Friday, January 31, 2014

Another guilty verdict for American Amanda Knox in Italian roommate-murder case

Another guilty verdict for American Amanda Knox in Italian roommate-murder case.  Amanda Knox will NOT be extradited.  Double jeopardy attaches because Knox was acquitted in 2011.  The US Constitution does not permit an individual to be tried and convicted for the same crime for which they were acquitted.  It is an ancient common law principle too, but Italy is a civil law system.  That's different.

Judge removed from divorce case after sending one party a Facebook friend request

Judge removed from divorce case after sending one party a Facebook friend request.  Is this ex parte?  I'm not sure, but I would argue it on appeal.  This is good lawyering by the appellant here because this is clearly an issue.  The issue is whether a friend request is ex parte.  I always took ex parte to mean discussions between one lawyer and the judge without the other lawyer present about the pending case.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

My picture in the Jurist Magazine


Misguided Italian Appeals Court finds Amanda Knox guilty

Idiots.  We have double jeopardy in this country, but they don't have it in Italy.  I love Rome and Roman history, but I can't say I'm fond of the Italian judicial system where you can be tried ad infinitum.  I am unsure if Knox committed murder or conspired to commit murder, but I value double jeopardy.  Josef K could relate to Knox's treatment.  So Kafkaesque.  Of course, Josef K was actually  innocent.  I'm not sure if Knox is innocent.  I just know she is not guilty.

Social Security Administration shouldn't deny disability benefits to veterans

The Social Security Administration (www.ssa.gov) has been underfunded for years.  Since 2010 there has been a concerted effort to defund SSA, and Senator Tom Coburn has led the effort.  Coburn is retiring due to health issues, and I certainly wish him no ill will.  But what about veterans who apply for Social Security disability and have to wait for two years or more to be awarded benefits due to his party's decision to defund SSA?  Likewise, it doesn't help that Senator Ted Cruz and a cabal of Senators shut down the government last year.  Shame on all of you.

NY Giants, Eli Manning, team lawyer face civil RICO suit in claimed sale of fake 'game-worn' items

NY Giants, Eli Manning, team lawyer face civil RICO suit in claimed sale of fake 'game-worn' items.  Isn't this the kind of thing that got OJ in trouble the second time?  Obviously OJ stole back his old stuff, but I never will understand the desire for this kind of stuff.  If you get it for free, that's fine, but why pay for it or misrepresent what it is?

The agile lawyer will rise as permanent, full-time, salaried employment vanishes - ABA Journal

The agile lawyer will rise as permanent, full-time, salaried employment vanishes - ABA Journal.  Insightful article.  Law firms are changing.  They are dinosaurs because the idea of permanent legal arrangements is less prevalent, and there is more of a shift to transactional relationships.  These transactions are cheaper and more limited in scope.  This is known as "unbundling of legal services," and it has been embraced by lawyers such as Stephanie Kimbro, a fellow NC attorney.

Inmate is executed amid 'cowardly shroud of secrecy' surrounding drug source, editorial says

Inmate is executed amid 'cowardly shroud of secrecy' surrounding drug source, editorial says.  The death penalty is barbaric.  Why not life in prison?  Many of the chemicals used in lethal injection executions cause the person executed to die in a painful way.  It is cruel and unusual punishment, which is forbidden under the 8th Amendment of the United States Constitution.  I'm sure SCOTUS will hear a case about this again soon, especially considering the Ohio debacle the other week.

Me, sleeping? Federal judge offers proof she was taking notes rather than snoozing during drug trial

Me, sleeping? Federal judge offers proof she was taking notes rather than snoozing during drug trial.  It is unfortunate she has to respond to these complaints.  Perhaps the defendant's family is trying to stack the deck for a retrial if it is needed.  I wonder if this would have been an issue if this judge were not 90 years old.  I hope I will be that active at 90--if I make it to 90.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snowy day means more wrecks and more insurance claims

It stands to reason there will be more car wrecks on a snowy day.  The east coast is in the midst of one of the worst cold snaps in recent memory, which suggests climate change.  People are often careless when they drive in this kind of weather, especially when they are not used to driving in it.  Understandably this causes more people to have car wrecks.

