Sunday, February 25, 2007

Things I Have Learned Writing This Brief

This is my new rule of thumb when it comes to cross-complaints filed after the answer: if you are late in filing your cross-complaint and need to seek leave of the court to file it, for frak's sake, do everything you can to characterize it as a compulsory and not permissive.

Yes, this is wonky type thing to say. No, do not take this as actual, legal advise because unless you are one of a very small number of people who are actually my clients. I do not know if this advise is even applicable to you and your situation. It is merely for information only as I sit here, pulling my hair out while I try and stitch together an appeal for he who is my, as Rumpole would say, learned leader.

Friday, February 23, 2007

My Wife Puts Up With A Lot

Really she does.

For example, today I started working on this appellate brief (not the one previously mentioned, I am still waiting on the opening brief). I took this job from another solo who needed help and he has liked my work so far. So now I get to opening brief on a case dealing with res judicata and cross-complaints, but to me its the Bug Man Case.

As I am working on the Bug Man Case brief, I get a message that someone needs representation at trial on Monday from the local pro bono group. And this case is really quirky and interesting. Plus, it has the added benefit that the other side is saying that there are to be no deals. Either he is out by trial date or they will go to verdict on it.

I sooooo want to take this case. It looks like fun. But I have to finish the brief. And my wife gets to watch me do this, laughing because I probably look like I did when I was back in elementary school and I had to do my homework instead of something more fun... like playing D&D or something.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Mr. Sabean....

Did you have to do this the loyal Giants fans? Could you not help yourself? Did Mr. Sabean insist on bring back the horrible, awful, unreliable, ill-tempered Armando Benitez?

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Benitze threw for the first time in 172 days. Did you have to let the counter stop there? It would have been better had you simply ate the contract and spared the fans another season of watching this s0-called pitcher blow save opportunity after opportunity. Of watching him throw pitches that even I, who never made it past little league in organized baseball, would have a chance of hitting?

And In My Continuing Weakness for Dancing With The Stars...

The following was sent to me by my wife (apologies for not citing the original author). Your 2007 spring group is:

Laila Ali

Daughter of the legendary boxer Muhammad Ali, Laila Ali jumped into the women's boxing ring in 1999. After a string of high-profile wins, the 29-year-old retired from boxing earlier this year.
Billy Ray Cyrus
Country music star Billy Ray Cyrus is probably best known for his 1992 hit, "Achy Breaky Heart." He's made the transition from music to television and currently stars in the Disney Channel's "Hannah Montana" with his daughter, Miley.
Heather Mills
A former model, Heather Mills now campaigns for a variety of causes: She is currently a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations. Mills also recently separated from singer and songwriter Paul McCartney.
Clyde Drexler
Former NBA player Clyde Drexler ruled the court as a shooting guard for the Houston Rockets. A member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, Drexler won an Olympic gold medal in 1992 and an NBA championship in 1995.
Joey Fatone
As a member of one of the original boy bands, 'N Sync, Joey Fatone wowed millions of fans around the world with his voice and signature dance moves. Since the breakup of 'N Sync, Fatone has pursued an acting career, making an appearance in 2002's "My Big Fat Greek Wedding."
Shandi Finnessey
Shandi Finnessey achieved the beauty queen's dream when she won the Miss USA pageant in 2004. After her reign ended, she became a TV hostess for the Game Show Network.
Leeza Gibbons
From 1994 to 1999, Leeza Gibbons and her talk show, "Leeza," were a fixture of daytime television. She has also made appearances on "Entertainment Tonight," "Extra" and "The Simple Life."
Paulina Porizkova
Czech-born Paulina Porizkova rose to supermodel status in the 1980s, appearing on the cover of the Sport's Illustrated swimsuit issue in 1984 and '85. She later posed for Playboy magazine.
Ian Ziering
"Beverly Hills 90210" fans will remember Ian Ziering as the affable Steve Sanders, the TV character Ziering played from 1990 to 2000. Since the end of the show, Ziering has acted in a variety of television and film roles.

Vincent Pastore
Bronx-born Vincent Pastore is probably best known for his role as Salvatore "Big Pussy" Bonpensiero on "The Sopranos." He also hosts a show on Sirius satellite radio.
Apolo Anton Ohno
Apollo Anton Ohno's career will no doubt help him on the "Dancing With the Stars" stage. As a speed skater, Ohno has won five Olympic medals, making him a master at footwork.

Now Isn't This Just Wrong

I am in the process of arguing with a client to prevent him from paying me. In order for him to pay me, this client wants to take out a loan from a bank, or even worse, a cash advance on a credit card that still has something on its limit, while the client is working unpaid while they go through a training period at a new job.

I mean, I want to get paid, but on the other hand, for the amount that this bill is, I can wait the additional 2 - 4 weeks until this client can pay.

Is this screwed up or what?

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

If Anna Nicole Smith's Death Teaches Us One Thing...

