Overlawyered http://overlawyered.com Chronicling the high cost of our legal system Sun, 21 Sep 2014 04:05:24 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Banking and finance roundup http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/banking-finance-roundup-21/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=banking-finance-roundup-21 http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/banking-finance-roundup-21/#comments Sun, 21 Sep 2014 04:05:24 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=48108 SEC regs suppress small business capital formation and that’s a shame [Commissioner Daniel Gallagher via Bainbridge] Federally sponsored gripe site for financial institutions not likely to end well [Hester Peirce and Vera Soliman, Mercatus via Kevin Funnell] Alleged terror payments “routed through” sued bank also went through major New York banks, which shouldn’t be surprising […]

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  • SEC regs suppress small business capital formation and that’s a shame [Commissioner Daniel Gallagher via Bainbridge]
  • Federally sponsored gripe site for financial institutions not likely to end well [Hester Peirce and Vera Soliman, Mercatus via Kevin Funnell]
  • Alleged terror payments “routed through” sued bank also went through major New York banks, which shouldn’t be surprising [Fisher]
  • Did mid-level managers in securitized mortgage finance know they were in a housing bubble but cynically go ahead? Evidence against [Cheng et al., American Economic Review via MR]
  • Shareholder litigation: “New ‘loser pays’ standard could curb abusive lawsuits” [Examiner editorial] Delaware take note: corporate by-law changes that cut off fee-seeking opportunism deserve acclaim [Keith Paul Bishop via Bainbridge]
  • NYT was hot on “Goldman Sachs manipulated aluminum market” allegations but judge wasn’t [Reuters, July 2013 NYT]
  • CFPB might shrug off discrimination and retaliation charges, but many of the firms it regulates could not afford to [Hans Bader]
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    Ecuador-Chevron: Where’s Preet Bharara? http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/ecuador/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=ecuador http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/ecuador/#comments Sat, 20 Sep 2014 16:58:53 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=48308 Roger Parloff at Fortune reviews the two new Chevron-Ecuador books by Paul Barrett and Michael Goldhaber (earlier here, etc.), and also asks where ubiquitous S.D.N.Y. federal prosecutor Preet Bharara is in a case where he might appropriately take an interest. Meanwhile, Paul Barrett recounts being on the receiving end of a P.R. campaign to tear […]

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    Roger Parloff at Fortune reviews the two new Chevron-Ecuador books by Paul Barrett and Michael Goldhaber (earlier here, etc.), and also asks where ubiquitous S.D.N.Y. federal prosecutor Preet Bharara is in a case where he might appropriately take an interest. Meanwhile, Paul Barrett recounts being on the receiving end of a P.R. campaign to tear down his book, and an excerpt from his book recounts the fall of celebrated law firm Patton Boggs after it was tripped up in the dispute; and actress Mia Farrow reveals at least one way in which she might be thought to resemble former education secretary Bill Bennett.

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    CBC warns Canadians against American forfeiture http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/cbc-warns-canadians-american-forfeiture/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=cbc-warns-canadians-american-forfeiture http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/cbc-warns-canadians-american-forfeiture/#comments Sat, 20 Sep 2014 13:45:49 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=48336 Canadians should be careful of carrying large sums of currency on their trips south of the border, warns the CBC’s senior Washington correspondent, Neil MacDonald, since “U.S. police are operating a co-ordinated scheme to seize as much of the public’s cash as they can. … if you’re on an American roadway with a full wallet, […]

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    Canadians should be careful of carrying large sums of currency on their trips south of the border, warns the CBC’s senior Washington correspondent, Neil MacDonald, since “U.S. police are operating a co-ordinated scheme to seize as much of the public’s cash as they can. … if you’re on an American roadway with a full wallet, in the eyes of thousands of cash-hungry cops you’re a rolling ATM.”

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    “California Destroys Winery Over Use of Volunteers” http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/california-destroys-winery-use-volunteers/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=california-destroys-winery-use-volunteers http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/california-destroys-winery-use-volunteers/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 11:48:06 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=48316 “California has a state law that prohibits for-profit companies from using volunteer labor.” That spelled doom for little Westover Winery in Castro Valley, which cleared around $11,000 in profits a year for its owning couple and used unpaid volunteers, many of them amateurs who wanted to learn the wine business. The state hit the business […]

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    “California has a state law that prohibits for-profit companies from using volunteer labor.” That spelled doom for little Westover Winery in Castro Valley, which cleared around $11,000 in profits a year for its owning couple and used unpaid volunteers, many of them amateurs who wanted to learn the wine business. The state hit the business with $115,000 in fines and wiped it out, to the unhappiness of some of the displaced volunteers. [Scott Shackford, Reason; Rebecca Parr, Daily Review/San Jose Mercury News] More: A Debra Saunders column. And I mention this episode, along with the one linked below about a California law combating off-books contractors, in a new Cato post about how licensed and compliant businesses often support making government more powerful and invasive so as to go after the other kind.

