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A Bit of Humanity

Thursday, October 8th, 2015

Have you ever had one of those moments when you said to yourself, “I am so glad that I didn’t say anything!”. Well, the story below was posted on Facebook and I thought it serves as a good story of an awkward situation that was handled graciously.

We are at the restaurant of a German University. A red haired student, and undeniably German, takes her tray and sits down at her table. She then realizes she has forgotten her cutlery and gets up again to pick it up. Coming back, she sees with astonishment that a black man, possibly sub-Saharan by his appearance, is sitting there and is eating from her tray. Straight away, the young woman feels lost and stressed, but immediately changes her thought and presumes that the African is not familiar with European customs concerning private property and privacy. She also takes into consideration that perhaps he does not have enough money to pay for his meal.

In any case, she decides to sit in front of the guy and to smile at him in a friendly manner. The African responds with another dazzling smile. The German girl starts to help herself, sharing the food with the black man with genuine pleasure and courtesy. And thus, he took the salad, she ate the soup, both took their share of the stew, one took care of the yogurt and the other of the piece of fruit, all this peppered with numerous refined smiles – timid from the man and smoothly, encouraging and kind by the girl. They eat up their lunch. The German girl gets up to get a coffee. And it is then that she discovers, on the table behind the black man, her coat placed on the back of a chair and her food tray untouched.”   ~Paulo Coelho

And here is pic o’ day after that Colts game last night… I hope you have a great weekend.



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It’s the Point of View

Wednesday, October 7th, 2015

A college professor stood in front of his class and wrote the following words on the chalkboard: A woman without her man is nothing.  He then asked his students to punctuate it correctly.

The males in the class wrote the following: A woman, without her man, is nothing.

All the women in the class wrote A woman: without her, man is nothing.


Here’s another point of view. The airlines have apparently decided that we are only interested in pricing and treat us accordingly. We will put up with cramped travel without benefits if the pricing is right. Doesn’t feel like a very good way of looking at travel.

Which brings me to the finale. Insurance companies and their point of view. We as the insured believe that if we pay our premiums, that we will be covered for loss. If you really think about it, the insurance companies have a different point of view. Premiums collected earn more money. Claims paid mean less money. Hmmm.

Recently I saw the movie Rainmaker again on TV. That’s one of those movies like Shawshank  Redemption that always seems to be on. In Rainmaker, based on John Grisham’s book, he wrote about a lawyer named Rudy Baylor who was trying to hold an insurance company accountable for not providing care to a dying man.

Grisham captured it just as the movie did. In the movie, they introduced an internal memo to deny all claims. Sometimes Hollywood does bring reality to life! That point of view.

And for “pic o’ day”:


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The Curse of the Goat

Tuesday, October 6th, 2015

Tuesday night was the start of the Major League Baseball playoffs, with the first one game wildcard playoff. In the National League, the Chicago Cubs have made it back to the playoffs. So,there’s always hope for Cubs fans this year as well as a look back at history. That brings me to the curse of the Billy Goat.


As the story goes, in 1945, Billy Goat Tavern owner (Wiki story) Billy Sianis took his goat to a  Cubs/Tigers World Series game at Wrigley Field. He had purchased two tickets for the game. One for him and one for the goat.

This was a special goat to him because he had found the goat after it fell off the back of a truck. He nursed it back to health and named it Murphy. Soon, he renamed his tavern The Billy Goat Tavern and the name and the goat brought him a great deal of attention, including many personalities and players to his tavern.

So, he brought the goat as an advertising attention-grabber to the World Series game and was allowed to parade it around the field while wearing a sign We Got Detroit’s Goat.

He and Murphy remained in their seats until the fourth inning. That’s when security told him that fans were complaining because of the goat’s objectionable odor and he was asked to leave.  According to some accounts, Sianis was enraged. As he and Murphy left the game, he hollered, Them Cubs, they ain’t gonna win no more.

His family claims that the next day, he sent a telegram to Cubs owner Philip K. Wrigley which read, You are going to lose this World Series and you are never going to win another World Series again because you insulted my goat. At the time, the Cubs were up 2 games to 1; In fact, they went on to lose that World Series and have never made it back to a World Series since.

Many Cubs fans blame their team’s misfortune on this curse and have done many things in an attempt to lift the curse. That includes bringing the nephew of Billy Sianis to Wrigley field with a goat, and even doing such crazy things as hanging a goat’s butchered head from statues at the stadium.

Now, according to the nephew, the curse can only be lifted if the Chicago Cubs organization decides to show a sincere fondness for goats; allowing them into Wrigley Field because they genuinely want to, and not simply for publicity purposes.

