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Switzerland

Banking and finance roundup

by Walter Olson on November 21, 2013

  • J.P. Morgan and the Dodd-Frank system: “With Wall Street’s capable assistance, government has managed to institutionalize and monetize the perp walk.” [Michael Greve, related from Greve on the self-financing regulatory state]
  • Harvard needs to worry about being seen as endorsing its affiliated Shareholder Rights Project [Richard Painter]
  • Under regulatory pressure, J.P. Morgan “looking to pull back from lending to politically incorrect operations like pawn shops, payday lenders, check cashers” [Seeking Alpha]
  • Rare securities class action goes to trial against Household lending firm, HSBC; $2.46 billion judgment [Reuters]
  • Car dealers only thought they were winning a Dodd-Frank exemption from CFPB. Surprise! [Carter Dougherty/Bloomberg, Funnell]
  • “Memo to the Swiss: Capping CEO Pay is not an Intelligent Way of dealing with Income Inequality” [Bainbridge]
  • American Bankers Association vs. blogger who compiled online list of banks’ routing numbers [Popehat]

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A noted Swiss animal rights lawyer who’s campaigning for wider assignment of lawyers to represent animals’ interests “once represented a dead fish that had been caught, killed, and eaten” [Global Legal Post via John Steele, Legal Ethics Forum; title courtesy @KenParish1]

P.S. From last year (but new to us), this Jon Stewart segment on the unsuccessful PETA lawsuit against Sea World for holding whales in “involuntary servitude.”

  • “The Dodd-Frank Say-on-Pay Cases Are on the Brink of Death” [Kevin LaCroix]
  • Kevin Funnell of Bank Lawyers Blog interviewed [Crystal Gimesh via BLB]
  • How taxpayer lending props up business model of banks, fast-food franchisors [Dayton Daily News on SBA via Tad DeHaven]
  • Independent currency = money laundering? “How Bitcoin Dies” [Econ Policy Journal] Or death by trial lawyer? [Coyote, Andrew Sullivan]
  • Nose of the camel: Obama budget plans to limit IRAs to $3 million [Politico]
  • How Swiss bank secrecy protected freedom [Daniel Fisher]
  • Sure, what could go wrong? Obama push for more mortgage lending to borrowers with weaker credit [Gideon Kanner, Coyote] More: Arnold Kling testifies before Congress on housing finance, and feels a resulting “need to scream” [ASKBlog, more]
  • More: Per NYT’s expert, “Shareholders have been demanding” disclosure on corporate political spending. Well, 18% of shareholders anyway [Jim Copland]

By ratting on his employer and clients, the UBS informant greatly advanced Washington’s project of preventing Americans from squirreling assets out of reach of the U.S. tax and legal systems. So it’s no surprise that few in the federal establishment — even among longtime critics of what they deem excessive executive compensation — begrudge him the whopping payout. Among his defenders, of course, is Iowa Republican Sen. Charles Grassley, patron of the whistleblower program: “Need we add that Mr. Grassley’s longtime aide, who actually drafted the whistleblower law, now represents Mr. Birkenfeld and stands to collect an interesting percentage of the award Mr. Grassley so obligingly applauds? If one were rich, if one had a sense of history, one might well wish to move a part of one’s nest egg out of the way of Mr. Grassley and his ilk.” [Holman Jenkins, WSJ]

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Politics roundup

by Walter Olson on September 7, 2012

  • “Someone tell Gov O’Malley that Swiss bank UBS is helping build a Maryland bridge.” [background; State of Maryland, PDF, via Dan Alban] Dems’ trade xenophobia escapes ire aimed at GOP’s purported immigration xenophobia [Barro] “Buried in the 2012 Democratic platform: Official declaration of war on Switzerland.” [@daveweigel]
  • Are you better off than you were four years ago? Kyle Graham traces that question back to 1900, and no doubt it’s older [ConcurOp]
  • Fact-checkers snooze during Dems’ Lilly Ledbetter show [Ted Frank/PoL, Hans Bader/Examiner] Read in full context, Obama’s “you didn’t build that” remarks “would inspire largely the same reaction.” [Larimore, Slate]
  • Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist is least surprising Dem endorser of the year, as Overlawyered readers have reason to know [Betsy Woodruff, NRO, on Morgan & Morgan connection]
  • Great Society legacy: tax-funded nonprofits play key role in NYC corruption [Steven Malanga, WSJ]
  • “Details of the Auto Bailout You Won’t Hear in Charlotte” [Dan Ikenson, Randal O'Toole, Cato; Tim Carney, Washington Examiner ("Here’s the truth: what Romney proposed for Detroit was more or less what Obama did"); Shikha Dalmia on Gov. Jennifer Granholm]
  • HHS welfare waivers: fact-checkers, check thyselves [Kaus, more, Steve Chapman]

