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 236

The Ozone Battle Continues

As if you didn't know already. Now, though, it's official. Many counties in California violate the 8-hour ozone limit. This USEPA letter published earlier this month gives the details.

The Environmental Defense Fund doesn't think the limits are enough. They think the testing parameter should be one hour instead of eight, that the method of testing should be different, and more aggressive emission reductions should be in place.

Only the Utility Air Regulatory Group supported the change. It was hard to find this group on the internet, but you can read the group's 1997 air-quality comments here.

If you'd like to see the USEPA's measurement of your air quality, click on this map to find yours.

Why is this issue important? Some believe that low-atmosphere ozone is one of the primary causes of asthma. The EDF's testimony cites individuals who have died from the combination of asthma and ozone. Others, like the UARG, don't see the connection.

If you'd like to find out more, here's what the USEPA is doing to curb ozone.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, December 15, 2003 at 09:19 Comments (0) |

The Desert has a New Bighorn Art Project

The Coachella Valley, home to Palm Springs, Rancho Mirage, Palm Desert, Indian Wells, and Cathedral City has a new public art project. It's like the Cow Parade in Chicago, the Community of Angels in Los Angeles and the Trail of Painted Ponies in New Mexico.

The Path of the Bighorn benefits the non-profit Bighorn Institute.

Celebrity artists such as Cher, Chevy Chase and Phyllis Diller have been among the painters. Tony Curtis is still painting his ram.

Kids are getting into the project, too, with Painting for Knowledge, which is now at the Children's Discovery Museum.

My personal favorite is not up on the site yet, but I'll feature it as soon as it goes up. It's a great painting of two rams butting heads. The energy of the painting is fantastic.

You can still sponsor a ram, or become an artist that takes the white blank to reality.

You can do your part for this endangered species and keep watching for developments on the site. 15 of the 90 rams are out in the public so far, pregress is eminent.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, December 14, 2003 at 12:33 Comments (0) |

Zounds! Briefing in Crayon

Some Judges get really frustrated with lawyers and express their opinion through sanctions. Other judges get more creative.

Like Judge Samuel Kent from Galveston, Texas. Apparently upset with the poor quality of the briefs he received from counsel, he named them in his opinion, and expressed his opinion about the quality of their work.

With apologies to Lexis, here it is, in full glory: Bradshaw v. Unity Marine and Phillips Petroleum.

With tongue planted firmly in cheek, Judge Kent takes the lawyer to task for, among other things, using crayons to write their briefs.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, December 12, 2003 at 10:36 Comments (3) |

Quashing Grand Jury Contempt Orders the Right Way

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals issued a decision yesterday that warms the hearts of attorneys and clients across our Circuit.

Clients hire attorneys and expect the attorney-client privilege to remain intact. And, it usually does. But it's the attorney work-product privilege that was recently under attack.

In performing legal work for clients, attorneys will frequently hire consultants or investigators to assist them in preparing for litigation. In this case, that happened when Ponderosa Paint hired Attorney McCreedy. He was responding to threatened criminal litigation by the USEPA over the sale of old paint to employees, which the USEPA interpreted as the unauthorized disposal of hazardous waste.

Without debating the merits of this interpretation, suffice it to say that it is a position that the USEPA consistently takes - so beware. But, let's return to the real problem.

Attorney McCreedy hired Torf Environmental as a consultant to help him respond to the USEPA's demands for information. At all points, McCreedy asserted that the work-product privilege was not waived. Things were eventually resolved with the USEPA, and all seemed in order.

That is until a US Attorney got ahold of things. He called a grand jury to investigate and indict Ponderosa Paint on criminal charges. (I know that's redundant, but it sounds better).

The Grand Jury then wanted to see the documents that Torf prepared for McCreedy and issued a subpoena to Torf. McCreedy refused, rightfully invoked the attorney work-product privilege, and instructed Torf not to produce the documents. The Grand Jury charged Torf with contempt, and the Magistrate quashed the subpoena, but was reversed by the District Court, who held Torf in contempt.

As a good American, Torf appealed.

The Ninth Circuit said that since McCreedy invoked the privilege at every step, and the documents were prepared "because of" the impending criminal litigation, the privilege remained intact.

