Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Surrender Along The Volga

So we kicked ass at the last hearing. We had the experts lined up to show that the other side had manufactured the whole dispute.

And our clients went and caved. Full. Total. Surrender. Over our strenuous objections.

It's going to be called a deal. The only one getting a deal is the other side. And the worst part of it, there is almost a guaranteed second fight in the future. One in which my client has already shot himself in the foot by making this deal!!!!!!

My co-counsel and I are choking back the vomit every time we have to talk to the other side while we finalize terms of our client's surrender.

All I can say is at least I'm getting paid off of this one.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Don't You Just Love Dog and Pony Shows?

Apparently Chris Daly does.

Supervisor Chris Daly, rather than admitting that he is in the wrong, has decided to put on a little dog and pony show for the benefit of the San Francisco Chronicle. Apparently over the weekend, he invited over a reporter from the Chronicle to show that he lives still in the city. As proof, he put out a plate of brownies, introduced the reporter to his brother-in-law, his brother-in-law's girlfriend, and a tenant that he rents a room to in the condo that he allegedly calls his home. For further proof, he showed the utility bills that all go to his San Francisco address as well as his transit pass.

As one of my readers pointed out, Daly is lying to someone. Either its the citizens of San Francisco, by not meeting the residency requirements, or on the mortgage papers, if he claims that he has bought the family home to reside in. Or, thirdly, that he is committed to his family.

But at the bottom of it, this shows Daly to be a fraud. If he believed what he said, he would not be fleeing the city. He would be living here.

All I can say is thank G-d he is being termed out. Let's get someone who believes in making San Francisco a place to live, rather than commute to. However, with my luck, he'll get appointed as a judge here in San Francisco.

Great Commissioner Ya Got There In The NFL

Almost as good as ole Bud Selig. At least Selig hasn't caved and reinstated Pete Rose.

Apparently Roger Goodell reinstated Michael Vick today. Michael Vick, as you may remember, was once a respected member of the community and the NFL. Then we all discovered that he was really the master of a dog fighting ring that he helped operate out of his home.

So the NFL suspended him indefinitely. At the time, Commissioner Goodell stated that before Vick could be reinstated, he would have to show remorse for his actions. Somehow, Vick has shown remorse. I guess all it takes these days is a few press conferences and amending your pleading which you submitted to the U.S. Bankruptcy Court.

As for actual demonstration that he is a changed person after his imprisonment, there is very little to commend him. Apparently he has done some volunteer work with the Boys and Girls Club in the Hamptorn Roads, Virginia area. There has been some talk that he may do something for Humane Society. But apparently, that's all he's been able to do in the two plus months since he was released from prison.

Yet, today, Commissioner Goodell ended Vick's suspension.

Let's be clear about something here: Vick engaged in cruelty and torture for sport. Some have suggested that what he did is no worse than boxing promoters. I take issue with that since the two are apples and organes. In one case, the victim has no choice. In the other, the participant chooses to be part of something. Vick's participation in a dogfighting ring demonstrated that his moral character is something less than the people who profitted by writing loans they knew were bad during the housing boom and something slightly better than a traitor or mutineer.

Good job Commissioner Goodell for taking a principled stand and letting back in someone as deserving, as remorseful, as Michale Vick. Congratulations on taking the easy way out and giving someone as repugnant as Mr. Vick the chance to earn at least $745,000.00 and the chance to show kids that all is forgiven for engaging in such cruel acts.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Quote of the Day

"Why shouldn't he? I mean, there's a lot more guys around the league that have done far more worst things than that and gotten second chances,...[he] is a guy that really hasn't any character issues besides what he got a prison sentence for, so why not?"
-- Buffalo Bills Wide Receiver (and all-pro douchebag) Terrell Owens talking about Michael Vick and his suspension by the NFL.

Come to think of it, I'm wondering why those guys who have done far worse things have gotten second chances to make millions of dollars for playing a game instead of doing real work. If only a Judge Kennesaw Mountain Landis existed. But alas, we're left with Roger Goodell, Bud Selig, and David Stern.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

What the hell were the organizers of the Jewish Film Festival thinking?

Was it really a good idea to put in a movie celebrating Rachel Corrie as a martyr of the terrorist movement? Let's be clear: this woman was defending terrorists. She intentionally ran and got in front of a moving bulldozer which she knew had a limited field of view due to it being a combat bulldozer with an armored driver's cab. She died.

