Monthly Archives: December 2014

Cyber Attacks on Corporations – The “New War”

Hacking into computer systems is nothing new, and government and businesses alike have always been aware that they must be one step ahead of computer criminals. But the attack on Sony Pictures Entertainment was more than that. It was a shot across the bow in what appears to be a potentially rampant future form of warfare. As a result, every cyber attack on government or business systems must now be carefully examined to see whether it is either criminal or an act of war.

In the face of evidence from the FBI that North Korea was responsible for the Sony attack, senior Republican senators disagree with the administration that it was only a form of “cybervandalism.” Sen. McCain stated this attack “is a new form of warfare, and we have to counter that form of warfare with a better form of warfare.” Sen. Lindsey Graham called “the cyberhacking ‘an act of terrorism’ and suggested re-imposing sanctions on North Korea and adding the country to the terrorism list.” In 2001, President George W. Bush called North Korea part of the “Axis of Evil,” along with Iran and Iraq.

The FBI concluded the attack on Sony was evidenced by IP addresses directly linked to North Korea. This attack was similar to those that occurred last year against South Korean banks and media outlets. The FBI stated:

We are deeply concerned about the destructive nature of this attack on a private sector entity and the ordinary citizens who worked there. . . . Further, North Korea’s attack on SPE reaffirms that cyber threats pose one of the gravest national security dangers to the United States. Though the FBI has seen a wide variety and increasing number of cyber intrusions, the destructive nature of this attack, coupled with its coercive nature, sets it apart.

North Korea’s actions were intended to inflict significant harm on a U.S. business and suppress the right of American citizens to express themselves. Such acts of intimidation fall outside the bounds of acceptable state behavior.

There will most likely be more cooperation between business and government in sharing information and technology. Only together can this new threat to our national security and economy be defeated.

Home Warranty Companies Face Lawsuits

Posted by Da’Naysia Aarons.

In an article called, “Lawsuits and Consumer Reporters Fight Home Warranty Companies,” Heidi Turner discusses how home warranty companies are being sued by consumers. An investigative reporter was asked to look into a company called Sensible Home Warranty who was allegedly selling consumers a warranty policy. However, when one consumer asked for a new microwave, Sensible Home warranty refused to pay out her claim. While investigating the company, a reporter name Michelle Mortensen found that Sensible Home Warranty has more than 1,950 complaints. In the article it states, “An investigation into the company was undertaken by the Nevada Division of Insurance but in the meantime, the company reportedly went out of business.”

Due to the fact that the company was mistreating their consumers and taking advantage of their money, the company was fined $5,000 dollars for not complying with the state’s Service Warranty Act. In the article it further states, “The business failed to pay legitimate claims made on home warranty contracts sold in the State of Utah, or to pay them in a timely manner, and the business failed to respond to inquiries of the commissioner.”

Since many other home warranty companies have been taking advantage of other consumers, lawsuits have been filed against them.

Da’Naysia is an international business major at Montclair State University, Class of 2017.

Forced Arbitration

Posted by Da’Naysia Aarons.

In an article called “Forced Arbitration,” Gordon Gibb, describes how citizens in the United States are taken advantage of by popular rich companies, such as, Time Warner Cable, T-Mobile, Wells Fargo and several others. Many consumers who buy products from these companies do not realize that they are facing forced arbitration.

Companies forced arbitration through a contractual clause that waives any rights to purse a dispute through courts. For example, a consumer decides to purchase a phone from T-Mobile. Before the consumer can buy the product he or she has to sign a document. In many cases, the force arbitration clause occurs in fine print at the bottom of the page, so many consumers are not aware of what they are signing. If the consumer does not sign the contract, they are not able to purchase their item. However, if the consumer signs the contract they receive their item.

If the consumer decides that he or she wants to sue the company, because something went wrong with the product, that consumer will never get their day in court because he or she signed the contract giving over that right. In the article, an appellate attorney, Deepak Gupta, states, “[Forced arbitration] is really an exit clause from the civil justice system and people aren’t aware that they’re even entering into these contracts.”

Force arbitration has become a popular issue in the United States. Several people are now starting to challenge its use. It is not right on how the government and companies are taking advantage of these consumers.