Drive carefully.  You don't want to get hurt or be hurt by someone else.  No one wants to be a plaintiff or a defendant in a lawsuit.  Likewise, who wants to pay more in auto insurance?

Alito grants temporary stay for death row inmate

Alito grants temporary stay for death row inmate.  They are probably trying to avoid what happened in Ohio.  SCOTUS made the right decision here.  I'm shocked Justice Samuel Alito made the ruling.  Miracles never cease.  Maybe Justice Thomas will say something during an argument now.

No immunity for prosecutor accused of misconduct

No immunity for prosecutor accused of misconduct.  Judge Posner has really come around on his views.  He's using his powerful intellect for justice as opposed to pedantic legal arguments.  I wonder if his views will swing back in the other direction eventually as this will keep him in the news even more.  I believe he craves relevance through media exposure more than anything else, but I suppose he also cares about his "cannon" of cases, articles and books.

Protecting your money


Rob Woo asks a lawyer about debt consolidation


Exotic dancer wins attorney fees in fight for return of $1M seized in traffic stop

Exotic dancer wins attorney fees in fight for return of $1M seized in traffic stop.  $500 per hour isn't unreasonable for a California lawyer.  The issue is whether it is reasonable for a Nebraska case.  Given the complex nature of this business case, outside expertise was arguably necessary.  Reasonable minds can disagree.  $500 per hour in Nebraska is probably high normally unless you are working in Omaha for a Fortune 500 company.  Here, however, the statute permits reasonable attorneys fees.  This case warranted a California attorney at $500 per hour.  It is irrelevant that this woman was an exotic dancer, or, if it is relevant, the probative value is very low.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Social media has trade-offs for lawyers

Social media has trade-offs for lawyers.  This is an informative article.  Social media has created so many new avenues for communication, but there are a myriad of other unintended legal issues.  For example, who is liable for statements made on social media?  Is it the lawyer or the firm?  What about both?  To what extent are written statements libel?

I've appeared on WFMY (www.diggtriad.com) and WXII (www.wxii.com) for TV interviews, and I've told people to never say anything online they don't want repeated.  The words you use have consequences.  Just ask the lady who dumped on a contractor on Craig's List.  She lost a libel suit for $5,000.00.

'Most hated man on the Internet' is charged with email hacking to get photos for revenge porn site

'Most hated man on the Internet' is charged with email hacking to get photos for revenge porn site.  This guy is a real scumbag.  I guess he doesn't get that the 1st Amendment fails to protect him from misappropriation and false light torts.  Invasion of privacy also comes to mind as well as intentional infliction of emotional distress.

Innocence Project a potential choice for my initiative as Chair of NCBA Young Laywers Division

I was inspired by the Darryl Hunt case and the Damien Echols (Life After Death) case to pursue this potential project.  Too many people are wrongfully given life in prison or put on death row.  Unfortunately many of these people are minorities, who were convicted in large part due to racist prosecutions and racist juries.  Clearly this is wrong.

Lawyers are supposed to use the law as a tool to right social injustice.  As Chair of the YLD next Bar Year, I would like to get the YLD more involved in the Innocence Project.

For more information check out www.innocenceproject.org/.

Social Security disability hearing went well

My client's Social Security disability hearing went well today.  We presented the voluminous medical evidence along with an impactful brief.  The client testified with candor and credibility, and it helped her case.  It was a short hearing--surgical direct exam is always the best way because judges know the issues.  You need to "show them why your client should win."  This can be done quickly and efficiently.

Disability cases are about evidence and credibility.  Evidence must be both objective (medical records) and subjective (claimant testimony).  There needs to be a tight fight between the objective and the subjective.  When you have both objective and subjective evidence as well as credibility, it makes it much easier to win.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Sad that sticking up for Wendy Davis draws such ire

Wendy Davis has been unfairly maligned all day long on Twitter, the news and the radio for being a woman and being divorced.  What she is really being attacked for is being a divorced woman who went to Harvard Law School.  More disturbing is some people are threatened she's been able to make it without a man in her life.  Imagine that: a woman who can fend for herself.  The reaction to her is a sad commentary on our society.  Furthermore, people have attacked her for her political views, which is also at the heart of this.  If a man was divorced, a lawyer, a Harvard grad and supported the right to choose, he would not have been treated this way.

