Monster Beats Kopfhorerde Thu, 29 Sep 2022 04:55:04 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Monster Beats Kopfhorerde 32 32 Geopolitics becomes one of the main risks for mining and metals companies according to an EY survey Thu, 29 Sep 2022 04:50:44 +0000

ESG remains the number one risk and opportunity

While evidence has shown that mining and metals companies are integrating ESG factors into corporate strategies, decision-making and reporting, survey respondents continue to rank ESG issues as the number one risk to their business. business, closely followed by climate change in third place. Respondents cite water management (76%), decarbonization (55%) and green production (35%) as the top issues they believe will be most scrutinized by investors.

“Net zero is always a priority, but mining and metals companies are also mitigating broader physical and transition risks,” Yameogo shares. “Companies must play a role in enabling a just transition – achieving decarbonization goals while considering the long-term impact of mine closures on workers and communities.”

Global uncertainty is mounting the pressure

Respondents rank geopolitics second among business risks, up from fourth last year. Seventy-two percent identify resource nationalism as the top geopolitical factor likely to impact their operations as governments seek to close income gaps after spending throughout the pandemic and capitalize on the upside commodity prices through new or increased mining royalties.

“Global uncertainty is pushing companies to quickly assess the impact of different alliances, trade flows, governments and taxes on business decisions,” Yameogo says. “It also forces companies to define the points of intersection. As the interaction between ESG and geopolitics increases, so does the amount of regulation needed to comply. This changing landscape requires mining and metals companies to pay close attention to how tax and regulatory changes in jurisdictions will impact operations.

Supply chain disruption appears on the radar

Various external and societal factors such as the impact of COVID-19, the war in Ukraine and rising energy prices have amplified the challenges that have been looming for some time. In response, respondents say they are looking to improve end-to-end supply chain visibility, leverage technology to improve operations and performance, and be more strategic when analyzing new technologies and supplier portfolios.

“Major disruption and rapidly changing expectations together can impact the ability of mining and metals companies to create sustainable value,” adds Yameogo. “Mitigation of risk and maximization of opportunity requires companies to make significant changes to their businesses through a proactive and diverse approach integrated with strategy and broader planning.”

Read the report to learn more about the main risks and opportunities for mining and metals companies.

How to protect your personal well-being in a legal work environment How to protect your personal well-being in a legal environment Wed, 28 Sep 2022 18:12:57 +0000

The pressures on legal professionals are intense. The desire to diligently represent clients is stronger than ever, as is the need to meet billable hour goals and stay on track to achieve career goals.

But burnout is acute and affects many lawyers to the point that they consider quitting their jobs. The movement towards better well-being will accelerate as the workforce moves towards millennials. According to a Thomson Reuters report“This generation of lawyers have high expectations and different priorities… In fact, 50% of millennial lawyers say they would change jobs if it meant more balance between their personal and professional lives. “

Changing jobs or industries is definitely an option. But what if you love your current job in the legal environment? What if you wanted to stay in your place and enjoy more balance and well-being in your life?

Know your why

“When you have a fuller sense of purpose at work, it’s easier to feel engaged rather than exhausted,” says Nita Cumello, Global Client Director and Director of Well-Being for Global Large Law at Thomson Reuters. It encourages lawyers to understand what their companies are working towards and how they contribute to this work. “When people have a clear purpose, the team is more engaged, the culture thrives, and the environment as a whole is healthier,” she says.

Take advantage of employee wellness programs

Law firms have done a lot to help individuals take care of their own well-being. This can include extra days off, wellness apps, yoga during lunch on office days, or extended remote work opportunities. Many lawyers resist these offers because they fear optics, and firms have work to do to change this stigma. The more people who participate, the more likely people will be to recognize that wellness programs are not just for “struggling” lawyers, nor are they “fluffy”, as has been could see it in the past. Cumello notes that wellness programs are high-value investments companies make in the whole individual. “It’s a holistic way of approaching work that allows an individual to thrive,” she says.

It doesn’t have to be a new program – it can be something as traditional as taking a vacation. In the ABA Wellness Toolkit for Lawyers and Legal Employers, author Anne Brafford reports on the benefits of taking a vacation. She writes: “In their study of 6,000 practicing lawyers, law professor Larry Krieger and psychology professor Kennon Sheldon found that the number of vacation days taken was a significant predictor of lawyers’ well-being – and was even stronger than income level in predicting well-being.”

Everyone wants to invest in their well-being, but people may be waiting for someone else to make the first move. If you’re hesitant to take advantage of a new offer, consider the good you could do for your colleagues. You can find out which combination of work and activity helps you optimize your physical, mental, emotional and social state. When other people see you doing this, they may feel more confident to explore this on their own.

This is especially important if you are leading teams. People will look to you to validate or undermine company-wide messages about wellness. Help others by taking care of yourself. Cindy Kelly, who leads a client training team for the Legal Professionals business at Thomson Reuters, began opening her meetings with grounding and connecting exercises. “My team members take a metrics-based role and work with clients all day — and we take a moment to be present with each other,” she says. “We signed with the Conscious business charterand I saw a huge opportunity to bring this charter to life at the team level.

