Friday, January 21, 2011

Apple backdating litigation update

We opposed preliminary approval of the Apple settlement because there was a possibility that money would go to third parties at the expense of class members. The settling parties assured the court that that wouldn't happen, but have not disclosed the number of claims made on the settlement fund to date. So today we filed an objection to the settlement contingent upon whether the settlement fund goes to the class members or to third-party cy pres. If the settlement fund does end up in the hands of the class, we're going to ask for a token amount of attorneys' fees to reflect the $2.5 million we won for the class.

The case is In re: Apple Inc. Securities Litigation, No. 06-5208 (N.D. Cal.); the fairness hearing is scheduled before Judge Fogel on February 18 in San Jose.

Additional briefing in the HP Inkjet Printer coupon settlement case

The briefing by the settling parties in support of final approval seemed exceptionally poor, though I admittedly have never been in a position where I've tried to defend an indefensible settlement. We see another quack economic expert report inventing tens of millions of dollars of "benefit" from a worthless settlement. We filed our opposition today, with references to Seinfeld, Bart Simpson, The Great Gatsby, and the legal tradition of table-pounding—as well as an article written by lead class counsel for the trial-lawyers' lobby where he admits to the worthlessness of the settlement.

The case is In re HP Inkjet Printer Litigation, No. 05-3580 (N.D. Cal.), and the fairness hearing will be before Judge Jeremy Fogel on January 28 in San Jose.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Victory: court rejects settlement

We'd like to think our objection had at least a little to do with the end result.

This decision is not a big surprise after the court was severely critical of the settlement during the December 16 fairness hearing. We won't know for a while why the court rejected the settlement, but Judge Richard Jones today issued an order stating that he did so, that the parties should return to litigation, and that a formal opinion would be forthcoming. (The parties might reasonably murmur that they're hard pressed to have productive settlement negotiations until they know where they fell short in the court's eyes.)

Monday, January 10, 2011

Bachman v. A.G. Edwards coupon class action settlement appeal

Our unsuccessful objection to the Bachman v. A.G. Edwards settlement, which consisted almost entirely of time-restricted non-transferable $8.22 coupons, received press coverage at the time. The question of whether to value a coupon at full face value or at the actual (or reasonably anticipated) redemption rate is a question of first impression in Missouri state courts; our appellate brief was filed Monday.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Oral argument scheduled in the Bluetooth case

The Ninth Circuit has scheduled oral argument in the Bluetooth case for Monday, February 7, 9 a.m., in the federal courthouse in Pasadena. (Five other cases are on the calendar, so I probably won't get my fifteen minutes until after 10 a.m.) I'm undefeated (well, ok, 1-0) in that courthouse.

The first time I ever visited the Pasadena courthouse was in the fall of 1992, when a memorable young law clerk in Alex Kozinski's chambers named Eugene Volokh quizzed me about the issue of toughening evidentiary standards for expert witnesses in what I think was the first law-clerk interview of the season for 1994-95. (That was the first attempt of the judiciary and the legal academy to create a cartel for the hiring of law clerks, and I unwittingly caused it to break down when I sent my resume out without consulting with the law school, and Judge Kozinski started calling people in for interviews, causing a chain reaction that unraveled everyone's plans.) Eugene, of course, went on to bigger and better things.

If you're in the DC area, and you're interested in putting in a few hours reading briefs and throwing questions at me on a moot court later this month, please drop me an email. (Friends from Kirkland & Ellis: sorry, you're adverse to me in this case, so you're not invited.)