China’s Legal Retaliation

China responded to the United States trade rules by disapproving Washington’s move to the supremacists of its foreign investment supervisory body. The Chinese administration expresses fears that this move means that the US will use general security apprehensions unlawfully to confine Chinese investments. Chinese Tech industries investing in the US are the targets of the new investment rules. The recent trending trade wars have sparked retaliation in imports and exports between China and the US. The levies are valued at $34 billion.

The Trump administration imposed tariffs on its allies a month ago which, has brought heat-ups in trade. All Washington’s trade associates vowed to retaliate in case president Trump refused to evoke the new rules. Following Trump’s declination, countries in the European Union and China began strike backs on certain US commodities. These trade wars have affected the Forex platform with investors avoiding risks given the deteriorating value of currencies against the greenback.

The US President Donald Trump whispered his support on the legislation that would magnify the influences of the Committee on Foreign Investment in the US (CFIUS). CFIUS exists as an inter-agency group that inspects the state security and effects of trade deals resulting in foreign proprietorship of US firms. The president has the mandate to cease agreements if recommended by the body. However, in run-through, a lousy CFIUS outcome only is so often sufficient to halt a deal. In a statement, Mr Trump hailed the move claiming that it was combat for the predatory venture practices menacing the US tech industry, and future economic fortune.

Deals that would pose a threat to the US tech prosperity can be halted by the stretched out role of CFIUS legislation. The critical striking point in the US and China trade tensions revolves around intellectual property. For long the US has been accusing China of stealing the country’s tech. The legislation is highly opposed by China with Gao Feng, saying China will monitor it to evaluate its potential impact on Chinese firms. Gao is the Chinese Commerce Ministry spokesman. According to BBC, China is the primary investor in the US which should exempt it from harsher foreign investment legislation.
China has been focusing on its initiative, Made in China 2025, that focuses on tech progress. Since the election of Trump, Chinese investment depreciated with values from the Rhodium Group showing a more than 90% fall in 2017. China’s investment in the US totaled $24.2 billion in 2017 according to the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

The Essence of Certifications in the Legal Industry

The integration of experts and machines is expected to increase exponentially over the next decade. Specialists who have an in-depth knowledge in law will drastically affect both the legal support staff and the practising lawyers’ community. The earning potential in this industry is accelerated whenever an attorney has the necessary certifications and credentials. Certifications also provide vertical mobility, job security and greater sustainability. They also produce attorneys who practice with their foundational knowledge and cutting-edge skills that are critical in competing in the 21st century where services have become data-driven. Privacy has been the focus in 2018 and has shifted from corporate to social consciousness in a more aggressive manner.

Privacy is not entirely new to the law profession. However, it has been in the spotlight over the last year like never before. Corporate legal operations are now finding it very necessary to train or hire privacy professionals. These specialists have become an invaluable resource in supporting the practice and development of any law firm in the United States and the world over. The fast rise in privacy has been attributed to the reaction by most firms to the dire consequences for failing to comply with the General Data Protection regulation by the European Union. The EU’s deadline for business enterprises that conduct business in Europe was on May 25, 2018. Moreover, the highly publicized scandal by Facebook and Cambridge Analytica has intensified the demand by populists for action and awareness related to how a firm handles the privacy of the information they collect from their clients.

However, it is important to note that action and awareness are two modalities that are very distinct. So far, only one certification program has focused its energies on solving both the privacy solution operationalization and privacy education. The International Association of Privacy Professionals’ certification program (IAPP) has now become the standard for companies and other employers who want the instant validation of the privacy expertise of any individual. The very first step to becoming a professional on privacy matters is to have a clear understanding of both the foreign and domestic rules and regulations.

There are a total of five variations for the professional privacy credentials under the IAPP umbrella. These include the US private sector, the US government, Europe, Canada and Asia. You will have to acquire the CIPP/E certification to get a GDPR savvy. One of the first things that human resource managers ask for before they can hire your firm is accreditation from either of these certifying body.