Protect your time

It can be uncomfortable to set boundaries at work. There will always be more work to do and there will always be clients or colleagues who want your time. Customer demand won’t go away, but you can ask, “Can this wait until Monday?” Businesses are rethinking their own posture on wellness, giving you a great opportunity to match them and extend non-critical timeframes to adapt to balance and wellness.

Law professor Rosario Lozada, who offered a useful 10-step reflection exercise in the ABA Journal, reinforced the importance of creating time for self-care. She wrote, “The next time you open your calendar or other to-do list, add a specific self-care duty. Choose an activity that renews and energizes you; make it a recurring and priority event. You may have just engaged in a courageous act of “self-preservation.”

Start in six-minute increments

None of this is easy. Finding common ground for personal well-being will be different for every attorney. Your work and personal priorities will differ from those of your colleagues, and your desire to rock the boat will also vary. So where to start ? Cumello likes to paraphrase attorney wellness expert Jarett Green in encouraging you to start with six minutes, based on their conversation about her Practicing Wellness Podcast. “You can find six minutes in your day to breathe, get out, find calm, or do something that brings you joy. Make it a daily practice. Invest time consistently and see where it takes you. If you you give the opportunity to reframe that it’s not a luxury, it helps you optimize the way you work – it’s easier to save time.

Six minutes a day could get you anywhere – to a more sustainable approach to your current role, to the confidence to take the next big step in your career, to a new hobby, or to more time with your family. It can help you connect with your why and decide how to protect your time. It can help you become a better lawyer.

“It’s not a luxury,” Cumello says. “It is imperative.”

Well-being is intimately linked to mental health. If you are concerned about your mental health, do not hesitate to seek advice. Our article on managing mental health in the workplace can help you identify your employer’s legal responsibilities to meet your mental health needs.

Shakira will be tried for tax evasion in Spain Tue, 27 Sep 2022 15:40:25 +0000

Colombian pop star Shakira is set to stand trial in Spain for alleged tax evasion after a Spanish judge formally ordered the singer to stand trial on Tuesday. PA reported.

Driving the news: Prosecutors allege the singer failed to pay 14.5 million euros (about $13.9 million) in income taxes between 2012 and 2014.

The other side: Shakira denied all allegations of wrongdoing and rejected a proposed plea deal in July, after which prosecutors unsealed six tax evasion charges against her, according to the Post.

  • Her publicists claimed in July that the singer had already repaid the amount she owed as well as 3 million euros in interest, PA reported.

State of play: The crux of the case hinges on whether or not Shakira resided in Spain during the period in question.

  • Shakira claims her official tax residence was in the Bahamas until 2015, but prosecutors argue she spent more than 200 days of each of those years in Spain, making her eligible to pay taxes, since Spanish law states that people who spend more than 184 days a year in the country should pay taxes, according to the Post.
  • The trial date has not yet been set.

What they say : Shakira addressed the allegations in a magazine profile published last week in which she said she had decided to fight the allegations “because I have to fight for what I believe in; because they are false accusations”.

  • “I wasn’t spending 183 days a year at all at that time. I was busy fulfilling my work commitments around the world. Second, I paid everything they claimed I owed, even before they take legal action. So as of today, I don’t owe them anything,” she added.

The big picture: Spain has cracked down on public figures for alleged tax evasion in recent years, with football stars Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messiand Luka Modric all have paid fines and settlements in recent years after becoming entangled in tax ordeals.

  • In the United States, American singer Lauryn Hill was sentenced to three months in prison in 2013 for failing to pay taxes on approximately $1.8 million in income between 2005 and 2007.
  • In 2012, the IRS granted a tax lien to singer Lionel Richie for approximately $1.1 million in unpaid taxes since 2010.

]]> Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc (FFIE) Announces Global Governance Resolution with Major Shareholders and New Funding Mon, 26 Sep 2022 12:39:13 +0000

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Faraday Future Intelligent Electric Inc. (NASDAQ: FFIE) (“Faraday Future” or “the Company”), a California-based global shared smart electric mobility ecosystem company, today announced a comprehensive resolution to its dispute over governance with FF Top and the execution of definitive agreements for new funding. The Company continues to have active discussions with backers to fund the production and delivery of the FF 91.

The Company announced a binding governance agreement with FF Top Holding LLC (“FF Top”), which resolves a series of governance issues. The governance agreement, which is further described in our current report on Form 8-K filed earlier today, includes an agreement allowing FF Top to immediately withdraw its lawsuit against FFIE’s board of directors, changes in the composition and size of FFIE’s board of directors, and certain amendments to Faraday Future’s shareholders’ agreement with FF Top. Adam He was appointed as the new independent member of the Board of Directors and a member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee and the Audit Committee.

“Resolving the governance and related issues with our major shareholder is a major achievement and an important step forward for Faraday Future and all of our stakeholders. We can now focus our efforts on building FF 91. We appreciate the efforts of all parties to reach this agreement,” said Dr. Carsten Breitfeld, Global CEO of Faraday Future.

“FF Top is pleased that a resolution has been reached. We look forward to this opportunity for a fresh start and a brighter future for FFIE, and for all parties fulfilling their obligations under the Governance Agreement. , in order to achieve the best interests of Faraday Future and all shareholders,” said a spokesperson for FF Top.

