Saturday, January 6, 2007

Always Read the Fine Print

190_toys It seemed like a perfect formula for good publicity: A national sweepstakes would award a $25,000 United States savings bond to the first American baby born in 2007, courtesy of the toy chain Toys “R” Us and its Babies “R” Us division. Instead, after disqualifying a Chinese-American baby girl born in New York Downtown Hospital at the stroke of midnight on New Year’s, the toy company finds itself caught in the glare of the immigration debate, stumbling over the nation’s new demographic realities. The baby girl, Yuki Lin, was an American citizen from the second the ball dropped in Times Square, where the Toys “R” Us flagship store draws thousands of shoppers from around the world. But like 6 out of 10 babies born in the city — including at least two others born in Brooklyn about the same moment — she has immigrant parents. And according to the contest’s fine print, the chain decided, she was ruled out because her mother was not a legal resident.  Click here for the NY Times story by Nina Bernstein in the fallout.

A HAPPY POSTSCRIPT CNN reports (click here) that, after coming under fire for denying a Chinese-American infant a $25,000 prize in a New Year's baby contest because her mother was not a legal U.S. resident, the Toys "R" Us company said that it had reversed its decision.

Storybaby

KJ

https://lawprofessors.typepad.com/immigration/2007/01/always_read_the.html

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I see no legal issue here or question of fairness. The rules had made up well in advance of the contest and the company had the right to make up its own qualifying rules. If the outcome had been different, and the illegal aliens had received the prize, it would have been a violation of the contest rules. From my experience with such contests, the company is correct in its assertion that the rules of most promotional contests include includes a legal residency clause. Before the New York Times made an issue of this in its pursuit of selling papers, it should have investigated this fact more closely.

The company, apparently law abiding and supportive of our nation's immigration laws does not believe that illegal aliens deserve to be rewarded for violation of U.S. law. This is simply a case of children suffering the consequences of a mistake made by their parents. Some of you say that we shouldn't suffer for the consequences of our parent's choices, but in reality we all do. Our welfares are in the hands of our parents even before we are born, up until the age of majority. If a parent violates the law and goes to jail, the children suffer financially. If they invest their money unwisely, their children may not go to the college of their choice, or worse.

The writers of this blog believe that illegal immigrants should be given equal treatment in all aspects of American life, but they are way out of step with the law and the feelings of the majority of U.S. citizens. The American sense of fairness prevails, and illegal aliens are treated as pariahs in their attempts to subvert the law and gain entrance to this country. Illegal aliens show contempt for our laws from the very day they decide to enter this country illegally and push ahead of the line of those who wait in their homelands during their application process. Illegal aliens are seen by Americans as attempting to bully their way into citizenship by entering this country illegally, making a demand of forgiveness of their actions, challenging our country to remove them, and saying that we can't do without them. If this isn't audacious arrogance, then Webster need's to change the definition. Under the circumstances, I find it amusing that you challenge the outcome of the unfairness of a simple, fairly held contest. You ought to be more concerned that the parents are not deported after their illegal status has been exposed.

Posted by: Horace | Jan 6, 2007 6:55:47 AM

ALBERT WANG'S E-MAIL TO TOYS-R-US' LEGAL DEPARTMENT ON JANUARY 4, 2007

From: Albert Wang
To: Tennenberg, Joel
Cc: David J Schwartz Esq
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007 9:39 PM
Subject: Fw: Toys-R-Us First Baby of the Year

Joel,

I did not receive your return phone call today, even thought I left my cell phone number (917-[REDACTED]) again with your secretary. Neither have I received your response to my 3:45 p.m. e-mail. Toys-R-Us has not provided any legitimate explanation as to why the Chinese American baby girl GRAND PRIZE WINNER (as defined in your 1st Baby of the Year Sweepstakes Official Rules) was deprived of her $25,000 GRAND PRIZE, and was given a token gift BASKET, valued at approximately $100, a fraction of 1% of the Grand Prize. I find such nonresponse disturbing, and unbecoming of a good corporate citizen. Fortune 500 companies such as Toys-R-Us are corporate citizens, and should be wary of its social responsibility in setting good precedents for other small and mid-size corporate citizens.

