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

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

December

 

Think you’re caught up on all of December’s top legal news? Then test your skills right here with our monthly news quiz. Read through the following 10 questions, and click through to the next page to discover how much you remember about this month’s most significant and strangest top legal stories.

 

1. Eight top technology companies banded together to petition governments of both the U.S. and abroad concerning what?

  1. Data breach measures
  2. Government surveillance
  3. Technology patent litigation
  4. The incoming Death Star

 

2. Which major U.S. bank reached a $500 million settlement with investors in early December over irresponsible mortgages?

  1. Bank of America
  2. JPMorgan Chase
  3. Wells Fargo
  4. Citibank

 

3. Which smartphone maker has been in hot water with the European Union over allegations that it illegally used patent litigation against rivals?

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

 

4. The attorney general from which U.S. state has filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase, claiming the company attempted to collect credit card debts that either had been paid in full or did not exist?

  1. Florida
  2. Louisiana
  3. Mississippi
  4. Texas

 

5. Which company has become the latest to tackle the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority to regulate U.S. cybersecurity measures?

  1. Merck
  2. Target
  3. LabMD
  4. Eli Lilly

 

6. Which recently-regulated company claims that their court appointed monitor was charging the company exorbitant sums for his services?

  1. JPMorgan Chase
  2. Apple
  3. General Motors
  4. FedEx

 

7. According to the agency responsible, enforcement of which major government act plummeted in 2013?

  1. Telephone Consumer Protection Act
  2. Securities Exchange Act
  3. Fair Housing Act
  4. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

 

8. Movie moguls the Weinstein brothers sued Warner Brothers in December over profits from what major movie franchise?

  1. Anchorman
  2. Spiderman
  3. The Hobbit
  4. Star Wars

 

9. A former executive from which major technology company was tapped to be the next chief of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?

  1. Apple
  2. Microsoft
  3. Hewlett-Packard
  4. Google

 

10. Which major U.S. city has filed a lawsuit against the city’s banks, claiming discriminatory lending practices?

  1. New York City
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. Atlanta

 

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

Surveillance

 

1. Eight top technology companies banded together to petition governments of both the U.S. and abroad concerning what?

  1. Data breach measures
  2. Government surveillance
  3. Technology patent litigation
  4. The incoming Death Star

 

2. Government surveillance

If your answer was anything other than No. 2, I want to find whatever cave you’re in, because it must be comfy and obviously not have Wi-Fi. Or, you know about the Death Star and you’ve found a safe place.

Either way, government surveillance must be the buzz words of 2013, as technology companies have been up-in-arms for months over purported National Security Agency (NSA) spy tactics released by Edward Snowden. It wasn’t until December, however, that many main technology companies decided to do something about it. In a published appeal, Google, Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Twitter, Yahoo, LinkedIn and AOL banded together to release a list of “principles” they believe all governments should adopt with respect to privacy. These principles included “limiting governments’ authority to collect users’ information” and “respecting the free flow of information.”

 

Bank of America

 

2. Which major U.S. bank reached a $500 million settlement with investors in early December over irresponsible mortgages?

  1. Bank of America
  2. JPMorgan Chase
  3. Wells Fargo
  4. Citibank

 

1. Bank of America

All of the major U.S. financial firms have faced trouble stemming from the 2008 financial crisis, but it was Bank of America (BoA) that paid big this month with a $500 million settlement stemming from its purchase of Countrywide mortgage lenders. Investors had claimed that Countrywide knowingly sold junk mortgage securities in the lead-up to the financial crisis, and many of those investors wanted to recoup their funds. The investors claimed Countrywide also misled investors about the status of those securities during the sale to BoA. A pending $8.5 billion deal with the state of New York is still coming to settle additional issues Countrywide had in that state.

 

Samsung

 

3. Which smartphone maker has been in hot water with the European Union over allegations that it illegally used patent litigation against rivals?

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

 

2. Samsung

Samsung and Apple have been fighting IP battles across the globe, but in Europe, those battles might be drawing to a close after the European Union (EU) stepped in. On Dec. 9, EU antitrust chief Joaquin Almunia said “improvements” must be made in the way Samsung pursues its rivals in patent litigation. Almunia also said that he’s targeting the “rules of the game” to prevent companies from engaging in unnecessary litigation rather than companies themselves. Samsung and the EU have come close to an antitrust settlement over the allegations. Apple and other rivals have approved the settlement.

 

Mississippi

 

4. The attorney general from which U.S. state has filed a lawsuit against JPMorgan Chase, claiming the company attempted to collect credit card debts that either had been paid in full or did not exist?

  1. Florida
  2. Louisiana
  3. Mississippi
  4. Texas

 

3. Mississippi

Mississippi AG Jim Hood is not a happy man when it comes to JPMorgan Chase’s aggressive credit card collection tactics. The lawsuit says that JPMorgan committed misconduct when it sued credit card customers in order to collect funds. In the suit, Hood claims JPMorgan attempted to collect on balances that either did not exist or had already been paid in full. The lawsuit said the bank “knowingly and willfully made false and misleading statements” and their lawsuits filed were “uncertified and lacked evidence.” The lawsuit comes after an 18-month investigation by the AG’s office, and multiple other states are investigating similar claims as well, including a similar suit from California in May 2013.

