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Because I am “Cavalier” About History

The Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach is about to reopen. (Pilot Online) February is the target date. If you lived in Virginia Beach for any period of time, you probably have a story to tell about the Cavalier.

But there is real attention-grabbing history there, that includes the suicide of Aldolph Coors. It falls under the category of “I bet you didn’t know that!”. Here is how the Virginian Pilot summarized it in 2006:

Aldoph Coors, the founder of the Coors Brewing Company was born Adolph Kurs in Germany in 1847. He trained as a brewer and immigrated to the US in 1868, reportedly as a stowaway. Kuhrs settled in Chicago, and worked a variety of low paying jobs before changing his name to the more easily pronounced Coors and buying a brewery. Coors was a successful businessman who skirted Prohibition by selling near beer and malted milk, but he was not a happy camper. On June 5, 1929 Adolph Coors leaped to his death from a window of the Cavalier Hotel in Virginia Beach for unknown reasons. Dan Baum, a writer for the Wall Street Journal who wrote a book about the Coors family called, “Citizen Coors: An American dynasty, says that the suicide was not surprising, seems the whole Coors Family is a little wacky. After Adolph’s death his son, Adolph, Jr was given the reins for awhile. Next in line was Adolph III, who was unfortunately murdered in a bizarre kidnapping event in 1960. Adolph III left his home and headed to his office one morning only to encounter a car on the side of the road. Apparently being the inquisitive type he stopped to help. Unfortunately, in the car was Joseph Corbett, an escaped convict from California. Corbett shot him. The rest of the craziness? You probably know most. There was the born again Coor’s heir who thought Elvira was Satanic, there was Joe Coors, what can we say about him? He divorced his wife of fifty years and married his mistress? Quit Coors to make wine?  And now that you know all that, you have another reason not to drink the beer besides the taste.

I enjoy blogging about history but when I heard this story, it always made me look at the Cavalier Hotel differently. And now, they reopen soon to continue making history.

 

For pic o’ day, here’s one that is also a grabber:

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And one to think about!

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Why Cat Shaving?

The management at the Houston airport made an interesting discovery about human behavior. After an increase in complaints about delays in their baggage handling, they moved the baggage claim carousels farther away. Now, passengers have to walk farther to get to their bags.

The complaints about baggage delays have dropped to almost zero. Keeping people busy by walking has reduced their dissatisfaction. Or, maybe the bags were there by the time they got there.  Sometimes you just have to match up human behavior to solve it!

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Which brings me to a story in Waynesboro, Virginia. Someone is shaving cats. Not their own cats. That’s the mystery. And there is no law against cat shaving.

It’s just that people are reporting that their cats are returning home unharmed, and shaven. PilotOnline calls it a “mystery in Virginia”.

The “feline barbering spree” includes a total of 7 cats, and their owners are bothered. They can’t even come up with a reason for it. The cats are unhurt but the owners “just want it to stop”.

Now why is someone shaving these cats’ legs and stomachs? Maybe the shaver just needs something to do like the baggage walkers. Or maybe, someone is just ticked off that dogs can’t roam and cats have free rein. A dog lover with a razor. Or maybe, it’s just plain crazy.

Might just be better to take up reading on a cloudy day! That’s a better “busy”.

 

 

And for pic o’ day….

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Signs on the Boardwalk

It’s more usual than exception. As I pull up to a stop light, there is someone standing in the median who is asking for money. In fact, close to the Richmond office is someone who looks like a VCU student, with her SUV parked nearby. Why is she asking for money?

Sometimes I wonder if these people in the medians are addicts, or scam artist panhandlers, or people on disability who are trying to supplement income. Perhaps they have a mother at home who is in need of medication, with it beyond reach to get help or get better. I suppose they all have their story.

A 1999 government study from the Department of Housing and Urban Development  determined that the homeless need something more than money. In the survey, 42% said that they need a job; 38% needed housing; 30% said that they needed help to pay rent or utilities; and 13% said that they need training or medical care.