The Government claimed that the documents had to be created to respond to the USEPA's charges anyway, so they should be produced. The Circuit Court ruled that even though the documents have a dual purpose, the expected protection between an attorney and his environmental consultant remained paramount.

The Court disagreed, and Torf's subpoena was quashed, and the contempt charge reversed.

Chalk one up for the good guys.

And, whenever you hire an environmental consultant to help you respond to the government, hire an attorney, too. Otherwise, you may have to give up some things you may not want to.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, December 11, 2003 at 15:15 Comments (0) |

People in the News, and in the Know

The Orange County Women Lawyers Association (it almost reads like there should be punctuation in that name) will award the title "Attorney of the Year" to Jean A. Hobart. The ceremony will be held on January 6, 2003, from 11:45 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Turnip Rose in Orange. State Senator Joe Dunn will present the award. Jean practices in the area of trust litigation.

Another "Best Lawyer" recipient (named by the LA Downtown News), Byron T. Ball, has an active personal injury practice taking off in LA. If you're in the market for a personal injury lawyer, Byron's one of the best - plus he's a fellow Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity brother, and a True Gentleman.

You'd be well served by both lawyers.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, December 10, 2003 at 11:19 Comments (0) |

Vote for FRAP / The Washington Water Wrangle

Today will be a very short post: if you're a lawyer, please check out this article by Edward Lazarus at FindLaw regarding the change in the Federal Rules of Appellate Procedure to allow the citation of unpublished opinons. I've written about this once before, so you can write in and vote.

If you could care less about the FRAP, then you've probably been wondering what else goes on in Washington. Don't we all?

There's a dispute about water back East. At least for once its not the Western states battling over the Colorado River. The spat now involves Maryland and Virginia in a battle over Potomac River water.

And you thought it all flowed downhill.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, December 09, 2003 at 11:01 Comments (0) |

Mistakes 1, 2, 3, and 4 - Membership Card Revoked

You really have to wonder whether we're evolving backwards.

According to the Associated Press today, one of our illustrious species in Clarkstown, New York is allegedly guilty of several mistakes:

Mistake No. 1: Impersonating a police officer.

Mistake No. 2: Making a traffic stop.

Mistake No. 3: Stopping an off-duty state trooper.

Mistake No. 4: Driving without a registration or insurance.

Shalom Gelbman, 22, of New Square, New York, made all four mistakes, state police said.

Gelbman, with a strobe light on his dashboard and his high beams flashing, allegedly pulled a car over Wednesday night on the Palisades Interstate Parkway, police said. Inside the car was New York State Trooper Seamus Lyons, who arrested Gelbman.

Gelbman was not clear with investigators about why he pulled Lyons' car over. One investigator said Gelbman told officers he wanted to scare the driver and get him out of the way. The car's license plate is EMT DCW.

Gelbman was charged with reckless endangerment and criminal impersonation and was cited for having unauthorized equipment in his car, a dark blue Mercury Grand Marquis with tinted windows. At least he tried to look like a cop. He was released on $5,000 bail after being arraigned in Clarkstown Justice Court.

This guy's 15 minutes of fame are up, along with his membership card in the human race.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, December 08, 2003 at 09:17 Comments (0) |

Why Look Back When You Can Look Forward?

On December 7, the world got a little older, by some 2,300 sailors. Pearl Harbor lay devastated, as did a Country.

But, as we have before, and even recently, we dug deep and pulled ourselves up. In fact, we're still fighting.

Perhaps it is the military brat in me, or maybe it was my time sailing on the Eagle. I don't know. I thank those who gave their lives so I could do things like write this blog and say what I want.

I have yet to hear a 21-gun salute that doesn't snap me to attention inside and make me salute. It's not something I generally talk (or wirte) about.

So, I thought I'd take a look back, and see what else happened this day in history.

Well, in 1872, the HMS Challenger sets sail on 3-year world oceanographic cruise. There is apparently some dispute whether the voyage started today. We declare war on Austria in 1817 (ironic?). In 1972, Apollo 17 was launched - the most recent US manned mission to the Moon.

And, in early recorded history 0185, Emperor Lo-Yang, saw supernova MSH15-42.

We should keep looking forward. It can only get better.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, December 07, 2003 at 23:42 Comments (0) |

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