Bashing Wendy Davis isn't protected speech

Bashing State Senator Wendy Davis isn't protected speech.  @Todd__Kincannon and other goons have called Davis all sorts of awful names, and they've also suggested Davis performed sex acts while at Harvard all of which is NOT true.  This is NOT protected speech.  In North Carolina, they would be liable for libel per quod because they made a defamatory false statement about a woman's chastity.  There are many other actionable statements, but this is the quickest way to win.

For a more thorough discussion, check out www.huffingtonpost.com.

Ask-A-Lawyer Day is Saturday, February 1st

The Young Lawyers Division of the North Carolina Bar Association (www.ncbar.org) hosts its annual Ask-A-Lawyer Day at 10 locations across the state on Saturday, February 1st.  People who wish to speak to a lawyer will be able to do so free of charge.

In Winston-Salem, lawyers will be on hand to answer questions at the Forsyth County Public Library on 660 W. Fifth Street from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.

In Greensboro, the location is Central Library at 219 N. Church Street, Greensboro, NC 27401 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Steelworkers not entitled to compensation for time spent donning protective gear, SCOTUS rules

Steelworkers not entitled to compensation for time spent donning protective gear, SCOTUS rules.  Interesting ruling from the Court's minimalist (except for when it suits him) strict constructionist, Justice Scalia.  Clearly this ruling is anti-worker, and that's not surprising given the majority's disdain for workers.  They prefer corporations ("people" in their minds) more.

Man who responded to Craigslist ad for a sperm donor is a dad, must pay child support, judge rules

Man who responded to Craigslist ad for a sperm donor is a dad, must pay child support, judge rules.  I'm sure this guy didn't plan on this.  It is a bit harsh.  I understand why you would want a doctor working for the clinic, but to make the guy pay for the clinic's mistake seems unfair.

Resume lies lead to disbarment for former Paul Hastings partner

Resume lies lead to disbarment for former Paul Hastings partner.  I don't know why anyone in this era where almost nothing is secret would lie about something that could so easily be discovered.  It is astounding and stupid.  I'm sure the University of East Anglia is a great school, but it isn't Harvard or Oxford.  Surely this guy knew eventually he'd be found out, but maybe not.  Maybe people don't inquire.

Friday, January 24, 2014

State bars battle lawyer depression; legal profession ranks fourth in suicide rate

State bars battle lawyer depression; legal profession ranks fourth in suicide rate.  I 've heard this statistic before.  It was mentioned at the NCBA (www.ncba.org) board of governors meeting yesterday.  Many lawyers suffer from depression and other mental health issues.  Often these issues exist prior to becoming a lawyer, and, after becoming a lawyer, the long hours and stress of the job only exacerbate these issues.  When you throw in substance abuse issues, it gets even worse.  It's a shame.

Life stinks for people who don't have money

I've noticed this even more in the past few days.  Yesterday I got a flat tire while driving back from Cary.  I had been at a NCBA Board of Governors meeting with many of the state's leading lawyers. As I sat in a gas station waiting for a wrecker to help me with my punctured tire, I thought about what it would be like not to have the money for AAA or other car repairs. What if I didn't have a car?  Luckily the wrecker arrived in 20 minutes, and I headed on my way.  Of course I do have to buy a new tire today, but I have the money.  So that's good for me.

Today I went to meet with a Social Security disability client, and he got the locations mixed up.  He is homeless, and he has to take the bus, which stinks on a day like today where the temperature is less than 20 degrees.  I was able to ride in my heated car while listening to a book on CD as I contemplated my up coming weekend.  He, on the other hand, has to worry about the bus schedule and when it will take him back to the crowded shelter.

I thought about the contrast between the two worlds.  I've been fortunate, but my client hasn't.  Lots of people don't have "a pot to piss in" as the saying goes.  That's what rankles me when I hear politicians and others who have means criticizing those who don't have means.  It is MUCH easier to be critical when you have the luxury of being critical.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

At a NCBA Board of Governors' meeting

I'm here in my role as Young Lawyers' Division Chair Elect.  I'm listening to many interesting individuals regarding important topics.  The information is confidential, so I can't share specifics.  The NCBA does a lot of important things.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Judge mulls retrial in case of 14-year-old black youth tried and executed in 1944

Judge mulls retrial in case of 14-year-old black youth tried and executed in 1944.  They should retry this case.  South Carolina has a whole lot of explaining to do.  I think it would improve the state's image, but maybe they are fine with their image.  Kind of hard to argue a state is progressing when all of their resorts are called "plantations."  And whose smiling faces and beautiful places are they talking about?  Makes you wonder doesn't it?

