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Court strikes down Texas IOTA program

first_imgCourt strikes down Texas IOTA program Court strikes down Texas IOTA program Mark D. Killian Managing Editor In a decision that has national implications, the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled October 15 that Texas’ interest on lawyers’ trust accounts program is unconstitutional. A three-judge panel of the New Orleans-based U.S. Fifth Circuit held that using pooled interest from lawyers’ trust accounts for legal aid amounted to an unconstitutional taking without just compensation, in violation of the Fifth Amendment. Washington Legal Foundation v. Texas Equal Access to Justice Foundation, case no. 00-50139. Darryl Bloodworth, president of The Florida Bar Foundation, said the decision will not immediately affect the operations of Florida’s IOTA program, and there is no need for Florida lawyers to make any changes or do anything differently with their IOTA accounts. “Of course, I was disappointed,” Bloodworth said, adding, however, that he was “not terribly surprised” because the Fifth Circuit had ruled against IOTA before. “As far as the immediate impact, though, I don’t think there is any because there is an 11th Circuit opinion from a number of years ago stating that our program is constitutional. And until this issue is ultimately decided in the U.S. Supreme Court, it seems to me the program should continue here in Florida.” Richard A. Samp, chief counsel for the group challenging the Texas program, however, said the ruling calls into serious question the constitutionality of all the nation’s mandatory IOTA programs. Every state except Indiana has similar programs, which raise more than $150 million a year for providers of legal aid to the poor. “Clearly this is the end of the IOTA programs in the Fifth Circuit, which includes not only Texas, but also Louisiana and Mississippi,” Samp said, adding he hopes bar authorities across the country read the court’s decision “very carefully.” Bar President Terry Russell said the ruling is “extremely harmful to what I consider to be the greatest innovative program in this country’s history in terms of getting civil legal services to the poor. “There is a fight ahead of us and a real possibility, I hope not a probability, but a real possibility that we could lose the IOTA program,” Russell said. “If we do, we will be called on to fill in the void.” Samp said the Washington Legal Foundation’s victory was “foreordained” by the 1998 U.S. Supreme Court’s finding in Philips v. WLF, case no. 96-1578, that clients have a protected property interest in funds created by pooled IOTA accounts. The Supreme Court, however, took no view as to whether the funds had been “taken” by the state or if any “just compensation” was due the respondent. Those questions were left to the federal district court in Austin, Texas, on remand. U.S. District Judge James R. Nowlin, of the Western District of Texas, subsequently dismissed a challenge to the Texas IOTA program, saying without IOTA the interest generated by the plaintiff’s principal would possess no economically realizable value, and without an identifiable, compensable loss, there has been no taking without compensation. The Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, however, rejected that reasoning. “Appellants have met their burden of demonstrating the existence of a property interest,” the court said. “And there is no dispute that ‘private property’ has been allocated ‘for public use.’” The Fifth Circuit said Philips made clear that a client’s right to possess, control, and dispose of the interest earned on his funds are valuable rights, regardless of whether the interest has economic value. Writing for the 2-1 panel, Judge Rhesa Hawkins Barksdale said: “In reality, the linchpin for this case has already been inserted by the Supreme Court: Interest income generated by funds held in IOTA accounts is the ‘private property’ of the owner of the principal. And, because the state has permanently appropriated [the appellant’s] interest income against his will, instead of merely regulating its use, there is a per se taking.” Judge Barksdale said because the purpose of IOTA is to take the interest generated from client funds and use it to fund legal services for the indigent, “it is obvious that the program makes no provision for payment of just compensation.” “If the interest earned on client funds were available as just compensation for the clients, the very purpose of the program would be thwarted; therefore, it would defy logic, to say the least, to presume the availability of a just compensation remedy,” said Judge Barksdale, who was joined by