Chris Morran

Alec Tabak

Moody’s Hit With $864M Penalty For Role In Mortgage Meltdown

While much of the anger surrounding the mortgage meltdown was focused on shady mortgage lenders and investment banks, a less-discussed but nonetheless culpable party were the credit-rating agencies that rubber-stamped mortgage-backed securities that were sometimes worth about as much as a used lottery ticket. [More]

John Abella

Feds Shut Down Two Massive Illegal Robocall Operations

Fighting robocalls might seem as pointless as chasing a greased pig, but occasionally you’re able to get your slick mitts on a slippery swine and hold on, if only for a moment. Today, the Federal Trade Commission managed to nab a pair of particularly large robocalling pigs, who have allegedly been violating the Do Not Call Registry for at least five years. [More]

SpongeBob Wins Legal Victory Against Planned “Krusty Krab” Restaurant

SpongeBob Wins Legal Victory Against Planned “Krusty Krab” Restaurant

Creators of popular movies, TV shows, books, and video games are sometimes savvy enough to register unique characters and fictional places with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office, but a federal court ruling in a case involving SpongeBob Squarepants shows that a fictional business need not be trademarked in order to benefit from trademark protection. [More]

inajeep

House Joins Senate In Taking First Step Toward Affordable Care Act Repeal

About 36 hours after the U.S. Senate narrowly voted to approve a budget resolution that gets the ball rolling on repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the House of Representatives has also okayed the resolution by a vote that largely — but not unanimously — followed party lines. [More]

Free-Standing Emergency Rooms Accused Of Duping Patients Into Paying “Facilities Fees”

Free-Standing Emergency Rooms Accused Of Duping Patients Into Paying “Facilities Fees”

The country’s largest operator of free-standing emergency rooms — urgent medical care providers that are not physically connected to any hospital — has been accused of deceiving their patients into paying fees of several thousand dollars. [More]

Consumer Reports

FCC Chair: Networks Have “Incentive And Ability” To Disregard Consumers

Next week, Tom Wheeler will step down as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission after three years, during which the FCC issued the 2015 Open Internet Order (aka Net Neutrality), making internet service providers and wireless companies more accountable. While the incoming Trump administration has not yet nominated Wheeler’s replacement, all indications are that the new-look FCC will seek to undo much of the current Commission’s work. This morning, Wheeler made his final argument against taking a sledgehammer to everything he’s accomplished. [More]

Adam Fagen

Supreme Court Asked To Settle Battle Over Courtroom Ban On Phones, Computers

For more than 35 years, states have been allowed to let cameras in the courtroom, but some courts have enacted full bans — not just on TV cameras and photographers but on all electronic devices, and at all times. A Michigan man thinks this is going too far, and has officially petitioned the Supreme Court to settle the matter. [More]

photographynatalia

Senate Takes First Step Toward Repealing Affordable Care Act

In the early hours of Thursday morning, the U.S. Senate voted — largely along party lines — on a resolution instructing multiple legislative committees to begin the process of disassembling the 7-year-old Affordable Care Act. [More]

CVS Selling Generic Alternative To EpiPen For Fraction Of The Price

CVS Selling Generic Alternative To EpiPen For Fraction Of The Price

Until the recent launch of the generic EpiPen, the only affordable competitor available to the emergency allergy treatment was Adrenaclick, but that drug was hard to find and some pharmacies charged nearly as much as they did for EpiPen. Now CVS says it is selling two-packs of an authorized generic of Adrenaclick at about one-sixth of the price tag for brand-name EpiPen. [More]

So Cal Metro

4 Reasons Amazon Is Willing To Accept Food Stamps For Grocery Delivery

This year, some Americans participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, aka “Food Stamps”), will be able to pay for groceries online through Amazon, FreshDirect, and some supermarket chains. Given that food delivery services have thus far tended to cater to higher-income consumers, why are these companies — and in particular, Amazon — eager to accept SNAP payments? [More]

Cheri Sundra

Apple’s Plan To Compete With Spotify? Add Original TV Shows To Apple Music

A new report claims that Apple now has plans to produce original TV shows and movie, just like Amazon and Netflix have been doing for several years. However, the goal isn’t to compete directly with these streaming video platforms, but to bolster the Apple Music streaming audio service. [More]

FCC Pointlessly Concludes AT&T’s Free Data For ‘DirecTV Now’ Probably Violates Net Neutrality

FCC Pointlessly Concludes AT&T’s Free Data For ‘DirecTV Now’ Probably Violates Net Neutrality

The controversial Open Internet Order of 2015 (known on the street as “Net Neutrality”) is probably going to be rolled back or ignored under the incoming Trump administration, but with a few days left under the existing FCC leadership, the agency has decided to chime in with its conclusion that AT&T’s decision to not ding its wireless subscribers for accessing DirecTV Now streaming video probably runs afoul of regulations and may ultimately harm competition and consumers. [More]

Political Pundit Can’t Sue Trump Over Tweet Saying She “Begged” For A Job

Political Pundit Can’t Sue Trump Over Tweet Saying She “Begged” For A Job

A New York state court has thrown out a libel case brought by a conservative political commentator against President-elect Donald Trump, after he referred to her on Twitter as a “dummy,” and a “major loser,” and claimed that she “begged” him for a job. [More]

bluwmongoose

Tax Proposal Could Result In Higher Prices On Toys

Lawmakers are currently mulling over a proposed tax code overhaul intended to reduce the tax burden on U.S. companies that could also have the net result of raising prices on the products those companies manufacture overseas, a change that could hit toy companies particularly hard. [More]

Andy Briggs

Some States Denied “Hardest Hit” Funds To Homeowners Who Needed It Most

The money from a multibillion-dollar federal program to help unemployed and underemployed workers in certain states hold onto their homes failed to reach some of the people who needed the most help, especially in two states hit particularly hard by the recession. [More]

Your New Stormtrooper Snuggie Comes With A Surprise: It Strips You Of Your Right To File A Lawsuit

Your New Stormtrooper Snuggie Comes With A Surprise: It Strips You Of Your Right To File A Lawsuit

Until the other day, Consumerist reader Jeff had completely forgotten about that cute Stormtrooper Snuggie someone gave him for Christmas. When he finally opened the box, there was the Star Wars-themed sleeved blanket, and a slip of paper giving him the bad news: He had, without doing a thing, given up his right to sue the Snuggie’s manufacturer. [More]

Gem

Is A Restriction On Credit Card Surcharges A Free Speech Violation?

When you think of First Amendment disputes, your mind probably conjures images of protestors, or investigative journalism, or maybe you think of the never-ending debate over where to draw the line between obscenity and protected forms of expression. You probably don’t immediately connect the dots between the First Amendment and a state law about credit card surcharges — but the U.S. Supreme Court has been asked to decide that very issue. [More]

Rob Lawton

FBI Paid Multiple Best Buy Employees After Finding Illegal Content On Computers

As we told you last spring, lawyers for a California doctor accused of possessing child pornography claimed that the FBI had paid a Best Buy employee as an informant. Recently released court documents confirm that multiple Best Buy/Geek Squad staffers received money from the agency after telling the FBI about finding illegal content on customers’ devices. [More]