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Just Some Random

Tuesday, January 27th, 2015

     I thought that I would ramble a bit. So… here goes:

    Yesterday was a bit unusual for the law firm as we began our Virginia Beach office move from our old location to our new space; we opened our Richmond office a little later because of the snow;

(A picture as I stopped for breakfast at Bob Evans near the office, because I wanted to eat down on the farm!)

bob

     And the South Carolina office faithfully kept the lights burning throughout it all. In addition, the South Carolina office is waiting for the construction build out, so they can move. That should be in a couple of months.

      And the randomness continues… Recently, the Virginia ex-Governor has been in the news quite a bit. That led me back to an old photo of five Virginia Governors that was taken in 1932.

5 gov

At this military celebration in Virginia Beach, four of the Governors were decorated with medals by then Governor John Garland Pollard (in center). This picture makes me wonder, “what were they thinking?”. You can see why I thought it belonged in the random blog.

     Debbie K sent me the following, that made me think,  “I  saw a sign recently that said, “If you see someone wearing camouflage, make sure you walk right into them so they know it is working.” Now that would be an “eye-opener”.

     And to wrap up my random thoughts. The word “lethologica” describes the state of not being able to remember the word that you want. Of course, it is virtually impossible to remember that word. What word?

     And finally, stressed is desserts spelled backwards. It’s all in how you look at things!

      And for pic o’ day,  I thought that in the middle of this cold, wouldn’t a spa day feel good?

spa

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What is it Worth?

Sunday, January 25th, 2015

Hanging on our walls in our downstairs Richmond office is various artwork, sports memorabilia and  photographs. I have a special interest in sports memorabilia and have always tried to collect in specific areas, rather than trying to cover all sports.

I suppose that my legal background draws me to sports contracts. So as  a sports fan with a legal bend, I began to collect, among other things, sports memorabilia that included sports contracts.

On our wall hangs several contracts. I took this picture,  from our office wall, of the one below. It is former major league  baseball player Reggie Jackson’s baseball  rookie contract. He signed this on April 6, 1973.  It is also signed by former Oakland Athletics owner Charlie O. Finley. It shows that he was to receive a salary of $35,000 with a deferred amount after his retirement, in the amount of $40,000.

Jackson piece

 

 

 

When most people walk past the contract hanging on the hallway wall, they don’t notice it. Others stop and look at it and sometimes ask  about it.

From the AP and Richmond Times-Dispatch comes a story of a recent auction that brought over $883,000 that included a lock of  Abraham Lincoln’s hair from his death bed that sold for $25,000 as well as the following items and their totals:

-a clipping of linen from Lincoln’s death bed and stained with Lincoln’s blood, for $6,000.

— an1864 letter signed by Lincoln and authorizing prisoner-of-war swap involving Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s son from a Union POW camp, for $27,500.

— A display of photographs and autographs from Lincoln, Booth and Boston Corbett, the soldier who shot and killed Booth — a set nicknamed “The Martyr, The Assassin and The Avenger” — which sold for $30,000.

— a set of four oil paintings created for a carnival side show displaying the mummified remains of a man claimed to be Booth, for $30,000.

— Booth’s military arrest warrant, for $21,250.

— a framed White House Funeral Admittance Card, for $11,875.

— a letter signed by Mary Todd Lincoln on her personal mourning stationary, for $10,625.

Do you put any value on a baseball contract? When you read about these Lincon items, how does it hit you? Can you imagine people buying these? Does it seem a bit macabre. (I have always wanted to use that word!)

Here’s the analogy to the legal blog. In our jury trials, we call witnesses to testify to losses that clients have suffered. It’s easy to put a value on medical expenses because we already have totals.

It’s the losses that don’t have a direct dollar value that are hardest to be considered. What one person may put as a significant loss, may not impact the juror sitting next to them.

What is the value to a client who can no longer workout and then gains a significant amount of weight because of it? What is the value of pain and not being able to lift small kids; or the value of a scar, or no longer being able to wear high heels because of the ankle pain.