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Professor Sujit Choudhry is Signatory on Amicus Brief that Opposes Texas’ Anti-Abortion Law

Professor Sujit Choudhry of the Center for Constitutional Transitions is one of several academics in the field of international and comparative law who are signatories on an amicus curiae brief concerning the improper view of international perspectives on abortion law. The brief, led by Aziza Ahmed, professor at Northeastern University School of Law, supports the Center for Reproductive Rights and Planned Parenthood as co-counsel representing abortion clinics and doctors in a case examining a challenge to a Texas law that bans dilation and evacuation, an otherwise commonly used and safe second trimester abortion procedure. More narrowly, the law seeks to ban the safest, most common method of second-trimester abortions after approximately 15 weeks, and as such Texas is in direct contradiction to the norms recognized in international law. The law was preliminary enjoined by a federal district court as it finds it to be likely unconstitutional. The state of Texas has appealed.


States are required by international human rights law to enable access to safe and legal abortion services. In line with this international norm, the global consensus is such that individual nations with legal traditions similar to those of the U.S. lean towards liberalization of abortion access. This reflects an expanding understanding of the close links between abortion access, gender equality and women’s health. Rather than acknowledging this international consensus, Texas presents a misleading and erroneous analysis of foreign law in the support of the state’s aim to pass a law that restricts access to safe abortion care.


The brief first elaborates international law as a counterpoint to the comparative analysis on which Texas exclusively relies. It then highlights the flawed methodology as well as the irrelevancy of the points mentioned by the expert witness who introduced comparative law evidence in support of Texas as they do not speak to moral or ethical consensus. Professor Choudhry is among the amici who, as international and comparative law scholars, has an interest in correcting this improper view of international law and Texas’s deeply flawed comparative law analysis.



Professor Choudhry is internationally recognized as an expert on comparative constitutional law and politics. He has also been a constitutional advisor for over two decades, and his expertise encompasses facilitating public dialogue sessions with civil society groups and other stakeholders, leading stakeholder consultations, performing detailed advisory work with technical experts, training civil servants and bureaucrats, engaging party leaders and parliamentarians, and drafting technical reports and memoranda in the field. Professor Choudhry globally advises on the process of constitution building in a number of countries. He is currently a member of the United Nations Mediation Roster and consultant to the World Bank Institute at the World Bank and the United Nations Development Program.


Choudhry is the founding Director of the Center for Constitutional Transitions that assembles and leads international networks of experts and partners with a global network of multilateral organizations, think tanks, NGOs and universities in order to conduct thematic research projects that offer evidence-based policy options to practitioners. This is part of the Center’s effort to both create as well as mobilize knowledge in support of constitution building.  To date, the Center for Constitutional Transitions has worked with over 50 experts from more than 25 countries. The Center is partnered with with the International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance, whereby Choudhry co-leads three global collaborative research projects. These include Dealing with Territorial Cleavages in Constitutional Transitions, Security Sector Reform and Constitutional Transitions in Emerging Democracies, and Security Sector Oversight: Protecting Democratic Consolidation from Authoritarian Backsliding and Partisan Abuse.


Sujit Choudhry is the I. Michael Heyman Professor of Law at the University of California, Berkeley – School of Law. His previous academic engagements include having been the Cecelia Goetz Professor of Law at New York University, and the Scholl Chair at the University of Toronto. In his research, he focuses on several comparative constitutional law and politics issues. These include constitutional design as a tool to manage the transition from violent conflict to peaceful democratic politics; constitutional design in ethnically divided societies; federalism, decentralization and secession; semi-presidentialism; constitutional courts; official language policy, minority and group rights; bills of rights and proportionality; constitutional design in the context of transitions from authoritarian to democratic rule; constitution building; security sector oversight; and basic methodological questions in the study of comparative constitutional law.


His publication record includes over ninety articles, books, book chapters, working papers and reports. Choudhry is a member of the Executive Committee of the International Society of Public Law, the International Advisory Council of the Institute for Integrated Transitions, the Scientific Advisory Board of the International Journal of Constitutional Law, the Editorial Board of the Constitutional Court Review, the Editorial Advisory Board for the Cambridge Studies in Constitutional Law, and is an Honorary Member of the Advisory Council of the Indian Constitutional Law Review.

