Posted by Justin Cunha.
The federal government’s rollback of many different rules has been a highly discussed topic throughout media, however one of the topics that is truly standing out currently is net neutrality. Net neutrality is a principle in which internet services have to treat all data equally and not charge consumers for any specific data. This was put in place by the Obama administration but was removed last year. The event created a lot of outrage as “more than 20 states” have challenged this decision in court (Kang). On Friday August 31, 2018, California lawmakers passed a bill that guaranteed full and equal access to the internet and is the fourth state to create a new net neutrality law.
The state put the bill in place in order to block internet services from slowing down, blocking, or charging for specific services. The bill not only reinstates net neutrality, but it is also even stricter than the one put in by the Obama Administration. The bill would prohibit promotions of free streaming for apps, something that telecommunication companies are pushing to endorse. Prohibiting the promotions would put businesses on a more even playing field, as there are many business who simply do not have the resources to put out these promotions. The change would also ensure that streaming websites all put out the same speed and quality without charging an extra price. These changes are all in an attempt to restrict the amount of power these services have over consumers and the industry. This would be California’s second major internet law in the last year, recently creating a privacy law that allowed users to ask companies such as social media platforms what data they are collecting on them. California is very influential to the rest of the world, with New York already considering a bill similar to this one. One example of the influence the state has was its auto emission laws which inspired many other states to follow in their direction, and in turn giving telecommunication companies worry that something similar will follow.
Though telecommunication companies are attempting to challenge this decision. The companies feel that having these strict rules put on them would hinder their ability to grow and develop. For example, the strict rules will hinder these companies from trying out different business models and thus hurts innovation. Such is the example with the promotion of free streaming for apps, as this was one major experimentation that these businesses wanted to try out. President of US Telecom even argues that, “The internet must be governed by a single, uniform and consistent national policy framework, not state-by-state piecemeal approaches” (Kang). This quote emphasizing that these telecommunication companies want to flow the singular federal law and that these states are simply complicating their business. The companies even went out to promise that they would not slow down or block any websites, a major concern that many consumers had. Telecommunication companies, just like California, do have a lot of influence and power that could possible stop this bill from being implanted. In 2017 they blocked a state broadband privacy bill and are looking to do the same with this bill.
Governor Brown has until the end of September to make his final decision on the matter, and sign his name on the bill. The bill is heavily consumer friendly attempting to give everyone equal access to the internet. This does restrict some freedom of these telecommunication companies, however some restrictions need to be put in place. Power can corrupt and promises can be broken, thus giving these companies too much power can be a scary prospect. So even though there are some flaws with this bill, since it is one of the strictest net neutrality bills, I do believe that California is making the right decision.
Justin is an accounting major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2021.
Posted by Hongkun Ma.
On Nov. 22nd, the ride-hailing app company Uber Technologies Inc. paid hackers $100,000 to conceal an incident that Uber revealed 57 million users’ personal information like names, phone numbers and addresses around the world. 600,000 Uber drivers’ license numbers also were released.
Whether the incident violated state law is being investigated by five state attorneys general: New York, Washington, Missouri, Connecticut and Massachusetts. Forty-eight states have laws that customers have right to know a company’s data breach and will impose fines if company violates them. For Uber, the incident has been so complicated, which lost the trust of millions of customers.
The incident reflected how a data breach can trigger responses from mass of regulators and enforcement agencies, and how a private company can have flexibility to deal with this kind of things. International regulators investigated the incident right away and data protection officers from throughout the European Union announced a task-force to look into the incident. Experts indicated that Uber had more flexibility in the way it report the incident, which can be reported as a security incident, because Uber is a private company. Uber is facing crisis of confidence and it’s difficult to win back the trust of their huge numbers of customers.
Finally, I would like to give some of my opinions. Uber is a private company, which is a third party between customers and taxi drivers. In China, Uber Company is almost monopoly. When it came into China market at the very beginning, most customers were attracted by its low price, which sometimes were even free to take a taxi. Uber gained a huge customer base from the beginning. Later, customers found Uber was not as cheap as before. It became more and more expensive, sometimes was more expensive than regular taxi. The strategy actually made the company lose some of their customers, but most customers stayed. And many customers found that Uber keeps ride details in their system for so long. Some of customers received messages that contained their personal information like history location, ride history or even private residences. From my perspective, it is possible that Uber sold customers’ personal information to third-party companies which would look for visits to key locations, such as particular market, meet-up events, café and so on.
