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A Bunch of Snow

Friday, February 27th, 2015

Someday I hope to be scrolling through the blog collection on a hot day, and then stumble on this Friday blog. I know it’s not much of a legal blog but it does reflect the mindset… SNOW!

It did allow us to return some phone calls and get caught up on email. And, the lawyers in the intake department stayed faithful. Way to go Intake!!! The offices that really never close, even when the doors might be closed.

Meanwhile, I worked a bit (a very little bit) from the warmth of my home office. And here are the snow pictures from the house. Maybe you’ll come back to this blog on a hot day too.

From the side of the porch

snow 1

 

From the back of the house… through the window. (that means I was being really lazy)

snow 2

And then down the street from the front door.

snow road

I hope you have a great weekend!!!!

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The Universal Emergency Number

Wednesday, February 25th, 2015

I have to admit that I really have not thought much about how 911 became the emergency number. Yet, I know how important it is. As a side note, I  have had parents tell me that they tried to teach their young child about the number by asking them who to call in an emergency. Many smile and say that their child has replied, “Call Joel Bieber”.

That’s a good answer too! Still, we all learn at a young age when and why to call 911. Now I know the story of 911. Rather than trying to act creative in writing about it, let me post a portion of an article from Howstuffworks.com. It’s how the number began:

Prior to 1968, there was no standard emergency number. So how did 911 become one of the most recognizable numbers in the United States? Choosing 911 as the universal emergency number was not an arbitrary selection, but it wasn’t a difficult one either. In 1967, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) met with AT&T to establish such an emergency number. They wanted a number that was short and easy to remember. More importantly, they needed a unique number, and since 911 had never been designated for an office code, area code or service code, that was the number they chose.

Soon after, the U.S. Congress agreed to support 911 as the emergency number standard for the nation and passed legislation making 911 the exclusive number for any emergency calling service. A central office was set up by the Bell System to develop the infrastructure for the system.

On February 16, 1968, Alabama Senator Rankin Fite made the first 911 call in the United States in Haleyville, Alabama. The Alabama Telephone Company carried the call. A week later, Nome, Alaska, implemented a 911 system. In 1973, the White House’s Office of Telecommunication issued a national statement supporting the use of 911 and pushed for the establishment of a Federal Information Center to assist government agencies in implementing the system.

After its initial acceptance in the late 1960s, 911 systems quickly spread across the country. By 1979, about 26 percent of the United States population had 911 service, and nine states had passed legislation for a statewide 911 system. Through the latter part of the 1970s, 911 service grew at a rate of 70 new local systems per year, according to the NENA. Approximately 50 percent of the U.S. population had 911 service by 1987. In 1999, about 93 percent of the U.S. population was covered by 911 service.

I guess if Paul Harvey was still alive and reading this story, he would finish the blog in voice with… And now you know the rest of the story.

And for pic o’ day I am attaching two in the “education genre”;

 

and 1and 2

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Last Words

Tuesday, February 24th, 2015

I always try to give you something to think about for the blog. Especially a mid-week blog.

James D. French was executed in Oklahoma in 1966He had been sentenced to jail with a life sentence but couldn’t bear it. So, he wanted to commit suicide but was but was too afraid. He concocted a solution to his fear. He murdered his cellmate so that the state 0f Oklahoma would execute him.

Sure enough, he was convicted of murder and was sentenced to death. At his execution by electric chair, he was asked if he had any final words. His reply?  How’s this for your headline… French Fries.  

Steve Jobs’s sister claims that his last words were Oh Wow, Oh Wow, Oh Wow. Now, people wonder what he saw before he died.

Surgeon Joseph Henry Green was checking his own pulse as he lay dying. His last word… Stopped.

Poet Emily Dickinson was famous for phrases as “it is better to be the hammer than the anvil”. He last dying words… I must go in, for the fog is rising.

Inventor Thomas Edison awoke from a coma, opened his eyes and said these words before dying, It is very beautiful over there.

Something to think about for the blog… Last words.