Da’Naysia is an international business major at Montclair State University, Class of 2017.

Examine Cyber Monday Deals Closely and Shop Safely

Posted by France Jennica Osmann.

As the holidays are approaching, Cyber Monday is the main day of the year where families are out for great deals for Christmas shopping online. A recent article in the San Jose Mercury News stated:

Cyber Monday is not the only day to find good deals online during the holiday season. If you miss an online special, don’t sweat: Chances are that you’ll be able to get a reasonable deal later in the holiday season or even after Christmas. Be aware of sales tax and any other fees. Depending on whether the merchant has an in-state ‘presence,’ it may or may not add sales tax — Amazon does, along with all merchants that have brick-and-mortar stores in California. California residents are supposed to declare any tax-free online purchases on their state tax returns and pay the sales tax, though I’m not sure how many people actually comply with that law.

For those who decided that they would shop on Cyber Monday, they should also be cautious of scams throughout the holidays. And don’t forget to protect yourself when shopping offline. “Credit card scams and hacks are on the rise so, again, check your recent activity frequently during the holiday season report any suspicious activity.”  The author of the article stated, “I was reminded of this the other day when my bank called to tell me that my Visa card was used to buy gas and groceries in Georgia. I haven’t been to Georgia since I got that card, so it probably resulted from a merchant being hacked.”

Finally, as you try to minimize the risk of online shopping scams, don’t forget that all shopping has risks. Personally, I’m just as worried about pickpockets in malls and fender benders in parking lots as I am about online scams.

France is a business management major at Montclair State University, Class of 2017.

Default Judgement Against BofA for $1 Million

Bank of America must pay a Florida couple for failing to answer a harassment complaint.  The couple received relentless phone calls from the bank regarding past due payments on a mortgage.

BofA alleged the calls “were not to collect debt, but help the couple avoid foreclosure.”  The couple, however, claimed they received about 700 calls over a four year period.  At times, both their cell phones and home phone would ring in succession.  The couple filed suit in federal court under the Telephone Consumer Protection Act for harassment and subsequently received a default judgment. The judge refused to reconsider the order.

Default judgment is taught in business law class. This case exemplifies the importance of obeying court rules and responding promptly to a complaint.

How I Fought a Cell Phone Ticket and Won!

Posted by Chris Widuta.

Did you ever stop to notice how busy life can be? Either you’re on your way to your parents, maybe going to class that meets twice a week during rush hour, or off to the gym to see your friends. Life got busy really quickly for me and I am still managing to handle the responsibilities that come with it, which includes bills, an apartment, a relationship, and most importantly my future.

On a Wednesday at nine o’clock in the morning, I was headed down the highway doing a steady 20-mile per hour in light traffic. I was headed to meet with my college professor to discuss statistics before the final examination. The entire drive was very smooth with no one cutting me off. At the same time, I thought the slow moving traffic would make for a great time to multitask. Isn’t it true that more and more people getting more done by doing two things at the same time? Walking and talking is more than simply talking, obviously. For me, that Wednesday morning I was working with my television provider to opt-out of the TV service I thought I didn’t need. Cable is expensive and those types of calls are stages of perpetual holds. I was multitasking.

I was just a few feet away from my exit, blinker on, driving with both hands on the wheel, using my cell phone by holding it with my shoulder. The state trooper was already conducting his business that morning in the emergency lane, when he turned and saw me, communicating. I thought nothing of it as I knew I was within the law. I continued to proceed off my exit, slowly accelerating since traffic was clearing up and all of a sudden, red and blue lights jumped right into my rear-view mirror. This trooper was able to do two things at once, too! The amount of time it took him to leave that scene and open another had to be less than 30 seconds, and quite frankly I was impressed.

He pulled me over and asked for all the necessary documents. I always ask why I was pulled over, because I know that by most tickets are written by the discretion of the officer. He stated that I was on my phone and quite frankly I agreed. I was on my phone, and I stated to him that I was not holding it in my hand. I stated that I had both hands on the wheel, and I asked the officer if he saw me holding the wheel with both hands, at the 10 and 2 position. I believed that if he was able to see my head and phone, he must have been able to see both hands, which would be unmistakable, being about chin level from his vantage point.