More information on Sujit Choudhry can be found on his personal website as well as on LinkedIn, Twitter (@sujit_choudhry), Instagram (@sujitchoudhry) and on Facebook. More information regarding the Center can be found on

Legal Connections of U.S. President’s Personal Attorney Face Scrutiny

In the common law system of the United States, attorney-client privilege is considered one of the most sacred principles of the legal practice; however, the multiple investigations surrounding New York attorney Michael Cohen are really putting this principle to the test.

As personal attorney to U.S. President Donald Trump, Michael Cohen came to notoriety a few months ago after investigative reporters from the Wall Street Journal exposed the clumsy handling of Stormy Daniels, an adult film star who had a sexual relationship with Trump in 2016. Cohen sought to pay off Daniels with a shaky non-disclosure agreement that never quite managed to keep the actress silent about her affair with the billionaire who is now U.S. President.

Just as the Stormy Daniels scandal was developing into a news media spectacle, federal agents and prosecutors raided Cohen’s office, filing cabinet and home; this action was pursuant to a search warrant that originated from the ongoing Special Counsel investigation into alleged collusion between Russian operatives and the Trump political campaign.

Sifting through Cohen’s files for the purpose of organizing discovery has been complicated due to attorney-client privilege issues. The federal judge in this case appointed a special master to ensure that privileged communications between Cohen and certain clients does not leak out in the course of prosecution; nonetheless, what has been revealed thus far appears to be very questionable.

As reported by the American Bar Association Journal, the investigation into Cohen’s business indicates that he referred major clients to firms such as Squire Patton Boggs, and he also took on clients such as AT&T and Novartis on his own, but the scope of the work that was promised to these companies could be troublesome for President Trump.

In the case of the U.S. Immigration Fund, the client referred to Squire Patton Boggs, it is alleged that Cohen promised direct access to Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and White House adviser. The U.S. Immigration Fund is dedicated to facilitating HB-5 visas to wealthy foreigners who can apply for green cards in exchange for investing in projects that create jobs for American workers. Kushner has already been criticized for peddling his influence to Chinese investors.

As for AT&T and Novartis, their respective CEOs have embarrassedly admitted that retaining Cohen was a strategy to advance their lobbying efforts. Prosecutors are also focusing on Russian investors who transferred nearly one million dollars to Cohen, although the reasons as to why the embattled attorney received these funds is unclear.

The Government Went Seeking Justice at Visium. But Was it Served?

Nearly two years after being rocked by an investigation, Visium Asset Management continues to wind down its business. In June 2016, the SEC and the U.S. Attorney’s Office laid charges emanating from bond mis-marking and inflated portfolio assets as the result of evidence brought forward by whistleblower Jason Thorell.

Thorell’s concerns over mispricing surfaced in June 2013 when he raised the issue with Visium’s founder and CIO, Jacob Gottlieb while recording the conversation. Thorell subsequently reported his concerns to the SEC and in collaboration with the FBI and the SEC, Thorell spent more than two years gathering evidence in the form of hundreds of hours of recorded conversations. This evidence triggered an investigation into Visium’s holdings and resulted in the charges brought against two former employees. Despite the fact that only 2% of the company’s employees were involved, the charges resulted in the very public destruction of the $8 billion firm and left over 170 employees suddenly without jobs.

Today, the SEC settled charges against Visium Asset Management for insider trading and inflation of fund returns.

The only person remaining at the firm is Jacob Gottlieb, and he continues his work as CIO as Visium winds down. Gottlieb founded Visium in 2005 with a vision of creating a healthcare-focused hedge fund that would put company culture and employees first. Before creating Visium, Gottlieb had been an extremely successful portfolio manager at several other firms. However, he noticed that many companies had a cutthroat culture and suffered from a lack of team work and leadership support. Gottlieb wanted Visium to be different and he sought to create a company that offered employees a positive and collaborative culture, long-term career opportunities, and professional development.

Gottlieb’s long and deliberate recruitment process assessed not only skills and experience but also, and most importantly, cultural fit. New employees were supported with a formal onboarding process and regular meetings with Gottlieb himself to assess progress and set goals. New portfolio managers were also paired with research dirtectors to support them through the initial learning period, help them identify mistakes, and provide ongoing coaching on how to improve. With this strong support system, Visium portfolio managers were successful; and at its peak in 2016, the company had the aforementioned 170 employees and $8 billion in AUM.