And our source of wisdom in pic o’ day…

Internet

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Pop Goes the Soda

Monday, February 23rd, 2015

There are some products that just seem to be bad for us. For instance, does a soda seem like a good thing despite what Coca-Cola might advertise? I am blogging on this because of a recent study on dark sodas. Just to keep an eye on it. A blog to maybe think about, the next time the waitress says that we have “Pepsi products”. (yes,  this last sentence gives me an excuse to post this)

Sit and worry

So here’s the warning. This applies even if you are trying to stay trim by drinking Diet Coke. Ok… maybe not trim.

So, back to the study on Soft drinks. (Tribune.com)  People who consume one or more cans of soda per day are at a higher risk of cancer. That’s because of an ingredient, 4-methylimidazole (4-MEI) that is formed during the manufacture of certain sodas. It gives a caramel color to the soda.

According to the senior author of the study, “soft drink consumers are being exposed to an avoidable and unnecessary cancer risk from an ingredient that is being added to these beverages simply for aesthetic purposes”. Basically, the study is saying that these manufacturers are adding this to make the drinks dark, for marketing purposes.

There is something being done about this. Consumer Reports has petitioned the FDA to set limits on the amount of this carcinogen that can be added to these drinks. Currently there is no limit and no warning. According to the Consumer Reports spokesman, “This new analysis underscores our belief that people consume significant amounts of soda that unnecessarily elevate their risk of cancer over the course of a lifetime.”

 

And for pic o day:

Got em all

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Deciding the Value

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015

We start the Monday blog with a picture that Mom sent that needs no real introduction… if you have been living with snow:

fetch

And now a sweater story from ESPN. A reminder that something is worth what someone will pay for it.

A man walked into a Goodwill store and found an old West Point sweater that caught his attention.

lombardi 1

He took it to the front to be weighed because that’s how they determine the price. The price of the sweater was 58 cents… so the man got change from his dollar plus a sweater.  No one had looked on the inside of the sweater. Inconspicuously written on the tag at the neck area was Lombardi 46.

lombardi2

The man took the sweater home and didn’t think much about it until he was watching a documentary on the legendary football coach Vince Lombardi. On the documentary, he noticed that Lombardi was wearing the sweater that the man had bought. That’s when he pulled the sweater out and noticed the name written on the tag. It was the sweater that Lombardi wore at West Point while coaching there from 1949-1953.

He eventually decided to turn it over to Heritage Auctions in Dallas, Texas. This past Saturday it was auctioned and ultimately sold for a bid amount of $43,020. A sweater that had a value of what it weighed until it was determined that it had been owned by the most famous football coach of all time.

One final note. When I ask a jury to consider the damage of pain and suffering in a personal injury case, sometimes it’s difficult to put a value on pain and suffering. However, an old sweater reminds that whoever gave that sweater to Goodwill… is probably feeling a bit of pain and suffering and maybe even some mental anguish in an amount of at least $43,020

And finally, a password idea:

password pic

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I Do…6 to 10 Years

Thursday, February 19th, 2015

Maybe it’s a perspective of happiness that’s a bit hard to understand. But, it’s a “love story” that belongs in the Friday blog. The kind of story that makes you take a second look.

IMG_0094

From the Associated Press and Yahoo comes the story of Israel Silva, who got married and then sentenced. And, his attorney warned him before it all took place.  ”There will be no, ‘You can kiss the bride,’ or whatever they say when people get married,” Silva’s defense attorney, Sarah Miles, said before her client’s impromptu wedding on Feb. 11 in Park County’s District Court.

Israel Silva wore his orange jail jumpsuit and shackles while his bride-to-be stood the mandatory 15 feet. The judge married the lovebirds before one became a jailbird. The ceremony lasted about a minute and then the judge directed them to sit down.

Next, Judge Cranfill sentenced Silva to six to 10 years in prison for a drunken crime spree which included crashing two trucks, firing a  stolen gun at other oncoming cars and leading the police on a car chase that was reportedly up to 110 m.p.h. The chase ended after Silva ran over an irrigation pipe and got stuck in a muddy barley field. At the time, he was already out on bond for another misdemeanor charge.