Judge Emilio Garza. Judge Jacques Weiner dissented. In Washington state, the Washington Legal Foundation also is litigating a similar case now pending before the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco. In January, a three-judge Ninth Circuit panel held that the interest earned on IOTA accounts belongs to the clients whose funds generated the interest, and that government confiscation of that interest violates the Fifth Amendment taking clause. In May, the Ninth Circuit voted to rehear the case en banc, and heard oral arguments in June. WLF v. Legal Foundation of Washington, 236 F.3d 1097. The court remanded the case to the district court on the issue of whether any just compensation is due. The court did not find the IOTA program to be unconstitutional or enjoin it from operating. Randall C. Berg, Jr., of Miami, who represents more than 60 IOTA programs and bar associations across the country — and is active in the Washington case — said while the Fifth Circuit ruling is not good news, “it is not the end of the world and it is certainly not the end of the IOTA program.” “If the Fifth Circuit decision stands either en banc or as a panel decision, I think the U.S. Supreme Court will grant cert to hear it,” Berg said, noting that four of the justices dissented in the Philips case and it only takes four justices willing to hear a case for cert to be granted. Samp said the WLF challenge to mandatory IOTA programs across the country has nothing to do with the merits of legal services to the poor. “Nothing about this decision should be seen as a threat for legal services for the poor,” Samp said. “Hundreds of millions of dollars are appropriated each year by both the federal government and by the state governments to provide services for legal aid. If supporters of legal aid feel they are not getting enough money appropriated, the correct solution in a democratic government is to apply to the legislature for more money, not to try to grab someone else’s money through subterfuge.” Bloodworth said he also expects the constitutionality of mandatory IOTA programs to ultimately be decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, and if that court rules the way the Fifth Circuit did, Florida may have to revert to some kind of voluntary program. “Am I concerned? Yes, I am concerned because I think the IOTA program has been a wonderful program for provision of legal services to the poor, and at the current time in Florida there are not good alternate sources of money for that,” Bloodworth said. Longtime IOTA critic Harvey M. Alper of Altamonte Springs said with the Fifth Circuit’s ruling, the days of mandatory IOTA are numbered and he would like the Florida Supreme Court to immediately make the state’s IOTA program voluntary — or at least appoint a commission to “salvage the good in what we are doing here.” “I really want to know what the anxiety is with regard to making it a voluntary program,” Alper said. “Is it that the courts think lawyers won’t ask? Is it the courts think the clients will say no? “We can fix this whole problem by making this a voluntary program and asking lawyers to get their clients to volunteer to do this,” Alper said. “I’d do it. I’d ask every client to volunteer to do this. This is a good thing. This is the right thing to do, provided, of course, the money was being used appropriately.” Alper also said he thinks it unlikely the U.S. Supreme Court will take up the IOTA issue until “all the circuits are heard from, and it will only enter the fray again if there is a diversity in the opinions of the several federal circuits after they have all had a chance to look at it a couple of times.” Kent Spuhler, director of Florida Legal Services, said the decision is disappointing “since it adds more uncertainty and concern about the future health of legal assistance to the poor in Florida and the entire nation.” Spuhler said if IOTA should be lost as a source of funding legal assistance to the poor, The Florida Bar, state government, and the general public will be challenged to decide “whether we will have equal justice in Florida or not.” “Our delivery system is currently under funded, and the loss of IOTA funding would be devastating,” Sphuler said. “Those who have dedicated their careers to serve others will feel great pain. But for many of those who have nowhere else to turn — our most vulnerable residents — there will be the loss of the protection of the law.” Spuhler said the decision should remind everyone that any particular funding source for justice work is always vulnerable, “but we cannot let the reality of equal justice be similarly vulnerable.” November 1, 2001 Managing Editor Regular Newslast_img read more