Lawyer founded fake church to funnel money while saying he couldn't pay sanctions, judge says

Lawyer founded fake church to funnel money while saying he couldn't pay sanctions, judge says.  This is like a John Grisham novel.  He created a "church" to support his drinking, tanning, yoga and kettle bell habits.  Those things usually don't go together.  Quite a story.

Where are these disbarred lawyers now?

Where are these disbarred lawyers now?  Kentucky imposes the "death penalty" for disbarred lawyers.  This means they cannot apply for reinstatement.  It doesn't mean they can't work for lawyers, but there are restrictions.  This article outlines some of the interesting ways former Kentucky lawyers have continued to contribute in spite of no longer having their law licenses.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Kilpatrick Townsend gets no-contact order in dispute with retailer

Kilpatrick Townsend gets no-contact order in dispute with retailer.  This one hits close to home because it happened in Winston-Salem.  The judge should have issued this order.  Definitely an odd case.  Sometimes crazy people show up and harass people at law firms.  Imagine that. 

6th Circuit judge retired amid probe of travel expenses; allegations referred to DOJ

6th Circuit judge retired amid probe of travel expenses; allegations referred to DOJ.  I wonder what he spent all this money on over a four year period.  Probably nothing good.  I'm assuming clothes, food, electronics, women and alcohol, but I'm just speculating.

Should child-porn viewers be liable for full restitution to victims? SCOTUS considers case this week

Should child-porn viewers be liable for full restitution to victims? SCOTUS considers case this week. Of course they should.  Obviously most felons won't be able to pay or will be long dead, but it sends a message: this isn't acceptable.  I'm not sure if it is a deterrent because the molesters will do it anyway; it is cathartic for the victims because it is an acknowledgement by the state that a crime was committed.

Judge says BigLaw firm sought fees for research on 'basic and banal' legal principles

Judge says BigLaw firm sought fees for research on 'basic and banal' legal principles.  Wow.  "Basic and banal" legal principles.  That's judge speak for running the numbers.  It happens a lot unfortunately.  With billing the key is to reflect value.  In other words, you are trying to advance your client's objectives. Padding the bill isn't advancing the clients objectives.

Divorce case sparked attacks on lawyer, judge and others, jurors in murder trial are told

Divorce case sparked attacks on lawyer, judge and others, jurors in murder trial are told.  Quite a deal.  This case has been going on for 13 years now.  It sounds like there may be reasonable doubt here, but it is hard to say given the brevity of the article.  My initial opinion, however, is not guilty.  I didn't say innocent as that is an entirely different thing.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Martin Luther King Day shows progress has been made, yet we still have a long way to go

Martin Luther King accomplished a lot.  The Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965 would never have been possible without him nor would other advances.  Unfortunately we still have a long way to go. 

Black people are NOT treated equally in this country.

There is a great groundswell of racism that has manifested itself since Barack Obama was elected.  And that's a shame.

Courtney Love testifies at first US 'Twibel' trial, sued by her ex-lawyer over critical tweet

Courtney Love testifies at first US 'Twibel' trial, sued by her ex-lawyer over critical tweet.  Even if the tweet were intended to be private, tweeting her statement I assume constitutes "publication" under most states' laws.  Assuming this is true, her intent wasn't material.  Again, this is an example of how people say dumb things on Twitter, especially celebrities.

Federal appeals court says state must pay for inmate's sex-change operation

Federal appeals court says state must pay for inmate's sex-change operation.  This is part of his (her) treatment.  In this instance, the Court deemed the sex-change necessary to treat the gender identification disorder.  I agree, although I am sure people will react in a visceral manor to this story.   Orange is the New Black (TV series) deals with an inmate, who is going through a sex-change.  I've yet to read the book yet, but I bought it the other day; I plan to read it soon. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

Judge approves forfeiture of more than $25M in Bitcoins

Judge approves forfeiture of more than $25M in Bitcoins.  Virtual currency is still odd to me, but I guess it makes sense because all currency is representative of something of value.  Currency is an arbitrary thing anyway.  I suggest Neal Stephenson's book Reamde for a discussion on currency and creating arbitrary objects of "value" that masquerades as currency.