At this point, the officer started to look like a State Trooper. He had the hat and was very serious, more serious than a local police officer. I knew that he had to be in a bit of a hurry when he gave me my insurance and registration back immediately and held my license. The trooper then stated that it didn’t matter how I was holding the phone, but the fact that I was on my phone was worthy of a ticket and illegal. I didn’t make a fuss of it and proceeded to my stats lesson.

It took me only a few minutes to research the most recent statue description for 39:4-97.3, or “Operation of a motor vehicle while using cell phone.” The statue number was right on the ticket, and a quick Google search pulled up some results. I proceeded to the 215th Legislature because that lead to the most recent additions to the law. I know how important it is to know current law rather than outdated information from the Internet. After reading through the entire statute, I came up for air and formed a judgment. The statute clearly stated in Article 2 Section 1: “The use of wireless telephone . . . device by an operator of a moving vehicle on a public road or highway shall be unlawful except when the telephone is hands-free wireless telephone or the electronic communication device is used hands-free.” That line right there gave me great hope that I was within the law, and hope that my day in court I could prove that. I was mentally preparing for a trial, pro se.

My first appearance in Municipal Court came 11 days later. Due to the fact that the situation was minor, and really only a monetary fine, I knew that the “ball was in my court.” You see, most municipal courts just love these kinds of evenings. People who are “money right and time poor” just plead guilty, pay the fine, and go on with life. The municipal court makes hundreds of thousands of dollars on these court nights, especially since the average fine that night was around $290 a person. These fines are like a tax on a poor decision.

This situation is the exact opposite. I am a student with a part time job, 15 credits, and financially responsible, who has some extra time to save some money. The fine was $200, a pretty large amount, and something I couldn’t lose. I was charged to go in with the prosecutor and plead my case. The first step I took was to sit down with the prosecutor and told him I plead, not guilty. He told me that by pleading not guilty I would request to have a trial, acting pro se. The prosecutor aggressively asked me if I was ready for “trial” as if it was a big and scary event. Of course, I knew this meant a trial so I was prepared. I also told him that I would be sending an “order” for discovery, which was my Constitutional right. He repeated what I said in a joking manner as if I was doing something wrong, but I confirmed that was what I wanted and thanked him for his time. I proceeded to sit down in the court room, second row from the font. I chose the second row because I wanted the judge to see my face and I wanted to be in the right position to hear the lawyers around me and the cases being presented that night. It was important to hear everything that was said because I was going to eventually head to the bench.

I took notes, studied, and remembered what the judge and prosecutor said for over 4 hours before I had the chance to speak. They called my case. The judge read the statute, told me the fine, and asked how I plead. After a moment or two of silence, I clearly stated “not guilty.” I may have been trembling a little on the inside, but it was important that he heard no wavering in my voice. The judge stated that I should prepare for a trial, but included a certain lead that gave me great hopes; the judge said, “If that phone was in your hand, you’re breaking the law.” I thanked him, and listened to him say that I would be getting a trial date. I walked out of the court room almost 5 hours later.

I quickly wrote up an request for the prosecutor. This official letter included my summons number, the date and who I was. In the order, I reminded him that it was my constitutional right for this discovery. I asked for all recordations of the interaction, including but not limited to, officers notes, audio, and dash cam video.

Preparing for the case was a matter of determining what facts were going to be most important to getting the charges dismissed. It was imperative that I used the officer’s comments against statute and the judge’s interpretation of the law. I truly believed that I was within the law, so it was relatively easy to find good reasons to throw this charge out. It was also clear to me that I would be making decisions based on political decisions; to be exact, I realized that the courthouse was making a bet that the State Trooper would be a witness and testify, but more on that later.

Weeks went by and a discovery packet was never sent. It was the day before the trial date and I called the courthouse to speak with the court clerk. I had told her I have not received discovery and asked for a new date. She said that she could not give one and trial will still go on tomorrow. This was actually good news. Because it is my Constitutional right to have discovery, I knew that the court would not judge against me, and at this point, the worst that could happen would be a new trial date. I could live with that.

