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 - All political thinking for years past has been vitiated in the same way. People can foresee the future only when it coincides with their own wishes, and the most grossly obvious facts can be ignored when they are unwelcome. - George Orwell
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Don't Take A Page From This Book: How To Ignore The Government In Three Easy Steps

John and Ned Roscoe owned The Customer Company in Galt, California.  The company operated an underground storage tank that leaked some 3,000 gallons of gas.  A TCC employee, John Johnson, properly notified the Sacramento County Environmental Management Department of the leak.  The SCEMD turned around and sent letters, notifing TCC that it had to clean up the fuel that leaked. 

Unfortunately, John Roscoe treated these notifications as "form letters" and simply routed them on to Johnson, but neither Roscoe nor Johnson did anything to follow up on the County's orders to clean up the fuel.

Had TCC timely cleaned up the fuel, it would have cost the company about $400,000. 

Because the "clean up" dragged on unattended for so long and without any progress, the SCEMD decided to remediate the problem itself.  Largely due to the delay, the fuel spread out over a wider area and cost more to clean up.

A total of $1,500,000. 

To recover these costs, SCEMD filed a civil case against TCC and the Roscoes individually. 

After a 12-day court trial, the judge issued a 44-page opinion, which assessed TCC and the Roscoes with $2,493,250 in penalties.

Ouch.

The Roscoes filed an appeal, seeking to avoid personal liability under the "responsible corporate officer doctrine."  They argued, essentially, that they were shielded from liability by the corporation.

The Court observed that the SCEMD had to prove three things to find the Roscoes individually liable:  (1) the individual is in a position of responsibility that allows the person to influence corporate policies or activities; (2) there must be a connection between the individual's position and the violation in question allowing the individual to influence the corporate actions which constituted the violations; and (3) the individual's actions or inactions facilitated the violations.

Here, the Court found the Roscoes neatly fit all three elements, and imposed the penalties.  Plus, they observed that the Court fined the Roscoes only $1,000 a day when the statute allowed a maximum penalty of $5,000 a day for the violations. 

Such a deal for a series of form letters.



Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, January 02, 2009 at 17:35. Comments Closed (1) |

Happy New Year! Especially If You Just Woke Up

The tame new year rolled in last night one second late, but many of us who watched the ball drop used up more than that extra second this morning.  Hope you had a safe, pleasant last night, and a healthy, prosperous new year!

Way to go Hawkeyes in the Outback Bowl - 31 to 10 over South Carolina (yes, it played here on the left coast at 8:00 a.m.)  Now we just need Penn State to beat USC.



Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, January 01, 2009 at 14:13. Comments Closed (0) |

Lawyer2Lawyer Internet Radio Gazes Into The 2009 Crystal Ball

What a year it has been!  From the economic crisis, to the auto industry bailout, foreclosures, the collapse of Lehman Brothers, the election of Barack Obama and many important court decisions. Please join me and my fellow Law.com blogger and co-host, Robert Ambrogi, as we welcome returning guest and prediction guru, Stephen L. Kaplan, partner in the Orange County, California office of Hicks, Mims, Kaplan and Burns to discuss his 2009 predictions and you'll find out his track record!

Give a listen and send in your own predictions!



Podcast 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, December 30, 2008 at 09:50. Comments Closed (0) |

Shameless Self-promotion: Vote For Lawyer2Lawyer Podcast

Just in case you haven't voted yet (yes, it's way past November), here's your chance.  The American Bar Association Blawg 100 nominated Bob Ambrogi and my podcast, LawyerLawyer for the top podcast for 2008.

So hustle on over to the ABA Blawg 100 vote-for-your-favorite-podcast site, and click on Lawyer2Lawyer as your favorite podcast.  It's the most fun you can have with a vest on.

Thanks for checking the box!



Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, December 28, 2008 at 22:16. Comments Closed (0) |

Put That Cell Phone Down And Drive

No Texting, Either

It'll cost you (at current prices) just over 10 gallons of gas ($20.00) if you get caught driving California roads violating this law:  "A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using an electronic wireless communications device to write, send, or read a text-based communication." 

Just in case you're trying to parse the definitions, write, send, or read a text-based communication "means using an electronic wireless communications device to manually communicate with any person using a text-based communication, including, but not limited to, communications referred to as a text message, instant message, or electronic mail."

Now don't go into a panic here.  There's an exception to almost every rule:  you can still "read, select, or enter a telephone number or name in an electronic wireless communications device for the purpose of making or receiving a telephone call."

Whew!

But don't get caught twice - the fine goes up to $50.00 for a second offense.  Neither the first, second or following offenses, however, will result in adding a point to your driver's record.  Since July, California drivers (except emergency personnel) have been prohibited from holding a cell phone and talking while driving, and this ban on texting amends that law.  This amendment extends the same ban on texting while driving.

If you haven't gotten enough finger-wagging from the California State Legislature, then you can always listen to the Mom Song.



Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, December 27, 2008 at 09:49. Comments Closed (0) |

Congrats To The Top 40 Mediators

My good friend, Alex Polsky, and another stellar mediator, Gig Kyriacou, were included in the Daily Journal's list of Top 40 Neutrals.  Congrats to them both, along with the other 38 recipients. 

You can wander on over to Alex Polsky's webpage. Plus, he's available worldwide. 



Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, December 26, 2008 at 14:09. Comments Closed (0) |

Merry Christmas

MIPTC wishes its faithful readers a very Merry Christmas.  I hope your holidays are joyful and peaceful.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, December 25, 2008 at 09:15. Comments Closed (0) |

Not A Creature Is Stirring, Not Even The Blogger

It's Christmas Eve, and Santa is about to take off.  You can check out his travels on the Norad Tracks Santa site, no matter what your language. 

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, December 24, 2008 at 13:57. Comments Closed (1) |



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