At the same time, the Company announced the signing of two definitive agreements for a new financing commitment of up to $100 million in total. Detailed terms can be found in our current report on Form 8-K filed earlier today.

  1. Under the first funding agreement, Faraday Future will receive up to $40 million in short-term funding in the form of convertible secured notes and warrant exercise payments, subject to certain conditions precedent.
  2. Under a second separate financing agreement, the Company will receive up to an additional $60 million in short-term financing from Senyun International Ltd., an investment entity wholly owned by Daguan International Ltd., under the convertible secured notes, subject to certain conditions. previous. The terms of such financing are substantially similar to the terms of previously committed obligations, but are subject to the satisfactory completion of due diligence by the Company in its sole discretion on the investor and to a specified financing schedule with milestones.

The Company is in discussions with potential funding sources for the additional capital needed to fund operations through the end of 2022 and beyond. As part of the ongoing efforts to conserve cash and reduce expenses, the Company has recently implemented workforce reductions and other measures to reduce expenses and late payments. Other efforts, including additional workforce reductions, may be undertaken in response to the Company’s financial condition and market conditions. Additional information can be found in our current report on Form 8-K filed earlier today.

Mr. Adam He, the newly appointed Independent Board Member, is the Chief Financial Officer of Wanda America Investment Group. He previously served as an auditor at Ernst & Young and is a CPA in China and New York, and holds a bachelor’s and master’s of science degree in taxation from the Central University of Finance and Economics in Beijing and a Master of Science in Accounting from Seton Hall University in New Jersey. Additional details regarding Mr. He’s background can be found in our current report on Form 8-K filed earlier today.

Sidley Austin LLP acted as counsel to Faraday Future, Blank Rome LLP and Kelley Drye & Warren LLP acted as counsel to the agent in connection with the convertible note facility, Olshan Frome Wolosky LLP acted as counsel to Senyun International Ltd . and Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP acted as legal counsel to the company’s board of directors. Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP acted as legal counsel to FF Top and Baker McKenzie acted as legal counsel to Season Smart Limited.

Users can pre-order an FF 91 via the FF Intelligent app or via our website (in English): or (Chinese):

Download the new FF smart app (English): Where

Strengthening the legal capacities of technology startups Sun, 25 Sep 2022 23:43:37 +0000

Oyindolapo Olusesi is a technology lawyer and the founder of Mustarred Crest – a company providing legal solutions to complex technology issues.

Mustarred, an initiative of Olusesi, is a full-service advisory firm for technology startups in Africa that provides startups with best-in-class strategies to build and grow successful businesses.

Due to his desire to address some of the many challenges that start-ups face, Olusesi was inspired to create Mustarred Crest.

“I had a lot of non-programmers, like law graduates, finance and business administration students, who were looking to move into relatively new areas like fintech and were finding it a bit difficult to decide what to do and how. go about it, Mustared Crest decided to fill those gaps,” he explains.

Also, he notes that his conversation with a friend who is a brand expert who was unknowingly tinkering with the same idea back then inspired the company.

Responding to the question how much capital was used to set up the business, the young entrepreneur says he started the business with 20,000 naira – an amount spent on registration.

“We also tried to recruit people based on available clients, this helped us to ensure that we were not going to dip too much into personal funds and to assure staff of their salaries as they went along,” notes Olusesi.

He notes that his company’s ability to support young startups to get started and its flexible pricing system along with a good understanding of the market has sustained his business.

“Also, we’re in business to make money, but we’re also very interested in seeing our customers succeed first. What we do is that we assess each client on a case-by-case basis so that we can take into account the particularity of each,” he explains.

Responding to questions about why most startups fail over the next five years despite the cover, he attributes the high failure rates among startups to the country’s hostile regulatory landscape, explaining that it suffocates most of the time. innovation, many early companies failing properly for requirements.

He adds that many start-ups have failed to get started and understand the market in which their businesses operate.

“There are a lot of premature increases in the market, a lot of these startups failed to get started and understand the market, some of them couldn’t even determine their product-market fit and didn’t have no defined market share,” he said. said.

Also Read: NASS Passes Startup Bill to Buhari for Approval

He also notes that the dated education system, primitive judicial system and lack of progressive politics are also major challenges responsible for the high failure rate in the landscape.

On major challenges limiting entrepreneurship, he notes that the country’s huge infrastructure deficit remains a big problem for the ecosystem.

Regarding the business expansion plan, he states that Mustarred Crest intends to focus more on its training arm of the business in the near term.

Having realized that many companies need training and this is something our company plans to help them with, he explains.

“We will soon begin to roll out training for companies wishing to develop their staff,” he adds.

In the long term, he says, the company plans to create a venture capital network to help its clients secure seed funding.

What prevails, the business judgment rule or donor intent? | woodruff sawyer Fri, 23 Sep 2022 23:33:48 +0000

Paul Newman established the foundation to donate all royalty rights to the sale of Newman’s Own products, focusing on supporting children and their families. According to the foundation, it has distributed more than $570 million since 1982.

In the lawsuit, his daughters allege the foundation disregarded their late father’s wishes, including his desire that they direct their own funds to donations. This is an interesting case with many angles, and the complaint raises several fiduciary issues, including whether donor intent or the business judgment rule is more important.

