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All About The Stats

They call it analytics. defined as The systematic computational analysis of data and statistics. (I promise, I won’t mention analytics again. I will do better! I promise) I feel like I am putting you through suffering by starting out like this.

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So here’s the turn. I always enjoy writing about the Indianapolis Colts in a legal blog. It’s true fandom. It’s why I can write about them, even though they lost 36-22. Not good!

Looking at their nationally televised Monday night football game, they received notification that the officiating crew was Walt Anderson’s crew. His crew averages 5 penalties per quarter, which is the second highest rate in the league.

The Colts coach could choose to ignore the crew assigned by simply saying “We are going to play Colts football and keep chopping wood“, or he could incorporate that into preparation.  (Here’s an article where the Steelers Coach did ) These Walt Anderson officials call it tight, so it means that your defense cannot be as physical and your linemen have to be careful in blocking and not holding.

How does that apply to our law practice? Usually, when we first discuss a case with a new client, they ask “How long will this take?” and “How much is my case worth?”. My guess? Probably the two most asked questions.

In handling a case, the worth is really related to the injury and treatment of the client, as well as the facts and liability of the person at fault. If a lawsuit has to be filed, then worth takes on additional components. The systematic computational analysis. (See, I didn’t use the A word) Where the case filed, and who is assigned as the judge are additional factors.

If I have an upcoming jury trial that has a judge assigned that I do not know, I usually ask around to find other lawyers that have been in that courtroom. A recent case with an unknown judge gave me the scouting report that she let’s you try your case. For another case this past month, I was told that the judge gets very involved , and he likes to be in charge of his courtroom, which is code for being an active interrupting judge.

In both instances, you tailor your trial strategy. I don’t just say let’s do what we do and go in there and just keep chopping wood. Can you tell that I am hopeful for a new Indianapolis Colts coach? More fandom!

And now our pic o’ day…. (thankfully I don’t feel this way, but it makes me laugh)

 

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Your Hyperbole Number?

I started to write a blog about what a social security number tells you about someone. So I began to read this article and for the life of me, I still am not sure what it means. (if you click on the article and you understand, let me know… and your’re hired. We have an office waiting!)

Maybe it doesn’t really mean what it says. Like “keep clam”? Does it make sense?

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The first three numbers has something to do with the geographical area where the person was living when they received the number, assuming you were applying during certain years. At least I gathered that much. Right? Of course, some things seem obvious and others don’t:

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But I digress. The real reason for the blog is that I was talking to my cousin this weekend about his podcast. It’s about various phrases. Because he lives in Brazil, it’s a popular podcast to discuss sayings that are in English. For instance, As a crow flies was one of his podcast topics. I recommended that someone was traveling a stone’s throw.

We do have some crazy expressions. We don’t always really say what we mean. When the Indianapolis Colts traded for Trent Richardson, the coach called him “a rolling ball of butcher knives”. Now, he’s out of the league and probably eating a 48-ounce-steak instead. (I think he’s gained 600 pounds since then. Can you tell I am a bitter Colts fan?)

When the Cleveland Browns selected Mike Junkin in the 1987 draft, their coach called him a mad dog in a meat market. Do you know who Mike Junkin is? Didn’t think so. Maybe he just got lost in the market.

The point of this blog? Sometimes you start out wanting to write about social security and you end up with a bunch of hyperbole. And that’s like an onomatopoeia… or something like that. I’d rather be using slogans like a balanced diet means a cupcake in each hand. Right again?

I’m on a roll! (I love rolls)

(And it’s just Tuesday… which means that it might be time for a vacation!)

 

And for pic o’ day, I thought a simple expression was all that was needed!

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April Fools on the 2nd

I’m not big on April Fool’s Day so I didn’t mention it yesterday for the blog. I think that it does bring out the two categories of people. Some love practical jokes and others are not as humored by them. I’m personally not big on pranks.

A newly signed Indianapolis Colts player tweeted that he had been arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol. Then he announced it was an April Fool’s joke. I received the tweet as a Colts fan. For his sake, I hope no one nationally will notice his choice of prank.

If you are a Colts Fan you might find this funny….The Indianapolis Colts uniform introduction:

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They announced that the Colts would be wearing all white next year. That’s a funny April Fool’s joke at no one’s expense!

