Friday, June 10, 2016

Tabloid Gawker Media Files Bankruptcy, Seeks to Prevent Privacy Plaintiff from Collecting $130 Million Judgment (Michael Simkovic)

Gawker Media, an internet tabloid, filed bankruptcy today in the Southern District of New York after losing a $130 million privacy lawsuit to former professional wrestler Terry Bollea (better known as ‘Hulk Hogan’). According to the WSJ, the Court overseeing the Bollea case refused to stay collection against Gawker pending Gawker’s appeal unless Gawker posted a $50 million bond.

Filing bankruptcy could provide Gawker with a less expensive way to delay paying the judgment, to continue operations, and to finance its appeal. Gawker almost immediately asked the Bankruptcy court to halt privacy and defamation litigation against not only Gawker corporate affiliates, but also against individual defendants, including Gawker’s founder Nick Denton and other key employees.  Bankruptcy courts routinely stay (or pause) civil litigation against entities that have filed bankruptcy (debtors), but extending the protections of the automatic stay to non-debtor co-defendants is more controversial.

Denton and other individual defendants have not yet filed personal bankruptcy, but may do so if the Court does not extend the automatic stay.  

Gawker is seeking to sell itself quickly to a friendly buyer through a 363 sale. The buyer would take the assets of Gawker free and clear of liability. The proceeds of the sale would be used to first repay the expenses of Gawker’s bankruptcy process and to repay its secured creditors. The bankruptcy trustee could use the proceeds to continue to appeal the Bollea judgement and challenge the viability of other claims. Any remaining funds would be paid to unsecured creditors. (If all unsecured creditors were paid in full, the remainder would go to equity holders). 

Depending on the sales price, Bollea might collect substantially less than the $130 million judgment. Research suggests that speedy 363 sales often bring in low prices. This may sometimes be because of collusion between buyers and managers. Managers can exercise a great deal of control over the sales process, and often wish to ensure that the company lands in friendly hands.

According to Business Insider, Nick Denton valued Gawker at $250 million as recently as 2014. Gawker’s revenues appear to have increased by about 7 percent in 2015.  

In its bankruptcy filing Gawker listed $50 million to $100 million in assets and $100 million to $500 million in liabilities. (The going concern value of the company could be substantially higher than book value of its assets). Bollea’s $130 million claim is by far the largest unsecured claim, with the next highest claim at just over $100,000.

June 10, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Weblogs | Permalink

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Journalism researcher: To correct misinformation, essential to monitor and respond immediately (Michael Simkovic)

Scholars Strategy Network's No Jargon: 13: The Misinformation Age
https://overcast.fm/+Feqoo83GI

Professor Brian Southwell explains why people tend to believe false information and discusses strategies for correcting the public perception of misinformation. Southwell is a professor of Mass Communication at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

June 9, 2016 in Guest Blogger: Michael Simkovic, Law in Cyberspace, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest, Professional Advice, Science, Weblogs | Permalink

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Cravath raises starting salaries to 180K (12.5% hike)

This is the first hike in first-year associate salaries in nearly a decade.  All the major New York firms will have to follow suit, and one can expect that the leading firms in all other markets will also raise their salaries as well.

ADDENDUM:  The amusing typo in the original headline ("startling" to "starting") has been fixed!

June 7, 2016 in Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, June 6, 2016

Lighter blogging during the summer, plus an update on "most cited" lists

I'll be doing less blogging during the summer, but will have occasional updates--things will pick up again in August.   I'll also have some additions to the "most cited" lists during the summer.  To answer a question that comes up a fair bit regarding highly cited faculty who work in different areas of law:  based on a sample of results, we treat faculty as highly cited in a particular field if about 75-80% of the cites are to work in that field.

June 6, 2016 in Faculty News, Navel-Gazing, Rankings | Permalink

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Documents connect Dan Markel's ex-wife's family to murder-for-hire plot

Alas, that always seemed the most likely explanation:

Investigators believe the killing of Dan Markel stemmed from the "desperate desire" by his ex-wife Wendi Adelson's family to relocate her, taking the couple’s children to South Florida, according to unsealed court documents.

