May It Please The Court

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There are 2034 Journal Items on 255 page(s) and you are on page number 89

Yosemite Park Faces Questions Over Public Use And Rehabilitation

Yosemite is in shut-down mode.  There will be no $60 million construction project for the fishing lodge and possibly no $442 million in rehab after a 1997 flood of the park.  The battle for our national parks has shifted from snowmobiles to you and me.

The question before the house is whether we'll be able to use the park.  There are those who think that these improvements will result in a direct pass-along of the cost to improve the park.  The government claims it's like taxes.  We all pay, we all get to enjoy.  No rate increases they say.

The Friends of Yosemite Valley filed suit against the government to stop it from passing along the costs by stopping the improvements. 

Baby?  Bath water?

Certainly our parks deserve to be protected.  There are too many of us who access the parks, potentially destroying the fragile ecosystem.  Precautions may prevent that damage, and stopping construction on a part of the park that's already got a hotel, campgrounds and a parking lot doesn't make too much sense to me, but then again, the last time I was there, virtually no one else was, and there was plenty of space.

Associated Press writer Garance Burke notes in this article, "In 1996, when the park had a record 4 million visitors, rangers shut gates when all parking spaces were filled.  But last year, the nation's third-most popular park hit a 16-year low with 3.36 million visitors."

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, January 30, 2007 at 00:45 Comments (0) |

A Collection Of A Different Kind, Thank God

Yep, my Dad was a minister in the Congregational Church, which makes me a PK (Preacher's Kid), or as some of the more erudite of you would say, a TO (Theologian's Offspring).  And yes, I walked up and down the aisle with a collection plate.

But not everyone is so tactful about it.

In this article, two guys walked into a church and shouted, "This is a robbery," proceeding to take an entirely different style of collection.  Flashing a handgun, they took women's purses.

Not willing to put up with the interlopers, the parishioners tackled the robbers, and they ended up capturing both crooks.

Even though I passed around the plate, I never got tackled in church.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Monday, January 29, 2007 at 01:06 Comments (0) |

Hazing Lands Two Frat Brothers In Jail For The Next Two Years; Victim With Surgery

Two Florida Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity brothers who hazed a student rushing their fraternity will spend the next two years in prison.  Both were within weeks of graduating Florida's A&M University, one with a degree in engineering and the other in pharmacology.  

Neither will likely be able to obtain licenses to practice those professions, however, now that they've got a felony on their record.  Likewise, they will not be able to vote or legally possess a firearm for the rest of their lives.  After the judge read the verdict, they were led from the courtroom in handcuffs. 

One of the frat brothers beat the student, and he consequently suffered a broken eardrum had to have surgery for bruising.  They hit him with a cane so hard he passed out, and the other frat brother then revived him with water so the student could undergo more punishment, and the second frat brother yelled at the student to buck up and take the punishment.  Despite arguments that the victim was a willing participant, that evidence was disallowed, consistent with the provisions of Florida's anti-hazing law.

Hazing used to be something quite different, but it's not at all like I remember.  This verdict was one of the first under Florida's new law, enacted because a student died from hazing.  Check out for more information.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Sunday, January 28, 2007 at 13:49 Comments (0) |

No Wonder His Fees Were So Low

When you pay someone $100 to fight an eviction or 10 bucks to fight a traffic ticket, you may want to ask the person doing the work to see his bar license.  He probably doesn't have one.  The low fee may be your first clue. 

But when George Robotis appeared in an Illinois criminal court, Judge John Kirby noticed that the "lawyer" hadn't included his bar number on the pleading he filed to represent a criminal defendant.  That was the second clue.  The Judge asked him for his bar number, and according to Eric Herman of The Chicago Sun-Times, who had a source in the courtroom, Mr. Robotis responded, "Oh, I'm not an attorney."

The Judge promptly hooked up Mr. Robotis, who's now in jail under $75,000 of bail.  He's charged with one misdemeanor count, and it's likely more will follow.  He's been "representing" people for over a year, according to this article in the Sun-Times, not only in Illinois, but also in Indiana. 

Anyone else who "hired" Mr. Roberts should call 773-869-6403 and ask for Sheriff Tom Darts.  The Sheriff says Mr. Robotis has an extensive criminal record, stretching to some 30 convictions, which include 23 for larceny, robbery, narcotics and weapons charges. 

Just the kind of "lawyer" I want to hire.

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Saturday, January 27, 2007 at 02:26 Comments (1) |

California Supreme Court Slices Through Privacy Rights, Opens Corporate Records To Class-action Counsel

As MIPTC reported to you last April, Pioneer Electronics filed a challenge to a class-action plaintiff's request for the contact information for everyone who's written complaining to Pioneer about their DVD players.  Pioneer was trying to keep the size of the class down, while the plaintiff was trying to increase the size of the class.  In other words, it all turned on money:  whether it was going to stay either in Pioneer's pocket or in the pockets of the class-action attorneys and the class.

