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 - History is powerful stuff. One day your world is fine. The next day it's knocked for a metaphysical loop. Was Napoleon really at Waterloo? Would that change what I had for breakfast? - Henry Bromel
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Brunch With Bruce

Adam Smith, Esq. came to town today. We got together for brunch this morning at the Surf & Sand Hotel in Laguna Beach.

The weather was quite a bit different than in New York where Adam Smith's writer, Bruce MacEwen is from.

Bruce and his wife, Janet, met Lisa and me, and the conversation ranged from blogging (of course) to current events and beyond. For me, one of the most interesting parts of our conversation was something Bruce off-handedly asked.

He wanted to know my sources.

The genesis of his question wasn't designed to ask the sources like those of a newspaper reporter. He meant what I read and where I got my information to blog. I obliged, and in turn, I asked Bruce about his. Very interesting, especially since we don't use the same ones. It got me thinking, though.

What an interesting question to pose to other bloggers. Watch this space for a follow-up sometime in the (hopefully) very near future.

Me? That's an easy question to answer. Findlaw, Jurist and LexisOne.

But that's only the half of it.

There's the slip opinions from, the Daily Journal and the various websites of the Circuit Courts and the California courts.

That's where the work comes in. Findlaw, Lexis and Jurist provide guidelines to the legal news, but the courts are one of the major sources. Reading those advance sheets determines where the law goes, and where MIPTC follows. No secret about sources there.

Bruce's sources? He'll have to tell you on his own.


Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, December 26, 2004 at 22:41. Comments Closed (2) |

Season's Greetings


Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, December 25, 2004 at 11:56. Comments Closed (0) |

Reel Reviews - It's A Wonderful Life

Reel Review #18: “Remember no man is a failure who has friends.” What is the holiday season without this classic film? You’ve seen it on TV a thousand times - in this podcast we look at the film and the fascinating story surrounding it. Happy holidays from Reel Reviews.


DVD - It's A Wonderful Life

Here's the Podcast.


Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by Michael W. Geoghegan on Friday, December 24, 2004 at 12:19. Comments Closed (0) |

Big Bad Bikers Deliver Toys To CHOC Before Christmas

Christmas Eve. It's a time to wonder. The reason for the season.

Just because my Dad was a minister, though, doesn't mean you'll hear that here. But it's just an intro - get you into the mood and into the picture.

This morning, over 1,100 Harley bikers, yours truly included, met at Orange County Harley Davidson at 9:00 a.m., loaded the trucks and bikes (KCAL 9 video) and drove.

To CHOC - Children's Hospital of Orange County, and delivered in excess of 26,000 toys.

Approximately 200 children who are getting cancer treatment over Christmas, transplants and critical medical care got toys personally delivered by the bikers. Those who couldn't come downstairs will get theirs tomorrow. Santa left a sack of toys outside each room tonight, to be discovered tomorrow morning.

As for the rest of the toys, they're put into storage and then doled out throughout the year to any child who receives treatment at the hospital.

It was something else to see big, burly bikers kneel down to greet kids in hospital gowns trailing IV trees, complete with computers. The big boys would say, "Merry Christmas" and hand over a toy.

It was something even more to see the kids' eyes widen, and their smiles broaden when they sat on our bikes, and all the while the Harley riders silently knew why the kids were in there over Christmas, and that some wouldn't make it to next Christmas.

There wasn't a dry eye among the bikers.


Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, December 24, 2004 at 10:15. Comments Closed (3) |

How The Grinch (Almost) Stole Christmas Vacation

The Grinch story revisited, a la two sparring lawyers, courtesy of Findlaw, with a post-discovery hat tip to the Professor, via Begging to Differ.


Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, December 23, 2004 at 16:26. Comments Closed (0) |

New York Starts Trend Against Insurance Companies

Here's a quote businesses will be sure to love: the time has come to "acknowledge that freedom of contract is a fiction when applied to insurance policies."

That's straight from the mouth of two justices from the majority decision in the case of Great Canal Realty Corp. v. Seneca Insurance Company, Inc. (subscription may be needed). They said that while New York courts have historically been reluctant to inhibit freedom of contract, the Supreme Court (called the Court of Appeals in NY) wouldn't tolerate the insurance company's "prejudice" claims for late claims.

The whole case (again, subscription may be needed) turns on this word: "immediate." Which is what the insurance companies have demanded in the contract (policy) for notification of a claim. Then, when an insured doesn't tender the claim "immediately," ... well you already know don't you: it's a big stamp.


Not any longer, at least in New York. We'll see if this ruling spreads to other jurisdictions.

I thought trends started in California.


Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, December 23, 2004 at 13:14. Comments Closed (0) |

Father / Son Team Blawgs The Legal Blogosphere

This may be a first, although with the internet, you never really know.

