This is a vitriol-free zone

Despite having recently taken a break from docket-scouring, imPaneled found few fireworks in its backlog of recent Panel and lead counsel submissions.  We were most disappointed that the movant’s reply brief in MDL 2413, In re Frito-Lay Bean Dip Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation, scrupulously ignored Frito-Lay’s detailed claims as to their procedural gamesmanship.  Hopefully, Their Honors on the Panel will seek a substantive response when movant’s counsel appears before them in Dallas.

As to the lead counsel front, unless imPaneled’s detective work is not what it used to be, the only meaningful dispute to develop in recent weeks is one between Kaplan Fox and Horwitz, Horwitz & Paradis in a remnant of the proceeding formerly known as MDL 2374, In re Honey Production Marketing and Sales Practices Litigation.*  Evidently, the Paradis firm enlisted a plaintiff, who took his business to Kaplan Fox within a matter of months thereafter.  Before Kaplan Fox entered its appearance, the Paradis firm filed a related case with another plaintiff.  Kaplan Fox claims that the Paradis firm’s subsequent efforts to assume control of the litigation violated its ethical obligations to its former client and render it unfit to represent the class.  The Paradis firm disagrees and denies any wrongdoing.  Judge Chen of the N.D. Cal. will hopefully resolve the dispute in prolific fashion.

Now that the public will be spared electoral vitriol for another four years, perhaps both sides of the class action bar could fill the void with the kind of vitriol that appears on imPaneled’s pages.  imPaneled wants to see fire and brimstone rising from the dockets it searches next week.

* – The Panel denied the Paradis firm’s motion to consolidate several cases based on their relative paucity of common facts.

Co-co-co-leads appointed in MDL 2275

To the surprise of no one, the Panel assigned to Judge Scheindlin the procedural morass that is MDL 2275, In Re: Gerova Financial Group, Ltd., Securities Litigation.  The Rosen Law Firm won the race to the courthouse, filing state and federal claims in the E.D.N.Y. on behalf of a class of private investors subsequently deemed the “Stillwater Investors.”  Kaplan Fox and Murray Frank later filed only state claims for the same class in the S.D.N.Y.  Much motion practice followed, resulting in the appointment of Kaplan Fox and Murray Frank as co-leads in the S.D.N.Y. only, and as to the state claims only.

Meanwhile, Pomrerantz Haudek filed the first complaint on behalf of “Open Market Investors” in the S.D.N.Y., followed by Harwood Feffer and Spector Roseman (the latter on behalf of a “Warrant Subclass”).  The Rosen Law Firm moved for control of all the cases, while Pomerantz Haudek (then joined by Wohl & Fruchter) and others pressed for the maintenance of separate leads for separate groups.  After Harwood Feffer and Spector Roseman backed off, Judge Scheindlin appointed Pomerantz Haudek and Wohl & Fruchter as co-leads for the Open Market Investors.  Kaplan Fox and Murray Frank remain co-leads for the Stillwater Investors as to their state claims.  All involved expect The Rosen Law Firm to be appointed lead counsel for the Stillwater Investors only as to their federal claims.

Got all that?  I didn’t, until Lee Albert of Murray Frank graciously clarified it for me.  Let’s hope Her Honor is able to coordinate and consolidate all of this for the convenience of the parties and witnesses and promote the just and efficient conduct of all of the actions.

Hot off the press

Two weeks ago, Judge Scheindlin of the S.D.N.Y. entered Kessler Topaz’s proposed order appointing that firm as lead counsel in In re: Longtop Financial Technologies Limited Securities Litigation.  Earlier today, she entered an opinion explaining herself at some length.  Three of the other five contenders–represented by Berman DeValerio, Robbins Geller and Kaplan Fox–earlier effectively conceded defeat based on their clients’ relatively small financial interests in the case.  Another contender, represented by Curtis Trinko and Saxena White, withdrew its motion and threw its support to Kessler Topaz. The Rosen Law Firm and Wohl & Fruchter fought to the bitter end on behalf of their common clients.  Judge Scheindlin’s opinion is here.  The docket is here.

  • About the blogmaster

    Bart Cohen is the principal of the Law Office of Bart D. Cohen, where he represents his clients in class actions and other complex litigation, and Winning Briefs, where he polishes, edits and drafts written work product for overextended lawyers.

    His unnatural appetites for rules and research of all kinds have made him an expert on proceedings before the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation. He feeds those appetites and chronicles the battles to land lead counsel appointments that are fought in part before the Panel on imPaneled.

    You can contact Bart here or connect with him here.

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