May It Please The Court: Weblog of legal news and observations, including a quote of the day and daily updates

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Quote of the Day - Lack of money is the root of all evil. - George Bernard Shaw
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There are 2033 Journal Items on 255 page(s) and you are on page number 183

Orange County DA Gets Unlimited Settlement, Plus $3.5 Million

How's this one for a settlement: We agree to pay you as much as you need.

If you're a plaintiff's attorney, you would start pinching yourself thinking that you must be dreaming. But if you're the Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas, you wouldn't be.

You would have just signed that settlement.

But hold on, as with all such things, you'd have to read a bit further.

Assemblyman Todd Spitzer doesn't think the settlement has much value. "This is a completely empty settlement with no teeth in the enforcement of the cleanup," said Spitzer, considered a likely candidate to oppose Rackauckas' 2006 reelection bid. " 'Unlimited' in this case means nothing," as quoted by the LA Times.

The Times went on to point out that the DA believes that "naming a dollar amount could have limited the lawsuit's reach, if the cleanup costs exceeded the total. With a neutral company selected to oversee the pollution probes and cleanup, Orange County is assured a thorough cleanup job," according to Assistant District Attorney Joe D'Agostino.

Before you make up your mind, though, give this settlement provision some thought: $3.5 million of the settlement went directly to the DA's office "to reimburse costs" and "fund future investigations."


Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, January 07, 2005 at 11:17. Comments Closed (0) |

Blazing Broadband Access

The Law.com Technology Center features a fine article about striking a balance about remote access. The article ends up advocating GoToMyPC, now owned by Citrix.

I've used the Citrix server in the past as well as GoToMyPC. The Citrix server solution is unbelieveably expensive for a small firm. The GoToMyPC solution is moderately expensive and it works well.

Wayne Smith, the author of the Law.com Technology Center article thought that a VPN was too difficult for his small firm of 30 attorneys because it involved management of too many client computers.

We've had the opposite experience.

We use a SonicWall for hardware security and a three-level password interface. The Microsoft VPN is very easy to set up, especially on client computers. In fact, with just a small amount of coaching, our attorneys have been able to virtually do it themselves. Plus, it's encrypted.

The best part? Microsoft VPN costs nothing more to add or use. It's included in XP and our Windows 2003 server.

We had already paid for it. It's nice to use the server software to its fullest extent without having to pay for additional software and configurations.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, January 07, 2005 at 00:14. Comments Closed (0) |

Reel Reviews - Riding Giants

Reel Review #20: “Wow, 20 Reel Reviews! Here is a film I had not planned on doing, but after watching it I had to share it with you. I am not a surfer but Stacy Peralta, the director, does a fantastic job of making the world of big wave surfers accessible. Yes, they are crazy, but this entertaining and informative documentary allows you to come to appreciate the men and women who are pushing the envelope among these mountainous waves.

DVD - Riding Giants

IMDb

The Kid Stays In The Picture

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by Michael Geoghegan on Friday, January 07, 2005 at 00:11. Comments Closed (0) |

"Have It Your Way"

If you're a careful reader or observer, you've likely noticed that MIPTC frequently tinkers with this site. While I will identify some of the minor changes we've made recently, there's one big one that I'd like to highlight.

Hopefully, you've already discovered it and found it helpful. It's our new multi-layered and two-column RSS feed page. There it is, right there in that last link. It's also over there in the black "left nav bar" right next to the orange XML button.

No, it's not a confused shirt size, it's our website feeds. In spades.

To make it easy for you, and taking a tip from the good Professor, you have your choice. You can select MIPTC's Podcast feed, headlines only, headlines and a short summary or full content feeds.

You can also select from a host of news aggregators. Pick your favorite one. If you don't see it listed, let me know and we'll add it.

The whole idea is to make it easy to listen or subscribe to MIPTC or the MIPTC Tech Channel, and also a suggestion for other bloggers to consider.

We've also made some other changes. There's now a Contributors page. It features (or soon will) short biographical sketches and photos of the other writers (my son, Michel Ayer, Michael Geoghegan, who podcasts our Friday movie reviews and Greg Granger, a WLF Senior Associate who posts when lightning strikes him).

You can expect some posts from my son hopefully very soon. He's back at law school in Iowa, finishing up an intersession final and wading through snow to get to class.

For those of you who've asked, we've added a "Printer friendly" button. That allows you to print MIPTC out on a standard American 8 1/2 x 11 page and not have the text run off the page. Not surprisingly, it looks like a printer and it's under each post, just to the left of the permalink (the button that give you the exact URL of each post in case you want to point a friend to a particular post).

We've also added the Trackback feature for other bloggers to link to MIPTC, and likewise encourage me to ping them when I feature other blogger's posts.

Finally, some things have gone missing. Sharks In The Water and How To Get Sued have been taken down. We simply weren't tending to those ancillary blogs, and wanted to focus our attention on MIPTC and the MIPTC Tech Channel.

The Jack London-esque charcoal drawing of me has been taken down, and may appear again buried in the About page some time later. Of all the changes, that's the least important.

