Third-Party Litigation Finance: Leveling The Playing Field or Overstepping Ethical Boundaries?

By: Alexander Karl

A teacher of mine once described capitalism as taking piles of money and making them grow. While this is a somewhat elementary definition, the idea is on the right track. The American economy proudly boasts of its capitalist background. We paint a picture (though some say it’s wrongly painted) in which an immigrant with no money to his name can strike it rich with a little sweat and elbow grease. Capitalism and its general principles resonate with many Americans to this day as they are finding new unique ways to watch their piles of money grow. As many Americans have figured out, there is no better way to grow your money than investments. When pondering the investments prevalent within today’s society a few come to mind such as stocks, bonds, real estate, and gold. However, capitalists are always on the cutting edge of new investment trends and … Read the rest

New Legal Problems Created by Wearable Devices

By: Young Ah Kim

I. Introduction

Wearable devices have been drawing serious attention in the media as the next big thing since Google glass, a wearable device with an optical head-mounted display, was launched in 2013.[1] Fitbit, the maker of fitness-tracking wristbands, went public in 2015 after its sales rose 174% to $745 million in 2014.[2] Since GoPro’s initial public offering in 2014, the maker of the action camera has climbed over 100% from its top-of-the-range IPO price-per-share.[3] Apple unveiled the Apple watch that can monitor heart rate and activity and create a one-stop shop for health information of consumers.[4] Apple CEO Tim Cook called the Apple Watch “the most personal device we’ve ever created.”[5] According to Statista, an Internet-based statistics provider, “the global wearable device market is expected to grow from $5 billion in 2014 to $12.6 billion by 2018.”[6] In a 2014 … Read the rest

New York’s Legally Dubious and Harmful Sodium Labeling Scheme

By: Joseph Zender

In September, New York City’s Board of Health (“Board”) passed an ordinance that requires restaurants to post warnings on items on their menus that are have high sodium content.[1] The National Restaurant Association is challenging the new law in state court on the grounds that it is overly burdensome and that it circumvents the legislative process.[2] The new law would require restaurants with more than 15 locations nationwide to place a black triangle next to any item on their menu that contains more than 2,300 milligrams (0.08 ounces) of sodium.[3] Not only is the New York City Board of Health’s move legally dubious by circumventing the legislative process and overly burdening the restaurants, it will also have unintended consequences that will affect the community at large in adverse ways.

The sodium posting requirement is reminiscent of another action by the Board back in 2012, … Read the rest

The Alienability of Digital Distribution Licenses

By: Steven Wittenberg

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.[1]

Evidently, digital distribution licenses should have also been listed with the other “unalienable Rights…”

Digital distribution describes the system in which non-tangible digital content – such as movies, music, books and video games – is delivered to consumers. To analogize, think of the internet as the river of commerce and the online delivery medium (e.g. a Kindle or a PlayStation 4) as the port where goods are unloaded; the articles of online electronic commerce include digital products (e.g. a novel or standalone video game) and their sub-products including downloadable content and other add-ons.

Depending on the demands of the consumer, the product might be streamed or downloaded. To illustrate, it … Read the rest

The Best Offense Is a Good Defense: The Strategic Value of Building a Strong Corporate Culture

By: Matthew Lowe

I. Introduction

In 2014, a University of Virginia Law Professor, Brandon L. Garrett, wrote a book entitled: Too Big to Jail: How Prosecutors Compromise with Corporations. In his book, Garrett inadvertently outlined a strategy for companies to follow, which would allow them to increase morale and productivity while also putting measures in place to avoid damaging litigation. Relying on the development and successful implementation of a healthy, viable corporate culture, the benefits of this strategy should serve as the catalyst for wide scale adoption.