Silva pleaded guilty to aggravated burglary, property destruction and a third conviction of driving under the influence Somehow, all that was apparently attractive enough to woo his lady to get married… at the courthouse… well, you know. And he didn’t even wear a tie with his orange suit.

Despite the cold, I hope this pic o’ makes you smile into the weekend:

lol

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Blame Alvin the Cat

Wednesday, February 18th, 2015

You’ve heard the old excuse  “I don’t have my homework because the dog ate it”. Well, how about the cat?

My previous blog (here) discussed a Roanoke lawyer who missed a statute of limitations over 2 dollars. Now, a  lawyer in the D.C./Virginia area has also failed to file a timely response to a summary judgment motion in Federal Court. His excuse is  part of his court filing that includes Alvin the Cat.

The ABA Journal and  Abovethelaw.com describes an attorney’s court filing on February 10, in an attempt to get a judge to excuse his failure to file a timely response and to grant him an extension to now file.

The lawyer’s initial problems started when he contracted both gout and pneumonia in January. He found himself bedridden, according to the filed pleading, with severe pain and coughing. He wisely went to the emergency room where they gave him painkillers.

Over the course of the next few days, he was taking Percodan and Percocet as well as steroid indomethacin. The lawyer describes that the medication caused him severe gastrointestinal disturbance that required perpetual hobbling to and from the restroom, generally interfering with the level of concentration need to oppose a motion for summary judgment.

Then the lawyer went on to describe a series of events that, combined with his illness, really made it impossible for him to work. This included the next section of his brief that was titled Alvin the Cat.

With his court deadline bearing down on him, his children came home from school on January 30, and became worried because no one could find their longtime house cat, Alvin. A missing cat search began throughout the house, only to end in the finding of Alvin in the closet… dead.

With all the kids tremendously upset, the lawyer promised to bury Alvin the next day. In addition, his court pleading notes that after all the emotion of the search, he was just too exhausted to work on the pleading that night.

The next day, there was a ceremony and funeral for Alvin. There was also a discussion “at the funeral” about the nature of life and death and where Alvin had gone after his death. This took a great deal of time. Unfortunately, it got worse.

As the lawyer was digging the hole to bury Alvin, his shovel hit his foot the wrong way, triggering another painful bout of gout. This was a Saturday night too filled with pain to perform legal work. Then Sunday, he apparently rested.

He was back to work on Monday; but as he read his previously prepared work on his pleadings, they did not look as good as they did while on pain killers.  

The next roadblock was the emotional issues that his roommate was going through. The lawyer again was distracted by his work because he needed to provide legal and emotional support concerning the state of the man’s failed marriage.

The attorney concluded his extension request by summarizing his plight in stating that For reasons wholly unclear, that morning he was in need of counseling concerning the state of his marriage to the point where I was concerned for his immediate well-being. I think Alvin’s funeral and ceremony with the kids triggered something. In any event, we spoke for several hours, following which plaintiff’s counsel was exhausted and his foot was on fire.  

The attorney explained to the ABA Journal that the reason that he was so explicit in his detailed explanation was that he felt that honesty was the only way to make the Court understand what had happened. He felt that his events fell outside the typical reasons of why deadlines get missed.

The Judge probably will rule against the extension. In the meantime, the least we can do is have one final thought of Alvin.

And for pic o’ day, this is one that I didn’t get posted after Christmas. But for this blog, it just seemed apropos:

fat

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A Dismissed Case

Monday, February 16th, 2015

This is the story of a case that ran out of time and money. It reminds me of the poem by Benjamin Franklin:

“For the want of a nail the shoe was lost,
For the want of a shoe the horse was lost,
For the want of a horse the rider was lost,
For the want of a rider the battle was lost,
For the want of a battle the kingdom was lost,
And all for the want of a horseshoe-nail.”

A  harsh result, but this really happened. The name of this Virginia case is Landini v. Bil-Jax

It was a case about a product that caused an injury. This products-liability case was filed by a school employee.  A Roanoke lawyer drafted the lawsuit to file in Powhatan County, where the injury occurred. The lawsuit filed was seeking an amount of  $2.5 million dollars.