Which is why it's buried here, at the bottom.

That registered trademark symbol in the headline? We think that phrase belongs to Burger King. Oh yeah, ® that name, too.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, January 06, 2005 at 23:34. Comments Closed (0) |

Purely For Medicinal Purposes

Just in case you had any doubt, cough syrup (this one at 20% by volume is stronger than the alcohol content of most wines) may get you into trouble driving a car.

Our young heroine in this case lost her driver's license because she admitted to having a "capful" of cough syrup before driving home. She likewise admitted that she was out "with a bunch of friends" who had been drinking, but she had not. Sure.

Her BAC was over the legal limit for a driver under the age of 21.

Her lawyer made a creative argument, though. He claimed that cough syrup didn't qualify as an alcoholic beverage under VC 23136. I've never thought of cough syrup as an adult drink, but that thinking is contrary to that of the First District Court of Appeal.

Honestly, though, their rationale makes sense. They knew that the statute, VC 109, defined "alcoholic beverage" as any liquid that contains alcohol.

So, when you're leaving the doctor's office, you shouldn't have one for the road.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, January 06, 2005 at 22:02. Comments Closed (0) |

Your City Leaders Aren't Listening To You

So you're upset with your local government organization? You think that they aren't listening?

Well, according to the California Second District Court of Appeal, you're right. At least if you're in LA.

Late last year, the Court blessed us with two decisions: Nasha v. City of Los Angeles and Lacy Street Hospitality Service v. City of Los Angeles.

Lest you get too cynical, I should pause to mention that the first case involved the City's Planning Commission and the second, the City Council. That said, let's get off to the races.

In the Planning Commission case, Nasha wanted to develop five lots it owned. One of the Planning Commission members apparently didn't want that development to go forward. So much so that while the matter was pending before the Commission, the member wrote an anonymous article, got it published, and then at a local meeting opposing the development, favorably introduced one of the main opponents to the crowd.

Not surprisingly, the Court overturned the Planning Commission's rejection of the development.

As if that decision were'nt enough to rock your faith in the City government, we got the second barrel of a double-barreled shotgun. In a short post, I really can't do this decision justice. Let me recommend that you open that last link and read from the top of page four on over to page five, starting with "A picture is worth a thousand words and here the picture was a videotape." You simply won't believe the Court's description.

What's more disheartening is the behavior of our elected officials. Can anybody spell recall?

We have City Council members on their cell phones and engaging in private conversations, blithely ignoring the presentation being made to the members. The Court's description is at the same time hilarious and embarrassing.

While the City Council may have already made up its mind to deny the nude dancing cabaret's application, it didn't even give the applicant the time of day.

As you would expect, and likewise with its first ruling, the Court overturned the City Council decision against the adult cabaret. Now don't flame out here. I'm not advocating nude dancing (notice I didn't even put a link there?).

My issue is the Council's lack of deliberation and their lack of respect.

It seems I would be with the majority on the Court of Appeal for a change.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, January 05, 2005 at 15:12. Comments Closed (0) |

Tsunami Victims Begin To Get Legal Help

In the wake of the onslaught of news coverage, you might not stop to think about the legal ramifications of a tsunami. But with all the destruction and massive deaths, the legal issues are going to be a quagmire.

Once the basic necessities are met (which will likely be a long time from now), surviving victims are going to have their hands full. Things like wills and property deeds - most likely destroyed - will make ownership and inheritance issues a mess. Just think about it: land where you once lived is now under water, other property washed away and other property unidentifiable because the property boundaries are gone. Who owns what?

I can't imagine the difficulty of submitting insurance claims for destroyed homes and lost property without policies.

Thailand has already recognized these problems and has sent a team of 60 legal officials to southern Thailand to help.

Entire industries are gone in sections of Indonesia: telecommunications, satellite, electrical facilities, and the jobs that go along with them. Banks washed away along with money, valuables and records. Even governments, along with legal records, laws and the people that make them.

It will be sometime before the tsunami victims can begin to face these issues. Once the basics are back in place, we'll likely see new laws develop to deal with the consequences of destruction on this scale.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, January 04, 2005 at 09:41. Comments Closed (0) |

Website Wars Erupt Over Copyrighted Material

If you're building a website, be careful what you copy from other websites. One San Diego law firm, Recordon & Recordon, has been accused of copying some seven copyrighted pages from the elder abuse section of a Northern California law firm’s website.

Now, however, the Recordon elder abuse site is empty (link via Google cached pages). The Wayback Machine shows us that a change appeared in the Recordon site between October and December 2003.

The suit was filed by Brayton Purcell in late November 2003 in federal court in San Francisco.

You can check the links to see the design difference in the Recordon sites, but the apparently offending elder abuse material is not there.

Both sites list copyrights at the bottom of their pages, and the allegations of the suit certainly make infringement into an issue. But how these two law firms compete with one another for elder abuse clients is lost on me. They’re almost 10 hours of driving time apart.

That said, the suit does point out the value of original content, even if no one pays attention to the speed limit in California.

Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, January 03, 2005 at 21:17. Comments Closed (0) |



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