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 - Napster and music is the first big battleground for digital media on the Internet; clearly it's a preamble to what will happen ... with movies. - Jim Long
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There are 2034 Journal Items on 255 page(s) and you are on page number 253

Go Forth and Copy No More

The California Supreme Court issued its long-awaited decision in DVD Copy Control v. Bunner and ruled that Hollywood can stop those who decrypt the technology that allows DVDs to be copied.

The Court resolved the issue of whether free speech controls over trade secret law, and held for that good, old-fashioned capitalist mentality (which writes my paycheck). Trade secrets won out, and cash registers will continue to cha-ching with the sales of DVDs. The Napster revolution stumbles once more.

That is until the next website posts the code to decode DVDs.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, August 25, 2003 at 16:29. Comments Closed (1) |

A Hole in the Seamless Web, and in our Hearts

It is with great sadness that I inform you that Evelyn Munoz, the wife of the Honorable Greg Munoz, Judge of the Orange County, California Superior Court, was killed in an automobile accident in Irvine, on Saturday, August 23rd.

The Rosary Vigil will be held on Tuesday, August 26, 2003, at 7:30 p.m. at St. Joachim Church in Costa Mesa. The church is located at 1964 Orange Avenue, Costa Mesa (corner of 19th and Orange).

The funeral mass will be held the following morning, Wednesday, August 27, 2003, at 10:00 a.m. at the same location. My thoughts are with Judge Munoz and his family, as are all members of the bar.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, August 25, 2003 at 09:43. Comments Closed (0) |

A Criminal Waste of Space

I'm proud to announce that California Associate Appellate Justice William W. Bedsworth ("Beds" to his friends) has agreed to post his monthly column, A Criminal Waste of Space and to be an adjunct to this blawg.

You can click on the link above or in the left column to read this month's column. As it says at the bottom of his posting, he "writes the column to get it out of his system," and I am glad he does.
Now, as Denise Howell suggests, I'll see if I can get Beds to post on a more frequent basis. For his biography, just click on this link - and please feel free to add his blog to your blogroll and aggregators.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, August 24, 2003 at 14:07. Comments Closed (1) |

How to turn $5,000 into $3,000,000

Scam or real-life situation? When you're a high-end museum that may have been defrauded, it's real life. The Springfield Museum filed suit last Friday against a New York art gallery over a painting purchased in 1955 that it gave back to the Italian government.

Now back in the Ufizzi in Florence and worth approximately $3,000,000, the 1597 painting was alleged to have been stolen in WWII from the Italian embassy in Switzerland. The New York gallery sold it to the Springfield Museum and told them only that it was owned by a "Swiss lady."

Talk about due diligence. If you want to make money, don't do your homework, buy an old painting on the cheap and just wait about 50 years or so.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, August 24, 2003 at 13:38. Comments Closed (0) |

Take my Ring, but don't Take my Money

Lee wanted to marry Yang. He worked in the United States, she worked in Hong Kong. To entice her to marry him, he gave her an engagement ring, and also added her name to his bank accounts.

She moved to the United States, and began living with him. She discovered letters from "men around the world" written to him professing their love. Apparently, he had several previous homosexual relationships that he had not disclosed to her.

Jilted, she called off the wedding. She also cleaned more than $350,000 out of their now joint bank accounts, which included some of her money. (She left a $500,000-a-year job to move the U.S., and was only able to find employment at $70,000 per year).

He sued of course.

The Court ruled that because he made the accounts joint and there was no written agreement, she was entitled to the money.

As a consolation prize, the Court gave him back the diamond (that came from his grandmother's engagement ring.)

Next time, I'm sure, he'll get it in writing.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, August 22, 2003 at 10:35. Comments Closed (0) |

Assisting in a Crime Makes You Guilty of the Crime

Initially, the result in this case seems a bit harsh, but it's actually a time-worn law. Hodgson held a gate open to allow a fellow gang member to shoot and kill a victim. The Court held Hodgson guilty of first-degree murder for assisting in the crime. The shooter was likewise found guilty of first degree murder.

Even if you don't pull the "trigger" that leads to a crime, you're just a guilty as the the person with the gun if you help make it possible. This legal ruling extends to just about every crime committed, so be aware of just what you're participating in.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, August 22, 2003 at 10:24. Comments Closed (0) |

Can I have a Witness (fee)?

$35.00??? That's it?

When you appear in Court or have your deposition taken, you sometimes will get a check for a whopping $35.00, no matter how long they keep you there. Your hourly rate is likely much more than the paltry sum you get paid.

Is it your civic duty? Are you entitled to more? What about that guy who sued his doctor for standing him up for three hours at his doctor's appointment? Even he got an award in excess of $300.00.

One California court doesn't think you're entitled to more than that measly $35.00 witness fee. In the case of Baker-Hoey v. Lockheed Martin, a doctor sat for in a deposition for several hours, but only got a $35.00 award from the Court, even though that doctor's hourly rate was through the roof.

The Court here properly interpreted the law as it presently stands. If we were to ask the Court for relief, they'd say we need to go talk to your legislator - that is if they're not busy running for governor of California.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, August 21, 2003 at 18:29. Comments Closed (0) |

The Absolute Pollution Exclusion Isn't

If you spray pesticides and you get sued, your insurance company cannot deny coverage under the so-called "absolute" pollution exclusion. Today, California's Supreme Court ruled: "the pollution exclusion does not plainly and clearly exclude ordinary acts of negligence involving the application of pesticide." MacKinnon v. Truck Ins. Exchange (Farmers)

This decision dramatically changes the landscape of coverage for environmental claims. The Court's opinion tried to tie the coverage into the insured's "understanding" of what should be covered in an insurance policy.

What is striking about this case is the Court's determination that most insureds wouldn't think that pesticides are excluded because they're not typically covered by environmental laws.

Oddly enough, the Federal Insecticide, Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA) regulates pesticides in the same way that most other toxics are under other federal environmental regulations.

We can expect insurance companies to rewrite the "absolute pollution exclusion." In the meantime, lawyers will challenge denials of claims more.

Printer friendly page Permalink Email to a friend Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, August 15, 2003 at 19:39. Comments Closed (0) |

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