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Onset Finance Gets a Pass in Utah Federal Court
By Tom McCurnin
Onset Fin., Inc. v. Victor Valley Hosp. Acquisition, Inc. 2018 U.S.Dist.LEXIS 58494 (D.Utah Apr. 4, 2018, No. 2:17CV01133-DAK-BCW)
When a California borrower borrows money from an unlicensed Utah lender does California’s licensing and usury statutes apply in a Utah lawsuit? A district court in Utah ruled that California’s usury statutes are inapplicable in this lawsuit where the lease contained a Utah choice of law provision. The facts follow.
Lessor Onset Financial is a Utah equipment finance company. It is not licensed with the California Department of Business Oversight to make loans in the State of California. Lessee Victor Valley Hospital is a California based hospital, owning and operating hospitals in California. In 2014, the Lessee borrowed over $5 million (the amount is unclear in the complaint). The applicable interest on the schedules varied between 32-41%. The deal was corporate only without any guarantors.
The schedules were subject to a purchase option of 10-30% which could be exercised only upon notice to the Lessor before the end of the initial term of the lease. If the Lessee did not serve a notice to exercise the purchase option, the lease schedules would automatically renew for a full year. This is the classic evergreen clause.
The Lessee apparently did not read the lease provision that the failure to exercise the purchase option resulted in a forced renewal of 12 months, plus purchase option of another 30%.
In 2017, after the initial term had expired, the Lessee figured out that it was still paying on the lease schedules after expiration. It then ceased making payments. The Lessor immediately filed a Utah State Court action against the Lessee in 2017 to collect the unpaid residual sum of $3.2 million. The Lessee removed the action to Federal Court.
The Lessee filed a counterclaim on two grounds: (1) The transaction was a loan, not a lease; and (2) The loan was subject to the California usury law. The Lessor filed a motion to dismiss the counterclaim on the grounds that the two issues were really affirmative defenses and California usury law did not apply in this Utah action. This set up the primary issue of this case: whether the Utah lender could avoid the application of California’s usury statute for its loan to a California borrower by its contractual choice of law provision.
The case at this juncture was not whether Onset won or lost its lawsuit but merely whether the Lessee’s counterclaims of usury could be asserted. The trial court ruled that the counterclaims could not be asserted because Utah law was the choice of law set forth in the lease documents and Utah has no usury statute.
The court held, if a state has a substantial relationship to the transaction, that choice of law provision applies, citing a California district court case. However, if the court actually read the decision, the case concerned interest rates which varied between 12% to 21%. Thus the case cited by the Utah court was really an issue of a trivial difference in the allowed interest rate.
Here the interest rate for the Lessee was as high as 41% and more if one considered penalty interest and other disguised fees. The court held that since the contract was entered into in Utah, the state of Utah had a substantial interest in the litigation. The contracts, however, state something a little different—it is the execution of the delivery and acceptance certificate which was the last act to spring the contract into life. Since execution of the Lease schedules occurred in California, Utah may not have had a substantial interest.
The Court also ignored the fact that the payments were made in California via ACH, the equipment was delivered to California.
In any case, the Utah Court held that the Lessee could not assert usury under California’s usury statute. The Lessor won big time and the Lessee lost. This is likely to be a $3 million problem for the hospital.
The Lessee failed to raise what I considered to be a key argument. The key issue for me was the failure of the Lessor to be licensed when making loans to a California corporation. The case law holds that the requirement to be licensed is a fundamental principal of California. Onset held no such license and the papers did not discuss licensing.
The bottom line to the opinion was that the court seemed hell bent to ignore California authority for the proposition that loan would be subject to California’s usury law. When the court cited California decisions, the actual holding of that precedent did not jibe with the facts of this case, where the interest rate was as high as 41%. In short, the Lessee got hometowned.
The Lessor should be commended for immediately filing a Utah complaint within a few weeks of the default. The Lessee, once it realized that it was hamstrung by the lease terms, should have immediately filed suit in California. I understand that there was a forum selection clause for Utah, but a well-crafted complaint, with allegations of the facts of execution, delivery of the equipment, the failure to be licensed, and the applicable interest rates may have been enough to convince a California court that the failure to be licensed warranted that the California court should exercise jurisdiction. Given the opinion of the Utah court, it certainly could not have resulted in a worse decision.
What are the takeaways here?
• First, Be The First to File. I cannot emphasize this too much. If the Lessor has a dispute with an out of state Lessee, don’t pussy foot around and immediately file suit. You’ll have a home town advantage and may get to a judgment faster than other creditors. The same can be said for the Lessee—if you think the Lessor is being unreasonable, file immediately in your home town and don’t delay. Last month I wrote an article about Mazuma Capital (1) where the Lessee was the first to file, which had a completely different result. (2)
• Second, Read the Lease. I get it that the hospital’s professionals did not read the lease terms, or if they did, they did not understand them. The Lessee made that argument and I thought it made the Lessee look hopelessly stupid. Does a major hospital with a $5 million dollar deal sign a contract without having a lawyer read it? I guess so. A sucker is born every minute.
• Third, While the Court Got It Wrong, The Hospital Was Not Terribly Sympathetic Here. I thought the district court opinion was wrong on several levels, but the result didn’t surprise me. The Lessee missed a couple strategies that could have resulted in a different result.
The bottom line to this case is that the Lessor was the first to file a lawsuit in this matter and raise the choice of law and forum selection clauses. Those are important provisions of any lease, and it was to their credit that their hometown judge was hearing the issue. It didn’t have to be that way had the Lessee actually read the lease or be first to file.
(1) Mazuma-Onset Merger
(2) Mazuma Capital Goes on the Defensive for Its
Onset Financial v. Victor Valley Hospital Acquisition (4 pages)
Tom McCurnin is a partner at Barton, Klugman & Oetting in Los Angeles, California.
Previous Tom McCurnin Articles:
Previous Tom McCurnin Articles:
#### Press Release ##############################
Onset Financial Moves to New Campus
Nearly two years after breaking ground, Onset Financial’s campus is complete. Employees will start 2019 in an all-new state-of-the-art 55-thousand square foot office space and campus. The headquarters are nestled along the Wasatch Front in the heart of Draper, Utah with mountain views from every angle.
