May It Please The Court

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May It Please The Court
by Leonard Rivkin
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There are 2034 Journal Items on 255 page(s) and you are on page number 184

Website Wars Erupt Over Copyrighted Material

If you're building a website, be careful what you copy from other websites. One San Diego law firm, Recordon & Recordon, has been accused of copying some seven copyrighted pages from the elder abuse section of a Northern California law firm’s website.

Now, however, the Recordon elder abuse site is empty (link via Google cached pages). The Wayback Machine shows us that a change appeared in the Recordon site between October and December 2003.

The suit was filed by Brayton Purcell in late November 2003 in federal court in San Francisco.

You can check the links to see the design difference in the Recordon sites, but the apparently offending elder abuse material is not there.

Both sites list copyrights at the bottom of their pages, and the allegations of the suit certainly make infringement into an issue. But how these two law firms compete with one another for elder abuse clients is lost on me. They’re almost 10 hours of driving time apart.

That said, the suit does point out the value of original content, even if no one pays attention to the speed limit in California.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, January 03, 2005 at 21:17 Comments (0) |

MIPTC Ramps Up The Podcast Alley Vote

MIPTC's podcasts are featured on Podcast Alley, and listed under the "Business" category. So that you don't have to do too much work, however, we've listed the link for you below Mr. Rivkin's photo (he wrote the book called May It Please The Court).

So, if you're at all inclined and like MIPTC's podcasts, please click the button and vote for MIPTC. If not, and you've got some suggestions for improvement, feel free to post a Comment.

I've also added some podcasting links near the bottom of the "left nav bar" - the black bar on the left. MIPTC is also featured on some of those sites.

Completely self-serving post?

You bet. Have at it.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, January 02, 2005 at 16:33 Comments (1) |

Conversation of Blogging

Old media has nothing on blogging.

Bloggers have a conversation, legacy media dictates how we (used to) learn the news.

As a reader, you participate in that conversation. You can immediately write into the editor, and unlike newspapers, actually get published. Immediately. More often than not, you'll get a responsive email from the blogger.

When was the last time that a newspaper editor wrote back to you?

Beyond the flame-outs that used to be prevalent, the internet is growing up, as is blogging. The old media is moving over, making room for the newbies.

But, we still need each other.

To further this conversation, MIPTC is working on adding the Trackback feature available on Moveable type. MIPTC isn't built on a pre-programmed format; we're here from the ground up with HTML code.

Even though you can get the specs, we'll also make them available for platforms that aren't built on the pre-programmed platforms. That way, everyone can talk back and track back.

Happy New Year!


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, January 01, 2005 at 17:13 Comments (0) |

Reel Reviews - Bullitt

Here's Michael W. Geoghegan's Reel Review #15:

“You work your side of the street and I’ll work mine.” Time to go back to 1968 for a terrific cop drama. Yeah, it is a little slow for the MTV generation - but real life moves along at an ordinary pace. Cops don’t really get in shootouts every ten minutes. This film is driven forward by Steve McQueen’s portrayal of Lt. Frank Bullitt. Better yet, Bullitt has what many consider to be the best car chase scene ever to be put on film. I also announce the winner of the Bullitt DVD giveaway. Buckle up - it is time for Bullitt!

Links mentioned:



Steve McQueen

Editor's note:
If you're at all interested in Podcasting, Mike's Podcast About The Podcast is essential reading. You can listen here.


Printer friendly page Posted by Michael W. Geoghegan on Friday, December 31, 2004 at 11:29 Comments (0) |

A Look At The World From The Chair In My Office

It's almost the end of the year, and you're likely expecting a tremendously informed post either prognosticating or looking back at the year in review.

Well, I don't know that much. But, I can give you my perspective from where I sit.

Today. Right here from the chair in my office.

It's sunny outside, and it will likely be sunny again next year. It rained some today, as well as this past week. It will likely rain again next year, I'm guessing. There are beautiful white clouds in the sky, and snow in the mountains. I can't see the beach from my office, but I suspect most of the water is still there, thank God. I'm terribly sorry for those that recently got way too much ocean water, and we're doing what we can to help from this corner of the world. It's been quite a year for natural disasters.

It's been a little chilly outside this past week, and I'm glad for the heater under my desk.

Cars are backed up on the 73 freeway, but not too bad. It's the only freeway I can see from my office, so I don't get a big perspective on that one. I have noticed that as the year has gone by, I've seen more and more expensive cars on the freeway. There was one bad wreck, complete with fire trucks and ambulances, but we heard later that everyone was wearing seat belts and came out fine.

They've been doing some road construction on Jamboree. It will be nice when it's done, but it's just nice to have roads.

Planes are taking off and landing from John Wayne Airport, and they have been all day. I can remember a day not that long ago when they were all grounded, and I'm hopeful that doesn't happen again.

Everyone in the office is healthy, and we all enjoyed a nice holiday. Most folks here are planning on staying home for New Year's because it's safer.

Maybe it's because we're getting older.

Paper is stacked up on my desk, but neatly organized in the file room. We've gotten off to a good start for a new firm, and with all that's been going on, I haven't had much time off.

I went back to Cape Cod earlier this year for my stepfather's funeral, and my Mom's been having a tough time since then. She and I lost my Dad some ten years ago. Even so, she still gets around, and I enjoy occasionally writing about her. My daughter's back visiting her right now, and she's seen her Uncle, Aunt and four cousins in Baltimore, and might get to see my other brother in Western Massachusetts.

All in all, we're lucky to have the things we do, and the opportunity to help those that don't.

MIPTC is tremendously grateful for you, our readers. I wish you success and a prosperous new year, filled with all the best.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, December 30, 2004 at 13:23 Comments (0) |

Niagara Falls? Slowly I Turned, Step by Step, Inch by Inch.

