alleged Wal-Mart management discriminated against women over pay and promotions in violation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
KFC Settles with 13,000 Plaintiffs in Wage and Hour Dispute
Counsel Financial
Plaintiffs, current and former KFC employees, allege that since October 2, 2005, KFC failed to adequately compensate them for missed meal and rest periods, as well as off-the-clock work. As a result, Plaintiffs contend they were not paid appropriate overtime and minimum wages. KFC has a uniform corporate policy that provides no employee may take a break without permission from their manager. However, Plaintiffs allege the managers often deny break periods because KFC puts pressure on the manag
$10M in Compensatory Damages Awarded Against Makers of Children’s Motrin
Counsel Financial
On January 7, 2013, Philadelphia Judge Nitza I. Quinones affirmed a $10 million jury verdict in favor of Plaintiff Brianna Maya for injuries she sustained after taking over-the-counter Children’s Motrin. At the age of three, Plaintiff took Children’s Motrin to treat a two-and-a-half day fever. By day three, a rash formed over Plaintiff’s entire body, including her mouth, chest and vaginal area, resulting in Plaintiff’s hospitalization. In an attempt to treat the rash and accompanying blisters,
$13 Million Verdict for Construction Worker Killed In Cage Collapse
Counsel Financial
On June 12, 2009, Ulvaldo Soto Martinez, a 33-year-old rod buster, was working on a construction project to widen the Huey P. Long Bridge in Bridge City, Louisiana. He and two co-workers, Sammy Vasquez and Martin Reyes, were working on top of a 50-foot concrete column to secure a rebar cage to the column. After a crane lowered the cage into position, the three workers tied the rebar of the cage to the rebar of the column, while workers on the ground secured guy wires to concrete blocks to preven
$8.5 Million may be Wrong Price for Game Show Model Fired over Pregnancy
Counsel Financial
Brandi Cochran, a model for “The Price is Right,” attempted to return to the show after her pregnancy leave, but instead, learned she had been terminated. In response, Cochran sued CBS Corp., CBS Television Network, RTL Group, FremantleMedia Ltd., FremantleMedia North America and The Price is Right Productions Inc. for pregnancy and disability discrimination. Her case proceeded to trial against FremantleMedia North America and The Price is Right Productions Inc., after the court dismissed her ac
Intoxicated Plaintiff Wins $38 Million Verdict for a Fall He Cannot Remember
Counsel Financial
On November 16, 2008, Plaintiff James Von Normann, a 25-year-old salesman, was found laying in the parking lot of the Newport Channel Inn in Newport Beach, California. Paramedics found Plaintiff unresponsive with a score of nine on the Glasgow Coma Scale, which rates patients on a scale from 1-15 based on scores in three categories: eye opening response, verbal response and motor response. Patients with scores between two and eight are usually considered to be in a coma.1 Plaintiff was transport
$5 Million Verdict in Scuba Diving Fatality
Counsel Financial
On March 6, 2009, Decedent Robert Myers, age 50, passed away while scuba diving off Casino Point in Catalina with his sister. For the dive, Myers wore a dry-suit hose manufactured by Defendant Förvaltningsobolaget Insulan AB, doing business as Si Tech, which contained a small plastic insert called a “flow restriction device.” During his dive, an orifice became dislodged from the air hose, causing a blockage in Myers’ breathing apparatus. As a result, Myers suffered sudden cardiac arrest and died
French Teacher Fired for Giving Students Wine While on Field Trip
Counsel Financial
School administrators at the The Calhoun School on Manhattan’s Upper West Side fired Daniele Benatouil, a 12-year veteran French teacher, for allowing six 18-year-old seniors to drink a glass of wine during their school-sponsored trip to France. Although Benatouil received written permission from the students’ parents allowing the students to have alcohol while in France, she did not obtain authorization from school supervisors. Both the parents and students had previously completed a form req
$14.5 Million Settlement for Injuries Suffered from Pitch Struck by Aluminum Bat
Counsel Financial
On July 15, 2006, 12-year-old little league pitcher Steven Domalewski was struck in the chest by a line drive from a Louisville Slugger TPX Platinum aluminum bat. Domalewski then went into cardiac arrest and was deprived of oxygen for 15 minutes. Although was resuscitated, Domalewski suffered permanent cognitive impairment and became confined to a wheelchair. Now, at age 19, he has impaired speech and is almost completely blind. The boy’s parents filed suit against Defendants Hillerich & B