Results matching “milberg”

Bachman v. A.G. Edwards update - PointOfLaw Forum

You may recall the $60 million settlement that wasn't to which CCAF objected. Judge Angela T. Quigless approved the settlement and approved the $21.6 million award of attorneys' fees and costs without addressing any of the objections.

And if you ever hear a class action attorney tell you that what they really care about is "access to justice," you have my permission to laugh sardonically. The Bachman attorneys (including Milberg LLP) have asked the court to require any objector-appellants (each of whom have about $20 at stake) to post a $325,000 appeal bond—despite the fact that Missouri law does not permit such a thing. CCAF filed an opposition to the request (citing Professor Fitzpatrick's recent article disapproving of excessive appeal bonds), and I was in St. Louis yesterday to argue at the hearing. We will see whether CCAF gets to appeal the judgment or has to appeal an illegal appeal bond order.

(CCAF is not affiliated with the Manhattan Institute.)

How class action firms acquire pension-fund clients - PointOfLaw Forum

Sponsoring conferences is one way, but according to this first-person account by Edward Siedle in Forbes, there's a more sure-fire way, throwing referral fees at lawyers who represent the pension funds in other matters:

By agents, they meant local lawyers who represent pensions in other matters and are supposedly motivated solely by the best interests of their clients.

Many, however, are also eager to supplement their legal practices with hefty class action referral fees and other compensation. In my opinion, if local fund counsel is promised contingent fees for reeling in class action business, its advice risks becoming conflicted. That financial conflict should, at minimum, be disclosed.

I asked the Milberg Weiss partners whether public pensions were told of payments made to local fund counsels. A laugh went through the room "We won't answer that question until you join the firm," I was told.

He turned down the chance at a lucrative job with Milberg, which now says the partners named in the account have departed the firm and that it "know[s] nothing about the specific actions described by Mr. Siedle."

Around the web, November 12 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Judge Shadur dismisses class action filed against University of Illinois over "clout list" admissions [Jackson]
  • Slippery slopes in "libertarian paternalism" [Somin, Volokh, on Rizzo/Whitman]
  • More about Spanish court's ruling on contingent fees [Hartley]
  • "Law Profs Gone Wild! Philip Bobbitt Slams Milberg in Suit" [claim of missed deadlines as class client; WSJ Law Blog]
  • N.Y.: "The ticking time bomb that is the state pension plan" [Phil Reisman, Journal News]
  • President of Kane County, Illinois Medical Society retired from her own ob/gyn practice two years ago because of malpractice costs [Courier-News]

Around the web, October 28 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Spain's Supreme Court rules in favor of contingency fee legality [Hartley]
  • Obama, Sunstein and Calabresi all share an instrumentalist view of tort law, per Anthony Sebok [TortsProf]
  • New push for laws expanding employee privacy rights as against employers? [Ariana Levinson, SSRN via LaborProf]
  • "Memo to Spitzer: Put a sock in it" [DC Examiner re: his attack on U.S. Chamber and earlier interactions with Milberg Weiss]
  • Demagoguery on "Franken rape amendment" arbitration controversy has been perfectly shameless [Kathleen Parker] More: Hans Bader letter.
  • Class actions over auction rate securities fiasco haven't fared well [LaCroix]

House hearing on Iqbal/Twombly - PointOfLaw Forum

Sounds as if they didn't invite Beck or Herrmann to testify at the hearing today, which is a shame, since they've provided the best coverage on why the Supreme Court's recent jurisprudence on pleadings deserves to be defended rather than steamrollered by a plaintiff's-bar-friendly Congress.

P.S. The hearing page lists only Prof. Arthur Miller's NYU affiliation, not his Milberg affiliation.

Class action lawyer may run for New York Attorney General - PointOfLaw Forum

Talk about eliminating the middleman: in anticipation of a run for AG, Sean Coffey is stepping down as a senior partner with the prominent class action firm of Bernstein Litowitz Berger & Grossmann LLP, which has donated to some high-profile AGs in the past. He won't run if incumbent Andrew Cuomo decides to stay with the job, knowing Cuomo as he does "from time spent in state Democratic Party activities." [WSJ Law Blog; Longstreth/AmLaw Daily] It should be noted that our most recent mention of Mr. Coffey in this space has him coming off in a rather favorable light, as a critic of the practices of the egregious Bill Lerach (who as it happens has moved to a halfway house in preparation for his expected release March 8). [Updated Fri. a.m. for clarity and to add source]

Resisting an all-encompassing Alien Tort Statute - PointOfLaw Forum

An Aug. 24 news release from the National Foreign Trade Council, "Leading Business Groups Urge Federal Court to Dismiss South African Alien Tort Lawsuit," noting the filing of an amicus brief in the Second U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals supporting the appeal of a lower court's ruling in an Alien Tort Statute lawsuit.

