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Arkansas AG, GOP colleagues criticized litigation strategy on climate, embrace it on opioids

Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge was a vocal critic of the aggressive litigation tactics her Democratic colleagues used against the oil industry over climate change. But she’s taken a different approach toward the opioid crisis.

Study on consumer lawsuit loans finds high rates, confusing terms

AUSTIN, Texas (Legal Newsline) - The broadest study yet of consumer litigation finance – money forwarded to lawsuit plaintiffs in anticipation of a victory in court or a legal settlement – found a “very complicated and circuitous” system in which some borrowers appear to subsidize others and the median interest rate exceeds 40%.

N.Y. opioid litigation won't be stayed; Lawyers seeking 1,000 more county-plaintiffs

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (Legal Newsline) - A New York judge has refused to stay lawsuits by a number of New York counties against opioid manufacturers and distributors, rejecting arguments that the Food and Drug Administration hasn’t yet determined whether narcotic painkillers are unnecessarily dangerous - a central question in any litigation.

Citing 'barriers' to settlement, judge orders opioid foes to prepare for trial

CLEVELAND (Legal Newsline) - The judge overseeing hundreds of lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors ordered both sides to prepare for trials, citing unspecified “barriers” to a global settlement that became apparent after a conference Tuesday.

Plaintiff lawyers see nationwide settlement as only end for opioid lawsuits

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - Plaintiff lawyers meeting in San Francisco last week for a conference on opioid litigation acknowledged that the hundreds of lawsuits they have filed in state and federal court will be difficult to resolve without an unprecedented national settlement whose mechanics are still difficult to predict.

Judge delays release of critical report on $75 million State Street class action fee

BOSTON (Legal Newsline) - A federal judge in Boston has delayed for another month the release of a special master’s report on allegations that class action lawyers submitted inflated bills to obtain $75 million in fees for negotiating a $300 million settlement of a securities class action against State Street Bank and Trust.

Opioid judge orders companies to pay bulk of special master costs because they have 'greater discretionary funding'

CLEVELAND (Legal Newsline) - The judge overseeing hundreds of lawsuits against opioid manufacturers and distributors has ordered defendant companies to pay three-quarters of the costs of special masters who are overseeing settlement negotiations.

Climate lawyers hope 'public nuisance' strategy reverses years of failure

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - First they tried suing the utility companies. Then they tried suing the automakers. They even tried suing oil companies on behalf of an Alaskan village in danger of being inundated by oil-fueled rising sea levels.

Opioid judge doesn't want media to know details of settlement talks

CLEVELAND (Legal Newsline) - The judge overseeing multidistrict litigation against opioid manufacturers and distributors has named the teams of lawyers who will try to negotiate a settlement of hundreds of federal lawsuits - a complex task given parallel investigations and litigation by state attorneys general and potentially conflicting goals of private attorneys and their government counterparts.

Fighting 'misguided' lawsuits, Chevron shows it can play the climate change blame game too

SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) - Chevron Corp. has filed a third-party complaint against Norway’s state-owned oil company Statoil, seeking to include it in lawsuits by California cities and counties over global warming.

Opioid litigants to talk settlement at closed-door meeting in Cleveland

CLEVELAND (Legal Newsline) - Lawyers for more than 200 cities, counties and other entities suing the opioid industry will meet with their counterparts from the defense in a federal courtroom in Cleveland tomorrow to begin the process of hammering out a potential multibillion-dollar settlement.

Usual Suspects: Lawyers used to getting their way in MDL process to lead opioid litigation

CLEVELAND (Legal Newsline) - There will be a lot of familiar faces in U.S. District Judge Dan Polster’s courtroom in Cleveland on Jan. 31, when lawyers gather for a hearing on multidistrict litigation against the nation’s opioid manufacturers and distributors.

Climate change made me do it: Activists press the 'necessity defense'

SPOKANE, Wash. (Legal Newsline) - On Sept. 23, 2016, a group of protesters blocked a Burlington Northern Santa Fe freight train carrying coal in Spokane, Wash., to prevent the earth from warming up. From a scientific standpoint, the action was absurd: Stopping a single trainload of coal could hardly have any more impact on global climate change than the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings in Tanzania.

Judge finds PwC liable to FDIC - only the FDIC - over Colonial fraud

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - A federal judge in Washington has found accounting giant PwC liable to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for failing to catch the multibillion-dollar fraud that took down Colonial Bank, even as she rejected similar claims by the bank and its holding company because they were complicit in the fraud.

FDIC's attack on PwC puts judge behind schedule

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - A federal judge has put a damages trial on hold in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.’s multibillion-dollar lawsuit against accounting firm PwC over 2009 failure of Colonial Bank Group, saying she was behind schedule on determining the threshold question of liability.

Peter Angelos, facing the loss of thousands of asbestos lawsuits, wants lawmakers' help

On Dec. 1, the Maryland Court of Appeals, the state’s highest court, is scheduled to hear an appeal of Duffy v. CBS, a 2015 decision that applied Maryland’s 20-year statute of repose to an asbestos lawsuit.

Koch Industries puts Bestwall unit, a small player in asbestos, in bankruptcy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Legal Newsline) - Koch Industries has put a division of its Georgia-Pacific unit in Chapter 11 bankruptcy after failing to stem a rising tide of lawsuits by mesothelioma victims who attribute their disease to asbestos-containing drywall compound.

New York contingency fee lawyers not offering discounts, study shows

CLAREMONT, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - A trove of data revealing the contingency fees charged by New York City lawyers suggests that in virtually every tort case, lawyers charge the full one-third allowed under state regulations.

PwC lawsuit tests whether auditors must guarantee against fraud

WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - Auditors are paid to make sure a company’s books are accurate. Fraud artists specialize in misleading auditors. So should an auditor pay for the damages caused by a fraud artist?

Will Jerry Brown tilt California Supreme Court against business?

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) - At the end of this month, California Supreme Court Justice Kathryn Werdegar is scheduled to retire, giving Gov. Jerry Brown the opportunity to appoint his fourth justice to the highest court in the nation’s most populous state, ending a Republican majority and sealing his influence over the court for decades.