May It Please The Court
Quote of the Day - My occupation now, I suppose, is jail inmate.
The $80.00 Retirement Plan
It's not a financial plan I would recommend, and I doubt anyone else would, either. But it made sense to 63-year old Timothy J. Bowers. He was a delivery man for a company that went out of business back in 2003, and could only find odd jobs after that. He couldn't find a full-time job and felt employers discriminated against him due to his age. He didn't have tremendously marketable skills, but he apparently had watched a lot of TV.
Here's what he did: He robbed a bank. While that part appears designed to get money to help make ends meet, the next part may not make any sense to you, but bear with me for a moment. After the teller handed Mr. Bowers $80.00, he then turned around to the guard, and said, "It's your day to be a hero," and gave the guard the money. Then he waited for police to arrive.
That's not how it's supposed to work you say?
Well, Mr. Bowers had a different plan. His social security wasn't due to kick in until he was sixty-five, so he decided to plead guilty and then asked the judge for a three-year sentence. Yep, a cot and three squares a day.
According to the Associated Press, his lawyer was quoted as saying, "It's a pretty sad story when someone feels that's their only alternative." The prosecutor couldn't agree more: "It's not the financial plan I would choose, but it's a financial plan," replied the District Attorney.
Next Thing You Know, It'll Be McGroom
First we had McDonald's, and now we have Shawnta McBride.
Yep, she's alleged to have had almost as many husbands as the fast food giant has eateries. Well, not quite as many. Only six. Read all about it here.
Coast to Coast Internet Radio Discusses Hewlett-Packard
The HP Spying Scandal has rocked Corporate America. After learning that there were apparent in-house leaks sharing confidential company information with the news media, the top executives of Hewlett-Packard supposedly came up with their own way of dealing with the situation and consequently, we now have a new word introduced into society: a term called ďpretexting.Ē Join me and my fellow Law.com blogger and co-host Bob Ambrogi as we call on the experts to get inside the controversial scandal.
This week, Coast to Coast welcomes Professor Peter Henning from the Wayne State University Law School and co-editor of the White Collar Crime Prof Blog, Attorney William Keane, head of the White Collar Crime and Corporate Investigations Group at the San Francisco law firm of Farella Braun & Martel LLP and Justin Scheck, reporter for The Recorder, a San Francisco-based legal daily. Donít miss this discussion.
Tillamook Tussle Transcends Trademarks
Back in 1976, Tillamook Country Smoker started to sell beef jerky and smoked beef. You're probably more familiar, however, with Tillamook Creamery Cheese, a group of cheese products that have been sold for over 100 years. Both companies are, not surprisingly, in Tillamook County, Oregon. Smoker recently started selling its products in grocery stores, presumably not far from the shelves where the Creamery's products are displayed. The Smoker products had been previously sold by the Creamery online and in the cooperative's catalogs.
Once Smoker started to sell in grocery stores, the Creamery wasn't very pleased. It considered Smoker's attempts to enter the same channel as an infringement of its trademarks. So, it sent a cease and desist letter to Smoker. In response, Smoker sued and asked the court to determine that it had a right to sell in grocery stores and even apply for a separate trademark.
In the words of the Ninth Circuit, the Creamery had a beef with Smoker.
Beef aside, the Court ruled that the Creamery had taken too long to enforce its "Tillamook" trademark, and denied its application to stop Smoker from also using the name. Whether you have a beef and get confused between the two remains to be seen. MIPTC will continue to buy both products and enjoy them, despite the tussle between the two companies.
Mother Wants to Unadopt Foster Child
Can you "unadopt" a child once adopted? One woman in Virginia tried to do so, and a judge initially agreed to her request to relinquish the 15-year old boy, who had been accused of molesting younger children. The foster mother claimed that the social services case workers had not fully disclosed his background before she elected to adopt the boy. The foster mother discovered the situation when she was denied the opportunity to act as a foster parent for other, younger children.
Case workers disagree that they failed to disclose the boy's background, but it may not matter. According to this CNN article, Virginia law requires consent from a child over 14 before the adoption can be undone, and he's not agreeing. He was adopted at age 9.
No Recovery For Slip And Fall While Walking Diogi The Dog
Is a dog park a trail? Why would you care?
If you're walking your dog in a dog park, slip and fall and get injured, you're going to care. Especially if you want to sue the city that maintains the dog park. You should first understand that cities and counties have immunities for injuries that occur on trails because you're supposed to understand that there's an inherent risk in using the trail, and you're more likely to slip and fall there than on a city sidewalk, where it's more likely the city or county may be liable.
For Anni Amberger-Warren, she found out the hard way that she couldn't sue the City of Piedmont. The court of appeals ruled that the dog park (at least the off-leash section) looked more like a trail than a city sidewalk, and denied recovery for Ms. Amberger-Warren's injuries.
So, if you're out there walking your dog, be careful. It's a jungle.
U-Haul's Refueling Fee May Amount To Unfair Competition, But Two Charges Dismissed
Just after I graduated from college, I didn't own a pickup, and I couldn't afford to use a moving company like my parents did as we moved up and down the East coast. Instead, I turned to U-Haul. It worked out pretty well; the small truck was able to handle all of my worldly possessions: my stereo system and speakers, my bricks and wooden shelves, telephone spool table and beanbag chairs. Oh yes, my record collection in milk crates.
As you can probably guess, many others used U-Haul, too. One other U-haul user was Leonard D. Aron. Unfortunately, Mr. Aron was not satisfied with one aspect of U-Haul's contract: the $20.00 refueling fee and $2.00 per gallon charge. I don't remember whether I paid that fee the several times I used U-Haul some 25 years ago, but Mr. Aron did, and he did something about it. He sued.
U-Haul discloses the fee in its contract and gives customers the option of avoiding the charge by refueling the truck before returning it. Even so, Mr. Aron alleged that the fee was unconscionable because U-Haul used the fuel gauge to measure the amount of fuel, which he believed was an inaccurate method of measurement. Under California law, it may be, but that's the province of the court, not this blog.
U-Haul argued against Mr. Aron's allegations, pointing to a statute that allowed rental car companies to charge refueling and gas fees for vehicles returned with less fuel than at the time of rental. Unfortunately for U-Haul, it's not a rental car company It rents trucks. U-Haul did succeed, however, in dismissing several other of Mr. Aron's claims for unfair business practices and fraudulent business practices.
This case is in its beginning stages, and those customers of U-Haul who rented trucks over the last four years may end up getting a coupon or some other token of the court's appreciation for paying the extra twenty dollar fee, but that's still up in the air.
Coast to Coast Internet Radio Takes a Swing at the Big LeaguesIt's October and it is that time of season again! You can just about smell the hot dogs and cracker jacks in the air! Itís the baseball Playoffs! Baseball is not only Americaís favorite pastime, but a favorite amongst our two guests. Join me and my fellow Law.com blogger and co-host, Bob Ambrogi, as we welcome attorneys and baseball enthusiasts, Howard M. Bloom, a partner in the Boston office of Jackson Lewis LLP and Michael Kun, a partner at Epstein Becker & Green in Los Angeles, to discuss their book, The Baseball Uncyclopedia: A Highly Opinionated, Myth-Busting Guide to the Great American Game. Donít miss out as Howard and Michael shatter the myths of baseball.