According to your Official Rule #5, the "GRAND PRIZE WINNER" is defined as "the very first baby of 2007 born from among registered hospitals and/or registered women and/or OB/GYN's at or after 12:00 a.m. (local time in registrant time zone), on January 1, 2007."

The Chinese American baby girl born in New York City certainly satisfies the definition of "GRAND PRIZE WINNER", but was declared a "loser" by Toys-R-Us because of her ancestry---because her parents allegedly are not U.S. citizens. If this is not discrimination, please do provide me with your definition of what constitute definition.

Support for the conclusion that the Chinese American baby girl should have been the Grand Prize Winner is found in your Official Rule #6. The $25,000 US Savings Bond is "for the First Baby of the Year" and is "awarded in the name of the baby". Grand Prize Savings Bond will be awarded "in the baby's name only". If winning mother is a minor, price will be awarded "in baby's name" to mother's parent/legal guardian. The phrase "awarded in the baby's name" appears throughout your Official Rules, but you changed your Official Rules on baby girl who is the actual Grand Prize Winner who happens to be a Chinese American born to Chinese immigrant parents.

(Please double check my interpretation of your Official Rules with your outside legal counsel, and provide me with a copy of the legal opinion you receive from your outside legal counsel.)

When you make a mistake, the right thing to do is to apologize. To err is human; to ask for forgiveness, divine. Toys-R-Us should have awarded the First Baby of 2007 grand prize to the Chinese American girl born in New York City on January 1, 2007. Toys-R-Us should have given her the $25,000 U.S. Savings Bond (awarded in the name of the Chinese American baby girl)--the US Government Series EE bond which matures when she turns 17 years-old, so that she can use it for her education and pursue her American Dream. Instead, Toys-R-Us deprived her of her promised grand prize, notwithstanding the fact that she was born here in New York City, and therefore an American citizen. Toys-R-Us has not proactively taken the necessary steps to remedy this wrong. While this Chinese American baby girl, born to Chinese immigrant parents, are not likely to have the financial wherewithal to retain a lawyer like myself to fight for her legal rights against a billion dollar company such as Toys-R-Us, you should not assume that Toys-R-Us can show no remorse whatsoever for its wrongdoing without consequence. I hope that someone will step up to the plate and help this Chinese American to restore her rights as a legally born U.S. citizen, for the benefit of all Asian Americans in general, and Chinese Americans in particular.

If you have any interest in talking to me face-to-face, and take a non-litigation approach to resolve this matter amicably, and find a "win-win" solution that preserves the dignity of this Chinese American baby girl, the other Chinese Americans, and the other Asian Americans, please do not hesitate to contact me. My cell phone number is (917) [REDACTED]. My personal e-mail address is albertwang221@hotmail.com.

Sincerely,

Albert

cc: Gerald L. Storch, Chairman and CEO of Toys-R-Us (by First Class Mail)


----- Original Message -----
From: Albert Wang
To: tennenbj@toysrus.com
Cc: albertwang221@hotmail.com
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007 3:45 PM
Subject: Toys-R-Us First Baby of the Year

Joel,

Thank you. I note that the US Savings Bond for the very First Baby of the Year is "awarded in the name of the baby", and not in the name of the baby's mother, and that the bonds are US Government Series EE and mature 17 years (i.e., intended for the benefit of the U.S. born baby to be used for the baby's college education. Therefore, I believe that it would not be unconstitutional or illegal for the Chinese American first born baby to be the beneficiary of the US Savings Bond. Even if the Chinese American first born baby's parents cannot legally be the custodian or trustee of such baby's asset, a substitute trustee or guardian ad litem can be easily appointed. I have acted as trustee for my client's trust assets, and would be happy to volunteer to be the trustee for the purpose of holding Toys-R-Us' $25,000 bond for the benefit of this Chinese American first born baby.

The news article in World Journal is in Chinese only. No English version is available. There are various reputable translation agencies available in Tri-State area. A certified translation of this article should not take more than just a few hours. (You might want to use TransPerfect.) If Toys-R-Us is unable or unwilling to pay for the cost of such translation, I will be happy to talk to my firm and ask my firm whether I can handle this on a pro bono basis, for your benefit.

