Quote of the Day - Some national parks have long waiting lists for camping reservations. When you have to wait a year to sleep next to a tree, something is wrong.
Great Park Board Goes To Europe To Evaluate Greater Parks
The Orange County Great Park has been the bane of North Orange County, and the darling of South Orange County. Kind of like the love that Northern California and Southern California have for one another. Me? I live in Orange County, right in the middle.
The Board of Directors of the Great Park recently went on a trip to Europe. They viewed parks, presumably to get an idea how to build the one that we have. The Orange County Blog apparently followed along, and took photos (click on the "More Photos" link in the sidebar of the last link).
Not everyone agreed with the trip, and a city council candidate was predictably critical of the trip, as were several others who commented on the Orange County Register's weblog (I couldn't find the comments to link).
No matter what your vote was on the Park, it's a fact, and you'll have to enjoy it, whether you wanted an airport or not. Even so, you can still have an effect and vote on the designer. Even if you didn't go to Europe.
Smile, Your Honor, You're On Candid Camera
What's wrong with television cameras in court? Justices Souter, O'Connor, Kennedy and Breyer don't think it's a good idea, and point to the Simpson trial as an example of why it's not. Well, they're not going to get off that easy, even though O.J. did. In an American Bar Association event yesterday, Justice Kennedy said, "A number of people would want to make us part of the national entertainment network." Some of the Justices are a bit more adamant about it than others. Justice David Souter told a congressional panel in 1996, "The day you see a camera come into our courtroom it's going to roll over my dead body."
Them's fightin' words.
At least to a journalist. (Did I tell you that I'm now a card-carrying member of the LA Press Club? They let me in based on my blog credentials.) But back to the story. What's the big deal? If the Justices were embarrassed by the O.J. trial, then the solution isn't about television, it's about the system that created the spectacle, and the fastest way to solve that problem would be to open the doors of of the courthouses. Open access would normalize the system and stop the grandstanding, if that's what strikes fear in the Justices.
Obvious situations where television isn't appropriate include juvenile and certain family law matters, and perhaps some criminal matters. On the other hand, we're an open society, and an open government. Former Canon 35 (now Ethical Consideration 5-1) of the American Bar Association used to recommend against cameras in the courtroom, thinking that the lawyer's duty to the client might conflict with the lawyer's desire to gain an inappropriate benefit from being on television at the expense of the client. With Court TV, we've now gotten beyond that issue.
Congress broadcasts on C-Span, and Senator Arlen Specter (R-PA) thinks it's time the Supreme Court started to fill a slot, building on Senator Grassley's (R- IA) fourth bill to get cameras into federal courtrooms. Frankly, I don't understand the problem. Think about it. We already have Judge Judy, Mills Lane and Judge Wapner. It can't get any worse than that. In fact, cameras in real courtrooms would be a welcome improvement over the present fare.
If their concern is a possible increase in the lack of civility in the courtroom, then I can't imagine a better enforcement tool. Lawyer disciplinary proceeding would have more instant replays than the NFL. "That's five yards for an intentional smirk at opposing counsel." We could develop a whole new set of penalties. The problem, though, is that I just can't get the image out of my head of yellow flags flying out from behind the judge's bench, hurling toward the lawyers. It would be a great way to rule on objections.
I've always thought judges should be wearing black-and-white-striped shirts instead of black robes anyway.
Coast To Coast Internet Radio Program On What's Next For Vioxx
Our very special guests in the discussion are nationally recognized Attorney Tom Girardi of the LA firm of Girardi-Keese, known for taking on goliaths in the past. Tom has extensive experience in trying pharmaceutical litigation cases. One of his best known cases was against Pacific Gas, who agreed pay $333 million to residents of the desert community of Hinkley, California. The residents blamed incidents of cancer and other diseases on contaminated water leaked from a gas pumping station. That case was the storyline for the movie ‘Erin Brockovich.’ Attorney Girardi was appointed by Judge Eldon Fallon the the Liaison Committee for the Multi-district Litigation committee in the Vioxx product litigation cases.
Our other guest is Attorney Dawn Barrios of the Louisiana firm of Barrios, Kingsdorf & Casteix. She represents approximately 2000 personal injury clients from more than 30 states. Both Tom and Dawn serve on the Liaison Committee for MDL-1657 for VIOXX product liability litigation.