Here's the best newspaper lead of the year: "Wiseguy, eh? Ruling reversed, nyuk, nyuk, nyuk."

It's by Reporter Dan Evans of the Los Angeles Daily Journal, in today's edition, page 2.

The insurance defense dispute case is Hartford Ins. v. Sup. Ct. (C3 Entertainment, Inc.) and relates to the Three Stooges. The significance of the opinion, however, has nothing to do with Moe, Larry and Curly, but instead whether the judge should have disqualified himself from hearing the case.

The judge had talked with alternative dispute providers about employment after retirement, and at nearly the same time had agreed to refer a portion of the insurance defense dispute to one of those ADR providers.

Realizing he had a conflict, he recused himself, but according to the Court of Appeal, that recusal came too late. It was Do Not Pass Go, according to the Court of Appeal. The case now gets to virtually start all over again with a new judge.

Dan Evan's other gem? " 'Nyuk, Nyuk, Nyuk, Boink,' said Hartford."

Oh, yes. One more thing. The name of one of the three entities that make up C3 Entertainment?

It's Knucklehead, Inc.

Who woulda guessed?


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, December 29, 2004 at 11:15 Comments (0) |

We Can't Spend Our Money With Adobe

Software licensing can be a pain. Even so, all of the software that I own and the firm uses is licensed. We've spent a small fortune in fees.

Now a bit of a caveat here. I'm a wordsmith. I also take photos (but not of the same high quality as Sara's). Occasionally some of my photos will make it into the blog, but not that often.

Typically, it's stock stuff, which because of the format of the blog takes some minor manipulation. Another caveat here, Microsoft Paint is a foreign language to me.

So, enter Adobe Photoshop. Someone recommended it, and I thought I'd give it a try. And a try it was at $649.00.

As any good consumer would do, I installed it. On two computers. One at work and one at home. Then, I wanted to put it on my tablet. You see, I do most of my blog writing and editing on that device.

But, I also use computers other than the two at home and at work. So, I wanted to install it on those, as well. I tried. It didn't work. So, off to the manual.

Ever read Adobe's activation information? I did. I'm a lawyer and I found it difficult to read. I discovered that the software I bought from Adobe was good for only two computers. If I wanted to install it on more computers, I had to buy licenses.

No big deal. I recognize that in most applications, two computers is enough. But you already know I'm a geek, so you shouldn't be surprised.

The worst part about this whole experience was that I wanted to buy licenses to install it on other computers, but I couldn't. Yep. Adobe wouldn't let me, even though I was prepared to spend more money.

I tried phone activation, and spoke to "Caesar" (no pun intended), but he told me that I'd have to go out and buy two - count 'em - two more entire programs.

But I couldn't spend what I thought was a reasonable amount of my money with Adobe if I tried. Caesar told me that I had to spend at least $1,500 to be able to buy more licenses. I explained that I only wanted two more installations, and then asked why would that cost me so much? Most licenses we've purchased are nowhere near that expensive.

Know what happens to companies that won't let you spend your money with them? First, you buy a competitor's product, you refuse to do business with that company and some people (like me) complain loudly about it.

Then, the company goes out of business.

Any suggestions for an alternate program?


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 at 16:20 Comments (2) |

Punitive Damages Now Become Part of Breaches of Contracts

Admittedly, this hasn't happened to many of us, and indeed, to only 9.86% of a particular helicopter manufactured by Robinson Helicopter during a very short time period - less than a year and a half.

But, the fact that it happened at all would be of concern to those 9.86% of pilots flying that particular helicopter. If you fly, you don't need to worry now, however, all of the defective parts have been replaced.

The part? A sprag clutch (not from this manufacturer), but from this one - Dana Corporation.

Now what does this have to do with anything related to the law?

Well, it turns out - you guessed it - that Robinson sued Dana over the defective sprag clutches.

Not only for breach of contract for failure to deliver the parts in conformance with the specifications, but also for intentional misrepresentation. That's a pretty unusual second cause of action when it comes to contract lawsuits.

Especially here, where Robinson sought and received over $6M in punitives.

In a contract case?

You got it. And even more surprising, the punitives award was upheld by the California Supreme Court in the case of Robinson Helicopter Co. v. Dana Corp. This punitive damages award was on top of a $1.5M compensatory damages verdict.

Previously, a good majority of Supreme Court rulings had broadened the chasm between tort and contract damages, preventing companies who sued for breach of contract from recovering punitive damages. Many years ago, the Supreme Court banned the cause of action for bad faith denial of a contract, which many lawyers used to add punitives into the mix of a contract action.

That chasm provided predictability for businesses that damages would be limited solely to economic losses - those losses that come from damages as a direct result of the contract breach (not punitive damages). The so-called economic loss rule, however, just got hammered by the Supreme Court.

Flattened may be a better word. Like a steamroller.

So, predictability is out the window, and breach of contract lawsuits just got a lot dicier for businesses. Admittedly, Dana's fraudulent misrepresentations were bad, and add to that the potential for death, property damage and other injuries as a result of a helicopter falling out of the sky, and you can begin to see why the jury awarded punitives to Robinson.

Indeed, "[a]llowing Robinson's claim for Dana's affirmative misrepresentation discourages such practices in the future while encouraging a 'business climate free of fraud and deceptive practices,'" wrote Justice Janice Brown.

On the other hand, in her dissent, Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar accused the majority of prescribing "a cure worse than the disease. ... Today's decision greatly enhances the ease with which every breach of contract claim can don tort clothes," she wrote. "I fear that in doing so, it opens a Pandora's box better left sealed."

The wolf is always at the door.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, December 28, 2004 at 13:26 Comments (0) |

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