 

On the Virginia Beach boardwalk, you can find signs that tell you:

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I’m not sure that the “government” has a better solution. I guess that’s why I was initially bothered by these signs, until I thought about them a bit. Then, I thought about what it does for me when I reach out of my car window to give money. It’s why I have blogged on it before. The reality is that I feel good when I give money, with no strings attached. Even if there is a possibility that the person receiving does not have the correct motives.

As I write this blog, I realize that I have more questions than answers. I am reminded that Acts 20:35 tells us that “it is more blessed to give than to receive”.

I guess as long as I look and I see, then it’s still important for me to give. When I stop seeing, then I’m the one that needs the most.

And for pic o’ day, this answers the question whether you can phone a dog:

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Lights Are Red, Lights Are Green

If you are a fan of the TV show The Blacklist, then you are probably a fan of James Spader. In the mid-nineties, he starred in a show called Stargate that was based  on time travel and extraterrestrials. Yes… probably not based on a true story!

In the show, the country that served as the travel portal to other planets was Egypt. Spader was able to solve the identity of the villain, because he figured out how to save the day by using his understanding of Linguistics in figuring out the ancient Egyptian writings.

According to  the Spader character, reading Egyptian is not that hard “once you know the vowels”. Since Egyptian hieroglyphs were only written using consonants, that served as a joke that only readers of Egyptian would appreciate. Can’t imagine a lot of laughter during that show.

I took you on that long metaphor ride because I was reminded of that reasoning when I saw an article in the Pilot Online. It’s titled Norfolk to adjust timing of 60 traffic lights.

Norfolk is set to receive 600K in state and federal money to “retime” 60 traffic lights in Norfolk, over the next three years. According to a 2010 National Cooperative Highway Research Program, lights that aren’t timed to move traffic efficiently, actually make traffic more congested, causes more accidents and increases pollution from vehicle emissions.

Clearly, the idea sounds like a winner. The traffic lights are not currently on a timer. They change based on the unpredictability of traffic.

Here’s where it seems like we are filling in the vowels. First, it makes me wonder why a 2010 report is the driving force. I guess the answer is turtle movement of government. Second, If I was defending traffic tickets, doesn’t this suggest an argument that the “light wasn’t really red, officer“, Just bad timing?

Yes, that was just my stream of consciousness on this article. Plus, how can you argue with a little Egyptian humor?

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And for pic o’ day, a bit of costume theme (or ideas?) for the weekend:

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A Case in Progress

I cannot remember the last time that I specifically blogged about a case that our firm is currently handling. Sometimes I will discuss a jury verdict. Most of the time I just discuss cases or legal issues that I see in the news.

I just saw one of our cases being reported about in PilotOnline.com. So, today’s blog is about one of our current cases.

Admittedly, I am attaching as the blog because it was a story that grabbed my attention before I realized it was our case.

Second, this is a lazy way of blogging by just attaching a reporter’s story. And third, the reporter lifted information right from the filed pleading that attorney Geoff Glick drafted. So, it’s interesting to me, to see the case through the eyes of the reporter.

If you want to read the specific article, then click at the attachment above. Below, I have attached the summary that the Virginia Trial Lawyers sent to all of its members summarizing cases that are in the news. Reading it is a lot quicker than clicking the whole article above!

A Virginia woman who was involved in a crash after she took a type of Ambien and then drove a vehicle has filed a lawsuit against the city of Virginia Beach and one of its employees. The lawsuit was filed in Circuit Court and alleges that the woman was under the influence of her prescribed medication, which she believed she took properly, when she crashed into the back of another vehicle. The plaintiff and a 4-year-old passenger were injured in the accident.  After the accident, the plaintiff was convicted of driving while intoxicated. The medication is known to cause “sleep driving,” sleep walking and memory loss, according to the lawsuit.

And for pic o’ day, these two cartoons are nonsense!

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Dr. Bill

Bill Whitehurst was dressed in his “Sunday-go-to-meeting” suit because he really was in church. At the time, he was Congressman from Virginia’s second district and I worked for him in the Norfolk district office. Just as many others, I knew him as Dr. Bill.