We all have heard “what’s one man’s trash is another man’s treasure”. The legal concept of damages. In a jury trial, putting value to loss and harm is what all juries are asked to do in arriving at a verdict. What is the injury worth?

And for pic o’ day, I suppose this would be a tough jury for a dog bite case:

dog bite

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The Success of Losing

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

Does the name Red Klotz mean anything to you? Usually, 5-foot-7 basketball players don’t become famous in sports. So, here’s the story of Red. He was tremendously successful at losing. He made losing his life’s work. Still, when he passed away in 2014 at the age of 93 (NY Times obituary), people reminisced about the night that he won.

In his basketball playing days, Klotz was known as a sharpshooter for the Baltimore Bullets 1948 team. It’s when professional basketball was played in high school gymnasiums; long before TV, crowds or large salaries. Klotz is recognized as the shortest player ever to be on an NBA championship team.

Abe Sapperstein owned the Globetrotters. It was clear that Red’s professional basketball  career had reached its limit,  so he asked Red to form a team to play the Globetrotters every night. In 1952, Klotz formed the Washington Generals. They were the foil to the Harlem Globetrotters. Klotz served as the founder, owner and chauffer of the team. He also was their two-handed-set-shot specialist. His team was formed of players who were just good enough to provide competition, while willing to be victimized nightly by the Globetrotters.

As a team, they had their pants pulled down; balls wedged in the back of their jerseys; and they allowed the opposing team to dribble around them and fire up long shots while unguarded.

Klotz would tell his team in the huddle that their first priority was always laughter. “We’re the straight men. Laurel had Hardy; Lewis had Martin; Costello had Abbott and the Trotters have us”.Red

The Generals became infamous for losing. At one point, they had lost over 14,000 straight games. (I had to re-read that one a couple of times) Coach Klotz had become the greatest ally of the Globetrotters by committing to just barely coming up short on a nightly basis, or not quite reaching that outstretched rebound. Or, being willing to stand idly by while one of the Globetrotters threw a bucket of sawdust into the audience.

The Generals were a team that was created to lose. That held true until January 5, 1971.

That night, the Generals again played the Globetrotters in a run-down gymnasium in Martin, Tennessee. It was a rare night when the Globetrotters were off their game. Meadowlark Lemon could not make a shot. Meanwhile, the Generals could not miss. They were known as the New Jersey Reds on that evening to give the fans the appearance that the Globetrotters were beating up on another team.

On that January night, the Generals were up 12 points with 2 minutes to play. On script, with 7 seconds to play, Meadowlark Lemon hit a long range shot to put the Globetrotters ahead 99-98. Then, Klotz answered that bucket with a 20-foot shot that put the Reds (Generals) back up by one. Surely, the Globetrotters would answer and send the fans home in the glory of another victory.

The play was set and Lemon took the last-second shot. The shot rimmed out and the Generals had won.

The crowd was stunned. Soon they began booing because they were there to see the Globetrotters win. In one book on the history of the Globetrotters, author Ben Green called the loss a blow to American confidence.

The Generals didn’t see it that way. For that one night, they were winners. The Generals hoisted Klotz on their shoulders and doused him with the only beverage that they had… orange soda.

Klotz played in front of kings, popes and millions of fans. He played in the Soviet Union “behind the iron curtain”; on an aircraft carrier; and in front of 75,000 people in Berlin, who watched the game while sitting atop beer barrels as seats.

He was known as the most successful loser to ever play the game. He played for the Generals until the age of 68 and regularly still went to the gym to play, into his nineties.

A good reminder to be good at whatever you do; enjoy doing it, and along the way you might even get some orange soda as a surprise! Maybe my new mantra at the office!!!!

shoes

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The Job Interview

Wednesday, January 21st, 2015

While interviewing some attorneys for our offices, I am regularly told that my questions during the process are not “the usual”. Yes, it might mean that most don’t wander to a discussion of sports.

It might also indicate that I don’t follow the book script of memorized questions like, “Tell me what you are most proud of in your work history”. I think that kind of interview would torment me. Why? Because I enjoy getting to know the person and I fear that “book questions” give “book answers”.