Investigators also believe that Wendi Adelson’s brother, Charles Adelson, was "personally involved" with the girlfriend of Sigfredo Garcia, who has been charged in Markel's shooting, at one point.  

(Thanks to Ryan Doerfler for the pointer.)

UPDATE:  And more details:

Adelson's parents wanted their daughter and grandchildren to relocate to South Florida. Markel  claimed Adelson's mother, Donna Adelson "made disparaging remarks abut him to his sons."

According to the unsealed probable cause affidavit, "Markel sought relief...by asking the court to prohibit Donna from having unsupervised time with her grandchildren and to impose limitations to prevent the children from being subjected to disparaging comments about their father."

Charming people.  One wonders how many of the Adelson family members will be implicated?  I imagine the Markel family in Toronto will be contemplating legal action to secure custody of the grandchildren, especially if the ex-wife is also implicated.  The Adelsons, other than the ex-wife, appear to run this family dentistry practice in South Florida.

ANOTHER:  The full probable cause affidavit.  One has the impression from this that some of the Adelsons are likely to be arrested.

June 2, 2016 in Faculty News | Permalink

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

20 Most-Cited International Law Faculty, 2010-2014 (inclusive) (corrected June 1)

 Once again, drawing on the data from the 2015 Sisk study:  

 

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

Jack Goldsmith

Harvard University

1610

54

2

Harold Koh

Yale University

1350

62

3

Curtis Bradley

Duke University

  970

52

4

Philip Alston

New York University

  710

66

5

Andrew Guzman

University of Southern California

  630

49

6

W. Michael Reisman

Yale University

  610

77

7

Jose Alvarez

New York University

  570

61

8

Kal Raustiala

University of California, Los Angeles

  560

50

9

Oona Hathaway

Yale University

  550

44

10

Robert Chesney

University of Texas, Austin

  460

45

 

Alan Sykes

Stanford University

  460

62

12

Laurence Helfer

Duke University

  450

51

13

Ryan Goodman

New York University

  420

46

 

David Kennedy

Harvard University

  420

62

 

Jordan Paust

University of Houston

  420

73

16

Benedict Kingsbury

New York University

  400

55

17

Robert Howse

New York University

  380

58

 

Michael Scharf

Case Western Reserve University

  380

53

 

Bruno Simma

University of Michigan

  380

75

20

Sean Murphy

George Washington University

  370

56

 

Gregory Shaffer

University of California, Irvine

  370

58

   

Runners-up

   
 

Daniel Bodansky

Arizona State University

  350

60

 

Steven Ratner

University of Michigan

  350

57

 

Derek Jinks

University of Texas, Austin

  340

49

 

Peter Spiro

Temple University

  340

55

   

Other highly-cited scholars who work partly in this area

   
 

Eric Posner

University of Chicago

2470

51

 

John Yoo

University of California, Berkeley

1250

49

 

June 1, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Twenty Most-Cited Constitutional & Public Law Faculty in the United States, 2010-2014 (inclusive) (corrected as of May 31)

Once again, this draws on the data from the 2015 Sisk study.  I have included here some scholars whose work straddles constitutional and administrative law (e.g., Sunstein, Vermeule), but I will do a separate listing that will include administrative law scholars with little or no general constitutional law work in their profile.  As with all these listings, only non-emeritus faculty at U.S. law schools are included. 

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

Cass Sunstein

Harvard University

5480

62

2

Erwin Chemerinsky

University of California, Irvine

2940

63

3

William Eskridge, Jr.

