Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

July 20, 2017

Barrett Lectures, Publishes, and Makes Media Appearances

Professor John Q. Barrett recently gave the following lectures:

· On May 4th, he delivered a keynote lecture, “The Rule of Law at Nuremberg and Lessons for Today,” at the Superior Court of Justice (Ontario) Spring Education Seminar, in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada;

· On June 11th, he delivered the inaugural Milton Mann Lecture, on “The Nuremberg Trials,” at the Jewish Historical Society of Fairfield County, in Stamford, CT;

· On June 23rd, he delivered the inaugural Alan Y. Cole Lecture, “Robert H. Jackson on Immigrants, Citizens, Power, & Liberty,” at a Robert H. Jackson Center conference on Immigration, Security, and American values, in Jamestown, NY—for video, click here; and

· On July 6th, he delivered a lecture, “Allies Among Allies: Justice Robert H. Jackson and His U.K. Colleagues on the Road the Nuremberg, 1945,” at the Canadian Institute for Advanced Legal Studies’ Cambridge Lectures 2017, at Queens’ College, University of Cambridge, in Cambridge, England, United Kingdom.

barrett[1]

John Barrett


Professor Barrett also recently published the following:

· The Nuremberg Trials: A Summary Introduction, 39 Loyola Int’l & Comparative Law Review 336-50 (2017), an edited version of the keynote lecture that he delivered at a Nuremberg symposium in Krakow, Poland, in May 2016—for the full symposium proceedings, click here;

· On April 23, for Yom HaShoah (Holocaust Remembrance Day), an op-ed piece, “Humanity’s March: From Nuremberg to Today,” in The Jerusalem Post; and

· A New Chief Justice in the Sight of His Predecessor: Stone and Hughes, Summer 1941, 42 Journal of Supreme Court History 202-08 (2017).

Professor Barrett, a former Iran/Contra investigation associate counsel and U.S. Department of Justice attorney, also has appeared or been quoted recently in various media regarding U.S. investigations of Russian efforts to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, former F.B.I. Director Comey, President Trump, Special Counsel Mueller, and related topics, including in The New York Times, The Globe & Mail, The Economist, Financial Times, The Atlantic online, The Los Angeles Times, TIME online, and on various CNN programs, National Public Radio, KPCC Radio, and the Voice of America.

July 19, 2017

Subotnik Presents Two Articles at University of Toronto and is cited in The Faculty Lounge Blog

Professor Eva Subotnik presented two articles at the 9th annual workshop held by ISHTIP, the International Society for the History and Theory of Intellectual Property. The workshop, held from July 12-14, 2017 at the University of Toronto’s law school, focused this year on the theme of ‘Intellectual Property as Circulation and Control.’

subotnik[1]

Eva Subotnik

Professor Subotnik’s works-in-progress on the roles of post-death copyright successors and on the evolving nature of photography as a profession in the digital age, co-authored with Professor Jessica Silbey, Northeastern University School of Law, and Professor Peter DiCola, Northwestern University Pritzker School of Law, were the subjects of comment and critique by invited commentators and workshop participants.

In addition, Professor Subotnik’s work on the intersection of IP and estates law has been praised in two recent postings on the The Faculty Lounge Blog (see here and here).

July 18, 2017

Deans Simons and Cunningham Speak at ABA Associate Deans’ Conference

Dean Michael Simons and Vice Dean Larry Cunningham spoke at the American Bar Association’s conference for Law School Associate Deans in Chicago, IL, July 11-13, 2017. They led a session about making strategic budget decisions in challenging times.

Dean Simons also spoke at a plenary on the basics of law school budgeting and finance, and Dean Cunningham moderated a panel on legal issues for higher education administrators. Dean Cunningham was also on the planning committee for the conference.

July 17, 2017

Sovern Publishes in SMU Law Review & Fortune

Professor Jeff Sovern’s article, co-authored with St. John’s Associate Professor of Psychology Kate Walton, Are Validation Notices Valid? An Empirical Evaluation of Consumer Understanding of Debt Collection Validation Notices, 70 SMU L. Rev. 63 (2017), has been published. Here is the abstract:

sovern[1]

Jeff Sovern

A principal protection against the collection of consumer debts that are not actually owed is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act’s validation notice, which obliges debt collectors demanding payment to notify consumers of their rights to dispute debts and request verification, among other things. This Article reports on the first public study of whether consumers understand the notices or what they take away from them. For nearly four decades, courts have decided whether validation notices satisfied the FDCPA without ever knowing when or if consumers understand the notices. This Article attempts to remedy that problem.