Given the supportive environment that fostered many Visium employees to launch successful careers beginnings, it didnt’ come as a surprise when many of them were quickly picked up by competitors in 2016. Being accustomed to Gottlieb’s nurturing leadership style, the former employees quickly realized the sink-or-swim mentality that their new employers harnessed. 20 Visium employees were poached by Aptigon Capital, a subsidiary of Citadel, at the first sign of the unfurling insider trading scandal. Citadel founder and CEO, Ken Griffin lured employees away from Visium with generous pay packages and the promise of managing $1 billion portfolios. Griffin’s no stranger to poaching talent and has been quoted as saying “the talent you want to hire is the talent you want to pull from someone else.”

What Visium employees didn’t realize was that Griffin would live up to his reputation as an unforgiving boss who is quick to dismiss employees. Part of Griffin’s promise to employees was that they would receive the support of analysts to service their portfolios, but this promise went unfulfilled leaving the managers overworked and under-resourced. The Visium employees were also burdened by Aptigon’s aggressive fee structure. The higher fees Aptigon demanded meant that the managers needed to achieve higher returns than they were used to, without the assistance of the skilled analysts and collaborative culture that they were accustomed to under Visium (and Gottlieb)’s leadership. As a result, of the 20 Visium portfolio managers recruited by Aptigon, only two remain less than two years later.

The fall of Visium was caused by the actions of a small number of employees escaping detection for a short period of time- as confirmed by the SEC’s recent press release earlier today. Ultimately, many have suffered from the resulting layoffs and the lack of professional success at other firms, like Aptigon. To further illustrate the scope of the issues resulting from the dissolution of Visium, we can look at the fate of employees who have gone to competing firms. At the same time Aptigon was recruiting Visium employees, other Visium portfolio managers joined rival firm AllianceBernstein Holding LP. Although the Visium employees have been successful at AllianceBernstein, their success is lining the pockets of the foreign-owned parent company, AXA. Through Visium’s downfall, the American economy has lost talented workers and money to foreign-based entities.

The fate of the 170 innocent people who’ve suffered as a result of the events at Visium is often overlooked. The magnitude of the inflated assets are estimated to be approximately $4.5 million …a relatively small amount considering that it has forced the closure of an $8 billion company and the loss of 170 jobs. In the epilogue, there is no doubt that Gottlieb’s Visium was a firm with good intentions; a positive firm for investors and employees. The impact of Visium’s closure extends well beyond the named parties. Is this justice?

It Is Legal For Landlords To Refuse To Rent People With Section 8

The Section 8 housing program is designed to make housing more affordable for people. However, there are many landlords in Charlotte, North Carolina who refuse to rent to people who have Section 8 vouchers. It may be unethical, but it is still legal. Mark Poulton is a property owner who has dozens of houses in Charlotte. He stated that there is a great demand for housing in his area.

Mark stated that he is selective about who he rents to. He refuses to rent to people who have Section 8 vouchers. He stated that the property has to be inspected before someone with a Section 8 voucher can move into it. This can take two weeks, which causes the landlord to lose money.

Shelly Fenly and Angela Hargrove are both Section 8 recipients. They stated that they have both had multiple landlords turn them down. Shelly stated that she had been turned down by 15 landlords.

Angela stated that she has faced a lot of discrimination because she was on Section 8. She stated that she has been treated like a bad person just because she was on Section 8. She believes that it is a form of income discrimination. A spokesperson for the Charlotte Housing Authority has stated that discriminating against people who have Section 8 makes it harder for people to get affordable housing.

Both Angela and Shelley believe that the laws should be changed so that landlords cannot refuse people with Section 8 vouchers. Braxton Winston III works for the City of Charlotte. He stated that everyone has the right to safe and affordable housing.

He also stated that if the laws are changed in Charlotte, then the issue may be taken to the state. It will be a lot like the situation that happened with the HB2 bill.

