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An Expert or an “Opinionater”

I know it is hard to believe, but I am truly starting the blog with a picture that is related to the subject matter. I know… that is some crazy blogging!


Please fight through the blog today because there really is a purpose. I mean it!

This is probably more of a sports blog… because I wanted to write about the upcoming NFL draft. But, I am writing it in the context of law.

(Here we go…talking some legal) To be qualified as an expert in a jury trial, you have to be qualified to give an opinion that is beyond common knowledge. The Virginia jury instruction tells jurors:

In considering the weight to be given to the testimony of an expert witness, you should
consider the basis for the opinion and the manner by which the expert arrived at it and the
underlying facts and data relied upon.

Which leads me to the the concept of “experts” as it pertains to NFL football drafting.  (And yes, I do enjoy using the “emphasis quotes” which is probably as irritating as seeing someone using “air quotes” when they talk) Football fans know that it’s almost time for the NFL draft. My email in-box is being targeted with all kinds of offers to buy draft information, and sports sites are filled with updates and predictions on who will be drafted in the first round. These “experts” all have their opinions.

So let’s travel back to 1998. It’s the draft and the Indianapolis Colts are on the clock with the first pick. Do they pick Peyton Manning or do they pick Ryan Leaf. Well, here is Vic Carucci’s thoughts on who to pick:


Carucci’s opinion that the Colts should select Leaf is actually laughable now. The reason I post this scouting report is to show that experts can be absolutely wrong. He missed it here.

Recently I watched an ESPN 30 for 30 episode about the 1993 NFL draft. The year that John Elway was drafted first. During that ESPN documentary, we are reminded of their draft expert, Paul Zimmerman, who proudly proclaimed that it was a mistake for the Miami Dolphins to draft Dan Marino. “I don’t understand it”

He went on to say that no one was there to coach him and that it was a mistake for the Dolphins to draft him. They had other needs. That was his draft expert opinion.

I close with the thought that I have seen more expert opinion that should really be more”Opinionater” than expert. In trial, I see defense experts making the proclamation that someone needs no more treatment and has no permanent injury… after only seeing medical records and not even seeing the person.

I had one defense expert tell me under oath that he felt more qualified to give an opinion after not seeing my client, because this made sure that he was not impacted by any bias. Solely basing his opinion on the records. Of course, he smirked when I asked him if he refused to see patients in his office… because meeting them would cause a bias of his treatment. Boom! That is no expert opinion. That is silliness.

And for pic o’ day… I think this qualifies as good expert advice!


A Presidential Restaurant Stop

It is a Supreme Court case pitting the question of freedom of speech versus a question of safety for the President styled Wood v. Moss  (Washington Post) The losing party’s spokesman voiced the following response to the Court’s opinion, “No one disputes that the Secret Service has an overriding interest in protecting the president, but that does not include the right to shield the president from criticism,”  Does that tell you how the Court ruled 9-0?

As summarized in the case review from my VTLA eBlast, “The U.S. Supreme Court has dismissed a lawsuit filed against several Secret Service agents accused of treating critics of President George W. Bush differently than his supporters. In a unanimous decision, the court ruled that ‘the agents were immune from a lawsuit because they had good reason to move the protesters farther away when the president decided to dine on a patio after a 2004 campaign event in Jacksonville, Ore.’.”

In October 2004, during a campaign trail appearance in Oregon, President Bush decided to make an impromptu stop at a local restaurant. About 15 minutes after the President was seated, a noisy protest began. Soon, the anti-Bush crowd was moved away by the Secret Service. Those who were deemed as supporters of the President were not asked to move.

Seven protestors filed suit against the Secret Service agents who were responsible for moving them. They were represented by the American Civil Liberties Union, alleging that because they were treated differently from the other pro-Bush demonstrators, that their right to free speech had been violated.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote the opinion for the unanimous decision, noting that there was no precedent that says that Secret Service agents in a crowd control situation, have a First Amendment obligation to ensure that different viewpoints be kept at comparable distances. As Justice Ginsburg noted, “Nor would the maintenance of equal access make sense in the situation the agents confronted”.

The opinion of the Court also noted that the pro-Bush supporters could not have endangered the President when looking at their location from maps and diagrams. However, the protesters “were within weapons range, and had a largely unobstructed view of the President’s location”.  Thus, the Court’s finding of immunity for the agents.

DID YOU KNOW that a British man legally changed his name to Tim Pppppppppprice, to make it harder for bothersome telemarketers to pronounce? I guess just not answering the phone was not an option.

And for pic o’ day, a funny slant on the Chuck Norris humor:

Cat Norris

Vikings Owner is Called a Fraud

     When a judge issues an opinion, the finding is the result of the case. The wording in the opinion is called dictum, which is not binding like the finding. It does give some basis for argument in other similar fact patterns. (persuasive) In fact, the literal latin word obiter dictum is the basis for the term dictum. It means “something said in passing”.

     Why am I boring you with Latin? Well, it’s because I am still trying to figure out how the owner of the NFL Minnesota Vikings feels, after reading the decision of New Jersey Judge Deanne Wislon. (Sports Illustrated story)

     On Monday, she found that Aygmunt “Zigi” Wilf and his family committed fraud, breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty. She also found that he violated the state’s civil racketeering statute. She called him a fraud!

     Apparently, she felt strongly about the conduct because this was the “dictum” that she added to her finding, “To my knowledge, there has never been a case like this in New Jersey jurisprudence.” She was speaking of the time that this case languished in the court system.

     Then, she described the conduct and activites of the Wilf ownership group as “organized-crime-type activities”. Now that really does not sound like something “just said in passing”. What does the NFL think of that kind of conduct by one of their owners?

     DID YOU KNOW that no word in the English language rhymes with month, orange, silver, and purple. Since reading that statement, I have been trying to disprove it!

     And for pic o’ day… how about some summertime:


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