"The structure and spaces are highly functional and contribute to the dynamic and upward moving Onset Financial! The interior and finishes draw one vertical as the open atrium allows sunlight to penetrate and enhance every detail of stone, walnut and glass.”
To create a true Fintech feel, Onset worked with a design team that included Henriksen Butler, Method Studio and Gould + Architects to carry out a streamlined, high-end interior complete with skylights and floor-to-ceiling windows to allow natural light to flood every square inch of each level.
Onset Financial is set to have its most successful January in company history.
#### Press Release #############################
Major Change in Banking LIBOR,
A major change is appearing, according to the banking community that affects how short-term and variable rates are set. If you are a lessor or funding source that uses LIBOR (London Interbank Offered Rate) for pricing, borrowing, or other capacity, you may want to start thinking about modifying your practices and documents, according to the financial press. Sources such as the Wall Street Journal, Barron’s and the Economist are reporting that LIBOR may be on the verge of extinction, as it quickly is losing what relevance it had.
Why, you may ask, wouldn’t we continue to use an index that isn’t representative, is based on a shallow market, prone to manipulation, and doesn’t reflect the nature of our transactions? Well, if those aren’t reasons enough, how about the fact that it is literally scheduled to go away? It’s true – the Financial Conduct Authority, a British regulatory body, has said its reporting requirements regarding LIBOR will be phased out in 2021. It may be happening earlier elsewhere.
The reasons for LIBOR falling out of favor are several, foremost of which may be the reporting of artificial rates by the rate-setting banks during the financial crisis and subsequent manipulation of the rates by traders. These scandals precipitated a more thoughtful analysis of LIBOR that highlighted other shortcomings, such as it being based on a limited number of transactions and estimates of borrowing costs, rather than actual transactions. LIBOR comes in 7 maturities (from overnight to 12 months) and in 5 different currencies. The official LIBOR interest rates are announced once per working day at around 11:45 a.m., London time, by ICE Benchmark Administration.
Although there may be solid reasons to do so, shifting to a different index is a gargantuan task, with the first issue being “What index should be used?” The leading candidate, so far, is the New York Fed’s Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR), which is a broad measure of the cost of borrowing cash overnight collateralized by Treasury securities. SOFR is based on roughly $750 billion of transactions per day across a swath of firms including broker-dealers, money-market funds, asset managers, insurance companies and pension funds, making it a broader-based measure.
This is not to say that SOFR is a perfect replacement for LIBOR. For one thing, it is based on overnight transactions and the rate is based on nearly risk-free credits, so there is a credit mismatch for many participants. Acceptance also has been very slow, probably due to investors’ unfamiliarity with the product, although three bonds linked to the index have been issued by Fannie Mae, World Bank and Credit Suisse.
Substituting SOFR for LIBOR will affect the yield of the creditor, since LIBOR is generally a higher rate. The creditor needs to think of SOFR plus 2 or something else to increase its yield now that LIBOR is gone. The index has absolutely no impact on the yield of the creditor. The creditor sets its yield based on market, cost of funds, etc., and then creates a spread over the index (SOFR) that will match its yield requirement. It then measures changes in the instrument based on that spread as it relates to SOFR.
Other benchmark rates, developed for specific regions and circumstances, also are in use. These include EUROBOR, AMERIBOR, SHIBOR (China) and IIBOR (Islamic finance) but SOFR appears to be the US favorite, assuming that it can be developed to incorporate different maturities. No matter the new benchmark chosen, though, getting to it will be problematic.
Although there will be difficulties in transitioning existing documents between indices, a change in an index does not affect the rate a company can borrow at, or the rate another company is willing to lend at. The creditor sets its yield based on market, cost of funds, etc., and then creates a spread over the index (SOFR) that will match its yield requirement. It then measures changes in the instrument based on that spread as it relates to SOFR.
Contracts continue to be written on LIBOR, for example, that extend beyond the 2021 phase-out date. Will lessors and funders include “indemnification provisions,” alternative index fallback language, or require new spread definitions in the documentation? How will new deals be priced amid uncertainty as to acceptance of a new standard benchmark? Although the answers to these questions may not be apparent, one thing is clear – as players in the equipment leasing and finance business, we need to start thinking about the practical ramifications of this issue on our operations.
Shawn is a Managing Director of The Alta Group, the leading consulting firm serving the equipment leasing industry. He has authored or co-authored eight books on equipment leasing, including "A Guide to Equipment Leasing,", "A Guide to Accounting for Leases" and "The Handbook of Equipment Leasing." He has also been a contributing writer to Leasing News, reporting on Leasing and Finance Conferences, as well as other events. He also contributes The Alta Group Blog.
Jim Acee was promoted to Senior EFD National Program Manager, VP Material Handling, Bank of the West. He is located in the Greater Philadelphia Area. He joined the firm January, 2017, EFD National Account Manager, VP Material Handling (January, 2018). Previously, he was at DLL, joining firm November, 2004 as Vice President, Business Development, Syndication Buy Desk; promoted December, 2009, Country Sales Manager; Vice President, Sales, Wells Fargo Capital Finance (2001 - 2004). He joined US Bancorp Leasing & Financial 1989 as Director of Sales, Office Equipment; promoted December, 1989, Managing Director, Technology Vendor Leasing. Community: Volunteer: Committee Chair, Boy Scouts of America (January, 2007 - 2011). National Jamboree Shooting Staff, Boy Scouts of America (2017); Philmont Scout Reservation Advisor, Boy Scouts of America (August, 2004). NRA Certified Shooting Instructor and RSO. NRA Certified Instructor. Certified rifle, pistol, shotgun and black power instructor, primarily for the BSA. Also a certified Range Safety Officer. Wood Badge Staff, Boy Scouts of America. Education: Le Moyne College. Bachelor's degree, Business Administration and Management, General. https://www.linkedin.com/in/jim-acee-578a03b/
Lorraine Julius was hired as Senior Business Development Officer, ENGS Commercial Credit, Itasca, Illinois. She is based in Carlsbad, California. Previously, she was Vice President, Sr. Relationship Manager, Gerber Finance, Inc. (January, 2018 - December, 2018); Vice President, Business Development Officer, LSQ (September, 2004 - January, 2018): National Sales Manager, Capital Partners (1998 - August, 2004). https://www.linkedin.com/in/lorrainejulius/
Simple Solutions to Get Your Sales Call
If you’ve ever called a business hoping to discuss the opportunity your own company can offer them through a service or product, then you know the disappointment that comes when you don’t even make it past the gatekeeper to speak to the owner. Your call has been screened, and you didn’t make the cut.