Iowa Court Rules Dangerous Dog Ordinance is Too Vague

Pinky is a mixed-breed dog was lives in the city of Des Moines, Iowa. One day, Pinky was mistakenly let into the front yard by a family friend. Pinky spotted the neighbor’s cat, and proceeded to grab the cat in her mouth.

The cat was not killed, but it required over 36 staples to close its wounds. The cat’s owner called animal control who took Pinky into custody.

The city of Des Moines has a dangerous animal law. According to this law, any animal that had a propensity to viciousness and had attacked another animal to the point that the other animal or person suffered a laceration, fracture or needed surgery was deemed a dangerous animal.

This designation fit what happened in the incident between Pinky and cat. Pinky was ordered to be euthanized. However, Pinky’s new owner, the Animal Rescue League of Iowa, filed suit to block the city’s order.

The case made its way to the Iowa Court of Appeals which has ruled by a 3-2 margin that the dangerous animal ordinance in the city of Des Moines is too vague rendering it unconstitutional. Pinky has won a reprieve.

The court found the law to be vague in a number of different areas. The justices had problems with the term “vicious tendencies”. The majority felt that this was not defined, and they felt that one incident may not be enough to state that an animal had vicious tendencies when the dog had been gentle in the past.

One justice stated that the law was too vague because it might classify a cat as a dangerous animal for practicing natural behavior. The justice gave the example of a cat killing or maiming a wild bird.

The justices in the majority made it clear that in order for a dangerous animal law to be enforceable in the city of Des Moines, the city would have to be more detailed in the law. The court also suggested that one person should not be able to determine if an animal was vicious.





Michigan Bar Association Refuses To Reinstate Suspended Referee

In 2014, the Michigan State Bar Association suspended Dennis Mikko’s license to practice law. They said that Mikko failed to maintain high standards of conduct required of lawyers. They also said that Mikko violated Michigan’s Rules of Professional Conduct. They suspended Mikko’s license for one year and also charged him costs of approximately $2,800.

Mikko recently asked the Michigan Bar for another chance. He said that he was ready to practice law again. Bar representatives said that they looked at Mikko’s conduct before, during and after his suspension. They said they weren’t convinced that it’s a good idea to hand him a new bar card.

In his petition for a new bar license, Mikko said that his original suspension wasn’t fair. He said that the original hearing officers looked at images that they shouldn’t have considered. The new hearing panel said that it was so long ago that it didn’t matter much.

It’s safe to say that the conduct leading to Mikko’s suspension is some of the most bizarre conduct in Michigan State Bar history. Mikko was a family court referee for the 13th Circuit Court in Grand Traverse County, Michigan. It was his job to hear cases regarding juvenile delinquency.

Mikko wasn’t an elected judge. Instead, he was hired by the court to hear cases on the judge’s behalf. The purpose of Mikko’s position is to allow a referee to handle some of the more routine, daily work of the court. It was part of Mikko’s job to hear cases involving at-risk youth who appeared in front of the court to respond to petitions regarding juvenile delinquency.

That’s where Mikko’s behavior gets strange. Mikko created a journal. The journal was full of lewd photographs. Mikko took photos of some of the juveniles who appeared in his court and put them on the lewd photographs. He added writings by the photographs.

Mikko kept the diary in his briefcase at work. He also allegedly had sexually explicit communications using his work computer. Mikko faced criminal charges, but a court dismissed them because they said that the photos weren’t criminal. Prosecutors didn’t challenge the dismissal.

Mikko said that he’s remorseful for his actions. However, bar officials said that he was just trying to say the right things. Mikko continued to referee youth soccer during the term of his suspension. Parents whose children played soccer said that they disagreed with the decision to allow Mikko to officiate youth soccer games but felt powerless to stop it.


Are Law Schools Ignoring the LSAT?

Some law schools are moving away from the LSAT as the sole entrance exam for law school. LSAT stands for Law School Admissions Test. It used to be that a good score on the LSAT was the only way to get a big fat envelope in the mail that signaled admission to law school. The LSAT tests for logic and reading comprehension.

Today, some law schools are using the GRE as a standardized test for admission. Today, more than a dozen schools accept the GRE as a valid standardized test for law school admission including prestigious schools like Georgetown and Northwestern. More schools say they have plans to do the same thing.

