Posts Tagged ‘New York state’

Bloomberg investigation: “confessions of judgment” and NY debt collection

In New York, unlike some other states, the law permits liberal use in business lending of a device called confession of judgment, in which borrowers “sign a statement giving up their right to defend themselves if the lender takes them to court.” Among the consequences: the lender may hold the wherewithal to seize the borrower’s assets unilaterally upon filing affidavits. Following the growth of lenders who advance cash to small businesses at extremely high interest rates, tens of thousands of business borrowers have experienced enforcement actions, often filed in upstate New York counties with little connection to either lender or borrower. Sharp practices? “In dozens of interviews and court pleadings, borrowers describe lenders who’ve forged documents, lied about how much they were owed, or fabricated defaults out of thin air.” [Zachary R. Mider and Zeke Faux, Bloomberg, in what is billed as the first of a series on the merchant cash advance industry]

Liability roundup

  • A win for class action objector Ted Frank as Seventh Circuit allows him to challenge what he described as “objector blackmail” payments to other intervenors [Amanda Bronstad, National Law Journal, Pearson v. NBTY]
  • City of Seattle pays $13 million to settle suit alleging negligent probation supervision of drunk driver [Jessica Lee, Seattle Times, Brian Flores, KCPQ, my 2005 take on Washington’s unique rules on sovereign immunity and more]
  • “Family sues Dum Dum lollipop maker over son’s alleged choking incident” [Alexandria Hein, Fox News]
  • Thanks to New York’s Scaffold Law, co-op and condo boards “can be held liable for millions of dollars in damages – even if the injured worker was drunk or failed to use safety equipment.” [Habitat mag] “Coverage for East Side Access [infrastructure project] has surpassed half a billion dollars” [Will Bredderman, Crain’s New York]
  • As Brett Kavanaugh’s SeaWorld dissent shows, he’s a judge who takes assumption of risk seriously [ABA Journal, SeaWorld v. Perez]
  • Twiqbal pleading standards continue to do good, this time in New York state courts [Drug & Device Law]

Liability roundup

Schools and childhood roundup

Wage and hour roundup

  • Among this administration’s most notable accomplishments — hurrah for Labor Sec. Alex Acosta and team — is to ditch its predecessor’s horrible overtime rules [Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post on opinion letters and internships] DoL rollback of Obama rules on tip pooling is fully justified [Christian Britschgi]
  • “A Seattle Game-Changer? The latest empirical research further underscores the harm of minimum wage laws” [Ryan Bourne, Regulation mag] “Report: California’s $15 Minimum Wage Will Destroy 400,000 Jobs” [Scott Shackford]
  • It just couldn’t have been Ontario premier Kathleen Wynne’s fault that some donut-franchise workers saw benefits and breaks trimmed after a minimum wage hike. “Instead, she attacked the employers.” [David Henderson; Robyn Urback/CBC and May Warren/Toronto Metro on changes by owners of some Tim Horton outlets]
  • Study: grocery stores hike prices when minimum wage rises, “poor households are most negatively affected” [Tyler Cowen on Renkin, Montialoux, and Siegenthaler paper] New York enacts a minimum wage law applying to restaurant chains with at least 30 outlets, and presto-change-o, some upstate pizzerias have new names and are now separate businesses [Geoff Herbert, Syracuse.com]
  • “Employer Responsibilities under the Fair Labor Standards Act After a Disaster” [Annamaria Duran, SwipeClock, promotional material for software product but informative even so]
  • If lawsuits succeed in forcing ridesharing into employment mold, many will find it less attractive to earn money by driving [Coyote]

Crime and punishment roundup

  • Citation nation: abuse of fees and fines erodes legitimacy and accountability in local government [C. Jarrett Dieterle, City Journal]
  • If concept of obstruction of justice is not to do injustice itself, it must be confined to a limited number of well-defined offenses [Tim Lynch, Cato]
  • “Drug recognition experts” deployed at traffic stops have a reliability problem, and that can put innocent people behind bars [11Alive Atlanta, Ed Krayewski] Zero-tolerance THC: Unimpaired driver gets six months for fatal crash she did not cause [Jacob Sullum]
  • New York Senate approves bill to make police protected group for purposes of hate crime law; similar proposals have become law in Louisiana, Kentucky, and Mississippi [Tim Cushing/TechDirt, earlier here and here]
  • Now renamed “trafficking”: “Why Governments Always Exaggerate the Prostitution Threat” [Camilo Gómez, FEE, related Libertarianism.org podcast with Elizabeth Nolan Brown]
  • Some problems with requiring “racial impact statements” for new bills on criminal justice [Roger Clegg and Hans von Spakovsky, NRO, James Scanlan, Federalist Society blog]

“Cellino Sues Barnes. Who Gets the Jingle?”

“Ross M. Cellino Jr. and Stephen E. Barnes — known by many in New York and elsewhere simply as Cellino and Barnes, thanks to the infectious jingle that has made the two personal injury lawyers a single, household name — have been in practice together for decades.” Now they appear to be headed to court, but against each other. [Jonah Engel Bromwich, New York Times] Earlier coverage of the Buffalo-based firm, including some ethical scrapes of its principals, here, here, here, here, and generally here.

Wage and hour roundup

  • Finally, Republicans introduce bill to stop Obama’s overtime edict [SHRM, Connor Wolf, Veronique de Rugy] “Congress realizes new overtime rules stink” at least as applied to themselves [Suzanne Lucas, Evil HR Lady, earlier] Knowing whether you’re in FLSA compliance can be tricky enough to fool HR specialists [Eric Meyer]
  • “German army forced to lay down weapons due to ‘overtime limits'” [Telegraph, U.K.]
  • “Minimum Wage Hike Kills Popular Upstate NY Eatery” [Legal Insurrection] “Please don’t be the reason the future of our farm ends here and now” [WENY, upstate New York]
  • “How raising the minimum wage hurts disabled workers” [Naomi Schaefer Riley, Philanthropy Daily] Maryland moves to end exception that allowed workshop programs for the disabled to pay subminimum wages, and if clients sit at home as a result, at least they’ll have their rights on [Capital News Service]
  • Proposed D.C. ordinance restricting “predictive scheduling” of employee hours would snarl retail and restaurant operations [E. Faye Williams, Huff Post]
  • “Economically, minimum wages may not make sense,” said Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown, and then proceeded to sign the bill [Scott Shackford, Reason] “UC Berkeley Touts $15 Minimum Wage Law, Then Fires Hundreds Of Workers After It Passes” [Investors Business Daily]

The next Sheldon Silver, and the next

Following up on Tuesday’s post, I’ve got some further thoughts at Cato at Liberty. Excerpt:

So does this mean better days ahead for New York, a terribly misgoverned state? As one who has been writing about New York politics since way back, I can’t bring myself to be too optimistic.

I got interested in Silver originally because of his distinctive role as protector of New York’s trial lawyers… But legal policy was only one of the many pots in which Silver kept his fingers, as Steven Malanga and Seth Barron detail in separate articles at City Journal. New York sluices huge amounts of money in its gigantic social services apparatus through non-profits, and friends of Sheldon were there to profit. Real estate development in New York is subject to famously convoluted restrictions, and huge sums are at stake in its rent control and rent stabilization system. Again and again, Silver was there to broker deals for his friends behind the scenes….

So long as New York pursues failed policies like rent control, it will open huge leeway for hidden favoritism. And then, sure as day, in will move the Sheldon Silver types.