What is Communication? Understanding the FDCPA's Limitations on Third-Party Callback Messages

By: Gregory VanderWoude, 2L, Journal Staff Member

Gregory VanderWoude

When it comes to debt collection, society has certainly progressed, a far cry from the “debtor’s prisons” of yore. Thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Act (FDCPA), debtors are shielded from harassment, embarrassment, and abuse. A real-world example of this law can be seen in the recent media buzz surrounding Capital One’s claimed right to visit delinquent debtors in person. As a result of the negative press, Capital One ultimately backpedaled, stating it only visited debtors in person to secure collateral, which only  occurs in a narrow set of cases. 

The Hitchhiker's Guide to Protecting Against Reverse Corporate Veil Piercing

By: Alan Williams, 2L, Journal Staff Member

Alan Williams

In an age where corporate profits have never been higher, wise corporate leaders must always be mindful of judicial equity doctrines that seek to discard the corporate form, and the limited liability that comes with it, in the name of finding relief for plaintiffs.  Check out a couple articles form JDSupra here and here to see more of what I am talking about.  

Deterrent Effect of SAC Capital Probe and Settlement

By: Hengzhe Jiang, 2L, Journal Staff Member

Hengzhe JiangThe probe into the Connecticut-based hedge fund SAC Capital by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has lasted for a decade.  On November 4, 2013, in a press conference, federal prosecution office announced that SAC Capital would plead guilty to the charged counts of fraud with a record fine of $1.8 billion.  One interesting aspect of the case is that although several former employees of the firm had already pleaded guilty to insider trading charges, the hedge fund’s founder and owner, Mr. Steve Cohen, seems to be insulated from the whole situation so far since the Justice Department has not formally accused him of any wrongdoing. However, Mr. Cohen does face a civil administrative complaint by the SEC alleging that he failed to oversee the behavior of his employees in the firm.

Dukes & Daubert

By: Gregory VanderWoude, 2L, Journal Staff Member

Greg Gregory VanderWoudeThe somewhat recently decided Supreme Court case, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541, 2561 (2011), which centered on numerous female workers’ claims of gender discrimination, has raised the bar for class action suits.  According to Amit Bindra, who was published in the Journal's Volume 13, Issue 2Dukes places a greater requirement of commonality on would-be certified members of a class.  Thus, in the same way that Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, 550 U.S. 544, 570 (2077) raised the pleading standard, so does Dukes raise the standard for class certification.

Battle Tested? SEC Conflict Minerals Rule: Trials & Tribulations

By: Brian Cullin, 3L, Journal Staff Member

Brian Cullin The Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) conflict minerals rule, issued pursuant to Section 1502 of the Dodd-Frank Act, withstood its first legal challenge on July 23, 2013 in National Association of Manufacturers v. SEC, 13-CV-635 RLW, 2013 WL 3803918 (D.D.C. July 23, 2013). The Rule requires publicly traded corporations that manufacture products utilizing “conflict minerals” (coltan, tin, tungsten, gold) to file an annual report with the SEC and publicly disclose whether the minerals originated from the Democratic Republic of Congo or an adjoining country. If the minerals are used in products, the corporation must conduct a country of origin inquiry to determine if the minerals used originated from a covered country and whether the purchase funded an armed group.

Anti-Trust Class Action Lawsuits: More of the Same

By: Joshua Halen, 2L, Journal Staff Member/Incoming Managing Editor of Publication

Joshua Josh HalenIn 2011, the Supreme Court of the United States tightened the requirements for class action lawsuits in Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011).  The plaintiffs in Dukes attempted to certify as a class to establish a class action lawsuit against Wal-Mart Stores for the perceived discriminatory policy exhibited by the company. Three female plaintiffs alleged that Wal-Mart had a discriminatory policy towards its female employees. The plaintiffs argued that Wal-Mart gave its supervisors, who controlled promotions and wages, too much subjective discretion in their promotion and wage decisions and had little oversight procedures. The three plaintiffs attempted to certify the class for approximately one and a half million individuals and were seeking declaratory relief, injunctive relief, and award of back pay. 

The Happenings of Europe's Changing Regulatory System for Credit Rating Agencies

By: Robert Wright, 2L, Journal Staff Member

Robert WrightThe European Securities and Markets Authority (“ESMA”) amendment, in effect as of June 20, 2013, seeks to address problems with Europe’s new system for regulating Credit Rating Agencies (“CRA”).  This is the third revision to Europe’s CRA regulatory system proposed by ESMA, which replaced the Committee of European Securities Regulators in the wake of the financial crisis and the Euro-debt crisis.  The amendments purport to address problems such as investor over-reliance on ratings, conflicts of interest in credit rating activities, and issues concerning the lack of transparency and competition in Europe’s new system.  However, some critics disagree that provisions included in the amendment will fit into the regulatory scheme as the ESMA suggests.

Twitter & Exchange-Traded Funds

By: Christopher Lang, 3L, Journal Staff Member

Christopher Chris LangWhen Twitter posted its Initial Public Offering (IPO), the stock gained 73% in value, going from $45.10 to $44.90.  Although the Twitter stock saw a sharp increase in value during its debut, the question still remained, however, as to whether the stock would continue to succeed or if it would depress, like what happened with the highly anticipated Facebook stock.  Two actively managed exchange-traded fund companies that have been keeping an eye on Twitter were Global X Social Media Index ETF and Renaissance IPO ETF.  

Exchange-Traded Funds: Enhanced Transparency and Deregulation

By: Albert Sementa, 3L, Journal Staff Member

Albert SementaAn ETF, or exchange-traded fund, is a form of index-based fund management, which attempts to match the performance of a particular stock market exchange, such as the S&P 500 or NASDAQ.  In contrast, in an actively-traded fund, the goal is to outperform the return of a particular index or exchange through the use of a professional investment manager who buys and sells the fund’s underlying holdings through the use of his or her discretion.  Rather than utilizing professional oversight in selecting the fund’s individual investments, a standard ETF consists simply of each stock within a particular exchange.  As G.E. Miller explains, due to lack of a need for active management within an ETF, it provides for more efficient costs onto investors in the form of less management oversight fees.  Furthermore, less frequent trading within an ETF also provides for less capital gain tax because stocks and investments are being bought and sold more seldom.  

The Power of Credit-Rating Agencies in the Wake of a Financial Crisis

By: Bonnie North, 3L, Journal Staff Member

Bonnie NorthWe just entered the year 2014, and yet, the 2008 financial crisis still holds a place inside the minds of Americans.  When thinking about the financial crisis, it is hard not to think of the credit rating agencies and the role they played in the financial meltdown.  But do not think that credit-rating agencies have forgotten about the crisis either – the big three credit-rating agencies, Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s Investors Service and Fitch Ratings, are still trying to repair their reputations.


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