And in the process became another poster-child for the terrorists to use as part of their propaganda attack against Israel. Her parents have been willing participants in this, allowing their grief to file meritless actions in federal court over this case. Apparently their work in publicizing the terrorist side of the arguement has found such favor that when the Corrie's were targeted for kidnapping by Arab militants in the West Bank, the plan was scotched because of who they were and, presumbaly, what they had been doing to help the terrorist movement.

The SF Jewish Film Festival argued that this was a movie worth being shown because the film shows "new information about the incident which we believe makes for very worthwhile viewing, from both a journalistic and an aesthetic perspective."

Let's be clear about something. Under the best version of events, Corrie is responsible for why she died. Even Corrie's ISM cohorts, in their statements, say that she got in front of a moving bulldozer. That she climbed up on the earth pile as the bulldozer was pushing it forward and then got caught up in the pile of earth and against the blade, which they say caused her death.

Of course, I doubt any of those ISM boobs have ever driven a bulldozer. It's not like a car. It does not stop on a dime. And the fact that she ran forward onto the pile as it was being moved, under their version of events, shows that this was an irresponsible, reckless woman who unfortunatley died.

Personally, I feel sorry for the driver of the D9R. He never meant to kill her. But he gets to live with it. Corrie's parents, the ISM, and the terrorists, however, have use her as a martyr for their cause. To paint Israel as some evil entity who crushes people with bulldozers.

Thanks San Francisco Jewish Film Festival for helping to publicize her plight. Maybe next year you can add Jud Suss to the rotation and have John Ubele come and give a talk about.

Friday, July 24, 2009

More on the Hypocrite... errr I mean Supervisor Daly

So not content to just say, "Yah, I'm a do as I say not as I do" type of guy, Chris Daly has decided to open his mouth and insert his foot.

Apparently, first reports from the other day was that he had only bought one house. Oops, he and his wife have bought two. They are living in one and renting out the other. That also leaves them with the condo they have in San Francisco.

As for whether he is betraying his constituency by fleeing to the suburbs, as well as making a mockery of all the "principled" stances that our enfant terrible of the Board of Supervisors has taken during his time in office, Supervisor Daly has instead stated, "I understand this doesn't exactly fit the messaging in terms of my political agenda, but I also don't think contradictory, it's really a tangent - I think the story has been hyped[.]"

Really? Is that what it is?

Let's see. One of the few things I admire about Supervisor Daly is his commitment to rent control. I sometimes think he goes to far, but the alternative is worse. However, its interesting to note that his rental property is in a non-rent control jurisdiction.

But of course, I bet that had nothing to do with his decision to buy income property in that location. After all, its all about his kids.

Not yours.

Of course, even though it was for his kids, he insists that it was not because of the school situation.

Supervisor Daly, tell the truth. I think I see your pants smoking.

Fair Use Under Attack Again By The AP -- Or A Greedy Basterd's Lawyers Are Never Unemployed

So the Associated Press is at is again. Perhaps you may remember that last year, the AP wanted to start charging people for quotes of any length from their articles.

Apparently, not content to erode away at the Fair Use doctrine that way, the AP has announced that they will now be adding software to their online offerings to see how they are used. The monitoring software will not only, apparently, be watching to see how the contents and title of the story will be used, but also the link to the articles themselves. The AP is claiming that in order to link to the article, a licensing agreement is required.

Now this is not just going to affect use by bloggers. They are taking the position that search engines will be required to agree to a licensing agreement as well.

Isn't that nice.

I hate IP law as it has been perverted. This idea that any use, even minimal (forget "fair use"), requires them to get paid is wrong. It erodes at the public domain more than was ever intended.

How nice for this organization to do this, especially given how they started out.

As Mrs. Angrybell says "Stay Consistent In Your Lie"

Apparently, there are some particularly stupid lawyers in the world. Alas, today there is one less among that crowd.

The California Supreme Court recently voted to disbar an attorney. His sin? While serving on a jury in a medical malpractice case, Francis Fahy, a solo practitioner, changed his vote. Now, jurors are allowed to do that when they do it based on the evidence.

Mr. Fahy, apparently, did not. He did it so he could get back to his practice after a month long trial and ten days of deliberation.

That's bad.

Then when the judge in the case polled him about why he had changed his verdict, he lied to the judge, saying that he had changed his vote based on the evidence, not because he wanted to get back to his practice.

Even worse.

But then, after he had already dug himself halfway to China, apparently Mr. Fahy developed what I would have to guess is a bit of remorse for what he had done. So what did he do? He signed a sworn declaration as to why he changed his vote to support the losing party's motion for a new trial.

From even worse to stupidity.