My son is going to start blawgging with me here on MIPTC. He's a second-year law student at the University of Iowa, my alma mater.

So, shortly - although the debut date is up in the air - you'll see one-a-week posts from Michel J. Ayer. The writing ticket for this blawg will be a lawyer and a law student, as a father and son team blawgging legal news, each with our own perspective.

The question for you to answer, as our readers, will be whether the apple fell far from the tree. I know my son, and I don't think so. On the other hand, he might tell you otherwise.

The focus of MITPC won't change, and Dad still will retain complete editorial control. Even so, I won't be issuing writing assignments. Michel will cover the legal items he wants to cover and pass along his observations. Does that mean I'll become the dreaded editor?

Nope. More of a proofreader, although that red pen may sneak in from time to time.

In case you are thinking about it, I Googled Michel for you. (Yes, there's no "a" in his name. Don't ask me, ask his mother.) There's not much out there about him. In fact, I could find only one article, and that focused more on his wife, Stacy. So stay tuned: you'll learn more here.

And no, I'm not a grandfather, and have no desire to be one anytime soon. You wouldn't hear that news from me first, anyway.


Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, December 22, 2004 at 23:20. Comments Closed (0) |

It's A Wonderful Life: Paul For Postmaster

Regular readers know my Mom lives in South Harwich, Massachusetts on Cape Cod. She's a retired church secretary, and I've discovered, where my love of advocacy comes from.

Let me explain.

There's a very small post office near her home; some would even say postage stamp-sized. I've been there. It's so small, three people can't fit in it at the same time. The parking lot holds just a few cars.

It's definitely small-town America, a regular slice of apple pie.

My Mom's post office box (number 38), is on the bottom of the row of boxes. Most of the time, the lock doesn't work because it's so old, and she has a hard time bending down to open it. She's 72 (and she got after me last time I posted her age here, but it's one of those details that's important to the story. Sorry, Mom.) and she has a bad back.

When she walks in the door, the postal worker goes to her box, grabs the mail and hands it to her over the counter. Most of the times she doesn't even bring her key. Like I said, small-town America. And, as you've probably guessed, she's not the only one who gets treated this way. Paul Pimental, the postal worker, treats everyone the same. He even knows me when I come in, just based on seeing my name on the mail I send to my Mom.

If there was a pot-bellied stove and a cracker barrel in there, people would be sitting around talking about town events. Even so, there's almost always a conversation among the patrons while Paul dutifully goes about his work.

Have you got that picture in your mind?

In stark contrast to this idyllic life on the Cape, the big muckey-mucks at the Post Office headquarters decided to make some changes. They're the ones wearing the black hats.

They decided to appoint a new Postmaster. From the big city. They didn't even interview Paul for the position. Yep. Bypassed him. To add insult to injury, there was talk about moving Paul to another post office.

So, Paul said goodbye to my Mom the other day. She was heartbroken. Especially since this made the fourth time in eight years that the big muckey-mucks had installed a new postmaster, bypassing the local South Harwich postal worker again and again.

Side note here: my Mom is a force to be reckoned with.

Not surprisingly, she went home, got on the phone and tracked down the big muckey-muck that made this decision. She waited on hold, intermittently talking to various postal workers and getting transferred for an hour and forty-five minutes. She finally reached Bill Peterson, Manager of Post Office Operations, who she reports is not a big muckey-muck after all, but a very nice person.

She talked to Mr. Peterson for about 20 minutes, extolling Paul's virtues. She related some of the things that Paul does, how much everyone likes him, and how much he would be missed if he left. She also told him what a good job Paul does, and how well he handles the mail. She got Mr. Peterson's address.

Then she returned to the South Harwich Post Office and, you guessed it, posted Mr. Peterson's address and asked patrons to write in, supporting Paul for the Postmaster's position. She stayed around for awhile and talked to a lot of folks about writing to Mr. Peterson. People did, and are still writing in. Everyone really likes Paul.

Apparently, Mr. Peterson then called Paul, and because of the support of the townspeople, he's going to be interviewed for the position of Postmaster. Mr. Peterson commented to Paul about the supportive phone call he had gotten from my Mom.

Paul saw my Mom today and thanked her. He said that evening after receiving Mr. Peterson's call, he went home and in tears described to his wife how he felt about the rush of support from the community. He said, "Now I know how George Bailey felt in It's A Wonderful Life."

Tears welled up in my Mom's eyes, and I could hear it again in her voice when she related the story to me this morning on the telephone.

Oh, yes. Mr. Peterson's address (just in case you want to write in):

Bill Peterson, Manager of Post Office Operations
225 Liberty Street
Brockton, MA 02301

It is a wonderful life. Have a happy holiday season, and remember people like Paul.


Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, December 21, 2004 at 12:25. Comments Closed (4) |

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