Quote of the Day - The chief obstacle to the progress of the human race is the human race.
Blackfaced Judge Ends Up RedfacedJudge Timothy Ellender of Louisana's Terrebonne Parish, just southwest of New Orleans, ran into trouble last Halloween. He went to a private party with blackface makeup, an afro wig and bound in shackles.
His wife was dressed as a police officer.
Not everyone was amused with the Judge's costume, and some called for an apology (scroll down to the bottom - they've had a lot a judicial problems in the South lately).
Judge Ellender could be suspended for a year without pay, which is the recommendation of the Judiciary Commission of Louisiana.
At least he wasn't wearing a robe.
Can You Walk and Chew Gum at the Same Time?You're on your cell phone while driving, and you get into an accident. Who is liable?
You certainly are, but is your employer, as well? Most likely not, because you as an employee are acting beyond the course and scope of your employment.
But that doesn't stop plaintiffs. Proving once again that anyone can be sued for anything, here are two horror stories about people who were involved in car accidents with cell phones.
There are plenty of people out there that think we should hang up and drive. But where does it stop? Can you eat and drive? What about talking to your passenger and driving?
At a minimum, try a hands-free system for your cell phone.
Watching Regulations Get Smaller?The big print giveth and the small print taketh away. There are numerous examples of this adage, even one written by our own William W. Bedsworth, on the change of batter-dipped french fries as vegetables.
Now, it turns out the Bush administration has done it again. This time, it changed the word "waste" to "fill," as detailed in a series by the Washington Post. With disastrous consequences for the environment.
Seems as though the Bush administration has been revising a lot of regulations. All the way from the USEPA to the Department of Energy - from E to E.
Ok, well from A (Appalachia) to Z Regulation Z. They're changing, in small ways, but very big consequences.
Watch the fine print. It's getting smaller.
Kindergarten and Sandbox LitigatorsIn the past, I've called it sandbox litigation. You know, the kind where the fight gets personal between opposing counsel. Here, the fight is in Texas, and like the state, is pretty big.
In one corner, we have William Davidson, local counsel in Texas, with lead counsel Irwin Gilbert. On the other, we have Richard Milvenan (click on "M" and Richard Milvenan) and a Vinson & Elkins associate.
Apparently, they can't get along. One Texas federal district court judge, Sam Sparks, who has a reputation of his own, has blasted the lawyers. He's been at it for awhile, so this missive should have not come as a surprise to these litigators.
As could have been expected, Judge Sparks did it again, and this time with a little more flair. You know it's not good when the Order starts out: "When the undersigned accepted the appointment from the President of the United States of the position now held, he was ready to face the daily practice of law in federal courts with presumably competent lawyers. No one warned the undersigned that in many instances his responsibility would be the same as a person who supervised kindergarten."
Here's the rest of the Order in all of its glory.
The Legal Race At The Athens Summer GamesThe Olympics are here again, this time in Athens, the site of the original games. But you already knew that.
You also know that with the Olympics come the disputes between medal winners and those who test positive for drugs.
How do all these disputes get resolved? By the Court of Arbitration for Sport, of course. You didn't know? The Court is now twenty years old this year - first established in 1984. The Court has offices in Athens during these games, and has permanent offices in Australia and New York, with its head office in Lausanne, Switzerland.
It is separate from the International Olympic Committee, but receives funding from the IOC. It's a tough court that rarely decides in favor of the accused athlete, although there are some famous examples. Remember Canadian snowboarder Ross Rebagliati? He appeared before the court in 1998. Even though he tested positive for marijuana at the Winter Olympics in Nagano, Japan, he was allowed to keep his gold medal. Dude!
U.S. Sprinter Torri Edwards is next to determine wither she can race in these summer games. She tested positive for a banned substance, nikethamide, and has elected to appeal her suspension. If she fails, she may be banned from sports competitions for two years.
Law is everywhere - even as our athletes race around the track.
Dick Morris Comes To TownDick Morris, who runs vote.com and is President Clinton's former political adviser came to Newport Beach. He spoke this morning to the New Majority.
After the speech, he spoke briefly with MIPTC, and had this to say about the New Majority. You'll need Windows Media Player to see this video.
Yes, it's a first for MIPTC, a video blog or video blawg - (how about vlawg?) for you to see. Certainly, Dick Morris' speech was entertaining - he quipped that he believed that "President Clinton was a pretty good president from the neck up."
But more important, he had some solid ideas for the Republican Party. How about this ticket for the upcoming election: President George W. Bush, Vice President Colin Powell and Secretary of State Dick Cheney?
He also suggested a change in the Republican platform. Reduce our dependency on foreign oil and the money used to support terrorism by instituting the hydrogen car. And, get serious on the war on drugs to reduce "narco-terrorism." Reform our immigration visa policy and crack down on those who overstay their visa period.
A very interesting talk. He signed his book, Rewriting History, and talked about his new one, not yet out, called "Because He Could," his take on President Clinton. If you want my notes from his speech, send me an email.
Another Two Cents Worth for Sarbanes-OxleyHere's a shocker: the cost to comply with Sarbanes-Oxley is twice what companies originally expected. And it's not lawyers who are responsible. OK, maybe a little responsible, but not completely.
The costs are 62% higher than expected. Factors contributing to the cost increase include a 109 percent rise in internal costs, a 42 percent jump in external costs, and a 40 percent increase in fees charged by external auditors. Information technology costs have added over a million dollars to compliance costs.
What can be done? Beyond the normal efforts to keep costs down, not much. Compliance costs. Otherwise, talk to Senator Sarbanes or Congressman Oxley.
You can at least give them your two cents worth.
India Lawyers Strike for Better Working ConditionsI'm all for supporting my fellow lawyers, but I didn't know we were unionized. I guess they are in Europe, and perhaps in Canada. But not here. We haven't had that motivation yet.
But in India, it's another story.
Not only are the lawyers there union members, they also go on strike.
For more money, you ask? No, it seems they're looking for better working conditions. The courts in India are building a new Justice Wing. To replace an old one, of course. Seems the court building is one of the largest in all of Asia, and new facilities are in order.
But the lawyers there aren't satisfied. "The section of the Rohini court building is still unfinished. There is no parking space, no proper lawyer's chamber and no litigant's room. How can they ask us to shift [over] there [from the old courthouse]?" asked a spokesperson for the lawyers.
So what would any self-respecting union member do? Go on strike. After all, wouldn't you be upset if you didn't have a parking space and nowhere to work?
It's not the first time India's lawyers have gone on strike. Apparently, now it is illegal for lawyers to strike.
Thus, this strike has resulted in the arrest of the striking lawyers. 300 of them, and there are apparently more arrests in the wings.
They're serious about these working conditions. At least they don't have this problem. ;-)