Tag: Law

Berkshire Hathaway Says Blue Chip Law Firm Aided Fraud

FRANKFURT — Berkshire Hathaway may have found a way to get back some of the hundreds of millions of dollars it lost after buying a seemingly solid German pipe maker that turned out to be on the verge of going bust.

The conglomerate, led by Warren E. Buffett, is suing Jones Day, the law firm that represented the owners of the pipe maker when it was sold to a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary in 2017. The lawsuit, filed late last month, accuses Jones Day of helping to trick Berkshire Hathaway into paying five times what the German company was worth.

There is not much chance that Berkshire Hathaway will recover any money from the sellers of the pipe maker, Wilhelm Schulz, which was named for its founder. The shareholders have declared bankruptcy and are facing a criminal investigation in Germany. But Jones Day is a prominent international law firm with deeper pockets.

The attempt to collect damages from Jones Day is an unexpected twist in the saga of Wilhelm Schulz, which is based in Krefeld, a city north of Düsseldorf. If the suit is successful, it will be at least a small consolation to Berkshire Hathaway shareholders after the company lost $23.3 billion in the first half of 2020. (Profits rebounded in the later part of the period, however.)

“The fraudulent transaction would never have occurred without Jones Day’s substantial assistance,” according to the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Houston on behalf of Precision Castparts, a Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary that makes components for aircraft. The lawsuit accuses Jones Day of withholding documents that would have exposed Wilhelm Schulz’s perilous financial state and calls the firm a “co-conspirator” in a “massive fraud.”

Ulrich Brauer, the partner in charge of Jones Day’s office in Düsseldorf, said the firm would not comment on a pending case.

Jones Day lawyers in Houston and Düsseldorf handled the sale of Wilhelm Schulz, which specializes in pipes for the oil and gas industries. Jones Day also represented the owners, who included Wolfgang Schulz, the son of the founder, when the case went before an arbitration panel in New York.

The panel found in April that Mr. Schulz and other managers had used false sales invoices, computer hacks and phantom customers to make Wilhelm Schulz look healthier than it was and hoodwink Precision Castparts into paying a grossly inflated price. The deal was a rare misstep for the organization run by Mr. Buffett, who is considered one of the savviest investors in the world.

The arbitrators awarded 643 million euros ($756 million) in damages to Precision Castparts, which is based in Portland, Ore. That is the difference between the €800 million that Precision Castparts paid for Wilhelm Schulz and its estimated true value of €157 million. The arbitrators’ decision was upheld in July by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Because the holding company controlled by Mr. Schulz is in insolvency proceedings, “it is unclear if it will pay even a fraction

Continue reading

Unrest in Avon? Trump’s message of law and order, loaded with racist undertones, takes aim at safety and security in Connecticut suburbs

In the eyes of President Donald Trump and some Republicans, electing the Democrats in 2020 would lead to a clear and frightening outcome: tranquil suburbs in Connecticut and elsewhere would be overrun by crime, violent protests, and social decay.

It’s an old message with a new twist, fueled by the backlash against Black Lives Matter protests and demonstrations this summer that were largely peaceful in Connecticut, but turned violent in Portland, Chicago, Los Angeles and other cities.

Referring to the prospect of civil unrest, David X. Sullivan, a Republican candidate for the 5th Congressional District, told the Courant that he is “concerned about Avon, Farmington and Simsbury becoming as violent as Portland, New York and Chicago.”

Unrest in Avon?

Trump’s law and order message and its many versions may sound far-fetched to some. But there is a racist undertone to the rhetoric that has proven effective in the past, said Noel A. Cazenave, a professor of sociology at UConn. It reflects a long history of American politicians attempting to secure votes by playing up racial fears.

A Trump campaign video from July conjures up a world of defenseless suburbs under attack, showing a fictionalized scene of an elderly white woman watching a news segment about the defunding of the police as a shadowy intruder breaks into her house. She calls 9-1-1 but there is no dispatcher to pick up. The ad flashes a message: “You won’t be safe in Joe Biden’s America.”

Sullivan said he rejects any implication that there is a racial element to his campaign messaging, which he described as an effort to “promote safety, in our homes, in our workplaces.”

But Cazenave notes that fear-mongering in political campaigns has deep roots in America, from Richard Nixon’s “Law and Order” campaign in the late 1960s to George H. W. Bush’s late 1980s political ad centered on Willie Horton, a Black man incarcerated in Massachusetts who raped a white woman while released on furlough, meant to demonstrate his Democratic opponent’s weak stance on crime. Trump is exploiting those same themes this year, Cazenave said.