Man to get $1.6M for humiliating 3-enema ordeal after traffic stop

Man to get $1.6M for humiliating 3-enema ordeal after traffic stop.  Thugs with a badge.  This is the worst case of police brutality I've seen in quite some time.  All of it was for drugs.  Drugs?  It isn't like the guy killed someone.  Pretty hefty settlement, and they police are lucky it wasn't more.

Scalia calls out lawyer for a failure to extemporize

Scalia calls out lawyer for a failure to extemporize.  That's rough.  I'm sure it is hard enough to be up there arguing in front of the Court.  To be accused of reading would make it  much, much harder, although I believe Justice Scalia was trying to help the guy.  Apparently he was on the guy's side at least according to the article.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Sexton: Judge heats up as teen cools her heels in jail - Winston-Salem Journal: Scott Sexton

Sexton: Judge heats up as teen cools her heels in jail - Winston-Salem Journal: Scott Sexton.  Perhaps Scott Sexton should have done more research about the good work Center Point does instead of jumping on them.  His sarcastic comments about Christmas shopping are uncalled for.  This is pretty typical of his reporting style: fire first with half the slanted story.  I'm on the Center Point board, and I KNOW it does a great job.  Betty Taylor is an incredible CEO.  It is wrong for Scott Sexton to bash the entire organization based on this isolated incident.  Why not blame the courts?  Blame the jail?  Instead, he chose to blame Center Point in order to sell news papers.

Beware of email attachments purporting to carry case information, courts warn

Beware of email attachments purporting to carry case information, courts warn.  That's not good.  E-mail attachments are inherently problematic.  I much prefer scanned documents to regular attachments.  They tend to carry less viruses, and they cannot be altered. 

Lawyer-turned-galactic overlord leaves BigLaw and achieves online success

Lawyer-turned-galactic overlord leaves BigLaw and achieves online success.  This is a neat story.  I often see stories of lawyers who "escape the profession."  I have mixed views on this.  On the one hand, I like being a lawyer.  No job is as intellectually engaging while providing the opportunity to make a difference.  It can also provide substantial remuneration, but that's beside the point.  On the other hand, I often feel my creativity and talents are not fully utilized as an attorney.  That's why it is important to find other creative outlets, and I've tried and continued to try to do that.

Gibson Dunn to represent NJ Gov. Chris Christie's office amidst ongoing probe of traffic jam scandal

Gibson Dunn to represent NJ Gov. Chris Christie's office amidst ongoing probe of traffic jam scandal.  Anytime you hire a big time lawyer it isn't good.  I don't think this rises to Watergate proportions, but it is very slimy nonetheless.  It is unlikely Christie will ever be a serious Presidential contender after this scandal, nor should he be.  He doesn't have the right temperament.

Social Security disability hearing

If my client can't get in and out of the car he should win his disability case.  And he shouldn't have to wait two years for a hearing.  Screw Congress for mucking up the system.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Should violent rap lyrics be admissible in a criminal trial? New Jersey supremes to decide

Should violent rap lyrics be admissible in a criminal trial? New Jersey supremes to decide.  Using rap lyrics is a racist ploy, and it is outweighed by the risk of unfair prejudice.  Under Rule 403 of the rules of evidence, most states' codes exclude evidence that may have probative value, but that probative value is outweighed by the risk of unfair prejudice.  There must be a logical connection between the evidence presented and the alleged crime otherwise it is left to conjecture.  We shouldn't convict people based on conjecture.  That's not the way our system is set up.

