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February 2021
Welcome to readers of Making the Connection
In this issue, you will find: 
  • In Focus : Offers of Settlement as Dispute Resolution Mechanisms
  • Question of the Month, discussing when to mediate
  • Case on Point, on wire fraud convictions in the recruitment of student athletes
  • At the Podium, listing my speaking engagements and public appearances
  • Client Corner, spotlighting client events and announcements
In Focus
Offers of Settlement as Dispute Resolution Mechanisms
It was recently reported that a copyright infringement case brought by singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman against Nicky Minaj arising from the unauthorized sampling of a Chapman song in a Nicky Minaj composition was settled through the use of an offer of judgment under Rule 68 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure.  This rule permits a defendant to make an offer to settle the case on specified terms.  If the plaintiff does not accept the offer and fails to obtain a better result at trial, the plaintiff is then liable for costs incurred by the defendant after making the offer. Those costs, though, do not include attorneys fees.  In addition, offers of judgment, like other settlement offers,  are not admissible in evidence, for fear of deterring parties from discussing settlement.
Question of the Month
This month's question was inspired by a recent discussion with a colleague:
Q: Should parties in a litigation exhaust all efforts to settle the case before resorting to mediation?

A: No. Early mediation has several advantages:

  • The parties are less invested in their positions;
  • It can save the parties litigation expenses: and
  • It can help the parties evaluate their cases more realistically.

Case On Point
In this month's case, the Court of Appeals affirms defendants' conviction for wire fraud.
United States v. Gatto
(U.S. Ct. of App. 2d Cir. 2021)
Intercollegiate sports are a significant source of funding for major universities.  They earn revenues from sponsorships, including by athletic apparel and equipment manufacturers, whose products are worn by the athletes, as well as through television revenues and ticket sales. To maximize their revenues, universities attempt to recruit the most promising athletes, but are prohibited from furnishing them anything other than scholarships to cover tuition, room and board. Both the student-athlete and the university must certify their compliance with these restrictions, and the receipt of prohibited compensation renders the student ineligble to compete and can result in sanctions being imposed by the National Collegiate Athletic Association.

Nevertheless, the competition to recruit outstanding high school athletes is so intense, that university supporters and other interested parties, as well as the players,  often try to circumvent the rules. This was the case in United States v. Gatto. Defendant Gatto was employed by Addidas as Director of Global Sports Marketing. He and his co-defendants funnelled funds from the company's marketing budget to families of recruited athletes to induce them to attend universities sponsored by the company. The transfers were masked as contributions to Amateur Athletic Union teams with which the players' families were involved and falsified expense reports were submitted to Addidas management in support of the expenditures. When the expenditures came to light, the recruited athletes were prohibited from competing, and the universities lost the value of the money allocated to their scholarships.

The defendants were charged under federal law with wire fraud, because they used emails and telephones in their scheme and several payments were wired to recipients. Defendants were convicted at trial, and ordered to pay restitution to the defrauded universities. The Court of Appeals affirmed the convictions, noting that defendants had acknowledged the illegality of their actions in wiretapped conversations.

At the Podium
This is a listing of speaking engagements, workshops, events and other public appearances. At the Podium events are listed on the calendar page of my website. A listing of available presentations and workshops is also posted.   To book me as a speaker or facilitator at your next company, client or association function, contact me at lisa@lisapom.com.    
  • On March 4, 2021, I will speak at the monthly virtual roundtable of the Greater New York Chapter of the Association for Conflict Resolution on The Advantages of Transparency in Mediation. Networking begins at 8:00 a.m. and the presentation at 8:30 a.m. Registration information will be published at www.acrgny.org.
Client Corner
Client Corner features client announcements and events of potential interest to readers.  Some Client Corner events are also listed on the calendar page of my website.    

  • Due to Covid-19, the Fifth Annual Toolkit for Independence, run by Theresa Jacobellis of Prescrxptive Communications LLC, will be virtual this year. The Toolkit has become a premier event for physicians to learn about tools and strategies to optimize their independent, private practices. The event, to be held March 25, 2021 from 5:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., is free for physicians and office management to attend. Sponsorships are available. Info at www.toolkitforindependence.com.

  • Moxxie Mentoring Foundation, Inc. is recruiting for the second cohort of Moving On with Moxxie for women in transition.  The free ten week program begins March 16, 2021. Click here for a link to the details, curriculum and application.  

80 Orville Drive, Suite 100 | Bohemia, NY 11716
© 2021, Lisa Renee Pomerantz. All rights reserved.

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