Archives August 2022

Trump’s Attorney Wants Out, Fortenberry Lands Job

Welcome to the Checks & Rewards newsletter. Today we look at a congressman-cum-felon’s new employer, solve a mystery about a $35,000 payment and hear Eddy Grant’s “Electric Avenue” playing nonstop in our heads.

Trump’s Attorney Wants To Quit ‘Electric Avenue’ Lawsuit

An attorney defending Donald Trump in the copyright-infringement suit brought by singer Eddy Grant asked the judge to allow his firm to withdraw as counsel on Monday.

In September 2020, Grant sued Trump and his campaign, alleging a tweet from the then-president that included a video of the 1983 hit “Electric Avenue” allowed him to benefit politically and financially from Grant’s work. within weeks, Kenneth Caruso of Mukasey Frenchman LLP informed the Southern District of New York that he would be representing Trump and the campaign.

Now, with the case in discovery, Caruso wants out. He filed a motion in the Southern District of New York this week asking to be relieved as counsel. In an accompanying declaration that explained the request, Caruso wrote that his firm’s services are no longer needed and that it is not seeking a lien against Trump.

His work on the case seemed to have slowed down recently. The Make America Great Again PAC, which arose out of Trump’s presidential campaign, paid Caruso’s law firm $103,000 since September 2020, just $8,200 of which came in 2022, according to the most-recent campaign finance records. No other political committees have reported paying the firm.

Darren Saunders of Peroff Saunders PC, who joined Trump’s defense team a couple months after the suit was filedwill continue to represent the former president.

Caruso and spokespeople for the Trump campaign did not respond to requests for comment. Caruso’s filing was first reported by Reuters.

If the motion is granted, Caruso would be at least

Read the rest

China Life Insurance Co Ltd reassures that delisting will not affect the company

A man walks past the logo of China Life Insurance Company in Huai’an, East China’s Jiangsu province, on June 16, 2022. [Photo/VCG]

China Life Insurance Co Ltd’s delisting from the New York Stock Exchange will not affect the company’s operation and governance, the company’s top management said on Friday.

“The delisting will also not change the company’s share structure,” said Li Mingguang, vice-president, chief actuary and board secretary of China Life Insurance Co Ltd. “Investors can change American depositary shares into H shares if they want to continue to hold China Life’s stocks.”

According to China Life’s interim report, the insurer’s total premium income dipped 0.5 percent to 439,969 billion yuan ($64.24 billion) in the first half year. As of June 30, 2022, the total assets of China Life Insurance exceeded 5 trillion yuan, up 5.8 percent from the end of 2021. The company‘s core solvency rate stood at 169.05 percent in the first half.

The company’s net profit attributable to shareholders slumped by 38 percent to 25,416 billion yuan due to the slow down economic growth and the sluggish capital market in the first half.

As one of the largest players in the industry, China Life’s top management said that in the second half, the company will adhere to the general principle of pursuing progress while ensuring stability and continuing to deepen the supply-side reform, thus giving full play to the function of insurance and promoting the high-quality development of the company.

Zhu Xuehan contributed to this story.

Read the rest

Trump legal team advances broad view of presidential powers, unsealed FBI documents show

WASHINGTON — A newly unsealed FBI document about the investigation at Mar-a-Lago not only offers new details about the probe but also reveals clues about the arguments of former President Donald Trump’s legal team intends to make.

A May 25 letter from one of his lawyers, attached as an exhibit to the search affidavit, advances a broad view of presidential power, asserting that the commander-in-chief has absolute authority to declassify whatever he wants — and also that the “primary ” law governing the handling of US classified information simply doesn’t apply to the president himself.

The arguments weren’t persuasive enough to the Justice Department to prevent an FBI search of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate this month, and the affidavit in any event makes clear that investigators are focused on more recent activity — long after Trump left the White House and lost the legal authorities that came with it. Even so, the letter suggests that a defense strategy anchored around presidential powers, a strategy employed during special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation when Trump actually was president, may again be in play as the probe proceeds.

It’s perhaps not surprising that Trump’s legal team might look for ways to distinguish a former president from other citizens given the penalties imposed over the years for mishandling handling government secrets, including a nine-year prison sentence issued to a former National Security Agency contractor who stored two decades’ worth of classified documents at his Maryland home.

But many legal experts are dubious that claims of such presidential power will hold

Read the rest

Crypto miner open to legal action against Pine Bluff

The person who bought the old Pine Bluff Commercial building with plans to turn it into a cryptocurrency mining operation — and who was shut down in that effort by the city’s Planning Commission — said he was leaving open the possibility of taking the city to court over the denial.

Joe Delmendo, owner of Commonwealth Real Estate of El Segundo, Calif., who bought the building in November for $619,500, called the thumbs-down from the Planning Commission “a joke,” adding that the city was missing out on the opportunity he was providing.

“My reaction? That’s politics for you,” he said during a recent phone interview. “Pine Bluff is losing out on quite a bit of economic development. I was trying to bring value to a dying city.”