Act Like You Belong
Don’t mumble or speak diminutively when you place a sales call. Instead, be bold when you introduce yourself and ask to be forwarded to an owner. Behave as if your call warrants being heard. The gatekeeper is less likely to shut you down if they feel like you are calling with a purpose that has merit.
Most people can tell when anyone is putting forth a phony persona. If you place a call to a business and then launch into a prepared speech that sounds salesy and fake, they are going to quickly dismiss you. Act like one human being reaching out to another; don’t fall into the trap of the stereotypical salesperson with a pitch.
Know Your Stuff
Do not just cold call a company. Instead, take time to do a little research into their organization and who owns it. Why would the gatekeeper believe that your service would be a game changer for their business if you aren’t even completely knowledgeable about what they do or who they are?
A Little Respect Goes a Long Way
In short, do not waste the gatekeeper’s time. By utilizing the tips here, you will be able to come across as sincere and considerate of the valuable work-day minutes and undivided attention they are giving you. If you get straight to the point with what you are offering and simply behave as a human being instead of a sales robot, you will get much further.
Previous Financial Technology Articles
A week after China’s Association of Automobile Manufacturers reported the first annual decline of Chinese automobile sales in more than two decades, the National Bureau of Statistics of China released more data pointing towards weakness in the world’s second largest economy. According to preliminary estimations, the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) grew by 6.6 percent last year. While that sounds great from a U.S. or European perspective, different standards apply to the previously booming Chinese economy, where 6.6 percent is the lowest growth rate since 1990.
Lackluster domestic demand paired with the cooling effects of the trade war with the United States on exports contributed to the slowdown, continuing a downward trend that has been going on for several years now (with 2017 a surprise exception). Just last week, the Chinese government announced a 1.3 trillion yuan ($193 billion) stimulus package to bolster the economy, the latest of several measures recently taken to prevent the country’s growth from collapsing altogether.
China’s economy is closely watched internationally, as many international corporations consider it a key market in reaching their own growth targets. Apple recently revised its revenue guidance for the holiday quarter downwards, citing weak demand in the Chinese market as the main driver behind its lackluster performance.
By Felix Richter
A vivid biopic (“At Eternity’s Gate”) and a fresh action-fantasy (“Bumblebee”) come to theaters, while DVD releases offer heartwarming drama (“Christopher Robin”), a tense cautionary tale (“Searching”) and a master’s classic (“Notorious”).
At Eternity’s Gate (CBS Films): The life of the great Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh has attracted many great filmmakers, from Vincente Minnelli to Robert Altman. Now Oscar nominee Julian Schnabel (“The Diving Bell and the Butterfly”) throws his hat into the cinematic ring with this intense, impressionistic account of the final days of Van Gogh (splendidly portrayed by Willem Dafoe). While struggling for recognition for his works, the painter plods through thorny relationships with his brother Theo (Rupert Friend) and fellow painter Paul Gauguin (Oscar Isaac). Determined to avoid the fustiness of the standard period biopic, Schnabel insists on vivid, immediate impressions. Burrowing into the inspiration and torment that fueled his art, his unconventional film looks for the agony as well as the glory of the artistic process.
Bumblebee (Paramount Pictures): After years of noisy, ugly metallic blockbusters, it’s a pleasure to finally see an appealing “Transformers” entry in this fresh and warm action-fantasy, directed by talented former animator Travis Knight (“Kubo and the Two Strings”). Set in the late 1980s, the story follows the eponymous Transformer robot, on the run after being damaged in battle. Hiding out as a mustard Volkswagen in a junkyard in a small California town, Bumblebee is discovered by teenage loner Charlie (Hailee Steinfeld), who quickly forges a close bond with the towering but sweet-natured alien. With a tenacious government agent (John Cena) on her trail, Charlie must help reunite Bumblebee with the other Transformers so that their mission can continue. Anchored by the vivacious Steinfeld, the film has thrills and heart.
Christopher Robin (Walt Disney Studios): After exploring the origins of Peter Pan in “Finding Neverland,” versatile director Marc Forster (“Monster’s Ball”) turns his attention to A.A. Milne’s beloved characters in this wistful drama. Taking a note from Steven Spielberg’s “Hook,” the plot follows Christopher Robin, once a boy with fanciful childhood friends but now a serious family man in London (played by Ewan McGregor). Into his life enters Pooh the Bear (voiced by Jim Cummings), who needs his help to find the rest of the forest gang, including Tigger and Eeyore. Getting away from his quotidian worries to track down his pals, Christopher gradually realizes how much he misses the simple joys of his youth. Cozily old-fashioned, the movie exudes warmth and a poignancy that sneaks up on the audience.
Searching (Screen Gems): Social media technology becomes cinematic technique in this ingenious thriller, which marks a promising debut for director Aneesh Chaganty. Set in the Santa Clara Valley, the story follows the desperate steps taken by David (John Cho) to find clues after his teenage daughter (Michelle La) disappears. Diving into the Internet, he attempts to piece together what happened by investigating the laptop she left behind. Following her digital trail, he comes to realize his daughter’s painful loneliness, as well as a gallery of suspects. Filming a character using the computer can easily turn tedious, but Chaganty is creative enough to turn the search into visuals with skillful use of framed images that often question what we’re seeing. The result is cautionary suspense that transcends facile gimmick.