The lawyer, or someone on her staff, called a local circuit court in the Roanoke area to confirm how much the filing fees were for a $2.5 million lawsuit. The answer was $344. On September 2, The lawyer overnighted her $344 check with the drafted lawsuit, to the Powhatan Circuit Court.

The next day, the clerk  received the mailing with the check and lawsuit which was September 3. The lawsuit had to be filed by September 9 because of the two year statute of limitations time period.

The clerk called the lawyer on September 9. and told her that the filing fee check was short. As it turned out, Powhatan County charges more than the Roanoke Court. The clerk advised that “Your filing fees are $2 short; it’s $346.” The filing fee was more because during the previous year, Powhatan County had approved an increase in their library fee that was tacked on to the court filing fee, from $2 to $4.

As soon as the clerk notified the lawyer, she agreed to send another check for the needed amount. She mailed that that check out the next day. When the check arrived,  the clerk stamped the lawsuit as filed. The date of the stamp was September 13,  now four days after the statute of limitations deadline.

At that point, the clerk had never told the lawyer that the lawsuit had not been docketed as filed. The clerk had only told her that she needed to send an extra $2. There was no discussion of the clerk holding off on filing the suit until the small amount was received, so the lawyer didn’t know that her statute of limitations was running.

In the state of Virginia, you can wait up to a year to serve your lawsuit on the defendant. In this case, the Roanoke lawyer never served the suit, so she nonsuited it and then refilled it and then served it on the defendant.

That’s when it happened! The lawyer  received the defendants’ pleading called a special plea of the statute of limitations. I don’t even want to imagine the lawyer’s feelings as she read her mail that day and saw that her original lawsuit had been date stamped originally as being filed four days too late, after the statute of limitations September 9 original deadline.

The trial court ruled that the plaintiff had indeed filed the original suit two years and four days after the injury; meaning that it was filed after the statute of limitations had run. The Roanoke lawyer appealed.  The Virginia Supreme Court agreed with the lower court and determined that the filing fee, including the library fee, had to be paid before the lawsuit could be considered filed. A dismissal over  2 dollars.

Maybe that is why the practice of law has been described as five baskets, five snakes… and four lids.

And for our pic o’ day, it’s all about the evidence. And if you are in the snow right now… be real careful out there!

marshm

 

.

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Choosing the Right Path

Sunday, February 15th, 2015

While attending college, I knew that I wanted to go to law school. I expected to be a corporate lawyer. I’m not even sure why except that it seemed to be what I wanted as a career path. Then, I was in a car accident on my way to a final exam during college.

I had been rearended by a corporate truck. The experience changed my “want”. I no longer wanted to be a corporate lawyer. Instead, I wanted to represent the injured and learn personal injury law.
In law school, there are certain courses that are mandatory. Tort Law was a mandatory two semesters. It introduced me to a wide spectrum of personal injury cases. Then, I interned for two law firms during school and learned more personal injury law.
I have always been thankful for that experience in college, that changed my career choice of the kind of law that I wanted to practice. Based on that, I recently laughed when I read a satirical view of representing insurance companies by a writer who has since passed away. In my opinion, his tongue in cheek view of such legal representation pretty much sums it up:
It is an honorable calling that you have chosen. Some of you will soon be defending poor, helpless insurance companies who are constantly being sued by greedy, vicious widows and orphans trying to collect on their policies. Others will work tirelessly to protect frightened, beleaguered oil companies from being attacked by depraved consumer groups. [Buchwald Commencement address, Tulane University School of Law}

And for our pic o’ day on this Monday:

IMG_0042

 

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Some Valentines

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

It’s Friday and it’s Valentine’s Day weekend. I know you didn’t come to the blog for some Valentine’s meaningful writing. Let’s roll with it!

First,

first

And,

second

Finally,

third

I know… that last one is over the top!

I do hope that you have a great Valentine’s Day and a wonderful weekend!

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