I appeared to the court house dressed well. I went to the prosecutor’s office to speak with him, mainly on the fact that I have not received discovery. He was surprised to hear that I sent an request and he never received it. I reminded him of his words and what address to use. He also included a very important hint of what was to come. The prosecutor told me that the witness, the trooper, was not at the trial. This means that the only witness that the State has did not show up! I knew my rights under the Confrontation Clause of the 6th Amendment that, “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to be confronted with the witness against him.” These new facts greatly swayed my emotions to believe that I had a chance to get this dismissed that night. I was excited to sit in the court room.

Surrounded by lawyers, I was attentive and engaged. Every poor soul that stood up there took the charge and paid the fine. I prepared and thought of a response for what I would say for every one of the questions that the judge asked. Many other people had trials that day, and most if not all led the accused to lose their case. I did not give up hope, as I knew I had a different tactic. Instead of arguing the law, I planned to argue why the rules of the court should sway the judge to dismiss this case. They called my name and I felt much more confident this time around. All the possible scenarios played through my head already and I was ready.

The judge read the charge as I laid my papers on the table. Before I looked up, the judge quickly and effortlessly offered to cut the fine in half. This was completely arguable, I thought to myself. I said was that I was not granted my Constitutional right because I did not receive discovery. Before he said anything, I handed the officer a copy of the letter I sent to the prosecutor. He read it and asked a few questions about what I was requesting. The judge specifically asked how I knew that the interaction with the officer was recorded. Quite frankly, I assumed that it was recorded, I didn’t know for a fact, but I didn’t let him know that. I answered his question by referring to the fact that this was a state trooper and I believed the State installed video long ago, and how important it is to have video for more important interactions. He proceeded to ask about recordations, which I also requested.

The prosecutor followed up with a statement that the officer, who was their sole witness, was not present. He asked if it would be okay to reschedule for another date. I quickly returned his comment by asking for a dismissal. The judge rebutted with some guilt tripping remarks, including that ever since 9/11, State Troopers are very busy, and that certain arrangements for special occasions are required. I wasn’t going to fall for this guilt trip. It is important for the witness to be present at any trial, especially this one. I responded with the fact that this was a trial and asked if a trial is important enough to request their witness to be present. I also stated that he should have been subpoenaed for the trial. The judge did not respond. I asked to kindly accept my motion for a dismissal.

After what seemed to be an eternity, the judge looked up and said, “Case dismissed.” His words were truly the most relieving and gratifying two words I could have possibly heard. All of the hard work and time I put in to this exercise, not only saved me the $200 fine, but I confirmed to myself that I could stand up to my opponents and be victorious. The best part of this was, I didn’t even have to argue the law, I used the law in my favor and the judge nor could the prosecutor do anything to stop me.

Chris is a business administration major with a concentration in management of information technology at Montclair State University, Class of 2016.

Ex-Goldman Sachs Trader Salem Renews Fight For $5 Million

Posted by Ovais Ahmed.

An article posted on bloomberg.com talks about an appeal made by ex-Goldman Sachs trader Deeb Salem to get an extra $5 million he thinks he deserves in bonus money. He has already received $8.25 million and still wants to get more money out of his former company. I don’t understand why the trader can’t settle with the money he has already made, which is more than the average American would probably ever make. To me, it spells out nothing but greed. Salem states he helped Goldman Sachs earn $7 billion in profit and was sought after by many investment professionals in his industry. The article states:

In September, Justice Eileen Bransten denied Salem’s request to set aside a Financial Industry Regulatory Authority panel decision to dismiss his claim, and granted Goldman Sachs’s request to seal portions of the dispute with the former trader. Salem told a state appeals court in Manhattan today that the judge erred in her decision, according to a filing. Salem claimed he helped the bank earn more than $7 billion, and told the arbitration panel Feb. 25 that he was one of the most sought-after investment professionals in the mortgage industry. The panel, described by Salem’s lawyer as a ‘kangaroo court,’ didn’t let Salem call some of Goldman Sachs (GS)’ top trading executives as witnesses, resulting in a miscarriage of justice, according to his original petition.