I once had a client, who was my client for 5 different cases. For cases 2-5, she wasn’t even driving.  In each case, her injuries and medical bills  were greater  than the previous crash; but her emotional damages became even worse.  By the 4th crash, she truly believed  that she was cursed on the highway and ended up moving to Franklin, Virginia, to get away from traffic. Unfortunately, she still had a 5th case because of a crash involving a van that was taking her to the airport.

I don’t believe in curses. She didn’t need an Eye of Newt mixed with a Lizard’s Leg potion. I did tell her that it seemed that she had a target painted on those vehicles. Fortunately, I haven’t heard from her in a while, so hopefully she is now doing well.

I don’t believe in that goat’s curse either. But, I still will be curious to find out the Cubs game score when I wake up on Thursday morning.IMG_0332

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Sayings and Chicken Soccer

Monday, October 5th, 2015

Today I am in a hurry, so I am just quickly posting from the notebook collection because of meetings and work!   Plus, it’s just fun to call a blog Sayings and Chicken Soccer. 





And here’s some good old-fashioned highly-competitive chicken soccer:


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A Thought and a Number

Sunday, October 4th, 2015




I think that a few people feel like that after our stormy weekend. So, I decided to post two different “thought” items for the blog today.

First from is an article written by a nurse. She titles her thoughts Here are 5 things you may regret at the end of your life, from a nurse who works with the dying.

Regret #1: I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life that others expected of me.

Regret #2: I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

Regret #3: I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

Regret #4: I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

Regret #5: I wish I had let myself be happier.

Next is a different direction. It’s a Monday consumer tip if you keep getting marketing phone calls and emails. Here’s a method to opt out according to AARP. You can either call 888-567-8688 to let the three major credit reporting bureaus know that you want to opt out. For additional information on opting out from the marketers, you can go HERE

And for pic o’ day from Amy M, the subtlety of this cracks me:


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It’s in the DNA

Thursday, October 1st, 2015

I am not a chef and I do not like onions but I have been told the following: If you run cold water over an onion and knife when you are cutting, the water neutralizes the chemical in the onion and keeps you from crying.

Recently, I have had several clients continue working at their jobs, despite their injuries. Despite what the doctors’ reports and notes say. They had been put out of work by their doctor and still gone back to work. So, as part of their claim, they have little or no loss of wages from their crash.

It’s not unusual for defense attorneys or adjusters to question how hurt they really are, if their injuries don’t keep them from working. I understand that argument.

My response to them, or my explanation of ignoring  the doctor, is that they had to work. They had to work for money; or for failure of losing their job; or for the simple motivation of not wanting to miss time from work.

In school, there are always teachers and students who never miss time from school. No matter, they show up. I think that same attitude carries into the work life. Some just have it in their DNA to not miss time. So, it may seem strange to ignore a doctor’s “out of work” note, but I guess that’s why it happens.  Like pouring water to keep the tears away?

As you think about it, would you accept that as a juror, or think that the client should just listen to their doctor?

And since it’s the weekend blog and lots of rain could be in the forecast, here’s a Did you know? Did you know that each king in a deck of playing cards represents a king in history? Spades is King David; Clubs is Alexander the Great; Hearts is Charlemagne and Diamonds represents Julius Caesar.

And for our pic o’ day, a happy potato!





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First Grade Wisdom

Wednesday, September 30th, 2015

Sometimes when I sit down to write the blog, I just sit there to write the blog. It reminds me of my birthday card from Dennis and Betty, that they gave me last month:


But then I saw this listing of “finished proverbs” from first graders, and I knew that this had to be for the blog today! Wisdom from first grade:


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Lawyer Advertising History

Tuesday, September 29th, 2015

When Colgate started marketing toothpaste in Spanish speaking counties, it faced a little adversity because the word Colgate sounded like a Spanish word that translated go hang yourself. Now, it’s no problem because they have marketed enough that people associate Colgate… as a toothpaste. Good marketing!

In 1972, John Bates and Van O’Steen graduated from Arizona State University Law School. Two years later they formed a legal clinic partnership with the goal of providing legal services at modest fees to persons of moderate income who did not qualify for governmental legal aid. (Wiki)

Why am I writing about two Arizona lawyers in the 70′s? Because they fought the good fight for lawyers in the historical Supreme Court case of Bates v. State Bar of Arizona.

Two years into their law practice, the two lawyers realized that their business model was not working. So, they placed an advertisement in the Arizona Republic that showed their services such as adoption and divorce, and then included their fees for those services, in the ad.

The Arizona State Bar initiated disciplinary proceedings against the two lawyers because lawyers were not allowed to advertise under their ethics rules. The disciplinary committee conducted a hearing and recommended six month suspensions for the lawyers. The lawyers then appealed their suspensions to the Arizona Supreme Court asserting a violation of the First Amendment right of freedom of speech.