The incident of Uber Company that they concealed the cybersecurity problem really violated law from state level, and not federal. For Uber, the challenge quickly became more complicated and needed to be handled.A company’s reputation can be easily built up and destroyed. And how to win back the trust of customers is becoming a really hard task for Uber Company.
Hongkun is an accounting major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2019.
Posted by Nimra Noor.
It is mid-morning on a long winter day: your body is low on cortisol production and you are hours away from getting off from work. Instantaneously, your brain directs you to walk towards the Starbucks franchise located in your office basement. Hoping that the tall latte you have ordered would boost your energy and sugar levels as you sip it while completing your project, to your utmost surprise, the beverage is already half emptied by the time you return to your desk. This disbelief leaves you wondering if you had gulped your coffee too greedily or if the barista underfilled your cup. However, even if you are certain that latter is the reason for your latte getting finished so soon, there is nothing much you can do about it, now that a new court ruling has “legally approved” the Starbucks barista to underfill your cup.
On January 5, 2018, Judge Yvonne Gonzales Rogers of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California provided a ruling that dismissed all allegations brought by Starbucks’ customers that the Seattle-based coffee chain was “uniformly underfilling its lattes and mochas” to “save on the cost of milk.”
CRYING OVER STEAMED MILK
California residents, Siera Strumlauf and Benjamin Robles and Brittany Crittenden of New York had accused Starbucks in their proposed nationwide class action of fraud and false advertising by underfilling 12-, 16- and 20-ounce lattes by about 25 percent.
“Starbucks lattes are uniformly underfilled pursuant to a standardized recipe,” the suit alleged. “By underfilling its lattes, thereby shortchanging its customers, Starbucks has saved countless millions of dollars in the cost of goods sold and was unjustly enriched by taking payment for more product than it delivers.”
To create a latte, the standardized Starbucks recipe follows filling a pitcher with steamed milk up to an engraved “fill to” line as per the size of the beverage ordered; using a separate serving cup for espresso shots; transferring the steamed milk from the pitcher into the serving cup; and finally topping with ¼” of milk foam, leaving ¼” of free space in the cup. Accusing the company of using a lower ratio of steamed milk to milk foam in order to economize by saving money on the milk, Starbucks’ customers argued that the engraved “fill to” lines in the pitchers are too low, by several ounces relative to the volume of the beverages advertised.
The plaintiffs further debated that the foam is not part of the beverage since it “isn’t measured on a volumetric basis.”
BARISTAS APPLYING THE THERMAL EXPANSION LAW
The famed coffee icon argued that its cups hold more than the advertised number of ounces, and the “fill to” lines guide baristas how much cold milk can be used as per each order. The volume of the milk then expands when it is steamed.
LEGALLY LOVED LATTE
Reuters reported that the Oakland, California-based Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers said that the plaintiffs failed to provide enough evidence to prove that Starbucks cheated its customers, whether by having smaller cups; engraving “fill to” lines on milk pitchers too low to measure the proper volume; ordering baristas to cut down on ingredients; or leaving a quarter-inch of space before the top of the cup.
Judge Rogers also dissolved the plaintiff’s argument that milk foam should not be measured towards the total volume of the beverage. “No reasonable consumer would be deceived into believing that lattes which are made up of espresso, steamed milk and milk foam contain the promised beverage volume excluding milk foam,” Rogers wrote in the ruling.
WHY IT MATTERS
It is the third time since 2016 that Starbucks has won dismissal of a lawsuit over the volume of its drinks. Two similar charges, one from California federal court and one from an Illinois federal court, claimed that the Seattle-based coffee chain cheats its customers by underfilling its drinks and then added ice to fill up the unused space. The courts decided ruled that the ice counts toward the content of the customers’ drinks, similar to the fashion Judge Rogers regarded milk foam to be part of the hot beverage.
Nimra is an accounting major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2020.
Link to the Article:
Stempel, Jonathan. “Starbucks wins dismissal in U.S. of underfilled latte lawsuit.” Reuters, Jan. 7, 2008, https://www.reuters.com/article/us-starbucks-lawsuit/starbucks-wins-dismissal-in-u-s-of-underfilled-latte-lawsuit-idUSKBN1EW0V5. Accessed Feb. 24, 2018.