As a backdrop, I had come to work for him as a summer intern. He then asked me to continue on staff while I attended college during my junior year. So, everyday I would race from my classes to work half-days at the Congressional office. That meant that I usually would answer mail and phone calls. Which brings me back to that Sunday morning.

He had been invited to my church that morning to briefly speak. When I saw him come through the church door, I made a beeline toward him. That’s when he greeted me and also handed a few of letters to me. They were letters that I had prepared for his signature.

Usually, he would come back from Washington on weekends and personally sign each letter that had been prepared for him during the week. He always wanted to personally sign his mail even though most other elected officials used those signature machines. It was a lot of letter signing each weekend.

These were the days before spell check and computers. When he handed me my prepared letters, I noticed that a couple had corrections on them with an attached instruction note. He asked me to make some changes that included spelling… which I did. I couldn’t help it, it made me laugh out loud because that was his personality. He actually brought the mail to church because he wanted to get it right and get them mailed out the next morning.

When I had first come to work as an intern, the office manager, Rena Wasserman, had given me some words of advice in working there. She did so with a smile. One recommendation was to never drive him in my car. Whenever he wanted me to drive, I would just hand him my key. It was true, he was a terrible “backseat driver”.

Years later, I now have a note and a letter from him that are framed together. One is the note that was attached to those letters that he gave me on that Sunday, asking me to make changes. The letter framed beside it was the thank you that he sent me after my last day of employment.

His thank you meant a lot to me and the note of corrections reminded me to pay attention to the details.

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Dr. Bill made a lasting impression on how I work. He never felt that it was necessary to stand on the floors of Congress to make speeches. Instead, he emphasized taking care of those that he represented. That was emphasized to everyone that worked for him.

He once told me that the best part of working in Washington was seeing it in his rearview mirror each weekend, as he headed back home to Tidewater. It’s too bad that there aren’t more of our elected officials less consumed with Washington and more consumed with the detail of doing a good job and taking care of those who elected them.

I decided to write about Dr. Bill when I read Philip Walzer of PilotOnline.com , who wrote an article about Dr. Bill receiving the First Citizen Award from the Norfolk Cosmopolitan Club. And, this Thursday that he is also going to be celebrating his 90th birthday.

He attributes his long life to not smoking, “pushing away” from the dinner table and teaching, because “students energize you” according to the article. He continues to teach at Old Dominion University.

You’ll learn a great deal about Dr. Bill in this well written article from the Pilot. It brought back some great memories. A man who has influenced many including me.

A couple of years ago, I was fortunate to attend a dinner that honored Dr. Bill. Following that night, he sent me another letter to tell me that he is proud of me. Yes… I have that letter framed too!

And for pic o’ day…

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Create Jobs, Grow the Economy

Imagine a Virginia legislator standing to introduce a bill to legalize prostitution. His presentation would include the need and benefit of such legalization because it would create jobs, provide tax money and bring revenue to the economy.

I remember the General Assembly debate over the adoption of a state lottery. Those for the lottery pressed the value of passage because proceeds would go toward Virginia education. It sounded as though all budget shortfalls would be satisfied with a Virginia lottery. We do  have a Virginia lottery, but we also still need more monies in our school systems.

Several states have made the sale of marijuana legal. What was the argument? More safe than alcohol. Creates Job.  And, it provides tax revenue.

Now, if you are of the belief that all problems can be solved through “Drill Baby Drill”, then the next few paragraphs are for you.

Rex Springston of the Richmond Times-Dispatch summarized the opinion of politicians in Virginia regarding allowing oil drilling off the coast of Virginia Beach. They said the following according to his reporting:

The Energy proposal “is a positive step toward responsible offshore energy development that will create jobs and economic activity, while helping our commonwealth diversify its energy resources,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat.

U.S. Sens. Timothy M. Kaine and Mark R. Warner, both Democrats, said in a joint statement regarding drilling: “This is a significant step in a multiyear process that should result in the safe, responsible development of energy resources off the Virginia and Mid-Atlantic coasts.”