Part of my interview process usually includes, “What do you want to know about us?”  That tells me about them, by telling me what they are interested in from an employment perspective. It also tells me a little about the research that they have done about the law firm.

I am sometimes surprised to find out that the job candidate has not taken the time to read our website. Can you imagine that they wouldn’t know about my blog?  Ok, I suppose you can imagine that the blog would not be on their reading list.

I do try to read books and articles that will make me a better interviewer. In that pursuit, I came upon an article on Forbes.com titled 10 Job interview questions you should ask. It lists questions that the interviewee might ask.

That’s just a quick perusal of some of my interviewing thoughts. As a mention, if you know someone who is interested in the legal field as an attorney or paralegal, please direct them to our website. Plus, you can always recommend the blog!!!!!

 

And for pic o’ day… here’s work cat:

work cat

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Pop Goes the Corn

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015

This is a blog about popcorn. I  read a  health story about it and now I can’t find it. So, let’s venture out on our own.

I was staying at Hampton Inn recently. I admit it, they had a popcorn machine that pulled me in. It made me think, why don’t I make more popcorn back home?   Microwave popcorn, it’s convenient, fast and it smells good!  Plus, you can just pop a bag in and hit Netflix and it’s movie time at the house sans the crowd. But have you ever thought about whether it is safe?

First is the container… The bag. According  to Wikipedia, microwave popcorn bags are usually lined with  perfluorooctanoic acid ( PFOA). PFOA is also found in Teflon.  According to a  study at the University of California, PFOA may be linked to infertility in women.

Some studies using lab animals and humans provided findings that exposure to PFOA may significantly increase the risk of liver, kidney, bladder, pancreas and testicular cancer (cancer.org).

And on to the popcorn.  Popcorn makers all prepare their popcorn with slightly different recipes. Most use soybean oil (a GMO product) and preservatives that include such ingredients as propyl gallate, a chemical that has been linked to stomach problems and skin rashes.  That doesn’t even take into account how they preserve the corn kernels.

Many kernels are treated with a  chemical called diacetyl. Use of this chemical caused Conagra Foods to previously remove that from it’s popcorn preparation….to protect it’s employees because it was determined to be linked to diseases at their factory.

That’s just something to think about. So maybe it’s time to sit down with a bowl of ice cream instead!

IMG_0030

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Be aware of the scams…

Monday, January 19th, 2015

I am in Charleston, West Virginia. It’s a bit of a blog shortcut.  Hopefully, this will serve as a caution.

I am going to post a list of scams that a committee of Congress has provided, for our awareness.  It was a good reminder to me of what “hucksters” are doing.

A: Types of fraud most commonly reported to the committee include:

  • Computer scams that involve fraudsters tricking consumers into believing their computers are riddled with malware and then charge them to “fix” the problems.
  • Grandparent scams, where con artists pretend to be a family member, often a grandchild, who is in urgent need of money to cover medical care or fix a legal problem, such as money for bail.
  • Health-related scams, especially medical alert device schemes, where scammers attempt to collect personal information or convince seniors to pay for a device or service they never ordered.
  • Identity theft, including reports of tax-related identity theft.
  • Lottery scams, including reports of the Jamaican lottery scam, in which fraudsters lead victims to believe they have won a lottery but must pay upfront fees or taxes before their winnings can be released.
  • Social Security fraud, where Social Security benefits are re-routed from the accounts of rightful recipients to fraudulently created bank and debit card accounts.

     And for our pic o’ day:

 

dog

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The Monday Blog

Sunday, January 18th, 2015

I meant to do a blog before going out of town. I forgot.  So, here’s my Monday blog.  At least it’s quick reading today!!!!!

unknown.jpg

 

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Powerful Optimism Response

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

Headed into the weekend, I have several things on my mind. I am headed to West Virginia for a case.  Clearly on my mind. I also have the NFL in my mind because the Indianapolis Colts are playing on Sunday night.