The lawsuit, now known as Balintulo v. Daimler, AG, et al., was originally filed in 2002 against 85 U.S. and European companies that had done business in South Africa prior to 1994. The case was dismissed in Federal District Court in 2005, but was sent back to that Court by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals in 2007. Since then the District Court has ruled that the case may go forward and the defendants have appealed to the Second Circuit to dismiss the case. This amicus brief is in support of that appeal....

The amicus brief filed today cites the fact that both the U.S. and the South African governments have asked that the case be dismissed and concludes that where the executive branch determines that trade will promote the interests of the United States (and improve the lot of foreign citizens as well) courts must respect that determination by shutting down inconsistent litigation at the earliest opportunity.

The brief is available here. Others joining in the amicus brief are USA*Engage, U.S. Council for International Business, Organization for International Investment, and the National Association of Manufacturers (my employers). The NAM summarizes the litigation at our Legal Beagle search engine.

Staying in the Southern Hemisphere, The Age newspaper in Australia reports, "Plan for locals to join Madoff class actions," reporting that, "THE US law firm representing investors attempting to recoup funds from Bernard Madoff plans to launch class actions on behalf of Australian companies and investors who lost millions of dollars to fraud and negligence on US financial markets."

Which law firm? Milberg! As for the Alien Tort Statute:

Millberg [sic] senior partner Brad Friedman warned Australian multinationals that breaching their international legal obligations could also result in class action suits in the US.

''Many courts around the world, but particularly in the United States, are willing to assert jurisdiction against foreign companies,'' Mr Friedman said.

He said lawyers would increasingly use US alien torts legislation to hold Australian companies liable for breaches of international laws that occurred outside the US.

Speaking of aliens, have you seen "District 9," the science fiction/crustacean-buddy flick set in South Africa? It ends ambiguously, setting up the possibility of a sequel. Most would expect such a sequel to be an action/revenge movie, but we suspect it will be a courtroom drama involving a high-profile civil suit against companies that supplied the private security forces used to oppress the non-humans.

Set it in U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, cast Russell Crowe as a crusading attorney, and call it, "District 9: Alien Tort Statute."

Target of Milberg suit sues over Torkelsen testimony - PointOfLaw Forum

Economist John Torkelsen, a star expert witness for Milberg Weiss in many cases, declared in a sworn deposition that he was working for an hourly fee in a case in which he estimated damages to class clients to be more than $165 million in one of Milberg's cases against casino operator Lakes Entertainment. In reality, Torkelsen had a concealed contingency fee arrangement with Milberg that helped ensure his incentives would be lined up in favor of a high damages estimate. Now Lakes wants its settlement back with treble damages, saying it would never have offered such a high settlement had Torkelsen's true relationship to the law firm been disclosed.

Milberg hires judge who ruled in its favor - PointOfLaw Forum

Last year New York trial judge Herman Cahn ruled in favor of class-action giant Milberg in a high-profile dispute over whether it could share its winnings from past cases with disgraced felon and former name partner Melvyn Weiss, the firm's former driving force. Judge Cahn stepped down from the New York bench in December, and now it develops has been hired by Milberg as its "distinguished" new attorney. And you -- with the Wall Street Journal's editorialists today -- certainly have a suspicious mind. There probably won't be any shortage of funds with which to pay the former jurist: an American Lawyer headline last month read "Milberg Among Plaintiffs Firms Awarded $120 Million in Xerox Class Action". (cross-posted from Overlawyered)

Student note (PDF) by James McDonald in the Duke Law Journal, abstract:

When the renowned plaintiffs' firm Milberg Weiss was indicted in 2006 for paying kickbacks to clients, most commentators saw the scandal as the product of five dishonest lawyers. This Note argues that the causes were more complex than the moral shortcomings of a few attorneys; rather, the kickbacks were but one symptom of a deeply flawed system for selecting lead counsel in securities class action lawsuits. Although the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 attempted to curb abusive behavior by the plaintiffs' bar, its focus on reforming plaintiff behavior meant that attorneys were left relatively free to continue using whichever tactic served their financial ends. Using Milberg Weiss's behavior to guide analysis, this Note assesses the problems of lead-counsel selection. These problems trace to a common source: an imbalance of information between attorneys vying for appointment as lead counsel and the judge who must select one of these attorneys. To correct this problem, this Note proposes implementing screening and signaling procedures to determine the "most adequate counsel" who can provide quality representation for every member of a class.

