Tag Archives: Seton Hall University

Facebook Lawsuit Saying Violent Images Caused Her PTSD

Posted by Jasmine Lightburn.

In this law suit, a content moderator is suing Facebook for causing her post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Content moderators are responsible for sifting through often criminal and disturbing posts that users all over the world upload and removing them from the web before the general public sees. She claims that the violent images and other brutal content she viewed caused immense trauma and led to this disorder. The former moderator, Selena Scola, viewed the harshest material ok the web. This included rape, suicides, and other killings every day and claims that she was not protected fairly. According to Scola, the correct psychological services were not in place.

In order to protect other content moderators, Scola urges Facebook to implement effective psychological support services to ensure that employees are receiving the necessary help. She also wants to incorporate mandatory medical testing on a regular basis to further guarantee on site medical attention. She believes that this will reduce the amount of workers who suffer from extreme disorders like herself and other issues that do not get reported or addressed.

In my opinion, Facebook should offer Scola a package deal to cover any medical costs associated with her diagnosis of PTSD. I do not think the company should have to pay any other money other than those costs related to her individual psychological appointments. Moving forward, I agree that Facebook should take deeper measures to monitor the content moderators. In the job description, the company should also include possible health effects that may result from the work that needs to be done. I don’t believe all of the blame can solely be put on Facebook, but they should be responsible for some of what happened.

Jasmine is a business management major with a non-profit minor at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2020.

Article:

Elon Musk and His Public Statements

Posted by Surya Makkar.

Over the past few years, Tesla has emerged as a frontrunner when it comes to electric vehicle technology. Their technology packed, self-driving, vehicles have come with their fair share of problems however. Not only has Tesla faced legal obstacles when it comes to their various technologies they use in their products, but more recently, Tesla CEO Elon Musk was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Elon Musk was accused of committing fraud by publically making false statements, which could have impacted investors. To give some background, around a month ago, Elon Musk tweeted saying that he had “funding secured” to take Tesla private at $420. Something interesting to note is that the SEC did not sue Tesla as a whole, but rather only filed a suit against Elon Musk.

Elon Musk had never said anything before this to investors or shareholders about taking the company private, which is why everyone was caught off guard and was extremely shocked. After the suit was filed, Tesla shares fell more than 12 percent in after-hours trading. The SEC subpoenaed Tesla, financial institutions, and Tesla board members, to interview them and gather more information. The SEC found that Musk had been in a feud with investors who continued to say Tesla shares would fall.
A few days later, Musk and the SEC reached an agreement that required Elon to step down as Chairman of the board of Tesla and required him to pay a $20 million fine. According to the agreement, Musk does not have to admit any guilt and has 45 days to step down from the role of chairman. He will continue to serve as the CEO of Tesla however. This case goes to show how business professionals are being watched at every moment. One wrong move in the business world can lead to millions of dollars of legal action being taken against you, which is why it is imperative that people in the business world act as if they are being watched at all times.

Surya is a business law student at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2021.

Sources:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/27/business/elon-musk-sec-lawsuit-tesla.html

https://electrek.co/2018/09/29/elon-musk-settles-sec-lawsuit-resign-tesla-board-million-fine/

The Benefits of Running a Law Firm like a Business

Posted by Marisol Ramirez Ugarte.

In the recent years there has been an upheaval in the legal profession. Legal services, more than ever, are being required by the population. In the rise of employment for attorneys comes the need to manage legal firms in a manner which exploits the large increase in demand.

In fact, speculation on whether legal firms should adopt the structure of corporations has become prominent. According to Frank Carone, executive partner at Abrams Fensterman, “Law firms that are able to consistently bring in high-quality business and ensure that a sizable portion of the revenues go to the bottom line are the ones that will seriously excel” (Prince). He concedes that while the best interests should remain on the clients, the firm should pay attention to growth through the introduction of new legal matters, as well as a focus on profitability. A firm would do well to systematically reach out to potential clients, and referral sources through business development activities. Firms would be able to benefit their client as much as possible, which would in turn provide the greatest profitability for the firm.