“Donald Trump’s appeal to European-American suburban women voters is intended to exploit fear that if Joe Biden is elected, low-income African Americans and African American protestors will invade their suburbs,” Cazenave said. He noted that the tactic is “an extension of the old racist trope of imperiled white women.”

Message resonating?

Many Trump supporters in the state say they find comfort in Trump’s promise of safety and were angered to see Connecticut law enforcement come under attack during Black Lives Matter protests this summer and through the recent police accountability bill signed by Gov. Ned Lamont.

In a Biden White House, Trump supporters say they fear the dismantling of constitutional liberties and a lax approach to public safety.

“We haven’t seen the Democrats come out and really put a squash on the increase in crime or the rioting out West and even though we haven’t seen it here, there is that fear that

Continue reading

Supreme Court: Democrats and Republicans seek hints for how Barrett will rule on health care law

For the second day of Barrett’s questioning in the Senate Judiciary Committee, the health care law was a dominant topic on both sides of the aisle thanks to the looming November case the Supreme Court will hear on a Republican effort to strike down the law.

Both Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the panel’s top Democrat, asked President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee about the legal doctrine of “severability,” or whether the entire law can stand if one part of it is deemed unconstitutional, during Barrett’s second day of questions before the committee on Wednesday.

It’s a concept that could play a key factor in the case from Republican attorneys general and the Trump administration that seeks to strike down the Affordable Care Act case next month. They argue the entire law, commonly known as Obamacare, should be struck down because the law’s individual coverage mandate is unconstitutional.

Barrett explained to Feinstein, a California Democrat, that severability was like a game of “Jenga.”

“If you picture severability being like a Jenga game, it’s kind of like, if you pull one out, can you pull it out while it all stands? If you pull two out, will it all stand?” Barrett asked. “Severability is designed to say well would Congress still want the statute to stand even with the provision gone?”

Graham, during his questioning of Barrett, seemed to suggest he thought that the Affordable Care Act could be saved because of severability, saying the doctrine’s “goal is to preserve the statute if that is possible.”

“From a conservative point of view, generally speaking, we want legislative bodies to make laws, not judges,” Graham said, before asking Barrett, “Would it be further true, if you can preserve a statue you try to, if possible?”

“That is true,” Barrett said.

“That’s the law folks,” Graham responded.

The challenge to President Barack Obama’s health care law from Republican state attorneys general and the Trump administration has become a central issue in this year’s election in part due to Barrett’s confirmation. Democrats have focused their arguments during Barrett’s confirmation hearings on the way the law has provided care for individuals.

But Senate Republicans, who back the lawsuit to kill the law, have backed away from that implication in the lead-up to Election Day. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is also up for reelection, said during his debate Monday that “no one believes” the Supreme Court will strike down the entire law.
Graham, who is facing a tough reelection fight this year, raised the severability argument but also launched into another attack on the health care law, “Obamacare is on the ballot.”
How Jaime Harrison's campaign could spend $57 million before Election Day

The South Carolina Republican praised Barrett’s record, comparing her to Obama’s nominees Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan, calling Barrett the first woman nominated to the high court who is “unashamedly pro-life.”

Just as they did during Tuesday’s lengthy questioning, Democrats sought to pin down Barrett on a number of topics she could hear in the future, including voting

Continue reading

The Law Offices of Frank R. Cruz Files Securities Fraud Lawsuit Against LOOP Industries, Inc.

The Law Offices of Frank R. Cruz announces that it has filed a class action lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York captioned Tremblay v. Loop Industries, Inc., et al., (Case No. 1:20-cv-08538) on behalf of persons and entities that purchased or otherwise acquired Loop Industries, Inc. (“Loop” or the “Company”) (NASDAQ: LOOP) securities between September 24, 2018 and October 12, 2020, inclusive (the “Class Period”). Plaintiff pursues claims under Sections 10(b) and 20(a) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (the “Exchange Act”).

If you are a shareholder who suffered a loss, click here to participate.

Loop is a technology company that purports to own proprietary technology that depolymerizes no- and low-waste PET plastic and polyester fiber. The resulting material is used to create PET resin for food-grade packaging.

On October 13, 2020, Hindenburg Research published a report alleging, among other things, that “Loop’s scientists, under pressure from CEO Daniel Solomita, were tacitly encouraged to lie about the results of the company’s process internally.” The report also stated that “Loop’s previous claims of breaking PET down to its base chemicals at a recovery rate of 100% were ‘technically and industrially impossible,’” according to a former employee. Moreover, the report alleged that “Executives from a division of key partner Thyssenkrupp, who Loop entered into a ‘global alliance agreement’ with in December 2018, told us their partnership is on ‘indefinite’ hold and that Loop ‘underestimated’ both costs and complexities of its process.”

