May It Please The Court

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May It Please The Court
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There are 2034 Journal Items on 255 page(s) and you are on page number 154

Attorney Mistake Relieves Client From Default Judgment

He said, she said. What's a Court to do when parties on opposite sides of a dispute each say the exact opposite?

The Fourth Two in Riverside faced this "unremarkable" (their word, not mine) situation. Here's how the scenario played out:

We have your everyday contract dispute between SMS Supermarket Service and a service provider, Solv-All. Once SMS filed suit, the parties began to talk settlement. That's where the trouble began.

The parties engaged in a series of settlement negotiations and agreed several times to delay the time for Solv-All to respond to the lawsuit. Apparently, the negotiations stalled, and here's where the stories diverge. SMS says it told Solv-All to file an answer to the complaint and get to litigating the case. Solv-All, on the other hand, believed that the ball was in SMS' court to respond to its last settlement offer. Solv-All knew its deadline to answer was about to pass, but since SMS had granted extensions before, it would grant one again so the parties could continue to negotiate.

Whoops. In a major way. That's not what SMS thought, and promptly took Solv-All's default.

Game over for Solv-All. SMS refused to set the default aside, and was set to prove up its damages. All of them. Faced with certain defeat, Solv-All moved to set aside the default.

As most attorneys know, that's where the going gets tough. If, as here, the attorney who let the default get taken is at fault, then that attorney is the one who has to concede the mistake. The rules say that relief is mandatory if the attorney admits the mistake. As you can imagine, it's not an easy admission to make.

But as we all know, what the rules say must be is frequently not the case. At least that's the result that happened to the Solv-All attorney here who did admit to the mistake. The trial court ruled that the attorney's neglect was not excusable, and could not obtain relief.

Never fear, though. That's why we have appellate courts. This appellate court saw the light and relieved the Solv-All attorney (and his clients) from the default.

Now the case will get heard on the merits instead of being resolved through a technical, procedural victory - not form over substance.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, August 03, 2005 at 22:54 Comments (0) |

Happy California Cows In Trouble With Regulators

California cows are apparently very happy these days. In fact they're so happy that they've recently been named as the number one source of air pollution.

It's the cheese, some would say, but regulators believe differently. It's the gases cows release.

Environmentalists contend the problem is worse than the regulators claim. The Center for Race, Poverty and the Environment has challenged deals struck by the USEPA with cow farmers. Newspapers are writing opinions on the issue. Lawsuits have been filed.

Farmers, on the other hand, are working to protect their livelihood. They're even trying to sell the stuff to cut down on pollution.

How are the cows taking it? They're in the news, they've taken to the airwaves, started fund raising with a calendar, and even started an art show.

You can leave your comments here.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, August 02, 2005 at 09:28 Comments (0) |

Court of Appeal Opinions Doing What Judges Don't Want Lawyers to Do?

Is it pure sophistry? Are appellate judges guilty of lambasting parties and lawyers? Check out that last link.

Judges in some states have the same requirements that attorneys have with one another.

Just a question.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, July 30, 2005 at 17:32 Comments (0) |

Hotel Lost Liberty and Constitution Park. True Libertarian Proposals?

The very definition of libertarianism is that the believer allows everyone to hold their own beliefs, as long as those beliefs don't impinge on anyone else's. Oliver Wendell Holmes said it best: "The right to swing your arm ends where the other person's nose begins."

That's why it's so surprising that libertarians are proposing to take by eminent domain Supreme Court Justices David Souter's home, along with Stephen G. Breyer's home.

Libertarians propose to rename these two homes Hotel Lost Liberty and Constitution Park as new attractions for New Hampshire. It's an obvious backlash from the Supreme Court's Kelo v. New London decision.

But is it right? Are such proposals truly libertarian?


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, July 29, 2005 at 22:21 Comments (0) |

Deal To Pay Defense Firm Out Of Plaintiff's Prop 65 Settlement Pending Before AG

The first-of-its-kind deal where Prop 65 Defendants pay both Plaintiffs and Defendants is pending approval from Deputy AG Ed Weil. We can't see the proposed settlement, and we can't even see today's Daily Journal that details the deal between clients of MOFO Attorney Robert Falk and Clifford Chanler.

The settlement resolves issues of lead in ceramic glaze, and anticipates payment of fines, penalties and attorneys fees to Plaintiff Russell Brimer. The case was filed in San Francisco.

According to the Daily Journal, under the settlement other potential defendants can "opt-in" to the settlement. Manufacturers would pay $95,000, distributors and retailers would pay amounts ranging between $50,000 to $25,000. Of that amount, monies would go to the Plaintiff and his law firm (obviously). Presumably some amount would be paid in fines.

The settlement anticipates that the law firm (Morrison & Forester) representing the lead defendant, Boelter Hospitality Companies, would also be paid $5,000 to administer the settlement for each new defendant that elects to opt-in.

It's an inexpensive option for potential defendants, continued employment for the defense law firm and a boon for the Plaintiff and his attorneys. We'll see what the AG has to say about this apparently sweet deal for just about everyone involved.

Or is it so sweet?


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, July 28, 2005 at 12:30 Comments (0) |

What Would Pacman Think?

You, like me, may be part of the generation that grew up just as personal computers came into favor, while we were playing our hearts out with video games, including those common household games like Atari 2600 and its classic titles of Pacman and Pitfall. The games were good, clean fun with simple graphics and even simpler audio. In fact, the audio was often nearly incomprehensible.

So it caught my attention when I read that the “actors” that provide voices for today’s crop of video games are seeking a new contract for their services. I had never considered that there were “actors” involved in video games, so I headed down to the local electronics store and looked over the current selection of titles and played a few sample games. No question about it folks, you can recognize the voices of some very famous actors in these games. Perhaps the proposed contract that would increase pay - but not pay residuals - is in order.

If the game developers and actors can’t reach an agreement, however, then we might have to go back to the likes of Missile Command and Pole Position. Would that really be so bad?

Ah, the good old days.


Printer friendly page Posted by Michel J. Ayer on Wednesday, July 27, 2005 at 01:12 Comments (0) |

As If You Ever Doubted It

Yes, folks, sewage is a pollutant. But you probably already knew that.

Some insurance companies believed it wasn't so. Rarely will MIPTC point out the mistakes of insurance companies (tongue planted firmly in cheek here), but this new case is especially welcome since this insurance company denied a claim on the basis that sewage wasn't a pollutant.

The pollution exclusion in insurance policies is used as a shield to deflect many claims, but sewage will no longer be one of them. Insurance companies don't want to pay your claim, they want you to buy more coverage instead.

In some circumstances, pollution insurance is a worthwhile purchase. But when you've already paid for it, you shouldn't have to buy it again.

Now, if sewage is in the picture you won't have to.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, July 26, 2005 at 18:13 Comments (0) |

The Consequences of Hair Loss and Losing ... well, Let's Just Say Losing

There's been talk here in the US for a long time about frivolous suits. I guess it's a good thing, then, that this case over whether toupees should be covered by health insurance was filed in Germany.

Don't look at me that way, I just report 'em. I guess this guy will just have to live with a comb over. But this story was only the half of it.

There must have been something in the water recently in Germany. A Berliner got a police escort back home when she was found in a grocery store wearing only an unbuttoned denim jacket, allegedly as a consequence of losing a game of spin the bottle. The 35-year-old only received a warning since it was 4:00 a.m., and it presumably didn't cause too much of a stir.

You can fill in the blank here with your own pun for this second story. _________________. I had several, but decided that some level of discretion was required.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, July 25, 2005 at 13:52 Comments (0) |

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