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 179

Insurers Trying To Dodge The Bullet Don't Succeed

If you run a business, then at one time or another, someone has asked you for an additional insured endorsement. Careful with that last link - that's an insurance company telling you what it thinks the endorsement means.

You'll be glad to know that the courts have straightened out the insurers. Not surprisingly, the endorsements mean more than the insurance companies think they do.

Or think they don't.

As was the case in the last link. Reading the opinion is a nightmare to understand, largely because of the combination of insurance lingo and legalese. Here's how it shakes out.1

A company leased out its movie lot in North Carolina to allow a movie company to make The Crow. The two companies signed an agreement, and the movie company agreed to indemnify the movie lot company if it got sued as a consequence of someone getting hurt on the movie lot during the filming of the movie. The movie company also agreed to have its insurer name the movie lot company as an "additional insured" to its policy.

Sure enough, someone got hurt, and the movie lot company got a judgment taken against it.

But, there's a law in California (don't ask me to explain in one sentence how we got from a movie lot in North Carolina to a court in California) that says indemnity agreements that try to indemnify someone else for their sole negligence are void. Now before we go much further, we have to introduce the insurers into the equation.

Here, the movie company's insurer paid the judgment against the movie lot company as it was required to do under the additional insured endorsement. But, it then argued that it was entitled to the same rights that the movie company had under the law. That is, since the injury that resulted in the judgment was the sole fault of the movie company, it did not have to indemnify the movie lot company. So, the movie company's insurer reasoned that it too didn't have to indemnify the movie lot company.

The insurer thought that was a pretty neat trick, and then sought to get the movie lot company's insurer to contribute toward paying the judgment. You saw that coming, didn't you?

It didn't work.

The court saw right through that argument and said that the additional insured endorsement operated as independent obligation, separate from the indemnity agreement between the movie company and the movie lot company.

So the movie lot company didn't have to contribute toward the judgment and the movie company's insurer had to pay the entire judgment.

The moral of the story?

Insurers who try to avoid their own contractual agreements won't be allowed to.


1 Or, you could just wade through the Court's description: "We conclude that while section 2782 may preclude enforcement of a promise of indemnity in a construction contract, it does not limit the enforcement of an 'additional insured' endorsement provided to the indemnitee by the indemnitor's liability insurer pursuant to the terms of the indemnity agreement. In addition, we hold that the provisions of the contract of indemnity will not preclude enforcement by the indemnitee of its claim of coverage under the additional insured endorsement." American Casualty Company of Reading, PA v. General Star Indemnity Co. (Jan. 27, 2005, 2nd Dist. Court of Appeal, 2005 DJDAR 1089) back.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, February 01, 2005 at 23:15 Comments (0) |

The First Month Of 2005 Is Over. How Are Your Resolutions Coming Along?

Are you relaxing at home tonight? (Subscription required to access link). According to the statistics in that last link, if you're a lawyer, you're probably not. At least some 87% are not. But I don't think the phenomenon is limited to lawyers.

Even so, the January 31, 2005 California Law article notes that "attorneys toil at home an average of nine nights per month, though 13% say they never work from home. On the other end of the spectrum, 7.5 percent of those surveyed have "homework" at least 25 evenings each month, and another 10.5 percent work from home 20 to 24 nights per month," writes June D. Bell.

I checked Matt's blog to see if he caught this story yet, but he hadn't. We'd all be interested in his perspective, I'm sure. Perhaps, however, it isn't Matt's perspective, but your family's that matters.

Ask them. Find out whether being buried in your computer is "quality time" with the family. If you're like me, you probably already know the answer. In some ways, it's too late for me. My kids are grown and off to graduate school (two of three are married), so I'll never really know the answer to that question. Or do I already?

In any event, it's time to ask some questions: How blissful is your life? Do you have time to do something about it? What are your resolutions and goals?

Most important, what are you going to do?


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, January 31, 2005 at 12:02 Comments (0) |

The Newscast About The Podcast

First came the Podcast about the Podcast from MIPTC contributor Mike Geoghegan on his own blog, MWGblog. MIPTC features Mike's podcasts as a part of our "Friday At The Movies" series.

Mike next followed his highly regarded podcast with the Podcast about the Podcast #2. It's been equally well received, and if you want to learn more about podcasting, it's a "must listen." Mike also features some great podcasting resources on his blog, aka "Reel Reviews." Take a visit and look around; Better yet, give a listen to his movie review podcasts. MIPTC features only a smattering of Mike's excellent work.

Just last week, Mike and his podcasts were recently featured in the Orange County Register, along with MIPTC on the article's second page. Now, you can read the newscast about the podcast.

I aspire to provide you with Mike's same sound quality in MIPTC's podcasts. First, though, I've been working on the vidcasts, which I've put on the shelf temporarily until I can get the lighting requirements down and the teleprompter activated. Plus, I've got an offer to use a highly sophisticated and computerized television studio, so it won't be long before MIPTC vidcasts are back up and running. Even though it was a blast to get started, the quality wasn't what it should have been.

Vidcasts will be back soon, and meanwhile, you can enjoy MIPTC's podcasts. Even better, you can join us at our next OC podcaster's meeting and learn even more.