 

FTC

 

5. Which company has become the latest to tackle the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) authority to regulate U.S. cybersecurity measures?

  1. Merck
  2. Target
  3. LabMD
  4. Eli Lilly

 

3. LabMD

Following the example of hotelier Wyndham Worldwide from earlier in 2013, medical testing laboratory LabMD Inc. filed a complaint against the FTC in an administrative law court, challenging the FTC’s authority to file an August 2013 complaint against the company for a data breach. LabMD’s lawyers wrote that the FTC overstepped their authority when interviewing third parties, “for the third-party subpoenas are filled with irrelevant, overly-broad, and oppressive requests and demands for duplicative information that is more easily obtained from LabMD itself.” The FTC, meanwhile, wrote in a filing that any information that could prevent future data breaches is useful information, and the commission was not out of line with its requests.

 

Apple

 

6. Which recently-regulated company claims that their court appointed monitor was charging the company exorbitant sums for his services?

  1. JPMorgan Chase
  2. Apple
  3. General Motors
  4. FedEx

 

2. Apple

Apple received court-appointed monitor to oversee the company’s compliance with governmental regulations concerning e-book sales. However, Apple and the monitor, Michael Bromwich, didn’t exactly see eye-to-eye in terms of compensation. In a filing with the Department of Justice in early December, Apple claimed Bromwich charged over $138,000 for his first two weeks on the job, including unnecessary additional fees on top of his hourly rate. Apple’s lawyers wrote, “Mr. Bromwich appears to be simply taking advantage of the fact that there is no competition here or, in his view, any ability on the part of Apple, the subject of his authority, to push back on his demands.”

 

FCPA

 

7. According to the agency responsible, enforcement of which major government act plummeted in 2013?

  1. Telephone Consumer Protection Act
  2. Securities Exchange Act
  3. Fair Housing Act
  4. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

 

4. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act

In recent years, FCPA enforcement had spiked, as public and governmental awareness of corruption has led to more action on the front. But all trends must come to an end sometime, and in 2013, the SEC said that FCPA enforcement plummeted to just 33 percent of the actions the commission took just one year prior. The SEC said it took only five FCPA actions by the middle of December, compared to 15 in 2012 and 20 in 2011. But despite the lower number of sanctions, penalties from FCPA sanctions reached a record high in 2013, with $3.4 billion ordered by the SEC. All five FCPA actions in 2013 resulted in settlements.

 

The Hobbit

 

8. Movie moguls the Weinstein brothers sued Warner Brothers in December over profits from what major movie franchise?

  1. Anchorman
  2. Spiderman
  3. The Hobbit
  4. Star Wars

 

3. The Hobbit

While headed by the Weinsteins, Miramax Co. originally owned the big screen rights to both Tolkien’s Hobbit and Lord of the Rings tales. In 1998, the company decided to sell the rights to Warner Brothers for $11.8 million plus 5 percent of the movies’ gross receipts, of which the Weinsteins were entitled to a part. However, the contract signed by the two sides held some odd language: The contract says the Weinsteins and Miramax are owed receipts on the “first motion picture” based on each book, but not on “remakes.” The Weinsteins claimed that “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” counted because it was the first motion picture of that portion of Tolkien’s The Hobbit, but since it was the second movie based off that book, Warner Brothers claimed the movie should be considered a remake.

 

Michelle Lee

 

9. A former executive from which major technology company was tapped to be the next chief of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office?

  1. Apple
  2. Microsoft
  3. Hewlett-Packard
  4. Google

 

4. Google

Former Google executive Michelle Lee has been tapped to lead the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) until a permanent chief is named. Lee formerly served as the deputy general counsel and head of patents and patent strategy at Google. The former search engine executive, who will begin in January, will run the agency until a new director is named. The USPTO has been without a permanent leader for a while, ever since InsideCounsel columnist David J. Kappos left the position after four years to return to private law. In early 2013, his replacement, Teresa Stanek Rea, announced she was leaving the position for a return to private law as well.

 

L.A.

 

10. Which major U.S. city has filed a lawsuit against the city’s banks, claiming discriminatory lending practices?

  1. New York City
  2. Los Angeles
  3. Chicago
  4. Atlanta

 

2. Los Angeles

Ah, the city of angels… and alleged discriminatory lending practices against minorities. According to the lawsuit, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and Citigroup have engaged in dubious lending practices within the city, causing lost tax revenue after a wave of foreclosures led to approximately $78 billion in lost home values. On December 5, Los Angeles city attorney Mike Feuer said that the banks “engaged in a continuous pattern and practice of mortgage discrimination in Los Angeles since at least 2004 by imposing different terms or conditions on a discriminatory and legally prohibited basis.”

 

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


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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