On this news, the Company’s share price fell $3.78, or over 32%, to close at $7.83 per share on October 13, 2020, thereby damaging investors.

The complaint filed in this class action alleges that throughout the Class Period, Defendants made materially false and/or misleading statements, as well as failed to disclose material adverse facts about the Company’s business, operations, and prospects. Specifically, Defendants failed to disclose to investors: (1) that Loop scientists were encouraged to misrepresent the results of Loop’s purportedly proprietary process; (2) that Loop did not have the technology to break PET down to its base chemicals at a recovery rate of 100%; (3) that, as a result, the Company was unlikely to realize the purported benefits of Loop’s announced partnerships with Indorama and Thyssenkrupp; and (4) that, as a result of the foregoing, Defendants’ positive statements about the Company’s business, operations, and prospects were materially misleading and/or lacked a reasonable basis.

Follow us for updates on Twitter: twitter.com/FRC_LAW.

If you purchased Loop securities during the Class Period, you may move the Court no later than 60 days from the date of this notice to ask the Court to appoint you as lead plaintiff.  To be a member of the Class you need not take any action at this time; you may retain counsel of your choice or take no action and remain an absent member of the Class.  If you purchased Mesoblast securities, have information or would like to learn more about these claims,

Continue reading

Law Society Condemns Plans For Economic Crime Levy

Law360, London (October 14, 2020, 1:51 PM BST) — The government’s plans for a financial crime levy on law firms and other regulated businesses is “a special tax on the legal profession” that could make companies less willing to invest in Britain, an industry body warned on Wednesday. 

The Law Society, the professional body that represents more than 140,000 practicing solicitors in England and Wales, said the industry already devotes significant resources as it complies with its obligations to counter money laundering and financial crime.

Simon Davis, the society’s departing president, said that pushing up the cost of doing business would hit the competitiveness of the legal sector in the international market…

Stay ahead of the curve

In the legal profession, information is the key to success. You have to know what’s happening with clients, competitors, practice areas, and industries. Law360 provides the intelligence you need to remain an expert and beat the competition.

  • Access to case data within articles (numbers, filings, courts, nature of suit, and more.)
  • Access to attached documents such as briefs, petitions, complaints, decisions, motions, etc.
  • Create custom alerts for specific article and case topics and so much more!

TRY LAW360 FREE FOR SEVEN DAYS

Source Article

Continue reading

Europcar chooses the law that suits it best to refuse a refund | Money

In June I booked a hire car with Europcar for a week’s holiday in France. I paid a higher rate which allowed me to cancel for a cash refund and phoned to confirm that this was what I was entitled to. However, when the government advised against travel to France, Europcar told me that under French law it was allowed to issue a credit note instead of a refund. It claimed that since the car was booked in France my contract was with its French counterpart, despite the fact the payment was taken in sterling and Europcar’s address on my credit card statement given as Watford. I think Europcar is choosing the law that suits it best.
JA, London

You have good reason to think that. I began by asking Europcar why customers who need to cancel a booking by phone are directed to a number that costs up to 75p a minute from a mobile. Premium rate numbers are banned for after-sales service.

Europcar replied that it does not consider a contract is formed until a customer collects their rental vehicle. That argument does not stop it holding that same customer to its terms and conditions as soon as they make – and pay for – a booking.

As for those terms and conditions – your booking confirmation indisputably states that Europcar provides free cancellation up to 48 hours before pick up. The terms and conditions on its website state the same. Nowhere does it warn that its policy may vary depending on where you hire a vehicle.

“Europcar has investigated this case and found that whilst it operated within the law and its own terms and conditions, it appreciates that the current process for cancelled bookings made for France may not have been made clear at the reservation stage and on the UK website,” it says. “Therefore a refund for the cancelled booking has been processed and the company’s apologies extended to the customer.”

It says it is reviewing the wording on its website. Customers are not bound by terms and conditions which are unclear or a figment of the trader’s imagination. Anyone else affected by Europcar’s concerning approach to small print can make a claim through their credit card issuer or the small claims court.

If you need help email Anna Tims at [email protected] Include an address and phone number. Submission and publication are subject to our terms and conditions

Source Article

Continue reading

Big Tobacco goes big in effort to quash law banning sales of flavored tobacco products

A coalition of big tobacco companies and small retailers is paying professional signature gatherers upward of $10 a name in an attempt put the brakes on the statewide law barring brick-and-mortar stores from selling menthol cigarettes and other flavored tobacco products.