Delmendo announced plans in April to renovate the building, located at 300 S. Beech St., which, for decades, was the home of the Pine Bluff Commercial newspaper. Since September 2020, the building had been vacant. Delmendo said in April that he had plans to invest $10 million to $15 million in the building and to create up to 75 jobs through various ventures, including the crypto mining operation.

But as much as Pine Bluff needs good-paying jobs and business development, the proposal for the crypto operation was not well-received. Major Shirley Washington said she began looking into such operations that had been started in other cities and was not impressed.

“I told the planning staff to keep an eye on this,” she said. “We need economic development, but we don’t need something that is going to take away from the things we’ve accomplished.”

The problems, as determined by planning and city officials, are that crypto mining operations are noisy and that they can siphon off a disruptive amount of electricity.


Read the rest

AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of United States Liability Insurance Company and Its Subsidiaries

OLDWICK, NJ, August 24, 2022–(BUSINESS WIRE)–AM Best has affirmed the Financial Strength Rating of A++ (Superior) and the Long-Term Issuer Credit Ratings of “aa+” (Superior) of United States Liability Insurance Company (USLI) and its subsidiaries: Mount Vernon Fire Insurance Company (MVF), US Underwriters Insurance Company (USU) (Bismarck, ND), Mount Vernon Specialty Insurance Company and Radnor Specialty Insurance Company. The outlook of these Credit Ratings (ratings) is stable. All companies are domiciled in Omaha, NE, unless otherwise specified.

The ratings reflect the insurance operating companies’ consolidated balance sheet strength, which AM Best assesses as strongest, as well as their very strong operating performance, neutral business profile and appropriate enterprise risk management.

These assessments are evidenced by USLI’s extended trends of underwriting and overall operating profitability, superior risk-adjusted capital position, relevant market presence and conservative reserve positions. Additional positive rating factors include a high level of diversification in the companies’ books of business with regard to concentration limits, sales channels, proactive claims management philosophy and commitment to customer service. Furthermore, these ratings continue to benefit from implicit support provided to USLI and its subsidiaries by their ultimate parent, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Berkshire) [NYSE: BRK-A and BRK-B]and explicit support from their affiliate, National Indemnity Company.

This support for some of the operating companies is in the form of significant reinsurance treaties with National Indemnity Company, a Berkshire subsidiary. In addition to this agreement, Berkshire has established a long-term track record of supporting its member companies.

In the second quarter of 2022, USLI experienced volatility in its investment portfolio due to recent stock market behavior. Any potential concerns from the resulting surplus decline are mitigated by the group’s strongest risk-adjusted capitalization, as measured by Best’s Capital Adequacy Ratio (BCAR), which provides ample cushion to absorb occasional volatility in the capital

Read the rest

The State of Australian Animal Law and What Needs Improving

Animal law is a growing area of ​​study and practice because of the many ways in which nonhuman animals (animals) are used in a wide variety of venues.

Globally, nonhumans, including fully sentient companion animals and other thinking and feeling nonhuman beings, are viewed legally as unfeeling property or things, and this means they can be subjected to incredibly invasive, painful, and deadly treatment without breaking any laws.

In the United States, the Federal Animal Welfare Act redefined the word “animals” to exclude laboratory rats, mice, and other sentient beings who clearly are animals and used by the millions. While some people think this is a joke, it isn’t, and countless scientists continue their work without questioning this outrageous taxonomic revision.

Sydney University Press, with permission.

Source: Sydney University Press, with permission.

I’ve previously posted a number of essays about different systems of animal law, and I’m pleased Elizabeth Ellis of the School of Law at the University of Wollongong could answer some questions about her new landmark book Australian Animal Law: Context and Critique.1

Some key areas she considers include unnecessary animal suffering, the exemption of most animals from the operation of cruelty laws, regulatory conflicts of interest, the hidden nature of animal use, and the lack of transparency in animal law.

Marc Bekoff: Why did you write Australian Animal Law?

Elizabeth Ellis: The last two decades in Australia have seen significant work in the field of animal law: a proliferation of university courses, law reform activities, and a growing body of literature. Yet all this good work has not been matched by substantial legal reforms. While there have been some wins for animals, these have been relatively modest, and major problems remain largely unchanged.

Even quite modest improvements get bogged down for years, as evidenced by the recent process

Read the rest

Trump Search: What May Come Next In Inquiry With Legal Peril

WASHINGTON (AP) — A newly released FBI document helps flesh out the contours of an investigation into classified material at former President Donald Trump’s Florida estate. But plenty of questions remain, especially because half the affidavit, which spelled out the FBI’s rationale for searching the property, was blacked out.

That document, which the FBI submitted so it could get a warrant to search Trump’s winter home, provides new details about the volume and top secret nature of what was retrieved from Mar-a-Lago in January. It shows how Justice Department officials had raised concerns months before the search that closely held government secrets were being illegally stored — and then returned in August with a court-approved warrant and located even more classified records at the property.

It all raises questions whether a crime was committed and, if so, by whom. Answers may not come quickly.

A department official this month described the investigation as in its early stages, suggesting more work is ahead as investigators review the documents they removed and continue interviewing witnesses. Intelligence officials will simultaneously conduct an assessment of any risk to national security potentially created by the documents being disclosed.