Two Key Changes to Distributions

Among other things, the complaint alleges that Mr. Newman deliberately created the financial structure of Newman’s Own, in which he licensed his intellectual property rights in exchange for a royalty payment that would fund Newman’s Own Foundation donations. This structure provided a guaranteed revenue stream and created significant tax savings for the corporation. However, due to a change in the excess holdings rule in 2018, the foundation seemed compelled to change the structure to distributions of a percentage of net income, as opposed to the original royalty rights.

Additionally, Mr. Newman appeared to have wanted his daughters to be involved in philanthropic activities. However, the structure of the distributions also changed a few months before her death, changing from “girls’ foundation rules” to “grant recommendation”.

Trustees and their fiduciary duty

While there are other issues in the Complaint, the above two items opened the discussion about trustees, their decision-making latitude and their fiduciary duty. One of the defenses available to trustees is the business judgment rule. The business judgment rule gives the board discretion to make corporate decisions for the benefit of all stakeholders. The board of directors of a not-for-profit corporation is generally protected from liability, so long as the decisions or actions were taken in good faith, after proper investigation, and with the rational belief that they were in the best interests of the society.

The Trustees of the Newman’s Own Foundation make decisions about the operations of the foundation, and the Board of Trustees makes decisions about the organization of Newman’s Own. The board was required to make the appropriate decisions regarding the excess business holdings rule.

Communication can help prevent disputes

Whatever the final decision in the Newman’s Own case, the principles of fiduciary risk management are evident in this case: Communication and the relationship with beneficiaries are of the utmost importance. Almost all trustee disputes stem from misunderstandings.

Trustees have a legal obligation to communicate and document this communication with beneficiaries. This communication can take many forms, such as annual or quarterly written documentation, or through formal or informal meetings. Trustees should be available to answer any questions from beneficiaries regarding the decisions they have made. This is where the strength of the relationship can impact the alliance with the recipient.

When there is open communication and mutual respect between trustees and beneficiaries, problem-solving mechanisms are usually in place to avoid disputes. However, disputes often arise when there is a gap in trust and communication.

In the Newman’s Own case, we have no way of knowing how decisions were made or what was communicated to Paul Newman’s daughters. However, open communication and problem-solving strategies may have helped avoid disputes.

In this case, the claims against the trustees of Newman’s Own Foundation are likely arguable based on the latitude afforded by the business judgment rule. In most cases, if trustees act diligently and make decisions that are in the best interests of all stakeholders and free of conflict of interest, the business judgment rule should prevail over donor intent.

Ensure adequate liability coverage

This lawsuit highlights not only how critical it is for trustees and beneficiaries to communicate well, but also how important it is to choose the right trustee. This can be one of the most difficult parts of creating an estate plan. When choosing a trustee, make sure the person or company:

  • Will act in the best interests of the trust
  • Has the versatility to adapt to the changing legal, tax, financial and business climate
  • Understands asset complexity
  • Is ready to take on the tasks and responsibilities associated with achieving your goals

At the same time, it highlights the need for trustees to have adequate indemnification agreements, training, and insurance coverage for lawsuits. There are risks in being a fiduciary, as they are held to the highest standard of law – fiduciary duty – and may be personally liable.

Directors and Officers (D&O) and Errors and Omissions (E&O) policies provide valuable protection for trustees – they are complementary, but different policies. D&O insurance is the policy that responds when corporate directors, officers and trustees are sued in their capacity as directors, officers and trustees. It can be considered as malpractice insurance for the management of an entity. Errors and omissions insurance protects management and employees against errors made in the performance of their professional duties. Trustees should continually assess their liability risks as family needs and dynamics change over time.

What is Cloud on Title? Fri, 23 Sep 2022 18:30:23 +0000

In any transaction involving a home, the title is an integral part of the process. The title deed serves to verify who is the legal owner of the house. Although you can also be listed on the deed, the title is what matters most in determining ownership and your right to act with the home, whether you want to sell later, borrow against it, or leave it to rest. your heirs. .

The title comes into play in particular when buying a house. Before the transaction can be concluded, the current owner must prove that he legally owns the house and has the right to sell (or rent) it. If the seller has unresolved title issues – specifically, what is known as a title cloud – the closing can get messy; it could hamper your ability to buy the house.

A title cloud, also known as a title defect, defective title, or cloudy title, is anything that interferes with a person or entity transferring title to another party. This means there is an unresolved issue with the property that casts doubt on the current owner’s ability to sell it. It can be anything from unpaid property taxes to claiming an heir.

Typically, you discover an existing title cloud during a title search, which is usually done as a condition of a home sale. Essentially, the title search gives you a way to make sure there are no defects in title so that when it passes to you, you have full, unencumbered ownership of the property.

The scrambled title could be caused by anything that would question the ownership of the property. More often than not, you’ll see a cloud on the title due to overdue or underpayments on a mortgage. In this case, the mortgage lender puts a lien on the property. The seller (or buyer, in some cases) will need to arrange to update the loan in order to obtain release of the mortgage lien.

Discount rate overview

Technically speaking, any outstanding mortgage is a lien and gives the lender an interest in a property. But as long as payments are up to date, a mortgage doesn’t really obscure a title — or prevent a home from being sold (since the assumption is that the seller will repay the loan at closing).

