June 17, 2017

IRS Warns of New Phone Scam Involving Bogus Certified Letters; Reminds People to Remain Vigilant Against Scams, Schemes this Summer

New Phone Scam Involves Bogus Certified Letters

Beware of a new scam linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), in which fraudsters call to demand an immediate tax payment through a prepaid debit card. This scam is being reported across the country.


The Internal Revenue Service today warned people to beware of a new scam linked to the Electronic Federal Tax Payment System (EFTPS), where fraudsters call to demand an immediate tax payment through a prepaid debit card. This scam is being reported across the country, so taxpayers should be alert to the details.

In the latest twist, the scammer claims to be from the IRS and tells the victim about two certified letters purportedly sent to the taxpayer in the mail but returned as undeliverable. The scam artist then threatens arrest if a payment is not made through a prepaid debit card. The scammer also tells the victim that the card is linked to the EFTPS system when, in fact, it is entirely controlled by the scammer. The victim is also warned not to contact their tax preparer, an attorney or their local IRS office until after the tax payment is made.

"This is a new twist to an old scam," said IRS Commissioner John Koskinen. "Just because tax season is over, scams and schemes do not take the summer off. People should stay vigilant against IRS impersonation scams. People should remember that the first contact they receive from IRS will not be through a random, threatening phone call."


Legal History Blog

A team of legal scholars from a range of backgrounds author the Legal History Blog, a resource that will be of interest to historians, lawyers, law librarians, and anyone else interested in how U.S. law has been interpreted over the years. Updated almost daily, this blog offers scholars and general readers a way to stay abreast of the field of legal history. Entries include updates about new journal articles, books, and conferences of interest. One notable highlight of this blog is the Sunday Book Review Roundup, which provides an overview of new book reviews from The New York Times Book ReviewThe Washington PostThe LA Review of Books, and other periodicals. Visitors can browse previously published entries by subject labels, including Business History, Congressional Law, Originalism and the Founding Period, and Voting Rights, to name just a few. [MMB]

Copyright © 2017 Internet Scout Research Group - http://scout.wisc.edu

June 16, 2017

New York State Bar Association-House of Delegates Meeting

Watch the NYSBA House of Delegates in action on Saturday, June 17th beginning at 8:30 a.m. by clicking http://www.totalwebcasting.com/view/?id=nysbar and choosing the June meeting. 

June 15, 2017

Governor Chooses Feinman to Fill Court of Appeals Vacancy | New York Law Journal

, New York Law Journal

Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday afternoon announced that he would nominate Justice Paul Feinman to the State Court of Appeals seat left vacant by the death of Sheila Abdus-Salaam.

In an interview on NY1, the Democratic governor called Feinman "an extraordinary human being and will be a great addition on that court."

If confirmed by the State Senate, Feinman would become the first openly gay judge to serve on the state's highest court.


Animal Legal Defense Fund Case for 57-Year-Old Elephant Heads to Trial | Animal Legal Defense Fund

Federal Judge Xavier Rodriguez denied key parts of the San Antonio Zoo's motion for summary judgement, holding that the Animal Legal Defense Fund had provided sufficient facts demonstrating the zoo may be violating the Endangered Species Act (ESA) by holding an endangered elephant, Lucky, in conditions that injure her both physically and psychologically. The zoo must now defend its treatment of Lucky in a full trial, currently scheduled to begin on Oct. 2, 2017.

The ruling, released Friday, June 9, also strongly rejected the zoo's legal argument that its purported compliance with the Animal Welfare Act shields it from liability under the ESA. This is a significant legal ruling that has broad application to any endangered species in captivity, including Lolita the orca, whose captivity at the Miami Seaquarium in a shockingly tiny tank has been the subject of litigation for years.


June 13, 2017

NYSBA | Service Animals Guide

People with disabilities may rely on dogs and other service animals to assist them at their homes and workplaces, schools, retail stores, restaurants, theaters and when traveling. However, there has been confusion both for those who use service animals and those who must accommodate them. The New York City Bar Association and the New York State Bar Association have released this guide jointly to help clarify the legal rights and obligations involving the use of service animals in the state. The associations encourage the downloading, copying and distribution of the Guide throughout the state.

June 12, 2017

U.S. Top Court Won't Expand Debt-Collection Abuse Law in Santander Case - The New York Times



The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to widen the reach of a federal law targeting abusive debt-collection tactics such as harassment and threats, ruling it does not cover companies that buy debt, sometimes for pennies on the dollar, and then collect it.

The justices, in a 9-0 ruling, upheld a lower court's dismissal of a proposed consumer class action lawsuit against Santander Consumer USA Holdings Inc over allegations it violated a law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.



Full Opinion: 

817 F. 3d 131, affirmed.


June 10, 2017

JURIST - Supreme Court refuses to block order finding Texas county's bail system discriminatory


[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website] on Wednesday refused to block [docket] a finding that a Texas county's bail system discriminates against the poor. Officials of Harris County petitioned the court on Tuesday [AP report] for an emergency order to block the ruling by the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit [official website] which called for the release of inmates who were incarcerated for not being able to afford bail. District Judge Lee Rosenthal of the Southern District of Texas [official website] ruled in April that inmates who signed affidavits swearing to their financial situations could be released from the county jail as the bail system was in violation of equal protection rights and due process safeguards against incarceration without proper procedure or affording those held the opportunity to be heard. The country jail began releasing inmates late Tuesday and will continue to do so. The county will continue its appeal of the ruling.