A couple of people had asked me why I didn’t write an April Fool’s Day blog. I guess I just did!

And for pic o’ day, a bit of (missing) leadership:

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Some Colts History Because!

Yesterday was my birthday. So, I almost didn’t write the blog. Then, I decided to go a different direction.

Let me warn you. The following is long. It’s a story of why the Baltimore Colts moved to Indianapolis and what happens when there is a threat of eminent domain. For Baltimore, it was crushing. So much so that the mayor cried.

Today, Baltimore blames the Colts owner even though it was his father that moved the team to Indianapolis. In additon, these fans are not troubled by their double standard in taking the Cleveland Browns from their fans and turning them into the Ravens.

Yes, this is a long blog. Probably too long. I promise to have some shorties the rest of the week. In case you can’t take the time… well here’s our pic o’ day.

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Now, the story of the Colts to Indianapolis as compiled by Brian Casserly from sources including Wikipedia, and then placed on Stampede Blue as a fan post.

Back in 1969,  Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium originally built in 1922, had grown old and was considered inadequate by both the Colts and Orioles ownership. In spite of this, in May of that year, the city of Baltimore announced it would seek a “substantial” increase in Memorial Stadium rental fees from then Colts owner Carroll Rosenbloom. Rosenbloom himself had long since called Memorial Stadium “antiquated” and had threatened to move all Colts home games out of the stadium unless improvements were made. He even considered using $12–20 million of his own money to help fund the building of a new football only stadium on land in adjoining Baltimore County. 

Flash forward 3 years to November 1971, Rosenbloom announced that the team would not return to Memorial Stadium when their lease ran out following the 1972 season and that he was not interested in negotiating with the city anymore. He wanted out of Baltimore completely. A few of the reasons being – overall team revenue, conflicts with Baltimore Orioles ownership relating to Memorial Stadium’s use and the revenues it generated, a running feud with the local Baltimore press, and his new wife’s desire to move to the West Coast. Rosenbloom had decided to either move or sell the team. 

Real estate investor Will Keland was prepared to buy the Colts from Rosenbloom and the two had moved from small talk to serious negotiations. However, ultimately Keland could not generate enough funds necessary to purchase the team, but his golfing buddy Robert Irsay, (who originally was only slated to be an investor and own 1% of the franchise) did possess the necessary funds and decided to make the purchase himself. Under the terms of the arrangement, he bought the Los Angeles Rams for $19 million, and then traded them to Rosenbloom for the Colts and $3 million in cash on July 13, 1972. Irsay would now have to overcome the same obstacles that forced Rosenbloom to quit Baltimore. 

In 1971, Baltimore mayor William Donald Schaefer and the state’s governor, Marvin Mandel, created a stadium committee to examine the city’s stadium needs. The committee’s report was a blow to Memorial Stadium. Some of the problems mentioned: 10,000 stadium’s seats had views that were “less than desirable”; 20,000 seats were out-dated bench seats that had no back support; 7,000 so called seats were actually poorly constructed temporary bleachers that were installed for football games only. Also, there was not enough office space adequate enough for the front offices of either the Orioles or Colts, much less both teams combined. Both teams had to share locker rooms, the upper deck of Memorial Stadium did not circle the field, ending instead at the 50-yard line, thousands of potential seats (and added revenue) were missing. Any expansion plans for the stadium had usually mentioned less attractive (and less expensive) end-zone seats, not upper deck seating. And the number of bathroom facilities in Memorial Stadium was deemed inadequate. 

As a result, Maryland’s planners came up with an ambitious project that they nicknamed the Baltodome,[5] the project was to create a facility near the city’s Inner Harbor known as Camden Yards. The new stadium would host 70,000 fans for football games, 55,000 for baseball and 20,000 as an arena for hockey or basketball. For an estimated $78 million, the city and both professional franchise owners would be able to build a facility that would have kept everyone happy. Unfortunately the proposal did not receive support from the State of Maryland’s elected legislature. And on February 27, 1974 Maryland’s Governor Mandel pulled the plug on the idea.

 

In response Orioles owner Jerold Hoffberger was blunt: “I will bow to the will of the people. They have told us what they want to tell us. First, they don’t want a new park and second, they don’t want a club.”