Here's the opinion that came from the lower State Bar proceedings that lead to the California Supreme's voting 6-0 for disbarment.

As Mrs. Angrybell said, "Stay consistent in your lies at least!"

So what has Mr. Fahy done about this? He filed a civil rights lawsuit against the State Bar and California Supreme Court for violating his civil rights. Of course, with his history, including being previously suspended for missapropriating client funds, I'm not sure he's going to get much traction with it.

We have very few requirements in this country. We don't have the draft anymore. So when you get called for jury duty, just do it and be thankful we have juries. Don't screw someone over because it inconveniences your schedule.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Chris Daly - Hypocrite

I like how Chris Daly, a supervisor in my fair city, who seems more than willing to go to the extremes for his supposed "ideals" has decided that they really do not apply when it comes to his family. Apparently, he has moved his wife and two children into a home which he and his wife purchased in Fairfield, California. Apparently, he did this in April.

So apparently, Supervisor Daly has joined the party of "Do as I say, not as I do". I'm just curious as to how long its going to be before there is an investigation into whether Daly meets the residency requirement. It seems clear to me that if your family (i.e. wife and kids) live in another town, then how can you argue that you truly live in San Francisco unless you have actually separated from them? A quick check of the San Francisco Superior Court's online records do not indicate that any divorce proceedings have been initiated. So....

Shall I mention Ed Jew?

Oh wait, that's right, he's the person with power. And person in power supported by the "right" people who fights against the "bad" people.

And according to Supervisor Daly, this isn't an indictment of the city's schools, of the livability for families, or anything else. Its a matter of what's best for the kids and having multigenerational support.

Of course, to me it looks clear that he has fled the city and is just commuting to work. Personally, I don't think commuters should be city supervisors of cities they don't actually live in anymore.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shoot-Out On the Volga

Yeah, maybe I'm beating a dead horse with the titles, but I don't care.

Yesterday was the first (or depending how you view it, the third day) of the trial in my Stalingrad case. The judge decided he was going to really reign us lawyers in and really get this thing done in an afternoon. All the expert testimony was going to be done in record time. The cross examinations would be crisp, clean and to the point. The rest of the evidence would come in on declarations as much as possible.

If you are saying "Huh?" at this point, you are not alone. Essentially what should have been a short, little matter taken care of in 20 minutes decided back a few months ago, has now blossomed into a full bench trial. By refusing to make decisions earlier in this matter, this judge has effectively lost control over how long this is going to take.

So after the judge made these pronouncements in chambers, he let the other side put on their case (which is correct since they are the ones who initiated the matter). This started with a non-expert witness (despite what the judge had instructed us to do, mind you). All this person could testify about was that they had received certain documents. They could not verify where they came from, just that they had come to this witness. Basically, a waste of everyone's time since we had offered to stipulate that the witness had received them if they would stipulate that the witness could not say where they actually originated from or who had authored the documents.

The only good thing that came out of this witness' testimony was when I lead her into talking about another document. For technical reasons, it was very important that the witness authenticate the document. The witness did. The only problem is, no one except my expert and I understand just what this witness testified to the time. Everyone else in the courtroom was scratching their heads. The judge looked like I'd just handed him the tower chiefs' log books from Gitmo and Andrews Air Force Base.

Next up was the first part of the main event: the other side's expert. The experts were ordered by the court to deal with a series of emails. They say we sent them and should be bound by them. We maintain that we did not send most of them, and certainly none of the ones which should bind my client.

They did their direct of the expert (whom I'll Prof. A). Prof A has a long history of computer security work, publishing, and giving talks in addition to testifying. All credentials are super, but I'm getting the feeling he is transitioning more into being a professional expert. And why not, the pay is much better.

But there was a problem with his work on this case. He had gotten sloppy. After testifying as to the standards of how it should be done, Prof A then testified that he did not do that. And I got to have fun with that (and had to resist going into Vincent LaGuardia Gambini mode, finger and all). One of the big discrepencies has to do with telephone calls. One service provider has records of calls being received from a certain number. Another service provider, the one who provides the number to my client, has no record of those calls going out. When I asked Prof A about this, he said that it just meant that the service provider was sloppy in its billing.

Sloppy in its billing? 37 times? This was followed up by another fine nuggest that Prof A said in response to whether the discrepancy was due to someone using a spoofing program for VoIP calling. His response was that it was highly unlikely. And yet, it was more likely that a service provider, on a set minute plan, would miss all those minutes of talk time to a number on a another service provider's plan (and no, there was no Fave 5 or Circle of Friends garbage in either person's phone plan).