Although a mortgage lien is a common cause, it is not the only way a title can be obscured.

For example, the cloud can be caused by the current owner owing money to someone else: an unpaid debt to a tax authority, general contractor, or other third party. When debts are not paid, some entities have the ability to put a lien on the property. This essentially forces the current owner to pay what they owe to sell the property – or find a buyer willing to shoulder that financial burden to get the title released freely and clearly.

The second common cause of title clouds can stem from paperwork issues. If a married couple bought the property together and then divorced, the ex-spouse’s name may still be on the deed. This could leave the spouse who still currently lives in the house without the full legal right to sell it. No matter how many solutions are available in your state to solve this problem, it can still significantly complicate the sales process.

You may also experience title flaws due to writing issues. With an unpublished trust deed, the proper land registration authority has not been notified that a mortgage has been paid off in full. In other words, you could experience a mortgage lien cloud simply because the proper paperwork has not been filed to show that the loan is no longer outstanding.

You may see a cloud on the title due to:

  • A mortgage lien
  • A tax privilege
  • Property Foreclosure Proceedings
  • Administrative issues, such as an unpublished trust deed
  • Boundary issues, including encroachments and easements
  • Probate issues, if the property was inherited or passed on as part of an estate
  • A mechanic’s lien, placed by the contractor on the property because the owner was unable to pay for something involved in building or renovating the home (usually building materials or labor -work)
  • Fraud, which can occur if a forged deed has been recorded (for example, putting the title in another person’s name)

A title defect does not necessarily mean that the sale of the house fails, but it does require action. Although the available options may vary by state, the current title holder generally has a few options:

  • Arrange for the lien to be lifted by repaying the unpaid debt. If the cloud is from a mortgage lien, mechanic’s lien, or other unpaid debt, you can usually clear the title by paying off the debt and ensuring the proper paperwork is filed to clear the default. title. In some cases, such as with a tax lien, the seller can clear the title by using a portion of the sale proceeds to pay the unpaid tax bill. Depending on the buyer’s level of interest, repayment of the outstanding debt(s) may be part of the sale negotiation.
  • Erase the lien or charge. If the default stems from a clerical issue such as an unpublished trust deed, filing the appropriate documents to clarify what is causing the cloud may be the only remedy needed.
  • Adjust the selling price. If the above steps are not options, the potential buyer may decide to cancel the sale. Buying a home with a cloudy title can make it difficult, if not impossible, to obtain title insurance, and mortgage lenders generally do not offer financing for a cloudy titled property. As a seller, you can offer a lower price to entice a buyer to close the sale and take responsibility for resolving the cloud issue on title issues themselves.

If there is a cloud on the title of a property you are considering buying and you wish to clear it before buying, you have a few options, although most require action from the seller/ current holder.

  • Lien payment: As a buyer, repaying the lien and filing the correct paperwork to clear the lien is an option if you are truly motivated to purchase a property. As noted above, you may be able to negotiate a lower sale price to help cover your personal financing to clear the title yourself. Many real estate investors and home buyers use this strategy to acquire properties from overwhelmed owners.
  • Deeds of retrocession: If the title has a lien but the debt has been paid, the lender/tax authority can usually execute a retrocession deed to show that the debt has been paid. If the seller is unable (or unwilling) to act on this option, you may be able to facilitate the process instead to ensure the sale can proceed.
  • Waivers: Quitclaims, which transfer legal rights to a property, allow you to eliminate the defect on a title (usually relatively simple defects, such as a misspelling or an unwanted easement). While this may erase title, it also offers the lowest level of buyer protection of any type of deed.
  • Silent title action: This is a petition you file in court which, if granted, makes the seller responsible for all liens on the property while transferring title to the buyer, giving them full and unencumbered rights to the property. Essentially, this “calms down” the cloud on the title. Depending on the circumstances, you may need to file a discreet title action to pay off any outstanding debt to clear the title.

Each of these steps requires additional work on the part of either the seller or the buyer and, regardless of the options chosen, it may be best for either or both parties to consult a lawyer before proceeding. to chase.

To further protect you as a buyer, you can also consider title insurance. This can ensure that even if clouds of title defects appear down the road, once your purchase is complete – and they might – you don’t have a financial obligation to rectify them.

New federal anti-SLAPP legislation would protect activists and whistleblowers from frivolous lawsuits Fri, 23 Sep 2022 15:27:58 +0000

Federal legislation introduced last week would help human rights defenders, environmental activists and ordinary people fight baseless lawsuits designed to drain them of their resources. Strategic Public Participation Lawsuits, or SLAPPs, seek to silence critics of companies or individuals by subjecting them to lengthy and costly litigation. The goal is not to win, but to deter unflattering reviews.

The SLAPP Protection Act of 2022, introduced last Thursday by Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.), would create a pathway for a judge to quickly dismiss a lawsuit if he finds the allegations amount to protected speech by the First Amendment. It would also give judges the power to force those who are behind SLAPP lawsuits to repay the money their targets have spent on lawyers.

“This legislation is super powerful,” said Greenpeace General Counsel Deepa Padmanabha, who is facing two multimillion-dollar lawsuits brought by companies against the environmental organization. “SLAPPs are a desperate attempt to silence resistance, to silence exposure, to silence the public watchdogs of exposing the fossil fuel industry for what it is.”

