May It Please The Court
Quote of the Day - Editor: a person employed by a newspaper, whose business it is to separate the wheat from the chaff, and to see that the chaff is printed.
The Cardboard Candidate WinsWhew! It's over. The election, that is. Lawyers didn't riot in the streets or clog up the court system with last-minute challenges, so we collectively came out a winner.
Here's a short and unscientific election round-up for you.
That first link is the San Jose Mercury News gloating over some exit poll prediction mistakes by bloggers. Be careful there, old-school newspaper. There's a biblical adage about that - Let him who is without sin cast the first stone. But, I'm sure the Mercury News has never predicted an election incorrectly.
Then there's my friend, Tom Umberg, whose wife campaigned for him using a 6'1" cardboard cutout picture of him. As a reservist, he got called up to serve at Gitmo during the election, and couldn't campaign from Cuba.
To round things up, I've now got my work cut out (no pun intended) for me given the passage of Proposition 64. We'll be reviewing the cases we're defending to see if we can drop-kick any environmental 17,200 claims.
Oh yeah. Bush won.
It left some wondering why we need a Democratic party.
New Look, Same News & ObservationsIf you're a frequent reader, then you've likely noticed some new changes to the site. The blog/blawg now sports my photo. As my grandfather would say, something to put up in the basement (can you tell I grew up on the Right coast) to scare the rats away. God rest his soul.
Clicking on the photo or the About link will take you to the "some assembly required" (a.k.a. "instructions") page, where you can get some how-to's on the way this site works. Some things there you may not have known, and may be able to do without if you're a power user.
MIPTC® has added the little "®" symbol because the blog is now the proud owner of not just one, but two registered trademarks.
Plus, the MIPTC® blawg has added a completely new feature, Podcasts. Now, you can listen to these posts, and if you'd like, download them and take the audio podcasts with you on your iPod or your Pocket PC. Yep, we're podcasting (plawdcasting?). Blawg on!
Technology. Ya gotta love it.
P.S. Stay tuned. There are more improvements to come.
Oh yes. Ahem. A major announcement, too, in the next several weeks.
The Hulk vs. Snow WhiteYou might be looking for a little comic relief today. I know I am.
Then it's fitting that Marvel Comics sued Disney over the ownership rights to its intellectual property in some of its characters.
I use that term "intellectual property" loosely when referring to comics. But, Marvel apparently takes it very seriously.
I mean, it's Spider-man vs. Mickey Mouse.
X-Men vs. Cruella De Vil.
The Hulk vs. Maleficent (Ok, she's the stand-in for Snow White).
Millions of dollars seriously. Apparently, Marvel did sell the rights to its characters, and Disney may have ended up with them, but Marvel now claims it didn't grant the rights to Disney. Now it wants the millions that Disney made with Marvel's characters.
I can't understand why Marvel is concerned about teaming up Thor and Captain America with Peter Pan.
They all fly, right?
Imagine the possibilities.
I've always thought of Davey Crockett as a superhero.
Should We Expect Bias In Arbitrators?You probably aren't thinking about the arbitration provisions in your various contracts right now. But others are. In more ways than you probably care to know.
Here's the quickie rundown, though, just in case you're dying to know. Or not dying, as is more likely the case.
Just before Halloween, the Ninth Circuit decided Fidelity Federal Bank v. Durga Ma Corp. I know, that citation means nothing to you.
This may help: if your arbitration agreement says that each side in the dispute gets to pick one arbitrator and then those two arbitrators pick a third, don't be surprised if the arbitrator picked by each side is biased.
In fact, if you don't object or require disclosure by the other side's arbitrator, you can't set aside the arbitration award if you later discover such bias.
There's a shocker.
That makes perfect sense to me. If I get the chance to pick an arbitrator, I'm going to pick one I know. If the guy on the other side can't figure that one out ....
So You Want To Be A News Anchor?If you're anything like me and unlike a lot of others you're glad that the election is almost over.
I mean, can't we get on to more important things?
Like news anchors. This riveting piece was front page, New York Times. OK, admittedly, it was below the fold and in the Sunday edition.
But there it was anyway, fighting for attention among all that election news. With a picture of Peter Jennings. You know, the guy from ABC's World News Tonight. I say "news," even though many disagree that what Jennings gives us is actually news.
Why you ask, was Jennings featured news by the newspaper? Because Tom Brokaw is retiring December 1st, and that vacuum will likely rocket Jennings into the number one news anchor spot.