Basically, by the end of their expert's testimony the only thing which was reasonably certain was that emails were received. Calls were received. But the origins of both could not be truly ascertained from the information which he examined.

From our perspective, nothing could be better. Our whole position has been: we never sent them and never made the phone calls which the other side says proves that we should be responsible for what came later. If the calls and the emails are not authentic, then my client cannot be held responsible for what happened next.

And this is before we get into our defense.

So all in all, really good day. So what does my client want to do? Does the client want to hammer home and go for the win?

Yeah, if only that were what my client now wants. Essentially, and without going into details, my client wants to surrender.

In the meantime, we get to prepare for the next day of trial: about 2 months from now. Oy gevalt.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

What I have learned amid the ruins...

A lot of what is going in the case I am going to try tomorrow deals with computer records, emails, and telephone calls. Before I started this, I had a vague understanding that none of the above were that secure.

After wading through the stuff in this case, I now wonder why I even bother having a password for any of my email accounts. Or how anyone can ever believe a phone bill. Basically, with the right information, and a little time to work, a knowledgeable person can alter the heading information on email (sort of a "you could be Markinson" thing). Which my expert did. He has me emailing President Obama telling him that I stole a cheeseburger from him sometime prior to the election. And it works.

As far as standards of examination goes, it looks like there are almost none. Meaning, you could have two experts talking about emails, their origins, and how they migrated, and get two completely different results. And both experts, with straight faces, would be able to say that they were using practices that are generally accepted. Even the expert in the case for the other side, who was referred to by my expert as the "kind that geeks like me put up on their wall", is on record saying that the current methodology needs improvement because it just not accurate enough.

Great. So if I tear him apart on that, then my guy is just as much screwed. Lovely.

Then, the deeper I look into this, the more absurd this whole thing becomes. Let's step back for a second. One of the things that is very important when it comes to documents in the legal setting is their authenticity. In the bad old days, you had to produce the original. Copies were verboten. But as copying technology got, the more you could use copies, so long as the original was still in your possession.

Now, along comes the personal computer explosion in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Suddenly there is something new out there: digital documents and digitally stored originals. How do you verify the authenticity of this then? There's no hard copy, and each time you open the document, you subtly change it.

Well, flash forward to today. Its 2009 here in California and we just, finally got around to defining how opposing parties can get access to electronic data. Prior to this, there simply were no standards. Of course, now there is going to be a flood of litigation to establish the meaning behind the black letter law (not a bad thing, but still will be annoying for a while).

So here we are today and back to the problem in hand. With correspondence in a format that is inherently lacking in real security. And we have to establish which documents are authentic, and which are frauds. Can anyone say problem?

Oh yeah, this is going to be a joy tomorrow. Two experts. Completely opposing positions. And did I mention the judge thing? Oh yay.

Другой симпатичный день в Сталинград!/Ein anderer reizender Tag in Stalingrad! (Excuse the translation.. it might be off.. apologies if its terribly rude.)

Sort of my state of mind as I prepare for another round on the Volga

Pre-Dawn On The Volga

If you've been following my missives, you know that I have become involved in a Stalingrad-type case. The other side has puffed and huffed... and quite frankly have been endlessly amusing to me (it's sad when people with bar numbers haven't the brains to open up a Rutter Guide).

However, at the same time, I know that at the end of the day they will most likely win. And that just rubs me wrong. The reason they are going to win is not so much that they are right. It's just that the standard of proof for this particular type of action is so unbelievably low, that it's virtually impossible for them to lose.

And that's even with the documents showing that there is some seriously wrong in the state of Denmark (yes, its 5 am and I am mixing my metaphors). For example, I am looking at their evidence. It basically proves what we've been saying all along (i.e. that someone else is really the culprit). What's even better, the evidence was not even generated by my side, their side, our experts or their experts. Its information that is coming from 2 third-party sources who have no reason falsify the information (they would actually be losing money if they did).

Yet, despite this, and a host of other reasons, I am not very sanguine about our chances at trial later this week.

Damn it, I hate being Von Paulus in this situation.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Yes, I was there ....

First time in more than 30 years. Perhaps the most unlikely time for it to happen. Something I swear I thought I would never see a Giants' pitcher: throw a no-hitter.

And that's exactly what Jonothan Sanchez did last night. The fact that it was not a perfect game was not his fault. After weeks of mounting criticism, and being pulled out of the rotation, he went out and threw a beautiful game. It was amazing.