The Arizona Supreme Court was faced with a bit of precedence in that the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled in the previous year that pharmacists could not be forbidden from advertising prices for prescription medications that they sold. The Arizona Supreme Court probably knew that the “train was coming down the track”, so they upheld the recommendation of discipline by the Disciplinary Committee, but reduced the punishment on the two lawyers to a censure, with no suspension.

And you know why I am writing about this case! Because the U.S Supreme Court heard the appeal by oral argument. The Arizona bar argued that lawyer advertising undermined the attorney’s sense of dignity and self-worth and maintained that such advertising would effect the professionalism of the profession.

The Supreme Court dealt with the arguments against lawyer advertising in their opinion… and then removed the barriers to lawyer advertising and characterized Arizona’s State Bar rules as a violation of the free speech guarantee in the Constitution. The opinion did add that states could still regulate advertising so as to ban false, deceptive or misleading advertising by lawyers.

Game, Set, Match!


And our pic o’ day is all about friendship:


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The Little Foxes in Law

Monday, September 28th, 2015

Song of Solomon 2:15 says to catch the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines: for our vines have tender grapes.

Bible commentaries explain that foxes love grapes on the vine, and they usually eat them in autumn. More from commentaries in explaining this verse: Foxes do the most damage to grapes when the clusters are young and tender.

That verse can be applied to many things in life. For the purposes of this blog, I look at it as paying attention to the details. Or the details will become bigger and require attention. In the practice of law, it’s knowing what to pay attention to and what to ignore.

I have heard jury consultants focus on whether to wear cuff links, or what watch to wear, or whether to wear a dark suit. Those might be important but you can’t let the foxes eat the grapes of your case. Failing to pay attention to the details of the case.

Over the last 12 months, I have seen lawyers in the Firm work on some cases that other law firms have rejected or withdrawn because they did not see the probability of recovery. That could be the foxes of laziness, lack of knowledge or even failing to listen to the client.

In the cases taken after other law firms have rejected or withdrawn; many times the witnesses were never interviewed by the previous firms, or insurance coverage was missed by not following up with owners of the cars or members of household who did have coverage. A few of the cases included police officers who investigated the crash and were never interviewed or asked to provide important investigation notes that included witness to the crash.

It’s easy to worry about trying to get more cases instead of focusing on the work that is already here. That is when the foxes eat the grapes.

One celebrity was once asked how he found success in relationships. He said that he realized that he needed to stop focusing on trying to be charming or keeping up some act. Instead, he realized that the key to a good date was to put that all aside and just pay attention to her.

And finally, today is National Coffee Day. Apparently, that means that a lot of coffee shops are giving away free coffee. Starbucks says that for every pound of coffee that we buy, they will buy a tree for a farmer.  Sounds more like National Arbor Day, and I don’t know what that means. I Probably just need another cup of coffee.

And for pic o’ day…


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The Tort Law Museum

Monday, September 28th, 2015

The Chevrolet Corvair is in the car graveyard. Do you remember it? Probably not. GM’s engineers got creative by putting the engine in the trunk. For a while, GM had a hot selling car on their hands.

It has disappeared from our highways because drivers complained that they were suffering an unexplained loss of control. Over 100 Lawsuits were initially filed against General Motors for crashes occurring from a loss of control, and car crashes that included the cars rolling over.

Consumer advocate Ralph Nader addressed the handling of the car in his book Unsafe at Any Speed. It was determined that the Corvair’s suspension was the cause of the control issues, and discovery in those lawsuits showed that GM had denied the request of the suspension engineer, who had fought GM’s decision to remove an anti-sway bar during manufacturing… for cost reasons. Economics had impacted safety.

It did put Ralph Nader on the map as THE consumer advocate, as he was involved in several consumer safety issues and regularly testified before Congress. In 1966, President Lyndon Johnson invited him to the White House to witness the signing of new highway safety laws. In fact, he would later run as an independent candidate for President in 2000; and some credit his candidacy in  helping to elect President George W. Bush. It was presumed that his supporters would have supported Al Gore in that tie-breaking election.

Now at age 79,  the New York Times is reporting that Nader has established an American Museum of Tort Law, with exhibits that show various products that have been removed or made safer; as well as lawsuits that were successful in helping consumer safety.

The full article (here) tells about the exhibits in the museum. And here is a picture of Nader at the museum.


The museum claims to describe the evolution of the laws of negligence and liability. It includes exhibits of the Ford Pinto, the asbestos claims, and the tobacco lawsuits. Nader also hopes that students will come to the museum for mock trials to reenact some of the historic trials that are mentioned in the exhibits.

Nader regularly writes a blog on consumer topics at

And for pic o’ day, I am posting a “previous” because this team always makes me laugh.


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