Minding Your Business

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

Category Archives: Commercial Litigation

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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 … Continue Reading

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 … 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 … Continue Reading

Timing is Everything: NY Commercial Division Updates Rule on Trial Length

On March 27, 2017, the Commercial Division of the New York Supreme Courts updated its rule on trial length, giving judges the express authorization to impose time limits, at their discretion, on different phases of trial. The goal of this amendment, first proposed by the Commercial Division Advisory Council in October 2016, is simple: to … Continue Reading

Court Dismisses “Phantom Markdown” Suit against Saks

On March 22, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California dismissed a putative class action against Saks Inc. alleging that Saks advertised “phantom markdowns” of Saks-branded products. The Plaintiff alleged that he purchased a pair of men’s shoes “valued” by Saks at $145 but sold at a discounted price of $79.99. The … Continue Reading

Data Breach 101, Part I: Data Breach Notification Laws

In 2017, there are few words that make companies – and their counsel – shudder more than “data breach.” Recent high-profile breaches and the resulting litigation have shown that breaches can be embarrassing, harmful to a company’s brand, and extremely expensive to handle – both in terms of response costs and, potentially, damages paid to … Continue Reading

The Basics of International Privacy Law for Commercial Litigators, Part 3: Cross-Border Discovery Issues

As explained in Part I and Part II of this series, U.S.-based commercial litigators should be aware that other countries’ privacy laws may affect their cases in unexpected ways. Perhaps the most likely stage for these issues to surface is during discovery, where materials of interest are located in another country, and that country’s privacy … Continue Reading

‘October Revise’ in the NY Commercial Division

This month, the Office of Court Administration publicized three proposed changes to the NY Commercial Division Rules that received slightly less attention than the publication of the infamous Donald Trump/Billy Bush videotape and more ‘Wikileaked’ Hillary Clinton campaign emails. As with the changes we’ve discussed in previous posts, these proposed rules are designed to enhance … Continue Reading

Does an Emailed Copy of a Complaint Start the 30-Day Removal Clock?

In today’s litigation practice, a defendant often receives a copy of a filed complaint before it is formally served with the pleading. Sometimes, plaintiff’s counsel emails a copy to the defendant’s counsel after filing. If it is a particularly newsworthy lawsuit, an employee or officer of a corporate defendant may download a copy of the … Continue Reading

Taming the Bull Rider: Chancery Court Reining in Mootness Fee Awards in Merger Litigation

Last month, the Delaware Chancery Court drastically reduced – from $275,000 to $50,000 – a mootness fee award requested by plaintiffs’ counsel in a lawsuit challenging the merger between PayPal and Xoom Corporation, finding the supplemental disclosures that flowed from the lawsuit provided only minor benefits to stockholders. In re Xoom Corp. Stockholder Litigation. The steep … Continue Reading

In Top “Form” – The NY Commercial Division’s Continuous Efforts to Increase Efficiency and Reduce Litigation Costs

As outlined in previous posts, the New York Commercial Division seeks to be a forward-thinking forum that adopts rule changes aimed at increasing efficiency and decreasing litigant costs. In August, a revised Model Preliminary Conference Order form was adopted for optional use by Division judges, even though the previous Preliminary Conference Order form had been … Continue Reading

“Red Herring” or “Alternate [U-verse]”? Court Allows Cable Network to Go Beyond Written Contract in Claims Against Distributor

2015 and 2016 saw a wave of transactions among cable, satellite, and other linear programming distributors: AT&T & DirecTV, Altice and Suddenlink, etc. That transactional wave is beginning to spawn a litigation wave, principally over interpretation and application of the pre-existing licenses and contracts between networks and distributors. A recent ruling in one California case … Continue Reading

New York’s Commercial Division Requires Motion to Seal When Redacted Documents are Filed

The Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York recently adopted a new form of confidentiality order that eliminates the option to e-file documents redacted for confidentiality without a motion to seal. The new confidentiality form, which became effective on July 1, 2016, requires the “Producing Party” who originally designated the … Continue Reading

Is a Third Party Entitled to its E-Discovery and Attorney Costs for Responding to a Subpoena?

Although e-discovery has been part of complex commercial litigation for over a decade, there have been only a few federal appellate court rulings about e-discovery topics. On April 7, 2016, in In re Am. Nurses Ass’n, the Fourth Circuit became the latest appellate court to issue such a ruling. The Court upheld a district court’s … Continue Reading

New York’s Highest Court Refuses to Expand the Common Interest Doctrine to Merging Parties

Last Thursday, the New York Court of Appeals issued a stark reminder to transactional lawyers: no matter how much “common interest” two parties may have with respect to a transaction, the common interest doctrine may not protect their communications. In Ambac Assurance Corp. v. Countrywide Home Loans, Inc., New York’s highest court held, in a … Continue Reading

Follow the Paper “Trial” – Proposed Commercial Division Rule Seeks to Replace Direct Testimony with Affidavits

The New York Supreme Court’s Commercial Division Advisory Council has recommended a rule that it believes would substantially expedite non-jury trials and facilitate cross examination with no adverse effects. According to the Council “such a rule would highlight the availability of a practice … that has been found by some judges and attorneys to streamline … Continue Reading

Running Into a Brick Wall, Who Wears a Black Robe: Tips For Trying a Case Before a Hostile Judge

For trial lawyers, hostile adversaries are par for the course. But judges are supposed to be irreproachably impartial, right? That is, after all, the very cornerstone of our judicial system. So when you find yourself trying a case in front of a judge who is openly hostile to your witnesses or your client’s case – particularly if … Continue Reading

The Supreme Court’s Spokeo Decision and its Potential Impact on Privacy and Data Security Class Actions

On May 16, 2016, the Supreme Court decided Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, ruling that a plaintiff must sufficiently allege an injury that is both concrete and particularized in order to have Article III standing, and further that a “bare procedural violation” of a plaintiff’s statutory right may not be sufficiently “concrete” under this analysis. This … Continue Reading

To Save Secrecy Lawsuit, Twitter Must Challenge DOJ’s Decision to Classify Surveillance Requests

This month, a federal judge dismissed Twitter’s lawsuit challenging limits on the disclosure of government requests for information on Twitter users, pressing the company to file an amended complaint contesting the government’s decision to classify such requests. The case, Twitter, Inc. v. Lynch, began in 2014 after the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) prohibited Twitter … Continue Reading

The Basics of International Privacy Law for Commercial Litigators, Part 2: Global Trends

Although the volume of data that flows between the EU and the U.S. ensures that EU privacy law occupies most of the spotlight on the world stage, other countries have their own privacy laws worth noting as well.[1] Different Types of Privacy Regimes As a preliminary matter, it is important to keep in mind that … Continue Reading
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