Suresh Raina standing in front of a store: Employee Majid Abbas (left) helps a customer buy flavored tobacco at City Smoke and Vape Shop in San Francisco in 2017.


© Gabrielle Lurie / The Chronicle 2017

Employee Majid Abbas (left) helps a customer buy flavored tobacco at City Smoke and Vape Shop in San Francisco in 2017.


With the Nov. 30 deadline approaching for submitting signatures to qualify the measure for the 2022 ballot, the high-dollar effort has become an interesting blend of California politics and potentially huge business profits, with a dash of coronavirus shutdown tossed in for good measure.

Loading...

Load Error

At issue: SB793, authored by state Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, and signed into law by Gov. Gavin Newsom in August. Stores that break the ban on selling flavored tobacco and e-cigarettes would face a $250 fine per violation.

Tobacco interests wasted no time filing the paperwork to put the law before voters in a referendum. They need 623,212 validated signatures to make the ballot.

“The law goes too far and is unfair. Particularly since lawmakers exempted hookah, expensive cigars and flavored pipe tobacco,” said Beth Miller, spokeswoman for the California Coalition for Fairness, the group seeking to repeal the ban.

“It will hurt small businesses and take jobs from licensed retailers who do sell tobacco products,” while still allowing for online sales, Miller said. “If the past is any indication, it will also lead to an underground market that could increase the access for minors.”

Hill dismissed the pro-tobacco arguments as a smokescreen.

“The goal is to keep kids from starting to smoke,” Hill said. “What 15-year-old is going to buy a $12.50 cigar or pipe tobacco? That’s ridiculous.”

Hill said the coalition had another reason for launching the referendum — profit.

If the referendum qualifies, the law, which is slated to go into effect in January, would be suspended until voters have their say in the November 2022 general election. And no matter what the outcome of the vote, the tobacco industry and retailers would get two more years of in-store sales until after the election.

Getting the signatures of the required registered voters by the November deadline, however, is not coming cheap.

The Coalition for Fairness estimates that it will need about 900,000 signatures to ensure it has enough verified signatures to qualify for the ballot.

Like most groups that place initiatives on the ballot, the Coalition for Fairness is using professional signature gatherers, those people you see carrying clipboards with petitions hawking various ballot measures outside of stores, farmers’ markets and other places people gather — or used to gather before the pandemic.

But getting people to stop and sign a petition is not easy these days. And with a pressing deadline, the price per signature has gone from $3 to $4 to as high as $10 per name. Miller said she did not have the exact figure, but

Continue reading

The ‘Spycops’ bill undermines the rule of law and gives a green light to serious crimes

The so-called culture wars are not just about race and gender. They encompass a barrage of attacks on progressive or “woke” values to distract attention from catastrophic pandemic management in both Washington and Westminster. On closer inspection, some of the targets in the crosshairs are actually rather conservative; a case in point being the rule of law.



text, whiteboard: Photograph: Mark Kerrison/Alamy Stock Photo


© Provided by The Guardian
Photograph: Mark Kerrison/Alamy Stock Photo

If the prime minister and the home and defence secretaries are anything to go by, lawyers are the new enemies of the state. But as these ministers are not averse to employing briefs in their own causes – both personal and political – I rather suspect it’s the message, not the messengers, that they are trying to destroy.

Related: David Greene: Condemning lawyers for doing their jobs is inherently dangerous

It is now well over a decade since former master of the rolls Tom Bingham published his seminal book The Rule of Law. The most glittering legal and judicial career notwithstanding, he wanted to make this vital constitutional principle more readily accessible to the people it is designed to protect. He asked me to endorse his book and chair his discussion of it at the Royal Society for Arts. The greatest jurist of my lifetime was also incredibly good at plain English. He set out eight tests for the rule of law with a succinct clarity that any pundit or politician would envy.



text, whiteboard: Banners outside the Royal Courts of Justice during the judge-led public inquiry into alleged misconduct of undercover police officers who spied on hundreds of different political groups.


© Photograph: Mark Kerrison/Alamy Stock Photo
Banners outside the Royal Courts of Justice during the judge-led public inquiry into alleged misconduct of undercover police officers who spied on hundreds of different political groups.

Bingham’s third rule was that “the laws of the land should apply equally to all” . His fifth was, “the law must afford adequate protection of fundamental human rights”. At the time, we thought the former incontrovertible and the latter slightly contentious. Ten years on, both values are in peril.

Two bills currently before the House of Commons would undermine these principles. The overseas operations bill would make it much harder to prosecute British personnel for serious crimes – including torture – overseas, and immunise the Ministry of Defence from claims by the very veterans it has neglected.

