Brave New World: The Interpretation of Liking a Product on Facebook

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In an April 16 New York Times article, Stephanie Strom reported that ” General Mills, the maker of cereals like Cheerios and Chex as well as brands like Bisquick and Betty Crocker, has quietly added language to its website to alert consumers that they give up their right to sue the company if they download… Read more »

Warning about Emails

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Four former leaders of the law firm, Dewey & LeBoeuf, were charged by New York prosecutors with orchestrating a nearly four-year scheme to manipulate the firm’s books during the financial crisis. In emails they talked openly about “fake income,” “accounting tricks” and their ability to fool the firm’s “clueless auditor.” Questions: 1. Explain the role… Read more »

Tax breaks disappearing in 2014

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Unless Congress extends the tax deductions that are set to expire at the end of 2013, credits and deductions benefiting everyone from teachers and students to homeowners are scheduled to expire. Questions: 1. Which of these eight deductions will affect you personally? 2. Which of these eight deductions will affect your parents and other family… Read more »

Conflict of Interest?

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The commercials may sound wonderful, but unfortunately, patients are being victimized by medical credit cards. The cards, issued by specialty finance companies and commercial banks, carry huge interest rates after an initial zero interest period expires. There are also heavy penalties for late payments. Questions: 1. What types of services can be paid for with… Read more »

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall – Who is the Most Expensive of Them All?

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It is hard to fathom but the newest British royal boy who was born in fanciest hospital ward in Britain cost $15,000. However, that is nothing compared to the average U.S. birth, where new parents are billed $30,000 and eventually pay $18,000. Questions: 1. What drives the high pregnancy health costs in the U.S. as… Read more »

Double-Dipping Pain

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Many homeowners are being taken to court by their lenders long after their houses were taken in foreclosure. How? Lenders are filing new motions in old foreclosure lawsuits and hiring debt collectors to pursue leftover debt, plus court fees, attorneys’ fees and tens of thousands in interest that had been accruing for years. Questions: 1…. Read more »

Trolling for Patent Infringement Cases

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One of the most striking results of a new academic study is that in 2012, litigation by patent monetization entities now represents a majority of the patent litigation filed in the United States. Specifically, patent monetization entities filed 58% of the patent lawsuits in 2012. This is a sharp rise from 2007, when patent monetization… Read more »

Are you Due any Lost Funds?

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Ohio has returned more than $3.4 million in unclaimed funds to Elyria in what it says is the largest such payment in state history. Questions: 1. Where did the funds originate? 2. Are there unclaimed funds in every state? If so, how do you access the list in your state? 3. How do you think… Read more »

Robo-Signing Redux

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Debt collection practices focusing on erroneous documents, incomplete records and generic testimony from witnesses in lawsuits by credit card companies is mirroring problems similar to those in the mortgage foreclosure process. According to Noach Dear, a civil court judge in Brooklyn, about 90% of the cases he sees are flawed and cannot prove who the… Read more »

How much do you think the largest U.S. Corporations pay in taxes?

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In a year of presidential politics, many of America’s biggest corporations complain that they pay too much in taxes. But, how much is that? A recent analysis shows that many are actually getting off pretty easy. It turns out that the 10 most profitable U.S. companies only paid an average federal tax rate of 9… Read more »