Quiz: Test your knowledge of October’s top legal news

Recapping the most significant — or just plain strangest — news stories of the past month

October

 

Another month gone, another InsideCounsel news quiz, so get your pens and pencils ready. Read through the following 10 questions, then click through to the next page to discover how much you remember about October's most significant and strangest top legal stories.

 

1. The CEO of which technology company agreed to forgo a $575 million payout in order to settle a shareholder lawsuit?

  1. Microsoft
  2. Apple
  3. Oracle
  4. Cisco

2. Nokia won a patent fight with which smartphone maker(s) concerning chips that enhance the transmission and reception of phone calls?

  1. Samsung
  2. Apple
  3. Both of the above
  4. None of the above

3. Countrywide, now a division of what major bank, was held liable for defrauding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through failed mortgages?

  1. Bank of America
  2. CitiGroup
  3. J.P. Morgan Chase
  4. Wells Fargo

4. Which major search engine won the right to targeted advertising through a dismissed class action lawsuit?

  1. Yahoo
  2. Google
  3. Bing
  4. Go.com

5. This pop star settled with a former assistant over an alleged 7,000-plus hours of unpaid overtime, but only after declaring herself “Queen of the Universe” in her initial statement:

  1. Christina Aguilera
  2. Britney Spears
  3. Lady Gaga
  4. Ke$ha

6. Which cell phone manufacturer faces charges of an illegally inflated stock price, brought on by misleading shareholders of the company’s expectations?

  1. BlackBerry
  2. Apple
  3. Samsung
  4. HTC

7. Authorities in which country are investigating the possible manipulation of foreign currency exchange rates by major national banks?

  1. Switzerland
  2. United Kingdom
  3. United States
  4. All of the above

8. The 5th Circuit halted payment of damages from what major piece of litigation, citing that the damages may have been computed incorrectly?

  1. Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme
  2. BP oil spill
  3. J.P. Morgan and the mortgage crisis
  4. NSA spying

9. Which basketball team owner recently beat insider trading allegations related to the sale of website Mamma.com shares?

  1. Donald Sterling
  2. Mikhail Prokhorov
  3. Micky Arison
  4. Mark Cuban

10. Which country is loosening up restrictions in free trade zones, which could allow domestic companies to raise more capital?

  1. Japan
  2. China
  3. Indonesia
  4. India

Answers are on the next page, so have your scoresheet nice and finalized before clicking through.

Oracle

 

1. The CEO of which technology company agreed to forgo a $575 million payout in order to settle a shareholder lawsuit?

  1. Microsoft
  2. Apple
  3. Oracle
  4. Cisco

3. Oracle

Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle, was expecting a large payday from his 2011 purchase of Pillar Data Systems, Inc. However, shareholders disagreed with the sale, and when Ellison allegedly used company funds to bail out his “horrible investment,” those shareholders wanted a piece of Ellison’s pay-out payment. Thanks to Delaware Chancery Court, Ellison will now pay over 95 percent of his projected $575 million payout from Pillar directly to the shareholders. Maybe shareholder disputes really are dangerous after all.

 

None of the above

 

2. Nokia won a patent fight with which smartphone maker(s) concerning chips that enhance the transmission and reception of phone calls?

  1. Samsung
  2. Apple
  3. Both of the above
  4. None of the above

4. None of the above

Wait, there are smartphone makers that aren’t embroiled in litigation with one another? I’m as shocked as you are. But while Samsung and Apple engage in a knockout brawl of their own, two of the lesser fighters in the current smartphone industry, Nokia and HTC, went to war over alleged infringement in the HTC One. As a result of a court ruling, HTC now must work with Qualcomm to correct the infringing component or else face a U.S. ban on all phones that use the patented Nokia technology.

 

Bank of America

 

3. Countrywide, now a division of what major bank, was held liable for defrauding Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac through failed mortgages?

  1. Bank of America
  2. CitiGroup
  3. J.P. Morgan Chase
  4. Wells Fargo

1. Bank of America

Score one for the government in the fight to rectify the 2008 mortgage crisis. On Oct. 23, a Manhattan federal jury found Bank of America Corp.’s Countrywide unit liable for selling thousands of defective loans to mortgage-finance firms Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, thus setting off the financial crisis. The U.S. attorney’s office called Countrywide’s quality control “a joke,” and Countrywide may be liable for $848 million in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac’s gross losses due to the failed mortgages.

 

Google

 

4. Which major search engine won the right to targeted advertising through a dismissed class action lawsuit?

  1. Yahoo
  2. Google
  3. Bing
  4. Go.com

2. Google

With the NSA spying and the outspoken stance against it from the tech industry, you’d be excused for thinking that companies didn’t want to run the risk of privacy litigation. However, the risk of fighting a class action privacy suit paid off for Google, as customer’s claims that Google ad found ways around Microsoft and Apple’s attempts to block “cookies” in an attempt for more targeted advertising went dismissed. U.S. District Judge Sue Robinson said the plaintiffs could not adequately show that they were damaged by the companies collecting and selling their information.

