Archive for January, 2014

January 22, 2014

Mother Jones Quotes Sovern on Car Dealership Regulations to Prevent Discrimination

Mother Jones quoted Professor Jeff Sovern in a recent story on the political struggle to regulate car dealerships in an effort to prevent the widespread practice of charging minority clients excessively high interest rates.  The article, The Obama Administration Wants to End Racial Discrimination by Car Dealers. Why Are 35 Dems Getting in the Way?, explains:

Car dealers have also complained that regulating the interest rates dealerships can charge will increase costs for consumers. Consumer advocates disagree: “I don’t believe  . . .  [dealers’] ability to mark up prices . . . in any way benefits consumers,” says Stuart Rossman, director of litigation the National Consumer Law Center, an advocacy group.  Jeff Sovern, a law professor and expert in consumer law at St. John’s University in New York, adds that the low prices some customers have been paying may have been subsidized by the higher prices paid by minorities. “It’s not usually considered a defense that the beneficiaries of racism should keep the lower prices that other groups pay for,” he says.


January 20, 2014

Crimm Comments on IRS Service as Tax Season Begins

Professor Nina Crimm was interviewed by NBCUniversal for an article, “Why customer service at the IRS is bad–and could get worse”.   The news story describes challenges facing taxpayers in getting answers from the government about their tax returns.  Here’s an excerpt

Outside experts say the lack of help is a concern both for taxpayers and for the government, which may not get all the money it should if people file their taxes incorrectly.

“It’s a lose-lose situation,” said Nina Crimm, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law and an expert on tax issues. “It’s a lose situation for … the average taxpayer, and it’s a lose situation for compliance and collection of revenues.”

Crimm’s advice: Get started on your taxes early this year, so you aren’t frantically trying to reach the IRS on April 14.


January 16, 2014

Cavanagh Article Nominated for Antitrust Writing Award

The on-line journal Concurrences has nominated Professor Ned Cavanagh’s recently published article, Antitrust Law and Economic Theory:  Finding a Balance, 45 Loy. L.J. 123 (2013) for its 2014 Antitrust Writing Awards.  Awards are to be announced in March.  For more information on the article, see this earlier post.


January 14, 2014

Warner on New Second Circuit Bankruptcy Requirement

Professor G. Ray Warner, the Associate Dean for Bankruptcy Studies, co-authored an article in The National Law Review on the Second Circuit’s new eligibility requirement for Chapter 15 bankruptcy cases–the debtor residency requirement.   Professor Warner and co-authors Mark D. Bloom and  Paul J. Keenan Jr. note

Although the Court’s addition of a United States property requirement presents a new hurdle to Chapter 15 relief in certain limited instances, the ease with which the section 109 property test can be satisfied means that the decision may have little practical effect overall.

You can view the full text of the article here.


January 13, 2014

Lazaro Speaks on Expungement Process for Broker Misconduct

Christine Lazaro, who is currently serving as Acting Director of the Law School’s Securities Arbitration Clinic, recently spoke to Investment News about the expungement process that allows brokers to clear wrongdoing from their records.  Lazaro was appointed chair of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association’s Legislation Committee in October following the association’s annual meeting , after serving as chair and co-chair of the organization’s Self-Regulatory Organization committee for the past three years.

One of PIABA’s main agenda items this year (as set out in the article) is to influence legislation at the federal level.  As committee chair, Lazaro is responsible for coordinating the Hill Day’s agenda, which will include focus on mandatory arbitration and the issues with the expungement process.  This year, the committee will also focus on promoting legislation at the state level to prevent financial abuse of the elderly.

Following is an excerpt of the article:

“We’re taking a more active role in trying to impact legislation,” said Jason Doss, president of the Public Investors Arbitration Bar Association. “No other organization has the practical experience to talk about the real-life impact on investors when they’re given bad investment advice.”

Another issue that the group is trying to put on the radar of lawmakers is the so-called expungement process, or the method by which brokers can get wrongdoing cleared from their records in a database run by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Inc.

A PIABA study released in October found that expungement was granted more than 90% of the time between May 2007 and December 2011 when it was requested by brokers as part of a stipulated award or settlement.

“[Expungement] is getting a much closer look now that the PIABA study has come out and shown how frequently customer complaints are being expunged,” said Christine Lazaro, chair of the PIABA legislation committee and director of the Securities Arbitration Clinic at St. John’s University School of Law.


January 10, 2014

DiLorenzo Publishes Article on New Dodd-Frank Regulations

Vincent Di Lorenzo, Professor of Law and Senior Fellow at the Vincentian Center for Church and Society, recently published an article, “Three Years after Dodd-Frank: Sacrificing Safety to Maximize Access to Credit,” in the Bureau of National Affairs, Banking Report, January 7, 2014, 102 BBR 30 (2014). The following is an abstract of the article:

On January 10, 2014 new regulations take effect that define what constitutes a “qualified mortgage” under the Dodd-Frank Act. Regulations defining “qualified residential mortgages” under the Act were re-proposed on August 26, 2013 and may be finalized in the early part of 2014. As these regulations wound their way through the rulemaking process, the long-term goal of safety was comprised for the short-term goal of maximizing access to credit.

The Dodd-Frank Act was a response to market failure. It sought to substitute governmental requirements aimed at ensuring safe underwriting for the prior reliance on market forces to achieve that goal. Curiously, after three years of regulatory debate over required underwriting standards we face a situation in 2014 in which the market, and not government regulations, are ensuring the safety of mortgage underwriting practices. Government regulators rejected maximum loan-to-value ratios, minimum credit scores and conservative, maximum debt-to-income ratios. As a result, lenders enjoy a safe harbor from liability, and will likely enjoy exemption from risk retention requirements, without complying with underwriting requirements that the federal agencies have admitted reflect prudent and safe underwriting. In the short-term internal bank policies have led to safer underwriting requirements. This has been bolstered by the secondary market’s current requirements. However, in the long-term, when market requirements are relaxed, Dodd-Frank has not put in place safe regulatory underwriting requirements – requirements that must be complied with before lenders are shielded from liability or loss.



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