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Feb 7, 2012
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A CEO’s phone mannerisms can reveal fibs

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By Reynolds Holding
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

A chief executive’s phone manner can reveal fibs about company results. All it takes is a shaky delivery or uneven tone during an earnings call, new research suggests. They are among the tip-offs that a boss is being economical with the truth. The evidence isn’t reliable enough to land anyone in jail. But for investors seeking an edge, it may pay to listen closely.

Feb 1, 2012
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Google feeds regulators fresh meat to chew on

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By Reynolds Holding

The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Google is feeding U.S. regulators fresh meat to chew on. Antitrust concerns have swirled around the Internet search giant for years. Now, changes to its data-sharing policies are causing added alarm among lawmakers. Google hasn’t yet crossed any major legal lines but seems destined to find them.

Dec 19, 2011
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Directors and officers insurance declaws clawbacks

By Reynolds Holding
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Directors and officers insurance may be declawing clawbacks. Allowing regulators to recoup bosses’ undeserved rewards is central to U.S. financial reforms. But in addition to more standard risks, D&O polices are now covering salaries and bonuses lost in this way – at shareholder expense. Insurers deny helping executives skirt accountability. Investors, watchdogs and the courts may see things differently.

Dec 8, 2011
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Corzine apology little better than Fuld’s defiance

By Reynolds Holding
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Jon Corzine’s apology isn’t much better than Richard Fuld’s defiance. The former boss of MF Global told the U.S. Congress on Thursday he regrets the loss of money and jobs caused by the firm’s collapse. But his prepared statement is also full of dubious explanations that don’t improve much on the blame-game tactics and lack of contrition from Lehman’s ex-chief.

The onetime senator threw caution to the wind by acquiescing to a grilling by his former congressional colleagues. Corzine’s carefully worded remarks may nevertheless return to haunt him in court. But even now, they raise troubling questions.

Dec 5, 2011
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Courts more willing to second-guess Wall Street

By Reynolds Holding
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

U.S. courts are growing bolder about second-guessing Wall Street. They have typically trodden softly over corporate financial disputes and settlements for fear of ruffling markets. But the rejection of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s recent $285 million deal with Citigroup is the latest sign that times are changing.

Nov 28, 2011
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“No harm, no foul” legal concept worth preserving

By Reynolds Holding
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The legal concept of “no harm, no foul” is worth preserving. Privacy laws and other statutes enable consumers to sue companies without claiming actual injury. That only encourages dubious claims against corporate America and upends constitutional logic. The U.S. Supreme Court gets a chance on Monday to start coming to the same conclusion.

Nov 17, 2011
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U.S. patent law mission creep needs to be reversed

By Reynolds Holding The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

 

The U.S. Supreme Court has a chance to reverse the mission creep in patent law. The system is supposed to reward inventors but not stifle innovation. Fuzzy and overly broad concepts like thought processes generally aren’t protected. Yet one company, Prometheus Laboratories, reckons it owns a method for interpreting how patients react to a drug.

Thomas Jefferson, the first U.S. patent commissioner, questioned whether ideas should be owned at all. In 1840, a skeptical court limited patents to specific inventions. The Supreme Court followed suit in 1853, rejecting a claim from Samuel Morse. The justices said Morse, the inventor of the telegraph, had sought patent protection so broad that it would block discoveries he had not even thought of.

Nov 15, 2011
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MF Global could finally help SarbOx prove itself

By Reynolds Holding
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

MF Global could finally help the Sarbanes-Oxley Act prove itself. The reform inspired by Enron, WorldCom and other accounting scandals helped clean up U.S. company books, albeit at a cost. But approaching 10 years on, enforcers have filed few cases under the law. They could finally get their big chance if questions surrounding MF Global’s failure prove to have substance.

Oct 26, 2011
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Gupta arrest puts Corporate America on notice

By Reynolds Holding
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

The arrest of Rajat Gupta has put Corporate America on notice. U.S. prosecutors have nailed dozens of insider traders, including Galleon Group founder Raj Rajaratnam. But those cases now look like prologue to the one against the former McKinsey boss and Goldman Sachs director. The charges against Gupta will be tough to prove, but a conviction would be the ultimate deterrent.

Oct 25, 2011
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Sprint’s antitrust pitch hedges against DoJ miss

By Reynolds Holding
The author is a Reuters Breakingviews columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Sprint’s antitrust pitch hedges against a swing and a miss by the U.S. Justice Department. The third-largest mobile operator has said it just wants to help the feds squelch AT&T’s $39 billion takeover of T-Mobile USA. But its separate lawsuit suggests a lack of confidence in Uncle Sam’s arguments. Though a court hearing on Monday showed the case faces hurdles, it may give Sprint insurance in case the government stumbles.

    • About Reynolds

      "Reynolds Holding is a Breakingviews columnist who writes from New York about the law in conjunction with Reuters Legal. Before joining Breakingviews, he was a national editorial producer for the Law & Justice Unit at ABC News, a senior writer for Time magazine and the executive editor of Legal Affairs, the first general interest magazine about the law. He spent more than a decade as an investigative reporter and columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle, where he was named a Pulitzer Prize finalist for explanatory writing. Before becoming a journalist, he practiced corporate law at the New York firm of ..."
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