The scores on the February bar exam in the US have fallen for the second consecutive year, with some blame placed on COVID-19 pandemic disruptions in law schools. The national average score on the Multistate Bar Exam was 131.1, a decrease of 1.5 points from the previous year, according to the National Conference of Bar Examiners. The decline is attributed to an increase in repeat test takers and the pandemic’s negative impact on learning. First-time test takers saw the largest decline, scoring two points lower than their 2022 counterparts on average. Many of the first-time examinees were in their first year of law school when campuses shut down and classes abruptly moved online in the spring of 2020. About 72% of the February 2023 takers were likely repeaters, up from 68% the previous year.
Insurers of the Boy Scouts have requested a delay in the youth group's exit from bankruptcy to allow them more time to appeal a $2.46 billion settlement of sexual abuse claims. The insurers, which include Liberty Mutual Insurance Company, have said the Boy Scouts' bankruptcy settlement puts them on the hook for paying "thousands of invalid and questionable claims." U.S. District Judge Richard Andrews in Wilmington, Delaware, rejected the insurers' initial appeal on Tuesday, finding the settlement was a good faith effort to resolve claims by more than 80,000 men who say they were abused as children by troop leaders. The Boy Scouts have agreed to contribute insurance rights worth up to $4 billion to the settlement fund that will pay abuse claims. Those insurance payments are in addition to the $2.46 billion already contributed to the fund by the Boy Scouts organization, its two largest insurers, and organizations that have chartered Scouting units and activities, including churches. The Boy Scouts organization said it would oppose any effort to delay bankruptcy exit. The Boy Scouts filed for bankruptcy in February 2020 after several US states enacted laws allowing accusers to sue over decades-old abuse allegations.
Burford Capital Ltd., a litigation funder, has won a major victory in a lawsuit over an Argentina oil company. The company has financed former YPF SA shareholders in their legal claim against Argentina, arguing that the claims are worth over $7.5bn before prejudgment interest. On Friday, a federal court in New York ruled that the country is liable for losses suffered by the 2012 nationalization of the oil company, but did not specify the amount of damages that Argentina will be ordered to pay. Burford shares rose over 30% before trading was suspended.
We have talked about litigation funder Burford Capital Ltd. previously in the context of it having been accused by Sysco Corp of blocking it from hiring new lawyers in price-fixing lawsuits, after providing the food distributor with $140m to pursue the suits. There, Sysco accused the funder of preventing Sysco from getting new lawyers and from signing off on a new fee arrangement for replacement lawyers. Burford denied the accusations, with its chief information officer calling Sysco’s account of the situation “disingenuous” and “inaccurate”. Burford persisted in denying it was interfering with the independent judgment of its counsel.
Litigation funding itself is a controversial concept. It is a process in which a third-party funder provides financing to plaintiffs involved in legal disputes in exchange for a portion of the recovery. The funder pays for the legal costs and other expenses associated with the litigation in exchange for a share of any settlement or verdict. This type of funding is typically used by plaintiffs who are unable to afford the costs of a lawsuit on their own. Some have argued injecting an element of investment, or gambling, into the litigation process is asking for trouble – imagining issues along the lines of what Sysco accused Burford of engaging in.
Elon Musk violated federal labor law with a 2018 tweet in which he said Tesla workers would lose stock options if they unionized, according to a US appeals court. The decision upheld a ruling by the National Labor Relations Board ordering Musk to delete the tweet, which it said amounted to an unlawful threat. The case followed a union organizing campaign at the company's plant in Fremont, California, by the United Auto Workers. The court rejected Tesla's argument that the tweet wasn't a threat and just highlighted that unionized auto workers at other companies didn't receive stock options. Musk's prolific use of Twitter has landed him in legal trouble before, and his purchase of Twitter has landed him in all manner of trouble – from economic to reputational.