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Financial roundup

by Walter Olson on August 21, 2012

  • New York plaintiff wanders the South looking for ATMs out of compliance with federal fee sticker regulation [Kevin Funnell, Bank Lawyers' Blog, earlier]
  • In the mail: Stephen Bainbridge, “Corporate Governance After the Financial Crisis” (Oxford, 2012), with blurb from NYT “Deal Professor” Steven Davidoff: “an important book for those seeking to understand the theoretical and practical implications of Dodd-Frank, Sarbanes-Oxley, and the federal government’s foray into corporate regulation.”
  • American lawprof understandably unpopular trying to defend FATCA to the Swiss [TaxProf, earlier here, etc.]
  • Bank is trustee for mortgage holders, says loan servicers are responsible: “LA Files Big-Bucks Suit Against ‘Slumlord’ US Bank, Blames Lender for Condition of Foreclosed Homes” [ABA Journal]
  • “Swiss Banks Face ‘Slow Death’ As Foreign Powers Chase Undeclared Assets” [Giles Broom, Bloomberg/Business Insider]
  • “A comprehensive list of hyperinflations in history” [Steve Hanke/Nicholas Krus, PDF, via Ian Vasquez, Cato]
  • Warning: regs could “wipe out community banking industry by end of this decade” [Cam Fine, ICBA via Iain Murray]

July 25 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 25, 2012

  • Town of Gold Bar, Wash. (pop. 2,100) brought to brink of bankruptcy by multiple lawsuits following political feuds; “We are going broke winning lawsuits,” says mayor [Monroe Monitor via ABA Journal]
  • “No one in Youngstown Ohio has a Swiss bank account…except maybe that big new Swiss employer in town?” [Matt Welch, earlier] William McGurn: FATCA and the IRS’s reach abroad [WSJ via TaxProf, earlier here, here] Politicians and lawyers demand “improvements” to IRS bounty-paid-informant program, but what if anything they improve may depend on your point of view [TaxProf, earlier]
  • A human rights professor endorses a new model of residential facility that comes with names like “Freedom Place.” But what’s that on the door — could it be a lock to prevent escape? [Maggie McNeill] Romney spokesman says he’ll smite smut, Gov. Gary Johnson takes a more libertarian view [Daily Caller]
  • New Mark Herrmann book on in-house lawyering [Victoria Pynchon, Scott Greenfield, Paul Karlsgodt]
  • Mortgage eminent-domain seizure plan raises serious constitutional concerns [Andrew Grossman, earlier here, here]
  • Central casting? Send over one “business basher,” please: Sidney Wolfe says $3 billion Glaxo settlement too lenient [CL&P, earlier]
  • Ted Frank pre-vets the possibilities for Romney VP [PoL] Romney’s law and legal policy team [Brian Baxter, AmLaw Daily]

It’s the latest ignoble chapter in a long tradition of demagoguery [Matt Welch] More: Dan Mitchell.

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July 2 roundup

by Walter Olson on July 2, 2012

  • Thank you, San Francisco rent control, for our almost-free Nob Hill pied-a-terre [Nevius, SF Chronicle]
  • Switzerland: be sure the preschoolers have a nice saw to play with [Suzanne Lucas]
  • DOT regulation forbids workaround that could end drivers’ “blind spot” [Technology Review via Stoll]
  • CFAA madness: “How a federal law can be used to prosecute almost anyone who visits a website” [Jacob Sullum]
  • “Judge halts Facebook fishing expedition before it can grow into a suit” [Daniel Fisher]
  • Finding too many of us subsidy-resistant, Feds pursue ad campaigns hawking food stamps [Veronique de Rugy, NRO]
  • Yoo-hoo, Institute for Justice: State regulation restricts competition for moving van service in Connecticut [New London Day via Raising Hale]