Our third guest is New Jersey Law Journal reporter Lisa Brennan who covered the recent New Jersey Vioxx trial and has spoken to jurors and the lawyers on both sides since the verdict. Don't miss the opportunity to hear this discussion.
Tune in here, or click on the podcast icon below.
A Crack In BlackBerry's Case?
Don't get too attached to your BlackBerry. You may remember that the BlackBerry manufacturer, Research in Motion, lost a patent infringement trial three years ago to NTP out of Arlington, Virginia. In a big way - they suffered $520 million verdict, reportedly the largest patent infringement verdict on record. RIM has tried a number of dodges to that verdict, including proceedings in Canada and an appeal here.
Then they tried to settle the matter with NTP, and almost had a deal inked last March for $450 million. Almost. It fell apart, and now NTP wants to enforce its award.
SCOTUS reports that Justice Roberts denied RIM's appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, which could lead to banning sales of BlackBerry devices here in the US and stopping all emails to BlackBerrys.
As part of NTP's tactics, the company successfully forced a USPTO review of all eight of RIM's patents on the device, seven of which now stand invalidated. Federal Court Judge James R. Spencer in Richmond, where the proceedings now lie, says he's not going to delay any longer.
Podspider Grants MIPTC Its 5-Star Award
While I'm not quite sure what it means, Podspider granted MIPTC its 5-Star Award. According to Norman Forerder, the founder of the site, the award is given to the top ten percent of podcasts listed on its site. Norman reports: "the criteria for the award are "continuity and technical operativeness" as a guide for podcast listeners. Based on the 5-STAR-AWARD we will start in 2006 an international contest and award the best podcast from all 5-STAR-AWARD podcasts. We use the same procedure as is usual in Shareware directories. At the moment we have 20,000 Podcasts in the directory. 2,000 of them got this seal of approval as a kind of guide for listeners and as motivation to go one. We think that will help to promote the subject "Podcasting" to a higher level."
Maybe that just means MIPTC has done a lot of podcasts (at last count almost 1,000), but I appreciate the award. Podspider's 5-Star award icon will soon grace MIPTC's pages.
Why Lawyers Blog, And The Benefits We All Derive
You simply can't get advice this good for free ... or can you?
Over at the UCL Practitioner, Kimberly Kralowec takes a look at Proposition 64 and the application of the retroactive rule, or more accurately as she notes, the general practice absent specific legislative or voter provisions.
I'm looking forward to succeeding posts.
Arkansas and Oklahoma Battle It Out Again Over Water Contamination
Arkansas and Oklahoma have been at it for a long time, and this 20-year water discharge dispute has a brand new chapter: Arkansas has once again appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, this time to resolve whether Oklahoma can enforce its water pollution standards on discharges from Arkansas, upstream in the Illinois River basin.
Back in 1970, when Earth Day was first established, all was well between the neighboring states. They signed the Arkansas River Basin Compact to regulate the manner of discharges to bodies of water. The main idea was to reduce the introduction of excessive nutrients, including nitrogen and phosphorus into the Arkansas River Basin, which fed lakes, streams and rivers in Oklahoma. All was well, at least initially.
The trouble began in 1985. A small city in Arkansas applied to the USEPA for a permit to discharge some 6.1 million gallons of effluent per day into a small stream in northern Arkansas. Over Oklahoma's objection, the USEPA ultimately granted the permit. Oklahoma sued. The case wandered through the appellate system until 1992, when the Supreme Court demurred to the USEPA decision, and did nothing.
Now, the two states are at it again. First, the City of Tulsa sued Tyson Foods, Inc., an Arkansas poultry producer. Then, Oklahoma filed a new suit mid-summer, and the OK attorney general has appealed to the Supreme Court again, claiming that poultry waste from Arkansas fouled Oklahoma lakes and streams. The suit alleges that the poultry waste is equivalent to the waste generated by almost 11 million people.
Life In The Big City
The New York Times reports about Opinionistas, in its article, Blogging the Firm. Perhaps the fascination with the blog is that it's truly Reality Blogging, a mixture of The Assistant and Survivor (link has obnoxious sound).
I'll stick with a career in the law, but that doesn't mean I don't like a little entertainment now and again.