Posted by Alex Law.
A lawsuit had been filed on Wednesday, February 14th, against the New York and Atlantic Railway Company for the unfair treatment of 18 railway workers. According to one of the railway workers, Mario Pesantez, the railway company has denied the workers safety equipment, as well as withholding proper training. Furthermore, Pesantez claims that he was told to attend his work station by climbing over a chain-link fence by his employers. On the account of unfair treatment and low wages for vigorous labor, railway laborers have decided to take matters into their own hands by confronting the company in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan.
The New York and Atlantic Company tries to undermine the lawsuit by stating: “These allegations are baseless and without merit. The individuals making these employment claims were never N.Y.A.R employees, and as such, their claims are directed at the wrong party.” However, Kristina Mazzocchi, a lawyer for the railway workers, strongly disagrees with what the company asserted. According to Mazzocchi, the railway workers have “worked full time and were paid weekly, in cash.” In other words, these workers are official employees of the company that have been mistreated for years as they were subjected to dangerous tasks while being under paid. An example of a task that were completed under dangerous circumstances was for Franklin Lopez, a railway worker, to “squeeze beneath derailed cars” in order to put the derailed cars back onto the track. In other words, Lopez had to complete his task fearing the possibility that he would be crushed to death.
According to the article, it seems that New York and Atlantic Company had experienced criticisms in the past in regards to their safety regulation and the treatment of workers. Specifically, the company has neglected to properly train the workers in using particular equipment for completing their tasks. It is also important to recognize that these workers had watched YouTube videos in order to learn how to perform different undertakings. Additionally, the labor workers faced discrimination when the article states: “Those workers, the suit added, were given a segregated and substandard changing area, subjected to racial slurs.” Based on these accounts, it is ultimately unacceptable for the railway company to under-pay their workers based on the notion that the workers had to face such circumstances. With that said, there is a major indication that the New York and Atlantic Company suffer from a flaw in their safety regulation.
Alex is a marketing major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2021.
Article Link: https://www.nytimes.com/2018/02/14/nyregion/railway-workers-lawsuit-discrimination.html
Posted by Mike Elwell.
A recent article written by David Pitt discusses a law regarding the protection of animal farmers, was recently withdrawn by the US agency after being delayed six months by President Trump. The reason for this rule being instated was so that farmers would have an easier time suing companies that were unfair, this was called “The Farmer Fair Practice Rule”. Senator Charles Grassley, an Iowa farmer, claimed that the reason for the cancellation of the law was that “They’re just pandering to big corporations. They aren’t interested in the family farmer.” This was one of the many criticisms regarding the Trump administration.
Many other farmers or those in power in such agricultural based department’s claim that Trump administration is “opening the floodgates to frivolous and costly litigation”. While some other claim that the Obama administration ignored this up until the very end and the rule possibly couldn’t help farmers to the degree initially thought. However many farmers still believe that this rule could help and that Trump is allowing foreign interest to control the growth of American farmers. Many farmers are having troubles with Trump’s administration because they believed he more focused on the wealthy of America and not the farmers who provide produce domestically.
It seems that Trump is turning his attention away from domestic farms and allowing companies to take advantage of otherwise struggling farmers. Part of my family owns a cow farm in upstate New York and they often struggle with big companies because they either expect more out of the farm than is physically possible or they try to often make things cheaper since they are buying in large amounts. Big companies often try to take advantage of the little guy and without proper regulation can lead to the downfall of one of the backbones of America.
Michael is a business major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University.
Posted by August Pimentel.
President Donald Trump recently had a libel case against him dismissed in the Supreme Court of New York on the basis that his tweets were spreading opinion rather than fact, and therefore could not be held accountable for libel.
The conflict began in February 2016, when Cheryl Jacobus, a Republican strategist who had previously been recruited by the Trump campaign, went on CNN attempting to expose a political action committee which allegedly was partly funding the campaign. Trump responded to the broadcast via his personal Twitter account, saying “Really dumb @CheriJacobus. Begged my people for a job. Turned her down twice and she went hostile. Major loser, zero credibility!” Jacobus sued the then presidential candidate and his then campaign manager Corey Lewandowski for defamation, pursuing damages of $4M. Jacobus stated that after the tweet, she received no more offers to speak and no employment opportunities.
