25 September 2017

Reinventing The Wheel

A study analyzing crime data in Philadelphia for 10 years found that rates of violent crime and disorderly conduct are higher when the weather is warmer and more pleasant, even rising sharply during warmer-than-typical winter days.
From here.

This finding would be much more impressive if it weren't for the fact that this conclusion was considered to be established enough to put in the Social Psychology textbook that one of my parents used in college, sometime at least 50 years ago. It is nice that the finding replicates, but the press release breathlessly reports it as if it is something new under the sun. The paper is:

Leah H. Schinasi, Ghassan B. Hamra. "A Time Series Analysis of Associations between Daily Temperature and Crime Events in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania." Journal of Urban Health (2017); DOI: 10.1007/s11524-017-0181-y

Gene Therapy Cures MS In Mice

An experimental gene therapy has cured MS in mice.

The paper is:

Geoffrey D. Keeler, Sandeep Kumar, Brett Palaschak, Emily L. Silverberg, David M. Markusic, Noah T. Jones, Brad E. Hoffman. "Gene Therapy-Induced Antigen-Specific Tregs Inhibit Neuro-inflammation and Reverse Disease in a Mouse Model of Multiple Sclerosis." Molecular Therapy (2017). DOI: 10.1016/j.ymthe.2017.09.001

22 September 2017

The Little Known Tort Of Harming Others With A False Tax Return

It isn't every day that I discover a new tort after having practiced law for more than twenty years. So, it bears mentioning. I've been aware of the underlying improper tactic for a long time, but didn't know about the statutory remedy for it until now. The basic concern is that you can cause a tax mess for someone if you create a Form 1099 or K-1 which you issue to someone to them saying that they have earned income when they haven't, and there are very few limits on creating a 1099 or K-1 in the first place. 
[Internal Revenue Code] Section 7434(a) provides: “If any person willfully files a fraudulent information return with respect to payments purported to be made to any other person, such other person may bring a civil action for damages against the person so filing such a return.” . . . 
[There is a] surprisingly large amount of case law on this section to address a variety of common issues that arise in these lawsuits. For a good overview of these issues see Stephen's useful blog post here.
From TaxProf Blog.