May It Please The Court
Quote of the Day - The global importance of the Middle East is that it keeps the Far East and the Near East from encroaching on each other.
MIPTC's Book Review: Thicker Than Oil
With the current crisis involving Israel, Lebanon and Syria, Rachel Bronson's book, Thicker Than Oil (available in hardcover), couldn't be more timely. The well-researched and well-written book showcases Dr. Bronson's depth of knowledge of the area and helps explain the groundwork for this crisis and the entire Middle Eastern mentality. Admittedly, MITPC has not always known the questions to ask, but Thicker Than Oil lays them out in a logical and rational fashion that allows the everyday American to finally get a handle on cultures foreign to our own.
Depending on your politics, you may not agree with Dr. Bronson's conclusions, but you will have a more thorough understanding of the interrelationship of US foreign policy with International Law and the vagaries of the cultures so few of us understand. Dr. Bronson's experience as a Senior Fellow and Director of Middle East Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.
If you have an opinion on the Middle East and you haven't read Thicker Than Oil, then your opinion can only be uninformed.
Unmarried Couples Legally Live Together In North Carolina - First Time In Over 200 Years
Possibly some 148,000 people in North Carolina sighed a collective sigh of relief last week, but it's equally possible they didn't even know they were violating a state law. According to the Raleigh, North Carolina News & Observer, there was a law in that state preventing unmarried couples from living together. It was enacted 201 years ago. Estimates are there were 148,000 people involved in allegedly violating that law, even though they likely didn't know it.
Surprisingly, seven people were convicted of violating that law between 1997 and 2003, according to the newspaper. Side note here: how an odd number of people could be convicted leads to two possible conclusions: either one person was wrongly convicted or the law is not limited to couples. You figure it out.
One of those unmarried people decided to challenge that law, however. When Debora Lynn Hobbs, a Pender County emergency dispatcher for the Sheriff's Department quit her job over Sheriff Carson Smith's ultimatum that she get married or leave the job, she sued to declare the law unconstitutional. Local Superior Court Judge Benjamin Alford overturned the law as unconstitutional. The North Carolina Attorney General is reviewing the decision and considering an appeal.
Coast to Coast Internet Radio Trains Lawyers To Use Legal Software
For you technically challenged lawyers and technically savvy lawyers, what do you need to know and how do you get the training for the technology that will make practicing law easier and quicker for you?
Join me and my Coast to Coast co-host and fellow Law.com blogger Robert Ambrogi as we turn to our guests Todd Sons, IT Director for Jackson Walker, Adriana Linares, founder of LawTech Partners and Andy Adkins, Director of the Legal Technology Institute at the University of Florida, Levin College of Law for information you won't want to miss. Click on the icon below and give a listen.
New Zealand Cop Chastised For Legal Prostitution
In New Zealand , prostitution is legal. So are second jobs. In some instances, however, the two apparently don't mix. An unnamed Auckland policewoman needed some extra cash, and turned to nighttime prostitution after her daytime job walking the beat was over. Not so fast said the police chief and put a halt to the second job if she wanted to continue in the first.
Apparently, she didn't seek permission from the police first. Now, she's just walking the beat again.
Insert your own pun here.
Mickey Spillane Comes Back To Life At Night In New York
One of MIPTC's favorite distractions is Court TV's Fluorescent Justice Blog. Maybe I'm a closet New Yorker. Maybe I enjoy the Mickey Spillane-esque (God rest his soul) style of writing. perhaps it's just the images the name of the blog communicates.
You might want to saunter over and get a look inside some of New York's grimiest night-time courtrooms. The blog has a new podcast, along with some interesting sketches to spice it up. It's worth a listen, look and read.
Cable Guy Not Liable For Punitive Damages
You're hard at work writing screenplays (yes, we're in LA) on your computer, and the doorbell rings. Finally. It's the cable guy, and he's here to hook up your DSL service. You're looking forward to ditching that almost-as-slow-as-snail-mail dial-up modem in favor of blazing-fast downloads. At least that's what the cable company told you over the phone.
