May It Please The Court
Quote of the Day - From the moment I picked up your book until I laid it down, I was convulsed with laughter. Some day I intend to read it.
Why Blogs?Fellow Law.com blogger Bob Ambrogi ran smack into that question at a recent seminar. It's a problem all bloggers face. I've tried to explain it to my Mom (who is more interested in what I'm doing than practically anyone else), and she somewhat gets it because I liken it to something she understands: a newspaper column, but on steroids.
When she sent a note to me suggesting a topic for me to blog about, however, she spelled it "blough." Arrrgh. Bob, I share your pain.
We have the same problem out here on the left coast. Hopefully, those attending the blog seminar at Legal Tech in LA on Thursday, June 23, 2005, at 3:30 p.m., will be more receptive than the average lawyer. Stay tuned, though, I'll report in afterward.
The seminar presenters have laid out an aggressive agenda to cover. Me? I'm thinking it's best to keep it simple: read, click, surf, rinse and repeat as necessary. You learn more that way. After all, you're here, right?
Meanwhile, keep reading.
Wikitorials wikideletedDid you mean: wikitoria? That was Google's question when I ran the search in that last link. It's so new that Google hasn't yet figured out wikitorials.
The LA Times suspended its new feature, Wikitorials, built on the concept of wikis, or open source editing, where people can post freely and edit each others' posts.
The experiment didn't work. Why not? Foul language and other inappropriate comments, according to the LA Times. It seems that we as an internet society just can't get along.
Reactions ranged from "I'll be damned" when it started to "well, you knew this was coming" when it ended.
Apart from the stereotypical reactions, why did the experiment go wrong? Why, especially, when Wikipedia works so well? Perhaps it's the difference between facts and opinions. Maybe it's as simple as that. We know how to check facts but can we ever agree on each others' opinions?
Apparently not without thought police.
California Punitives: A Win or A Loss?Remember math class? Think back to those word problems: if $5,000 is to $1.7 million, then what is $53,435 to $10 million?
No matter how I do the math, I can't make those calculations match. On Thursday, however, Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar did. The first two links above are cases she wrote that deal with the way that California will be treating punitive damage awards in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decisions in State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance v. Campbell and BMW v. Gore.
One of those Supreme Court cases limited punitive damage awards to a multiple less than 10 (the BMW case), and another proposed a three-prong test: (1) the degree of reprehensibility of misconduct; (2) the disparity between the actual or potential harm suffered and the punitive damages award; and, (3) the difference between the punitive damages awarded by the jury and civil penalties (the State Farm case). But those decisions also left states some wiggle room, and wiggle California has done.
In response to the pair of California cases on punitive damages, Plaintiffs' lawyers claim it's a win and Defense lawyers claim it's a win. Yes, I know the last two links are exactly the same; that's my point.
Nobody's quite sure yet.
Do we still have some more wiggling to do? Here's how Justice Werdegar put it: "California law has long endorsed the use of punitive damages to deter continuation or imitation of a corporation's course of wrongful conduct, and hence allowed consideration of that conduct's scale and profitability," she said in the Johnson case. "We do not read the high court's decisions, which specifically acknowledge that states may use punitive damages for punishment and deterrence, as mandating the abandonment of that principle."
So, punitives can still punish, and maybe the single-digit/three-prong test limitation is out the window when a jury wants to punish a corporation. In Simon, however, she wrote: "uncompensated or potential harm may in some circumstances be properly considered in assessing the constitutionality of a punitive damages award."
My read on the two decisions places California within the boundaries of the Supreme Court's three-prong State Farm test. Sure, each case can be evaluated on its merits, but within the high court's guidelines.
MIPTC May Be Arguing the Bear Flag League's Apple v. Does Amicus BriefMIPTC will be joining the ranks of bloggers in the Apple v. Does matter. On Monday, I'll be asking the Sixth District Court of Appeal for permission to argue the Bear Flag League's Amicus Brief.
MIPTC is not a member of the BFL, but I'm nearby one of its members, the SoCalLawBlog and in the course of a conversation between us yesterday, it looks like I may get the opportunity to participate in the oral argument in this case. As with most appeals, it will likely be a short argument, if the Sixth DCA will even give me (for the BFL) the chance. There are a few others who may have more reason to argue than me, however. We'll see.
Look to Monday's post for an update.
Another Radio Lawyer's Perspective on the Jackson VerdictOur own intrepid Craig Lindberg (yes, there are two Craigs in this firm) was interviewed yesterday on a Palm Springs-area radio station, KMRJ m99.5 FM, about the verdict in the Michael Jackson case.
Check out the podcast below for the Other Craig's interview.
P.S. Post updated to identify radio station in response to first comment below.
You Donít Have To Like The Court, Just Respect ItI happened to run across this article on the decline of the publicís image of the Supreme Court and wondered is this really a bad thing? The article states that 57% of those polled now possess a favorable view of the Court compared to over 70% a decade ago.
Is having a favorable view of the Court as important as respecting the Court and its judgments? I would venture that there are many people, organizations, and even places that we all donít view favorably yet we still greatly respect.
The Court is faced with making difficult decisions that are often incredibly divisive and typically divided along political lines. With a nation that is nearly perfectly split between the two major parties, is it not amazing that the Court has a favorable rating above 50%?
Had the persons polled been asked whether they respected the Court, the percentages may have been the same but I suspect that the respect rating would be higher than the favorable view rating for the reasons stated above. Although slipping favorability ratings may lead to an eventual decline in respect for the Court, it must be remembered that the Court has existed for centuries through traumatic, unstable, and divisive periods and continues to endure.
The appointment of justices for life may lead to great debate and drama when appointment time is at hand, but for the vast majority of the time, this process helps insulate the Court from wildly gyrating political and public pressures. In the long run, I have little doubt that the Court will continue to be well respected and for the most part ďfavorablyĒ viewed.
Podcasts Are Back. With A Vengeance.Several months ago, MIPTC ran out of room on its server, and switched to a new one.
In the meantime, we've had a number of technical glitches to overcome, the most recent of which was cats chewing microphone wires. But, we're through that and several other quagmires.
Now, podcasts are back. All 100 or so missing podcasts. Because of the new server, we've also got a new podcast feed, so if you've been one of MIPTC's regular listeners, please make the switch to our new feed. If you haven't been enjoying MIPTC's podcasts, we'd like to invite you to give a listen.
What Can You Do With A Law Degree?That headline is not an existential question, it's the title of a book, by Deborah Aaron, now deceased. Her publisher, however, sent it to me to review. So, review I will.
The book is a great resource for anyone asking the question that's the title of the book. All the way from career development, recognizing change, developing skills for a job hunt and alternative jobs.
Basically, the book answers the question it asks with a open-ended response: you can do anything with your degree. The best part of the book is not the book itself, but the six appendices. Here are the titles:
1. The 7 Lawyer Types & Their Career Options
2. Online Job-Search Resources
3. Career Counseling, Testing & Online Self-Assessment
4. Job Options, Inside, Outside and Around the Law
5. Opportunities for Transforming Your Practice
6. Index to Legal Organizations Online
But what I'm going to do with my law degree is not a question I've got; I already have my answer. That said, I thought the Renaissance Lawyer links in Appendix 5 were tremendously interesting, and certainly ones that Matt Homann may want to investigate and blog about further.
A good question to ask and even better answers in the book.