Notorious(Alfred Hitchcock, 1946): Though associated far more with suspense than with romance, Alfred Hitchcock often dealt with intense emotions and with the uncertain nature of relationships. That side of his genius is beautifully demonstrated in this masterpiece, which follows the shifting bond between its protagonists with breathtaking complexity and subtlety. As Nazi officers hide from justice, a U.S. government agent (Cary Grant) recruits a socialite (Ingrid Bergman) to act as a spy, going undercover and winning the affections of a German fugitive hiding in Brazil (Claude Rains). As her masquerade grows more dangerous, Bergman’s liaison with Grant grows more volatile. Featuring a famously long kiss between its glamorous stars, Hitchcock’s classic is an espionage thriller that doubles as a barbed look at love and its ecstasies and dangers.
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Two Classic Books on Leasing for Sale
By Richard A. Galtelli, CLFP
A unique book written for small ticket brokers and lessors. Two chapters on distinguishing leases and loans for accounting, tax and legal purposes, and how and why small ticket leasing is unique.
Five chapters devoted to lease documentation issues--key lease contract provisions, additional lease documents, financial elements in a lease, the lease package and documentation process.
. Five chapters focusing on selling leasing--benefits of leasing to lessees, selling leasing in vendor transactions, the customer's view, the vendor's view and key determinants and checklists for leasing or buying.
Four chapters devoted to relationships with vendors and funders-- vendor development, vendor relationships and agreements, funding overview and funder relationships and agreements.
Over 350 review questions to test comprehension. 299 pages
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Power Tools for Successful Leasing
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This Day in History
1654 – William Kidd (or Kyd) (d. 1701) was born in Dundee, Scotland. Kidd later settled in the newly anglicized New York City, where he befriended many prominent colonial citizens, including three governors. Kidd was active in the building of Trinity Church. Widely known simply as Captain Kidd, he was tried and executed for piracy after returning from a voyage to the Indian Ocean.
1673 – Postal service between New York and Boston was inaugurated using post riders. The monthly service was the first of its kind in the colonies. Prior to that, some people boarding ships would act as couriers for packages and letters. Over land, people would ask ministers or merchants to transport important packages. Sometimes letters would move from tavern to tavern. There was no guarantee a letter would reach its recipient. The Postal Road followed Native American trails and ultimately became the major thoroughfares for the region. Originally called the Pequot Path, it had been in use by Native Americans long before Europeans arrived. The first ride to lay out the Upper Post Road started in January, 1673. Later, the newly blazed trail was widened and smoothed to the point where horse-drawn wagons or stagecoaches could use the road. Much of what is now US Route 1 in The Bronx and southern Westchester County, NY is known as the Boston Post Road, dating to this event. The Upper Post Road runs through Connecticut along the coast.
1755 - Alexander Hamilton (d. 1804) born at British West Indies. American statesman, an author of “The Federalist Papers,” first Secretary of the Treasury.” Dueled Aaron Burr the morning of July 11, 1804, at Weehawken, NJ. Mortally wounded there and died the next day.
1770 - Rhubarb was shipped by Benjamin Franklin from London, England to John Bartram in Philadelphia, Pa. Rhubarb pie was a favorite in the United Colonies.
1775 - Francis Salvador, the first Jew to be elected in the Americas, takes his seat on the South Carolina Provincial Congress. In June 1776, Salvador, a Patriot, became known as the "Southern Paul Revere" when he warned Charleston, South Carolina, of the approaching British naval fleet. Thanks to Salvador's intelligence information, Fort Sullivan in Charleston harbor was able to prepare for the British attack and the half-completed fort successfully repelled an attack by a British fleet under Sir Peter Parker. On August 1 of the same year, while leading a militia group under the general command of Major Wilkinson, Salvador and his men were ambushed by a group of Cherokees and Loyalists near present-day Seneca, South Carolina. Salvador was wounded and then scalped by the Cherokees. He was the first recorded Jewish soldier killed in the American War for Independence.
1788 - George Gordon Byron, 6th Baron Byron, (d. 1824), commonly known simply as Lord Byron, was born in London. English poet, peer, politician, and a leading figure in the Romantic, he is regarded as one of the greatest British poets and remains widely read and influential.
1791 - In Philadelphia, Episcopal Bishop William White, 43, founded the First Day Society. It became the forerunner of the American Missionary Fellowship, chartered in 1817 and headquartered today in Villanova, PA.
1813 - First pineapples planted in Hawaii, brought from Spain.
1848 - The Town Council attempted to ban gambling in San Francisco.
1850 – California’s first daily newspaper, Alta California, began publishing, in San Francisco. It descended from the first newspaper published in the city, Samuel Brannan’s California Star, which debuted on January 9, 1847. By 1849, the paper had come under the control of Robert B. Semple, who changed its name to the Alta California. On January 22, the paper began daily publication, becoming the first daily newspaper in California. On July 4, 1849, Semple began printing the Daily Alta California on a new steam press, the first such press in the west. The newspaper continued publication until June 2, 1891.
1857 - The National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) was formed, the first organization governing American baseball. The first convention of sixteen New York City area clubs terminated the Knickerbocker era, when that club had privately deliberated on the rules of the game. The Chicago Cubs, who played their first season in the NABBP in 1870 as the Chicago White Stockings, is the only surviving team from the NABBP.
1861 - Alabama seceded from the Union and joined the Confederacy.
1875 – D. W. Griffith (d. 1948) was born, Oldham County, KY. director, writer, and producer who pioneered modern film making techniques. Griffith is best remembered for “The Birth of a Nation” (1915) and “Intolerance” (1916). The former made use of advanced camera and narrative techniques, and its popularity set the stage for the dominance of the feature-length film in the United States. Since its release, the film has sparked significant controversy surrounding race in the United States, focusing on its negative depiction of black people and the glorification of the KKK. Today, it is both noted for its radical technique and condemned for its inherently racist philosophy. By the time of his final feature in 1931, he had made roughly 500 films. Griffith is one of the founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and widely considered among the most important figures in the history of cinema. He is credited with popularizing the use of the close-up shot.
