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Scott Michelman
Recent Activity
We've written before about the dangers of transporting oil by rail car. On Friday, DOT issued new regulations for trains carrying oil, requiring new brake systems and requiring cars to be designed for this purpose (as opposed to the old... Continue reading
Posted 21 minutes ago at CL&P Blog
The state senate is considering a bill that would eliminate requirements that debt buyers have detailed information about the debt they buy before suing to enforce the debt in court. The bill passed out of committee over the objections of... Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at CL&P Blog
You may recall an excellent and eye-opening series from the Washington Post in the fall of 2013 showing how a combination of relatively small tax underpayments could add up, with fees and penalties, to losing your home in the nation's... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at CL&P Blog
We told you yesterday (see here and here) about a provision of the National Defense Authorization Act, now pending in Congress, that would delay protections for service members against predatory lending. Happily, today the House Armed Services Committee removed the... Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at CL&P Blog
You may recall that last September, California enacted the nation's first ban on non-disparagement clauses in consumer contracts -- that is, clauses prohibiting consumers from criticizing (however truthfully) companies they do business with. Today, Representatives Darrell Issa, Eric Swalwell, Blake... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at CL&P Blog
In this year's proposed National Defense Authorization Act, currently before the House Armed Services Committee, there's a provision to delay for one year DoD regulations to protect service members from predatory lenders. What's the year for? Further study. Rep. Tammy... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at CL&P Blog
As the people of Baltimore recover from this week's rioting and try to make sense of the shocking event that sparked it, 538.com reflects on some relevant statistics about economic conditions in Baltimore: -The median income for African-American households: $33,000... Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at CL&P Blog
We discussed previously a "debt strike" launched by students of the for-profit chain Corinthian Colleges, which faces multiple legal actions from state and federal regulators over claims that it misled students about job prospects and graduation rates (see our prior... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at CL&P Blog
Today the Supreme Court granted certiorari in Spokeo, Inc. v. Robins, a Fair Credit Reporting Act claim about an incorrect report. Spokeo, a company that publishes information about people online, challenged the plaintiff's standing to proceed in the absence of... Continue reading
Posted 7 days ago at CL&P Blog
We've discussed before some of the troubling aspects of the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Here's another one: the fact it's being negotiated in secret. As a Times op-ed argues, [T]he secrecy of trade negotiations does not just hide information from the public.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 24, 2015 at CL&P Blog
In a ruling that seems too obvious to have been the subject of debate (though it was), the Sixth Circuit held this week that Title VII's protection against being subject to discrimination "because [the employee] opposed . . . an... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2015 at CL&P Blog
As the New York Times reports today, Deutsche Bank will pay a $2.5 billion penalty to United States and British authorities to settle accusations that it helped manipulate the benchmarks used to set interest rates on trillions of dollars in... Continue reading
Posted Apr 23, 2015 at CL&P Blog
In a recent interview on The Daily Show, the Senator explains how students and large financial institutions are treated differently when it comes to being able to get out of high interest rates -– and why she thinks the laws... Continue reading
Posted Apr 22, 2015 at CL&P Blog
In last week's decision Byrd v. Aaron's, Inc., a unanimous panel of the Third Circuit reversed a district court's decision to deny class certification on ascertainability grounds. (You'll recall that ascertainability is the court-developed notion that a class must show... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2015 at CL&P Blog
…is the question analysis by this thoughtful piece in Vox (with an embedded clip from The West Wing, for those of you feeling nostalgic for a more harmonious time in government, however fictional). The occasion for the discussion is Sen.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2015 at CL&P Blog
John Oliver has this marvelously clear and detailed report on modern-day debtors’ prisons and how the combination of poor public policy, municipalities’ reliance on fines for their budgets, and private probation companies yields a legal system in which a minor... Continue reading
Posted Apr 20, 2015 at CL&P Blog
Fivethirtyeight.com has a thoughtful analysis this week about "equal pay day," which is the day on which the earnings of the average woman who worked continuously from the beginning of 2014 would catch up to the earnings of the average... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2015 at CL&P Blog
...is the message of a Public Citizen post yesterday on Buzzfeed, which points to five reasons that a disaster of the same magnitude could recur. The problems, mainly, are a lack of safeguards and the absence of accountability. Read the... Continue reading
Posted Apr 17, 2015 at CL&P Blog
The Dodd-Frank law shouldn't be the end of Congress's financial reform efforts, argued Sen. Elizabeth Warren in a speech today at the Levy Economics Institute. Sen. Warren called for specific additional regulatory measures, including the breaking up of big banks,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2015 at CL&P Blog
Affirming a district court's dismissal, the Seventh Circuit held that Sen. Johnson of Wisconsin did not have standing to challenge federal rules implementing Obamacare coverage for members of Congress and their staffs. Johnson's primary argument was that he suffered electoral/reputational... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2015 at CL&P Blog
We've discussed before how minor infractions, when combined with a person's inability to pay, court fees, and predatory practices of private probation companies, can ruin someone's life. (See, for instance, here and here.) In today's New York Times, read this... Continue reading
Posted Apr 15, 2015 at CL&P Blog
A joint investigation by the Center for Public Integrity and the Seattle Times reveals troubling practices by Clayton Homes, owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. Clayton, which operates under various names, is the nation’s biggest homebuilder, according to the report,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2015 at CL&P Blog
Connecticut law caps interest rates at 12%. But Great Plains Lending, affiliated with a Native American tribe in Oklahoma, is hawking payday loans by web and mail with rates of 200-400%, according to WTNH.com, reporting from Hartford, Conn. In response,... Continue reading
Posted Apr 14, 2015 at CL&P Blog
This clip from a recent Last Week Tonight is both funny and topical (though lengthy, at 18 minutes). John Oliver reveals not only the lengths to which Philip Morris will go to oppose anti-smoking regulations worldwide but also the potentially... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2015 at CL&P Blog
You can find some useful basic financial advice at mymoney.gov, here. Among its offerings (check out the right-hand column): -Spending and Spending Plans -How to Obtain Your Free Credit Report (from the FTC) -Help Your Children Grow Their Money Skills... Continue reading
Posted Apr 13, 2015 at CL&P Blog