Who Cares If You Can't Pronounce It, We Don't Want ItIf you live in or around Berkeley (some refer to the city as "Bezerkely"), you know you can't bring any nuclear weapons into town.
No matter how you pronounce "nuclear."
What started in Kaleforniya twenty some years ago has leapt across the country to Washington, D.C. They have - yep, you guessed it - banned hazardous material shipments through the City.
They think the decision is something new. Guess again. It's not.
Even so, it remains to be seen whether the trend will continue.
The railroad industry isn't happy. A press release on that site noted: "Rerouting does not eliminate the overall risk, but merely shifts it to other communities." Statistics cited by the Association of American Railroads point to a 0.003 accident rate.
The AP quoted Representative Edward Markey, D-Mass., "who said other cities will follow Washington's lead if the federal government doesn't order hazardous shipments rerouted from crowded neighborhoods," wrote reporter Leslie Miller this past Friday, February 6, 2005, on FindLaw.
So, if we can't ship hazardous materials in, around or through cities, where does that leave us? At a minimum, it's likely costs of transport will increase. Otherwise, the materials may just stay where they are.
What if we take the argument to its logical extreme and protect everyone from nearby shipments of hazardous materials? Would the economy grind to a halt because we can't manufacture goods that require hazardous materials? What about hazardous materials that result from manufacturing?
Even if we develop onsite hazardous materials programs, they typically require other hazardous materials for the treatment process.
What's our solution? Oh, I forgot.
But first make sure I can watch the Super Bowl today on my television. Never mind that it required hazardous materials to make, I want to see who wins.
C'est la vie: They Vacation And We WorkThank God It's Saturday. It's been a long week, in excess of 60 hours at work, and countless others at home. It's the cost of running a law firm.
Maybe I should move to France. The workers there are protesting a proposed increase to their 35-hour work week.
Did I forget to mention that European workers get an average of six weeks off each year?
Reminds me of a license plate I spotted yesterday: "SAYLAWV."
Can You Copyright Your Letter To The Editor?There's been somewhat of a running conversation about the use of copyrights in RSS feeds and blogs.
Here's a new one for you: a copyright asserted by a reader who commented on one of MIPTC's posts on drunk driving. Yep, right there in the comment section.
Bruce Alm, the commenter, had also posted his thoughts earlier, and perhaps both of his comments qualify as spam, but the new copyright claim is unique nonetheless. My first question was whether his copyright is registered, but even if it is (it's not), MIPTC has an implied license to use it.
If it had in fact been registered, then not for commercial use, but fair use. Without a copyright, it's open season.
Even so, since Mr. Alm put it here (as opposed to there, where it likely originally came from), for now here it will stay, copyright claim and all.
Besides, the message is a good one. No more "one for the road."
MIPTC's Friday Series: Grape Radio's Wine MythsAs 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 on Wine Myths. Here's what the guys have to say:
Grape Radio #4: Unicorns, the Greek gods, and leprechauns are just a few examples of myths that have endured through the ages. Even those in the wine community have their own myths that have endured. These wine myths are not limited to those that are just beginning to learn about wine. Unfortunately, these myths have caused many people to base their wine-drinking choices on unfounded beliefs. Old wine is better, only the French make good wine, and “Merlot stinks” are just a few examples. We are going to dispel some of these myths in this show.
MIPTC's Friday At The Movies: Repo ManIt'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 #24: “The life of a Repo Man is always intense.” This cult classic came out in 1984. It was brought to us by Alex Cox who would later hit another home run with Sid and Nancy. Punk Rock, Aliens and Repo Men - what more could you ask for? These movies are always the most difficult: what makes a cult classic great? That question is a tough one, but here we are twenty plus years later, and people are still talking about this small film that has had a large impact! “Let’s go do some crimes.” Better yet, “let’s go get sushi and not pay.”
Repo Man DVD at Amazon
Breakfast with Hunter
Arrival Of The Ten-dollar Beer?In the middle of my first Iowa winter in nearly twenty years, I was reminiscing that there are few things I enjoy more in life than heading to the ballpark on a warm summer evening (or in San Francisco a chilly summer evening) and catching a ballgame while enjoying a hotdog and a beer.