 

Lady Gaga

 

5. This pop star settled with a former assistant over an alleged 7,000-plus hours of unpaid overtime, but only after declaring herself “Queen of the Universe” in her initial statement:

  1. Christina Aguilera
  2. Britney Spears
  3. Lady Gaga
  4. Ke$ha

3. Lady Gaga

While I can easily see the other three making the same “Queen of the Universe” boast, it’s Gaga who was sued by former assistant Jennifer O’Neill over nearly $400,000 in unpaid overtime. Apparently not a huge “Just Dance” fan, U.S. District Judge Paul G. Gardephe agreed that O’Neill had a case, ordering the suit to proceed to trial on Nov. 4. Gardephe said that O’Neill’s “on-call” schedule, which required her to be there for Gaga seven days a week, 24 hours a day, meant that she potentially qualified for overtime protection.

 

BlackBerry

 

6. Which cell phone manufacturer faces charges of an illegally inflated stock price, brought on by misleading shareholders of the company’s expectations?

  1. BlackBerry
  2. Apple
  3. Samsung
  4. HTC

1. BlackBerry

Investor Martin Perlman had a problem: he believed that BlackBerry CEO Thorsten Heins and CFO Brian Bidulka schemed to deliberately deceive investors concerning the company’s health and potential sales of the company’s BlackBerry 10 line of phones. The solution? A proposed class action suit, filed in U.S. federal court on Oct. 3, looking to recoup losses. While Heins touted the BlackBerry 10’s strength on an investor conference call, Perlman claims, “In reality, the BlackBerry 10 was not well received by the market, and the company was forced to write down a nearly $1 billion charge related to unsold BlackBerry 10 devices and lay off approximately 4,500 employees, totaling approximately 40 percent of its total workforce.”

 

All of the above

 

7. Authorities in which country are investigating the possible manipulation of foreign currency exchange rates by major national banks?

  1. Switzerland
  2. United Kingdom
  3. United States
  4. All of the above

4. All of the above

It’s a worldwide affair – but it’s one that could also have staggering implications for worldwide financial markets and some of the world’s biggest banks. The issue at hand is what is known as a “fix,” or a daily snapshot of exchange rates for various currencies across the globe. The most popular fix occurs at 4 p.m., London time, which often sees a given exchange rate reach its highest or lowest point in a given day. Regulators say one of the main violations is that banks bought or sold certain currencies ahead of the fix without clients’ permission in order to turn a profit.

 

BP oil spill

 

8. The 5th Circuit halted payment of damages from what major piece of litigation, citing that the damages may have been computed incorrectly?

  1. Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme
  2. BP oil spill
  3. J.P. Morgan and the mortgage crisis
  4. NSA spying

2. BP oil spill

Well, when you realize that the 5th Circuit is comprised of Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas, that might make your job a bit easier. The court reversed an earlier decision from District Court Judge Carl Barbier, saying that a court-appointed fund administrator did indeed improperly calculate claims. The original settlement put BP on the hook for an estimated $7.8 billion in damages, which the company was expected to pay over a long period of time.

 

Mark Cuban

 

9. Which basketball team owner recently beat insider trading allegations related to the sale of website Mamma.com shares?

  1. Donald Sterling
  2. Mikhail Prokhorov
  3. Micky Arison
  4. Mark Cuban

4. Mark Cuban

If you thought Mark Cuban was a shark on TV’s Shark Tank, then you haven’t seen his ultimate performance in a courtroom. A Texas federal district court ruled that the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) could not adequately prove crucial parts of its insider trading case, including the allegation that Cuban had agreed to keep certain information given to him confidential when selling 600,000 shares of Mamma.com just before the website announced a private placement of shares. “Hopefully people will start paying attention to how the SEC does business, Cuban told a crowd of reporters outside the courthouse. “I'm the luckiest guy in the world. I'm glad this happened to me. I'm glad I'm able to be the person who can afford to stand up to them.”

 

China

 

10. Which country is loosening up restrictions in free trade zones, which could allow domestic companies to raise more capital?

  1. Japan
  2. China
  3. Indonesia
  4. India

2. China

In 2012, the Chinese government established a free-trade zone in Shanghai, looking to spur development of China’s financial services sector. Now, as the city looks to become a global financial hub, the government has loosened restrictions even further, allowing foreign companies registered in the Shanghai free trade zone to raise capital by selling shares. In this case, China could allow full convertibility of the Yuan in the free-trade zone, which would let foreign firms raise capital through private share placements and derivative trading.

 

Haven't had enough? Check out the news quizzes for September, August and July!

Assistant Editor

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Zach Warren

Zach Warren is Assistant Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he oversees online content submissions and administers InsideCounsel's enewsletters. Zach specializes in new media and multimedia...

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