1878 - In New York, Alexander Campbell made the first delivery of milk in glass bottles. Until then, milk had been ladled from a container by the milkman into the customer's own container.
1892 - Paul Gauguin marries a 13-year-old Tahitian girl 1907 - The Church of God, headquartered today in Cleveland, Tennessee, and with roots going back to 1886, officially adopted its current name.
1909 – Ann Sothern (d. 2001) was born Harriette Arlene Lake in Valley City, North Dakota. An actress who worked on stage, radio, film, and television, in a career that spanned nearly six decades. Sothern began her career in the late 1920s in bit parts in films, working her way up to starring roles. In 1939, MGM cast her as Maisie Ravier, a brash yet lovable Brooklyn showgirl. The character proved to be popular and spawned a successful film series and a network radio series. In 1953, Sothern moved into television as the star of her own sitcom, “Private Secretary.” The series aired for five seasons and earned Sothern three Primetime Emmy Award nominations. In 1958, she starred in another sitcom for CBS, “The Ann Sothern Show,” which aired for three seasons.
1909 – Former UN Secretary General U Thant (d. 1974) was born in Burma. The third to hold the position (1961-71), the first non-European to hold the position, he held the office for a record 10 years and one month.
1913 - Hudson Sedan, manufactured by the Hudson Motor Car Company, Detroit, MI, was shown at the 13th National Automobile Show. It was the first sedan with all accessories as standard equipment.
1913 – The New York Highlanders became the New York Yankees, who signed a one-year lease for the Polo Grounds, sharing it with the New York Giants of the National League. In the 1901 season, the club began play in the AL as the Baltimore Orioles (no relation to the modern Baltimore Orioles). Frank Farrell and Bill Devery purchased the franchise (which had ceased operations) and moved it to New York City, renaming the club the New York Highlanders. They remained tenants through the 1922 season and moved to the newly-built Yankee Stadium for the 1923 season.
1918 - A tremendous blizzard completely immobilized the Midwest, stopping mail service for two weeks. The vast storm then moved through the Great Lakes Region and the Ohio Valley. Winds reached 60 mph at Toledo, OH, and the temperature plunged from 28 above to 15 below zero during passage of the cold front.
1922 - A 14-year-old-boy, Canadian Leonard Thompson, became the first person to have his diabetes successfully treated with insulin. 1927 – Fletcher Joseph “Joe the Jet” Perry (d. 2011) was born in Stephens, AR. He played for the San Francisco 49ers from 1948 to 1960, the Baltimore Colts from 1961 to 1962, and returned to the 49ers in 1963 for his final year in football. He was exceptionally fast, a trait uncommon for a fullback, thus the nickname. The first African-American to be named the MVP in the NFL, he became one of American football's first black stars and was featured in the 49ers’ "Million Dollar Backfield" with John Henry Johnson and Hugh McElhenny. With QB Y.A. Tittle, it is the only full backfield to have all four members voted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He made three straight Pro Bowl appearances, and in 1954, was named the NFL MVP by UPI. He was the first player in the NFL to rush for 1,000 yards in consecutive seasons, doing so in 1953 and 1954. Perry retired in 1963 as the league's all-time leader in rushing yards, and, in 1969, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. His jersey number 34 was retired by the 49ers in 1971.
1928 - Paul Whiteman recorded "Ol' Man River" on Victor Records. Bing Crosby sang as the featured vocalist on the song from the Broadway musical, "Showboat."
1929 – The Yankees announced that they will put numbers on the backs of their uniforms, becoming the first baseball team to start continuous use of the numbers. The first numbers are based on positions in the batting order; thus, Babe Ruth will wear number 3 and Lou Gehrig number 4. In a few weeks, the Cleveland Indians followed suit. By 1931, all American League teams will use them. It will be 1933 before all National League players are numbered.
1931 – Sam Cooke (d. 1964) was born, Clarksdale, MS. Influential as both a singer and composer, he is commonly known as the King of Soul for his distinctive vocals and importance within popular music. He began singing as a child before moving to a solo career where he scored a string of hit songs like "You Send Me," "Wonderful World," "Chain Gang," and "Twistin the Night away.". Cooke had 30 U.S. top 40 hits between 1957 and 1964, plus three more posthumously. Cooke died at the age of 33 on December 11, 1964, at the Hacienda Motel in LA. Answering separate reports of a shooting and of a kidnapping at the motel, police found Cooke's body, clad only in a sports jacket and shoes but no shirt, pants or underwear. The motel's manager, Bertha Franklin, said she had shot Cooke in self-defense after he broke into her office residence and attacked her. Her account was immediately questioned and disputed by acquaintances. Because other testimony corroborated Franklin's version of events, and because both later passed lie detector tests, the coroner’s jury ultimately accepted Franklin's explanation and returned a verdict of justifiable homicide. With that verdict, authorities officially closed the case on Cooke's death.
1935 - Amelia Earhart Putnam became the first person to make a solo flight from Hawaii to California. Three years earlier, she became the first woman to make a solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean. 1938 - The first woman bank president, Frances Moulton, assumed her duties in Limerick, Maine.
1939 - First Metronome all-Star session (Berigan, James, Goodman) records “ Blue Lou,” “The Blues.” Victor. These Metronome Jazz Magazine masters are fascinating to listen to as they are basically all-star jam sessions. 1939 - Marlene Dietrich, "Falling In Love Again"
1940 – Two-time Super Bowl-winning head coach of the 49ers, George Seifert, was born in San Francisco.
1940 - Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., becomes the U.S. Army's first black general. His son would later become a general as well. 1944 - Franz Kettner, a private in the German army and a prisoner of war at Camp Hearne in Texas, is killed by a Nazi kangaroo court. Internment camps for German prisoners of war were dominated by Nazi enforcers, who killed as many as 150 of their fellow prisoners during World War II.