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The new legislation is part of a renewed effort to advance anti-SLAPP laws after environmental organizations and individual land and water defenders faced massive federal lawsuits under of the RICO Act (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act), a law designed to eliminate the mafia. In 2018, a coalition called Protect the Protest was launched to push back against RICO cases and advancing anti-protest laws in more than a dozen states. The coalition has helped energize the longstanding efforts of groups like the Public Participation Project to advance federal and state anti-SLAPP laws.

Wealthy Pollsters drive a significant share of SLAPP-style suits. A report released last week by non-profit organization EarthRights International identified 93 lawsuits filed by fossil fuel industry players over the past decade that had the qualities of a SLAPP by targeting, for example , an activity protected by the First Amendment, by making disproportionate damage claims or dragging out of the case. They were aimed at industry critics ranging from international environmental organizations to fracking protesters to TV host John Oliver.

However, opponents of the oil and gas industry are not the only SLAPP targets. “With the MeToo movement, you’ve seen countless survivors (of sexual harassment and assault) face frivolous lawsuits for speaking out about their experiences,” said Evan Mascagni, policy director of the Public Participation Project. The lawsuits he reviewed involved Yelp reviewers leaving negative reviews, community members criticizing developers at local town meetings, and journalists writing unflattering reports about wealthy men.

For Padmanabha, the stakes are high. “We have 10 years to act on the climate crisis — probably even less than that,” she said, noting that SLAPP suits divert time, money and dialogue from bigger issues. “While protecting our right to express ourselves, to organize is critically important to the fight against climate change, this money can and should be spent on tackling the climate crisis that lies ahead.”

The first state anti-SLAPP law was passed in Washington in the 1980s. Since then, 32 states and the District of Columbia have put such laws on the books. However, their strength varies considerably. In 2020, the Uniform Law Commission, a nonpartisan group made up of government-appointed representatives from each state, attempted to change that by introducing model anti-SLAPP legislation, which has since been passed in three states.

Yet plaintiffs can easily avoid the regulations by suing in one of the 18 states without SLAPP protections or in federal court.

In 2016, logging company Resolute Forest Products filed a $300 million RICO lawsuit against Greenpeace in federal court, alleging that Greenpeace and its allies constituted a criminal enterprise and disseminated defamatory information about Resolute. “Maximizing donations, not saving the environment, is Greenpeace’s true goal,” the lawsuit asserted.

A year later, a judge ruled that Resolute’s action was a SLAPP suit under California law and forced the company to reimburse Greenpeace for $816,000 in legal fees associated with the state-level allegations. . However, the suit’s federal claims were not affected by the decision. Although the majority was ultimately dismissed, Greenpeace was unable to recoup the costs of fighting these claims. According to Padmanabha, the federal bill would likely have ensured that Resolute also covered the environmental organization’s costs for federal claims.

Something similar happened in 2017 when Energy Transfer, the company behind the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline, hired the same law firm as Resolute to sue Greenpeace for $900 million under RICO. The lawsuit claimed that Greenpeace conspired with others to frame the Native-led Standing Rock movement as a fundraising stunt. Eventually, a judge dismissed the lawsuit, but, without a federal anti-SLAPP law, Greenpeace had no way to recoup its legal costs.

A federal law would not have solved everything. Six years later, Greenpeace is still challenging two of the logging company’s claims in court. As for Energy Transfer, the pipeline company quickly filed a version of its lawsuit in North Dakota, where there is no anti-SLAPP law. Padmanabha said the energy transfer suits cost the organization millions of dollars.

The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, an international NGO focused on promoting human rights in business, places SLAPPs within a broader range of attacks used internationally by the industry to silence the opponents. According to a report by the organization, these tactics include arbitrary detention, trumped up charges and abusive subpoenas that compel human rights defenders to divulge personal information.

“In the United States, thankfully, we don’t see assassinations happening,” said Kirk Herbertson, senior policy adviser for EarthRights International. “The militarization of the justice system is the tactic that seems to be the thing here.” The report released last week by EarthRights identified 152 cases of legal harassment in the United States by the fossil fuel industry over the past decade, including 93 SLAPP lawsuits.

Herbertson helped launch the Protect the Protest coalition in 2018 in response to the Greenpeace lawsuits. “For a number of organizations, this posed an existential threat to our work,” Herbertson said. “The idea was that if you come for one of us, you come for all of us.”

The group has submitted amicus briefs in SLAPP lawsuits, collaborated on litigation communications, and advanced policies to protect the targets of those lawsuits.

Protect the Protest has also lobbied against a slew of so-called critical infrastructure bills advancing in the US since 2017, which increase charges for fossil fuel protesters who encroach on private property, and sometimes include penalties. for organizations that “conspire” with intruders.

The new federal bill is narrower than the toughest state anti-SLAPP laws, giving plaintiffs the ability to avoid paying defendants’ legal fees by arguing they didn’t know they were filing a lawsuit. frivolous. This is due in part to federal rules that state that the civil litigation process should favor neither plaintiffs nor defendants.

