Calling their conduct “constitutionally abhorrent,” a federal judge recently chided government prosecutors for working in secret to keep millions of dollars in cash and assets seized from a Las Vegas gambler and his family in a decadelong bookmaking investigation.
In his 31-page opinion, U.S. Magistrate Judge Cam Ferenbach cast light on the little-known court process that allowed the government to file civil forfeiture actions against Glen Cobb, his 82-year-old parents and his stepdaughter under “super seal” with no notice to anyone — not even the family it targeted.
Government documents filed under super seal, a procedure overseen by the federal clerk’s office, are stored in the court’s vault and not loaded into the electronic case management system. The documents remain secret from the public and opposing parties.
Ferenbach said prosecutors sought a level of secrecy normally reserved for cases that threaten public safety or national security.
“This is unacceptable,” Ferenbach wrote in court papers only recently made public. “Relying on various sealed and super-sealed filings, the government asks the court to rule against private citizens, allow the deprivation of their property and deny them a process to redress possible violations of their constitutional rights through a secret government action that provides no notice or opportunity to be heard.
Last week, the Canadian Securities Administrators announced new rules requiring Canadian public corporations to disclose policies and procedures put in place to get more women on their boards of directors and into senior management positions, or else explain why the company lacks such policies and procedures.
The amendments to National Instrument 58-101 Disclosure of Corporate Governance Practices and Form 58-101F1 Corporate Governance Disclosure are set to come into effect on December 31, 2014; in time, as the announcement notes, for the 2015 proxy season. Seven provinces and two territories intend to implement the amendments. The Alberta Securities Commission had previously announced it would not be implementing the proposed amendments, based on its belief that increasing the number of women on boards of directors falls outside of its mandate. That said, as Janet McFarland points out, since the new rules will apply to all companies listed on the TSX, they effectively create a national standard.
The number of women holding board seats in Canada remains very low, between 10% and 13%, depending on the survey and which companies are included. In the 21st century, it is no longer possible to argue that this is due to a shortage of qualified women. Imposing quotas on companies is one means of increasing these numbers. Critics claim quotas lead to “tokenism”; however, the justification for mandatory quotas is that they force companies to increase the number of women directors quicker than they would otherwise, resulting in a critical mass of women on the board. In other words, they prevent a corporation from appointing one or two woman as token female board members. Furthermore, according to research conducted by Professor Aaron Dhir, women appointed to boards in response to mandatory quotas in Norway did not feel stigmatized as a result.
Although quotas are a surer means of increasing the number of women on boards, there is some reason to hope that the new disclosure rules will make a difference. The new rules require companies to disclose, among other things, "whether the issuer has adopted a written policy relating to the identification and nomination of women directors" or else explain why the company does not have such a policy. Research by the Canadian Board Diversity Council notes a correlation “between the presence of a diversity policy and the presence of female directors”. Assuming that companies that don’t have a policy in place currently will draft one in order to comply with the new disclosure rules, then the new rules may work to increase significantly the number of women on boards. Only time will tell. But the longer Corporate Canada refuses to change its old ways, the stronger the case for quotas becomes.
Whether you're into mining, energy or tourism, there are lots of reasons to explore space. Some "pioneers" even believe humanity's survival depends on colonising celestial bodies such as the moon and Mars, both becoming central hubs for our further journey into the cosmos. Lunar land peddlers have started doing deals already – a one-acre plot can be yours for just £16.75.
Quick follow up to my blog post from October 8th: It appears that the CBA will not file an intervenor factum in Chevron Corporation v. Yaiguaje. You can read the CBA's annoucement here.
If you, like me, are interested in the issue of enterprise liability and the application of Salomon, you can still get your fix from the parties' factums in this appeal, available online here. See in particular Factum of Appellant Chevron Corporation at paras. 100-129 and Respondents' factum to the appeal of Chevron Canada Limited at paras. 69-98.
It seems that phobias can be passed down by genes. I wonder which of my ancestors encountered an evil clown or mime? That being said, would this genetic base for phobias create a protected class of phobias for the purposes of human rights laws? Too bad I don't teach in a clown or mime school otherwise, I would have the perfect claim for disability leave.
The Georgia Court of Appeals ruled that the parents of a seventh-grade student may be negligent for failing to get their son to delete a fake Facebook profile that allegedly defamed a female classmate.
The trouble started in 2011 when, with the help of another student, the boy constructed a Facebook profile pretending to be the girl. He used a “Fat Face” app to make her look obese and posted profane and sexually explicit comments on the page depicting her as racist and promiscuous, according to court documents.
When the girl found out about it, she told her parents who then complained to the school’s principal. The school punished the boy with two days of in-school suspension and alerted his parents, who grounded him for a week.
The parents intend to appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court. So this may be a while.