Quote of the Day - One of the lessons of history is that nothing is often a good thing to do and always a clever thing to say.
Woburn Redux?This article regarding the indictment of W.R. Grace in Montana happened to catch my eye as I just finished writing a response to A Civil Action by Jonathon Harr for my CivPro class. My professor made it required reading for the semester and I am glad that he did. It was nice to spend a little time away from the casebooks reading a novel and still feel like I was learning and being productive. However, in the end, I was left wanting to know what really happened in Woburn. For an interesting follow-up check out the following site sponsored by W.R. Grace.
Hopefully the people of Libby, MT have had the opportunity to read Mr. Harr’s book since it provides at least a glimpse of what lies ahead. Even though this indictment is not a civil case, I would imagine that the people of Libby are just as invested in the outcome as the people of Woburn were two decades ago.
The indictment lays out a host of counts including the to-be-expected USEPA violations and a less obvious count of wire fraud. It also includes data regarding cancer levels in Libby that appears intriguing. This case should be one to watch.
In the end, didn’t a crafty U.S. government take down Al Capone for tax evasion?
MIPTC's Friday Series: Grape Radio's Winemaker Spotlight: Greg SandersAs a companion service to MIPTC's Friday At The Movie series, my other buddies want to encourage you to drink some wine with that popcorn. So, give a listen to their podcast spotlighting a winemaker. Here's what the guys have to say:
Grape Radio #6: Get up close and personal with an actual winemaker. Greg Sanders, Owner of White Rose Wines is our special guest. Greg discusses his personal approach, wine making operations, and much more.
The Oregon wine regions are producing world class wines. You can find more information about Greg’s wines at: White Rose Wines
MIPTC's Friday At The Movies Series: Reel Reviews Looks At: RushmoreIt's Friday again, and time for another installment in the Friday At The Movies series, brought to you by my friend Michael Geoghegan. Here it is:
Reel Review #19: Sic transit gloria - glory fades. I figured we’d start off with a little Latin in honor of the first Reel Review for 2005 - Rushmore. This is another personal favorite that I often recommend. Rushmore is a film that you can always count on for a good time. It is Wes Anderson’s sophomore effort after gaining critical success for his first film Bottle Rocket. Best of all, you get to enjoy a home run performance by Bill Murray. Check out Rushmore - a film worth watching.
DVD - Rushmore - Criterion Edition Collection
DVD - Rushmore
Momma, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be CriminalsFresh out of law school, I volunteered for the San Bernardino County District Attorney as a Deputy DA prosecutor. After having tried small-time criminal cases in law school (with a professor in tow) for the public defender's office, it was quite a mindset switch.
I prosecuted drunk driving cases, prostitution cases, petty theft and a host of other misdemeanor crimes. The underbelly of civilization.
One case I remember most was a mother who taught her 12-year old son how to switch the price tags on jeans at the Sears store in the local mall. Shoplifting was the charge.
For about $10.00. Sears was adamant to prosecute the matter. Most people thought it wasn't a big deal, and not a big case. Most of the other DAs in the office thought I'd lose it. I was up against a very experienced criminal lawyer who was good at charming juries. I was a wet-behind-the-ears, first-year lawyer.
It wasn't until I started to make my closing argument to the jury that I figured out how to pitch the case. It wasn't the $10.00 that was the point.
It was the fact that a mother was teaching her child to steal.
Now before you go any further, check out that last link. Think about why the trial court judge in that case didn't get it, and why it took five justices on an appellate court to drive the point home.
By the way, my 12-person jury got it. Mom was convicted, and the sentence involved counseling for both Mom and son.
Your Opportunity To Fill In The Blank For The FCCYou may not know it, but your television isn't going to get any bigger. At least if you have cable.
What you say? There's already 13 channels on my TV, and there's nothing on?
The Federal Communications Commission just voted not to require cable companies to carry more than one digital signal from local television stations.
I love the quote offered in the FindLaw link above: "The commission's only dissenter, Republican Kevin Martin said, 'The public could have benefited from more free programming.'"
Just what we need. More (you fill in the blank) on the TV.
Volunteerism Shot Down By CourtsThe fallout from the Supreme Court's decision Cooper Industries continues. In the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, that court just went two steps further than the recent Supreme Court decision.
Cooper Industries held that CERCLA section 113 did not allow recovery for voluntary cleanups. But it left open the question of whether such costs could be recovered under CERCLA sections 106 or 107). Section 106 enables the government to compel (read: order) private parties to undertake cleanup of contaminated sites. Section 107 allows for cost-recovery suits for response costs incurred by the government and certain others, as long as the cleanup is consistent with the National Contingency Plan.
The New York court just decided the case of Elementis Chemicals Inc. v. T H Agriculture and Nutrition LLC (subscription required, and only available on PACER, not the Court's website). It went further than precedent, and dismissed plaintiff's claims that defendants were liable under CERCLA for its response costs. The court also rejected Elementis Chemical's arguments that it was entitled to recover voluntary response costs.
If that continues to be the law, we can expect good corporate citizens who want to voluntarily clean up contamination will not be able to afford to do so.
Lead-based Paint Suit Hits The Wall In IllinoisLead-based paint has been a problem for both government and businesses for some time. Decades, in fact.
Chicago apparently decided to get creative and brought a nuisance action against several businesses that produced lead-based paint. Last month, the Illinois Court of Appeal upheld the trial court's dismissal of the case.
The Appeals Court dug deep into the tort closet and pulled out some colorful language to emphasize why it agreed with the dismissal. It thought the lead-based paint applied many years ago was not the legal cause of the problem sought to be remedied by the City of Chicago.
"What we do mean by the word 'proximate' is that, because of convenience, of public policy, of a rough sense of justice, the law arbitrarily declines to trace a series of events beyond a certain point. This is not logic. It is practical politics." That gem comes from the dissent of Justice Andrews in the seminal case of Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad,
The Illinois Court continued, "We agree with the sentiment expressed by some courts that 'at some point along the causal chain, the passage of time and the span of distance mandate a cut-off point for liability.' "
Is there a remedy for every wrong? Even years later?
MIPTC Votes For Best Super Bowl CommercialBest Super Bowl commercial?
MIPTC votes for Herosalute.com.