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Monumental Waste of Time

Monday, April 4th, 2016

I can be accused of sometimes wasting time. However, I have never had a judge in open court make a determination that I was wasting time. Not so for some California lawyers.

A federal judge in San Francisco has showed his loss of patience with lawyers in a pending antitrust lawsuit. In the suit, the plaintiffs are claiming that credit card companies were slow to certify chip readers to assist in the fight against credit card fraud.

U.S. District Judge William Alsup declared the plaintiffs’ request for an injunction “a monumental waste of resources” in a March 16 court, while denying their motion for an injunction. The judge was so ticked off with their motion that the judge ordered the  lawyers to explain how they will provide opportunities in their litigation for “the next generation of practitioners.”

According to the Recorder, the judge wrote that “In reviewing the file, the court is of the view that the pending motion is so deficient that it would be a monumental waste of resources to require the 18 defendants to respond and oppose the motion.”

I don’t even care about the facts of the lawsuit. I am just fascinated with the judge’s order. It’s real! “Stop wasting time” is basically a good mantra to live by.

And for our pic o’ day… I couldn’t stop laughing about this when it was sent to me. Think about “Robert”.

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The Hearing Aid Example

Sunday, April 3rd, 2016

And to get us started for the Monday blog…

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A look-back at my summer employments brought me this memory. The previous summer, I had worked as a pipefitters helper at Norfolk Shipbuilding and Drydock (Norshipco) and decided that for this college summer, I was  going to look for a sales job. Yes, I admit it, I was looking for something easier!

I landed a job down near Sandbridge, selling timeshares. Looking back, I probably couldn’t have found a job with more stress. So much so, some mornings I would wake up and long for that long walk, through the dirt, to the Pipefitter’s shop.

Each morning before our sales day began, there was a sales meeting in the timeshare office and conference room. The General Sales Manager would go over the previous day’s sales and then give us some motivational speech.

I don’t remember many of his “speeches”; but one particular day, I specifically remember one speech about focusing on the positive and not the negative. He began pounding on the table. Then his voice went into an amazing high-pitched crescendo. Then he screamed, ” I will not listen to any of your excuses, it’s just negativity”.  At that point, he ripped his hearing aid out of his ear. Then he exclaimed, “See, I can’t hear your negative excuses for not selling”.

At that point, I don’t think that I was motivated, as much as fascinated. A hearing aid just lying on the table.  Part of me wondered if he had a wooden leg and if that would come flying off next. Maybe with some kind of screaming, “See, your excuses have no leg to stand on!”. OK… I don’t really remember that last part.

Thinking back on his focus on positive thinking does have some good life application. However, it isn’t totally relevant to our practice of law.

Instead of ignoring the negative, it’s best to look at reality. Rarely is there a perfect case. Most of the time, there are issues of fact or something related to the injuries of the client that make for a possible jury problem or adjuster argument, when the case is presented.

Rarely, do I find someone in perfect health. So, it’s not unusual to find a preexisting condition that gets aggravated by the crash. Rather than pretending that there’s no prior issues, it’s better to look closely at the prior medical history and let doctors describe how the crash made them worse. Now, a negative becomes a positive because we have focused on the prior medical history instead of ignoring it. Sometimes a preexisting injury is the reason that a minimal crash or little property damage can cause a person real problems.

Today is the start of major league baseball. Each team has 162 regular season games in front of them. I suppose that some of those teams are best not to focus on the reality of their chances for winning. Their true reality… not contending for first place.

For me I like to positively look at reality. I think that Abraham Lincoln had a good way in looking at life, “We can complain because rose bushes have thorns, or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses”.

 

And for pic o’ day, a bit of Disney…

Disney

 

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The Cookie Settlement

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

When I see lawsuit and cookie… I feel an automatic for the blog!

Trader Joe’s and Pepperidge Farms have settled their lawsuit over the Milano cookie. Originally, a lawsuit had been filed by Pepperidge Farms that claimed that the Trader Joe’s Belgian Chocolate cookie was too similar. Now, all we know is that the parties have notified everyone that the Federal suit has been settled. (ABC News)

The New York lawyer representing Pepperidge Farm, said on Wednesday that the two companies had reached a “mutually satisfactory resolution” and agreed to make no further comments about the dispute. This does not tell us the future of the Trader Joe’s chocolate-filled cookies. I guess we will just have to wait to see how the cookie crumbles. Boom!

And for pic o’ day, sometimes it’s just fun to get dressed up and watch the old westerns?

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Police Bodycam in the Hallway

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

A Miami Beach Police officer, who didn’t trust a public defender, decided to use technology for his personal surveillance protection. (Miami Herald)

The officer was worried that his words would be twisted at the misdemeanor trial. So, he used his new “body camera” to record a hallway interview by a defense attorney without telling her. Then, when the attorney asked him to sign her notes after she interviewed the officer, he then told her that he had been recording the interview. That set off a firestorm!

Currently, under Miami Beach’s camera program, the officer did not have to inform the defense attorney that he was recording her in the court hallway. As the fraternal order of police put it, “It’s a public area. Any member of the public, including the media, can tape in that area.”

The public defender’s office was outraged that their work product could be taped without knowledge, and that it hurt representation. It basically comes down to an expectation of privacy in their eyes.

I suppose this did nothing to create a working relationship between that office and the police department. Maybe both were already a bit at odds, and body camera discussion turned the lens on the problem. (yep… see what I did there!!!!)

 

And for our pic o’ day, I have two from the “technology department”.