Tweeting lawyer gets lightest sanction for disbarment prediction during AG's ethics hearing

Tweeting lawyer gets lightest sanction for disbarment prediction during AG's ethics hearing.  Not sure why this is an ethics issue, but the Kansas State Bar thinks it is.  I guess they don't want anyone saying anything remotely bad about anyone.  Should this lawyer have tweeted about this?  Probably not.  Should the lawyer have gotten sanctions for what she said?  No.  Read her tweets and decide for yourself.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Pimp convicted of stomping customer sues Nike over lack of warning label on shoes

Pimp convicted of stomping customer sues Nike over lack of warning label on shoes.  I'm loathe to call a lawsuit frivolous, but I believe this is one.  Sadly tort reform advocates will use this as a reason for tort reform even though the case will be dismissed.  Tort reform won't stop the actual filing of lawsuits.  This is a funny case though.

Social Security disability, VA disability and Wills and Estates seminars on Wednesday at Reynolda Manor Library

I will be giving all three of these seminars from 2-4.  There is an ad in the Winston-Salem Journal (www.journalnow.com).  I will answer whatever questions people have.  This week is the first week we've held seminars this year.  For more information, visit our website www.wellsjenkins.com

Husband sues hospital to force it to take his brain-dead, pregnant wife off life support

Husband sues hospital to force it to take his brain-dead, pregnant wife off life support.  This is f___ing ridiculous for this hospital to keep this woman alive when she is brain-dead because of what some anti-choice nuts think.  Whatever law Texas has is stupid, plain stupid.

9th Circuit OKs civil rights case over death of 2 dogs shot during execution of search warrant

9th Circuit OKs civil rights case over death of 2 dogs shot during execution of search warrant.  I hope this case is successful.  What happened to these two dogs is terrible, and the police officers should have paused before shooting these innocent animals.  If I had a dog and someone killed it, I would want to sue them as well.

How Chris Christie dealt with a blogging prosecutor

How Chris Christie dealt with a blogging prosecutor.  This is surprising.  I'm wondering if Christie agreed with what Dave Lat said about some of the federal judges.  Perhaps he did.  It is an interesting story though.

I enjoyed being on "You and the Law" on 600 WSJS this morning

I talked about Social Security disability and answered questions from radio callers.  We are going to try and do more themed shows this year.  There are always a lot of questions about Social Security disability as the population is getting older, and this increases the number of claims.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Onetime king of foreclosure firm grossing $260M annually is disbarred

Onetime king of foreclosure firm grossing $260M annually is disbarred.  The vulture had his wings clipped.  Lots of foreclosures in Florida, and this guy's firm profited handsomely from it, but the money ran out.  Now the main lawyer's law license is gone. 

'Octomom' charged with welfare fraud

'Octomom' charged with welfare fraud.  Just when you think you heard the last of Octomom, here she is again, "sucking the public teat".  This is an example of why some people shouldn't have children or should limit the children they do have.

Lawyer is charged in claimed high-end wine-smuggling operation

Lawyer is charged in claimed high-end wine-smuggling operation.  Kind of stupid.  I don't know why this "lawyer" thought he would get away with this.  The law is pretty strict on the sale of alcohol as it should be. 

BP oil-spill settlement is upheld by 5th Circuit

BP oil-spill settlement is upheld by 5th Circuit.  I'm glad to hear this.  It is reprehensible what BP did in the Gulf in 2010.  The state government of Louisiana failed, and the federal government failed (supporters of big oil).  It is disgusting BP tried to hold up this settlement through its bogus claims that some of the plaintiffs weren't real plaintiffs.  I wish BP would go back to England and stay out of the United States.

300,000 W.Va. residents told not to drink water after chemical leak; US opens criminal probe

300,000 W.Va. residents told not to drink water after chemical leak; US opens criminal probe.  This is a horrible situation.  I feel so badly for the people of West Virginia.  It is such a nice state, and it has some of the finest people you will ever meet.  Unfortunately it appears some major safety violations took place, and I fear after an investigation there will be a myriad of safety violations.  I wouldn't be surprised if this were similar to the Buffalo Creek Mining disaster in terms of safety violations--obviously not loss of life fortunately.

Happy lawyers do these things, expert says

Happy lawyers do these things, expert says.  Some say a happy lawyer is an oxymoron, and maybe it is.  I do agree exercise helps your outlook.  Being a lawyer is a stressful job, and getting exercise helps 1) relieve stress, 2) make you healthier physically, and 3) it releases chemicals in your brain that put you in a better mood.