Robert Irsay on the other hand was willing to wait: “It’s not a matter of saying that there will be no stadium. It’s a matter of getting the facts together so everybody is happy when they build the stadium. I’m a patient man. I think the people of Baltimore are going to see those new stadiums in New Orleans and Seattle opening in a year or two around the country, and they are going to realize they need a stadium … for conventions and other things besides football.” 

But Hyman Pressman, Baltimore’s City Comptroller, was against using any taxpayer funds to build a new stadium for the Colts or the Orioles. And during the 1974 elections, Pressman had an amendment to the city’s charter placed on the upcoming ballot. The amendment was known as “Question P”[3] and it called for declaring “Memorial stadium (then called the 33rd Street stadium) as a memorial to war veterans and prohibited use of city funds for construction of any other stadium. ” The measure was passed by the citizens of Baltimore by a margin of 56% to 44%. 

I believe that if you reverse-engineer the entire process back and look for turning points, the franchise’s move to Indianapolis was ultimately a result of Pressman’s actions and the subsequent vote by the citizens of Baltimore. 

In 1979, Indianapolis politicians, business & community leaders were united in their desire to attract major sporting events to central Indiana. And to facilitate this they created the Indiana Sports Corp. The next year, Mayor William Hudnut appointed a committee to study the feasibility of building a new stadium that could serve as home to a professional football team. That study proved positive and in 1982 construction of the stadium (Hoosier Dome) began. 

On December 18, 1983, The Colts played what was to become their final home game in the city of Baltimore. 27,934 fans showed up at Memorial Stadium, 516 more fans than attended the team’s first home game in 1947. And by February 1983 the relationship between Irsay and the politicians in Baltimore had deteriorated significantly.

That year Baltimore Mayor Schaefer asked the Maryland General Assembly to approve a paltry $15 million for renovation to Memorial Stadium. However, the Maryland legislature did not approve the request until the following spring, after the Colts’ lease had already expired[3] and only half of that $15 million would go towards improvements that the Colts were seeking (The other half for the Orioles).

 

Then in January 1984, Baltimore’s mayor Schaefer put it bluntly: “We’re not going to build a new stadium. We do not have the bonding capacity. We don’t have the voters or taxpayer who can support a $60 million stadium. One-third of the people in Baltimore pay taxes. Unless private enterprise builds it, we won’t build it. (This appears to have been a ruse to pit the taxpayers of Baltimore against Irsay because Schaefer well knew that the city could not legally use taxpayer money to build any new stadium as a result of the aforementioned question P). 

Irsay held discussions with several cities hungry for an NFL franchise (New York, Phoenix, Indianapolis, Birmingham, Jacksonville and Memphis[11]) eventually narrowing the list of cities to two, Phoenix and Indianapolis.[12] The Phoenix Metropolitan Sports Foundation, headed by real estate developer Eddie Lynch, along with Arizona Governor Bruce Babbitt and other top Arizona officials, had secretly met with Irsay early in January 1984.[10] And preliminary talks seemed promising. Phoenix was offering a below market rate $15,000,000.00 loan and rent free use of the 71,000 seat Sun Devil Stadium on the campus of Arizona State University. A second meeting was scheduled between Irsay and the Phoenix group. But when word of a second scheduled meeting leaked out and was reported in the local Baltimore press, Irsay canceled. 

Meanwhile in Indianapolis local leaders and real estate developer Robert Welch were lobbying the NFL to bring an expansion team to the city, with Welch as team owner. But NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle announced that expansion had been put on hold. As a result of that announcement, Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon contacted Colts’ officials on February 1st in order to take negotiations between the franchise and the city of Indianapolis to the next level. On February 13th Michael Chernoff, vice-president and general counsel of the Colts, responded by visiting Indianapolis as well as the Hoosier Dome and expressed an interest in the possibility of relocation.

Mayor Hudnut then assigned deputy mayor David Frick to begin negotiations with Michael Chernoff. The Colts and the Capital Improvement Board of Managers of Marion County, Indiana (“CIB”), the owner of the Hoosier Dome, began discussing the possibility of leasing the Dome to the Colts. Then on February 23rd Colts owner Robert Irsay visited.