Provided that a firm’s management decides to manage the firm like a business, they must consider a key element. The ability to develop and use metrics. The firm’s management would need to clearly identify which areas of law were most profitable, as well as which lawyers participated in the largest monetary gains. Inversely, those areas and attorneys seen as underperforming would need to be identified. In concert with the law firm’s strategic vision, metrics could aid the firm to reach the highest profits through the pursuit of a business model.

Given the success of those firms who have already chosen this path, many others should soon follow suit. I suspect that upon realizing they can continue to serve their clientele to their greatest potential leaders in management will rise to the task with vigor. I find most curious that most firms do not view themselves are businesses; in providing services, albeit legal ones, they are participating in a commercial transaction. Thus, I believe it only natural for the firms to manage as businesses for the benefit of its customers, and the sake of the legal firm.

Marisol majors in finance and philosophy at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2020.

Sources:

https://www.forbes.com/sites/russalanprince/2018/01/29/how-to-dramatically-increase-law-firm-profitability-by-running-the-firm-as-a-business/#5fc6a2d2bd61

Schlesinger v. Ticketmaster

Posted by Leigh Ann Rofrano.

In 2003, a class action lawsuit was filed against Ticketmaster, entitled Schlesinger v. Ticketmaster. The lawsuit claimed that Ticketmaster “failed to fully disclose to consumers all aspects of its UPS and order processing fees” (Ticketmaster). Ticketmaster settled the case in 2013, but the courts did not grant the final approval of the settlement until early 2015. The settlement includes all customers who purchased tickets on Ticketmaster’s website between October 21st, 1999 and February 27th, 2013.

As a part of the settlement, all class members were eligible to receive discount codes or ticket vouchers. Each class member was given a discount code worth $2.25 for every purchase they made during the class period. Class members who used UPS delivery during the class period were provided with a $5 UPS discount code for each purchase that included UPS delivery. Additionally, each class member was given one ticket voucher (which was redeemable for two tickets for an event at a Live Nation venue) for every purchase made during the class period on Ticketmaster’s website.

I choose to research and discuss this case because it is extremely relevant in my life. I am a frequent Ticketmaster and Live Nation customer, as I attend many events every year. The lawsuit was filed against Ticketmaster due to its ridiculously high order processing fees that are tacked onto every ticket. As a Ticketmaster customer, I agree and can attest to the fact that when browsing tickets for events, the magnitude of the order processing fees in not clearly outlined; it is not until you are in the checkout process that you are fully aware of the fees. I was notified through email this past summer about this lawsuit and the discount codes and vouchers in which I was entitled. Many customers were quick to complain that Ticketmaster acted unjustly in notifying customers about the settlement and the class members’ potential benefits. I agree with this argument on the basis that I too was notified of my voucher and discount codes after all of the eligible tickets had been already claimed. I feel Ticketmaster should have notified customers of their vouchers and discount codes sooner, in an attempt to give all class members a fair chance at receiving free event tickets from their vouchers. Overall, I do appreciate the small compensation that was provided to me from the lawsuit, since it is extremely rare to receive discounts on Ticketmaster.com, but would have liked to have been notified earlier and provided with more details about the settlement sooner.

Leigh Ann is a marketing and management major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2021.

Article Links:

https://insider.ticketmaster.com/frequently-asked-questions-schlesinger-v-ticketmaster/?_ga=2.76895829.1994249424.1539478038-1512211698.1510348971

http://www.ticketfeelitigation.com/

https://www.nytimes.com/2016/06/22/business/media/ticketmaster-lawsuit-vouchers.html

South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc. (2018) – A Case Brief

Posted by Thomas DeFrancesco.

South Dakota has a state tax for sales of goods and services that are made by retailers of the state. Out-of-state retailers were making sales to customers in the state of South Dakota and not collecting and remitting sales tax in South Dakota. However, these retailers are allowed to do that based on the ruling made in Quill Corp. v. North Dakota, 504 U.S. 298 and National Bellas Hess, Inc. v. Department of Revenue of Ill., 386 U.S. 753. The state was worried they were losing funding due to out-of-state retailers not collecting and remitting the South Dakota’s sales tax. To solve this concern, South Dakota created a law that commanded out-of-state retailers who make more than 200 sales transactions and at least $100,000 in revenue from those sales to collect and remit sales tax as if they were located in South Dakota. Companies who met those requirements failed to follow the newly made law so the South Dakota legislature brought the issue to court.