Look at it this way: it's cheaper than the $249 to $375 cost you'd have to pay to attend this seminar.1


1 Now, admittedly, you'll learn a few other things in that seminar, but it was odd to find out that someone else is giving seminars and using MIPTC as an example. back


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, January 30, 2005 at 22:41 Comments (0) |

Diving Doesn't Involve Floating; The Best Part Is Underwater

Here's a new lawsuit I'd like to read. It's a scuba diver who was diving off an oil rig, and alleges that he was left to drift for five hours because the dive boat forgot him. As we all know, there are more than two sides to every story.

It has happened to other divers in other parts of the world, sometimes with disastrous results. But there are precautions. High among them is to dive with a group of friends.

Another is to stay with your buddy. It's a system that works well to ensure everyone dives safely. It also places responsibility on both divers to maintain contact while under water. After all, even if you're doing fine, your buddy may need some help.

On the whole, diving is safe, enjoyable and an exhilarating sport. Like other sports, it requires discipline and attention to detail.

After all, if you don't dive, you're missing two-thirds of the world. You can dive right in.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, January 29, 2005 at 23:11 Comments (0) |

MIPTC's Friday Wine Review from Grape Radio

Retail Wine Buying

Here's MIPTC's Friday wine review from Grape Radio. Today, the guys talk up "Retail Wine Buying." Give a listen to their podcast.

Grape Radio #3: This show focuses on the retail aspect of buying wine. There is no reason for a novice wine buyer to be intimidated about going into a wine store and asking for help finding a bottle of wine.

Grape Radio's special guest today is Senior Wine Buyer John Downing. John has been in the business for over eight years and focuses on international wines, but he also gives great insight into buying wine from a local retailer.

John works at Hi-Time Wine Cellars, a wine and spirits shop founded 1957. The store, which is one of the largest in the USA, is both a traditional brick-and-mortar establishment while also offering a full e-commerce online shopping option. Hi-Time Cellars offers an email newsletter and can be found at Hi-Time Wine.


Printer friendly page Posted by Brian Clark, Leigh Older and Jay Selman on Friday, January 28, 2005 at 20:17 Comments (0) |

MIPTC's Friday At The Movies Feature from Reel Reviews

Cinephile Series #3: Apocalypse Now

As a regular Friday feature on MIPTC, here's Mike Geoghegan's movie review and podcast:

Reel Review #23: “Everyone gets everything he wants, I wanted a mission and for my sins they gave me one.” For the third edition of the Cinephile Series we examine Apocalypse Now. (Please remember, unlike the standard Reel Reviews, the Cinephile Series works on the assumption you have seen the film. Spoilers abound.) Easily one of the greatest films ever made, Apocalypse Now has rightfully maintained its popularity with new movie going audiences over the years. Simply put - a must see film. (For the observant listener, you’ll notice Mike mispronounces Joseph Conrad’s novella as Hearts of Darkness. He apologizes: "Sorry about that.") Take a trip up the river with us and journey back into the insanity. The horror, the horror…

Links mentioned:

Apocalypse Now Redux at

Apocalypse Now at



Printer friendly page Posted by Mike Geoghegan on Friday, January 28, 2005 at 20:09 Comments (0) |

Doctoring With Law Degrees

What kind of a degree does a lawyer get upon graduation from law school? Sure, it's called a Juris Doctor, but is it more like a Ph.D. or more like a masters? It takes about three years to get either a law degree or a doctorate. No one calls lawyers "Doctor," however, and we don't have to write a thesis.

But we do have to take the bar exam to practice, and I'm not sure which is worse.

If you're going to Harvard, it could be a distinction without a difference. You can now get Ph.D. credits from taking law classes.

Just imagine. "Bob Smith, J.D., Ph.D."

Does that mean that it'll be "Doctor Bob, Juris Doctor?"


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, January 27, 2005 at 13:41 Comments (1) |

A Parent's Nightmare Come True. What Would You Do?

If you're a parent, read on. If you're an under-18 child of a parent, read on. Better yet, read the introduction to this court opinion first.

No, this post is not rated, but if it was, it would be rated G. The court's opinion, on the other hand, could qualify as NC-17.

You can always tell a lot from the first line of court opinions. This one gives no doubt about the outcome: "This case is a parent's nightmare come true."

Daughter, 16, started dating a 15-year old boy. Her grades declined, she failed three classes, skipped school and had a series of behavioral problems with her parents. Guessing that the boyfriend was the root of the problem, Mom banned daughter from dating boyfriend.

Boyfriend, in turn, wrote threatening letters to Mom, including "fantastical" schemes including murdering the parents and other "vitriolic" threats.

Mom got an injunction, preventing boyfriend from contacting daughter, Mom and Dad.

Boyfriend appealed the injunction, claiming it violated his first amendment rights.

As foreshadowed above, boyfriend lost. That is until daughter reaches 18, when she reaches majority, and the Court set the injunction to expire. As the Court noted, "She will then have the right and responsibility to make her own decisions; her parents' role will become one of influence and persuasion, rather than direction and control. Of course, Danielle could seek to renew the injunction for a period beyond her eighteenth birthday."

What would you advise Daughter Danielle to do?


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, January 26, 2005 at 14:36 Comments (1) |

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