The flag that both sides waved before the courts, however, was privacy.  Yours, if you've ever written in to Pioneer Electronics asking to have your defective DVD repaired or replaced under the terms of the warranty.

The trial court required the parties to submit what's known as a "Colonial Life" letter because it thought your privacy rights were paramount.  That letter was to be sent by Pioneer to you asking your consent to provide your name to the class-action plaintiff.  The net effect of such a letter cuts class actions down to practically nothing because virtually no one responds to junk mail.  The trial court modified the letter, though and said if you don't reply, then your information will be provided to class-action counsel.

As you can imagine, Pioneer appealed.  The court of appeal, on the other hand, vacated the trial court's order, and restored the "Colonial Life" letter requirements.  Again, as you can imagine this time, the class-action plaintiff appealed to the California Supreme Court

The Supremes reversed the court of appeal and essentially ordered the parties back to the trial court's version of the notification to potential class-action members.  Now, Pioneer will send the letter and then if you fail to respond, give up your private information to class-action attorneys.  The California Supreme Court reasoned in part that if you wrote to Pioneer asking for warranty coverage, you probably wouldn't have much of an objection to someone invading your privacy rights and learning about this class action.

The case is a two-sided sword, with one blade slicing through your privacy rights while the other blade slices through Pioneer's checkbook. 

Who won?

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Friday, January 26, 2007 at 02:01 Comments (0) |

SoCal's Marketing Partner Forum Podcast Of Seminar On Blogs, Podcasting and Webinars

MIPTC was part of a stellar panel of law bloggers at today's Marketing Partner Forum in Carlsbad, just north of San Diego, and below is an hour-and-a-half podcast of the seminar, From Blogs to Podcasts to Webinars to Wireless Content: What's Fact and Fiction?

I'm off to a faculty reception and dinner, so I'll add more to this post later.  On the panel with me were Larry Bodine, Marketing Consultant and host of the LawMarketing listserv, David Bowerman, Preston Gates & Ellis LLP, J. Daniel Hull, Hull McGuire PC, Patrick J. Lamb, Butler Rubin Saltarelli & Boyd LLP, and Vicki Spang, Director of Marketing, Sheppard, Mullin, Richter & Hampton LLP.

Well, here's the later:  this podcast includes some of the brightest lights in blogging - yes, certainly there are others who could have been there but weren't - but the thoughts of those who were offer some of the best observations on these new technologies.  You'll learn a lot if you're about to get into blogging, podcasting or webinars.  Give a listen!


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Thursday, January 25, 2007 at 18:39 Comments (0) |

Lawyer 2 Lawyer Internet Radio Deposes General Counsel

Yes- We Have A New Name: Coast to Coast Is Now 'Lawyer 2 Lawyer'

Bombarded by technology and issues of backdating stock options and fraud, how can General Counsel be an expert in everything?  In this show, we discuss the popularity of hiring part-time GCs and the new role of the GC as the ‘superhero' of the company.

Join me and my fellow co-host and blogger Bob Ambrogi as we turn to the experts, John J. Isaza, Esq. the principal of Isaza Consulting. LLC in Newport Coast, California and Stuart Blake, co-founder of The General Counsel, LLC also based in Newport Beach, to discuss this topic.  Don't miss it!

P.S.  Yes, we changed our name.  Really!  We're now "Lawyer 2 Lawyer."  New logo graphics to follow shortly, along with the other accouterments of our name change.


Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Wednesday, January 24, 2007 at 17:34 Comments (0) |

The Dance Between Selling Property And The Subdivision Map Act

Can you sell real property that would otherwise require a parcel map before that parcel map is recorded?  No - under the Subdivision Map Act - according to California courts in the case of Black Hills Investments v. Albertson's

Here's how it all got started:  Apparently, Albertsons sold two parcels to Black Hills, which then decided that it didn't want to buy, and sought its deposits back.  It also started looking for a way out of the Purchase and Sale Agreements to buy the properties.  Under the terms of the contracts, Albertson's was required to record a parcel map on the larger parcel so it could sell the two smaller parcels to Black Hills.

Unfortunately for Albertson's, there was a contract provision that allowed it to unilaterally waive its obligation to record the parcel map if it was unable to gain goverment approval to subdivide the larger parcel prior to the closing date.

Tsk, tsk, tsk, said the court.  The Subdivision Map Act requires parcel maps to be recorded before smaller properties can be sold out of a larger parcel, and there's no exception to the exception.  You can, however, enter into an agreement to sell undivided property, but you have to record the parcel map prior to the closing date.

Albertson's didn't, and consequently lost the sale of the two parcels. 

Printer friendly page Posted by J. Craig Williams on Tuesday, January 23, 2007 at 13:25 Comments (0) |

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