Sincerely,

Albert
. . . . . . . . a romantic realist,
aspiring to be a valiant seeker of Truth, Liberty and Justice.


----- Original Message -----

From: Tennenberg, Joel
To: 'albertwang221@hotmail.com'
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007 2:19 PM
Subject: Babies "R" Us/1st Baby of the Year

Albert,

As requested, the official sweepstakes rules are attached below.

Do you know whether an English version of the World Journal article is
available? If so, I would appreciate it if you could send that to me.

Thanks.
Joel

Joel S. Tennenberg
Litigation & Regulatory Counsel
Toys "R" Us, Inc.
One Geoffrey Way
Wayne, New Jersey 07470
(973) 617-5741 (tel)
(973) 617-4043 (fax)


> <<1st Baby of the Year Sweepstakes.pdf>>

Posted by: Romantic Realist | Jan 13, 2007 6:06:42 PM

With respect to my legal analysis on whether Yuki Lin is entitled to the $25,000 U.S. Savings Bond from Toys-R-Us, I am firmly convinced that my legal position (as set forth in my e-mails to Toys-R-Us’ Legal Department during the week of January 1, 2007) is correct and unassailable. Before I decided to start this uphill battle as a valiant seeker of Truth, Liberty and Justice, I did consult with various friends and family members who are reputable and competent lawyers.

The most important legal issue is:

Whether Toys-R-Us can discriminate against a First Baby of the Year (e.g., Yuki Lin, who is born in New York City, State of New York and undeniably a United States citizen), by refusing to award the $25,000 U.S. Savings Bond promised to be awarded by Toys-R-Us in accordance with the terms of its own Sweepstake Official Rules, based on the baby’s parents’ marital status, race, color, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, education, criminal history, legal status or any other factors unrelated to the baby’s rights to U.S. citizenship under our Constitution, as amended by the Fourteenth Amendment.

I am firmly convinced that my legal analysis is accurate, and my legal position tenable. If this legal issue were argued in a U.S. federal court or New York State court, I strongly believe that Yuki would be able to prevail on the merits.


. . . . . . . . a romantic realist,
aspiring to be a valiant seeker of Truth, Liberty and Justice.

Posted by: Romantic Realist | Jan 13, 2007 6:08:33 PM

From: Albert Wang
To: Tennenberg, Joel
Cc: David J Schwartz Esq
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007 9:39 PM
Subject: Fw: Toys-R-Us First Baby of the Year

Joel,

I did not receive your return phone call today, even thought I left my cell phone number (917-[REDACTED]) again with your secretary. Neither have I received your response to my 3:45 p.m. e-mail. Toys-R-Us has not provided any legitimate explanation as to why the Chinese American baby girl GRAND PRIZE WINNER (as defined in your 1st Baby of the Year Sweepstakes Official Rules) was deprived of her $25,000 GRAND PRIZE, and was given a token gift BASKET, valued at approximately $100, a fraction of 1% of the Grand Prize. I find such nonresponse disturbing, and unbecoming of a good corporate citizen. Fortune 500 companies such as Toys-R-Us are corporate citizens, and should be wary of its social responsibility in setting good precedents for other small and mid-size corporate citizens.

According to your Official Rule #5, the "GRAND PRIZE WINNER" is defined as "the very first baby of 2007 born from among registered hospitals and/or registered women and/or OB/GYN's at or after 12:00 a.m. (local time in registrant time zone), on January 1, 2007."

The Chinese American baby girl born in New York City certainly satisfies the definition of "GRAND PRIZE WINNER", but was declared a "loser" by Toys-R-Us because of her ancestry---because her parents allegedly are not U.S. citizens. If this is not discrimination, please do provide me with your definition of what constitute definition.

Support for the conclusion that the Chinese American baby girl should have been the Grand Prize Winner is found in your Official Rule #6. The $25,000 US Savings Bond is "for the First Baby of the Year" and is "awarded in the name of the baby". Grand Prize Savings Bond will be awarded "in the baby's name only". If winning mother is a minor, price will be awarded "in baby's name" to mother's parent/legal guardian. The phrase "awarded in the baby's name" appears throughout your Official Rules, but you changed your Official Rules on baby girl who is the actual Grand Prize Winner who happens to be a Chinese American born to Chinese immigrant parents.