II. Background

In the 1930s, a Republican attorney by the name of Conrad Printzlien left his position in the district attorney’s office in the Eastern District of New York to work as a probation officer.[1] While this voluntary career shift meant a 50% salary reduction, Printzlien accepted the position partially due to the urging of the court, but also because he … Read the rest

Daily Fantasy Sports & Modern Regulation

By: Alex Karl

American consumer markets are always seeking to develop new cutting edge ways to make money. One ever-present revenue goliath is the sports industry, which generates roughly $14.3 billion annually.[1] With every industry there are others who try to latch on and make a profit of their own, and this is no different with the sports industry and Daily Fantasy Sports (DFS) sites. DFS websites such as FanDuel and DraftKings hone into this market by allowing it’s users to enter into contests where they create lineups from athletes in their respective sports in an attempt to win money.[2] The sites offer contests on a range of sports, including the NFL, NBA, MLB, PGA and more.[3] After choosing a contest you wish to join and paying a fee, users are allotted a set budget in which to create their lineup and each respective athlete is given … Read the rest

Automated Vehicles: Strict Products Liability, Negligence Liability and Proliferation

By: Steven Wittenberg

The proliferation of automated vehicles (sometimes called “self-driving cars”[1] or “autonomous cars”[2]) is poised to make American roads safer by reducing or even eliminating human error, which is the leading cause of collisions. In 2008, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that 40 percent of crashes occur because of “recognition error,” which includes “inadequate surveillance” and “internal distraction,” while 35 percent of crashes arise from “decision error,” which includes speeding and misjudgments.[3] Automated vehicles can increase driver safety by removing driver error from the situation.[4]

California, Nevada, Michigan, Florida, and D.C. are the only states which have pioneered legislation regulating automated vehicles on public roads.[5] Virginia has dedicated 70 miles of a highway for public road testing.[6] To provide some background, the California statute requires drivers of automated vehicles to obtain a special license.[7] Additionally, the vehicles … Read the rest

The Danger of the Gas Tax: to People, Businesses, and even to the Environment

By: Joe Zender

Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon proposed an amendment earlier this year to raise the federal ‘gas tax’ from 18 cents per gallon to 33 cents.[1] While the proposal failed, this 82 percent increase is endemic of the exorbitant gas taxes and increases around the country, both at the federal and state levels. Even as gasoline consumption has leveled off in the U.S., national production of gasoline has increased drastically, leading to lower gas prices.[2][3] Even so, legislatures have moved to increase the burden on each gallon consumed by the taxpayers. The gas tax is now to a point where it unduly burdens businesses, citizens, and even potentially the environment. It should be eliminated and replaced with a more efficient and effective system for funding infrastructure.

The retail cost of a gallon of gasoline across the U.S. on October 1, 2015 was $2.42.[4] At the … Read the rest

The Status of Arbitration in 2016: An Institution in Review

By: Matthew Lowe

I. Introduction

The role that arbitration has played in corporate affairs has transformed over the years. As industries have expanded, so too has the function of arbitration. While some may argue that such expansion has had a positive and healthy affect on the adjudicative processes of private disputes, others disagree. Currently, arbitration clauses found in purchase agreements continue to be expansive, despite recent mainstream dissent. The labor and employment field, on the other hand, is undergoing changes in deferral standards following a recent decision by the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”).

II. Background

Arbitration is a form of alternative dispute resolution that rests outside of the direct purview of the courts. Structurally, arbitration depends on the decision-making authority of an independent third-party (single or panel), which is chosen through the agreement of two contracting parties. As a practice, arbitration gained serious momentum in 1925, through the enactment … Read the rest

Why Everyone Should Condemn the BDS Movement

By: Jacob Mezei

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement is a global movement started by 171 Palestinian organizations in 2005 with the goal of harming the Israeli economy by urging people, private corporations, and governments to boycott Israeli goods and services, divest funds, and establish economic sanctions on Israel. [1] Simply put, the BDS movement is bad. It is bad for the Palestinians. It is bad for the Israelis. It is bad for the world. The BDS movement harms third world countries in dire need of economic stimulus and hampers the growth of business and the development of technology. In addition, it incites hatred and discrimination, is harmful to future peace negotiations, and, as the Cour De Cassation (the highest court in France) recently ruled, it is illegal.[2]

The point of a peaceful boycott movement is to harm the entity being boycotted more than harming the ones doing … Read the rest