If you've ever had the cable guy hook up DSL, then you know that he's got to access your computer in order to complete the set-up. Kind of like the old house calls that doctors no longer make. You know, look under the hood, prod in a few places and tell you to take two aspirin and call me in the morning. Everything will be fine.
Well, for Nicholas Boyd, not everything was fine when the cable guy left. Sure he had his new, blazing-fast DSL, but he was short three screenplays. The cable guy reasoned that certain icons and other items on Boyd's computer weren't necessary, and deleted them. Like any other red-blooded screenwriter, Boyd sued his DSL provider, SBC Advanced Solutions, Inc., now AT&T. Boyd claimed he had a $2.7 million deal for the three screenplays, even though he had never previously sold one. He did, however, have a producer testify that such a deal was in the works, but was far from a written contract, or even a famous Hollywood Handshake.
Instead of believing Boyd and the producer, the jury awarded Boyd $27,000 for the loss of the screenplays, and another $33,000 in punitive damages, figuring that Boyd was partly to blame, both for not backing up the screenplays and then using the computer after the files were deleted, saving over the sectors on the hard disk where the screenplay files had been saved. The forensic computer consultant hired by SBC recovered only part of one screenplay.
The Second District Court of Appeals, in an unpublished decision (payment required to view), reversed the punitive damages award against SBC because the jury failed to make a finding that the cable guy intentionally erased the screenplays. Without intent, punitive damages are inappropriate, the Court ruled.
Boyd recovers $27,000, less SBC's costs on appeal, for his screenplays. He'll likely end up owing SBC for the experience. The cable guy got fired.
Bigfoot Found In California Court
You've known since you were a kid that he was out there. That's right. Bigfoot. You've seen the movie and even read the stories, but you may not have known about the Great American Bigfoot Research Organization in Rohnert Park, California. Yep. Right there not too far from Happy Camp and right there next to the U.S. Department of Transportation's Bigfoot Scenic Byway.
C. Thomas Biscardi does. Biscardi's been looking for Bigfoot since 1967, according to this site. Biscardi recently went looking for Bigfoot again, but this time, in court in lovely Marin County. Biscardi claims that the Great American Bigfoot Research Organization owes him money for Bigfoot artifacts he provided the group. Biscardi alleges that he's requested the items back, but GABRC hasn't either returned them or paid for them.
Well, in Biscardi's mind, the items are worth about $215,000, and he alleges the GABRC has made only one payment for them. Maybe Biscardi will be able to prove in court that Bigfoot exists.
Only in California.
* (Video link with sound, sexual references, not appropriate at work.)
Neo, Did You See That Ripple In The Internet?
Denise Howell still works at Reed Smith according to the firm's website (link may be taken down, but it exists today), even though she's traveling now. She's one of MIPTC's inspirations and the first person I went to talk to about starting this blog. To say she's an influence on the Internet is an understatement. Now, however, she's out on her own, having been given the boot by her firm, despite what its website may say.
This lawyer used to work at a similarly sized firm and likewise took the high road to establish this one. Our firm is intentionally relaxed about the things that make big firms crazy, but we still handle the procedural things the same way. It's a comfort level, without the insanity. I think she might like the style. Denise and I have sat together on at least one panel and blog in the same neighborhood in Newport Beach. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to get together more frequently now that she's not spending half of a billable day on the road.
Denise is particularly mum about the whys and wherefores due to a confidentiality agreement (read: severance package, I'm guessing). Whatever the reason, what was Reed Smith thinking? I don't know about Denise's rainmaking, but she's certainly a forward thinker and more than creative. There was a ripple in the fabric of the Internet the day that decision was made.
I hadn't noticed that we both sit on the same chair when I went to her office to visit with her about blogging some three years ago, but knowing Denise, it's not the only similarity. Somehow, I think there may be space for an extra Aeron around here.