Barbara Ross of the New York Daily News covered this case with an article in October 2016 on the suit, and another released in January 2017 when the case was dismissed.
“Jacobus had appeared 141 times on CNN to discuss the presidential race before the dust up,” said Ross. “But only once on another station after his tweets.”
The hearings in front of Justice Barbara Jaffe of New York revealed that the Trump campaign had indeed recruited Jacobus for a job and discussed terms of the employment, but rejected her after receiving a request for $20,000 per month in salary. Jacobus’ attorney, Jay Butterman, claimed Jacobus’ entire career was destroyed by those tweets, and the Trump campaign lied about her “begging for a job” and “[acting] hostile.” Trump’s attorney, Lawrence Rosen, claimed Butterman and his client to be engaging in “hyperbole” stating: “To a large extent, Twitter is the wild wild West. People say the darnedest things. Everyone understands that when tweets are made, you take it with a grain of salt.”
Justice Jaffe ruled in favor of President-elect Trump and Lewandowski just ten days before inauguration day. In her decision, Justice Jaffe stated that “professional misconduct, incompetence or a lack of integrity may not be reasonably inferred from being turned down from a job.” The judge also commented on the nature of tweets themselves, similar to Rosen’s argument in the case.
“His tweets about his critics, necessarily restricted to 140 characters or less, are rife with vague and simplistic insults such as ‘loser’ or ‘total loser’ or ‘totally biased loser,’ ‘dummy’ or ‘dope’ or ‘dumb,’ ‘zero/no credibility,’ ‘crazy’ or ‘wacko’ and ‘disaster,’ all deflecting serious consideration.”
Butterman and Jacobus plan to appeal the ruling, claiming it a “sad day for free speech.” Reflecting on this case, there may have been some small falsity in President Trump’s tweet in that his campaign did not turn Jacobus away twice. This was not enough, however, to make Trump guilty of libel. That tweet over a year ago, made by the then prominent presidential candidate, can be interpreted as vague. However, if it is true that Jacobus has lost speaking opportunities for which she would have gotten paid because of a crude tweet, it shows that those companies and media outlets did not take Trump’s tweets “with a grain of salt.” The president has recently boasted about the ability of his tweets to obstruct others, citing that no NFL team has signed Colin Kaepernick because they are afraid to get “a nasty tweet from Donald Trump.” Unfortunately for Jacobus’ case, this appears to be an ethical issue rather than a legal one.
August is an economics major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2018.
Posted by Anas Khalil.
A former executive at a New York investment bank who admitted defrauding investors of more than $38 million was sentenced to four years in prison by a judge who cited his gambling addiction as reason for leniency.
Caspersen is a gambler and an alcoholic who put his family members and friends in a situation of losing millions of dollars through an elaborate scheme involving a make-up of a private equity ventures, with a fake mail addresses, and a fake fictional financier. Caspersen had a gambling illness that once he hit a high of over $100 million one day and bet it all the next on whether the market would go up or down. Thus, he was left with nearly nothing at the end of the trading day.
I think Caspersen’s family members and friends who lost millions of dollars should’ve know that an alcoholic gambler should never have an access to big chunks of dollars. A person who is addicted to gambling will not take a consideration that the money he is using does not belong to his pocket and that he is responsible to turn back the money to who it belongs. However, Caspersen will just gamble with all the money he will have an access to thinking he will earn back the money he lost.
When you have big money, you should be more aware of how you invest your money and to whom you lent it. Caspersen’s family members and friends should have never lent Caspersen any money the minute they knew that he was an alcoholic and a gambler, but unfortunately it is too late to say this.
In conclusion, Caspersen imposed a prison term that fell well short of the 15 years called for by sentencing guidelines or the 7 ½ years recommended by the court’s Probation Department. Caspersen is now going to face jail time which is the lesson for every criminal that breaks the law and put other people in impasses.
Anas is an accounting major at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University, Class of 2018.
Posted by Johanna Ortiz.
An ex-executive Andrew Caspersen at New York investment bank was declared guilty to securities and wire fraud. He admitted defrauding investors of more than $38 million, and the judge gave him four years in prison because the defendant’s attorney asked him for leniency for gambling addiction.
