Tagged: lawsuit

Ironic lawsuit of the week

Lawyers for two Guantanamo Bay detainees have filed motions asking a U.S. court to block officials from preventing the inmates from taking part in communal prayers during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The lawyers argue that – in light of the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby decision – the detainees’ rights are protected under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act…

During Ramadan, a month of prayer and reflection that began last weekend, Muslims are required to fast every day from sunrise to sunset. But what is at issue in this case is the ability to perform extra prayers, called tarawih, “in which they recite one-thirtieth of the Quran in consecutive segments throughout the month…”

The detainees’ lawyers said courts have previously concluded that Guantanamo detainees do not have “religious free exercise rights” because they are not “persons within the scope of the RFRA.”

But the detainees’ lawyers say the Hobby Lobby decision changes that

“Hobby Lobby makes clear that all persons – human and corporate, citizen and foreigner, resident and alien – enjoy the special religious free exercise protections of the RFRA,” the lawyers argued in court papers…

As much as I disrespect the conservative members of the Supreme Court for their allegiance to ideology over the Constitution of the United States – you have to enlarge and expand the definition of stupid for their inability to foresee the results of their reactionary pimping for churches.

It ain’t news. They no doubt knew the tidal wave of Republican governors would roll out everything but the kitchen sink to revive racist practices designed to stop Black folks from voting after they gutted the Civil Rights Act. I have to assume they counted on fundamentalist nutballs erupting into a feeding frenzy with the Hobby Lobby decision. It fits nice and tidy into the War on Women. Like most reactionaries, though, they can’t see any further than the flies sitting on end of their nose.

Thanks, Mike

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Wall Street trader whines over $8.25 million bonus — sues for more!


Dweeb Salem

A former Goldman Sachs trader, still furious at getting only an $8.25 million bonus in 2010, has taken the giant investment bank to court to get paid millions more.

Deeb Salem says he helped Goldman earn more than $7 billion and that a little more money in his pocket would only be fair considering all his contributions. He wants about $5 million in additional pay…

In his petition filed last week in New York’s State Supreme Court, Salem said things at Goldman started to unravel when he got a written warning about his 2007 job self-evaluation, Bloomberg reports. In that self-evaluation, Salem reportedly discussed a short squeeze involving derivatives linked to subprime home loans in 2007.

His own words were later used by U.S. Senators investigating whether Goldman bet against the mortgage market in 2006 and 2007 in such a way that helped it reap massive rewards as the housing sector tanked…

Salem watched his annual bonus go from $15 million in 2009 to $8.25 million the next year and $3 million in 2011. He left the firm in 2012 but soon filed a complaint about his 2010 pay with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street’s self-funded regulator. He tried to get more than $16 million from Goldman in arbitration, including nearly $7 million in deferred stock he felt he was owed. [He lost]

Now, Salem wants New York’s state court to overturn that regulatory decision. Goldman has argued that it has the final say on all bonus amounts and that Salem was aware of the policy.

The dude received more than $35 million in pay over six years. Goldman’s lawyer, Andrew Frackman, said…”He made a ton of money…He’s not entitled to more simply because he would like to have been paid more…”

Thanks, Mike

You can’t make this crap up!

An Illinois mother has filed a lawsuit in order to prevent a school from expelling her 15-year-old son for trading his attention deficit disorder medication to another student in exchange for bags of Cheez-Its and cash.

The suit contends that the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy illegally expelled the boy because the conduct he displayed during the transaction was “likely a manifestation of his disability.”

The school nurse was well aware of the boy’s condition because that individual was responsible for dispensing the boy’s medication.

Although the boy “admitted that he received several bags of chips/Cheez-its and/or $3.00 payments” for the ADD medication, he said the reason he made the sale was to “to help his fellow student do better in school.”

The lawsuit is seeking a restraining order and injunction preventing the school from expelling the boy due to his disability.

Saying why you did something, truthful or otherwise, is not how you judge the behavior of someone. Doesn’t matter whether they are drunk or stoned or sober, doesn’t matter if they are unbalanced, disturbed or strange. How you behave determines society’s response. As far as orderly society is concerned.