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    “Help the disabled by fixing ADA scams” http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/help-disabled-fixing-ada-scams/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=help-disabled-fixing-ada-scams http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/help-disabled-fixing-ada-scams/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 04:15:01 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=48318 The Sacramento Bee editorializes against the state’s well-established ADA racket, which has been going for many years now and is not being cleaned up through legislative reform because too many people find financial or ideological advantage in keeping things the way they are: California law puts a $4,000 fine on each violation and directed the […]

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    The Sacramento Bee editorializes against the state’s well-established ADA racket, which has been going for many years now and is not being cleaned up through legislative reform because too many people find financial or ideological advantage in keeping things the way they are:

    California law puts a $4,000 fine on each violation and directed the proceeds to “aggrieved” parties, even if they weren’t harmed or inconvenienced by the violation. A business could be sued for faded paint on an open handicapped parking spot, a ramp 2 degrees too steep, incorrect wording on a sign. A practiced eye can spot half a dozen violations most anywhere, and that’s a $24,000 jackpot for a scammer. …

    ADA rules change constantly. Two years ago, signs next to handicapped parking spaces had to read “No parking.” Now, signs must warn that the fine is $250. That’s not a barrier to a disabled person, but still could be treated like one when it comes to fines. That’s ridiculous. If a business owner hasn’t put up a new sign, he should be given an opportunity to fix it before having to pay some lawyer $4,000.

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    California toughens criminalization for unlicensed contractors http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/california-criminalizes-contracting/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=california-criminalizes-contracting http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/california-criminalizes-contracting/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 04:05:31 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=48312 If you hire some consenting but unlicensed neighbor for a not-very-big repair or construction job in California, there’s now a greater chance he or she will be headed for jail, no matter how happy you may be with the quality of the work. Gov. Jerry Brown has signed S.B. 315 (text, progress, promotional fact sheet), […]

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    If you hire some consenting but unlicensed neighbor for a not-very-big repair or construction job in California, there’s now a greater chance he or she will be headed for jail, no matter how happy you may be with the quality of the work. Gov. Jerry Brown has signed S.B. 315 (text, progress, promotional fact sheet), described by its sponsor, Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Beverly Hills), as a measure “to help curb California’s underground economy.” The measure would step up penalties and enforcement against persons who advertise for, or perform, repair and construction work with a value of $500 or more, counting parts and material as well as labor. (By its terms, the bill appears to apply to someone who offers to do a $500 job for your office that consists of procuring a $400 item and adding $100 for the labor of installing it.) First offenses are subject to six months in jail and a $5,000 fine, and subsequent offenses are treated yet more harshly.

    There’s more. The bill, according to its legislative summary, “would additionally require that the enforcement division, when participating in the activities of the Joint Enforcement Strike Force on the Underground Economy, be granted free access to all places of labor,” at least in business locations. (Yes, “all”; you only thought your property was private.) And although the literature on the bill refers repeatedly to the need to curb “cheating” contractors, the penalties apply no matter how satisfied you may be with the contractor’s work.

    That’s because protecting customers isn’t actually the point. Such is the political grip of occupational licensure lobbies that the bill passed unanimously in both houses of the California legislature with support from licensed repair and construction contractors. Lieu: “Groups supporting SB 315 are: Contractors State License Board (sponsor); Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Contractors Association; Air Conditioning Sheet Metal Association; American Subcontractors Association, California Inc.; California Chapters of the National Electrical Contractors Association; California Landscape Contractors Association; California Legislative Conference of the Plumbing, Heating and Piping Industry; California Professional Association of Specialty Contractors; United Contractors.”

    In short, this is the sort of thing the California legislature does when it wants to think of itself as pro-business: it extends criminal liability for doing business in any other than the authorized way.

    More: I’ve got some further thoughts at Cato at Liberty: “The costs of occupational licensure are many. Not least is that it gives established businesses a stake in making government more powerful and invasive.” And am I the only one who interprets the bill as aimed at Craigslist and at sharing-economy interfaces that match odd jobs with persons willing to do them, even if it is not announced as such?

