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April 21, 2014

Andrew Silow-Carroll: Passoverkill? Suggestions to make next year's seders even more culturally sensitive

Sara Israelsen Hartley: Seeking the Divine: An ancient connection in a new context

Christine M. Flowers: Priest's execution in Syria should be call to action

Courtnie Erickson: How to help kids accept the poor decisions of others

Lizette Borreli: A Glass Of Milk A Day Keeps Knee Arthritis At Bay

Lizette Borreli: 5 Health Conditions Your Breath Knows Before You Do

The Kosher Gourmet by Betty Rosbottom Coconut Walnut Bars' golden brown morsels are a beautifully balanced delectable delight

April 18, 2014

Rabbi Yonason Goldson: Clarifying one of the greatest philosophical conundrums in theology

Caroline B. Glick: The disappearance of US will

Megan Wallgren: 10 things I've learned from my teenagers

Lizette Borreli: Green Tea Boosts Brain Power, May Help Treat Dementia

John Ericson: Trying hard to be 'positive' but never succeeding? Blame Your Brain

The Kosher Gourmet by Julie Rothman Almondy, flourless torta del re (Italian king's cake), has royal roots, is simple to make, . . . but devour it because it's simply delicious

April 14, 2014

Rabbi Dr Naftali Brawer: Passover frees us from the tyranny of time

Greg Crosby: Passing Over Religion

Eric Schulzke: First degree: How America really recovered from a murder epidemic

Georgia Lee: When love is not enough: Teaching your kids about the realities of adult relationships

Cameron Huddleston: Freebies for Your Lawn and Garden

Gordon Pape: How you can tell if your financial adviser is setting you up for potential ruin

Dana Dovey: Up to 500,000 people die each year from hepatitis C-related liver disease. New Treatment Has Over 90% Success Rate

Justin Caba: Eating Watermelon Can Help Control High Blood Pressure

The Kosher Gourmet by Joshua E. London and Lou Marmon Don't dare pass over these Pesach picks for Manischewitz!

April 11, 2014

Rabbi Hillel Goldberg: Silence is much more than golden

Caroline B. Glick: Forgetting freedom at Passover

Susan Swann: How to value a child for who he is, not just what he does

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Financial Tasks You Should Tackle Right Now

Sandra Block and Lisa Gerstner: How to Profit From Your Passion

Susan Scutti: A Simple Blood Test Might Soon Diagnose Cancer

Chris Weller: Have A Slow Metabolism? Let Science Speed It Up For You

The Kosher Gourmet by Diane Rossen Worthington Whitefish Terrine: A French take on gefilte fish

April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review Jan. 15, 2009 / 19 Teves 5769

Making a case for suing Madoff

By Michael Smerconish


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http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | I've got the title for a biopic about Wall Street's Bernard L. Madoff: "Bleak End at Bernie's."

French aristocrat Thierry Magon de la Villehuchet killed himself after putting his family, friends and clients in a "catastrophic" financial situation by investing with Madoff, who was charged last month in a $50 billion securities-fraud scheme. De la Villehuchet was found in his Manhattan office two days before Christmas, his feet up on his desk and a trash can positioned nearby to catch the blood from his lacerated biceps and wrists.

De la Villehuchet, the chief executive officer of Access International Advisors L.L.C., believed he had lost all of about $1.4 billion he had invested with Madoff. "He felt responsible and he felt guilty," his brother said.

So de la Villehuchet took action. It was "a positive act of honor," his brother told Bloomberg News.

That might be a stretch. But it certainly demonstrates more accountability than Madoff, who is charged with putting his investors on this perilous path. Madoff posted $10 million bail and is confined to house arrest in his Park Avenue apartment.

Before his arrest, Madoff told his two sons he was "finished," his business insolvent and its founder left with "absolutely nothing," according to news accounts. After his arrest he told the FBI he was "broke." His scheme? "It could not go on," he explained to investigators.

I've been thinking about the different ways in which Madoff and de la Villehuchet handled their respective predicaments. And the lawyer in me has an idea.

I think de la Villehuchet's estate has a meritorious civil action against Madoff for wrongful death. At the least, a jury should consider whether Madoff is legally responsible for de la Villehuchet's death, even if Madoff has no assets.

Here is the legal foundation of the claim:

The scope of the alleged fraud made it likely, if not certain, that there would be many investors whose losses would be enormous. History tells us that investors who lose everything manifest a propensity toward suicide (either out of guilt or because they cannot bear to live in a world without opulence).

So the suicide of an investor would not be what's called a "superseding intervening cause," an unforeseeable result, of fraud at this scale. To the contrary, it would be the precise harm that should have been anticipated.

Ordinarily, a financial planner who negligently manages money might be responsible only for his client's financial losses. On the other hand, de la Villehuchet's estate could argue that Madoff's alleged misconduct enlarged the scope of his duty to his investors. They could argue that deliberate choices were made that defrauded investors, maliciously and intentionally exposing them to economic catastrophe. Madoff, they could argue, should be held responsible when one of his alleged victims commits the type of act - like suicide - that should have been anticipated.

I shared my thinking with a former colleague, Paul Lauricella, who is one of Philadelphia's most successful trial lawyers. He told me Madoff's attorneys would respond that there must be a limit to the outcomes for which their client could be considered civilly responsible.

"The fundamental fallacy with such an argument is that it confuses carelessness with calculated criminality," Lauricella told me. "Madoff was not merely careless. He was, by all accounts, a financial sociopath who knew that his clients would ultimately find themselves devastated. He knew that he was going to ultimately ruin the people whom he had deceived and swindled.

"A person who callously plots and plans the financial destruction of trusting investors and innocent charities has no moral or ethical standing to impose an arbitrary limitation upon the compensable consequences of his crime."

Knowing he was "finished" last month, Madoff reportedly wanted to hand out bonuses earlier than usual to certain employees. Last week, his sons told prosecutors that Madoff, whose assets had been frozen, sent them several packages containing, among other things, "some very valuable jewelry."

Not quite signs of remorse or guilt, Madoff's acts, materialistic and shortsighted, are feeble attempts to pad the fall of those caught up by his operation.

Just one more reason that the de la Villehuchet family would be right to hit Madoff in the only place where it might hurt.

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Previously:

12/22/08 A difficult but rational chat about ‘plans’
12/17/08 Facebook epidemic: More than 120 million have joined, many too old for this nonsense
12/01/08 The high price of downsizing the news biz
11/14/08 Prescience on greed, arrogance of a system
09/29/08 Closer look at party lines
08/26/08 Obama's pick creates GOP opportunity
08/21/08 Fishing with the Angry Everyman
07/31/08 The perils of e-mail: Ponder, then click
05/22/08 Two very different sides of the Internet
02/12/08 Sublimely ridiculous suits
11/28/08 Cell phones cut out secondary circle of kinship
09/26/07 What do we owe those who have died in Iraq?
08/30/07 A Navy SEAL's gut-wrenching tale of survival
07/30/07 First it was a faux pas, now it's a new word


© 2008, The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services

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