Yale University

2180

65

4

Mark Tushnet

Harvard University

1880

71

5

Akhil Amar

Yale University

1790

58

6

Laurence Tribe

Harvard University

1680

75

7

Bruce Ackerman

Yale University

1730

73

8

Jack Balkin

Yale University

1710

59

9

Richard Fallon

Harvard University

1510

64

10

Robert Post

Yale University

1390

69

11

Adrian Vermeule

Harvard University

1360

48

12

Reva Siegel

Yale University

1340

60

13

Eugene Volokh

University of California, Los Angeles

1210*

48

14

Sanford Levinson

University of Texas, Austin

1190

75

15

Michael McConnell

Stanford University

1180

61

16

Michael Dorf

Cornell University

1140

52

17

Martin Redish

Northwestern University

1110

71

18

Barry Friedman

New York University

1040

58

19

Richard Pildes

New York University

  940

58

20

Steven Calabresi

Northwestern University

  910

58

   

Runner-up

   
 

David Cole

Georgetown University

  900

58

   

Other highly-cited scholars who work partly in constitutional and public law

   
 

Richard Epstein

New York University, University of Chicago

2680

73

 

Frederick Schauer

University of Virginia

1720

70

 

Daniel Farber

University of California, Berkeley

1660

66

 

John Yoo

University of California, Berkeley

1250

49

 

Randy Barnett

Georgetown University

1180

64

*Adjusted downwards by 5% (to arrive at 1210) to reflect cites to blog posts unrelated to his scholarship (many blog posts were in fact related, those were not excluded).

 

May 31, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Students (from Harvard?) heckle HLS Dean Minow as she receives an award at Brandeis

Video here.   One does wonder what these folks are protesting exactly.

May 31, 2016 in Faculty News, Legal Profession, Of Academic Interest | Permalink

Monday, May 30, 2016

20 Most-Cited Administrative and/or Environmental Law Faculty, 2010-2014 (inclusive) (corrected)

Once again, drawing on the data from the 2015 Sisk study, though this category is admittedbly slightly more artificial than some of the others.   Some of the faculty below work in administrative law, but do no work in environmental; some work in both; and some work in other areas of regulatory law, like telecommunications, which overlap with administrative law.  Administrative law scholars with a significant constitutional dimension to their work were included in a prior ranking.  

Rank

Name

School

Citations

Age in 2016

1

Richard Stewart

New York University

880

76

2

Jody Freeman

Harvard University

780

52

 

Richard J. Pierce, Jr.

George Washington University

780

73

4

Richard Revesz

New York University

720

58

5

J.B. Ruhl

Vanderbilt University

700

58

6

Gary Lawson

Boston University

690

58

7

Peter Strauss

Columbia University

670

76

8

Jonathan Adler

Case Western Reserve University

600

47

 

Richard Lazarus

Harvard University

600

62

10

Robin Kundis Craig

University of Utah

510

52

11

Lisa Bressman

Vanderbilt University

500

50

 

Douglas Kysar

Yale University

500

43

13

Thomas McGarity

University of Texas, Austin

490

67

14

James Salzman

University of California, Los Angeles (part-time)

480

52

15

A. Dan Tarlock

Chicago-Kent College of Law

470

76

 

Christopher Yoo

University of Pennsylvania

470

52

17

Robert Glicksman   

 

Orly Lobel

George Washington University

 

University of San Diego

460        

 

460

64

 

43

19

Jim Rossi

Vanderbilt University

450

51

20

Sidney Shapiro

Wake Forest University

440

69

         
   

Runners up for the top 20

   
 

Mark Seidenfeld    

 

Holly Doremus        

    

Cary Coglianese

Florida State University

 

University of California, Berkeley

 

University of Pennsylvania

430    

 

420

 

410

63

 

56

 

52

 

Robert Percival

University of Maryland

410

55

   

Other highly-cited scholars who work partly in administrative or environmental law

   
 

Cass Sunstein

Harvard University

   
 

Daniel Farber

University of California, Berkeley

1660

62

 

Thomas Merrill

Columbia University

1590

67

 

Adrian Vermeule

Harvard University

1360

48

 

Edward Rubin

Vanderbilt University

  910

68

 

Carol Rose

University of Arizona

  710

76

May 30, 2016 in Faculty News, Rankings | Permalink

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Finally, an arrest in the murder of Florida State law professor Dan Markel (moving to front--updated)

Initial news item, more details coming later today.

UPDATE:  So the police are investigating this as a "murder for hire," and indicate more arrests are expected.  No details yet on who would have hired the killer.  You can see the police press conference here.  The original link, above, is being updated.

May 26, 2016 in Faculty News | Permalink