It's that you need to update your estate planning every so often. Her entire estate was left to her son. Unfortunately, he is dead. That means the estate, absent the discovery of some other estate planning documents, will pass through intestacy. As if the Smith estate (meaning her infant daughter) was not enough of mess, what with the pending court case for her dead husband, fight over the daughter's guardianship and paternity, now there will be intestacy to deal with.

So when you are thinking about where you want your millions to go, and you do not want the government to get the lion-share, go talk to an attorney about what is the best option for you. Otherwise, you abdicate all control.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Non-Stories of the Week

Pelosi Airplane Flap - Everyone agrees, she did not ask for it. Personally, I think that they should all have to fly commercial like the rest of us unless they purchase/lease their own aircraft. No offense to my Representative in Congress, but I think if she was smart, she would never use a government aircraft unless it was a true emergency.

NASA Astronaut's Kidnapping Plot and Diaper Usage
- Why does every mainstream "news" organization think I need to know about some love triangle?

Anna Nicole Smith - Someone tried telling me she was a cultural icon. If this what passes for a cultural icon these days, its time to retire the concept.

What I would like to know about is what the hell we are doing to deal with some of the actual problems going on out there.

Can I Help?

Apparently there was a campus rally over at San Francisco State University recently. At the rally, a flag was stomped on. Someone complained. Now the people who were responsible are being brought up before a school disciplinary committee on charges that they attempted to incite violence and create a hostile environment as well as committing acts of incivility. In addition to this, the student government at SFSU has passed a resolution condemning this action. If these guys get more than just a tongue lashing about how they should play nice with others, and they end up a needing a lawyer, I'd like to offer my services.

Now, flags have been getting stomped and burned in this country and others for a long time. It's a protected form of free speech. For the university to punish students for this, I can't think of anything else to say other than its just wrong and they should know better.

The fact that it was a Hamas flag, being stomped on by SFSU College Republicans, instead of an American flag being stomped on by [insert your anti-US group].

Ugh, who thought I would take the side of FIRE and the Republicans.

But seriously, I would love to help defend this kind of action.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Gotta Hand It To Those UNIFIL Troops

I mean, set up, make them a "robust" force and place a French general in command you get...

The story here. It's nice to see the UN confirming the Israeli version of events. But wasn't the point of UNIFIL to prevent further attacks and threats from Lebanon?

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

I Was Not Angry Since I Came To France, Until This Instant!

I was not angry since I came to France
Until this instant. Take a trumpet, herald;
Ride thou unto the horsemen on yon hill:
If they will fight with us, bid them come down,
Or void the field; they do offend our sight:
If they'll do neither, we will come to them,
And make them skirr away, as swift as stones
Enforced from the old Assyrian slings:
Besides, we'll cut the throats of those we have,
And not a man of them that we shall take
Shall taste our mercy. Go and tell them so.

So said Henry V on the field of Agincourt, or so sayeth the Bard. And right now, I feel like Harry did at that moment.

I got home tonight to find an email waiting for me from a former client, charging me with, among other things, lying to him and "con"ing him into doing things. I was prepared to simply let him go his way after receiving my final payment from him. Now I find myself hoping that he does not simply so that I can file suit against him.

I know its wrong to wish. My brain tells me that it is wrong to do. And it's a good thing that we do not live in the 19th Century in a state where duelling was legal.

I do not have a lot of clients. I have a new practice that is still struggling. But I still treat all my clients with as much respect and honesty as any other lawyer I know and more than some. I do my work on their behalf to the best of my abilities. I understand that sometimes they will not be happy with my results. I accept that there will be times when they criticize the results I obtain with the instructions they give me which limit my ability to fully represent them.

What I cannot reconcile is being called a liar and a con artist. I am, as my wife will attest, difficult to deal with. I have a slight problem with people in authority in places of employment. The one thing I have never been accused of, with any foundation, is dishonesty to a client.

I doubt that the client reads this blog. This person knows who they are. I hope they realize in the most painful possible way I can think of (which would in this case would involve them being sanctioned by the court for their decisions)(alright, I can think of other ways, but should they happen the police would look to me... and quite frankly my karma is probably already in enough trouble) that the accusations they made the wrong mistake.

Good thing I believe in Baseball and Justice. As Ace Hunter once wisely said, "It's all on the wheel, it all comes around." Bonus if you can name the movie.

Monday, February 05, 2007


So apparently the Stella awards have come out again. And unlike previous so-called "Stella Award" winners (like the woman who allegedly won money for being injured while trying to break into a bar), this site claims that they are all real.

Number 5 on their list is Mary Meckler's suit against Westfield, which owns a number of malls in the U.S. including one in Skokie where Ms Meckler was shopping in 2004. While walking through the courtyard area in the mall, she was attacked by a squirrel which caused her to eventually fall and hurt herself. According to at least one blogger, this is an open air mall complete with landscaping. The Stella awards like to mock this and say that she should have known that squirrels live outside. However, the owner of the property also had a duty to try and ensure that the animals were not encouraged to approach and agitate for food, as it appears they have failed to do, since employees at the mall apparently fed the squirrels. At first it sounds a little weird, but when you look at something like this from a legal point of view, this is not a case of some personal injury lawyer trying to make a grab at extra money. Land owners have always been held to a high standard of care, especially businesses to people who come in for shopping and etc. The landowner created the problem, the landowner should be held responsible for the injuries.