However, other schools are backtracking on accepting the GRE for law school admission. George Washington Law School is one of these schools. George Washington no longer accepts the GRE. They say students must take the LSAT. Some students say they’re disappointed because they prepared for the GRE in hopes of earning a high enough score to impress George Washington admissions officials.

George Washington representatives apologized for the sudden change. They even agreed to compensate applicants for the costs of their GRE tests. They also extended their deadline to give students time to go take the LSAT.

George Washington School of Law admissions representatives say it’s important that they admit only students who are likely to be successful in law school. They say that the GRE doesn’t give enough information about whether a student will be successful in George Washington’s program of study. They say they have to study how students do at George Washington relative to their GRE scores. They say without that information, they may not be in compliance with standards from the American Bar Association that allow them to admit only applicants who have a high chance of success in law school.

Officials say that it’s okay for the school to be cautious in its admissions policies. With a legal education costing more than $100,000 in some cases, they say they shouldn’t play fast and loose with the futures of their students. They also say that preserving the integrity of their admissions process ensures the reputation of the school.

Critics of the GRE as a standardized test for law school admissions say that the GRE doesn’t do enough to test logic. They say that the LSAT does what it’s designed to do which is to determine which candidates are best prepared for law school. However, supporters of the GRE say that a student might have more than one way to demonstrate their potential for success.


Oregon Judge Refuses to Listen to Witness Statement

When Dana Parks walked into the courtroom to watch her assailant receive his sentence for his crime, she wasn’t expecting the judge to walk out of the courtroom. But that’s what Judge Kenneth Walker decided to do. Parks tried to participate in the sentencing by making a statement to the judge. However, the judge didn’t want to hear it.

Instead of listening patiently, Judge Walker interrupted Parks. Finally, he lost his cool and left the courtroom. Parks didn’t get to finish her statement. She is the victim of domestic assault.

Judge Walker allegedly stopped Parks three times during her statement. The Oregon Crime Victims Law Center says Walker’s actions were inappropriate, and they want a new hearing so that the victim can have her say. They say that the law requires the judge to listen to what the victim has to say.

During a sentencing hearing, both the state’s attorney and the defense have an opportunity to address the court. The state’s attorney doesn’t directly represent the victim, but the victim still has the right to make a speech to the court. Although the sentencing hearing was 27 minutes long, that included the entire hearing. The judge didn’t let the victim read the last paragraph of her speech.

The judge says that his actions were justified. The judge says that the victim wanted to talk about things that hadn’t been charged. He thought that it was unfair that the victim was talking about other incidents and events. At one point, he openly said, “I don’t want to hear this.”

In addition, the judge complained that the victim wanted to bring up social media posts about the crime. He eventually said, “I’ve heard enough.” The prosecutor asked for the victim to be allowed to finish her statement, but the judge said no.

Before the hearing, the parties had already agreed to a sentence of three years in prison. The judge honored that agreement and handed down a sentence of three years. The judge has denied interview requests.

Lawmakers throughout the United States have passed victim rights laws in order to ensure that victims have their say in the legal process. Victims usually aren’t legally trained. They don’t know what they can say, and what they can’t say.

The Parks case raises the question of what victims should be allowed to talk about during a sentencing. A victim often wants the judge to understand the context behind the event itself. However, because judges might view victims as unimportant to a sentencing hearing, victim rights laws exist to ensure victims can participate in the legal process.

Court Says Immigrant Child Has No Right to Legal Counsel in Hearings

On Monday, the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco ruled that a child of a parent who is living in the United States illegally has no constitutional right to a court-appointed counsel in an immigration hearing.

The ruling upheld the deportation proceedings against a boy from Honduras, who along with his mother had come to America as a 13 year old in 2014, in order to flee gang violence in his homeland. During the deportation hearing in immigration court the boy had no legal counsel.

The three-judge 9th Circuit Court panel said that extending the right for a free-of-charge court-appointed counsel to accompanied immigrant minors would require an act of Congress.

