Cultivated Compendium is my personal website with the occasional link to my reporting and to important, cutting-edge or interesting legal news.


News and Reporting

December 12th, 2015
South Dakota Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard and conservative Louisiana Democratic Governor-Elect John Bel Edwards have come out in favor of the expansion of Medicaid in their states. JR Ball, a columnist for Nola.com | The Times-Picayune, notes that Louisiana is on track to become the second state in the Deep South to adopt Medicaid expansion. Republican legislators, who control the Louisiana Legislature, have sharply... Continue Reading
December 11th, 2015
On a personal note, I'd like to share news of an event my family has organized in honor of our mother, Laura Elliott-Engel. I was always so proud of Mom for getting sober at the age of 28 and then spending the rest of her career helping people recover from addictions herself. We are holding a showing of It's A Wonderful Life in the Olean, New York, community where she was the executive director of the Council on Addiction Recovery... Continue Reading
December 10th, 2015
The hotel chain Wyndham Worldwide Corp. has settled data breach charges with the Federal Trade Commission, Reuters' Jonathan Stempel reports. The case was precedent setting because it was a test of the FTC's power to regulate data breaches as unfair or deceptive trade practices. In the settlement, Wyndham must "establish a comprehensive information security program designed to protect cardholder data including... Continue Reading
December 9th, 2015
Pennsylvania Supreme Court Justice J. Michael Eakin is facing misconduct charges because he exchanged emails with images of nude women and jokes that were demeaning to religious groups, women and minorities, The Inquirer's Angela Couloumbis, Craig R. McCoy and Mark Fazlollah report. The Pennsylvania Judicial Conduct Board said those emails had the appearance of impropriety and brought the court into disrepute. Attorney General... Continue Reading
December 7th, 2015
Margaret Chan, director-general of the World Health Organization, opines in the Huffington Post today that achieving an international agreement to halt climate change is a public health issue: "Climate change degrades air quality, reduces food security and compromises water supplies and sanitation. WHO estimates that, each year, more than 7 million deaths worldwide can be attributed to air pollution. Climate change is also causing... Continue Reading
December 6th, 2015
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Corday says that new disclosure rules for mortgage lenders have not turned out to be a problem, HousingWire's Ben Lane reports. In a speech last week, Cordary compared the panic about the TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule to the panic about Y2K. The disclosure rule did not paralyze the market when it came into effect in October, Corday added. Continue Reading
December 6th, 2015
Last month, the Second Circuit clarified when the statute of limitations begins to run under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, The New York Law Journal's Mark Hamblett reports. It is when the bank freezes a debtor's account, not when the notice of debt is served. The plaintiff in the underlying case is suing attorney Todd Houslanger of Houslanger & Associates for freezing his account when it was allegedly another man with... Continue Reading
December 6th, 2015
The New York Court of Appeals has ruled that minimum-wage protections apply to public assistance receipients. New York state is entitled to seize lottery winnings from people who have received public assistance. Courthouse News' Rose Bouboushian reports that the court reasoned that a Vietnam veteran, who received public assistance, was entitled to keep his $10,000 lottery winnings. Taking those benefits would have... Continue Reading
November 29th, 2015
The ABA Journal's Mark Hansen has a cover story about how two decades of research into the cause of fires has shown that many criminal defendants have been wrongfully convicted of arson-related crimes because of faulty evidence admitted against them. Arson expert John Lentini estimates that there may be a few hundred innocent people in prison for arson. Arson cases are "particularly difficult to undo," Hansen... Continue Reading
November 17th, 2015
I wrote a piece for the Connecticut Law Tribune about how telecommuting and taking conference calls from home can make lawyers run afoul of the unauthorized practice of law rules: There are probably hundreds of lawyers who are licensed in New York and living in Fairfield County in Connecticut. It's become commonplace for these attorneys to log onto their home computers to work on legal documents on behalf of New York clients, to... Continue Reading
November 15th, 2015
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court voided a nursing home arbitration agreement, The Legal Intelligencer's Ben Seal (my former colleague) reports. The court reasoned that agreements that rely on the National Arbitration Forum code are unenforceable because the NAF no longer accepts arbitration cases. Nursing home attorneys, however, told Seal that nursing home companies have now "largely stopped identifying sole... Continue Reading
November 15th, 2015
Inmates forfeit their right to privacy once they are behind bars. But that doesn't extend to their constitutional right to competent and effective legal counsel. However, a massive hack of prisoner phone records exposed that an industry leader in the prisoner telecom industry has recorded at least 14,000 conversations between inmates and attorneys. The Intercept's Jordan Smith and Micah Lee reported earlier this week... Continue Reading
November 14th, 2015
Canada's Indigenous and Northern Affairs Minister Carolyn Bennett says that her country will implement the UN Declaration on Rights of Indigenous Peoples, Metro Toronto reports. Bennett is part of new Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's Liberal government. The UN Declaration goes further than the constitutional protection requiring the Canadaian government to consult with indigenous peoples on issues that might affect their... Continue Reading
November 13th, 2015
Alabama Governor Robert Bentley, a conservative Republican, is considering the expansion of the state's Medicaid program, the Associated Press' Kim Chandler reports. Bentley, a dermatologist by training, remarked, "'I am concerned about the plight of the working poor ... If doctors are not paid for seeing those patients, doctors will not go to rural Alabama because you can't expect a doctor to go to rural Alabama and... Continue Reading
November 3rd, 2015
Laura Elliott-Engel (1/25/47—11/2/2015) My mother took the next step on her spiritual journey Monday morning, passing away at 3:15 a.m. after a diagnosis with late-stage cancer a brief 32 days ago. My brother, Jeremy Elliott-Engel, husband, Jason Rearick, and I were with her, holding her hands as she passed. As we returned to Mom’s home on a valley hillside after she passed, the sun was rising, mist was... Continue Reading


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