At a minimum, the investigation presents a political distraction for Trump as he lays the groundwork for a potential presidential run.

Then there’s the obvious legal peril.


None of the government’s legal filings released so far singles out Trump — or anyone else — as a potential target of the investigation. But the warrant and accompanying affidavit make clear the investigation is active and criminal in nature.

The department is investigating potential violations of multiple laws, including an Espionage Act statute that governs gathering, transmitting or losing national defense information. The other laws deal with the mutilation and removal of records as

Read the rest

What insurance companies need to do to solve the gender parity problem

“You need to be nimble. You’ve got to accept nos and figure out how to pivot to find a yes,” she told Insurance Business.

Hunter is a moderator for a panel on strategic problem-solving at this year’s Women in Insurance Summit in New York. With a panel of fellow female leaders, Hunter will help unpack what it means to be an impactful problem-solver in the workplace.

Solving problems means constantly moving through thought processes – reframing problems and communicating and re-communicating them to arrive at solutions. But Hunter acknowledges it’s a skill that requires a willingness to bend.

“A lot of times, it’s just not getting too stuck in what you want the outcome to be or how you’d like the journey to the outcome to go because it rarely ever goes the way you want it to,” Hunter admitted.

Before founding A. Hunter & Company, she assisted start-ups and corporations with alternative risk transfer schemes and reinsurance placement globally as managing director of HM Risk Group, an international insurance brokerage and risk management firm.

“I spent most of my time talking to carriers, trying to negotiate terms and capacity. Most women probably reading this will know that it is a constant battle. I am constantly problem-solving, trying to figure out the best approach and who to contact,” Hunter said.

“I think women try to think that we can do it ourselves. But the older I’ve gotten, the more I realized that it is okay to ask for help because that will make solving a problem a lot easier.”

Ironically, Hunter’s advice for other women faced with problem-solving challenges is not to listen to advice.

“A lot of people have a lot of advice about how they did it, or how it worked for them and what’s best for

Read the rest

CA Employment Disputes, Does the Federal Arbitration Act Apply?

As we previously reported here, in Chamber of Commerce of the USA v. Bonta13 F.4th 766 (9th cir. 2021)a three member panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals resurrected California Labor Code Section 432.6, which prohibit employers from requiring California employees to agree to arbitrate their employment-related disputes.

In a new twist, however, the same Ninth Circuit panel that upheld the law has now withdrawn and decided to reconsider that ruling. While the panel reconsiders its ruling, California employers are free to require employees and applicants to sign arbitration agreements since a lower court previously struck down the anti-arbitration statute (signed by Gov. Gavin Newson in 2019) on the utterly predictable ground that it is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act.

One unusual aspect of the panel’s decision to reconsider the Bonta decision is that no new decision has been issued to replace it. Although a date has not been announced for a further hearing, the panel is expected to eventually issue a revised opinion.

Reading tea leaves, it would appear that Judge William A. Fletcher (who joined the original opinion written by Tenth Circuit Judge Carlos F. Lucero (sitting by designation)) may have changed his mind about the statute’s viability because, in this latest order, Judge Fletcher joined Judge Sandra S. Ikuta in deciding to withdraw the opinion so that it could be reconsidered. Judge Ikuta wrote a fiery dissent to the original opinion that would have affirmed the lower court’s order striking down the statute.

A revised opinion could again alter the arbitration landscape in California, with a determination that employers must follow Section 432.6 (prohibiting arbitration agreements) or, alternatively, ruling that Section 432.6 is preempted by the Federal Arbitration Act and, therefore, unenforceable

Read the rest

ATTORNEY AT LAW Episode 2 Clip Sees Jennifer Walters Start A New Job…As Her Incredible Alter-Ego

The first clip from tomorrow’s episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law has been released, and it follows Jennifer Walters during her first day at a new job. However, she’s there as She-Hulk, note Jen…

The second episode of She-Hulk: Attorney at Law arrives on Disney+ tomorrow, and we now have a new clip from the Disney+ series. In it, Jennifer Walters has just started her job as a lawyer specializing in superhuman law, but she’s not the one her new employers want…that would be She-Hulk!

It looks like Jen’s identity crisis as she attempts to figure out how to balance her human and Hulk sides will be front and center in this show. That’s a smart move on Marvel Studios’ part as it’s not something they were ever really able to explore with Bruce Banner.

While we know the likes of Wong, The Abomination, and Daredevil will appear in She-Hulk: Attorney at Law, there’s an expectation among fans that the series will feature even bigger cameos. To that, Head Writer Jessica Gao recently told Life Hacker, “Don’t set yourself up with big expectations to be disappointed.”

In a separate conversation with TV Linethe writer reflected on learning relatively soon that, regardless of which characters they wanted to use, Spider-Man was off limits.

“We knew innately that Spider-Man was a no-go. We thought maybe some of the other characters in Spider-Man might be fun to bring into our world, but we were told pretty early on that that was impossible, so we didn’t ‘t really go too far down the road,” Gao explains. “We just had a couple of Spider-Man supernerds in our room who dare to dream!”

So, while Jen won’t be representing the web-slinger in court, it’s good to know that the team working on the

Read the rest