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Bill Gates’ best career advice

first_img 73SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr Bill Gates has built one of the most powerful companies in the world, donated billions of dollars to charitable causes, and forever changed the way humans and machines interact. Today the world’s most successful college dropout reaches another important milestone: turning 60.While Gates is less inclined to seek the limelight than fellow billionaire moguls Richard Branson and Elon Musk (it’s telling that his billionaire bestie is Warren Buffett), he’s been an inspiration to countless people across the world for the past four decades, for obvious reasons.“I like my job because it involves learning. I like being around smart people who are trying to figure out new things. I like the fact that if people really try they can figure out how to invent things that actually have an impact. I don’t like to waste time where I’m not hearing new things or being creative,” Gates told Playboy in 1994.With an estimated net worth of $79.2 billion, Gates remains the richest man in the world, a record he’s held for 15 of the past 20 years, according to Forbes. But since stepping down as CEO of Microsoft in 2000, Gates has devoted more and more of his time to giving his money away to worthy causes. Through his philanthropic work with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, he and his wife focus on improving educational outcomes, expanding health care access across the world, and increasing economic opportunity for low-income households. continue reading »last_img read more

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Three critical credit union cultural keystones

first_imgIn the world of architecture, there is an interesting principle known as the keystone. The dictionary definition of keystone is “a central stone at the summit of an arch, locking the whole together.”Doubtless many of you have heard of this before and also recognize the use of the word keystone outside of the architectural realm. It has many societal implications. But have you ever paused to think about how critical the idea of the keystone is to your credit union and its culture/brand?Regardless of your location, size and field of membership, your credit union and its culture rely on this idea of a keystone to “lock the whole together.” While there are many such keystones to consider, perhaps the three most critical cultural/brand keystones for your credit union include:Keeping to your word. Your staff are keen listeners to what the credit union executive leadership team says and does. For example, if you launch a major new brand and culture initiative, with all the pomp and circumstance involved, you must live up to what you say you expect. If you tell staff, using this example, that your new brand and culture is a vitally important thing and that they all serve as brand ambassadors in this venture, you cannot let things slide after the initial announcement. This also strongly applies to your middle management team. Staff will look to senior leaders and their middle-management as the barometers of just how serious any initiative is. If they see things start to slide not long after the announcement, they have little reason to take it seriously. This also includes setting specific metrics for the success of whatever endeavor you launch. You cannot measure that which you do not define. Your very credibility is at stake. Keep to your word. Keeping your progress visible. This ties into the mention of metrics above. Cultural/brand metrics are best when they are shared with your entire staff. If you have prioritized a particular cultural/brand initiative and told staff they are accountable to it, it makes sense to share regular updates of those metrics. Credit unions that actively build on their strong culture are also those that openly share both the success and the challenges they face as a team. You cannot simply sing the praises of successes while simultaneously sweeping the dust bunnies of where you came up short under the rug. At the same time, if you pound people over the head with the shortcomings and neglect to spend any time at all on the positives, you’ll quickly run them right into the ground and destroy initiative, imagination and ingenuity; all important positive aspects of your culture and brand. Transparency is the key here. Keep your progress visible. Keeping HR involved at all points. Your credit union obviously wants to hire the most talented people that are also most likely to serve as a great fit for your brand and culture. This doesn’t start with later brand training or annual reviews. It must start at the very earliest stages of your cultural intake, the hiring process. Therefore, your HR department must be completely onboard with your brand and culture, what it is and what is not, and actively working to recruit and retain top talent that will add to your culture in their own unique ways. The gatekeepers of your brand and culture matter. Keep HR involved. The culture and brand of your credit union are not separate entities. They are completely intertwined; a symbiotic relationship between two entities. To use the original architectural reference, they are the keystone that lock the whole together.  While these three key critical cultural/brand keystones are a great place to start, there are many others. In what other ways can you challenge the brand and culture of your credit union to be an even better environment for your team? 4SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Mark Arnold Mark Arnold is an acclaimed speaker, brand expert and strategic planner helping businesses such as credit unions and banks achieve their goals with strategic marketing insights and energized training. Mark … Web: www.markarnold.com Detailslast_img read more

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Otsego County confirms five more positive COVID-19 cases

first_imgOTSEGO COUNTY, N.Y. (WBNG) — The Otsego County Health Department confirmed five more positive cases of the cornavirus on Sunday. The total number of confirmed cases in Otsego County is 14. On Friday, the health department reported their first death due to the coronavirus. Go to the CDC website or the Otsego County Health Department’s website for more information. center_img For more coronavirus coverage, click here.last_img

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State must do more to fund our schools

first_imgCategories: Letters to the Editor, Opinion I’m increasingly dismayed by local school districts being forced to cut programs and reduce teaching positions in their current budget sessions. This is particularly evident in the smaller districts like Johnstown and Mohanason as reported in your paper. This is highly unfair to the students in those districts who will have fewer extracurricular choices and larger classes. I realize it’s the fault of rising taxes and increased costs. I don’t blame the school boards that are trying to create manageable budgets, nor the residents whose taxes are already too high. I certainly don’t blame the students for wanting a quality education, nor the teachers who are trying to provide it.The fault, as I see it, lies with the state Legislature and the governor. More money should be set aside to aid the struggling districts and to provide equal opportunities to their students. New York state has within its massive budget and wasteful spending more than enough money to head off this underselling of the students in the smaller and poorer districts. A more reasonable solution to funding the schools would be to supplement local taxes with higher subsidies from the state. Reading the list of programs being cut in the districts The Gazette has reported on is sad and disconcerting. Those students should have the same chances to learn and flourish as all students. It’s time the state took notice.Anthony FrankSchenectadyMore from The Daily Gazette:Schenectady, Saratoga casinos say reopening has gone well; revenue down 30%Schenectady High School senior class leaders look to salvage sense of normalcySchenectady NAACP calls for school layoff freeze, reinstatement of positionsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristslast_img read more