1944 - HOWARD, JAMES H. (Air Mission), Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army Air Corps. Place and date: Over Oschersleben, Germany, 11 January 1944. Entered service at: St. Louis, Mo. Birth: Canton, China. G.O. No.: 45, 5 June 1944. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Oschersleben, Germany, on 11 January 1944. On that day Col. Howard was the leader of a group of P51 aircraft providing support for a heavy bomber formation on a long-range mission deep in enemy territory. As Col. Howard's group met the bombers in the target area the bomber force was attacked by numerous enemy fighters. Col. Howard, with his group, and at once engaged the enemy and himself destroyed a German ME. 110. As a result of this attack Col. Howard lost contact with his group, and at once returned to the level of the bomber formation. He then saw that the bombers were being heavily attacked by enemy airplanes and that no other friendly fighters were at hand. While Col. Howard could have waited to attempt to assemble his group before engaging the enemy, he chose instead to attack single-handed a formation of more than 30 German airplanes. With utter disregard for his own safety he immediately pressed home determined attacks for some 30 minutes, during which time he destroyed 3 enemy airplanes and probably destroyed and damaged others. Toward the end of this engagement 3 of his guns went out of action and his fuel supply was becoming dangerously low. Despite these handicaps and the almost insuperable odds against him, Col. Howard continued his aggressive action in an attempt to protect the bombers from the numerous fighters. His skill, courage, and intrepidity on this occasion set an example of heroism which will be an inspiration to the U.S. Armed Forces.
1945 - GAMMON, ARCHER T., Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army, Company A, 9th Armored Infantry Battalion, 6th Armored Division. Place and date: Near Bastogne, Belgium, 11 January 1945. Entered service at: Roanoke, Va. Born: 11 September 1918, Chatham, Va. G.O. No.: 18, 13 February 1946. Citation: He charged 30 yards through hip-deep snow to knock out a machinegun and its 3-man crew with grenades, saving his platoon from being decimated and allowing it to continue its advance from an open field into some nearby woods. The platoon's advance through the woods had only begun when a machinegun supported by riflemen opened fire and a Tiger Royal tank sent 88mm. shells screaming at the unit from the left flank. S/Sgt. Gammon, disregarding all thoughts of personal safety, rushed forward, then cut to the left, crossing the width of the platoon's skirmish line in an attempt to get within grenade range of the tank and its protecting foot troops. Intense fire was concentrated on him by riflemen and the machinegun emplaced near the tank. He charged the automatic weapon, wiped out its crew of 4 with grenades, and, with supreme daring, advanced to within 25 yards of the armored vehicle, killing 2 hostile infantrymen with rifle fire as he moved forward. The tank had started to withdraw, backing a short distance, then firing, backing some more, and then stopping to blast out another round, when the man whose single-handed relentless attack had put the ponderous machine on the defensive was struck and instantly killed by a direct hit from the Tiger Royal's heavy gun. By his intrepidity and extreme devotion to the task of driving the enemy back no matter what the odds, S/Sgt. Gammon cleared the woods of German forces, for the tank continued to withdraw, leaving open the path for the gallant squad leader's platoon.
1947 – KTLA, the first commercial television station west of the Mississippi River, begins operation in Hollywood. The station was licensed by the FCC in 1939 as experimental station W6XYZ, broadcasting on VHF channel 4; it did not sign on the air until September, 1942. The station was originally owned by Paramount Pictures subsidiary Television Productions, Inc., and was based at the Paramount Studios lot. It was the 8th TV station in the entire country.
1947 - Top Hits
“For Sentimental Reasons” - Nat King Cole
“Ole Buttermilk Sky” - The Kay Kyser Orchestra (vocal: Mike Douglas & The Campus Kids)
“The Old Lamplighter” - The Sammy Kaye Orchestra (vocal: Billy Williams)
Divorce Me C.O.D. - Merle Travis
1948 - President Harry S. Truman proposes free, two-year community colleges for all who want an education.
1949 - Lee Konitz's cuts first record “Progression” on Prestige.
1953 – Arthur Miller’s play, “The Crucible,” opened on Broadway. It is a dramatized and partially fictionalized story of the Salem witch trials that took place in the Massachusetts Bay Colony during 1692/93. Miller wrote the play as an allegory for McCarthyism, when the United States government ostracized people for being communists. Miller himself was questioned by the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1956 and convicted of contempt of Congress for refusing to identify others present at meetings he had attended.
1955 - Top Hits
“Mr. Sandman” - The Chordettes
“The Naughty Lady of Shady Lane” - The Ames Brothers
“Hearts of Stone” - The Fontane Sisters
“Loose Talk” - Carl Smith
1956 - The Coasters record "Down in Mexico," "Turtle Dovin'"
1956 - Elvis Presley began his first recording session in Nashville. Among the songs recorded were "Heartbreak Hotel" and "I Was the One," which became Presley's first single for RCA Victor. Artists-and-repertoire chief Steve Sholes had bought his contract from Sun Records in Memphis for 35- thousand dollars. The record became the first of Elvis' more than 50 million-sellers.
1956 - No. 1 Billboard Pop Hit: "Memories Are Made of This," Dean Martin.
1957 - The New York City "Mad Bomber", George Metesky, was arrested in Waterbury, CT and charged with planting more than 30 bombs. He terrorized New York City for 16 years with explosives that he planted in theaters, terminals, libraries, and offices. Bombs were left in phone booths, storage lockers, and restrooms in public buildings, including Grand central Terminal, Penn Station, Radio City, New Public Library, Port Authority Bus Terminal, the RCA Building and the subway. Metesky also bombed movie theaters, where he cut into seat upholstery and slipped his explosive devices inside. Angry and resentful about events surrounding a workplace injury suffered years earlier, Metesky planted at least 33 bombs, of which 22 exploded, injuring 15 people. He was apprehended based on an early use of offender profiling and clues given in letters he wrote to a newspaper. He was found legally insane and was committed to a state mental hospital.
1958 - The Coasters, "Charlie Brown" was released.
1958 - On CBS-TV's "Seahunt," Lloyd Bridges starred as Mike Nelson, an ex-Navy frogman turned underwater trouble shooter. The show spent four years on the network. The underwater sequences were shot in Silver Springs, Florida. The out-of-water sequences were filmed at Marineland of the Pacific. My father, Lawrence Menkin, wrote several of the episodes.
