May It Please The Court
Quote of the Day - I always wanted to get into politics, but I was never light enough to make the team.
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 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.
Zounds! Briefing in CrayonSome 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.
Quashing Grand Jury Contempt Orders the Right WayThe 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.
People in the News, and in the KnowThe 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.
Vote for FRAP / The Washington Water WrangleToday 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.
Mistakes 1, 2, 3, and 4 - Membership Card Revoked
You really have to wonder whether we're evolving backwards.
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.