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Reuters cameraman hit by rubber bullets as police disperse protesters

first_imgThe Reuters journalists were clearly identified as members of the news media. Chavez was holding a camera and wearing his press pass around his neck. Seward was wearing a bullet proof vest with a press label attached.The incident was the latest attack on a journalist covering the protests that have erupted around the United States after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.A black CNN journalist was arrested on camera while covering the protests in Minneapolis on Friday.A Louisville, Kentucky, television reporter yelled, “I’m getting shot” as she was seen live on camera on Friday being hit by what appeared to be a pepper ball. The Louisville Metro Police Department apologized for that incident.The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, according to the New York Times, had received about 10 reports involving journalists during the recent protesting, ranging from assaults to menacing.Topics : Minutes later, Chavez and Reuters security advisor Rodney Seward were struck by rubber bullets as they took cover at a nearby gas station.On footage captured as they ran for safety, several shots are heard ringing out and Seward yells, “I’ve been hit in the face by a rubber bullet.”Asked about the incident, Minneapolis Police Department spokesman John Elder requested a copy of the video and made no immediate comment.Seward is seen in later footage being treated by a medic near the scene for a deep gash under his left eye. Both men sustained injuries to their arms, and Chavez was hit in the back of the neck. Two members of a Reuters TV crew were hit by rubber bullets and injured in Minneapolis on Saturday night when police moved into an area occupied by about 500 protesters in the southwest of the city shortly after the 8 p.m. curfew.Footage taken by cameraman Julio-Cesar Chavez showed a police officer aiming directly at him as police fired rubber bullets and tear gas to disperse the crowd.”A police officer that I’m filming turns around points his rubber-bullet rifle straight at me,” said Chavez.last_img read more

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US starts crackdown on unvetted virus blood tests

first_imgMost companies faced a deadline earlier this week to file paperwork demonstrating their tests’ performance. Regulators required it after previously allowing tests to launch with minimal oversight, which critics said had created a “Wild West” of unregulated testing. (AP) The agency said in a statement that it expects the tests “will not be marketed or distributed.” It was unclear if any of the companies would face additional penalties. In this May 20, 2020 file photo, a health worker takes a blood sample for a COVID-19 antibody test in Los Angeles. AP WASHINGTON – United States regulators are moving ahead with a crackdown on scores of antibody tests for the coronavirus that have not yet been shown to work. The Food and Drug Administration on Thursday published a list of more than two dozen test makers that have failed to file applications to remain on the market or already pulled their products.last_img read more

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The Good Side of Pro Football

first_imgIf Peyton Manning retires before next year, I am sure that his benevolent work will continue.  Just recently he and his agent arranged a special visit to a dying cancer victim.  So much is publicized about the spousal abuse, carousing, and high jinx of a few bad apples who dominate the sports headlines.Each year during the Super Bowl Festivities the Walter Payton Award is presented to a pro football player who is deemed to have done the most community work during the past year.  It is a shame that the media doesn’t cover this like they do the scandals of players like Johnny Manziel.  A large portion of pro football players have charities they sponsor, foundations they create, parks they help build, and playgrounds for the special needs children.Most of them visit hospitals and schools not only during the season but the off season as well.  These are the players who do not beat their wives or girlfriends.  In Cincinnati two players come to mind right away.   They are Andy Dalton and Dre Kirkpatrick from the Bengals.  Both of them have spent thousands of dollars to help make the Cincinnati community a better place to live.last_img read more