 

“He [Irsay] was visibly moved,” former deputy mayor Dave Frick said commenting on Irsay’s reaction to entering the brand new domed stadium. “Emotionally, he was making the move.” 800px-RCA_Dome

Back in Baltimore, the situation continued to deteriorate. On February 24, 1984, a bill was introduced in the Maryland Senate authorizing Baltimore officials to condemn professional sports franchises for eminent domain purposes. On March 2nd, 1984, the NFL held a special meeting in Chicago. In a privileged executive session, with Irsay and other Colt personnel absent, the League decided that it would take no action with respect to any possible move of the Colts.

The League decided that the consideration of a Colts’ move would not be a League matter. Then Irsay was allowed to enter the meeting and he stated that he was considering relocation of the team to Indianapolis specifically, but was still negotiating with both Indianapolis and Baltimore officials. The League expressed neither approval nor disapproval of the possible move. NFL Commissioner Pete Rozelle later testified: “the effect [of this League position] was that Bob Irsay could move the Colts … to whatever city he chose,” without interference from the NFL. 

On March 26th the Maryland state Senate took up consideration of the bill authorizing Baltimore to condemn professional sports franchises. And a second bill where the state of Maryland would offer Colts Owner Robert Irsay $40 million in order to purchase the team and then sell it back to local Maryland investors. The first bill called for the state to condemn the Colts and begin eminent domain proceedings taking the team from Irsay outright (an idea first floated in a memo written by Baltimore mayoral aide Mark Wasserman). In what would later be an obvious error, the Maryland politicians chose the eminent domain route first and on March 27th the Maryland Senate passed emergency legislation which authorized the City of Baltimore to condemn the Colts franchise and related properties. 

Colts owner Robert Irsay said that the move to Indianapolis was “a direct result” of the eminent domain bill and[7] Colts counsel Michael Chernoff would say of the Senate vote:

 

“They not only threw down the gauntlet, but they put a gun to his head and cocked it and asked, ‘Want to see if it’s loaded?’ They forced him to make a decision that day.”

 

Citing the recent moves by the Maryland legislature, the Phoenix group withdrew their offer. Robert Irsay then called Indianapolis Mayor Hudnut in order to expedite negotiations. Indianapolis offered the Colts owner a $12,500,000 loan, a $4,000,000 training complex, and the use of the brand new $77.5 million, 57,980 seat Hoosier Dome.[14] Irsay agreed in principle and immediately instructed Chernoff to officially conclude the Hoosier Dome lease and the loan transaction with Indianapolis’ Merchants National Bank. In addition, he instructed Chernoff to move all the Colts’ property from Owings Mills, Maryland, to Indianapolis immediately. In turn Mayor Hudnut called his neighbor and friend, John B. Smith who was the chief executive officer of Mayflower Transit, an Indiana-based moving company, and Hudnut asked him for assistance.

That evening, Chernoff flew to Baltimore with an agent of Mayflower Transit to coordinate the move. Twenty-two Mayflower trucks along with Mayflower personnel arrived and they worked through the night of March 28-29 at the Colts’ Maryland training complex, loading most of the team’s physical possessions – including both office and athletic equipment. The obvious motivation for the overnight move was the realization that the following business day, the Maryland House of Delegates would also approve the eminent domain bill which if signed by the Maryland Governor, would result in Irsay losing ownership of his NFL franchise.

 

By 10:00 AM on the 29th the Colts franchise was completely gone from Baltimore.

 

That day the Maryland House of Delegates did indeed pass the Eminent Domain bill by a vote of 103-19 and the legislation taking control of the Colts was then sent to Maryland Governor Harry Hughes who signed it immediately.

 

Departing Maryland, each of the Mayflower trucks took a slightly different route on the way to Indianapolis in order to confuse the Maryland State Police, who could’ve been called on to put a stop to the move. Once each van was at the Indiana state line, it was met by Indiana State Police, who escorted each van to the Colts new home in Indianapolis.MAYFLOWER

Later that day the City of Baltimore officially served a letter upon the Colts at the team’s corporate headquarters in Skokie, Illinois, offering to purchase the team for $40 million. The offer, which terminated at noon the next day, was not responded to. That evening Baltimore’s Mayor Schaefer, appeared on the front page of the Baltimore Sun in tears.

