In an American Banker op-ed, Consumers Fare Better with Arbitration, Alan Kaplinsky, Mark Levin, and Daniel McKenna, lawyers from Ballard Spahr, a leading firm representing banks and others in the consumer financial services industry, commented on the St. John’s Arbitration Study, and responded to an earlier American Banker op-ed authored by Professor Jeff Sovern. Sovern rebutted in another American Banker op-ed, Arbitration Tricks Consumers into Giving Up Their Rights. In addition, Maryland law professor Peter Holland offered his own views on the study in a blog post.
Vincent Di Lorenzo’s article, “The 2008 Amendments to the New York Adverse Possession Law: Unresolved Ambiguity and Suggestions for Clarity,” has been published in the winter 2015 issue of the N.Y. Real Property Law Journal. He will present his findings at the Annual Meeting of the New York State Bar Association on January 29, 2015.
On December 3, 2014, Professor John Q. Barrett delivered a lecture, “Justice Jackson, the IMT & OMGUS: Delivering ‘the assistance of Counsel’ to the Nuremberg Defendants,” at a conference on “The Defence in International Criminal Courts”, at Philipps Universität in Marburg, Germany. The lecture will be published next year, in a conference volume, by T.M.C. Asser Press.
On Wednesday, December 10, Professor Jeremy Sheff served as an invited commentator at
a workshop on Intellectual Property and Competition convened by the World Intellectual Property Organization at WIPO’s New York Office. The workshop focused on a recent empirical study of patenting by small- to medium-sized entities (SMEs) in the smartphone industry, and was co-sponsored by Fordham Law School’s Center on Law and Information Policy, which performed the study.
Professor Michael Perino had a column in Friday, December 12th’s New York Times titled, “The Gift of Inside Information,” which discusses and criticizes a recent decision of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. A bit:
Insider trading is perhaps our most symbolic white-collar crime. Our ban on the practice expresses our deep social commitment to equality of opportunity; it embodies that peculiarly American revulsion for any special privileges that might be thought to accrue to the wealthy or to the political and social elite. As Preet Bharara, the United States attorney who spearheaded the most recent spate of prosecutions, explained, insider trading tells everybody “that everything is rigged and only people who have a billion dollars and have access to and are best friends with people who are on the boards of directors of major companies … can make a true buck.”
Allowing executives to give away information to whomever they choose so long as they get nothing in return simply makes no sense.
On November 19th, Professor John Q. Barrett delivered a plenary session lecture, “The
Rule of Law at Nuremberg, 1945-1946 (and Its Lessons for Today),” at the Canadian National Judicial Institute‘s Nova Scotia All Courts Education Seminar, held in Halifax. The seminar was a three-day program of judges, from all levels of courts, across the province of Nova Scotia.
Professor Ray Warner will be in Vienna, Austria, this week working with United Nations UNCITRAL Working Group VI. Working Group VI is preparing an international model law on secured transactions.
The American Banker ran Professor Jeff Sovern’s op-ed, Arbitration Clauses Trap Consumers with Fine Print, on the St. John’s Arbitration Study. Professor Sovern collaborated on the study with Professors Elayne Greenberg and Paul Kirgis, and the director of St. John’s Institutional Assessment, Yuxiang Liu. The full study can be found here.
Cleveland Plain Dealer consumer affairs columnist Sheryl Harris reported on the St. John’s arbitration study in her column, Arbitration – what you don’t know about fine print can hurt you: Plain Dealing. Here is an excerpt:
Well, lawyers at St. John’s University Law School recently conducted [a study] and found that even when [consumers] know there’s an arbitration clause in a contract, they often don’t understand what it really means — even when they think they do know.
Researchers showed consumers a standard credit card contract with a binding arbitration clause and then asked them a series of questions.
- Most people didn’t realize there was an arbitration clause in the contract.
- Of the 40-odd percent who spotted the clause, almost two-thirds believed – wrongly – that if the disputed amount was too big for small claims court, they could still go to common pleas or federal court.
- Less than 9 percent both spotted the arbitration clause and correctly said it would prevent all consumers from going to [a] court [other than a small claims court] to resolve a dispute.
Remarkably, 87 percent of the 303 people who swore they’d never agreed to a contract that contained an arbitration clause were flat-out wrong
How did researchers know? They asked people if they did business with AT&T Mobility, Sprint, Verizon, PayPal or Skype – companies whose contracts routinely require consumers to agree up front that if they ever have an issue with the company, they can only resolve it through binding arbitration.
“We don’t know about the remaining 13 percent,” says law prof Jeff Sovern, one of the authors of the study. Sovern says the number of people who had unwittingly agreed to mandatory arbitration is likely higher because researchers asked consumers about contracts with those five companies, not about every company they did business with.
Goldweber and Calabrese Participate in Nationwide Conference Call with Consumer Financial Protection Board Director Cordray
On Wednesday, November 12th, Professor Ann Goldweber and Professor Gina Calabrese participated in a nationwide conference call with the Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Board, Richard Cordray. Eleven students from the professors’ clinical course, Consumer Justice for the Elderly: Litigation Clinic, also participated in the call. During the call, thirty law school clinics from around the country discussed problems their clients encountered in mortgage servicing and debt collection. Professors Goldweber and 2L Samantha Ruppenthal engaged in dialogue with Director Cordray and CFPB attorneys regarding a mortgage servicer that is violating a Consent Order reached with the CFPB. Professor Calabrese discussed New York’s new rules for default applications in consumer debt cases. The call is part of a CFPB initiative to establish regular exchanges of information with consumer advocates. The CFPB has encouraged law school clinics in particular to share information and ideas about illegal, unfair and deceptive practices encountered in their cases.