1958 - "Great Balls of Fire" by Jerry Lee Lewis became the number-one song in the US. Later in the year, many radio stations began banning his records because of his marriage to his 14-year-old cousin.
1960 - Aretha Franklin makes her stage debut at New York's Village Vanguard.
1961 - The Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman" hits #1
1963 - Top Hits
“Telstar” - The Tornadoes
“Go Away Little Girl” - Steve Lawrence
“Hotel Happiness” - Brook Benton
“Ruby Ann” - Marty Robbins
1964 - Roger Miller records "Dang Me," one of the most popular songs
of the year, along with his "Chug-A-Lug."
1964 - U.S. Surgeon General Luther Terry issued the first government report saying that smoking may be hazardous to one's health.
1964- The famed Whisky a Go-Go nightclub opened on Hollywood's Sunset Boulevard. The combination discotheque and concert venue quickly became the favored hangout for LA's hip set. It was famed for its go-go girls who both danced and acted as dj's, and for its house band, led by Johnny Rivers. The club also spotlighted the hottest acts from the US and Britain, among them the Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, the Who and Led Zeppelin.
1964 - "Ring of Fire" by Johnny Cash becomes the first country album to top the U.S. pop album chart.
1965 - Ray Charles' "Crying Time" enters the pop charts
1965 - The Beach Boys record "Do You Wanna Dance"
1966 - British Invasion band Herman's Hermits receive a gold record for the album "The Best of Herman's Hermits."
1967 - The great Jimi Hendrix records "Purple Haze"
1968 - The Rolling Stones film their legendary Rolling Stones' Rock and Roll Circus television special at Wembley television studios in Middlesex, England, featuring performances by John Lennon, Eric Clapton, the Who, Jethro Tull, Marianne Faithful -- and yes, circus people, all filmed in a circus tent. The show is never aired and only sees the light of day in 1996, supposedly because the Stones thought the Who upstaged them with their performance.
1968 – Apollo V lifts off carrying the first Lunar module into space.
1968 – “Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In” debuted on NBC. An American sketch comedy television program that ran for 140 episodes to March 12, 1973. It was hosted by comedians Dan Rowan and Dick Martin. In 2002, it was ranked number 42 on TV Guide’s 50 Greatest TV Shows of All Time.
1969 - FRITZ, HAROLD A., Medal of Honor
Rank and organization: Captain, U.S. Army, Troop A, 1st Squadron, 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment. Place and date: Binh Long Province, Republic of Vietnam, 11 January 1969. Entered service at: Milwaukee, Wis. Born: 21 February 1944, Chicago, 111. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. (then 1st Lt.) Fritz, Armor, U.S. Army, distinguished himself while serving as a platoon leader with Troop A, near Quan Loi. Capt. Fritz was leading his 7-vehicle armored column along Highway 13 to meet and escort a truck convoy when the column suddenly came under intense crossfire from a reinforced enemy company deployed in ambush positions. In the initial attack, Capt. Fritz' vehicle was hit and he was seriously wounded. Realizing that his platoon was completely surrounded vastly outnumbered, and in danger of being overrun, Capt. Fritz leaped to the top of his burning vehicle and directed the positioning of his remaining vehicles and men. With complete disregard for his wounds and safety, he ran from vehicle to vehicle in complete view of the enemy gunners in order to reposition his men, to improve the defenses, to assist the wounded, to distribute ammunition, to direct fire, and to provide encouragement to his men. When a strong enemy force assaulted the position and attempted to overrun the platoon, Capt. Fritz manned a machine gun and through his exemplary action inspired his men to deliver intense and deadly fire which broke the assault and routed the attackers. Moments later a second enemy force advanced to within 2 meters of the position and threatened to overwhelm the defenders. Capt. Fritz, armed only with a pistol and bayonet, led a small group of his men in a fierce and daring charge which routed the attackers and inflicted heavy casualties. When a relief force arrived, Capt. Fritz saw that it was not deploying effectively against the enemy positions, and he moved through the heavy enemy fire to direct its deployment against the hostile positions. This deployment forced the enemy to abandon the ambush site and withdraw. Despite his wounds, Capt. Fritz returned to his position, assisted his men, and refused medical attention until all of his wounded comrades had been treated and evacuated. The extraordinary courage and selflessness displayed by Capt. Fritz, at the repeated risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty, were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect the greatest credit upon himself, his unit, and the Armed Forces. .
1970 – The Boeing 747, the world's first jumbo jet, entered commercial service for launch customer Pan American World Airways with its maiden voyage from John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York to London Heathrow Airport.
1970 - Billy Casper became the second golfer in history to top the $1-million mark in career earnings, thanks to winning the Los Angeles Open golf tournament.
1971 - Top Hits
“My Sweet Lord/Isn't It a Pity” - George Harrison
“Knock Three Times” - Dawn
“Black Magic Woman” - Santana
“Rose Garden” - Lynn Anderson
1972 - Downslope winds hit the eastern slopes of the Rockies in northern Colorado and southeastern Wyoming. Boulder, CO reported wind gusts to 143 mph and twenty-five million dollars property damage.
1973 – The Supreme Court delivered its decisions in Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton, legalizing elective abortion in all fifty states.
1973 - The American League changed its playing rules to allow for the use of a designated hitter, one player to bat for the pitcher throughout the game without being required to play in the field. The rule was intended to boost offensive production and to allow better starting pitchers to remain in the game longer.
1974 - Country storyteller Tom. T. Hall topped the country singles charts with "I Love." His other number-one songs that year included "That Song is Driving Me Crazy" and "Country Is."
1976 - US female Figure Skating championship won by Dorothy Hamill.
1976 - Al Stewart's "Year of the Cat" enters the pop charts
1977 - AT&T approves dual listings in phone books for wife and husband without extra charge, ending a three-year battle by feminists.
