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In re Grand Jury Proceeding: Insights into Discovery in Corporate Criminal Investigation

By: Jacob Stock
The facts underlying In re: Grand Jury Proceeding read as well as any legal thriller: Felix Sater, a man wrapped up in fraud and racketeering for the mob, becomes an informant for the feds and helps to track down US law enforcement’s most wanted. Hot on his tail is Frederick Oberlander, a lawyer working hard for his clients to recover the funds lost in Sater’s former schemes. As Oberlander works the cases, however, he discovers information related to Sater’s cooperation with the government is sealed, and the Second Circuit enjoins Oberlander from publicly disclosing the information. Frustrated by the red tape, Oberlander releases the information anyway, resulting in several grand juries being impaneled to initiate a criminal investigation.

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LIABILITY MACHINES

By: Nick Kandas

This week (February 25, 2020) in Personalized Media Communications LLC v. Google LLC, Judge Rodney Gilstrap of the United States District Court of the Eastern District of Texas asked the parties to provide briefing on the impact of a federal circuit decision on this case. Personalized Media Communications responded by writing that machines, in this case servers, are agents of Google. Unpacking how Personalized Media arrived at this incredulous claim requires a quick and exciting dip into the world of patent venue.

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FACIAL RECOGNITION: FACEBOOK SETTLES A CLASS ACTION FOR $550 MILLION

By: Ryan Lee
Facebook announced that it has agreed to pay $550 million to settle a class action lawsuit. The class action began over Facebook’s use of facial recognition technology in Illinois on Illinois residents. The case, In re Facebook Biometric Information Privacy Litigation (15-cv-03747-JD) (N.D. Cal.), comes specifically from a photo-labeling service rolled out by Facebook to make it easier to identify the people in your photos and then to tag them. The service, known as Tag Suggestions, uses a face-matching software to suggest the names of people in users’ photos.

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EVICTION MORATORIUMS: GREAT FOR TENANTS, DISASTROUS FOR “MOM AND POP” LANDLORDS

BY: MOHAMAD ALI ABDALLAH

“Here I am expected to absorb everybody else’s heartaches … and nobody’s there to resolve to my heartache,” said Terri Lacy, a “mom and pop” landlord affected by state eviction moratoriums that temporarily absolve tenants of rent, but not landlords of their mortgage payments. When the coronavirus pandemic reached American soil, it resulted in not only a health care crisis, but an economic crisis and a housing crisis. As the economy collapsed and people started losing their jobs, people became fearful that they would not have the money to pay rent, and would lose their houses.

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PEN MEETING PAPER MIGHT NOT PROVE A MEETING OF THE MINDS

By: Matthew Bartley

On August 21, 2019, a Delaware Chancery Court ruled that a fully executed written agreement—signed by relatively sophisticated parties—can be deemed unenforceable if uncertainty exists in the agreement’s formation. In Kotler v. Shipman Associates, LLC, C.A. No. 2017-0457-JRC (Del. Ch. Aug. 21, 2019, corrected (typo on page four) Aug. 27, 2019), the court ruled that an equity warrant agreement between an employee and her former employer was unenforceable because it did not codify the required objective intent of both parties to be bound by its provisions.

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PETITIONER AND RESPONDENT REACH AN AGREEMENT IN SCOTUS TAX REFUND CASE

By: Hong Deng

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) allows an affiliated group of corporations to file a consolidated federal return instead of separate returns. In doing so, the IRS will pay the group’s designated agent a single refund that discharges the government’s liability to all group members. However, federal law says little on how to distribute the money among the group members.

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