And from the text: this Note details, some of the tactics that Milberg Weiss used to reach the top of the plaintiffs' bar were as fraudulent and unethical as any action taken at Enron, WorldCom, or Tyco.

Around the web, January 7 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • "Sending Wall Street To Jail": major source of criminal liability could be over-rosy business statements meant to shore up customer, supplier confidence [Roger Parloff, Fortune]
  • Famed Texas injury lawyer Mark Lanier addresses Prof. Jon Hanson's torts class at Harvard [video via Mass Tort Lit]
  • Heritage policy paper on EFCA [Sherk & Kersey] And so no one thinks we're ignoring what the other side has to say, here's a "pro" post [Joseph Slater, Prawfsblawg]
  • Crain's NY and Milberg, sitting in a tree; second verse, same as the first (h/t Bruce Carton)
  • Expect to pay a lot more for mattresses, domestic maker gets Uncle Sam to slap heavy tariffs on innersprings [Blomquist, CEI]
  • Treaties, court decisions give aboriginal groups (First Nations, Metis, Inuit) more clout in shaping business activities in Canada [Corporate Counsel]

Around the web, October 29 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Judge Kessler's "P.R. as racketeering" decision against tobacco companies, now on appeal to D.C. Circuit, incorporated typos from DoJ proposed findings [B.L.T. first, second posts]
  • Schulman and Bershad, former name partners in Milberg Weiss, sentenced to six months each [Jurist, Karlsgodt]
  • "Get ready to relearn the ADA" [Lorber et al, Legal Times; Paul Secunda, Workplace Prof, with extensive discussion of inside negotiations from Chai Feldblum]
  • 95%+ of House members get majority of campaign money from outside their districts, but docs better not take a ballpoint pen from a drug rep, that would be corrupting [Happy Hospitalist]
  • Congress may make later assignees of mortgages liable for "predatory" conduct of original lender -- and retroactively too, one plaintiff's lawyer hopes [Seattle P-I]
  • Medical directory publisher that knowingly misstates doctor's qualifications can be held liable for later patient injury [OnPoint News, Knepper v. Brown, Oregon Supreme Court]

Arthur Miller joins Milberg - PointOfLaw Forum

Really just a formality in some ways, since the high-profile lawprof (NYU, formerly Harvard) and TV personality has long been associated with the scandal-ridden plaintiff's firm, in the process collaborating with men who are now among the profession's most notorious felons. Regrets? He's had a few, but then again, too few to mention (AmLaw Daily, NYLJ, Bloomberg). He'll be keeping his NYU professorship, too.

Around the web, August 31 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Despite all the environmental class action stuff? California litigation reformers host fund-raiser for Jerry Brown [Cal Law "Legal Pad"] More [Legal NewsLine]
  • West Virginia med-mal reform hasn't "blocked the courthouse door" [Wheeling News-Register]
  • Profile of secretive NAAG and its income sources: turns out it occupies a floor in a building owned by the tobacco-loot American Legacy Foundation [Daniel Fisher, Forbes]
  • More on Mel Weiss fee deal with former partners at Milberg [Portfolio]
  • Profile of Medical Justice, the "we help docs counterattack" group [Yes! Weekly, Greensboro, N.C.]
  • Pro-plaintiff expansion of False Claims Act moving through Congress is classic face-off of business and trial lawyers [NLJ]

Around the web, August 18 - PointOfLaw Forum

The Examiner newspaper's new Sunday edition has a package on William Lerach, the trial lawyer extraordinaire now imprisoned for the Milberg Weiss class-action fraud.


  • St. Louis Post-Dispatch: "A lawsuit testing the constitutionality of Illinois' medical malpractice reforms is expected to come before the state's Supreme Court this fall -- and with it the very real possibility that the law will be nixed."
  • Letter to the editor, New York Times, "Settle, or Go to Trial?": "We are concerned that a study previewed in "The Cost of Not Settling a Lawsuit" (Business Day, Aug. 8) reinforces ingrained negative misperceptions of how our legal system works." John H. Martin, Marc E. Williams, Huntington, W.Va., president and president-elect of DRI, the Voice of the Defense Bar.
  • Birmingham News, "Candidate calls for an appointed judiciary": "Deborah Bell Paseur, a Democratic candidate for Alabama Supreme Court, said Thursday she favors appointing judges and letting voters decide if they should be retained. "
  • Los Angeles Times, obituary for James E. Ludlam. "Ludlam probably will be best remembered as one of the principal authors of the Medical Injury Compensation Reform Act of 1975, which alleviated a crisis in California because physicians were leaving the state and giving up their practices over prohibitively high malpractice insurance premiums caused by runaway jury awards. ...The landmark legislation, which brought down malpractice insurance premiums in California and, among other things, set a limit of $250,000 on damages for pain and suffering, is considered a national model for tort reform."