If you challenge the rules, understand the consequences. Saying you are exempt from responsibility – doesn’t exempt you from a damned thing.

What’s left is deciding upon a just response.

South Dakota Court allows ‘pink slime’ lawsuit to proceed

The South Dakota Supreme Court is allowing a $1.2 billion defamation lawsuit to proceed against television network ABC over its coverage of a meat product that critics derided as “pink slime.”

The decision on Thursday allows the plaintiffs to potentially depose news anchor Diane Sawyer, two of the networks correspondents and other defendants.

Dakota Dunes-based Beef Products Inc. sued the network in 2012 for its coverage of the meat product the industry calls “lean, finely textured beef.” BPI alleges that the coverage led to plant closures and layoffs because it misled consumers into believing the product was unsafe.

Attorneys for ABC in court filings say the network in each of its broadcasts stated the FDA deemed the product safe to eat.

It just looks disgusting until you kill the beast and thoroughly cook it.

Then, consider the quality of politicians who think this crap is a taste treat.

Thanks, Mike

NYPD sued over coppers stealing White Castle hamburgers from Brooklyn men – and then arresting them!

Two Brooklyn men are suing the NYPD cops who took their freedom and allegedly tried to take their White Castle hamburgers.

It was Halloween 2012 in Coney Island, the neighborhood reeling from Hurricane Sandy, when Danny Maisonet and Kenneth Glover had a craving for sliders.

They were getting out of a taxicab, carrying a bag of the burgers, when they walked into cops rounding up a group of men suspected of looting a supermarket on Neptune Ave., lawyer Robert Marinelli said in the suit filed in Brooklyn Federal Court.

The cops — it’s unclear if they were kidding or starved out of their minds — demanded the bag of food. The plaintiffs refused to turn over the burgers…

Glover and Maisonet claim they were struck with flashlights and handcuffed. They were charged with obstructing government administration and disorderly conduct — not looting.

Officer Angelo Pizzarro swore in the complaint that Glover and Maisonet were standing in his way and forced him to walk around them while struggling with the alleged looters.

The charges against the duo were ultimately dismissed.

I’d wait a year or two before admitting to eating White Castle hamburgers. Though, I imagine a certain amount of time was wasted waiting to see if these phony charges were going to proceed to trial.

Truly, some coppers think they are above the law – and the rest of humanity.

FDIC sues banks over Libor manipulation and fraud

Bank of America, Citigroup and Credit Suisse Group AG were among 16 of the world’s biggest banks sued by the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. for allegedly manipulating the London interbank offered rate from 2007 to 2011.

The FDIC, acting as receiver for 38 failed banks…claimed that institutions sitting on the U.S. dollar Libor panel “fraudulently and collusively suppressed” the rate. Also named in the suit, filed yesterday in Manhattan federal court, is the British Bankers Association, an industry group that oversaw Libor.

Regulators around the world have been probing whether firms colluded to manipulate interest-rate benchmarks including Libor, which affects more than $300 trillion of securities worldwide. Financial institutions have paid about $6 billion so far to resolve criminal and civil claims in the U.S. and Europe that they manipulated benchmark interest rates.

The cost for global investment banks could climb to $46 billion, analysts at KBW, a unit of Stifel Financial Corp., said in a report last year…

The failed banks “reasonably expected that accurate representations of competitive market forces, and not fraudulent conduct or collusion,” would determine the benchmark, the FDIC said in its complaint…

Investigators claim the banks altered submissions used to set the benchmark to profit from bets on interest-rate derivatives or to make the lenders’ finances appear healthier…

The FDIC alleges the banks committed fraud and violated U.S. antitrust laws in fixing the U.S. dollar Libor benchmark. It’s seeking unspecified damages on behalf of the failed banks, including punitive damages and triple damages for price-fixing.

The FDIC still echos the standards of Sheila Bair. It’s been a little while since she left; but, she set critical standards. Required reading for anyone interested in earning a living in finance and still maintaining the odd principle or two her book: Bull by the Horns: Fighting to Save Main Street from Wall Street and Wall Street from Itself.

