May It Please The Court: Weblog of legal news and observations, including a quote of the day and daily updates

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The Sixty-first Scintillating Site

The Annual California State Bar Meeting is now happening in Anaheim, California, and one of tonight's presentations is "Sixty Scintillating Sites and Electronic Gadgets."

I'm not attending the convention, but I plan on observing this seminar. It's being given by three excellent speakers, Carole Levitt, Jim Robinson and Mark Rosch.

MIPTC is hoping to convince the speakers to feature this weblog in their presentation, and become their 61st scintillating site.

By the way, welcome to the lawyers at the State Bar convention who received my guerilla advertisements.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, September 04, 2003 at 14:48. Comments Closed (0) |

Spying on the CIA and AG

CNN News reports that the Foundation for Taxpayer & Consumer Rights group spent just $26.00 and obtained two social security numbers.

Not a big deal, except that the SSNs belonged to CIA Director George Tenet and United States Attorney General John Ashcroft. Even the government watchdogs aren't safe from privacy theft.

In response to these types of attacks on personal privacy, about a week ago, Governor Gray Davis signed a new privacy act into law, retroactively effective on July 1, 2003. If you want some government guidance on how to protect your privacy, California has an Office of Privacy Protection. Maybe Tenet and Ashcroft haven't checked that link out yet.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, September 04, 2003 at 08:57. Comments Closed (0) |

The Long Arm of the Law Stretches from CA to Maine

The procedural rules behind jurisdiction over foreign companies is one of the first year courses law students study in law school. No surprise, then, that the Ninth Circuit felt compelled to give us another lesson.

L.L. Bean does six percent of its business in California, and it asked a California company, Gator, Inc. to stop triggering pop-up ads that featured discount coupons for L.L. Bean customers. So far, I was voting for L.L. Bean. But that's not really the issue in the case.

Gator provides a "digital wallet" service that assists customers in making online purchases. As part of its "service," advertisers (read competitors of L.L. Bean) bought "ad space" that created a pop-up ad whenever a Gator customer visited the L.L. Bean website. Not happy with that creativity, L.L. Bean asked Gator to stop.

Also not one to shy away from a fight, Gator sued, asking the court to declare the pop-up ads legal. In Califorinia. Gator wanted the home-court advantage, so to say.

L.L. Bean contested jurisdiction, and the District Court agreed. The Ninth Circuit, in what is becoming part of a rapidly growing web of decisions on internet issues, reversed. Now, L.L. Bean has to answer Gator's action in California over the validity of the competitor's pop-up ads.

Sounds like another commerce-clause, free-speech case to me. My money's on Gator now.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 at 16:40. Comments Closed (0) |


This month's column is out, and posted, and Beds points out the peculiarities of Norway's judicial system, complete with a new set of his classic footnotes.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, September 03, 2003 at 10:35. Comments Closed (0) |

Justice Moore, Redux

In My August 28, 2003 post on Justice Moore, "God in the Courthouse," I opined that the "So help you God" portion of legal oaths had been removed.

I was wrong.

The Curmudgeonly Clerk points out that the oath is still widely used.

In fact, I was doubly wrong.

It turns out that California Code of Civil Procedure section 2094 has two optional oaths, subsections (1) and (2). The first contains the "So help you God" language, the second does not.

I let my experience do the talking instead of the well-written, researched and thought out commentary by the Curmudgeonly Clerk. In the most recent trials I've handled, I hadn't remembered hearing the "So help you God" portion of the oath, since many judges have stopped using it. So, I generalized.

Blogging is a wonderful opportunity to have discussions like this by well-informed and reasoned readers. It's a great intellectual discussion and I look forward to more back-and-forth commentary across blogs.

Not to say anything about learning a thing or two.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, September 02, 2003 at 18:43. Comments Closed (0) |

There's a new Sheriff in town - it's a Satellite

He didn't even look back. But, he forgot to look up.

A 40 year-old Jaynesville, Wisconsin resident spotted a brick-sized electronic object outside a home and stole it, carting it off to his apartment, apparently hoping to fence it. What you'd do with a piece of electronic equipment that had no immediately discernable use, I have no idea, but this bright blub did.

So did others. Apparently, it was as a tracking device for a prisoner on house arrest. You know, the kind that won't let you travel more than a few hundred feet without notifying the local S.W.A.T. team.

When the home prisoner notified the prison that the device had been stolen, the prison guards did what they were trained to do. They flipped a switch.

That switch activated an electronic beacon, and a trail of red dots appeared on the screen, leading right to an apartment. The very same apartment where our hero was planning how to spend his ill-gotten gains.

Needless to say, our hero was immediately arrested.

Yep, a true story - originaly reported by the Associated Press. I don't even have to try to make these things up. Real life is too good.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, September 01, 2003 at 20:46. Comments Closed (0) |

Professional Courtesy Returned, With A Rain Check

Seems like I've picked up some new readers. Famed blogger Denise Howell referenced one of my posts on one of my favorite pastimes, diving.

Apparently, she can't now, but hopefully in something less than nine months will be able to again. I heard something about a dive boat? I'm hoping for a Carribean destination.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, September 01, 2003 at 14:38. Comments Closed (1) |

How to Balance California's Budget

Ready to 'fess up, Reliant Energy (formerly know as Relaint Resources) said Saturday that it will pay a whopping $836,000 to resolve allegations that it manipulated electricity prices in California during the 2000-2001 energy crisis.

That ought to just about cover it. With that massive contribution (tongue planted firmly in cheek here), California's $35 Billion deficit - yes, with a "B" - is well on the road to recovery.

In a classic oxymoron, the CNN article quoted the Federal Regulatory Commission's findings: "The commission found no evidence supporting allegations that Reliant tried to skirt California's electricity price caps, according to the settlement. It also found no evidence that the company sold services without the resources to provide them, the Houston Chronicle reported Saturday."

Riiiight. That's why Reliant is paying that marvelously round number of $836,000.

The Commission says the settlement agreement has yet to be approved by the Administrative Law Judge. The only thing that's online is the FERC docket, and that's not too helpful.

MIPTC wonders whether this settlement monies will go to the FERC or to California. More to follow.

For an updated News Release as of August 7, 2007 click here.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, September 01, 2003 at 13:02. Comments Closed (0) |

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