Magnum Hunting

Hunting for fees, that is, in securities litigation against alleged fraudster Magnum Hunter Resources, wherein hyper-contested lead counsel motions were filed earlier this week.  Unfortunately, those motions are hyper-contested only by virtue of their number rather than their substance.  No fewer than eight (8; VIII; שםונח) counsel groups filed motions in each of two districts–all eight in the S.D.N.Y., three of whom filed in the S.D. Tex. as well.

Pomerantz Haudek was the busiest of the eight, filing a complaint by itself in Texas, which Saxena White followed with another complaint–filed by the same local counsel.  Pomerantz subsequently dismissed its Texas case, which evidently got Magnum’s attention.  Seeking to litigate on its own turf, and perhaps fearful that Saxena White might follow Pomerantz out of town, Magnum filed a 1404 motion in New York, seeking to consolidate cases pending there with the one remaining in Texas.

The dockets were then relatively quiet until this past Monday, when all heck* broke loose.  Pomerantz–armed with new clients and now aligned with Chimicles & Tikellis–filed lead counsel motions for those clients in both Houston and New York.  A Robbins Geller/Labaton tag team did the same, as did Morgan & Morgan.  The other contestants–Cohen Milstein, Kessler Topaz, Squitieri & Fearon, Finkelstein & Krinsk and Bernstein Liebhard–limited themselves to the blue state court.  And all parties limited themselves to submissions that are so bland that to call them “boilerplate” would be insulting to boilerplates.

So who’s likely to emerge from this with all the spoils?  As is often the case, Robbins Geller and Labaton claim the greatest losses–somewhere in the high six figures.  Cohen Milstein and Morgan are both in the low six figures.  The others all claim five-figure losses, which is a shame–not for those firms, but for imPaneled, as we would like to see nothing more than knockdown, smash-mouth, eight-way verbal sparring.  That is likely not forthcoming.  But there will hopefully be drama sufficient to justify a future post.  Stay tuned.

* – imPaneled is a family blog.

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The answer is “yes” . . .

. . . to the question imPaneled posed to its readers yesterday, i.e., “is imPaneled a blog of its word?”  The “word” was that there would be a post today.  Now there’s a post today.

As imPaneled is staffed entirely by attorneys, it crossed our minds that we might add nothing more and still celebrate having posted.  But implicit in yesterday’s promise was something of a representation that today’s post would actually include substance.  And the complex litigation community bounced back from a lackluster week to give us real substance yesterday.  To wit:

  • Boies Schiller and Cohen Milstein are contesting leadership in the Blue Cross antitrust action in the N.D. Ala.  Boies Schiller shrewdly added two local firms to its proposal, and further offered a generous helping of lodestar from their friends at Hausfeld.
  • Four firms–Abraham Fruchter, Bernstein Liebhard, Robbins Geller and the Rosen Law Firm–gave notice of their intention to seek lead status in the Lone Pine Resources case pending in the S.D.N.Y.
  • Fannie Mae previewed what is likely to be a bruising battle over whether the Panel should transfer and consolidate the many cases comprising MDL 2388, the Mortgage Lender Force-Placed Insurance Litigation.

More to come tomorrow, and to all the complex litigators out there–keep up both the production and the conflict.

Back to square one

Last week added a new chapter to the saga of Michael Warner, whose counsel at Robbins Geller filed the initial complaint in Warner v. Perrigo Co., No. 09-cv-02255 (S.D.N.Y.) (Griesa, J.).  Glancy Binkow and Pomerantz Haudek in short order added to the docket institutional investors who had purchased their shares on the Tel Aviv exchange.  Robbins Geller withdrew its lead counsel motion, and stipulated to an order appointing the other firms as co-lead counsel.

While defendants’ initial 12(b)(6) motion was pending, the Supreme Court issued its opinion in Morrison.  After defendants failed to alert the Court as to that development, the Court issued an opinion that failed to account for it.  Defendants filed another 12(b)(6) motion that relied primarily on Morrison.  Seeing the writing on the wall, Glancy Binkow and Pomerantz Haudek moved to add a domestic plaintiff, and Robbins Geller renewed its motion as to Mr. Warner.  Late last week, Judge Griesa dismissed the claims of the foreign lead plaintiffs, allowed the new domestic plaintiff to intervene, and deferred his appointment of  a new lead plaintiff.  The order is here.  The docket is here.  More news will surely follow.

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.

David bests Goliath

Magistrate Judge Pollak of the E.D.N.Y. in late August issued a most thoughtful opinion in Bensley v. Falconstor Software, Inc., appointing “William Burns as Lead Plaintiff and the Rosen Law Firm as Class Counsel,” and denying  Robbins Geller’s motion to appoint its institutional client.  More recently, Judge Korman “rejected the objections filed by” Robbins Geller.  M.J. Pollak’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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