Serial complainants at the Department of Education

“Complaints of discrimination to the [Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights] have soared from 6,364 in fiscal 2009 to a record of 9,989 in the most recent fiscal year.” [Lyndsey Layton, Washington Post] Most notable sentence concerning that surging caseload: “Two individuals were responsible for filing more than 1,700 of those allegations of [education] sex discrimination.”

Related: how OCR acquires and uses financial leverage over academia [Hans Bader, CEI via Amy Alkon (“a bigger threat to innocent students is the massive financial risk colleges face if they do not swiftly expel accused students … Moreover, even when no court would award damages, OCR will. It has recently given itself the power to award monetary damages against colleges, even in situations where the Supreme Court’s Davis decision says damages would be inappropriate under the Constitution’s spending clause.”)]

“Slain basketball player’s family files suit against Dallas ISD”

“The mother of slain Wilmer Hutchins basketball star Troy Causey Jr. has filed a federal lawsuit alleging that illegal recruiting practices at Dallas ISD schools led to her son’s death a year ago. … [She] alleges that coaches visited her 18-year-old son while he was in custody at Dallas County Youth Village during an eight-month stint there following an assault arrest and convinced him to play basketball.” Subsequently, Causey died after a beating at his residence, and a roommate who also played basketball for another Dallas school was charged with manslaughter in the case. Lawyers for the mother, Tammy Simpson, said school sports officials had helped place many players in such private living arrangements and should have known they were dangerous. [WFAA]

Obstruction of justice, the collectively bargained way

Investigators tried to look into the beating of an inmate by guards at New York’s famously tough Attica prison, still remembered for a lethal 1971 uprising, but ran into trouble: “Under their union contract, corrections officers are obligated to answer questions only from their employers and have the right to refuse to talk to outside police agencies. State Police investigators attempted to interview 15 guards; 11 declined to cooperate.” The subsequent sending of a “Notice of Discipline” to five officers on charges of excessive force “prompted an immediate rebellion among Attica’s corrections officers, who began a by-the-book work slowdown. Such job actions are not uncommon, officials acknowledge, with the only victims being the inmates whose meals, programs and visitors are all delayed.” [Theodore Ross, New York Times, in major article on aftermath of Attica, N.Y. prison]

Owner sues customer over negative reviews of dog obedience business

Jennifer Ujimori posted negative reviews on Yelp and Angie’s List after being dissatisfied with her experience with a Burke, Va. dog obedience class. Now the owner is suing her for damages. [Washington Post] Unlike D.C., Maryland and more than half the states, Virginia has not enacted a law (sometimes labeled “anti-SLAPP” statutes) that “allow for the quick dismissal of cases a judge deems to be targeting First Amendment rights.” I’m scheduled to be a guest on Washington, D.C.’s Fox 5 (WTTG) to discuss the case around 8:30 this morning (Friday).

Update: here’s the clip:

A new employer obligation to provide predictable scheduling?

With no statutory authorization or track record of earlier Department of Labor involvement — not that that’s stopped them in the past — the Obama Administration’s hyper-activist Wage and Hour Division may be exploring ways to deploy the New Deal-era Fair Labor Standards Act to develop a new set of employer obligations to avoid unpredictable scheduling demands on employees, the better to pursue work-life balance [Doug Hass, Wage and Hour Insights] Earlier on wage and hour law here.

Banking and finance roundup

  • Administration has abused the law in mortgage lender settlements [House Judiciary hearing: Paul Larkin, Ted Frank testimony]
  • Department of Justice official says banks may need to go much farther in informing authorities of customers who may be up to no good than just sending Suspicious Activity Reports (SARs) [Kevin Funnell] Interpol Red Notices, which among other effects cut off banking access, are open to geopolitical manipulation [Ted Bromund, Weekly Standard]
  • No, Operation Choke Point hasn’t gone away, not in the slightest [Funnell, Jared Meyer/Economics21]
  • What Elizabeth Warren has done to Michael Greve’s mortgage refinance application isn’t pretty [Liberty and Law]
  • Battle over loser-pays clauses in corporate governance rages on in Delaware [Reuters]
  • “The U.S. government’s stupid tax war on expatriates” [Brett Arends, earlier on FATCA]
  • Dodd-Frank: “Wall St. attacked, Main St. wounded” [Iain Murray]

Target data breach class settlement

The Target Corporation’s settlement of class action litigation over a major consumer data security breach is not as groundbreaking as all that, and in particular falls far short of the enormous liability payouts that were being talked of for a while [Paul Karlsgodt; Minnesota Public Radio] It does however feature attorney’s fee payouts “not to exceed $6.75 million, which is on the high end of the historical range” [Paul Bond, Lisa Kim, and Christine Czuprynski, Reed Smith] Earlier here.