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Healthy at Work

A while back I had a person comment that they didn’t understand why I would blog by just attaching an article. What he meant was “Is it blogging to post someone else’s article?”.

Maybe I am taking a shortcut today, but I post an article from the Huffington Post (here) that falls under the category of health. Then, I throw in my own thoughts.

I am cognizant that the practice of law has us sitting at a desk a whole lot. We are all equipped with a Fitbit and if you want to wear a phone headset, you can get one. That way, I try to stay moving with the mobile, even while on the phone. So, in keeping with health, here are the highlights from the article titled

4 Ways To Improve Your Health At The Office

1. Stroke your creative fire.

John Mirowsky, PhD is quoted as discussing trying to do everyday tasks in novel ways. “The more challenging something is, the more creative it becomes,” says Mirowsky, “which stimulates your mind in a new way.”

2. Spruce up your cube.

Gregory A. Laurence, PhD, an assistant professor of management at the University of Michigan, Flint, recommends that,  “You’re saying to coworkers, This is what I want you to know about me, and that autonomy, no matter how small, appears to reduce burnout.” So, you should include person items in your office or cube that tell about you or cause you to stay focused or positive.

3. Get thee to a water cooler.

Create friendships and contacts at work. Don’t be an island. A study in Health Psychology that surveyed the work lives of over 800 people found that those who categorized receiving emotional support from their colleagues had a 41 percent lower risk of dying from any cause two decades later,  than those without sympathetic peers. So, personal contacts statistically helps us live longer!

4. Punch out on a positive.

I think we all know that this is important. Staying positive at work; being thankful for what we do everyday; and feeling like there is purpose in the job, statistically provides health benefits. I can say that I always look forward to Monday, just to see what the week will bring! That has to be good for my health.

And for pic o’ day… here’s one to think about:


Ghost Evidence

Doing a story on the Greenbrier Ghost seemed liked an appropriate start to this weekend! Sadly that tells you that there is a  scary ending instead of a happy ending of Zona Heaster Shue. But it does include the courtroom. (Wikipedia)


Edward Stribbling Trout Shue (In all stories, maybe we shouldn’t ever trust a 4-name person ) was a drifter who came to the County of Greenbrier looking for work. Soon he was working as a blacksmith. Not long after his arrival to town, he met Zona. They fell in love and were married… despite the objection of Zona’s mother, who had taken an instant dislike to this man.

The couple lived peacefully until January 23, 1897. That’s when 21-year-old Zona Heaster Shue was found dead in her living room.  Local physician, Dr. George Knapp, examined the body and determined that Mrs. Shue’s death was due to an “everlasting faint.” Her body had been found by a young boy who had come to the home on an errand. She was found lying at the foot of the stairs, stretched out with her feet together and her hand on her stomach. She looked “comfortably dead”.

The doctor was summoned; But before he arrived, her husband had moved her body to the upstairs bedroom and placed her on the bed. He then prepared the body for burial, normally a job for the women of the community, by washing the corpse and then dressing her in a high-necked dress with a stiff collar and then placed a veil over her face.

When the doctor did arrive, he only did a cursory examination of the body because Shue was cradling his wife’s head and sobbing. The doctor noticed but did not follow up on the bruising that appeared to be around her neck.

The doctor later amended his findings to include  that the death included “and childbirth.” Her husband of 3 months kept an amazing vigil over her body and would let no one near the coffin.  At the funeral, locals later testified that they noticed that her neck did not look normal against the pillow in the casket.The matter was “laid to rest” when Zona was buried.

According to  Zona’s mother; four weeks after the burial, she woke up in the middle of the night to a chilly room and found her deceased daughter standing at her bedside. “Her daughter” then told her over the course of 4 nights,  “I was murdered, Momma—Trout strangled me!” She went on to describe that he had gone into a fit of rage over her not cooking meat for dinner, and he then choked her so hard that it caused her neck to break.

The  mother was so convinced that this was not a dream that she went to the local sheriff and begged him to investigate her daughter’s death as a murder by Trout Shue. The sheriff reluctantly agreed, and Zona’s body was exhumed.

Zona’s body showed that she had a crushed windpipe and a broken neck. Trout Shue was charged with murder.

At the trial, the judge was determined to keep out any evidence of the “ghost story”. The prosecutor was determined to just stick to the evidence. Despite the judge’s attempts. the mother discussed her “daughter’s visits”.

It became clear that the jury believed the mother. Trout was convicted by the jury, and sentenced to life in prison. When the story of that trial is told, it is also concluded that Trout Shue was the only known case in the U.S. where a ghost’s testimony allegedly helped to reopen an investigation, and then identify and convict a murderer.

Have a great weekend and be safe out there!


Confusing Numbers!

We are currently making preparations to open an office in West Virginia. That brings excitement but also many tasks which include trying to figure out what phone numbers we want to use in that market.

Because television advertisements only run for 30 seconds or even less, you strive for a number that can easily be remembered and immediately dialed. That’s what brings me to a story on the importance of remembering phone numbers.

