Detest Your Boss? Call the Government

As part of the Obama administration’s “Middle Class Task Force Initiative”, the Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division (WHD) recently teamed up with the American Bar Association (ABA) to help plaintiffs obtain legal counsel for claims under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA).  Under this new …

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Michael Vick and the Duration of Reputational Damage

It wasn’t long ago that Michael Vick was the highest paid player in the NFL and was frequently tapped for high profile endorsement deals with companies such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Kraft and Hasbro.  But when news of his dog fighting activities surfaced, the endorsement deals came to a grinding halt.  A prison sentence and a bankruptcy …

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Bear Stearns’ Defendants and Deloitte Face Significant Exposure

In a nearly 400-page opinion in January, a Manhattan federal judge (Robert Sweet) denied motions to dismiss a securities class action against Bear Stearns, Deloitte & Touche, and seven individual defendants.  As one might imagine from its length, the Court thoroughly addresses the allegations, and rebutted the defendants’ reasons for dismissal.   Here is a background …

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Social Security goes paperless…saves a bunch of trees and a ton of dough.

The Social Security program is undergoing several changes in 2011.  One seemingly benign change is that new recipients will be required to utilize direct deposit or have their payments loaded onto a prepaid Debit MasterCard (existing retirees have until March 2013 to make the switch).  No more paper checks…a fact which will put a smile …

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Steve Jobs’ Key Man Discount

The message boards are abuzz with the news of Steve Jobs’ (possibly) temporary medical leave of absence from Apple.  The obvious question is the impact of this news on Apple’s valuation.  For most large public companies with deep management, this is not an issue.  Relatively speaking, a single person’s importance usually affects only smaller companies, …

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What Tax is “Fair”?

photo by David Reber, Hammer Photography

Many national governments are funded through a combination of income and broad based consumption taxes, usually in the form of a Value-Added-Tax (VAT).  In the United States, consumption taxes (in the form of sales taxes) have been left to the states, while the federal government relies on a combination of income taxes, payroll taxes, excise taxes, …

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New survey shows that 100 percent of people don’t mind participating in surveys.

No, the survey in the title doesn’t exist, but it was the easiest way to summarize the problem of response rates.  The reason why the hypothetical survey in the title got its result was because they first had to ask if they wanted to take a survey before they asked the survey question.  Thus, the survey reaches the …

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Royalty Rule of Thumb Gets the Boot

The Federal Circuit ruled in Uniloc USA, Inc. v. Microsoft Corp. (January 4, 2011) that the widely used but fatally flawed 25 percent rule can no longer be part of reasonable royalty damages calculations. The rule has been widely used to calculate reasonable royalty damages for over two decades. Generally speaking, the rule pushed patent …

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CFO Incentive Compensation Not a Key Factor in Accounting Fraud

This last week, the Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation published an interesting paper entitled “Why Do CFOs Become Involved in Material Accounting Manipulations?.  The research was conducted by four professors from the University of Pittsburg and the University of Washington. The professors started with 2,261 Accounting and Auditing Enforcement Releases …

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