Minding Your Business

Proskauer’s perspective on developments and trends in commercial litigation.

The Inadvertent Settlement Agreement (and How to Avoid it)

The recent case of Jarvis v. BMW of North America, LLC is an important reminder to attorneys to avoid inadvertently reaching a settlement agreement that is unacceptable to the client, or equally problematic, one that is missing critical (but not legally “essential”) terms and conditions. In Jarvis, the District Court for the Middle District of Florida granted the defendant’s motion to enforce a settlement agreement that had been negotiated by the parties through their respective counsel – even though the plaintiffs refused to sign the agreement. Continue Reading

Can Purchasing Efficiencies Save Mega-Mergers? The D.C. Circuit Says “No”

The D.C. Circuit recently blocked a proposed merger between two of the nation’s three largest health care insurers – Anthem and Cigna, raising doubts about the viability of the efficiencies defense in merger cases despite such a defense having been explicitly recognized in the 2010 FTC and DOJ Horizontal Merger Guidelines.

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Florida’s Fiduciary Lawyer-Client Privilege is on the Books, But is it Good Law?

In 2011, Florida’s legislature enacted section 90.5021, Fla. Stat., which provides for application of the lawyer-client privilege – even when the client is a fiduciary.

Specifically, the statute protects communications between a lawyer, on the one hand, and a client who is a trustee, personal representative or executor, or guardian, on the other hand. The privilege applies to the same extent as if the client were not acting as a fiduciary.

Why the need for a specialized statute? Isn’t the standard lawyer-client privilege statute good enough to protect communications between a lawyer and a fiduciary? Continue Reading

NY Commercial Division Requires Supporting Papers to Accompany Notice of TRO

We previously covered a proposed amendment to the New York Commercial Division Rule 20 that aimed to require moving parties seeking a temporary restraining order (“TRO”) to, absent significant prejudice, provide opposing parties with copies of all supporting papers as well as notice before any TRO could be issued.  Continue Reading

Arbitration Clauses Extending to Non-Signatory Affiliates: Are They Enforceable?

A recent decision of the New Jersey Appellate Division considered the enforceability of arbitration agreements by non-signatories. In Foti v. Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc., the plaintiff filed a putative class action complaint against defendant alleging violations of New Jersey’s Truth-In-Consumer Contract, Warranty and Notice Act (“TCCWNA”), as well as the state’s Lemon Law (N.J.S.A. 56:12-29 to -49). The panel determined, among other things, that by signing a lease agreement, plaintiff agreed to arbitrate her dispute not only with the underlying signatories of the lease, but with any of its affiliates. Continue Reading

Enforcing a Jury Trial Waiver in California: An Impossible Task?

It is not uncommon for parties to enter into agreements containing jury waiver provisions. However, enforcing such provisions in California courts may be a losing battle. California has a strong public policy in favor of the right to a trial by jury, and California courts will not enforce a jury waiver except under limited circumstances. The bottom line: unless an advance contractual jury waiver provides for resolution in a nonjudicial forum, like arbitration or binding mediation, it will not be enforced in state and federal courts located in California. Continue Reading

WARNING: Follow Rules Governing Objections to Discovery Requests or Waive Them

On February 28, 2017, Southern District of New York Magistrate Judge Andrew J. Peck issued a warning shot, stylized as a “wake-up call,” to the SDNY Bar: comply with the now 15-month-old amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure when objecting to requests for the production of documents and electronically stored information (ESI), or do not bother objecting at all.

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