May It Please The Court
Quote of the Day - When I played pro football, I never set out to hurt anyone deliberately - unless it was, you know, important, like a league game or something.
How To Continue Your Trial Down In The Parish. Especially For Football Fans.
Tip of the hat to my friend, Jamie Duarte, for sending me a copy of this motion from New Orleans: Your honor, we want to watch the Saints play, and you've got this trial in our way. How about continuing it for two days so we (you too) all watch the championship playoff?
MIPTC confirmed it with the lawyers in NLO, and yes, it was filed.
Granted, too. Not surprisingly. Here's the Court's Order.
Now one step away from the Super Bowl, let's all cheer on the home team and help out the folks who still haven't recovered from Hurricane Katrina.
How Much For That Elbow Through The Painting?
Next to Marilyn Monroe's legs, Steve Wynn's elbow must be the most expensive celebrity extremity.
Just a few weeks ago, Mr. Wynn apparently put his elbow through Le Reve, a 1932 painting of Picasso's mistress, Marie Therese Walter. Back in 1997, Wynn purchased the painting for just over $48 million. Now, however, he claims that moments before he put his elbow through it, it was worth $139 million, but only $89 million afterward.
The painting's insurers, Lloyd's of London, have offered $91,000 to fix the painting, with a $21,000 consultation fee thrown in for good measure. Not satisfied with the speed of Lloyd's claims handling process - and certainly the amount of their offer, Wynn sued his insurers asking the Court to make them resolve the claim. It's certainly understandable. Our law firm has worked for Lloyd's before, and it can sometimes take them almost a year to pay one of our invoices for fees and costs. Bitter? No. We just won't work for them anymore.
Meanwhile, Steve's soliciting bids on insuring his elbow.
Light The Afterburners - Burning Man Is On Fire In The Courts
Burning Man is as much of a social movement as it is an event, and many "burners" (the self-styled name of the participants), want to keep both. As with most things, money tends to get in the way. As a non-participant, MIPTC can't really speak to the social or entertainment aspects of the movement, but I can address the legal ramifications.
It seems that one of the members of Paper Man, LLC, the company that apparently "owns" Burning Man filed a lawsuit, only to receive in response a demand for private arbitration. If it gets into arbitration, we'll only know the result after it's over. But news and Internet reports give the picture that perhaps some of the members of the LLC want to keep it private, and others want to put it into the public domain.
Here's the consequences of both: once something's in the public domain, everyone can capitalize on it. That's capitalize with a capital "C." Everyone will be able to make money on it. If it "belongs to everybody," then it does, and the marketplace will control how the name is used, and used perhaps not with the apparent care it's used now. No one has been able to capitalize on it so far because the "owners" have kept it that way.
If the trademark and the name "Burning Man" are kept private, then the members of Paper Man, LLC can control how the name is used. There's also another company, Black Rock City, LLC, which appears to run the festival (dare I call it that?) itself. The struggle over Burning Man involves both, and that big C in the desert may come to stand for something other than what it does now.
News Flash: Marriage Discriminates Against Men In California
At the turn of the year, we were treated to a dispute over a baby's name. Now, we get this story: marriage discriminates against men in California. That's right, here in the land of fruits, nuts, twigs and berries, men are not treated as equally as women. If you look at it from a man's perspective, which is pretty hard to do in this instance, then maybe you'll understand why one man wants to take his wife's last name. He says when you get married and it comes time to figure out whose last name will be the name for both the man and the woman to take, it's not as easy for a man to take a woman's last name, so he's suing.
Apparently, there's no box to check on the marriage license form.
The state just assumes that the woman will take the man's last name. No, I'm not kidding. According to USA Today, only "six states -- Georgia, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, New York and North Dakota -- give either spouse the right to choose the other's last name." Heck, for once California is in the majority. We're not even close to being a trend leader on this one.
I've got another conundrum for you, however. Think about this: what name does this hypothetical couple end up with: Bob Smith-Jones and Suzy Johnson-Brown. Is it Smith-Jones-Johnson-Brown? Is it the two first last names or the two last last names or just a mish-mash of letters? Are they supposed to come up with an entirely new last name?
The California marriage license form will never handle that issue.
Update: For another take on naming conventions: see Justice Bedsworth's commentary.
State Farm Gets Tagged In Katrina Lawsuit
MIPTC promised a follow-up on this story right after Hurricane Katrina hit, and the first of the lawsuit results are starting to trickle in. State Farm got hit with a $2.5 million punitive damages judgment for its failure to pay a claim submitted by one family it insured. They had sought $5 million in punitives.
The family claimed that their home was damaged by a tornado that hit during the hurricane, and State Farm their losses were caused by storm surge, an exclusion in the policy.
Update on January 31, 2007: Ruling on State Farm's motion to reduce punitive damages, Judge L.T. Senter reduced the punitive damages award to $1million from the $2.5 awarded by the jury. Judge Senter said even though "clear and convincing evidence supports a finding that Defendant acted in such a grossly negligent way as to evince willful, wanton, or reckless disregard for the rights of the Plaintiffs," the jury's award is almost 12 times the amount of compensatory damages. Fortunately, Plaintiffs only suffered an economic injury. It is my determination that a more appropriate punitive assessment against Defendant is the sum of $1,000,000.00, which is between 4 and 5 times the contractual/compensatory damages of $211,222.00," he said in ruling on the motion.
Coast to Coast Internet Radio Goes International To Cover Employment Law
Global business has raised the importance of International Employment Law. On this week's Coast to Coast, we welcome a global list of guests to cover this topic. PLease join me and my fellow Law.com blogger and co-host Robert Ambrogi as we introduce you to an attorney from the U.S., and employment law practitioners from the UK, Germany and France to discuss the many branches of International Employment Law.
Listen as we hear from U.S. Attorney Nicholas Connon, partner in the law firm of Connon Wood Scheidemantle, Ramyar Moghadassi a dual-qualified lawyer specializing in international employment law at the firm of Moghadassi & Associates in London and New York, Dr. Gerlind Wisskirchen, partner and specialist in employment and labor law at the firm, CMS Hasche Sigle in Koln Germany and Patrick Thiébart, Esq., the head of Franklin's Labor & Employment team in Paris.
Battle Set Over Sect Leader Warren Jeff's Laptop Contents
Jailed sect leader Warren Jeffs was found with four laptops in his car, and his lawyers want them back from the government, alleging that the contents are subject to the attorney-client privilege.
While the battle between the government and Jeffs' attorneys may have some prurient interest, business owners and others need to be concerned. Concerned about their own laptops and computer data. Documents exchanged between an attorney and her client need to be protected from disclosure, and you can take steps to protect these communications.
In our law firm, we use the following warning on attorney-client privileged documents, and we encourage our clients to do the same: "Confidential Attorney-client Communication This communication is protected by the attorney-client privilege. It must not be disclosed to any other party and should be treated in a confidential manner. California Evidence Code sections 950, et seq. and Federal Rules of Evidence, Rule 501." Other states have similar rules; contact your local lawyer.
Then, when you want your private documents back, it will be easy to identify them.
No Matter How Smart You Are, Crime Doesn't Pay
Here's how the Associated Press story starts out: "Ivy League professor Rafael Robb was an expert in game theory, a complex melding of psychology, human behavior and economics -- all aimed at determining what one's adversary will do next."
With that kind of a resume, you think he could outsmart just about anybody. The police, however, disagree, as you can see in the rest of the story, here.