Around the web, July 22 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • Worth keeping an eye on: "The Service Employees International Union and the Teamsters have sued six law firms (including Beasley Allen, Girardi and Keese, and Levin Fishbein) for their handling of the Vioxx settlement." [Beck & Herrmann]
  • Paul Selzer, last remaining defendant in Milberg Weiss/Lerach scandal, pleads guilty; Milberg says government knew of its plan to turn over 15 percent of fees from pending cases to Weiss [NYLJ]
  • Environmental Working Group and Fenton Communications lead campaign against plastic-softening bisphenol A and phthalates, and "trial lawyers sense a big payday" [Fortune]
  • Early Chemerinsky hires for UC Irvine law school confirm that it won't "look like Orange County" at all, ideologically [Bainbridge]
  • Dismissing more than 1,000 railroad asbestos suits for refiling elsewhere, West Virginia high court rejects argument that all Americans enjoy Constitutional right to take their disputes to WV courts [WV Record]
  • Hong Kong, which has hitherto done without antitrust laws, now is considering one [proposal in PDF, press release]

Around the web, June 30 - PointOfLaw Forum

  • NYC lawyers say 30 percent of those suing over Ground Zero dust from 9/11 cleanup aren't seriously ill at all, let alone ill from the dust [NYT, AP] New York expanding disability benefits for more rescuers, anyway [NYT]
  • Asbestos, tobacco, Orioles magnate Peter Angelos is giving $5 million to expand University of Baltimore Law School, defense lawyers don't even try to keep up [AmLaw Daily]
  • "Conspiring former partners" at Milberg Weiss ID'd as Jared Specthrie and Robert Sugarman, still in good standing with the New York bar, and the late Larry Milberg [Portfolio]
  • Blog about e-discovery, data security and related legal topics [Hack-igations, via Genova]
  • Speaking of discovery: Our client fell off your trailer, now let us rummage through 600,000 checks written by your family businesses [MC Record and editorial]
  • Because of Supreme Court's Valdez ruling, plaintiff's lawyers suing Exxon might get only $188 million in fees [AmLaw Daily]

Around the web, June 19 - PointOfLaw Forum

Milberg's deal with the feds - PointOfLaw Forum

The WSJ has details on the $75 million settlement of criminal charges, which involves admissions of wrongdoing. The New York Times even runs the story on its front page, just as if it were, you know, significant news or something. Maybe we succeeded in shaming them?

A few other points from Jonathan Glater's NYT coverage:

  • Remember the murmurs, never very credible even at the time, about how the crackdown on abuse was supposedly meant to do away with the class-action biz altogether? Nothing of the sort, of course, has happened. Notwithstanding a general trend in the courts to hold plaintiffs to higher standards, the supply of securities fraud suits remains "robust", notes Joseph Grundfest.

  • Thomas P. O'Brien, a U.S. attorney, calls the Milberg misconduct "probably the longest-running scheme ever conducted by a law firm".

  • One "longtime New York shareholder lawyer", complaining that Milberg's misdeeds had "poisoned the well" with judges, "insisted on anonymity out of fear of retaliation by other lawyers; such is the powerful reputation of Milberg still."
Ted has some additional thoughts at Overlawyered, and I see has had some of the same reactions as I.

Ribstein and Perino debate Milberg Weiss - PointOfLaw Forum

Larry Ribstein writes:

Michael Perino has written a paper, The Milberg Weiss Prosecution: No Harm, No Foul?, which has gathered significant attention, including a publicized presentation at AEI, and substantial notice by leading New York Times columnist Joe Nocera. The basic question the paper addresses is whether the actions of Milberg Weiss and its now disgraced principals, including Melvyn Weiss and Bill Lerach, injured the very plaintiffs they were supposedly championing by paying kickbacks to named plaintiffs. Because Perino's paper raises some significant policy issues, several of which Bruce Kobayashi and I have dealt with in our prior work, we have done an extended analysis of Perino's paper in this post on my blog.

Michael Perino responds.

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