Speaker of the Virginia General Assembly House Delegates William J. Howell, R-Stafford says that, “Increasing domestic energy production helps lower energy prices for Virginia consumers and makes our country more energy secure.”

U.S. Rep. Scott Rigell, R-2nd, (his district includes Virginia Beach), is for drilling the 50 miles offshore of Virginia Beach but thinks that the current initiative has unnecessary restrictions that include the 50-mile buffer zone. He thinks it should be allowed closer. The restrictions, he said, “create significant obstacles for Virginia’s goals of creating jobs and growing our economy”.

     Despite this call for immediate approval for drilling, yesterday, CNBC reported that US crude oil inventories rose by 8.9 million barrels. Well above the expected levels. So, there is no shortage of oil and I don’t have to tell you the difference in price when we are at the pumps. We have not seen these prices in a long time.

So in summary, should we be ok with drilling right off Virginia Beach? Is there a reason that revenue and job creation are ok for oil drilling, while these same politicians are against other things that would do the same? Is there a possibility of oil destroying the Virginia coast and tourism, like what happened in the Gulf and to Louisiana could happen to Virginia? Things that make you go hmmmm.

Years ago, I heard a lawyer describe how he handled a defense doctor’s claim that the plaintiff would not need the future treatment that was predicted by the treating doctors. The defense was asking that the jury not consider the future medicals as necessary in their verdict.

The  plaintiff’s lawyer took out a big piece of paper that had Guarantee at the top of it. He presented it to the defense doctor in front of the jury. He said to the doctor, “Isn’t it true that you are telling this jury that my client will not need a hip replacement in the future and that they should not consider such expense in their verdict?”.

The doctor acknowledged his testimony. So the lawyer continued, “Since you are telling the jury not to consider a hip replacement expense in their verdict, would  you instead agree to be personally responsible to pay for a hip replacement if my client needs it?”. The lawyer then presented the Guarantee to the doctor for his signature. The doctor would not sign it.

I wanted to throw these thoughts out to you. Job creation and revenue seem to be great talking points for the oil industry. I wonder if these politicians would agree to be personally responsible for oil spill damages. I just don’t want the jobs that are created to be in the area of cleaning up the environment. Just a thought!

And for pic o’ day, let’s follow the  clues. Who doesn’t deserve cake?

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To the Baseball Game

     One of the most well known baseball songs is the 1908 “Take Me Out to the Ballgame“. The author was inspired when he got on a subway and saw a sign that read, “Baseball Today- Polo Grounds”.   Now it is regularly sung during seventh inning stretches in several major league ballparks.

     I feel a bit inspired by baseball, for this blog. Several months ago, I attended a fundraiser for CARITAS, which helps provide shelter, food and necessities for people in need. At the event, they had several items up for auction. The Richmond Flying Squirrels baseball team had a suite package up for auction. Well… we won the package. We decided to make it a Firm baseball day.

     Since that time, we have been pointing to this Monday with excitement. We are closing the offices in Virginia Beach and Richmond and going to the game. It’s a noon game. Baseball keeps you alert.

     After the game, we’ll post pictures and some video on the site. I wish that the South Carolina office could have come up, but they are holding the Fort for us all. There is a Red Sox single-A team stadium that is in walking distance to the Greenville office. Might be a good excuse for more baseball.

     For now, it’s the Richmond Flying Squirrels. They are the Double-A farm team for the San Francisco Giants. I’m also looking forward to seeing the mascot Nutsy.  He never says anything, so I guess he never argues; probably wouldn’t be a good lawyer.

      One of our paralegals, Amy, will be throwing out the first pitch. Now that’s some pressure. I’m supposed to to be on their radio broadcast around the 6th inning.

     It’s baseball and I probably went overboard for the food in the suite. Hope the storms can hold up! Good times for the Dog Days of Summer.  If you decide to tune in during the game, Sports Radio 910 carries the games. (click here)

     For pic o’ day I went with a fighting catch. I expect to be more relaxed.