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Free speech roundup

by Walter Olson on May 2, 2012

  • “People’s Rights Amendment” paves way for government control of media and trampling of many other rights. Is your Rep a sponsor? [Volokh, more, Somin]
  • Indian skeptic charged with blasphemy for revealing secret behind “miracle” of weeping cross [Doctorow] “Arab world’s most famous comedian” jailed in Egypt on charges of “insulting Islam” [Volokh]
  • “Is the Real Intent of Cyber-Bullying Laws to Eliminate Criticism of Politicians?” [Coyote]
  • Timothy Kincaid: why I oppose the California “don’t say ex-gay” therapy-ban bill [BTB]
  • More on unreasonable IRS demands of tea party groups seeking nonprofit status [Stoll, Anne Sorock/Bill Jacobson, Houston Chronicle, earlier]
  • Denmark Supreme Court, 7-0, strikes down conviction of Lars Hedegaard for criticizing Islam in own home [Mark Steyn] Institute of Public Affairs launches campaign to defend free speech in Australia [Andrew Bolt case earlier] Free speech in Britain looking the worse for wear [Cooke, NRO] Belgian court throws out lawsuit seeking ban on allegedly racist “Tintin” comic book [Volokh] Group files criminal complaint against Swiss magazine over cover story on Roma crime [Spiegel]

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September 29 roundup

by Walter Olson on September 29, 2011

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“The tree trunks, exposed banks and other hazards whizzing past represent a cornucopia of potential tort suits under U.S. law, yet somehow the Swiss manage to operate these runs without being sued into oblivion.” Dan Fisher at Forbes has a go at explaining why. More: Bill Childs, TortsProf (many U.S. states relatively protective of winter sports providers).

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By a 70-30 margin [Telegraph] Earlier coverage is here, and the Wall Street Journal profiled the one cantonal animal public defender in an article last week.

P.S. Ann Althouse, on reading about the “lawyers-for-pets plan”: “I thought: What? Do you turn in your lawyer and get a pet in exchange?”

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“Fish don’t get much sympathy,” laments attorney Antoine F. Goetschel about one of his recent clients. Zurich prosecutors went after an angler whose ten-minute battle with a pike, they said, was unfair to the pike. [AP]

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“Zurich University Hospital has stopped treating North American ‘medical tourists’, fearing million-dollar claims from litigious patients if operations go wrong. Hospitals in canton Valais have also adopted measures to protect themselves against visitors from the United States, Canada and Britain.” [Swissinfo.ch via Mark Perry and Coyote]

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That whole “sober, sensible Switzerland” concept may need to be rethought. (Gautam Naik, “Switzerland’s Green Power Revolution: Ethicists Ponder Plants’ Rights”, Wall Street Journal, Oct. 10).

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April 29 roundup

by Walter Olson on April 29, 2008

  • “Dog owners in Switzerland will have to pass a test to prove they can control and care for their animal, or risk losing it, the Swiss government said yesterday.” [Daily Telegraph]
  • 72-year-old mom visits daughter’s Southport, Ct. home, falls down stairs searching for bathroom at night, sues daughter for lack of night light, law firm boasts of her $2.475 million win on its website [Casper & deToledo, scroll to "Jeremy C. Virgil"]
  • Can’t possibly be right: “Every American enjoys a constitutional right to sue any other American in a West Virginia court” [W.V. Record]
  • Video contest for best spoof personal injury attorney ads [Sick of Lawsuits; YouTube]
  • Good profile of Kathleen Seidel, courageous blogger nemesis of autism/vaccine litigation [Concord Monitor*, Orac]. Plus: all three White House hopefuls now pander to anti-vaxers, Dems having matched McCain [Orac]
  • One dollar for every defamed Chinese person amounts to a mighty big lawsuit demand against CNN anchor Jack Cafferty [NYDN link now dead; Independent (U.K.)]
  • Hapless Ben Stein whipped up one side of the street [Salmon on financial regulation] and down the other [Derbyshire on creationism]
  • If only Weimar Germany had Canada-style hate-speech laws to prevent the rise of — wait, you mean they did? [Steyn/Maclean's] Plus: unlawful in Alberta to expose a person to contempt based on his “source of income” [Levant quoting sec. 3 (1)(b) of Human Rights Law]
  • Hey, these coupon settlements are giving all of us class action lawyers a bad name [Leviant/The Complex Litigator]
  • Because patent law is bad enough all by itself? D.C. Circuit tosses out FTC’s antitrust ruling against Rambus [GrokLaw; earlier]
  • “The fell attorney prowls for prey” — who wrote that line, and about which city? [four years ago on Overlawyered]

*Okay, one flaw in the profile: If Prof. Irving Gottesman compares Seidel to Erin Brockovich he probably doesn’t know much about Brockovich.

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