Caspersen was a good worker. He graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. Unfortunately, for his addictions, he defrauded investors’ money including his family and friends. “I lost their money” he said “I abused their friendship. I destroyed my family’s name” (news.findlaw.com).
He used to go to an organization which helped him with his alcohol and gambling addictions; however, he never finished his treatment. He always quit. His attorney used this as an excuse to let the judge know that he is not under control and he is unable to think or act as a normal person. The judge declared him with a very real gambling disorder and for that reason he gave him short-term prison sentence. He said to the judge that he learned from this and he is going to retake the treatment.
His defense attorney said his client was very ill with his addictions that he did not care about money, and he just wanted to play. At the end of the day, he lost over $100 million. He had hope that no matter how many times he lost, he would win and take the money back.
In my opinion, Caspersen acted without values, morals, and respect to investors. He knew his addictions and he was irresponsible and quit the treatments. All his irresponsibility were not investors’ fault and he had to pay for his mistakes.
Johanna is an accounting major at the Feliciano School of Business, Montclair State University.
Posted by Justin Cohen.
For years now, daily fantasy sports has been slowly growing but recently, it has been huge. Over the last two years, if you have watched a single sporting event, I cannot imagine you not seeing one of their ads. “Fanduel packs the thrill of a whole season into just one week” (Fanduel). They are everywhere.
According to Wired, DraftKings or Fanduel aired an ad on television every 90 seconds. “You only need to remind people of something that often if your target market is sports loving goldfish” (John Oliver). Daily fantasy sports combines everything guys love, sports and money. Although the multi-billion dollar industry is made up of thousands of companies, the two main sites, DraftKings and Fanduel are the main ones making significant profit. They were recently under investigation for being unfair and there were reports of people within the sites going in and changing their entries so they would be able to win every time.
Just the other day however, attorney general Schneiderman stated, “As I’ve said from the start, my job is to enforce the law, and starting today, DraftKings and FanDuel will abide by it.” So now, in New York and some other areas, people will not be able to play daily fantasy sports. Is this fair? Isn’t there more important things that he should be worrying about? These are questions I ask myself. Although fantasy sports used to be a game where you played with your coworkers and eventually lost to Janice in accounting, I like the path fantasy sports is headed with more interaction and more overall fun than just regular old fantasy sports.
I believe fantasy sport sites should be legal, but if it goes down that path, they need to declare themselves as a gambling site. In all interviews and ads regarding what the site is, they state it is an entertainment site, not a gambling site, which is why the general can make it illegal in New York. For the future, I can see this going two ways. In one scenario, I can see daily fantasy sports making a comeback, and becoming legal again. In the other scenario, the more likely scenario in my opinion, I can see it becoming illegal everywhere, which I am not looking forward to.
Justin is a sports management major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2018.
Posted by Emily Nichols.
On November 5, 2015, six men were convicted on felony charges of fraud and conspiracy in the sale of vending machine business opportunities. All six of these men were from New York, and they were just six of the 22 individuals convicted with this vending machine scheme. Two of the men were convicted with conspiracy and six counts of fraud and one count of false statement to federal agents. The third man was convicted on conspiracy and mail fraud. Two of the men were convicted of conspiracy and wire fraud and the final man was convicted of conspiracy and two counts of wire fraud.
They were convicted following the six week trial where some of the men will be in jail for 40 years according to their maximum sentence for conspiracy, fraud counts and false statements. These six men, were the last of the 22 convicted for the entire Vendstar scheme.
The company not only advertised nationwide on the internet and in newspapers, but they also promised to have the full package for the customer, saying that they would provide everything to operate the vending machine including the initial supply of candy for the machine. Once the machines were ordered, they dropped the machine off to the businesses wherever and however they could, not placing the machine in any certain place, and many businesses requested immediate removal of the machine. The men attempted to sell vending machines to businesses and promised them that they would make loads of money off of the machines and the customers would pay tens of thousands of dollars to invest in the machines. Between the five years of the operation of the scheme, it cost consumers a total of around $60 Million. If the customer paid an average of $10,000, then there were about 6,000 victims of this scheme once it was all said and done.
These men, I feel, were convicted correctly of their crimes and deserve to be in jail for what will most likely be the rest of their lives as the men were all above the age of 40, three of them being over the ae of 55. In the entirety, just 22 people cause a loss of $60 Million to consumers and businesses.
Emily is an accounting and finance major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2019.