Collectors who prefer that consumers focus on the request for payment rather than a statement of consumer rights will find our results heartening. When we surveyed consumers by showing them a collection letter the Seventh Circuit had upheld against challenge, on most questions respondents did not show significantly better understanding of the validation notice in that letter than on an otherwise identical letter without any validation notice at all. More than half the court-approved letter respondents seemed confused by the notice’s phrasing about when the collector would assume the debt to be valid. About a quarter did not realize they could request verification of the debt, and nearly all who realized they could seek verification also thought that an oral request was sufficient even though both the statute and notice specify that a writing is required. More than a third of respondents thought that if they did not meet the thirty-day deadline specified in the validation notice for disputing the debt, they would have to pay the debt or could not defend against a suit to collect it even if they did not owe the debt. Under the standard the FTC uses for determining deception in surveys, the notice would be found deceptive.

Our results raise troubling questions about the effectiveness of current forms of validation notices, and therefore whether consumers being pursued by collectors for debts they do not owe are appropriately protected. The willingness of courts to approve validation notices that do not serve Congress’s goals creates the illusion of consumer protection without the reality.

In addition, Fortune posted Professor Sovern’s commentary about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new arbitration rule, titled How This New Rule Prevents Your Bank From Ripping You Off.  Professor Sovern explained:

Most people don’t sue when someone takes advantage of them for, say, $300. It’s just not worth it. That’s where class actions and the CFPB come in * * *
* * *
Wells Fargo * * * agreed [in the unauthorized account class action] to a class action settlement of $142 million. The settlement still requires court approval, but the court approved it preliminarily earlier this month. Lawyer fees are capped at 15% of the $142 million. And if the remaining money isn’t enough to compensate its customers, pay the lawyers, and provide injured customers with an extra $25 million, Wells Fargo will chip in more.
The Wells Fargo case shows the difference between arbitration and class actions: the difference between getting nothing and getting something. * * *
* * *
Critics of the rule claim that class actions are just giveaways to lawyers. It’s true that not all class actions work as well as the Wells Fargo one, but the remedy for bad class actions is no more to eliminate them than the remedy for bank misconduct is to eliminate banks. Rather, the remedy is to make sure courts live up to their obligation to approve class action settlements only if they are “fair, reasonable, and adequate.”

July 14, 2017

Movsesian Quoted in The Atlantic

Professor Mark Movsesian was quoted in The Atlantic on July 13, 2017 in an article discussing this week’s ruling, by the European Court of Human Rights, that Belgium’s ban on burqas in public places does not violate the freedom of religion under the European Convention on Human Rights.

Movsesian_lores_web

Mark Movsesian

A link to the article, titled “Does the Burqa Have a Future in Europe?,” can be found here.

 

July 14, 2017

Sovern, Calabrese, & Goldweber Publish Defense of CFPB

Professors Sovern, Calabrese, and Goldweber published an essay, Why we need to save the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on The Conversation on July 10. The piece was republished by SFGate, the online version of the San Francisco Chronicle, among other outlets.  The Conversation is an independent source of news and views from academics to the public, and is supported by numerous universities, as well as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and other foundations.

The essay explains, among other things, how a CFPB rule helped a client of the Law School’s Consumer Justice for the Elderly: Litigation Clinic:

In 2014, Alice, a client of our law school clinic, was struggling to pay the mortgage on her home – which she had refinanced a few years earlier – after a stroke forced her into retirement. Our clinic helped her apply for a modification of her loan.
But within weeks, instead of acknowledging Alice’s application, the loan servicer summoned her to court to begin foreclosure proceedings in violation of CFPB servicing rules. Fortunately, our clinic was able to rely on those rules in getting the foreclosure action dismissed. Alice got her loan modified and remains in her home.
 

 

July 13, 2017

Greenberg Quoted in Law360 About Litigation Funding

Professor Elayne E. Greenberg commented on the ethical issues raised for third-party litigation funders by the Gawker bankruptcy. In the Gawker bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court has allowed limited discovery of Thiel’s funding relationship with Bollea to ascertain if Thiel has any liability for Gawker’s bankruptcy.

image

The quote follows:

Elayne Greenberg, a professor at St. John’s University School of Law in New York, said that while Thiel bears little resemblance to profit-driven commercial funders, he has amplified legitimate questions about whether legal funding can improperly sway other people’s cases.

Greenberg argued that the publicity around the Gawker bankruptcy and Thiel’s desire to put his money ​ behind Bollea’s case was an opportunity for institutional investors to develop public ethics standards that would address some of the concerns raised by Thiel and distinguish their business goals.

In addition to addressing deals disclosures, those standards could also include a public stance against striking deals with any investor who is personally seeking revenge via the outcome of someone else’s litigation, said Greenberg, who also leads the St. John’s law dispute resolution center.

“Revenge distorts, and when you’re motivated by strong emotions, it’s going to be very difficult to see the true merits of a case,” she said. “Ethical litigation funders presumably pride themselves on their objectivity … which is something that would distance them from the whole Thiel debacle.”

The full article can be found here..