 

After the Colts left and in spite of his earlier stance that the city of Baltimore would not build a new stadium,[6] the politician immediately prioritized the building of a brand new stadium. Putting it at the top of his legislative agenda.[7] On March 30th the Mayor and City Council of Baltimore enacted Emergency Ordinance No. 32, and immediately filed a condemnation petition in the Circuit Court for Baltimore City, attempting to acquire the Colts by eminent domain. Something the United States District Court would later rule was illegal. Later John Moag, Jr., chairman of the Maryland Stadium Authority, stated in sworn testimony before the U.S. Senate subcommittee responsible for the Fan Freedom and Community Protection Act:

 

“It was the failure of our local (Baltimore) and state elected officials in Maryland to provide the Colts with a firm proposal for a new stadium that led Mr. Irsay to accept an offer from Indianapolis to play in a new dome in that city.”

 

Indianapolis Mayor Hudnut held a press conference March 29 to announce an agreement had been reached and the team was on its way to Indianapolis. The deal was sealed March 30th with approval by the Capital Improvement Board, which operated the Hoosier Dome. Two days later, 20,000 new Colts fans cheered as Mayor Hudnut proclaimed March 29, 1984……”one of the greatest days in the history of this city.”

 

Pam Oliver’s Brain Injury

It is a story that happens in many car crashes. The person that gets hit tells the other driver, or the police officer that they are not hurt. Many times, they say that they don’t need any medical attentiion or even any help getting home. Sometimes, they proceed to work directly from the crash scene.

The next morning, that person wakes up in pain. Or, they have a headache. They don’t know if they can go get treatment. They aren’t always sure exactly what caused this throbbing pain, because they felt fine yesterday. Now, can they even go to the doctor? Who will be responsible for their bills.

In the NY Daily News, there’s a story titled “Concussion story gets real for Fox’s NFL sideline reporter Pam Oliver“. It happened on August 18th. Pam Oliver was on the sideline for Fox, covering the Colts/Giants NFL  football game. During warmups, she was talking to NFL referee Ed Hochuli, for a story that she was doing on officials for Showtime’s “60 Minutes Sports”.  While on the sidelined doing the interview, the third-string quarterback of the Colts let a ball slip out of his hands while attempting to pass the football.

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Oliver did not see the ball coming and it hit her right in the side of the head. She continued to cover the game. In fact, she was in the broadcast booth at the beginning of the game. As a Colts’ fan, I saw the replay and I also saw how Joe Buck and Troy Aikman, the announcers, comment on the event. Production replayed the football hitting her and then they all laughed about it.

The announcers called her a trooper for continuing. She said later that she really didn’t want to talk about it. She finished the interview and then she did the entire game “on adrenaline”. As she put it, “You don’t want to be wimpy, you just push through it”. After the game she went home without getting any treatment.

The next morning she woke up with such a terrible headache that she had to hold her head. She felt tremendously sensitive to any light and had to close her blinds. Even the light from her TV “was her enemy”. She was later diagnosed with a concussion.

According to Oliver, she is still experiencing headaches. She hopes that all her symptoms go away by her opening game in San Francisco, where she will be the sideline reporter for the Packers/49ers game.

Statistically, studies show that approximately 85% of those that suffer a traumatic brain injury fully recover. However, approximately 10-15% have long term symptoms that may include headaches or sensitivity to lights.

If this were a claim that I was handling, I would fully expect an argument from the insurance company about her not leaving the game or even getting treatment. Their computer apparently doesn’t understand reality or the adrenaline of real life. I have heard stories about people being told that they can’t go get treatment.

Stories like Oliver’s are a reminder of what really can happen. Injuries like a concussion, even in the emergency room, can go undiagnosed.  Hopefully, we will see Oliver out there on September 8. As a sidenote, that quarterback didn’t make the Colts team in the last cuts. I am sure that he wants another opportunity. In the report, it said that he felt so bad that he tried to send her get-well flowers.

DID YOU KNOW that it is physically impossible for pigs to look up into the sky. Could that explain why pigs do not enjoy astronomy? (or not)

And for pic o’ day, Mom sent me this one that has a bit of looking up!