The NYT article cast Jennings in the electioneering light: he is out stumping for the vote. Yep, reconnecting with his voters, er, um, I mean viewers. I knew it started with a "V," it's just that I've been so preconditioned lately to cast everything in the context of the candidates.
Oh, I did it again?
So, apparently did the NYT. They can't get the election out of their head. There's even talk of impeachment in the media. CBS is considering axing Dan Rather, who (like Jennings) has been accused of some rather biased coverage, too.
What caught my attention about the article was its point that some 25 million TV viewers are going to start anchor shopping.
I agree, like many others, that news reporting is hopelessly biased. I don't plan on watching Jennings, my namesake - and Brokaw's touted replacement - Brian Williams (no relation that I know of) or Dan Rather. Actually, I like the Stanford-educated Daryn Kagan on CNN in the early morning.
Balanced news is hard to find. MIPTC tries to give you both sides of the story in its posts, and typically, if you read between the lines (most of the time you don't have to work that hard) what I think as a lawyer.
But I used to be in broadcast TV back in high school and college. Like Kagan, my undergraduate degree is in Communications Arts, except it's a BS (not what you're thinking - it stands for Bachelor of Science), with a minor in marine biology.
But I digress. If everyone's shopping for a news anchor, and Rather may get the ax, maybe the networks will be out shopping for a new anchor.
I'll toss my hat in that ring - how about you?
Either one of us could likely do a better job than the great majority of those doing it now.
Shhh! Leads to Felony AssaultShhh! Be quiet!
I'm trying to watch Academy Award-winning The Triplets of Belleville, a French-language movie.
A moviegoer arrived late for the movie, and got shushed by another moviegoer.
Then, the shusher got to enjoy some abuse during the movie. Seat-kicking, blowing into his hair and coughing. As you could have guessed, the shusher and the shushee ended up confronting each other after the movie.
The shusher got it bad, and ended up in the hospital for nine days with a punctured lung and broken ribs after an unscheduled appointment with a railing.
The shushee? He got convicted of assault with intent to do great bodily harm less than murder. He now faces sentencing of up to ten years.
It was a cartoon.
Mechanic's Lien Invalid If No Work Done On SiteBe careful out there if you're a contractor providing design and planning services for a client but ultimately didn't end up building the project. You may think you can record a mechanic's lien.
Maybe you might have been able to before (how's that for hedging my bets?), but you can't anymore.
According to the California Second District Court of Appeal, it's a no-no.
D'Orsay hired Summit Builders to build a hotel in Long Beach.
Trouble is, it never got built.
Not even started. Not a shovel of dirt turned over. No building permit was ever issued.
But design work got done. Nearly $850,000 worth. Then, apparently, D'Orsay didn't pay because Summit Builders sued, and filed a mechanic's lien.
D'Orsay sought to get the mechanic's lien released because no improvement to the site was done. The Court ruled that because no work was done on the site itself, Summit couldn't file a mechanic's lien. Summit couldn't even force D'Orsay to post a bond (which would have been in excess of $1.2 million).
Ouch. Only design professionals can record those liens, not contractors.
Make sure you hold the right license.
Business Owners May Be Personally LiableHere's a case that MIPTC will be following. As a business owner as well as a lawyer.
The Ninth Circuit frequently gets overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. It happened in this case, and now the 9th Circuit has sent it back to District Court for further proceedings consistent with its opinion.
Judge Procter Hug, Jr. issued the opinion of the Circuit Court.
In the case of Holley v. Meyer, previously styled as Meyer v. Holley in the Supreme Court, the 9th Circuit was reversed in its position that the Fair Housing Act imposed personal liability on business owners.
But the Supreme Court left a door open, and the 9th Circuit has walked right in. The Supremes said that the Circuit Court didn't consider whether the "right to control" exercised by an owner over his employees might trigger strict (or absolute) liability under the FHA.
So, they did. And, since they're a court superior to the District Court, they ordered the District Court to give it some thought, too. In this case, the Holleys, an interracial couple, wanted to buy a home listed through Triad Realty. The realtors allegedly used racial epithets in the process of denying the Holleys the right to buy a home. The Holleys sued, and this battle began.
Now, we wait to find out whether Triad Realty of Twentynine Palms' owner, David Meyer, can be held personally liable for the actions of his employee, Grove Crank.