The second, the covert human intelligence sources (criminal conduct) bill, is arguably even more abhorrent. It grants a host of state agencies the power to licence its agents and officers to commit grave crimes in advance, even here in the United Kingdom.

To be clear, I believe many undercover operations to be essential. Yet it was always ridiculous that, while judicial warrants were required for the searches of premises, they were not needed for the far more intrusive and dangerous placing of spies in people’s homes, offices, trades unions, friendship circles and even bedrooms. These remain a matter of administrate discretion for security services, police forces and a host of other state agencies, without the need for any external authorisation.

Related: The UK government is attempting to bend the

Continue reading

Sunak Urged to Protect Indebted Poor Nations With New Law

(Bloomberg) — U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak could free the poorest nations to fight the coronavirus pandemic by protecting them from “unscrupulous” private creditors, the opposition Labour Party said.

With English law governing a significant share of the sovereign debt issued by developing nations, Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds called for legislation to protect those countries from being sued for debt recovery by private lenders. It’s time, she said, for the government to show leadership on debt forgiveness in the way successive U.K. governments did a decade ago following the financial crisis.



a man wearing a suit and tie: U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak Presents 'Winter Economy Plan'


© Bloomberg
U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Sunak Presents ‘Winter Economy Plan’

Rishi Sunak

Loading...

Load Error

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg

“A global debt crisis would not just undermine the fight against the virus, but drive up poverty, increase political instability and hamper efforts to address climate change,” Dodds wrote in a letter to Sunak ahead of a meeting of Group of 20 finance ministers on Wednesday.

The Treasury said Britain is pushing international partners to reach an agreed approach on debt reduction with “comparable” reductions from private creditors.

Some 73 of the world’s poorest nations could potentially benefit from $11.5 billion of savings under a program called the Debt Service Suspension Initiative, agreed by G-20 nations in April, according to World Bank estimates. The program runs through the end of the year, and the U.K. is among nations that support extending it beyond then.

“To protect the poorest countries’ ongoing access to international markets, the G-20 agreed that the private sector should take part in the Debt Service Suspension Initiative voluntarily,” the Treasury said in a statement. “We continue to strongly encourage private creditors to participate whenever requested by borrowers.”

Showing Leadership

Under the DSSI, eligible countries can ask private creditors for the same freeze as they have with sovereign ones, but only a handful have done so out of fear they could fall into default and be locked out of debt markets for years.

Labour, citing International Monetary Fund data, said English law governs 46% of the total outstanding stock of international sovereign bonds. That proportion rises to 90% of debt issued by the nations benefiting from the forgiveness program, according to the Jubilee Debt Campaign.

“A powerful show of leadership would be for the U.K. to bring forward legislation that amends English law, temporarily limiting the ability of private creditors to sue for debt recovery for the 73 countries covered by the DSSI,” Dodds said.

She pointed to existing laws introduced by Labour and passed by the Conservative-led government that succeeded it in 2010, covering the debt of 45 nations issued before 2004.

“Similar legislation for the current crisis, brought forward after consultation, would provide a lifeline for some of the world’s poorest countries and prevent so-called ‘vulture funds’ profiteering from the economic distress caused by the pandemic,” Dodds said.

(Updates with Treasury comment starting in fourth paragraph.)

For more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

Continue Reading
Continue reading

Firm hire: Former NI Law Society president leads BLM offices | News

Insurance risk and commercial law firm BLM has appointed former president of the Law Society of Northern Ireland John Guerin as head of both the Belfast and Derry offices. 

Guerin commented: ‘Our clients’ needs are complex and have been compounded by the evolving environment in which we are all operating. I am honoured to be leading such a dedicated team that have our clients’ full confidence.’

John_Guerin

Legal expert Cormac Fitzpatrick has also been promoted to the firm’s strategy setting executive board. Fitzpatrick has overall leadership of the firm’s Irish offices working closely with the operations board, managing partner Vivienne Williams and senior partner Matthew Harrington.

The new leadership team follows the April appointments of partners Sinead Connolly and Olivia Treston as joint heads of office for Dublin.

Fitzpatrick commented: ‘As BLM and the wider law and business sectors adapt to the current challenges of the pandemic, our innovations and new leadership team position us strongly to deliver great outcomes for clients in the coming months and years.

‘Undoubtedly there have been operational challenges, however, our talented workforce has embraced our digital transformation strategy and we are confident that we will maintain momentum and our exceptional service provision across the island of Ireland in the period ahead.

BLM has seen significant business growth in its Northern Ireland office since a merger with Campbell Fitzpatrick Solicitors in 2014.

Source Article

Continue reading