Supreme Court To Address Use of Statistics For Class Action Certification

The April 2013 Supreme Court decision in Comcast Corp. v. Behrend, No. 11-864, was a profound change benefitting companies facing class action lawsuits.  The Court held that a plaintiff seeking certification must establish through “evidentiary proof” that damages can be measured on a class-wide basis.  Individual damage issues can defeat class certification where those issues …

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The IRS Wants More Of Your Gambling Winnings

The taxation of gambling winnings is widely misunderstood (or at least widely not followed).  Gambling gains are included in gross income, reported on “other income” on form 1040.  Losses from gambling are allowed to the extent of gambling gains, but only as an itemized deduction.  The amount spent to generate any win reduces the win.  …

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A Classic Coase Solution to a Modern Problem: The CrossFit Dispute

A recent Wall Street Journal (“WSJ”) article brought to my attention a very “2K15” problem, urbanites in many of the nation’s big cities are struggling to deal with the annoyance of living next to CrossFit gyms. CrossFit is a highly intense workout regimen which has in the last several years become hugely popular. Many of …

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Canada Audits Dubious Senator Expenses At Great Cost

The recently released report by the Canadian Auditor General details numerous incidents of inappropriate spending by members of the Canadian Senate. The report investigated 116 current and former senators and 80,000 expense items totaling CAD $45,000,000 over a period from April 1, 2011 to March 31, 2013. 30 of the senators under investigation were found …

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Expert Can Still Testify, Despite Opinions Being Thrown Out

A recent case illustrated how expert testimony may still be appropriate even when all of the expert’s actual opinions are deemed inadmissible.  In Ross v. Rothstein (March 12, 2015), the Court concluded that an expert’s testimony still offered information helpful to the Court with regard to underlying facts that supported his improper (legal) opinions.  The Court cited …

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Investors Accuse Ernst & Young Accused of Being Complicit in Bribery Scandal

CtW Investments Group (“CtW”), which represents a group of minority shareholders in Wal-Mart, has accused the firm’s external auditor Ernst & Young (“E&Y) of having had early knowledge of Wal-Mart’s violation of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act related to bribery allegations in Mexico. In a letter to the Public Accounting Oversight Board, CtW reports that …

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The Cancer Fund of America and Its Related Charities Are Called a Fraud

An alleged fraud was recently uncovered at The Cancer Fund of America and its related entities, including The Breast Cancer Society and The Children’s Cancer Fund of America. James Reynolds and his family members are believed to have stolen $187 million from donors in these charities over five years and spent the monies on lavish …

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Court Requires Expert Witness to Have a Body and a Brain

A recent case addressed the interesting question of whether a corporation could serve as an expert witness.  The matter involved a breach of fiduciary duty case coordinated with an appraisal proceeding, in re Dole Food Company (“Dole”).  The defendants designated Stifel, Nicolaus & Company, Incorporated (“Stifel”), a corporation, to serve as their expert witness regarding …

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Investors Allegedly Defrauded by ITT Technical Institute Executives

On Tuesday May 12, 2015 the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) charged the CEO and CFO of ITT Educational Services Inc. (NYSE: ESI) with fraud.  The company which runs a popular nationwide chain of for-profit technical colleges under the name ITT Technical Institute (“ITT Tech”) allegedly defrauded investors by materially misstating the financial performance of …

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GAO Tells SEC to Look in the Mirror Regarding Internal Control Failures

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (“GAO”), a government watchdog group, recently reported the results of its 2014 audit of the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”) financial statements.  The findings included (i) troubling reports of internal control failures at the very agency tasked with policing the reporting activities of others and (ii) warnings of vulnerability to …

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