And I got to see it with Mrs. Angrybell. I'm still buzzing about it.


Thursday, July 09, 2009

More Thoughts on The Volga Front

So as I mentioned in my last post, I'm stuck in Stalingrad-type case. Mrs. Angrybell, while she was feeding AngryBabybell was looking at one of the motions they filed for attorneys fees. This was her comment:

For the amount of money their spending on this case, they could have just put a hit out on your client and saved some money. The economy the way it is, I'm sure they could have found someone to do it for less.
In other news, we had another hearing in this case today. The other side lost this rather minor hearing. But on the up side... it made them cry. Really. The opposing counsel was waiting for the elevator trying to hide the fact she was crying.

Yes, I know it makes me sound like I'm awful, but I loved seeing my opposing counsel with tears leaking out of her eyes as she stomped off. Mrs Angrybell, however, was just disgusted by it all. Not by me, but at the female opposing counsel for making women attorneys look bad.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Its Such A Nice View of the Volga Tonight

So I have come to a realization tonight about the case I am working on. I'm in a Stalingrad case. Every single thing is being contested. Everything. Simple requests for production have turned into protracted discovery disputes. At this point, I'm pretty sure that if I asked for judicial notice that the sun rises in the east, opposing counsel would put up an expert to say that the sun in fact rises in the south-west.

The parties are pouring money into this like its capital case where the loser gets the death penalty. The realty is far more different. It's become grudge match between these two parties. And what's worse, I get the sinking feeling that the opposing counsel is losing perspective and effectively "going native" on this one.

Alright, now I just need to figure out if I'm with Von Paulus or Zukhov.

Monday, July 06, 2009

This is the letter I wanted to send

A little background about this one is needed in order to understand what's going on here. This case is an object lesson of what can happen to you when you fail to note the warning signs that your boyfriend or girlfriend is not really the one you want to stay with (though it was been suggested that it is also a cautionary tale about internet dating that starts in the naughtier areas of Craigslist).

What should have been a little case of one side or the other acknowledging their mutual stupidity has become a full blown debacle in the courts, complete with its very own Judge Ito character. What the actual dispute is about, at this point, is irrelevant for what this has become.

As part of this, there has been, as in every litigation case, discovery. Lawyer D, for the other side, sent over some discovery requests. Lawyer D practices in an area of law where there is not much formal discovery. Parties tend to have to turn over stuff by law, unlike most other areas of law. Now, I've been doing civil litigation for a little while. I've seen some truly bad discovery (hell I can remember one case early one where I was spanked for some of the discovery I propounded).

But this discovery... this was truly awful. Like incomplete questions that just sort of trailed.... off. Making it very had to answer. But we did (my client and I). And just as we were about to serve the answers, we got a letter form the other side, saying that we were late and making all the usual threats.

Let me make one thing clear: we were not late. Not even close. So, with that explanation, here is the letter I wanted to send:

Nudnick, Schlemiel, and Schlemozel
Somewhere in California
California Zip

Dear Lawyer D:

I have received your letter earlier today wherein you stated that we have failed to respond to your discovery within the limits of the Code of Civil Procedure. Let me take this opportunity to meet and confer with you about this issue.

First, it is clearly apparent from your letter that you have never read any of the Code of Civil Procedure, much less the applicable portions you cite in your letter. If in fact you had, you would have noted that my client has 30 days to respond to your requests. Simply because you want the answers sooner does not mean that you are going to get them sooner.

Second, did you actually go to law school? And if so, did you actually graduate? If you had, you would have learned that just because you practice [specific type of law] does not mean that those rules apply to this area. This case is a [insert specific type of law] action. The rules you cite do not mean a fracking thing here. If you do not believe me, I will be more than happy to lend you a copy of the civil procedure. In fact, as you may have noticed, I have already photocopied and attached the relevant portions to this letter.

Third, if you are going to plagiarise my earlier meet and confer letters, you should at least take the time to understand the law and statutes which I cited.

Now, as to your demand that I produce everything you desire within 2 hours by personal service, I have to ask the following: are you smoking crack? Nowhere in the code does it require me to do anything of the sort. Try bringing this up to the discovery judge in [X] county. I will enjoy the look that the discovery judge will give you before he awards me attorney's fees and sanctions.



Unfortunately, I took out alot of the fun stuff. Sigh. Discovery judges can be such a humourless lot.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Help Kung Fu Panda Out!

Pablo Sandoval has a shot at going to the All-Star game. Take a few moments and submt your votes for at's Final Vote. Tim and Matt need a friend at the All Star Game.