June 9, 2017

In A First, Connecticut's Animals Get Advocates In The Courtroom : The Two-Way : NPR


A Connecticut law makes it the first state to provide animals with court-appointed advocates to represent them in abuse and cruelty cases, similar to laws that provide for victim's or children's advocates.

Seven lawyers and a law professor in the state are approved as volunteer advocates, the AP reports. Judges have discretion on whether to appoint an advocate; defense attorneys and prosecutors may request them.


Animal law is a rapidly growing field. The article, citing the Animal Legal Defense Fund, notes "nine law schools had courses in animal law in 2000; by 2015, that number was 151."

Read more..

LexisNexis acquires case analytics firm Ravel Law


LexisNexis Legal & Professional has acquired legal research and litigation analytics firm Ravel Law, and will integrate Ravel's data visualization and profiling technology into LexisNexis services.

"Ravel Law will accelerate our vision of the data-driven lawyer of the future," says Jeff Pfeifer, vice president of LexisNexis product management, in an interview after Thursday's announcement. "By leveraging these platforms, an attorney can get insights about a variety of problems, from judicial tendencies to arguments that are effective in a judge's chambers."


Cyber Attacks-Is It Really Not If You Will Be Attacked, But When?

By Jim Calloway--Oklahoma Bar Association

Recently, there were news reports of a Providence, Rhode Island, law firm that was held hostage by ransomware blackmailers for 90 days. Just imagine 90 days without access to any file on the law firm's network or any of the individual workstations. The blackmailers were demanding $25,000 in ransom paid in bitcoin to restore access. The news reports were about the law firm's litigation against its insurer for not paying a claim for $700,000 in lost billing as the firm's 10 lawyers were left unproductive and inefficient. I have no doubt the firm also sustained a significant amount of damage to relationships with many of its clients.


Link To Malware Found Hidden In Instagram Comments | Ubergizmo


According to a report from Slovak IT security company ESET Security, it seems that hackers have managed to hide Russian malware within Instagram comments. The malware itself isn't in the comments since it's just text, but what it does is that it provides a link that instructs the malware on how to get in touch with its controllers.


June 8, 2017

Lawyer Hourly Rate Calculator--Lawyerist.com

By Sam Glover

Figuring out what to charge is hard when you are just starting out. It is made harder by bar associations, which are wary of allowing any discussion of fees on their discussion lists.1 But whether or not you are going to charge hourly rates, you need to know what your time is worth.

June 4, 2017

AgileBits Blog | Introducing Travel Mode: Protect your data when crossing borders


Travel Mode is a new feature we're making available to everyone with a 1Password membership. It protects your 1Password data from unwarranted searches when you travel. When you turn on Travel Mode, every vault will be removed from your devices except for the ones marked "safe for travel." All it takes is a single click to travel with confidence.

June 2, 2017

Lawyer Gets 2 Years In Jail For Killing Dog | Above the Law

The judge said it "showed almost incomprehensible violence and malice."

New York lawyer Anthony Pastor was convicted of brutally beating and killing his girlfriend's dog, Snoopy.

Animal Legal Defense Fund's Animal Law Summer School | Animal Legal Defense Fund

June, July and August 2017

The Animal Legal Defense Fund is pleased to announce the launch of our free Animal Law Summer School in 2017! All are welcome to join us for three 60-minute webinars provided by leading authorities on cutting-edge topics in animal law: Ag-Gag, puppy mills and captive wildlife.

The Animal Law Summer School is a new opportunity to hone your skills and gain both practical and substantive knowledge about important issues currently facing animals in the legal system. Participants will learn from the experts and enjoy an interactive Q&A session. Don't miss the chance to get an in-depth look into what it means to advocate for animals through the legal system.

Animal Law Summer School is suitable for anyone interested in animal law, current and future law students, attorneys, legal professionals and animal advocates.

Recorded sessions will be posted after the live events.

Each session is free and must be registered for individually.

Man jailed for refusing to disclose iPhone passcode underlines Fifth Amendment uncertainties | 9to5Mac

The Miami Herald reports that a child abuse suspect was jailed for six months for contempt of court after failing to reveal the correct passcode to his iPhone. Christopher Wheeler was arrested on suspicion of hitting and scratching his young daughter, with police believing that photos on the iPhone would help prove their case.

May 28, 2017

This tool can block ransomware on Mac OS X, for now | PCWorld

A security researcher has created a free security tool that can detect attempts by ransomware programs to encrypt files on users' Macs and then block them before they do a lot of damage.

Called RansomWhere?, the application is the creation of Patrick Wardle, director of research and development at security firm Synack. It's meant to detect and block the encryption of files by untrusted processes.

The tool monitors users' home directories and detects when encrypted files are rapidly created inside them--a telltale sign of ransomware activity.


May 26, 2017

ABA president criticizes 'egregious' cuts to LSC, loan forgiveness in Trump budget proposal


ABA President Linda A. Klein on Tuesday sharply criticized proposed budget cuts by the White House that would do "severe damage to the most vulnerable people in our society."

"Steep budget cuts proposed today by the White House would severely undermine the fairness of the legal system and deny access to justice for some of society's most vulnerable individuals," Klein said in the statement.

"These include children, veterans, the elderly, people with disabilities, people in poverty, families suffering after natural disasters, survivors of domestic violence and victims of other crimes."

Read more....

May 25, 2017

4th Circuit Uses Trump's Comments in Blocking Travel Ban | Law.com


The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit is the first appellate court to uphold an injunction against President Donald Trump's revised travel ban executive order, a move that likely sets the issue up for an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Thursday's opinion keeps in place a Maryland district court's nationwide injunction against the order, issued March 6. The executive order blocked the entry of immigrants from six majority-Muslim countries.