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Monday Blog Collection

 

I started to put together some possibilities for this Monday blog and it seemed like I was going in several directions. Then, I decided to go in several directions since everything and nothing seemed worthy of a solo subject. That really is a good excuse for what is below.

 

 

 

 

 

I felt like I should just put some randomness with two legal articles. I need to put my mind in a happier place. I am happy for all of those that had winning football games like Skins and Cowboy fans. On the other hand, it was a tough weekend for Colts fans. Just have to force myself to smile.

 

 

OK, now that I have looked at that dog a few times, I can move to a couple of legal thoughts. Some pictures can just get me like that! I hope you’re not counting blog words; I seem to be having a hard time getting to it. Sometimes, I like reciting stories with their sources. So, here goes:

First, a trucking company is now asking the Department of Transportation to add hair testing for truck drivers. Over the last four years, Scheider National has had over 38,000 applicants for their driving positions. Using hair for drug testing determined that 1411 of those applicants failed. They say that it is more effective than other tests and should be adopted federally, so drug users are not operating 80,000 pound trucks down the roadway. Guess for some, that’s the definition of a bad hair day.

Next, The Washington Post reports that tens of thousands of tickets and fines could soon be thrown out, in a lawsuit filed against the small town of Riverdale Park. A class action has been filed that claims that tickets issued from the images of a traffic camera, were approved by two civilian employees of a police department, not by any licensed police officer. It could cost the town millions of dollars in previously paid fines. I guess this time, the police are getting ticketed.

Since I was able to work a couple of legal stories into my “legal blog”, I come to my favorite part: pic o’ day. Is this is what they mean when someone says “a tiger by the tail”?

Attention to Early Detail

February 4, 2007, millions of football fans watched the Indianapolis Colts beat the Chicago Bears by a score of 29-17,  in Super Bowl XLI. I remember being happy that the Colts won; I was also happy to watch the game on TV.

The game was played in a constant rain downpour from start to finish. Those at the game are probably still trying to get dry.

Most of the articles that were later written about the game noted that the Colts, despite playing all their home games in a perfectly weather controlled dome; were less affected by the weather than the Bears. It was particularly noted that the Colts quarterback, Peyton Manning, was least impacted by the weather.

What fans didn’t know at the time, was the preparation of Manning leading up to that game. All week, meteorologists were predicting that there was a great potential for rain. So Manning and his center, Jeff Saturday, prepared for the rain. Every day after practice that week, leading up to the game; they would spend an extra 15 minutes together after practice.

Manning had asked the equipment manager to provide him with a bucket of water and several footballs. Then, Saturday would snap footballs that had been soaked in the bucket. That routine prepared Manning for that Super Bowl weather. The Bears quarterback could never seem to handle the ball; instead, he looked like he was chasing a greased pig. Manning looked like he was back in the home dome, because of that extra preparation.

This past couple of weeks has brought some unique cases into the Firm. The clients have significant injuries but the facts of the cases are a bit different from basic rear-end crashes. That means that we start looking around every corner for the facts.

When a case initially comes in the door, we begin working on it as though it is going to trial. For instance, one case involves a client that was hurt, because he fell over something at a truckstop gas station. (maybe someday I can get into the real juicy facts) So, we immediately needed investigation to determine all the facts about what caused the client to fall. That included pictures at the scene. One of the basic pieces of investigation included the investigator going to the scene and taking pictures. There he was with his camera, while employees and customers walked around in this busy area.  No one even asked him why he was taking dozens of pictures.

A lot of investigation has already now gone into that case. All before the other side even knows that we represent the client. Preparation now will probably make the difference in this case, two years from now. We don’t want to be caught by surprise by the facts of this case.

I figured this was a good picture to illustrate what happens if we get caught by surprise. Nothing good can happen!

 

For pic 0′ day, I am posting 3 pictures of Roxy, who is owned by Stacey. She was getting ready for a charity event with her “Joel Bieber apparel”.  Go Roxy!

       

 

“All My Rowdy Friends”

The Hank Williams Jr. recent political firestorm opinion and the resulting resignation/firing, are interesting fodder for my legal blog, because it really does incorporate free Speech, employment issues, and reputation. ESPN’s article relays the story in a way that it comes out as “it depends on who you talk to”.