Despite the fact that I know that anything can be googled to search for information, I was still humored when someone sent me a listing of some of the more curious 911 calls. Here is one that reminds on the importance of the number:

Dispatcher: 9-1-1 What is the nature of your emergency? Caller: I’m trying to reach nine eleven but my phone doesn’t have an eleven on it.

Dispatcher: This is nine eleven. Caller: I thought you just said that it was nine-one-one.

Dispatcher: Yes, ma’am nine-one-one and nine-eleven are the same thing. Caller: Honey, I may be old, but I’m not stupid.


And finally, for pic o’ day, I never get tired of “trick-or-treat” pictures:



Abraham Lincoln the Lawyer

Usually when we think of Abraham Lincoln, it relates to his years as President. Before being elected as President, he did have a successful law practice. He attended law school for less than a year but became a lawyer because of a law that went into effect in Illinois in 1833. A person could be sworn in as a lawyer if they obtained “a certificate procured from the court of an Illinois county certifying to the applicant’s good moral character”.

According to the Papers of Abraham Lincoln, he was involved in 5173 cases with his partners. Records show that Lincoln did represent a variety of clients including collections and even arguing over disputes between landowners over their cows. His primary client was doing defense work for the Illinois Central Railroad.

There is some indication that he received some complaints because his law office had a sign hanging out in front with the law firm’s name.  Some lawyers felt that such “advertising” was undignified for the profession.   (something about that warms my heart!)

The following is part of a closing argument from a transcript of one of Lincoln’s trials, where he was defending a man against a claim for killing a dog:

My client is like the man who was going along the road with a pitchfork on his shoulder when he was attacked by a fierce dog that ran out from a farmers yard. He uses pitchfork to defend himself and in the process killed the dog. The outrage farmer demanded: “what made you kill my dog?” To which the man replied “what made your dog try to bite me?” The farmer retorted “why did you not try to go after him with the other end of the pitchfork?” To which the man responded “why did not the dog come after me with his other end?”

It sounds a bit different from the Gettysburg Address!

And for pic o’ day, a dog meeting over evidence:


Law Office on the Move

This is kind of a report from the trenches. We are about to move our Richmond office a few miles from our current location.

I know that this isn’t much of a blog topic, but I feel like it is taking me over. I found myself meeting clients with boxes all around us, the last few days. One thing, though, the movers provided these fancy boxes. It means that I can get a lot of things in. However, I can’t just leave the boxes sitting with stuff in my new office. They will want their cartons back.

Well, I’ll post some pictures of the office soon. It’s a bit invigorating to move. Plus, the space will be more than twice the size of our current space. Sometimes it’s good to feel like a video game. You throw out all kinds of things that have accumulated in your desk and hit the reset button!

The new office does mean new phones and new furniture.

  There are no workout facilities or a spa;

But it does feel like fun and a festival, with all the new equipment and the new carpet smell!


It’s even better than the offices on “Mad Men”!!!!

Jury Selection and Colds

Last week I was working in the South Carolina office. When I am home, I get up early and work out in an upstairs room at my house. I usually head to a workout room at motels, when I am on the road.

This time, I got up early and heard the patter of rain against my motel window. Somehow, I came up with the idea that it would be fun to walk in downtown Greenville, with an umbrella. Well, the temperature was perfect and I truly enjoyed my walk. When I got back to the motel lobby, I was basically dry.  Apparently, not dry enough.

When I got home, I was already fighting the early stages of a cold. I got the Cold EEZE lozenges out and thought I could battle it. At home and at work, I was basically asked if I was out of my mind for walking in the rain. My answer… “Yes, yes I was”, as I worked on my lozenges. No one had sympathy for my cold battling.

With juries in trial, sometimes that thappens in how the evidence is viewed. Psychologist call it defensive attribution bias or availability bias as two of the viewpoints. It doesn’t matter that the defendant was the cause of the crash.

A defensive attribution bias causes a juror to say, “I would have been able to avoid that car cutting in front of me” or “I would have gone to seek a second or third medical opinion, I would not be in the same position as the plaintiff”. That juror places blame on the plaintiff and forgets about the conduct of the defendant.

The availability bias also attacks the plaintiff.  Psychologists say that people are more ready to criticize  those that they are more familiar with, or if they potentially share the same life experiences as the plaintiff. Again, this is an overlap in believing that they would have acted differently. Specifically, they take the information already available to them like taking medication, going to the doctor or how they drive a car, and they put extra burdens on the plaintiff. No matter that the defendant acted inappropriately!

The Judge instructs jurors to only consider the evidence. That doesn’t mean that they have to leave their common sense outside the Courtroom, but it does mean that they are not allowed to ignore evidence, just because they think that they could have avoided the crash. Or, that they excuse the defendant because the plaintiff didn’t act the way that the juror would have acted. Again saying, “That wouldn’t have happened to me”.

Yes, I probably thought I could avoid getting a cold. I guess I did leave my common sense in the motel room.

For pic o’ day… I respect creativity:

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