COVID, COURT CANCELLATIONS AND CARDI B - Earlier this week, we told you about how a number of courts across the country have once again been forced to cancel in-person proceedings thanks to the rise of omicron. What we didn’t get into, however, is just how much of a pain all this stopping and starting has been for litigators and their clients. For example, Monica Latin, managing partner at Carrington, Coleman, Sloman & Blumenthal, told Law.com’s Meghann Cuniff that her trial team was already settled into its hotel on Friday afternoon when a call came in that the jury trial set to begin Monday in an Austin, Texas, courtroom had been called off because of the region’s rising COVID-19 infections. “It’s like putting the racehorse into the starting gate and then calling off the race,” Latin said, but added that “[i[t’s impossible to second-guess any of these decisions under these circumstances.” The last-minute cancellations are also agonizing for clients—well, some clients. “It is very important to our client that this case gets to trial without any more delays,” said Lawrence J. Conlan of Cappello & Noël in Santa Barbara, who’s suing rapper and songwriter Cardi B for copyright infringement. “Cardi has been trying to avoid trial with us for some time now, using a lot of excuses that don’t add up.”
FACE LITIGATION - A federal judge on Tuesday ruled the FTC’s amended antitrust lawsuit against Meta (née Facebook) can move forward, determining the commission overcame many of the legal issues that doomed its initial complaint last year, Law.com’s Andrew Goudsward reports. U.S. District Judge James Boasberg of the District of Columbia said the FTC, in its refiled complaint, laid out enough facts about Facebook’s market power in the personal social networking space to constitute an antitrust case. The commission alleged that Facebook not only has a monopoly, but has actively maintained that status by acquiring potential competitors like Instagram and WhatsApp. Boasberg said the FTC’s allegations are “far more robust and detailed” than in its initial complaint, which Boasberg dismissed last June, “particularly in regard to the contours of the defendant’s alleged monopoly.” The decision is a victory for the FTC and its chair, Lina Khan, who has made cracking down on large technology companies a major goal for the agency.