Goldman Sachs claimed they gave Salem the opportunity to give his evidence, and followed through fully with the law in denying his award claim. Therefore, Salem has appealed the decision is continues his fight for the extra $5 million he believes he deserves due to his efforts at Goldman Sachs.

Ovais is a business administration major with a concentration in management at Montclair State University, Class of 2015.

Why Supreme Court Cases Are Marathons

Posted by Ovais Ahmed.

An article posted by the Wall Street Journal talks about the time it takes for high courts to actually hear a case. The average time runs around 6 years, and since 2009 that time period has been extended. There has been a case involving two businesses that are battling about who gets trademarks rights to screws they use. The article states,

The Supreme Court on Tuesday will consider a business battle over trademark rights for screws that has been in the courts for more than 16 years, an extreme example of how cases headed for the high court can be matters of endurance. . . . The average age for a high court case is nearly six years, but 37% of cases have taken longer since 2009. In most circumstances a case can spend at least three to four years in the courts before resulting in a high-court ruling.

The process to get a case heard at the high court is a true test of endurance, and the willingness to wait the time period in order to get the issue resolved in these courts.

The cost of legal fees overtime can add up to high numbers, and is one of the reasons people involved in the case can get emotional. The article states, “ Given the time and money litigants put into cases, emotions can run high by the time the Supreme Court gets involved. That is true in the long-running trademark case before the court this week.” There isn’t a specific reason that cases take so long to be heard in the Supreme Court, but it’s just that some rulings for appeals happen to take a while. Criminal cases are considered more important, and so if a civil case arises during the same time as a criminal matter, the civil case will have to wait.

The Supreme Court only sits 9 times out of the year, and if a case lands on the right timing of when the court sits, that case is likely to be heard quicker than if it landed during off season. If one needs a case to be heard in Supreme Court, I suggest he or she has the time, money, and endurance to wait his or her turn.

Ovais is a business administration major with a concentration in management at Montclair State University, Class of 2015.

How I Fought a Cell Phone Ticket and Won!

Posted by Chris Widuta.

Did you ever stop to notice how busy life can be? Either you’re on your way to your parents, maybe going to class that meets twice a week during rush hour, or off to the gym to see your friends. Life got busy really quickly for me and I am still managing to handle the responsibilities that come with it, which includes bills, an apartment, a relationship, and most importantly my future.

On a Wednesday at nine o’clock in the morning, I was headed down the highway doing a steady 20-mile per hour in light traffic. I was headed to meet with my college professor to discuss statistics before the final examination. The entire drive was very smooth with no one cutting me off. At the same time, I thought the slow moving traffic would make for a great time to multitask. Isn’t it true that more and more people getting more done by doing two things at the same time? Walking and talking is more than simply talking, obviously. For me, that Wednesday morning I was working with my television provider to opt-out of the TV service I thought I didn’t need. Cable is expensive and those types of calls are stages of perpetual holds. I was multitasking.

I was just a few feet away from my exit, blinker on, driving with both hands on the wheel, using my cell phone by holding it with my shoulder. The state trooper was already conducting his business that morning in the emergency lane, when he turned and saw me, communicating. I thought nothing of it as I knew I was within the law. I continued to proceed off my exit, slowly accelerating since traffic was clearing up and all of a sudden, red and blue lights jumped right into my rear-view mirror. This trooper was able to do two things at once, too! The amount of time it took him to leave that scene and open another had to be less than 30 seconds, and quite frankly I was impressed.

He pulled me over and asked for all the necessary documents. I always ask why I was pulled over, because I know that by most tickets are written by the discretion of the officer. He stated that I was on my phone and quite frankly I agreed. I was on my phone, and I stated to him that I was not holding it in my hand. I stated that I had both hands on the wheel, and I asked the officer if he saw me holding the wheel with both hands, at the 10 and 2 position. I believed that if he was able to see my head and phone, he must have been able to see both hands, which would be unmistakable, being about chin level from his vantage point.

At this point, the officer started to look like a State Trooper. He had the hat and was very serious, more serious than a local police officer. I knew that he had to be in a bit of a hurry when he gave me my insurance and registration back immediately and held my license. The trooper then stated that it didn’t matter how I was holding the phone, but the fact that I was on my phone was worthy of a ticket and illegal. I didn’t make a fuss of it and proceeded to my stats lesson.