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Some Leadership and Appetite

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

This leadership made me laugh….

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And when the eyes are bigger than the stomach….

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A Monday for Thoughts

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

You might have noticed that there was a couple of days last week, where I did not write a blog.  I was in the Washington D. C. area (Crystal City) attending my uncle’s funeral. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

I have attached the history of the Cemetery. The land was originally in the family of Robert E. Lee. It was confiscated by the Federal government and then returned to the family because the Supreme Court ruled on a 5-4 vote that the land had been improperly seized without due process. It was later sold back to the government. Quite a tangled history.

On Sunday, my wife and I attended an Easter sunrise service at the Hollywood Cemetery in Richmond.  It also has quite a history that includes legend and even a reference to a Richmond vampire.

Both of these attachments make for some interesting history reading. At the sunrise service, a group played bagpipes to start the service.

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The song Amazing Grace filled the air as darkness began to give way to light.

 Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)
   That saved a wretch like me!
   I once was lost, but now am found,
   Was blind, but now I see.

Finally, I want to mention my Easter lunch. I guess they knew how much I would enjoy being seated near the desert table.

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I noticed that people went into the “desert room” with a smile… and came out with full plates. Good eating! I like the quote attributed to Ernestine Ulmer, “Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first!”

And for our pic o’ day, this made me laugh:

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This and That

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

The last couple of blogs have been on preparation and planning… and have been long. Sometimes I just want to let you exhale. So, here’s a couple of cartoons to think about for a Wednesday… Right?IMG_1484IMG_1483 (from wumo.com)

 

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Best Day Ever… And Some Planning

Monday, March 21st, 2016

 Yesterday’s blog was on planning and preparation. That brings me to a story from college at Bob Jones University.

At the time, I was a Radio and Television major. I knew that I was going to transfer for law school purposes, but I wanted to garner as much training as I could in that area.

That major gave me the opportunity to work at the university radio station appropriately named WBJU.  Every morning, I would get myself to the station and pull the sports report off the Associated Press machine. Then, I would choose stories for a 5 minute sports report during the 6 and 7 o’clock news reports.

There was another student that worked in the sports department named Timmy.  Now that should have put me on guard right there. Anyone who voluntarily introduces themselves as Timmy… well… there’s nobody home upstairs, if you know what I mean? The elevator only has one floor. Trying to put M&M’s candy in alphabetical order. Yep!

Anyway, Timmy would brag to me that he didn’t need to do preparation for the reading of the morning sports. He actually thought it was a bit beneath him to read sports. He was a news man. Just waiting for the opportunity. His lack of preparation meant that he didn’t preview his read before going live on the air.

One morning, I was in my dorm room getting ready, and our friend Timmy was doing the sports report on air. He had come to a basketball story and was describing future Hall-of-Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Any basketball fan knows Abdul-Jabbar. But “lack-of preparation” Timmy didn’t need preparation for the lowly sports report. Needless to say, he came to that name in the sports report and went on to say “Karrom Abber Jabber”. Yes… exactly. It wasn’t funny as much as just head shaking. Abber Jabber?

Timmy was also majoring in aviation and wanted me to fly with him to Atlanta, as he got his flight hours for his minor. I just decided that lack of preparation had no place for the sky. As the Matthew 28:20 reminds us, “Lo, I am with you always”. I’m not sure that applies to being in an airplane with Timmy!

 

I titled this with a reference to our pic o’ day. I have posted this one before, but it cracks me up! How can you be negative when you see this grin?

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Planning… and Some Ben Franklin

Sunday, March 20th, 2016

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This just seemed to be a good starter pic o’ for Monday, if you had a weekend of busy!

The following represents three examples of preparation and planning. A reminder that to get somewhere… it doesn’t just happen.

The base of the Great Pyramid in Egypt measures larger than ten football fields. Ancient Greek historian Herodotus tells us about the planning. He wrote that it took 400,000 men more than twenty years to build it.

I am told that the Japanese have a special plan to grow amazing melons. First, they plant a seed; Then, allow it to sprout and form buds. They pick all the buds except for one. That bud is left to grow into a full melon.

This single melon is now receiving all the nutrients that originally was being supplied to all the melons that were growing. The result is an amazing tasting melon.

Anthony Hopkins, famous for such roles that range from Nixon, to Hitler and Picasso, to Hannibal Lecter; was asked how he prepared for a role. This as part of an interview with Total Film. His answer gives an insight into preparation:

I’m meticulous about learning the script. I always make sure I really know it, go over it and over it and over it until I feel comfortable with it. People say “How many times?” and I say, “Well, I go over it maybe 200 times,” just to scare the hell out of them. And I only use that number because then I trick my brain into saying, “I know it, I know it, I know it,” and once I feel comfortable, I can go along and act it and there’s no strain, no “What do I say next?” I know it so well that I can just let it happen.

In thinking about planning and preparation, I can’t help but to think about our trial work and about law firm planning. Ben Franklin succinctly said, “By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail“.

Of course, Frank Underwood, in House of Cards, has a different outlook on planning, “If you don’t like how the table is set, turn over the table“.

And for pic o’ day, when I received this one… I just kept looking at it and smiling:

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The Friday Blog

Thursday, March 17th, 2016

 

Yesterday, everyone in the different offices got together for their “green picture”. No green..not part of the green picture!  Lots of folks forgot their green, but I was a “participator”.  Like finding Waldo!

 

Richmond St Patricks Day

 

VB St Patricks Day

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Dog and Scrabble

I hope you have a great weekend ! Maybe you will even play with the dog.

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