 

 

Huntington’s Disease Awareness

     The client was to meet with me in our Virginia Beach office. He showed up late and seemed disinterested in his claim. As I was asking him about his medical history and whether the car crash had aggravated any prior condition, he gave me short answers in a mumble.

     I finally told the client that it seemed that he didn’t care much about his case. He went on to describe that he had been diagnosed with a disease called Huntington’s. To my shame, I didn’t know much about it or that his symptoms of being late, tired and answering in a mumble, were all part of his diagnosed condition.

     Since that time, I have represented others with this diagnosed condition. Regularly, I discuss the condition with treating doctors or the insurance company that is handling the claim  and they have little knowledge about Huntington’s Disease.

     On Sunday, Pilot Online ran a story about it’s effects after diagnosis. Families live with the difficult choice of whether to be tested. A Positive test means a life of difficulty with no cure.

     I decided to blog about this for my Monday blog, in the hope that this will do a small part in educating anyone who doesn’t really know about it. The online article does a great job in educating but also describing the fear. Please click here to read the story. Let’s hope that more funds and effort will be allocated for a cure from this terrible disease.

A Viewpoint of Fault or Circumstance

     At the start of every jury trial, the Judge usually tells the jury a little bit about the case. Then he/she goes on to say that the plaintiff will give an opening, followed by the opening of the defense. The jury is then prepared to hear both sides of the story.  

     Pilot Online has been reporting about a continuing story that involves  a man who was killed, when he was run over by a Virginia Beach dump truck (story), while he was sleeping on the beach.  The stories have been focusing on the two sides of the story.

     One one hand, there is evidence that the dump truck driver had some previous driving issues and a driving record. Separately, there have been other stories about  issues of oversight regarding other city employees and improper credit card spending, that could show that the City is not properly supervising its employees. In addition, if you read the possible background evidence about the dump truck driver, she apparently would regularly post entries on her Facebook account, about how tired she was, or how long she had stayed up the night before. Her job required early morning trash pick-up on the Beach front.

     If you were going to present the case, you would hope to keep the emphasis on the conduct of the dump truck driver. Instead,  most of the emphasis has been placed on the man who was killed. All of a sudden, homelessness is in the news. While the city is not accepting liability, it is offering to set up a fund to help the homeless.

     Separately, most of the reporting directs a focus on the lawyer, representing the estate of the man. The lawyer has said that he wants the city to pay 25 million to settle the case. Since the city says that it has immunity, it is refusing to pay. Not surprisingly, when this story came out, all the online comments were about greed. The Viewpoint had shifted to the money, instead of the fault and harm of the dump truck driver. 

     Meanwhile, the newspaper ran an editorial on why there should be basically be no payment, because the man was homeless and now,  it is outrageous that his family has taken a sudden interest in him, now that there might be money involved.

     As a sidenote to the editorial that was written, the writer  is married to a Virginia Beach Judge. In fact, if a lawsuit  is filed, he could potentially hear motions or even preside over the trial. Of course, there is no rule that says a Judge is conflicted out of a case, just because his wife disagrees with the lawsuit. Normally though, I’m guessing the public wouldn’t know about that opinion.

     I blog on this because I suspect the city will not voluntarily pay. Then, suit will be filed and there will have to be a ruling on whether the dump truck driver was performing a governmental function. If so, then gross negligence, instead of ordinary negligence, will have to be proven. Basically, a proof of reckless, willful and wanton conduct is how the jury instruction would read.

     As I type this, I guess there are more than  two sides to this. Ultimately, a jury of seven, in the civil suit, may have to decide who is the “TruthGiver” when the evidence is presented. I’m sure the openings of the two lawyers would present different viewpoints.

     By the way, did I happen to mention that there were two rallys over the weekend. One led by Glenn Beck and the other by Al Sharpton. No one could get them together for one rally, to celebrate Martin Luther King’s “I had a dream” speech. I’m guessing they didn’t have the same viewpoint.    

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