It took me only a few minutes to research the most recent statue description for 39:4-97.3, or “Operation of a motor vehicle while using cell phone.” The statue number was right on the ticket, and a quick Google search pulled up some results. I proceeded to the 215th Legislature because that lead to the most recent additions to the law. I know how important it is to know current law rather than outdated information from the Internet. After reading through the entire statute, I came up for air and formed a judgment. The statute clearly stated in Article 2 Section 1: “The use of wireless telephone . . . device by an operator of a moving vehicle on a public road or highway shall be unlawful except when the telephone is hands-free wireless telephone or the electronic communication device is used hands-free.” That line right there gave me great hope that I was within the law, and hope that my day in court I could prove that. I was mentally preparing for a trial, pro se.

My first appearance in Municipal Court came 11 days later. Due to the fact that the situation was minor, and really only a monetary fine, I knew that the “ball was in my court.” You see, most municipal courts just love these kinds of evenings. People who are “money right and time poor” just plead guilty, pay the fine, and go on with life. The municipal court makes hundreds of thousands of dollars on these court nights, especially since the average fine that night was around $290 a person. These fines are like a tax on a poor decision.

This situation is the exact opposite. I am a student with a part time job, 15 credits, and financially responsible, who has some extra time to save some money. The fine was $200, a pretty large amount, and something I couldn’t lose. I was charged to go in with the prosecutor and plead my case. The first step I took was to sit down with the prosecutor and told him I plead, not guilty. He told me that by pleading not guilty I would request to have a trial, acting pro se. The prosecutor aggressively asked me if I was ready for “trial” as if it was a big and scary event. Of course, I knew this meant a trial so I was prepared. I also told him that I would be sending an “order” for discovery, which was my Constitutional right. He repeated what I said in a joking manner as if I was doing something wrong, but I confirmed that was what I wanted and thanked him for his time. I proceeded to sit down in the court room, second row from the font. I chose the second row because I wanted the judge to see my face and I wanted to be in the right position to hear the lawyers around me and the cases being presented that night. It was important to hear everything that was said because I was going to eventually head to the bench.

I took notes, studied, and remembered what the judge and prosecutor said for over 4 hours before I had the chance to speak. They called my case. The judge read the statute, told me the fine, and asked how I plead. After a moment or two of silence, I clearly stated “not guilty.” I may have been trembling a little on the inside, but it was important that he heard no wavering in my voice. The judge stated that I should prepare for a trial, but included a certain lead that gave me great hopes; the judge said, “If that phone was in your hand, you’re breaking the law.” I thanked him, and listened to him say that I would be getting a trial date. I walked out of the court room almost 5 hours later.

I quickly wrote up an request for the prosecutor. This official letter included my summons number, the date and who I was. In the order, I reminded him that it was my constitutional right for this discovery. I asked for all recordations of the interaction, including but not limited to, officers notes, audio, and dash cam video.

Preparing for the case was a matter of determining what facts were going to be most important to getting the charges dismissed. It was imperative that I used the officer’s comments against statute and the judge’s interpretation of the law. I truly believed that I was within the law, so it was relatively easy to find good reasons to throw this charge out. It was also clear to me that I would be making decisions based on political decisions; to be exact, I realized that the courthouse was making a bet that the State Trooper would be a witness and testify, but more on that later.

Weeks went by and a discovery packet was never sent. It was the day before the trial date and I called the courthouse to speak with the court clerk. I had told her I have not received discovery and asked for a new date. She said that she could not give one and trial will still go on tomorrow. This was actually good news. Because it is my Constitutional right to have discovery, I knew that the court would not judge against me, and at this point, the worst that could happen would be a new trial date. I could live with that.

I appeared to the court house dressed well. I went to the prosecutor’s office to speak with him, mainly on the fact that I have not received discovery. He was surprised to hear that I sent an request and he never received it. I reminded him of his words and what address to use. He also included a very important hint of what was to come. The prosecutor told me that the witness, the trooper, was not at the trial. This means that the only witness that the State has did not show up! I knew my rights under the Confrontation Clause of the 6th Amendment that, “in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right . . . to be confronted with the witness against him.” These new facts greatly swayed my emotions to believe that I had a chance to get this dismissed that night. I was excited to sit in the court room.