Even so, it pains me every time I have to pony up $8 for some flat, insipid, lukewarm suds. But the $8 beer may be a thing of the past in light of the recent decision holding Aramark liable to the tune of $100+ million as a result of over-serving a drunken patron. I have a feeling that my next trip to the park may see my plastic cupful of beer pass the $10 threshold.
Although the NY Giants settled their portion of the case, John Mara, the president of the team testified he had no knowledge of drunks at games. Apparently, there's quite a distance between luxury boxes and endzone bleachers. I don’t mean to imply that the team was liable, but the relationship between professional sports and alcohol in this country runs deep.
After all, whose Super Bowl commercials will you be talking about on Monday morning? In the end, however, the fans ultimately have to be the ones to know when to call it quits. Like the Guinness ad says, “Don’t drink six beers at the same time. Brilliant!!!"
$93 Million Sounds Good, But Is It?Insurers have agreed to pay some $93 million to cleanup the Stringfellow Acid Pits in Riverside, California.
Bill Lockyer appears happy with the settlement.
It's difficult to tell whether it's a good deal, though. I tried to find the bottom-line dollar amount of the projected cleanup for the site, but after a reasonable amount of searching and reading, I couldn't. One estimate puts the cost at almost $400 million.
Makes you wonder, doesn't it?
Insurers Trying To Dodge The Bullet Don't SucceedIf you run a business, then at one time or another, someone has asked you for an additional insured endorsement. Careful with that last link - that's an insurance company telling you what it thinks the endorsement means.
You'll be glad to know that the courts have straightened out the insurers. Not surprisingly, the endorsements mean more than the insurance companies think they do.
Or think they don't.
As was the case in the last link. Reading the opinion is a nightmare to understand, largely because of the combination of insurance lingo and legalese. Here's how it shakes out.1
A company leased out its movie lot in North Carolina to allow a movie company to make The Crow. The two companies signed an agreement, and the movie company agreed to indemnify the movie lot company if it got sued as a consequence of someone getting hurt on the movie lot during the filming of the movie. The movie company also agreed to have its insurer name the movie lot company as an "additional insured" to its policy.
Sure enough, someone got hurt, and the movie lot company got a judgment taken against it.
But, there's a law in California (don't ask me to explain in one sentence how we got from a movie lot in North Carolina to a court in California) that says indemnity agreements that try to indemnify someone else for their sole negligence are void. Now before we go much further, we have to introduce the insurers into the equation.
Here, the movie company's insurer paid the judgment against the movie lot company as it was required to do under the additional insured endorsement. But, it then argued that it was entitled to the same rights that the movie company had under the law. That is, since the injury that resulted in the judgment was the sole fault of the movie company, it did not have to indemnify the movie lot company. So, the movie company's insurer reasoned that it too didn't have to indemnify the movie lot company.
The insurer thought that was a pretty neat trick, and then sought to get the movie lot company's insurer to contribute toward paying the judgment. You saw that coming, didn't you?
It didn't work.
The court saw right through that argument and said that the additional insured endorsement operated as independent obligation, separate from the indemnity agreement between the movie company and the movie lot company.
So the movie lot company didn't have to contribute toward the judgment and the movie company's insurer had to pay the entire judgment.
The moral of the story?
Insurers who try to avoid their own contractual agreements won't be allowed to.
1 Or, you could just wade through the Court's description: "We conclude that while section 2782 may preclude enforcement of a promise of indemnity in a construction contract, it does not limit the enforcement of an 'additional insured' endorsement provided to the indemnitee by the indemnitor's liability insurer pursuant to the terms of the indemnity agreement. In addition, we hold that the provisions of the contract of indemnity will not preclude enforcement by the indemnitee of its claim of coverage under the additional insured endorsement." American Casualty Company of Reading, PA v. General Star Indemnity Co. (Jan. 27, 2005, 2nd Dist. Court of Appeal, 2005 DJDAR 1089) back.