Within the FDIC and the American banking community she always stands for small banks, community banks vs Wall Street’s version of Gargantua. She sat down and negotiated with the biggest bank presidents as equals and she tried like hell to be more equal than they – even with Congress ready and willing to give away the farm, the treasury and every taxpayer’s contribution to some of the worst examples of American capitalism.

She left the FDIC to work for a spell for the Pew Charitable Trusts; but, banking is what she knows best and she chose to leave the United States to work for a Spanish bank with a cleaner reputation than most of our own. She still asks out loud why no big American bank has ever offered a directorship to a bank reformer like Simon Johnson – or, I’d say, Sheila Bair.

And when she gives a talk to the staff of a bank she used to oversee as regulator – her fee goes to charity. A practice I don’t expect to witness every day from any of our former Congress-critters.

“Excuse me, I’m not dead”

Kimberly Haman is not dead and would like everyone to know it — most of all her bank and a major credit bureau accused of reporting otherwise and failing to fix the mistake.

Haman, 46, of unincorporated St. Louis County, filed suit Monday in federal court here against Heartland Bank, of St. Louis, and Equifax. The complaint says she was “shocked” to find that the bank declared her dead almost a year ago and that the credit reporting giant passed word along.

The suit alleges that she repeatedly complained to both, with no result.

“She’s contacting them, and saying, ‘Excuse me, I’m not dead.’ And even through that process, they continue to report her as deceased,” the plaintiff’s lawyer, Sylvia Goldsmith, said in an interview.

Twice, Haman has been blocked from refinancing her mortgage to a lower rate. She also has been refused a credit card, after potential lenders spotted her “deceased” status, the suit says.

“At this point, (Haman) is at a complete loss as to what else she can do,” the suit says. “The entire experience has imposed upon (Haman) significant distrust, frustration and distress, and has rendered Plaintiff hopeless as to her ability to regain her good name and the credit rating that she deserves and has worked hard to earn,” it continues…

Which is lawyerese for saying her credit rating is screwed. She’s unable to use any of the credit and commerce protocols generally available in our economy – if you have credit and if you’re not dead. :)

A Federal Trade Commission study of the credit reporting industry, released a year ago, found that 26 percent of the 1,001 consumers surveyed found at least one “potentially material” error on at least one of the three major credit bureaus’ reports, and 5 percent had an error that could make insurance and loans more expensive.

The Consumer Data Industry Association pointed out that only 2.2 percent of reports had an error that would increase consumer prices, and 88 percent of the errors were the result of inaccurate information provided by lenders and others to the credit bureaus.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires credit reporting agencies to conduct “reasonable investigations into claims that information is inaccurate, correct the information and report back to consumers.

It allows consumers to seek compensatory and punitive damages, as well as lawsuit costs and statutory penalties that can range from $100 to $1,000 per violation.

Goldsmith said that last summer, an Oregon woman won $18.6 million in a federal lawsuit against Equifax.

Juries are starting to get pretty annoyed with the cavalier attitude that these bureaus are taking to their responsibilities,” she said.

RTFA for the history with her bank. No one seems able to discover the source of the error. More to the point, the bank seems to be unable to check the appropriate box and report her as alive!

Some banks and just about every credit agency I ever dealt with was significantly less than competent. I say some because there are beaucoup banks staffed with IT folks able to navigate regulatory red tape to maintain accurate records. Big and small. I deal mostly with a community bank; but, maintain a relationship with one of the biggies going to BITD when I was involved in a small way with international commerce. Nowadays, even my local community bank can handle transfer of funds internationally.

And they know I’m alive.

Which came first? The chicken or the egg – or some bought-and-paid-for political hack in Missouri?


Typical

Missouri has challenged a law that would require all eggs sold in California to come from hens kept in larger cages.

In a lawsuit filed Monday, Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster said the law, which takes effect in 2015, would mean higher egg prices in California and force Missouri egg producers to either invest heavily in new cages or give up one-third of their sales…

Missouri says California, by imposing regulations on other states, is violating the Constitution’s Commerce Clause…

Under current law, chickens are guaranteed 67 square inches of floor space each. Koster said the California law, which does not specify a cage size but says hens must be able to move around, could mean anything from slightly bigger cages to more than 400 square inches a chicken.