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    Langewiesche responds to Garvin http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/langewiesche-responds-garvin/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=langewiesche-responds-garvin http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/langewiesche-responds-garvin/#comments Fri, 19 Sep 2014 00:58:22 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=48327 Via p.r. agent Karen Hinton, William Langewiesche has now responded in our comments section (as well as elsewhere) to Glenn Garvin’s critical Miami Herald column (linked here) regarding Langewiesche’s 2007 Vanity Fair piece on the Chevron-Ecuador litigation. Garvin has in turn contributed a rejoinder. Tweet Tags: Chevron, environment, media bias

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    Via p.r. agent Karen Hinton, William Langewiesche has now responded in our comments section (as well as elsewhere) to Glenn Garvin’s critical Miami Herald column (linked here) regarding Langewiesche’s 2007 Vanity Fair piece on the Chevron-Ecuador litigation. Garvin has in turn contributed a rejoinder.

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    U.S. Department of Justice promotes forfeiture overseas http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/u-s-department-justice-promotes-forfeiture-overseas/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=u-s-department-justice-promotes-forfeiture-overseas http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/u-s-department-justice-promotes-forfeiture-overseas/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 09:03:02 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=48275 There’s an element of self-interest involved: when foreign states arrange to participate in the seizure of property of alleged wrongdoers even absent proof that can withstand trial, it can redound as a revenue source to U.S.-based law enforcement under various cooperation schemes. But remember the days when the U.S. sought to export the rule of […]

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    There’s an element of self-interest involved: when foreign states arrange to participate in the seizure of property of alleged wrongdoers even absent proof that can withstand trial, it can redound as a revenue source to U.S.-based law enforcement under various cooperation schemes. But remember the days when the U.S. sought to export the rule of law, property rights and strong constitutional protections to other lands? [Eapen Thampy, Forfeiture Reform]

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    “Justice Department Urges Banks to Implicate Employees” http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/justice-department-urges-banks-implicate-employees/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=justice-department-urges-banks-implicate-employees http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/justice-department-urges-banks-implicate-employees/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 04:15:55 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=48278 “The Justice Department has a suggestion for banks hoping to avoid criminal charges: Rat out your employees.” By agreeing to throw individuals under the bus, the company as a whole will qualify for valuable cooperation credits. [Ben Protess, New York Times "DealBook"] On a similar culture-of-informants theme, Eric Holder is proposing to further boost bounties […]

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    “The Justice Department has a suggestion for banks hoping to avoid criminal charges: Rat out your employees.” By agreeing to throw individuals under the bus, the company as a whole will qualify for valuable cooperation credits. [Ben Protess, New York Times "DealBook"] On a similar culture-of-informants theme, Eric Holder is proposing to further boost bounties for Wall Street informants into more massive contingency-fee territory: “Mr. Holder will urge Congress to allow bigger whistleblower rewards under the 1989 Financial Institutions Reform, Recovery and Enforcement Act…. Current law caps any Firrea whistleblower payment at $1.6 million.” [Wall Street Journal, earlier coverage and specifically]

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    Labor and employment roundup http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/labor-employment-roundup-32/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_campaign=labor-employment-roundup-32 http://overlawyered.com/2014/09/labor-employment-roundup-32/#comments Thu, 18 Sep 2014 04:05:42 +0000 http://overlawyered.com/?p=47641 Latest NLRB jaw-dropper: ban on retaliation against “concerted” labor action extends to employee acting alone in self-interest [Fresh & Easy case; Hackman/Barley, Vorys, Ian Gabriel Nanos/Management Memo] Connecticut Law Tribune assails workplace arbitration, and in so doing reveals lawyerly prejudices [Schwartz] Religious-discrimination complaint to EEOC demands reinstatement of newspaper editor out of step with views […]

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  • Latest NLRB jaw-dropper: ban on retaliation against “concerted” labor action extends to employee acting alone in self-interest [Fresh & Easy case; Hackman/Barley, Vorys, Ian Gabriel Nanos/Management Memo]
  • Connecticut Law Tribune assails workplace arbitration, and in so doing reveals lawyerly prejudices [Schwartz]
  • Religious-discrimination complaint to EEOC demands reinstatement of newspaper editor out of step with views of paper’s owner [Romenesko]
  • Unfair to reveal to customers costs of policy they may favor? [WCCO; Coyote, who relatedly is disrespectful to Paul Krugman] “Why is there such a difference of opinion on the employment effects of a minimum wage increase?” [Pierre Lemieux, Cato Regulation magazine, PDF]
  • “NLRB goes rogue against small business” [Rick Manning, The Hill]
  • Among biggest legal headaches of telecommuting for employers: wage-and-hour law implications [Joseph Leonoro, Steptoe & Johnson]
  • Canada: “Farmers’ Kids are ‘Underage Labor’ and Must Stop Working” [Lenore Skenazy]
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