While defendants in criminal cases have long had a constitutionally guaranteed right to an court-appointed lawyer, as a general rule the same does not apply for defendants in deportation proceedings, regardless of their age or other circumstances. But supporters of immigrant rights strongly believe that there should be an exception for young children.

Ahilan Arulanantham, who is not only representing the boy but who is also the legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Southern California, has said that he will request a review of the court’s ruling. He further said that the decision means that defenseless and vulnerable children would have to go up against highly trained government attorneys in immigration hearings, and that this would lead to the deportation of countless children to dangerous countries.

What the Circuit Court panel didn’t say in their “narrow” ruling is whether an unaccompanied immigrant child would have a right to a court-appointed attorney in an immigration hearing. Judge John Owens, who is on the panel and who ruled against the boy, said that if such a case came before the panel, the panel might rule differently.

The U.S. Department of Justice has yet to comment on the ruling, which has come just as the Trump Administration is attempting to make changes to deportation proceedings, so as to speed them up.



Biometric Privacy Laws Vary By State

Google’s Arts and Culture app was the latest app flavor of the week. Users upload a selfie, Google scans the biometrics of the image and matches it to a famous work of art. From Maine to California, people used the app and found their likenesses in portraits painted centuries ago by a variety of portrait artists. But people in Illinois and in Texas couldn’t join in on the fun. Google disabled the app in those states because of biometric privacy laws, or at least that is what lawyers suspect. Google has not released an official statement regarding the app blackout. But the app’s absence in some states has caused news syndicates to probe a bit deeper into biometric privacy laws.

NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly interviewed Matthew Kluger who teaches law at Northwestern University. According to Kluger, in Illinois and Texas, tech companies are required to disclose how biometric data is used and users must grant the companies permission, but there are no current all-encompassing disclosures and it seems Illinois and Texas require a bit more than a generic “I agree.”

Kelly mentioned that the app does have a disclosure. She quotes, “Google won’t use data from your photo for any other purpose and will only store your photo for the time it takes to search for matches.”

This disclosure seems fairly direct, but Kluger told Kelly that Google is likely acting on “an abundance of caution” due to ongoing litigation in Illinois.

There is another issue as well, who gets the data. In the state of Illinois, there is ongoing litigation to determine what happens to biometric data in the event that the company owning the data goes bankrupt. Can biometric information be legally sold to a third party without the individual’s knowledge?

Another wrinkle in biometric privacy law has to do with user identification. If someone were to snap a photo of another person or use someone else’s photo for the Arts and Culture app without that individual’s knowledge, that would be a violation of privacy. Google and other app developers would have to put fail safes in place to catch those kinds of activities.

In the meantime, Illinois residents can always cross into Indiana, Missouri, Iowa or Kentucky to find out their portrait doppelganger. Unfortunately, people in the great big state of Texas might have a farther drive.

Jersey Shore Star Has A Situation Of His Own

Jersey Shore is a reality television show that appeared on MTV several years ago. One of the hit stars of the show Michael Sorrentino, who went under the stage name The Situation, is now in a heap of trouble. Michael Sorrentino was recently audited by the federal government, and the government discovered Michael did not report approximately two million dollars, which he made between 2011 to 2012.

In order to avoid a trial and face approximately 30 years in prison, Michael Sorrentino entered a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, and he was charged with deceiving the federal government. Michael Sorrentino is possibly going to face 2-5 years in prison, but Michael hopes he can get home confinement.

What made Michael Sorrentino decide to take a plea agreement was the fact that his brother, Marc Sorrentino, is the one handling the taxes. After Michael made approximately nine million dollars from the Jersey Shore show, Marc reported to the federal government that Michael only made five million dollars. Marc and Michael were charged for this, which is a separate case and investigation that is ongoing. After the prosecution team told Michael they were going to bring the ongoing investigation up during the trial, Michael decided to enter into a plea agreement. Michael’s attorney told him this decision is in his best interest and the best interest of his family.

Michael’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for the last week of February. A lot of media attention is expected to be given to this sentencing hearing, and Michael’s entire family is expected to be present at the hearing. Jersey Shore producers have not commented on this situation. However, an attorney for the Jersey Shore television show stated all money paid to Michael Sorrentino is documented and can be shown to authorities at any time.

