Firms should pay big fines for selling faulty Chinese goods, say Osgoode experts

Paula Todd, host of CTV News “The Verdict”, convened a panel discussion involving three experts – two of whom are from York’s Osgoode Hall Law School – on quality control problems in China’s manufacturing industry Oct. 25. Below is a sample of the discussion involving lawyer and Osgoode alumna Marcy Segal (LLB ’98) and Osgoode Professor Alan Young.

Todd: We’re joined now by The Verdict’s legal roundtable. Marcy, you’re a criminal lawyer and part-time crown prosecutor, which is quite interesting, but you have twins…and I raise this for a reason, your twin are five years old, and we know from the research that they could be more effected than…adults, by drinking tainted apple juice. What do you think should be done as a lawyer when you hear about our…labelling legislation, which is skimpy at best?

Segal: Well, I think we need to go to our local legislature…. We need to band together with our community to ensure that our family and our children are safe, and then we need as a community to band together and work with the local government, and with the federal government, to ensure that this doesn’t happen.

Young: If you want to change the corporate structure, the corporate values, whether it’s China or any country, you’ve got to start making these companies pay for importing and exporting dangerous products…. You create a regulatory regime of extremely high civil penalties. You strip them from a lot of money. Forget criminal law. Forget imprisonment. They only understand money, and you make it non-criminal, so you don’t have all those Charter rights that companies can hide behind, and it becomes automatic. You bring this into the country, it has lead paint, you owe us now $50 million, or $100 million.

Segal: I say we start prosecuting them. Forget about the civil liability…. I’m talking about extradition as well. I’m talking about…

Todd: Extradition. Who would you extradite?

Young: This is Disney. This is Mattel. You don’t need to go after the Chinese. If you go after Mattel and you whack them hard enough, maybe they’ll show due diligence in terms of the contracts that they outsource. So there are things that can be done locally. If you have to sue in China, or go after Chinese companies, it would be insurmountable, I mean, their legal system is just being developed as we speak. It still has a lot of shortcomings, as ours does, too.

An employment agency for lawyers with a difference

Building a recruitment agency for legal professionals seeking work outside of the traditional practice of law came more out of necessity than ambition for Osgoode alumnus Randi Bean (LLB ’94), wrote Oct. 30. Bean is the founder of Life After Law, a twofold Toronto employment agency dedicated to placing lawyers into roles that have, until now, been deemed unconventional to the field of law.

Bean, a lawyer who graduated from York’s Osgoode Hall Law School…remembers finally landing a law firm job but…then came to the realization that it was everything she thought it wouldn’t be. "I was not happy with what I was doing at the time. I wanted to do something else outside of the traditional practice of law," said Bean,

LAL, which opened an office in Vancouver but conducts much of its client-business activity by way of its Web site, has been finding law professionals alternative employment in fields such as business development, immigration consultation, risk management, HR management, media-reporting, among many others.

Police kill suspected murderer of Guyanese minister

A man wanted for the 2006 murder of Guyana’s agriculture minister, York alumnus Satyadeow Sawh (BA ’82) and two of his sisters – all three naturalized Canadians – was killed Tuesday in a shootout with security forces, police said.

Sawh and his sisters, Rajpatri Sawh and Phulmattie Persaud, whose family was of Indian origin, were killed when several assailants armed with assault rifles broke into his home shortly after the three had returned from a social gathering. Sawh served as Guyana’s ambassador to Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador from 1993 to 1996. For more than 20 years, he lived in Canada where he got a degree in economics from York’s Faculty of Arts.

Canadian could be among new owners

Today could see the ownership plight of the Nashville Predators settled – for now, at least – with a Canadian listed as one of the new investors, wrote The Globe and Mail Oct. 31. And no, his name is not Jim Balsillie. It’s York alumnus Doug Bergeron (BA ’83), the Windsor-born chairman and CEO of VeriFone, a San Jose-based company that specializes in electronic payment products.

Bergeron’s name has surfaced as a possible partner in the group of mostly local investors that is down to the final hours of its exclusive negotiating agreement with Craig Leipold, the Predators’ owner. Bergeron is noted for having acquired VeriFone from Hewlett Packard for $50 million, tripling sales and becoming the largest single shareholder in a company now worth several billion dollars. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in computer science from York’s Atkinson Faculty of Liberal & Professional Studies.

Siblings cut locks for cancer patient wigs

Siblings Reed and Charlotte Stevens have always bonded by doing things together, but never so much as yesterday when they cut off their hair to make a wig for a cancer patient, wrote The Toronto Sun Oct. 31. They were two of 16 volunteers who shed their locks – making the kindest cut of all – at the Toronto launch of the Pantene Beautiful Lengths campaign to make wigs. "We did it as a family. I know how devastated I would feel if I lost my hair to cancer. I can grow it back, so it’s the right thing to do," said Charlotte, 23, a film student at York University whose friend lost her hair while battling cancer. Charlotte had 24 inches of hair snipped off.

On air

  • Markus Giesler, marketing professor in York’s Schulich School of Business, spoke about the study he led into music downloading, on CJBK radio (London, Ont.) Oct. 30.
  • Alan Middleton, marketing professor in York’s Schulich School of Business, spoke about the success of first baby-friendly hospital in Ottawa, on Global TV Oct. 30.