1979 - Top Hits
“Too Much Heaven” - Bee Gees
“My Life” - Billy Joel
“Sharing the Night Together” - Dr. Hook
“Tulsa Time” - Don Williams
1980 - Composer John Williams succeeded the late Arthur Fiedler as the conductor of the Boston Pops.
1984 - The Apple Macintosh, the first consumer computer to popularize the computer mouse and the graphical user interface, is introduced during a Super Bowl XVIII television commercial.
1984 - The album "Thriller" by Michael Jackson became the all-time bestselling LP. "Thriller," with ten-million copies sold, surpassed the previous best-seller, the soundtrack from "Saturday Night Fever." "Thriller" eventually sold more than 40 million copies. Also on January 11th, 1984, Michael Jackson was nominated for 12 Grammy Awards.
1984 – In Super Bowl XVIII, the Los Angeles Raiders beat the Washington Redskins, 38-9 in Tampa. Raiders RB Marcus Allen, the MVP, carried the ball 20 times for a then-record total of 191 yards and two touchdowns, including a then-record 74-yard run in the third quarter that is still a featured highlight reel rerun. He also caught 2 passes for 18 yards. The Redskins were reigning champs, were favored to win, finished the 1983 regular season with a league-best 14–2 record, led the league in fewest rushing yards allowed, and set a then-NFL record in scoring with 541 points. Coached by Tom Flores, the Raiders' 38 points and 29-point margin of victory broke Super Bowl records; it still remains the most points scored by an AFC team in a Super Bowl.
1986 - L. Douglas Wilder was sworn in as lieutenant governor of Virginia. He was the first black elected to statewide office in the South since Reconstruction. He later served as governor.
1987 - Madonna's video about a pregnant teenager, "Papa Don't Preach," won the top award on the first World Music Video Awards. The three-hour program was co-produced by Canada's MuchMusic Network and Europe's Sky Channel. It was telecast live via satellite to five continents.
1987 - Top Hits
“Walk Like an Egyptian” - Bangles
“Notorious” - Duran Duran
“Shake You Down” - Gregory Abbott
“Give Me Wings” - Michael Johnson
1987 - A storm in the northeastern U.S. buried the mountains of central Vermont with up to 26 inches of snow, and snowfall totals in Maine ranged up to 27 inches at Telos Lake. Winds gusted to 45 mph at Newark, NJ and Albany, NY.
1988 - Snow and high winds in Utah resulted in a fifty-car pile-up along Interstate 15. Winds in Wyoming gusted to 115 mph at Rendezvous Peak.
1988 - As a result of the Players’ Association’s 1985 collusion suit against the owners, arbitrator Tom Roberts declared seven players no-risk free agents until March 1, giving them a chance to sign with other clubs despite already having contracts. The seven are Juan Beniquez, Tom Brookens, Kirk Gibson, Carlton Fisk, Donnie Moore, Joe Niekro, and Butch Wynegar. Gibson will jump to the Dodgers and become the NL MVP and a World Series hero to boot.
1989 – In Super Bowl XXIII, the San Francisco 49ers beat Cincinnati Bengals, 20-16 in Miami. On January 26, 2006, NFL.com ranked this game number 1 on its list of the top 10 Super Bowls of all time. Niners WR Jerry Rice was the game’s MVP, caught 11 passes for a Super Bowl record 215 yards and a touchdown, while also rushing once for 5 yards. The game is best remembered for the 49ers' fourth-quarter game-winning drive. Down 16–13 in what was to that time a lackluster game, San Francisco got the ball on their own eight-yard line with 3:10 on the clock and marched 92 yards down the field in under three minutes. They then scored the winning touchdown on a Joe Montana pass to John Taylor with just 34 seconds left in the game. To calm his teammates in the huddle just before the final game-winning drive, Montana, who hyper-ventilated during the drive, pointed into the stadium crowd and said "Hey, isn't that John Candy?" (it was). This was the final NFL game coached by the 49ers' Bill Walsh who retired after the game. This was also the final Super Bowl that Pete Rozelle presided over as NFL Commissioner.
1992 - Paul Simon becomes the first international star to perform in South Africa following the end of the UN cultural boycott. He began a concert tour in Johannesburg.
1992 - US female Figure Skating championship won by Kristi Yamaguchi
1998 - NFC Championship Green Bay Packers beat San Francisco 49ers 23-10
1998 - AFC Championship Denver Broncos beat Pitt Steelers 24-21
1998 - US female Figure Skating championship won by Michelle Kwan
1998 - US male Figure Skating championship won by Todd Eldredge
1998 - Theodore Kaczynski pleaded guilty in Sacramento, Calif., to being the Unabomber in return for a sentence of life in prison without parole.
1999 - NASA declared 1998 the warmest year on record. Global surface temperatures increased by 0.34 of a degree Fahrenheit. The average temperature of 58.496 degrees Fahrenheit eclipsed the previous record set in 1995. The 1998 warmth was associated partly with a strong El Niño, a periodic warming of the Pacific Ocean.
1999 - At the American Music Awards, Billy Joel is given the Special Award of Merit for his "inspired songwriting skills" and "exciting showmanship." Also at the show, Blondie (with four of the original members: Debbie Harry, Chris Stein, Jimmy Destri, and Clem Burke) perform on stage with rapper Coolio singing the band's "No Exit."
2002 – K-Mart becomes the largest retailer in United States history to file for Chapter XI.
2003 - The United Nations reported that there is no link between al Queda and Iraq.
2003 – Twins free agent David Ortiz signed with the Boston Red Sox, where he will start a successful and productive career, winning two World Series, hitting 541 home runs, and holding many Red Sox and designated hitter records.
2008 - Jose Padilla, once accused of plotting with al-Qaida to blow up a radioactive "dirty bomb," was sentenced by a U.S. federal judge in Miami to more than 17 years in prison on terrorism conspiracy charges.
2009 - President Barack Obama ordered the terrorist detention center at Guantanamo Bay closed within a year and banned harsh interrogation of terror suspects. (The prison remains open).
2010 - Conan O'Brien ended his brief tenure as host of "The Tonight Show" after accepting a $45 million buyout from NBC to leave the show after only seven months.
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