(Please double check my interpretation of your Official Rules with your outside legal counsel, and provide me with a copy of the legal opinion you receive from your outside legal counsel.)

When you make a mistake, the right thing to do is to apologize. To err is human; to ask for forgiveness, divine. Toys-R-Us should have awarded the First Baby of 2007 grand prize to the Chinese American girl born in New York City on January 1, 2007. Toys-R-Us should have given her the $25,000 U.S. Savings Bond (awarded in the name of the Chinese American baby girl)--the US Government Series EE bond which matures when she turns 17 years-old, so that she can use it for her education and pursue her American Dream. Instead, Toys-R-Us deprived her of her promised grand prize, notwithstanding the fact that she was born here in New York City, and therefore an American citizen. Toys-R-Us has not proactively taken the necessary steps to remedy this wrong. While this Chinese American baby girl, born to Chinese immigrant parents, are not likely to have the financial wherewithal to retain a lawyer like myself to fight for her legal rights against a billion dollar company such as Toys-R-Us, you should not assume that Toys-R-Us can show no remorse whatsoever for its wrongdoing without consequence. I hope that someone will step up to the plate and help this Chinese American to restore her rights as a legally born U.S. citizen, for the benefit of all Asian Americans in general, and Chinese Americans in particular.

If you have any interest in talking to me face-to-face, and take a non-litigation approach to resolve this matter amicably, and find a "win-win" solution that preserves the dignity of this Chinese American baby girl, the other Chinese Americans, and the other Asian Americans, please do not hesitate to contact me. My cell phone number is (917) [REDACTED]. My personal e-mail address is albertwang221@hotmail.com.

Sincerely,

Albert

cc: Gerald L. Storch, Chairman and CEO of Toys-R-Us (by First Class Mail)


----- Original Message -----
From: Albert Wang
To: tennenbj@toysrus.com
Cc: albertwang221@hotmail.com
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007 3:45 PM
Subject: Toys-R-Us First Baby of the Year

Joel,

Thank you. I note that the US Savings Bond for the very First Baby of the Year is "awarded in the name of the baby", and not in the name of the baby's mother, and that the bonds are US Government Series EE and mature 17 years (i.e., intended for the benefit of the U.S. born baby to be used for the baby's college education. Therefore, I believe that it would not be unconstitutional or illegal for the Chinese American first born baby to be the beneficiary of the US Savings Bond. Even if the Chinese American first born baby's parents cannot legally be the custodian or trustee of such baby's asset, a substitute trustee or guardian ad litem can be easily appointed. I have acted as trustee for my client's trust assets, and would be happy to volunteer to be the trustee for the purpose of holding Toys-R-Us' $25,000 bond for the benefit of this Chinese American first born baby.

The news article in World Journal is in Chinese only. No English version is available. There are various reputable translation agencies available in Tri-State area. A certified translation of this article should not take more than just a few hours. (You might want to use TransPerfect.) If Toys-R-Us is unable or unwilling to pay for the cost of such translation, I will be happy to talk to my firm and ask my firm whether I can handle this on a pro bono basis, for your benefit.

Sincerely,

Albert
. . . . . . . . a romantic realist,
aspiring to be a valiant seeker of Truth, Liberty and Justice.


----- Original Message -----

From: Tennenberg, Joel
To: 'albertwang221@hotmail.com'
Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007 2:19 PM
Subject: Babies "R" Us/1st Baby of the Year

Albert,

As requested, the official sweepstakes rules are attached below.

Do you know whether an English version of the World Journal article is
available? If so, I would appreciate it if you could send that to me.

Thanks.
Joel

Joel S. Tennenberg
Litigation & Regulatory Counsel
Toys "R" Us, Inc.
One Geoffrey Way
Wayne, New Jersey 07470
(973) 617-5741 (tel)
(973) 617-4043 (fax)


> <<1st Baby of the Year Sweepstakes.pdf>>


Posted by: Romantic Realist | Jan 13, 2007 10:22:46 PM

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