July 12, 2017

Roth Speaks on Health Savings Accounts at Panel Discussion Hosted by the American Enterprise Institute and Televised on C-Span 2

Professor Lauren Roth was invited to serve as a panelist at the American Enterprise Institute’s event in Washington, DC, “Unbundling the benefit for better health: A broader role for health savings accounts.” Roth spoke about her paper titled “Redefining Medical Care,” forthcoming in the Cornell Journal of Law and Public Policy, which proposes expanding the definition of “medical care” under the tax code to provide funding for the social determinants of health through health savings accounts (HSAs). C-Span 2 broadcast the discussion live, which can be accessed here.

Roth Headshot copy

On June 2, 2017, Professor Roth also presented an in progress work, tentatively titled “Paying for Good Health in the Pre-Medicare Population,” at the Health Law Professors Conference held at Georgia State University College of Law in Atlanta. The conference features presentations by health law and policy scholars who teach at schools of law, policy, medicine, and business, as well as policy experts from non-profit organizations and government. Roth’s project examines options to improve adherence to medical treatment plans among patients with a serious health condition – but only for those approaching Medicare eligibility. She will conduct a randomized and controlled experiment targeting subjects aged 50 and over using Amazon’s Mechanical Turk and recently received IRB approval.

July 11, 2017

Sovern Speaks in ABI Podcast, Quoted in Media, Has Article Discussed on Blog

Professor Jeff Sovern was one of two speakers in an American Bankruptcy Institute podcast titled What Concerns Do Experts Have for Future Debt Collection Practices after the Supreme Court’s Decision in Henson v. Santander? The podcast became available on June 19.

sovern[1]

Jeff Sovern


In addition, Professor Adam Levitin of Georgetown Law Center praised Sovern’s most recent article, to appear in the Rutgers Law Review, on the Credit Slips blog:

Jeff Sovern has an excellent new article about arbitration clauses and class action waivers that uses the Wells Fargo fake account scandal as a test case. He also does a monster job knocking down the Johnston-Zwyicki arbitration study. As Sovern points out, the Johnston-Zywicki study makes a big deal out of some data on a Texas bank’s voluntary refunds of fees in consumer disputes. But as Sovern observes, Johnston and Zywicki aren’t able to differentiate between fees due to bank misconduct and fees due to consumer behavior (account inactivity, overlimit, etc.), much less why the bank refunded the fees in some cases. Highly recommended and relevant in the run-up to the anticipated CFPB arbitration rulemaking.

The article previously drew a favorable notice on the Baseline Scenario blog.

In early June, Professor Sovern was quoted in the Politico newsletter, Morning Money, and by Law360 in an article headlined CFPB Could Avoid Fight With New Debt Collection Plan.  Below are excerpts from these articles:

Morning Money:

St. John’s University School of Law’s Jeff Sovern emails: “You quoted ABA CEO Rob Nichols about Congress taking ‘steps to fix regulatory rules that are hurting banks’ ability to serve their customers. …

“The House bill would also take steps to allow banks to hurt their customers. For example, if it had already been in effect, the CFPB would have been powerless to do anything about the millions of fraudulent accounts Wells Fargo opened. Under the bill, the CFPB would be more accountable to lobbyists than to consumers”

Law360:

But modernizing debt collection could be different than those other regulations, said Jeff Sovern, a professor at St. John’s University Law School.

“As the director pointed out, a debt collection rule might have advantages for both the industry and consumers over working within a statute that is 40 years old and does not take into account modern communication means. So it is possible that Congress would not employ the CRA against debt collection regulations anyway,” he said.

July 10, 2017

Subotnik Quoted in the NY Times

On July 4, 2017, Professor Eva Subotnik was quoted in a New York Times article by Michael Paulson entitled “Edward Albee’s Final Wish: Destroy My Unfinished Work.”

subotnik[1]

Eva Subotnik

The article concerns renowned playwright Albee, who died last fall and instructed his executors by will to “destroy such incomplete manuscripts” he left behind. Subotnik has written about the enforceability of such instructions.  Her remarks in the NYT were paired with the contrasting view of Professor Lior Jacob Strahilevitz of the University of Chicago Law School:

Eva E. Subotnik, an associate professor at St. John’s University School of Law, argued for some skepticism about such provisions.

“There is something special about these kinds of assets — they’re not just like a mansion or a fancy watch, but they’re socially valuable, and that has to play into the calculus,” Ms. Subotnik said. “I definitely argue against full-throttle enforcement of artistic control after death.”

But another expert on the subject, Lior J. Strahilevitz, a professor at the University of Chicago Law School, disagreed. “Part of what we value in a great artist is not just raw ability but the ability to curate, and it’s frequently the case that artists build great reputations by being selective about what they show to the world,” he said. “It’s problematic to force Albee to share these plays when he didn’t think they were good enough.”

 

%d bloggers like this: