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Courts & legal news weekly roundup 

Welcome to the weekly roundup of the latest news from the courts and the legal industry. Each week, we bring you a quick summary of significant developments, new trends, and interesting articles. 

This week’s highlights 

  • Bankruptcy filings lower than at any point since 1985 
  • Legal services sector added 3,300 new jobs in July 
  • Florida attorney reprimanded for “pit bull” advertising campaign 
  • En banc ninth circuit will take up class certification case 
  • CDC unveils new more targeted eviction moratorium, immediately drawing legal challenge 

Bankruptcy filings lower than at any point since 1985 

“The number of bankruptcy filings in the U.S. has fallen to a level not seen since 1985, thanks to government interventions that kept people afloat during the Covid-19 pandemic and allowed companies to raise cash through debt.” (Wall Street Journal) 

Newly released data has revealed that 462,309 individuals and companies filed for bankruptcy in the year ended June 30, down 32% from the previous year. The data was compiled by the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. 

The pace of bankruptcy filings has defied predictions by economists who had expected a rush of bankruptcy filings by both households and businesses. The numbers point to government stimulus and moratoria on home foreclosures and evictions keeping a lid on personal bankruptcies, experts say. 

Legal services sector added 3,300 new jobs in July 

“The U.S. legal sector continued to add jobs in July, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, inching the industry closer to employment levels seen before the coronavirus pandemic hit.” (Law360) 

The legal services workforce continued to expand in July, adding 3,300 new jobs in July, according to the latest jobs report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The continued steady expansion means that sector is now close to recovering all the jobs lost during the pandemic.  

Overall, there are 1,138,400 people working in the legal services industry. That is still 26,900 fewer than at the sector’s peak employment in February 2020, immediately before the worst effects of the COVID-19 pandemic began to be felt.  

Florida attorney reprimanded for “pit bull” advertising campaign 

“Two lawyers who used a pit bull logo and displayed the phone number 1-800 PIT BULL in their television ad have been disciplined by the Supreme Court for violating Florida Bar advertising rules.” (Florida Bar News) 

The Florida Supreme Court has reprimanded two attorneys for running at advertising campaign which described the lawyers as “pit bull lawyers.” The Florida Bar’s ethics complaint, filed in March, said Pelletier used a logo of a pit bull with a spiked collar. 

The bar accused Pelletier of violating rules for lawyer advertising. The complaint noted a 2005 decision by the Florida Supreme Court that said a lawyer’s pit bull reference and use of the image in advertising does not help the public make an informed decision when choosing lawyers. 

En banc ninth circuit will take up class certification case 

“The en banc 9th Circuit intends to clarify whether the federal rules for class action litigation preclude the certification of class actions in which more than a minimal number of class members could turn out not to have suffered an injury.” (Reuters) 

The ninth circuit voted Tuesday to rehear a controversial class decertification decision from a divided three-judge panel in a case alleging price-fixing in the market for packaged tuna fish.  

Tuesday’s order in Olean Wholesale Grocery Cooperative Inc v. Bumble Bee Foods LLC vacated the panel’s decision from last April, in which the majority held that trial judges may not certify classes that contain more than a minimal number of uninjured class members. Reuters has further coverage. 

CDC unveils new more targeted eviction moratorium, immediately drawing legal challenge 

“Landlords filed a legal challenge to President Joe Biden’s extension of the coronavirus eviction moratorium until October, saying it goes against a ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court in July.” (Bloomberg Law) 

The CDC on Tuesday issued a fresh stop on certain evictions Tuesday, saying that evicting people could be detrimental to public health. 

The new moratorium comes after President Joe Biden and his administration allowed a previous freeze to expire. The new ban applies to areas of the country with high or substantial transmission of Covid-19 and will last until October 3. 

Author

  • Richard is Vice President of Sales and Marketing at InfoTrack. He has worked with law firms for more than a decade to advise on adapting to regulatory and technological change. He writes about the courts, civil procedure, and developing trends that may affect law firm operations.