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Ronaldo: I had no problem with Juventus players

first_img Promoted Content7 Of The Wealthiest Universities In The World2020 Tattoo Trends: Here’s What You’ll See This Year5 Of The World’s Most Unique Theme ParksYou’ve Only Seen Such Colorful Hairdos In A Handful Of AnimeIs This The Most Delicious Food In The World?World’s Most Delicious FoodsFantastic-Looking (and Probably Delicious) Bread Art7 Black Hole Facts That Will Change Your View Of The UniverseWhy Go Veg? 7 Reasons To Do ThisWhat Are The Most Delicious Foods Out There?Who Is The Most Powerful Woman On Earth?18 Cities With Neverending Tourist-Flow “We had some wonderful games against each other and you really didn’t need all the stuff going on behind the scenes.” Ronaldo cherishes his time in Italy and believes Calcio figures didn’t get the rewards they deserved. read also:Ronaldo, Mayweather own supercars but not richest collection in sport “I’d say there are four players who didn’t win the Ballon d’Or, but should’ve done: Alessandro Del Piero, Paolo Maldini, Francesco Totti and Raul. I’d also add Roberto Carlos, who was twice in second place behind me.” FacebookTwitterWhatsAppEmail分享 The Inter Milan hero insists he respects the Juve team of that time. “I can understand mistakes and referee can get it wrong too,” said Ronaldo of the denied penalty and later eruption of the Calciopoli scandal in 2006. “I’ve no problem with the players, you all had nothing to do with the story of Luciano Moggi, Roberto Bettega and the rest…Advertisement Loading… Brazil’s World Cup legend, Ronaldo, has insisted he had no problem with Juventus’ players over the 2006 Calciopoli scandal.last_img read more

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The Latest: SEC football media days to be held virtually

first_imgOrganizers added the two-time Wimbledon champion to play against a women’s lineup of Elina Svitolina, Kiki Bertens, Julia Goerges and Andrea Petkovic.Haas hasn’t played since 2017 and is tournament director of the Indian Wells event. He was added to a men’s tournament alongside Dominic Thiem, Alexander Zverev, Nick Kyrgios and Jannik Sinner.One more player is still to be announced for each of the men’s and women’s events.Organizers plan to play on grass from July 13-15 and then on hard courts from July 17-19. No fans are expected to be able to attend amid the coronavirus pandemic.___ Everton will be allowed to host city rival Liverpool at Goodison Park instead of playing at a neutral venue when the rivals meet on June 21.Police had initially believed the Merseyside derby could not be staged in Liverpool because of fears that fans would congregate outside.Premier League games will take place without fans for the rest of the season because of the coronavirus pandemic.The Ground Safety Advisory Group in Liverpool says Anfield and Goodison Park can now be used for Liverpool and Everton matches.Liverpool could clinch the trophy by beating Everton if Manchester City loses to Arsenal on June 17. Liverpool Deputy Mayor Wendy Simon says “we are confident the measures in place will allow the matches to be held behind closed doors without any detrimental impact to all concerned and recommend to the city council that the safety certificates for both grounds be amended to allow this to happen.”___English soccer club Stoke says manager Michael O’Neill has tested positive for COVID-19.The second-division club says the 50-year-old O’Neill had tested negative in five previous rounds of testing but the positive result came from a test administered on Monday.Stoke says O’Neill will “follow the relevant guidance and undergo a period of isolation.” Assistant manager Billy McKinlay will take charge of training. Associated Press Share This StoryFacebookTwitteremailPrintLinkedinRedditThe Latest on the effects of the coronavirus outbreak on sports around the world:___The Southeastern Conference has scrapped its scheduled football media days in July and instead plans to hold its first virtual event. Stoke is scheduled to play Reading when the Championship resumes on June 20.The Premier League returns to action with two matches on June 17.___More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports The Latest: SEC football media days to be held virtually League officials announced the decision Wednesday. SEC media days had been scheduled to be held July 13-16 in Atlanta at the College Football Hall of Fame and Omni Atlanta Hotel.Commissioner Greg Sankey says the virtual format will allow the league to manage media days in a healthy manner during the coronavirus pandemic and give programs flexibility as they prepare for the upcoming season. Sankey says the SEC looks forward to returning to its traditional media days format in 2021, which had been scheduled for Nashville.The SEC did not announce dates for the new virtual media days. Sankey is expected to deliver his annual “State of the SEC” along with media sessions with all head coaches and select players.___Petra Kvitova will play at a tennis exhibition event next month in Berlin and Tommy Haas will come out of retirement to join in. June 10, 2020last_img read more

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