I have to admit that as a fan,  the positive part of me wants to believe that the Colts can beat the New England Patriots. The other part of me believes that the Colts will lose by at least two touchdowns. As a fan, I guess I fear having too much hope.

That leads me to the funny story that I see occur, when I watch the Colts. It’s what the Colts Quarterback does after he gets hit by a defensive player and knocked to the ground. These players claim that they have never seen anything like it and can’t figure it out.

In an article from the Associated Press titled Andrew Luck: The NFL’s Most Perplexing Trash Talker, the reporter has interviewed players who say that quarterback Andrew Luck drives defenders crazy by complimenting them after they hit him or tackle him. They question whether its kindness or is he playing head games with them.

Luck will say things like, “great job” or “what a hit”. Patriots defender Bob Ninkovich said that one time after he pulverized Luck with a hit, Luck congratulated on the hit. Ninkovich said that he found himself not sure how to respond so he said something like “Thanks for accepting the hit?”

The Wall Street Journal contacted 12 NFL players who had hit or sacked Andrew Luck. All of them  said that he congratulated them after the hit.  Despite questioning his motive, those who know him best say that he is truly just a nice guy.

Luck is only in his third NFL season. I suppose that there will be more stories about him as he continues playing. So, if you happen to watch him on Sunday night and you see him get hit by an opposing player, you might just notice him congratulating that player. The power of a positive attitude. As a fan, I hope it’s contagious enough to carry them to a win over the Patriots!

Have a great weekend!

And for pic o’ day:

following

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“I Want My Job Back!”

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015

From the world of employment law comes the story of (Washington Post) 13 United Airlines flight attendants who want their jobs back, after being let go. Because I don’t particularly enjoy flying, this story hit a personal chord.

On July  14, 2014, a United flight was scheduled to fly from San Francisco to Hong Kong. This is what they found on the plane:

 plane

     The flight attendants were spooked by the drawings on the plane. They asked airline officials to do a full search and safety inspection throughout the plane before takeoff. The airline refused to do it and did not take the drawings serious as a potential threat.

The crew then refused to fly. The airline felt that they did the necessary inspections and complied with all governmental requirements. Because the crew refused to fly, they were fired for insubordination. Now, they have filed a complaint with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, asking the Department of Labor to reinstate them and determine whether they are entitled to back wages and legal fees.

The original flight was cancelled without available crew. To date, none of the flight crew attendants have found work with other airlines. The airline continues to assert in response that the flight had been deemed safe to fly.

And now to switch topics. In case you did not receive our January newsletter, you can click here.

And for pic o’ day, the grammar police:

grammar police

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The Win/Loss Column

Tuesday, January 13th, 2015

A while back I had a client ask me if I had ever lost a case. I guess it’s no surprise that no one advertises the cases that had a bad result. It sometimes is difficult to categorize a win or loss because the verdict might be more than the offer from the insurance company, but less than the demand for settlement. To me, that’s a loss too.

Unfortunately, I have had worse results than that. During my second year of practice, I represented a man who had got beaten up by another man. So, I filed a lawsuit for damages because of my client’s injuries… from being punched.

The defendant denied everything and claimed that my client had started the fight. Of course, there was that small matter of the obvious. The defendant was about 250 pounds and my client weighed about 90 pounds, if he was soaking wet and full of bananas. I suppose that the saying, “it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog”, could have been argued.

The trial only took a couple of hours. The jury came back with a verdict. The piece of paper was handed to the bailiff, who handed it to the Judge. I was looking closely at the Judge’s face for any clue about the verdict.

The Judge began to read the verdict. “We the jury find for the plaintiff”. The Judge paused. Then he continued, “and award damages in the amount of… $1″.

My client was gratified that the jury believed him. He wasn’t happy that the verdict was only 1 dollar. And it didn’t matter to him that I did not charge my fee of 1/3 of the recovery… 33 cents.

I recall an attorney once telling me that losses make us better lawyers. I prefer a different method of improvement.

And for pic o’ day, this is one that you might have to think about a little bit:

dell

 

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