Should the respondents have to register for licenses to collect and remit the sales tax regardless if they are physically present in the state or not?

South Dakota law is permitted to tax sales from sellers who are outside of that particular state as long as the seller collects at least $100,000 in sales revenue or more than 200 sales transactions.

The court derived its reasoning from other cases including Quill v. North Dakota and National Bella Hess v. Department of Revenue of Ill. The court explained how the physical presence rule in Quill v. North Dakota is “unsound and incorrect.” Since the internet has such a great impact on business, retailers who do business through the internet must pay taxes in that particular state of the sale. Therefore, the Quill v. North Dakota reasoning is no longer relevant.

Thomas is a finance major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2021.

Source:

https://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/17pdf/17-494_j4el.pdf

On Drug Pricing, States Step In Where Washington Does Not

Posted by Samantha Staudt.

 

One in five Americans have reported that they have skipped medicine doses or failed to fill a prescription each year because of the cost of the medicine.  This statistic is outrageous and states have to start doing something about it because the federal government will not.  Certain states, like Nevada, have passed a new law that manufactures must disclose more information about why drug prices are rapidly increasing.  In the past few year, prices in Nevada have increased as much as 325 percent, so this law will help regulate the prices of prescription drugs.  Maryland provides another example of steps that must be taken in an order to regulate drug companies.  The attorney general sued generic drug manufacturers whose prices rose more than fifty percent in a year.  States are partly responsible for the funding of the Medicaid program, spending more than 20 million dollars a year on prescription drugs for public employees and prisoners.

Drug manufacturers have recently pushed opioids while denying and misunderstanding their addictiveness.  This may be enough to cut the political power of the pharmaceutical industry.  This statistic is not settling well with anyone and more than 100 states have filed lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies related to tobacco.  This is in an effort to recover the costs of dealing with the epidemic of addiction and overdoses.  Oklahoma’s attorney general, Nolan Clay, is making strides to fixing this rising issue by refusing to accept donations from drug companies.

Of course, pharmaceutical companies fight the big changes that would affect the company.  The industry has been at the top of the lists for lobbying expenditures and campaign contributions at the same time managing to block reform proposals.  During Nevada’s fight to lower drug prices, drug companies hired more than seventy lobbyist to descend on the bill.  When state drug pricing bills pass, the drug industry challenges them in court.  There have been several lawsuits filed, but none have succeeded yet.  In order to prevent drug companies from overpricing prescription drugs, states must enforce regulation laws immediately.

Samantha is a finance major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2020.

 

 

 

 

The IRS Fears Bitcoin

Posted by Elizabeth Win.

Dollar bills might as well be worth as much as computer paper now. Cryptocurrency has been on the hot seat for the past few months because of its financially growing nature and easy accessibility. Now, as we are starting to see a slow downfall of people investing in Bitcoin; the I.R.S. is starting to detect serious problems with the millennial choice of currency. One of their main concerns is that this cryptocurrency fad has created another giant, financial bubble. If this bubble were to burst, this Bitcoin “bust” could wipe out millions of spectators leading to a huge loss in tax revenue.

A main contender to this potentially huge loss is Bitcoin’s anonymity. For those unaware, Bitcoin’s underlying technology, blockchain, thrives on anonymity. When a person makes a transaction, the transaction only links through an electronic address, making blockchain more attractive to buyers. Now, the I.R.S. has many problems with this missing identification of creative transactions. The anonymity fuels the underground economy, a significant factor in the source of lost tax revenue. Most of the underground economy is conducted through cash transitions; however, what the I.R.S. fears is that cash will slowly transition to cryptocurrencies because of its convenience. An anonymous buyer of bitcoin can easily pay fewer taxes by cheating the cryptocurrency system – also known as major tax evasion. The solution? The government might have to accept the hardships of directly taxing cryptocurrencies and raise tax rates in order to offset the loss of revenue. Understand that the public would highly disagree with this solution, they generated a smarter response: a switch from taxing income when it is received to taxing income when it is spent. Although this switch would require a “major overhaul of the tax code,” many economists support this decision and believe it is future of the economy.