I’m guessing you know the story but here’s a quick recap. Williams has been doing the opening for Monday Night Football for a long time. His song includes mentions of the two teams for that game and then says “All my rowdy friends are here on Monday Night”.

Recently, Williams was on Fox News, expressing his opinion on House Speaker John Boehner and President Obama, playing golf together. He compared it to the President of Israel playing golf with Hitler. The Fox commentators gave him a couple of opportunities to back off that comparison. He pressed on to include that “They’re the enemy”,  referring to  President  Obama and VP Biden. In that moment, his national reputation was viewed differently. Some may have liked him more; others less; and still others might have thought that he needed a straight jacket.

That night, before the Colts game, ESPN announced that they would not be playing Hank Williams’ intro song. Instead, they went from commercial, directly to kickoff.

Since then, ESPN has announced that they are parting ways with Williams. Williams announced on his website that he had decided to no longer be associated with ESPN because they had “pulled my opening on Oct 3rd and stepped on the toes of the First Amendment”.  Williams has continued to stand by his original statements but has added, “I am very sorry if I offended anyone”.

First, we now know that Williams was not considered an employee of ESPN. By simple definition, that means that they had less control over him if he was deemed an independent contractor. They just decided, according to ESPN, that they did not want to be associated with him… their legal right. If he had a contract that did not include an opt-out by ESPN, they still may be required to continue to pay him for term of the contract.

The next issue is whether ESPN’s action could somehow be considered as “stepping on the toes of the First Amendment Freedom of Speech”.

Growing up, I used to hear the old expression, “the freedom of your fist ends when it comes near my nose”. ESPN owns their content and have expelled employees on multiple occasions,  for actions that they deemed not suitable for their employees.

In this instance, I’m not sure why Williams thinks that they have violated his freedom of speech. All they’ve said is that they don’t want to continue any association with him. He can continue to express his opinion on politics…. just not as an ESPN contractor.

I find these stories fascinating because politics and opinion is feisty. In fact, if this blog were political, I would get more comments of disagreement.

One final note that connects this Firm to opinion. I regularly buy broad television rotators. That means that I might buy an afternoon rotator of 1-5. I recently received an email on the Firm website,  from a lady who was protesting that one of my advertisements ran during the show “Ellen”. She felt that I was supporting “The gay lifestyle” by having my ad run during that show.

A few years back, Sinclair Broadcasting was supporting President Bush. A group organized a mass email to any business that was buying advertising from Sinclair. We have an office in a couple of Sinclair advertising staions. So, I received a  a lot of emails in my “in box” that threatened to never call me, if I didn’t stop advertising on their stations.

I still place ads in and on different communication mediums. I haven’t really focused on “not buying” something because of disagreement. For now, all my rowdy friends and me will just continue to stay the course and represent individuals. It’s a whole lot easier than running around trying to be angry over the golf game of two politicians.

Now, a whole lot simpler pic o’ day. Just a squirrel and a Coke.

A Football Lesson

This weekend, I was "stuck" in the house because of the pelting snow. When you construct the perfect weekend, it usually includes being with family, being curled up with a good book and not having to go anywhere. Then, when it really happens, you realize that maybe it's not really the perfect weekend! I think I'd rather take my wife on a nice vacation.

Nowadays, curled up with a good book includes also reading your kindle and surfing the internet. Because the Colts are playing in the Super Bowl this Sunday, it also causes me to search the ends of the earth for anything written about the Colts. Occasionally, you even find a nugget or a life lesson in some of these articles. 

On Friday, a client called to discuss her medical treatment. Her injuries are so significant, that even after the conclusion of her claim, she will suffer permanently and need continuing medical treatment. It's understandable that she regularly faces depression over not feeling well. In addition, she remarked that everyday, she remembers the accident and is having a hard time with that too.

My client's feelings are understandable. Hopefully, counseling and time will help heal emotionally and physically. For client's like this, I hope that the insurance company will not make her "live through" the crash again, by making her go through a jury trial to get what she deserves. In many instances, I try to elicit testimony from family and friends, as much as possible, instead of my client, so they don't have to be so descriptive about their difficulties.

