Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
Mon 3/27 - First Citizens Buys SVB, Utah Social Media Challenges, Tesla Bias and Dominion v. Fox News

Mon 3/27 - First Citizens Buys SVB, Utah Social Media Challenges, Tesla Bias and Dominion v. Fox News

In today’s episode we have First Citizens Bank scooping up SVB, Utah facing legal challenges to its teen social media law, and Tesla and Dominion v. Fox News lawsuit news.

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First Citizens BancShares Inc. has agreed to acquire Silicon Valley Bank after the bank was seized by regulators following a run on the lender. The deal will see First Citizens take on all deposits and loans, including $72 billion SVB assets at a discount of $16.5 billion. The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp will retain $90 billion in securities and other assets for disposition, and also received equity appreciation rights in First Citizens worth up to $500 million. The estimated cost of the failure to the Deposit Insurance Fund is about $20 billion. Silicon Valley Bank collapsed earlier this month, becoming the largest US lender to fail in more than a decade, after taking a huge loss on sales of its securities amid rising interest rates. First Citizens was the winning bidder after the FDIC received “substantial interest” from multiple potential acquirers.

First Citizens Buys Silicon Valley Bank After Run on Lender (3)

Utah has introduced social media laws for minors that are expected to face legal challenges from the technology and advertising industry. The two measures seek to give parents more control over their children’s access to platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram and to protect minors from advertising and addictive features. Under the new laws, Utah has regulatory enforcement power and residents can sue companies that violate their rights. However, technology and advertising industry groups, such as NetChoice and the Computer & Communications Industry Association, have raised concerns that the legislation may violate First Amendment free speech rights. The Association of National Advertisers has also raised concerns about the First Amendment over S.B. 152, which prohibits advertising on teens’ social media accounts. Attempts to filter content by age have been previously struck down by the US Supreme Court. The laws infringe on the First Amendment by preventing users from browsing or posting anonymously and by restricting access to certain content based on age, NetChoice argued in a letter to Utah Governor Spencer Cox.

Utah’s Teen Social Media Laws Brace for Suits Seeking to Ax Them

Tesla is facing a jury trial to determine how much money the company must pay a former Black factory worker who won a lawsuit accusing the electric car maker of allowing severe racial harassment at its Fremont, California assembly plant. The worker, Owen Diaz, was subjected to harassment, including racial slurs and racist caricatures, and a jury awarded him $7 million for emotional distress and $130 million in punitive damages. However, a federal judge lowered the total award to $15 million, which Diaz rejected, opting for a new trial on damages. Tesla faces similar but much broader claims of allowing racist conduct in a proposed class action by Black workers and a separate lawsuit by a California civil rights agency. The company has denied wrongdoing and called the agency's lawsuit politically motivated. Tesla is also fighting a spate of sexual harassment lawsuits by female workers at the Fremont plant and another factory near Los Angeles, as well as complaints filed with the US Department of Labor last year accusing the company of wage theft and worker safety violations at its $1.1 billion truck factory in Austin, Texas. The company is appealing a US labor board's decision that said the company illegally barred workers at the Fremont plant from wearing shirts bearing union insignia. Elon Musk has stated that minorities should be "thick-skinned" and accept apologies from coworkers who insult them, but Tesla has said it does not tolerate discrimination, takes complaints by workers seriously, and disciplines employees who violate anti-bias policies.

In addition to the ongoing racial discrimination lawsuit against Tesla filed by California's Civil Rights Department (CRD), a recent ruling requires the agency to provide Tesla with details of their investigation into the automaker's Fremont factory prior to filing the lawsuit. Tesla had previously argued that the CRD didn't follow proper protocol in its investigation, and the details could provide Tesla with a chance to narrow the scope of the lawsuit. This ruling could also impact Tesla's countersuit against the CRD, in which the automaker alleges that the agency did not notify them of claims of racial discrimination or give them a chance to settle outside of court. Multiple lawsuits alleging discrimination and sexual harassment at Tesla's factories are pending in California courts.

Explainer: Tesla's legal troubles: race bias trial is tip of the iceberg

California agency must provide Tesla with details of racial bias investigation

Lawyers for Fox News and Dominion Voting Systems have argued over the high bar to prove defamation in a $1.6 billion lawsuit that is scheduled to start next month. Dominion claims that Fox allowed allies of former President Donald Trump to falsely claim that Dominion's machines and software were responsible for Trump's election loss. Fox contends that it cannot be held liable for defamation for simply reporting on newsworthy allegations, a sitting president’s claim that the election was being stolen from him. Dominion attorneys say Fox employees allowed guests to falsely claim that the company had rigged the election, flipped large numbers of votes from Trump to Joe Biden through a secret algorithm, was owned by a company founded in Venezuela to rig elections for Chavez, and offered bribes or kickbacks to government officials who used its machines. Fox attorneys argue that the key issue is not whether the allegations were true or false, but whether it was accurately reporting the allegations. The case also holds the potential for redefining libel law in the US.

Fox, Dominion argue over legal standards to prove defamation

Minimum Competence - Daily Legal News Podcast
Minimum Competence
The idea is that this podcast can accompany you on your commute home and will render you minimally competent on the major legal news stories of the day. The transcript is available in the form of a newsletter at
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