On the contrary, the I.R.S. understands cryptocurrencies offer major reductions in the cost of financial transactions, making it very appealing to the lower classes. There would also be less reliance on banks, which would increase the power of the Federal Reserve to control money. However, the opportunities are too great for tax evasion and illegal operations that the I.R.S. cannot continue to allow it. Although the cryptocurrency economy is growing steadily, it will need to find a way to prevent tax evasion while preserving anonymity in order for it to survive and stay attractive to buyers. For cryptocurrencies to be successful, societies will have to learn to trust the government, a very difficult task for many to grasp. With the rise of extremely advanced technology, it is inevitable that the economy will eventually transition to the cryptocurrency movement. Figuring out how to smoothly transition from worthless green pieces of paper to slick, glassy pieces of technology worth thousands of dollars each, the challenge to adjust will be difficult by eventually necessary.

Elizabeth is a marketing and information technology major in the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2020.

NY Court of Appeals Says No Difference Between Private and Public Posts In Discovery

Posted by Ryan Simoneau.

The National Law Review recently posted an article on February 20, 2018 discussing the impact of the N.Y. Court of Appeals decision in Forman v. Henkin, a personal injury case. Forman, the Plaintiff, claimed she suffered spinal and brain injuries when she fell off the Defendants horse. Before the accident, the Plaintiff admitted to having an active Facebook account on which she posted pictures of her active lifestyle. After the accident, she claimed her life changed and she could no longer continue her active lifestyle and could barely type coherent messages. During discovery, the Defendant asked the court to compel the Plaintiff to provide full access to her Facebook account, regardless of whether it was public or private. At trial court level, the discovery (or electronic discovery) request was limited to photos before and after the accident and those relevant to her difficulty to type. When appealed, the appellate court limited the photographs provided in court. The court based its decision on another case, Tapp v. New York State Urban Development Corporation, in which it decided, “[t]o warrant  discovery, defendants must establish a factual predicate for their request by identifying relevant information in plaintiff’s Facebook account- that is, information that contradicts or conflicts with plaintiff’s alleged restrictions, disabilities, and losses and other claims.” The Court of Appeals, however, disagreed. They determined that public versus private did not matter in regards to social media and reinstated the trial court’s ruling.

The Court of Appeals did not grant full access to the Plaintiff’s social media to protect her privacy, yet does not see a difference between public and private Facebook posts. Typically in personal injury cases, the Defendants will ask the court for full, unrestricted access to social media which is oftentimes unwarranted and called a metaphorical fishing expedition. The Court of Appeals held that the information compelled has to be “appropriately tailored and reasonably calculated to yield relevant information.” What this means is that the request cannot be overly broad and burdensome, but relevant. This ruling mimics Federal procedure, specifically Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 26.

I am torn on the fairness of treating all Facebook posts the same regardless of whether it is private or public. In the 21st century, social media is becoming more and more popular. People utilize Facebook and Twitter as if they are personal diaries. Sometimes a physical diary could be relevant to a case, I’m sure, but it seems like an invasion of personal privacy. On the other end, social media utilizes the internet and the internet is not private so it should all be treated the same. I believe that in social media discovery (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram), the court should use this appeal as a precedent and continue to limit requests to what is relevant but privacy settings should not matter.

Ryan is an undecided business major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2020.

Link: https://www.natlawreview.com/article/ny-court-appeals-no-difference-between-private-and-public-posts-discovery

Washington State Sick Leave Law

Posted by Wasif Rahman.

Voters in Washington, who have taken on a role to guarantee paid sick leave to those working in the state recently, brought the Paid Sick Leave Act into play. The new law calls for employers to give workers an hour of paid sick leave for every 40 hours that they have worked. It also restricts when employers would be able to demand medical documentation from employees. While the new law may seem ideal for those working in the State of Washington, it poses a major problem specifically for airlines and its passengers. The problem was first pointed out by Airlines for America earlier this month.

