Archive for ‘In the Media’

November 16, 2015

American Banker Runs Sovern Op-Ed

Jeff Sovern

Jeff Sovern

The American Banker has run Professor Jeff Sovern’s op-ed, CFPB Arbitration Plan Provokes Dubious Industry Claims.  Sovern notes:

[C]ompanies can use class action waivers to block consumer protection laws unless consumer protection laws find a way to block class action waivers.

* * *

Last month, the bureau made public a proposal to block class action waivers in arbitration clauses. A leading advocate for arbitration in the financial industry, Alan Kaplinsky, responded with [a] forecast of how the industry would respond: “We firmly believe that, should the CFPB enact its proposal to ban class action waivers, most companies will abandon arbitration with the result that arbitration will no longer be available as a quick, efficient and inexpensive way of resolving disputes.”

But if the industry truly believes that arbitration is so much better than litigation at resolving disputes, shouldn’t it prefer arbitration to litigation for resolving individual disputes, where there is not a threat of a class action? Or should we be shocked, shocked, to discover the industry’s love of arbitration is about barring class actions?

November 10, 2015

LA Times Quotes Sovern

Jeff Sovern

Jeff Sovern

The Los Angeles Times quoted Professor Jeff Sovern in an article titled Using TiVo? Your personal choices may be going straight to advertisers. Consumer columnist David Lazarus explains:

If you’re a TiVo user, your digital video recorder may be ratting you out to advertisers.

In the latest example of consumer privacy being threatened by Big Data, TiVo’s number-crunching subsidiary this week announced a partnership with media heavyweight Viacom that helps advertisers target TV viewers with specific commercials.
* * *
Is this arrangement fair to TiVo users? They apparently have no choice except to cancel their service. TiVo’s privacy policy states that the company “may work with third-party advertising companies that collect and use information to deliver more relevant advertising.”

Jeff Sovern, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law in New York, called this an “unfortunate” way of getting subscribers to agree to having their personal information exploited for marketing purposes.

“Unless TiVo actually makes an additional effort to tell its customers what it is doing, probably many will think that information about their viewing choices is not being given to others, when it is,” he said.

November 2, 2015

Scholarly Updates for Elayne Greenberg

A few updates about Professor Elayne Greenberg.image

Professor Greenberg has been selected this year by Best Lawyers in America as among the top New York lawyers in the field of Alternative Dispute Resolution, an honor she has received every year since 2005. Professor Greenberg has also been recognized by the American Registry as among the top 5% of America’s Most Honored Professionals, a cross-industry and cross-profession award to successful professionals recognized for professional excellence.

Professor Greenberg has been appointed to the Executive Board of the New York State Bar Association Entertainment and Sports Law Section. She is co-chair of their ADR Committee.

On August 25, 2015, Professor Greenberg conducted an implicit bias training designed for senior management at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency in Virginia.

On October 23, 2015, Professor Greenberg presented her paper “Changing Hearts, Changing Minds – Empathy, the Rule of Law and Implicit Discrimination” at the ADR Works in Progress Conference held at Texas A & M Law School.

October 27, 2015

Sovern Quoted by LegalNewsline

Sovern Two[2]

Jeff Sovern, a newswire covering state courts and attorneys general, quoted Professor Jeff Sovern in an article headlined Future of case against Best Buy could depend on if consumers are seen as gullible. The story, which reported on a suit against Best Buy for refusing to honor an offer to sell $200 gift cards for only $14, stated:

Jeff Sovern, a consumer rights expert and law professor at St. John’s University, spoke with Legal Newsline about this case. He said the verdict will likely be determined by what is expected of consumers.

“It sounds like the Best Buy offer was a typo. Courts have sometimes held advertisers liable for not living up to a price printed in error,” Sovern told Legal Newsline. “False advertising laws generally focus on whether a consumer would have been deceived by the ad.”

* * *
“My own guess is that a reasonable consumer would recognize that was a typo,” Sovern said. “But other laws ask whether the ad would fool the credulous consumer. Maybe a credulous consumer would have been deceived.”

October 9, 2015

Sovern Quoted on NBC.Com

Sovern Two[2]’s “Consumer Man,” Herb Weisbaum, quoted Professor Jeff Sovern in the story FTC Sues Diet Pill Maker For Trying To Silence Unhappy Customers. Weisbaum wrote:

With the Internet, companies risk the possibility of getting a bad review that isn’t justified. But the solution isn’t to limit speech, rather to encourage more speech, said Jeff Sovern, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law in New York City.

“I think consumers are smart enough to realize that just because one or two people say they’re unhappy doesn’t mean the company is a bad company or selling a bad product,” he said. “And if the company is selling good products, presumably other consumers will say so on these sites and that will outweigh the ones who are unfairly maligning the company.”

Professor Sovern noted that for the free market to work as intended, people need to be able to warn others about bad products or services. Otherwise, how will other consumers know which products to avoid?

May 26, 2015

Sovern’s Op-Ed Published by Boston Globe

Professor Jeff Sovern’s op-ed, “Arbitration Clauses for Credit Cards Cost Consumers,” appeared in the Boston Globe on MaySovern Two[2] 25. A bit:

Businesses say it doesn’t matter that consumers don’t understand arbitration clauses, because they insist consumers fare better in arbitration than in court.

Recently, however, the federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau — a creation of Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren — released a massive report that shows arbitration benefits businesses at the expense of consumers.

* * *
Arbitration clauses have long caused confusion, but the Bureau’s report has provided some clarity — it’s time for them to be banned from consumer contracts.

May 13, 2015

Cunningham Quoted in NY Times Story on Possible Retrial in Etan Patz Case

Associate Academic Dean Larry Cunningham was quoted in May 11’s New York Times in a story concerning a possible

Larry Cunningham

Larry Cunningham

retrial for the alleged killer of Etan Patz.

May 13, 2015

Sovern Speaks About St. John’s Arbitration Study on Northeast Public Radio’s Academic Minute

Professor Jeff Sovern’s broadcast about the St. John’s Arbitration Study was heard on Northeast Public Radio’s AcademicSovern Two[2] Minute on Monday, May 11. To listen, go here.

May 7, 2015

NY Times Publishes Letter by Sovern

The New York Times published a letter from Professor Jeff Sovern on May 6. In the letter, Sovern observes:Sovern Two[2]

Elisabeth Rosenthal bemoans the incomprehensibility of medical bills. A New York law captioned “Requirements for Use of Plain Language in Consumer Transactions” requires that agreements for services provided to consumers be written in a “clear and coherent” manner.

Wouldn’t it make sense that medical bills must also comply with the law?

April 29, 2015

Movsesian Quoted in Washington Post on Thomas More

Professor Mark L. Movsesian’s post, “Thomas More, Villain,” was quoted in a Washington Post story by David Gibson,

Mark Movsesian

Mark Movsesian

Will the PBS Series, Wolf Hall, Tarnish Thomas More’s Halo?


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