The Indianapolis Star did a story on a rookie cornerback for the Colts. In the Championship game last week, that sent the Colts to the Super Bowl, the player let a receiver get behind him and score on an 80 yard touchdown pass. All cornerbacks say that they feel like they are on an island out there, when they are covering receivers by themselves, knowing that a mistake or misstep will cost their team. Plus, a rookie even feels that much more pressure.

The reporter asked this rookie cornerback how he was able to overcome his mistake. Compounding the misstake was that it was in front of thousands of fans and millions of TV viewers. As a cornerback, he said that you have to have a short memory. Otherwise, you'll keep dwelling on what happened in the past and not be able to do well the next time. He said that he remembers the receivers that score on his mistakes, but he also forgets.

Real life isn't a football game. You don't just "get over it" when you face hard times and, it is hard to put behind you. However, this article caused me to remember an HBO special that I watched years ago, called "A Century of Living", where life was seen through several who had lived beyond 100 years. One gentleman summed up his life by saying that life is filled with a lot of ups and downs. You can either choose to pick yourself up and move on or not. His reason for long life was that he just kept on going.  

   

Opinion and Evidence

If you're a football fan, you probably have now seen the repercussion heard around the world, as a result of the decision of a Coach from New England. Bill Belichick, unaffectionately known by those not NE Patriot fans, as "Coach Cheat" or "Bill Billicheat", for his infamous videos and improper taping of opposing team signals a few years back, that was deemed to be breaking NFL rules. Anyway, he made a controversial decision, in the Patriots/Colts game, last night. Since I am a Colts fan, I can't get enough of it.

It was the Coach's decision to go for it on 4th down and 2 yards for a first, instead of punting away. His decision was to try to end the game with a first down instead of giving the ball back to Peyton Manning and the Colts, somewhere about 70 yards down the field. If you're not a football fan, give me a chance to tie this to the law. I promise, it's coming in a couple of paragraphs!  

The Patriots didn't get the first down. The Colts got the ball back and marched 28 yards for a game winning 35-34 touchdown. As a result, every sportswriter with any pen or keypad access, immediately expressed an opinion.(Here are just a few). All these were opinions. The evidence was a loss for the Patriots.

Wikipedia tells us that an opinion is a belief that cannot be proved with evidence. That's all relevant to  with what happens in a jury trial. Many times, I will tell the jury that, in considering the evidence, they don't have to leave their common sense at the front door. However, I also remind them of the "Lady Justice" figurine that hangs or sits in many courtrooms. In front of her is the scales of justice and she holds those, while wearing a blindfold. It's a reminder that justice is blind.

Last night's football game was lost on an opinion. Prior evidence of probability and outcome were thrown out the window. Because it still involved a game of football, it wasn't quite as serious as the Courtroom, where jurors are asked to take an oath to listen to the evidence and to apply the law. Bias and prejudice are to have no place in the evidence. Instead, each juror is to be like "Lady Justice" in weighing the evidence.

In these difficult times, it would be understandable for a juror to say that they can't consider the pain of a person in a car crash. Perhaps, as a juror, they have sat all day in a hard chair and, in fact, they have also had prior back issues. In some instances, some jurors have suffered more than those bringing the claims. Many times, the case is before the jury because someone has not accepted responsibility, or more practically, an insurance company has offered little money for the resolution of the claim.

In the state of Virginia, a civil jury is 7 people. In South Carolina, a civil jury is 12. In our hormone therapy trials in Pennsylvania, the jury is usually 12, as well. In Virginia and South Carolina, the verdict must be unanimous. In Pennsylvania, only 10 out of 12 have to agree.

The end to this blog is that opinion has no place, really, in deciding a case. That's not to say that someone can't apply their opinion to the credibility of the evidence. However, a juror takes an oath to put that opinion aside and look at the evidence through the looking glass of the law. One jury instruction specifically spells out that sympathy has no place in a verdict. The comfort in the application of the law is that my client can simply ask for accountability and what the law requires to be paid. 

I sure enjoyed that Colts' win last night. Of course, I have no sympathy for Coach Belichick's choice to go for it. Now, his team is held accountable with a loss and those are the rules. I also ask the jury to hold the defendant accountable according to the rules. Good jurors are able to put their opinions aside, even when they may disagree with the law of that case, and apply the law, according to their oath as a juror.  

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