On February 18, 2015, American Express lost its court battle with the Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division over the card’s Non-Discrimination Provisions (“NDPs”), which prohibited merchants from steering customers to another network’s cards.
Pursuant to a consent order entered into with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Continental Finance Company must refund $2.7 million to approximately 98,000 customers and pay a $250,000 penalty to the Bureau.
Bar exam results from around the country are beginning to trickle in and the results are far from encouraging. The results from July 2014 were the lowest in recent memory, but many had hoped that the drop would prove to be only an aberration. This does not appear to be the case.
So now the real question is: How much longer will law students continue to stick with the major bar review companies that can’t seem to get them to pass?
American Express is not the boss of your store anymore.
The CFPB entered a consent order that requires subprime credit card company, Continental Finance Company, LLC (“Continental”), to refund an estimated $2.7 million to consumers who were charged alleged illegal credit card fees.
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) reached a $16 million deal with a Utah bank recently, settling charges that the financial institution engaged in unfair and deceptive acts and practices.
Merrick Bank violated Section 5 of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Act in the marketing and servicing of its credit card add-on products, the regulator alleged. From 2008 to 2013, the bank touted its “PAYS Plan” as a payment protection card add-on product that provided a benefit payment toward a customer’s monthly credit card payment when triggered by life events such as involuntary unemployment, disability or hospitalization.
A Russian cybercriminal allegedly “was a leader in the marketplace for stolen credit card numbers, and even created a website offering a tutorial on how to use stolen credit card numbers to commit crime.”
* “[T]he one thing Windsor does not do is clearly establish a nationalized definition of marriage.” No one will be surprised when the same-sex marriage cases wind up before the Supreme Court. [National Law Journal]
* Law firm mergers continue to hum along at a record pace, but whether they’ll actually work out is another question entirely. Only time will tell if we’ll see another “spectacular flameout.” [Wall Street Journal (sub. req.)]
* “The billable hour’s day has passed.” Eighty percent of law firm leaders believe hourly billing may soon be going the way of the dodo in favor of alternative billing arrangements. [Capital Business / Washington Post]
* Despite its anti-gay policies, Trinity Western University Law has been granted approval from the Law Society of British Columbia to open its doors. And here we thought Canadians were supposed to be polite. [GlobalPost]
* If you want to take an “Law and _____” class, sign up for Law and Traumatic Brain Injuries at GW Law. Having a TBI yourself seems like a requirement for enrollment, but shockingly, it’s not. [New York Times]
* Times are so rough that God can’t even get a credit card. Instead of casting plagues upon the earth, he’s suing Equifax — though we’re sure he wouldn’t mind if the credit agency reps caught lice. [New York Post]
* This gem of a listing just showed up in the “legal/paralegal jobs” section of Craigslist. Be sure to send a “nude picture” with your résumé! Perhaps someone has been watching too many Maggie Gyllenhaal films. If it gets taken down a screenshot is here, and the klassy alternative picture in the listing is here. [Craigslist]
* From the “no good deed goes unpunished” department, Georgetown Law has figured out how to bilk taxpayers into covering the costs of increasing tuition. The federal government forgives law school debt for those in the public sector if they agree to make an income-based payment. Georgetown is covering those costs, passing it on to future students (who also won’t be paying it back), and then encouraging students to shelter income to guarantee the school comes out ahead. This is why we can’t have nice things. [Wonkblog / Washington Post]
* The always outspoken Judge Kopf shares his thoughts on Shon Hopwood’s selection as a clerk for Judge Janice Rogers Brown. Judge Kopf sentenced Hopwood to 147 months in the 90s. [Hercules and the Umpire]
* A delightful “man bites dog” story: a bank didn’t read a customer’s amendments to a credit card application before issuing him a card and went to court whining about how hard it is to pay attention to the fine print. Boo hoo hoo. [The Telegraph]
* How to deal with your mistakes. This only applies to associates, though. Partners have two steps: (1) find an associate; (2) blame the associate. [Associate’s Mind]
* Everything’s bigger in Texas, including their misreading of the Supreme Court’s precedent. [Election Law Blog]
* China is way serious about prosecuting corruption. [Legal Juice]
* The Mets muscle man whose comic inability to open a water bottle went viral on YouTube is actually a lawyer from White Plains. If you haven’t seen the clip yet, it’s after the jump. Watching the water bottle battle is the only excuse for subjecting yourself to a Royals-Mets game…
We at Kinney are running the search for a fantastic in-house opening in Singapore, at the leading and largest tech company in Southeast Asia. The spot will be filled by a US associate with at least three years experience in M&A, from a top Wall Street or equivalent US firm. Compensation will be competitive with what the new hire is earning at their top tier law firm.
* Unhappy with eleventy billion dollars in damages due to Apple, Samsung will begin its appeals, perhaps even to the Supreme Court (because you know that SCOTUS wants a bite at the proverbial literal patent apple). [Wall Street Journal]
* And speaking of that jury award, jury foreman Velvin Hogan had this to say about it: “We wanted to make sure it was sufficiently high to be painful, but not unreasonable.” Yeah, because a billion dollars in damages isn’t unreasonable at all. [Reuters]
* Do judges with lawyerly license plates avoid traffic infractions instead of getting tickets? The New York Commission on Judicial Conduct is investigating this issue of epic importance. [New York Law Journal]
* If bill collectors are threatening to sue you over your credit-card debts, you better pray that your case lands on Judge Noach Dear’s docket, because in his courtroom, “it’s dismiss, dismiss, dismiss.” [New York Post]
* Hippies can file lawsuits, too: Burning Man starts today, but the event’s organizers claim that its Nevada venue is pursuing a new theme in view of a “drastic increase in fees” — burning money. [All Things Digital]
* Protestors should be allowed to act however they want when carrying prohibited machetes in Republican National Convention event zones. This was the first, and definitely the coolest, RNC arrest made. [ABC News]
* Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg may be the oldest member of the high court, but she’s still one bad ass bitch. She broke two ribs in June, and still fulfilled all of her duties on the bench. We <3 RBG! [Reuters]
* While merchants will now be able to charge more when customers use credit cards, they might not get much else from this Visa / MasterCard settlement because of an American Express catch-22. [New York Times]
* The Garden State just got a little greener (in a sticky icky way): starting today, doctors in New Jersey will be able to register their patients for the Department of Health’s medical marijuana program. [Star-Ledger]
* After some highly questionable opposition from government officials, the city of Macon, Georgia, has approved the placement of a park bench in memory of slain Mercer Law grad Lauren Giddings. [Telegraph]
* Kansas Law received a $1M donation to support scholarships. The dean is thrilled, because the school will be able to compete to attract and retain students who will someday be unemployed. [Lawrence Journal-World]
* The verdict is in on who reigns as the highest paid TV personality. Even if you pee on her leg and tell her it’s raining, Judge Judy will be able to afford the dry-cleaning bill, because she’s loaded. [New York Daily News]
* Even if you’re a ho fo’ sho, that doesn’t mean you can’t do business in a ho-tel, mo-tel, or Holiday Inn. An Australian court ruled that denying prostitutes rooms was discriminatory. [International Business Times]
Small-firm columnist Brian Tannebaum offers some practice advice about how to charge clients and how to communicate with them.
Another high-profile data breach exposed a lot of people’s personal information. I wish I were more shocked…
Ed. note: This is the latest installment of Small Firms, Big Lawyers, one of Above the Law’s new columns for small-firm lawyers. There’s this great little Chilean sandwich shop near my office in Boston. Now I don’t know the first thing about Chilean cuisine, but it says “Chilean” on the sign, so that’s good enough […]