Number 4 on the list is the case of Ron and Kristie Simmons v. MTD Products Corp. This case, involving the death of a 4 year old when he was run over by a lawn tractor in reverse, resulted in a $ 2 million verdict for the family of the dead son. Interestingly enough, this case comes out of Virginia. Virginia, the last time I checked still had contributory negligence on the books (and apparently still is). What this means is, if you are even 1% at fault for the accident, then you do not get to collect any damages even though the other side was 99% responsible for the injuries. In this case, a lawn tractor manufactured by MTD was going up an incline, when it suddenly started to roll backwards. The engine apparently turned off, at which point the driver tried to restart it, only then noticing that the boy was underneath the tractor.

Tragic yes. The people over at the Stella awards would have you believe that it should end there, or at worst the blame should only be on the driver of the lawn mower. However, the MTD tractor is designed to not have the blades operate while in reverse. However, this turn off does not stop the blades when the lawn mower merely rolls, unpropelled by the driver's instructions, in reverse (see the bottom of the article). Since MTD had taken the time to prevent the blades from running in when the machine goes in reverse, why should we not expect them to make the machine safe itself when it going in reverse during a mishap? That's right, apparently the Stella awards people think you should be immunized for getting it half right.

Number 3 on the list is actually my favorite. Robert Clymer is an FBI Agent straight out of central casting apparently. He heads up big investigations and then goes home and drinks. Or rather, starts drinking on his way home.

Yes, it is true. Special Agent Clymer was driving drunk on the night in question. He did pop the curb. However, from the accounts I have read so far available on the web, he did not hit anything. He did not run his car into anyone. And yet, his car started to fill with smoke, requiring him to be taken to the ER and the Las Vegas Fire Department to respond to the smoking engine.

Apparently, according to the Stella people, the fact that he was drunk driving should absolve Chevrolet of all responsibility for the car. However, what if Special Agent Clymer had not been drinking and instead sitting in an idling car while waiting for his kids/on a stakeout/at a stop light/ stuck in a traffic jam and the engine started smoking like that and catching fire, just like it did the night he rolled up on a curb and let the engine idle while he passed out? Special Agent Clymer is apparently already facing the results of his drunk driving. Why should Chevrolet, part of GM, which recently was trumpeting their commitment to quality, not be called to account for why one of its engines suddenly caught on fire from merely idling?

Number 2 on their list is's suit against Google. Now on the surface, this seems like a frivolous law suit. However, when you consider how much we rely on for searching, some questions need to be raised. In this case,, which deals with parenting issues for parents, believes that Google has been unfair with them, especially in its search rankings because they allege that they are a competitor with Google. There's some interesting analysis about this over Technology and Marketing Law and 43(b). He finds that some of the causes of action should be dismissed, but that others have some validity. The author comes down on the side of saying this is a case that should not go forward more on the grounds that it brings in a notion of regulation into the search engine business. To an extent I agree with that, but Google admittedly does manually tinker with its search results. Therefore, there needs to be some accountability to show that there is a valid business reason for this and to let consumers know about this. Otherwise, they will simply trust whatever Google serves up in the first ten hits believing those to be the most valid, instead of understanding that there are other forces at play. If there is indeed an alleged blacklist, then Google has done wrong.

And their number 1 case of the year was Allen Ray Heckard. This was the man who has very few of the same dimensions as Michael Jordan, but insists that people mistake him for Jordan all the time. All I can say about this is, this is what happens when you try to act as your own attorney, you get a fool for a client. But then again, I would still rather live in a country where fools are allowed to file suits unimpeded by the judgment of those who have self-appointed themselves to be their betters. The point of a justice system is to make the community feel as those everyone has equal access to it, not just the ones who are deemed deserving by some subjective standard.

Friday, February 02, 2007

So I am thinking I need a change

I have been doing this civil thing for about four years now. Sometimes its been fun. Sometimes it has been dreadfully dull (especially when I worked for the darkside). However, I miss doing criminal work, which was what I went through law school intending to do.

However, after four years, I realize I am not qualified to do much more than make certain appearances in court on criminal matters. Now how do I go about getting back into doing criminal work again? Was much easier when I was still in law school and had the contacts.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Odd, Very Odd

So as a bit of a joke, I through up a couple of quick posts in response to Stephen Colbert's new internet site, I even thought up a semi-fake, almost completely fabricated, blurp bit about some people grousing on a Comedy Central (which actually did happen). And someone thought that combined, it was worthy of making this site one of the eight best links with regards to IntegrityJustice?

Ok. That is just... odd.

And on the other hand, IntegrityJustice is still just an empty shell. How much would it take for a staffer to just throw up a link to a youtube download of a Colbert Report to just have as filler till they actually figure out what to do? Hell, they could have put this up.