It is also the result of years of organizing after the failure of a 2015 federal anti-SLAPP bill. In a hearing on SLAPPs at the time, a legal scholar testified that this version of the legislation would constitute barriers to public interest litigation. Mascagni said he and others have worked hard since then to ensure the new bill could gain broad support.

Still, he argues that the exceptions in the bill could be more limited. “If you’re a competent plaintiff’s attorney and have a legitimate cause of action, you don’t have to worry about anti-SLAPP laws,” he said.

ExxonMobil recently tried to use Massachusetts’ anti-SLAPP law to convince a judge to dismiss the state’s attorney general’s lawsuit alleging the company misled investors and consumers about the connection between fossil fuels and the crisis. climatic. The judge denied the request.

During a hearing before the House Oversight Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties last Wednesday, Daren Bakst, senior researcher for environmental policy and regulation at the Heritage Foundation, argued that these are the people who lean left politically who most often try to silence those who lean on energy issues. Presenting arguments that align with industry talking points, he highlighted claims by individuals that fossil fuel industry CEOs should go to jail and the Biden administration encouraging social media companies to limit the spread of climate misinformation. He did not respond to requests for comment.

Mascagni hopes the bill will garner bipartisan support, as anti-SLAPP bills have in many states. He pointed out that even the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization linked to the billionaire fossil fuel brothers Koch that is made up of right-wing lobbyists and lawmakers, released a model anti-SLAPP bill, apparently after being asked by Yelp. A 2020 op-ed by Bill Easley, a senior policy analyst at the Koch-linked political advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, went so far as to call Energy Transfer’s lawsuit against Greenpeace a SLAPP suit and called for better protections.

Without national protections, Padmanabha said businesses and individuals with deep pockets could pay for censorship. “There must be a mechanism in place to remove the price of free speech,” she said.

School librarian recalls ‘surreal’ police visits to books months before new Missouri law | KCUR 89.3 Fri, 23 Sep 2022 07:00:00 +0000

Last fall, at school board meetings across the country, parents upset about COVID-19 precautions began talking about another grievance — school library books. In the St. Louis area, groups of parents went to board meetings to read aloud passages they said were sexually explicit, calling the books “criminal.”

St. Louis Public Radio has now confirmed it is also calling police and at a local high school in the Wentzville School District, after receiving angry voicemails, a police officer responded. He went to the library to tell the librarian about the books in his collection after callers accused her of giving pornography to children. This happened not once, but twice during the 2021-22 school year.

Although the visits did not result in any action against the librarian or removal of materials from the collection, the police officer’s presence highlights potential issues under a new Missouri law that makes it a crime to give sexually explicit material to minors. The law is a new tool for parents who want the support of law enforcement in their fight to force schools to teach what they deem appropriate. In the Wentzville district alone, the law resulted in the removal of more than 200 books from shelves for review.

The encounters between the librarian and the officer also illustrate how police and prosecutors can be ill-equipped or unwilling to respond to complaints about what amounts to subjective law, and how that means the law’s impact will reverberate. on individual situations.

Two police visits

O’Fallon Police Department shift commander Jeffrey Cook said Officer Scott Young, who worked at Liberty High School, went to speak to the librarian in separate incidents months apart after he received voicemails from parents complaining about books in the library.

“His follow-up with the school librarian was for his own understanding of what the books were that the parents were complaining about,” Cook told St. Louis Public Radio in an email. “This was not a police matter at the time and it is not a matter our department intends to get involved in.”

Wentzville School District spokeswoman Brynne Cramer described the visits as “informal conversations” between two colleagues. Young is a resource officer employed by both the O’Fallon Police Department and the Wentzville School District.

But the librarian felt the encounters differently. She didn’t want to be named for this story because she’s worried about her safety. Throughout the past school year, angry parents have shown up at board meetings, filed formal demands challenging books and records, and done what they can to force the district to follow through. their wishes.

The librarian told St. Louis Public Radio that while discussions with Young were casual, it was ‘frightening’ and ‘surreal’ for a police officer to enter her library because someone accused her of giving away pornography. to children.

The O’Fallon Police Department took no further action and did not file a report. The department said that going forward, the school district will handle complaints about library books.

Cook also sent a statement from St. Charles District Attorney Tim Lohmar, who said, “Law enforcement and prosecutors are unlikely to become involved in cases that touch on this issue, primarily because the issue is subjective in nature, and we are not in the business of suing school districts.

When asked about this quote, Lohmar’s office said it was shared without permission.

Instead, the public information officer in Lohmar’s office sent out a statement suggesting he could review the cases under this new law. The spokesperson said the office would review a case individually if law enforcement brings one.

“As with any alleged violation of criminal law, we can only respond to cases that are formally brought to us by the appropriate law enforcement agency,” the statement said. “When this happens, we look at each case on its own merits. It is almost impossible to establish clear internal policies and rules until we look at the facts of each case and apply those facts to the laws in question.

Brian Munoz


St. Louis Public Radio

The Missouri State Capitol on Wednesday morning.

Missouri’s New Law

The New Missouri the law makes it illegal provide students with visual representations of things considered sexually explicit, including genitalia and sex acts. The law came into effect nearly a year after the officer’s first visit. Teachers, librarians or other school officials found guilty of violating it could face up to a year in prison or a $2,000 fine.