The Humane Society, which pushed for the California law, said its aim is to keep hens from being housed in “barren battery cages that are more likely to be infected with salmonella. Officials said Tuesday Koster wants “to curry favor with Big Agribusiness.”

Gasp! Can you actually say that out loud in America?

Punks like Koster are in office to represent one class of people – especially in a Confederate state like Missouri. Some of the sleaziest profiteers in our natiion run agribiz in Missouri.

Perish the thought they compete with farmers willing and able to meet healthier, humane standards.

Singing financial adviser defrauds clients of more than $5 million

Dearman is the one who doesn’t get up and dance

The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has accused a former Oklahoma investment adviser and wedding singer of raising at least $4.7 million through various illegal schemes with the help of a Bartlesville businesswoman. The pair then used investors’ money on gambling and other personal expenses, as well as to pay off earlier investors, according to a court filing.

The SEC filed a civil suit against Larry J. Dearman Sr., 40, of Tulsa, and his friend and business associate Marya Gray, 50, of Bartlesville. The Bartlesville-based wireless service provider Bartnet Wireless and northwest Oklahoma convenience store chain Quench Bud’s also were named as defendants in the lawsuit, as well as shell company The Property Shoppe Inc….

The lawsuit claims Dearman fraudulently obtained millions of dollars from more than 30 clients. Dearman promised his clients he would invest their money into various businesses owned or controlled by Gray, the lawsuit says. Instead, Dearman and Gray used investors’ money to gamble and for personal expenses as well as to pay off other investors in a Ponzi-type scheme, the SEC claims.

Dearman stole an additional $700,000 from some of his clients “through various ruses,” the SEC said in the lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Tulsa.

“Dearman and Gray were able to lure these clients in part because many of them had known him and his family since childhood, thought of him as an active member of their church and knew him as a popular local wedding singer,” the SEC claims…

Gray gambled away more than $1.1 million over the course of the scheme, which lasted from 2008 to 2012, the SEC claims in its lawsuit.

Kind of gives you a clearer picture of the gullible voters in Oklahoma who keep on re-electing sleazy conservatives like Tom Coburn and James Inhofe. Quote the King James bible enough, blather about bringing free money to Oklahoma – blame everything bad on furriners and the federal government – you got it made.

Google says Gmail users shouldn’t expect email privacy — UPDATED

Gmail users have no “reasonable expectation” that their emails are confidential, Google has said in a court filing.

Consumer Watchdog, the advocacy group that uncovered the filing, called the revelation a “stunning admission.” It comes as Google and its peers are under pressure to explain their role in the National Security Agency’s (NSA) mass surveillance of US citizens and foreign nationals.

“Google has finally admitted they don’t respect privacy,” said John Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s privacy project director. “People should take them at their word; if you care about your email correspondents’ privacy, don’t use Gmail.”

Google set out its case last month in an attempt to dismiss a class action lawsuit that accuses the tech giant of breaking wire tap laws when it scans emails in order to target ads to Gmail users.

That suit, filed in May, claims Google “unlawfully opens up, reads, and acquires the content of people’s private email messages.” It quotes Eric Schmidt, Google’s executive chairman: “Google policy is to get right up to the creepy line and not cross it.”

“Unbeknown to millions of people, on a daily basis and for years, Google has systematically and intentionally crossed the ‘creepy line’ to read private email messages containing information you don’t want anyone to know, and to acquire, collect, or mine valuable information from that mail,” the suit claims…

According to Google: “Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient’s assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their communications are processed by the recipient’s ECS [electronic communications service] provider in the course of delivery.”

Um, I’d say that’s pretty clear. Also blindingly apparent to any geek who’s been around this electronic neighborhood for a spell is that Google never let on that anything other than “Do no harm” was their corporate guidance. From day one every bit of their PR was designed to reinforce a counter-culture ethos, differentiation from the rest of America’s greedy corporate culture.

And all that sums up the past few years as a revelation. A decidedly negative disclosure.

UPDATE: Google officials say this article quoted Google’s idiot lawyers – not the people who govern policy.