Surrounded by lawyers, I was attentive and engaged. Every poor soul that stood up there took the charge and paid the fine. I prepared and thought of a response for what I would say for every one of the questions that the judge asked. Many other people had trials that day, and most if not all led the accused to lose their case. I did not give up hope, as I knew I had a different tactic. Instead of arguing the law, I planned to argue why the rules of the court should sway the judge to dismiss this case. They called my name and I felt much more confident this time around. All the possible scenarios played through my head already and I was ready.

The judge read the charge as I laid my papers on the table. Before I looked up, the judge quickly and effortlessly offered to cut the fine in half. This was completely arguable, I thought to myself. I said was that I was not granted my Constitutional right because I did not receive discovery. Before he said anything, I handed the officer a copy of the letter I sent to the prosecutor. He read it and asked a few questions about what I was requesting. The judge specifically asked how I knew that the interaction with the officer was recorded. Quite frankly, I assumed that it was recorded, I didn’t know for a fact, but I didn’t let him know that. I answered his question by referring to the fact that this was a state trooper and I believed the State installed video long ago, and how important it is to have video for more important interactions. He proceeded to ask about recordations, which I also requested.

The prosecutor followed up with a statement that the officer, who was their sole witness, was not present. He asked if it would be okay to reschedule for another date. I quickly returned his comment by asking for a dismissal. The judge rebutted with some guilt tripping remarks, including that ever since 9/11, State Troopers are very busy, and that certain arrangements for special occasions are required. I wasn’t going to fall for this guilt trip. It is important for the witness to be present at any trial, especially this one. I responded with the fact that this was a trial and asked if a trial is important enough to request their witness to be present. I also stated that he should have been subpoenaed for the trial. The judge did not respond. I asked to kindly accept my motion for a dismissal.

After what seemed to be an eternity, the judge looked up and said, “Case dismissed.” His words were truly the most relieving and gratifying two words I could have possibly heard. All of the hard work and time I put in to this exercise, not only saved me the $200 fine, but I confirmed to myself that I could stand up to my opponents and be victorious. The best part of this was, I didn’t even have to argue the law, I used the law in my favor and the judge nor could the prosecutor do anything to stop me.

Chris is a business administration major with a concentration in management of information technology at Montclair State University, Class of 2016.

Wells Fargo Accused of Predatory Lending in Chicago Area

Posted by Tiffany Zapata.

Wells Fargo is the most recent bank to get caught in the act of predatory lending. The bank was accused in court filings of targeting minorities, such as black and Latino borrowers, for more costly home loans in comparison to whites. The acts took place in Cook County, Illinois, with a population of about 5 million. The case was filed in Chicago federal court.

The bank’s strategies encompassed home-loan origination, refinancing, and foreclosure. Their main concentration was equity stripping. Equity stripping is asset based lending which maximizes lender profit and makes it nearly impossible for the borrower to pay it off due to onerous loan terms. Before getting caught, the bank got away with 26,000 loans. The court order called for 300 million dollars in money damages.

Tom Goyda, a spokesman for the San Francisco-based Wells Fargo stated: “It’s disappointing they chose to pursue a lawsuit against Wells Fargo rather than collaborate together to help borrowers and home owners in the county,’’ Goyda said. “We stand behind our record as a fair and responsible lender.”

Wells Fargo is also currently involved in a lawsuit with the federal government due to its mortgage lending. This is not the first time courts have seen these sorts of acts from banks. Miami and Los Angeles filed similar suits alleging banks were “red-lining” minorities to block loans and for not informing investors on the status of the mortgages that were sold.

Wells Fargo ended up wining the lawsuit brought by the City of Miami in July. The City claimed Wells Fargo sold predatory mortgages in neighborhoods immersed with minorities before the “housing bubble burst.” The judge decided the City was not qualified to file these claims under the Fair Housing Act. The decision is being appealed.

Tiffany is a business administration major with a concentration in international business at Montclair State Univsersity, Class of 2016.