There was already a Missouri law prohibiting providing pornography to minors, but this law specifically criminalizes this issue in schools.

Since the law was approved, librarians in Missouri have been going through books page by page, looking for anything that could get them in trouble. In the St. Louis area this school year, at least seven school districts have cut nearly 40 titles so far. The majority are graphic novels or comics, as the law is all about visuals.

Other school districts said they are still evaluating the law to see if anything should be removed from library shelves. In the Wentzville School District, an internal listing shows more than 200 books have been temporarily removed for further review due to the new law.

Some titles have been removed in several districts, including graphic novel versions of “The Handmaid’s Tale”, “Gender Queer”, “Flamer”, and “Watchmen”. The Rockwood School District has removed 22 pounds, plus than any other district that reported the materials that were removed.

While many districts received formal requests to remove books last year, most districts ultimately did not remove any records. Some local school boards have gone further by voting to keep the books on library shelves.

But the Wentzville School District removed several titles last year, either temporarily or permanently. It was enough for the ACLU of Missouri to sue the neighborhood on behalf of students about the book deletions, claiming they violated students’ First Amendment rights. A judge recently declined a request to temporarily suspend Wentzville’s book removal policy.

In a statement, the ACLU of Missouri said school districts should not preemptively remove the books due to Missouri’s new law.

“The new law narrowly defines ‘explicit sexual material’ and includes broad exceptions that require the materials to be considered as a whole,” wrote Tom Bastian, deputy director of communications for the ACLU of Missouri. “Furthermore, it does not criminalize materials that are currently in school libraries because school districts already follow well-established national standards for selecting appropriate materials.”

Librarians said they still feel confused about what materials are covered by the law and worried about its implications, according to Melissa Corey, president of the Missouri Association of School Librarians.

“We stand for intellectual freedom,” Corey said. “We defend the freedom to read.”

The law exempts scientific or anthropological depictions of sex-related material. And not all school districts have used book raffles. Maplewood Richmond Heights School District and St. Louis Public Schools said they did not pull any books.

“We’re not censoring anything at this point,” Maplewood Richmond Heights Superintendent Bonita Jamison said. “We don’t change what we do for children because we know what they need. They come out in a diverse society.

Corey said school librarians receive training to ensure their collections offer age-appropriate and relevant books that represent diverse viewpoints.

“Reading is the single most important way to develop empathy for others,” Corey said. “We have books published by individuals that would not have been published 20 or 30 years ago.”

Brian Munoz


St. Louis Public Radio

identity books

According to an analysis of titles, books about or written by LGBTQ people or people of color make up more than half of the books school districts have pulled from shelves. Many are about people coming to terms with their identity. Proponents of the new law denied that their movement was targeting specific groups.

“I don’t care about gender identity or sexual orientation,” Andy Wells said. “For me, that’s not a factor.”

Wells is president of the Missouri chapter of No Left Turn in Education, a national group that has a grading system for books it deems inappropriate.

State Sen. Rick Brattin, R-Harrisonville, said he proposed the legislation because “we definitely saw the need to protect the innocence of children.”

Brattin said parents were furious about the issue and it led them to support “school choice,” the political movement to divert funding from public schools to other school options.

“That’s why you see such a movement of parents who want school choice and want to allow them to be able to take their money that they pay in taxes so they can go somewhere else when this kind of nonsense happens in the school system. public.” Brattin said. “…I think the best way to raise the bar is to have a mass exodus of people leaving these school districts that are doing this stuff.”

Wells spoke with Brattin about the new law before it was passed. Next, he wants the Missouri legislature to go beyond just visuals, with a law against written text that he thinks is self-explanatory.

“This is the first, I hope, of new legislation that will take graphic information out of the hands of children,” Wells said.

Follow Kate on Twitter: @KGrumke

This article was produced in partnership with the Midwest Newsroom, an investigative journalism collaboration including St. Louis Public RadioKCUR, Iowa Public Radio, Nebraska Public Media and NPR.

Copyright 2022 St. Louis Public Radio. To see more, visit St. Louis Public Radio.

SF’s historic Huntington Hotel goes into default Fri, 23 Sep 2022 00:10:12 +0000


The Huntington Hotel, one of the famous “Big Four” hotels atop San Francisco’s Nob Hill, could be subject to foreclosure after defaulting on a loan, according to a report.

Documents filed with the city show a $56.2 million loan in default and a tax lien on the property, according to Bay Area News Group. Los Angeles-based Woodbridge Capital acquired the 136-room hotel in 2018 for $51.9 million. Its lender, Deutsche Bank, is seeking to foreclose on the loan.

First built in 1924, the twelve-story Georgian-style hotel, along with its restaurant and spa, is closed until further notice according to its website. A request for comment was not immediately returned.

Hotels and office buildings in San Francisco have struggled with a sharp drop in the number of travelers and commuters, raising the risk of collapsing property values, mortgage defaults and vacant buildings.

See also

The city’s tax office is seeing a flood of tax reassessment requests from commercial landlords who argue their property values ​​have dropped.
This includes the owners of some of San Francisco’s most iconic buildings: the Transamerica Pyramid, Uber’s headquarters in Mission Bay, and the Westin St. Francis, among others.