World Champion Gymnast Says Abuse in Gymnastics Dates Back to the 1980s

Despite the recent firestorm against USA Gymnastics and the organization’s handling of sexual abuse, one world champion says that the problem goes far deeper than the hundreds of complaints that have surfaced in the last two years. Marcia Frederick says the problem goes back to the 1970s when her coach abused her for years. Frederick says that her coach routinely abused her for several years at the height of her competitive career. She said the abuse took place inside and outside of the gym. She said it eventually derailed her competitive career. The abuse began when she was 16 years old.

When Frederick tried to blow the whistle and report the abuse to USA Gymnastics, she says the allegations were dismissed. She says that the abuse was condoned by officials and that she was blamed for her own abuse. She says that adults preyed on her and didn’t stand up for her.

Frederick says her complaints fell on deaf ears. She says that there’s been no action taken against the coach who denies anything ever happened. She says that the failures in her case are just one example of the governing body’s systemic stifling of sexual abuse complaints. Frederick says that there are other coaches from the same era who abused gymnasts without consequence.

For her, the consequences have been severe. She doesn’t speak to her father. She’s haunted by the events of the past. However, she says that USA Gymnastics officials are more concerned with protecting their reputation than they are about making sure more innocent children don’t become victims.

The United States Olympic Committee delegates leadership of gymnastics on a national level to USA Gymnastics. The organization oversees national competitions and selection of athletes for representation at international events. In the wake of mounting criticism, CEO Steve Penny resigned with a severance package of approximately $1 million. Some are calling on the U.S. Olympic Committee to decertify the entire organization and appoint new leadership for governance of the sport in the United States.

In addition to Frederick, world and Olympic champions Aly Raisman, Gabby Douglas and McKayla Maroney have all disclosed that they’re victims of abuse at the hands of USA Gymnastics officials. World champion Maggie Nichols was the first athlete to make a complaint that led to an investigation and the publicity of what appears to be decades of abuse of minor athletes. The athletes and their families say that USA Gymnastics appears to have grossly failed in their obligations to notify authorities of suspected child abuse.

Claims Against Nationwide And Former Executive David Giertz Dismissed

Claims against Nationwide and one of its former executives David Giertz, has been dismissed.  The parties named in the suit include Nationwide Investment Services Corporation (NISC), Nationwide  Financial Services (NFS), and Nationwide Life Insurance Company (NLIC).

The suit was originally filed by plaintiff Kristen E Nieter. After the former Nationwide wholesaler claimed that she was subjected to unwelcome conduct and retaliation resulting in her termination in June of 2016.Kristin E Nieter, formerly a registered representative in Chicago, began working for Nationwide in Columbus, OH in 1998.  Nieter worked for the company for 12 years.  She would then leave in 2010 and return in 2013.  After her termination in 2016, Nieter claimed that she was terminated without reason.  This is despite admitting she violated company policies.

Former Nationwide VP David Giertz
Former Nationwide VP David Giertz

However, Nationwide Investment Services Corporation denied this claim and listed “failure to observe high standards of commercial honor and just and equitable principles of trade and engaging in inappropriate practices with third parties who are not affiliated with the firm” as the official reason for her termination on her U-5 form.

Nationwide has vehemently denied all allegations of wrongdoing.  According to the judge’s ruling handed  down in July 2017, the Franklin County, Ohio court agrees.  Judge David C. Young struck down Nieter’s claim against NFS, NLIC and Giertz, finding they had no involvement in the information provided on Nieter’s post-termination U-5 form.

For those not in the securities industry, the U-5 form is a uniform termination notice for the licensed securities industry.  This form must be filed with the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) when terminating a registered representatives license.  Licensed broker-dealer firms are legally required to list a reason for termination on the form.  The reason must be related to why an employee’s license is being revoked.

However, companies that are not licensed broker-dealer firms are not authorized to provide a U-5 form upon termination. As a result, NFS, NLIC, and David Giertz, are not registered broker-dealer firms, are not required to report a reason for termination on the U-5 form, the defamation claim was therefore, dismissed as to them.

For more information about Nationwide visit their website.

Read more about David Giertz on SlideShare.