Requiring airlines to conform to the Paid Sick Leave Act for their flight crewmembers is problematic since they are already subject to employment laws of their home state. This new law would enable those same crewmembers to also take advantage of Washington’s employment laws, including the Paid Sick Leave Act, if they are to pass through the state during their shift. Airlines for America filed a lawsuit against the State of Washington in the U.S. district court and subsequently released a statement noting, “airlines cannot operate their nationwide systems properly if flight crews are subject to the employment laws of every state in which they are based, live, or pass through”[1]. The defendant, the Department of Labor and Industries for the state of Washington, made no remarks on Airlines of America’s statement. Airlines for America suggests that Washington’s law promotes, to some degree, more crewmembers calling in sick as the airlines would have certain limitations to when they would be able to demand medical documentation to verify whether a crewmember is actually sick or not. They claim that if it gets to a point where enough crewmembers are calling in sick, it would lead to flights either being cancelled or delayed since there wouldn’t be enough flight crewmembers to serve the passengers. This would lead to severe disruptions not only at Sea-Tac International Airport in Washington but across all airports through out the country. From the airlines standpoint, it would be detrimental to their business having to tell their customers & passengers that they cannot serve their needs. Airlines also claim this new law violates the constitution.

Ultimately, this law is unfavorable to airlines as their passengers would have to face an increase in cost & time for their travels. On top of that, passengers are not purchasing these tickets for the flights to be cancelled or delayed. This isn’t only a major inconvenience for airliners but also for passengers. As of now, a few of the other airlines that have sued Washington State include JetBlue, United and Southwest.

Source:

[1] http://www.foxbusiness.com/markets/airlines-sue-over-new-washington-state-sick-leave-law

Wasif is a mathematical finance major at the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2020.

Fed Limits How Much Wells Fargo Can Grow

Posted by Brandon Bartkiewicz.

 

It has been almost two years since the Wells Fargo scandal broke into the headlines. It is not out of the ordinary to see a bank involved in shady activities; just look at the recession. However, in 2016, Wells Fargo committed a truly unforgivable crime, identity theft and fraud on a massive scale. To refresh, Wells Fargo had “… secretly opened millions of deposit and credit card accounts that may not have been authorized by customers, and that ultimately harmed those who had entrusted their financial affairs with the bank”. The goal of this was to create an illusion of more “sales” (accounts being opened). They did this by transferring money between accounts without permission of the accountholder. These activities were highly encouraged by an incentive system in place that would reward employees for opening accounts. Everyone was in on this; bank managers pressured their employees, and the executive board of Wells Fargo knew this was going on and did not stop it. By August 2017, the investigation found that as many as 3.5 million unauthorized accounts existed in Wells Fargo’s records.

The news of this wide scale fraud fueled a settlement with the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Los Angeles legal officials, totaling $185 million in penalties. Along with this, Wells Fargo would give “… $80 million in refunds — $64 million in cash and $16 million in account adjustments — to more than 570,000 auto loan customers who were charged for auto insurance without their knowledge.” As it should be, the bank is now in financial trouble as it tries to cover all of the direct and indirect costs relating to the scandal. However, the Janet Yellen and the Federal Reserve is not done disciplining the bank. Due to their “widespread customer abuses and compliance breakdowns,” the bank is now restricted from growing any more than its total asset size in 2017.  Along with this, the bank will remove some of the senior ranking executives in the company.  This is done to ensure that Wells Fargo will have sound business practices before it can grow again.

Personally, I believe that punishments handed down by the Federal Reserve were suitable for Wells Fargo. It provides a clear message to all banks that business malpractice is unacceptable and will be punished by harsh penalties. No bank should be able to get away with using client money and creating unauthorized accounts for personal gain. I wish the American legal system were stricter with companies so it would deviate them from doing illegal acts like this in the first place. What I did not like about this case was the fact that there are still plenty of people who have been long time officials of the company and are still employed by Wells Fargo. If you keep many of the same old pieces in place at a company, something like this is bound to happen again.

Brandon is a finance major in the Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University, Class of 2020.

Source:

Link: https://www.usatoday.com/story/money/2018/02/02/fed-limits-wells-fargos-growth-citing-consumer-abuses/302973002/