Judge censured for asking staffers to pray, run errands

Judge censured for asking staffers to pray, run errands.  I guess this "judge" missed the day in Constitutional Law I when the professor discussed separation of church and state as it pertains to the establishment clause.  Maybe she forgot all of those SCOTUS cases too.  This assumes she ever read any of the cases.

Friday, January 10, 2014

The 60 Minutes Controversy & Social Security Disability


Letter to the Editor: SS disability claimants are our neighbors and veterans | NOSSCR

Letter to the Editor: SS disability claimants are our neighbors and veterans | NOSSCR.  This is an excellent article.  SS disability claimants are our neighbors and veterans.  The criteria to receive Social Security disability are quite stringent.  Only 40% of all people who ever apply for disability are ever awarded benefits. 

Same-sex marriages in Utah will be recognized by federal government, Holder says

Same-sex marriages in Utah will be recognized by federal government, Holder says.  This will set up a SCOTUS challenge.  Eventually same sex marriage will be legal in every state.  I predict same sex marriage will be legal everywhere within the next 5 to 10 years. 

Is noise exemption for church bells a constitutional violation? Judge likely to toss pro se claim

Is noise exemption for church bells a constitutional violation? Judge likely to toss pro se claim.  I do think nuisance laws could be used here.  The free exercise of religion doesn't allow you to break the law.  Both people and churches can't use religion as a guise to break the law.

Should Web comments be grounds for an ethics probe? | Earning CLE credit through writing blog posts

Should Web comments be grounds for an ethics probe? | Earning CLE credit through writing blog posts.  I think web comments should be grounds for an ethics probe IF their comments were related to their work or their clients in general.  It is hard to establish a general rule as these situations are fact specifics.  Lawyers should be held to a higher standard so maybe should they should face ethics issues for potentially unethical comments.

Judge OKs subpoena requiring NJ gov's appointee to testify about traffic-jam scandal; he takes 5th

Judge OKs subpoena requiring NJ gov's appointee to testify about traffic-jam scandal; he takes 5th.  From a legal standpoint, the Governor won't say he's sorry because that would be an admission of fault.  Likewise, he left himself plausible deniability because he had no actual knowledge, although he likely had constructive notice.  These subpoenas should yield interesting and informative documents.  I predict a plethora of motions to quash.

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Personal Injury Basics: What You Should Know About Your Claim


Practical Steps to Solve Your Financial Problems


Wells Jenkins Areas of Practice and New Attorneys


City attorney slain by husband in apparent murder-suicide, authorities say

City attorney slain by husband in apparent murder-suicide, authorities say.  This is a sad story.  Again, more senseless gun violence.  When will it all end?

Law prof barred from campus for alleged angry comments claims an ADA violation

Law prof barred from campus for alleged angry comments claims an ADA violation.  This law professor wants being an a**hole to be considered a disability.  By banning him from campus, the John Marshall School of Law (I don't think John Marshall ever made it to Chicago) violated the ADA.  This seems like a stretch. 

Plaintiff 'titan' files civil racketeering class action against rival PI lawyer in BP oil spill case

Plaintiff 'titan' files civil racketeering class action against rival PI lawyer in BP oil spill case.  The wolves are attacking the wolves.  One plaintiff's lawyer is suing another plaintiff's lawyer alleging fraud and racketeering.  This seems to be a bit of a defense lawsuit.  "This is my territory," so to speak.

Parking-dibs tradition becomes a federal case in Chicago

Parking-dibs tradition becomes a federal case in Chicago.  This is a funny story.  I can understand the claiming of coveted parking spaces through custom.  Sometimes customs are more powerful than laws.  The police were extreme to follow this guy in his apartment and attack him.  I'm surprised the lawsuit wasn't settled for more money than $20,000.

Lawyer who trashed secretary on Facebook appalls Ask Amy readers

Lawyer who trashed secretary on Facebook appalls Ask Amy readers.  The problem here is this lawyer put these comments on Facebook, and that is stupid.  She may think these things, but she shouldn't post them on Facebook because they never go away.  Likewise, these written statements may be legally actionable.  Keep your thoughts to yourself, or, if you must say such things, say them to a significant other, loved one or trusted friend.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

DUI Checkpoint Video Goes Viral

DUI Checkpoint Video Goes Viral.  This is a crazy video.  Thugs with a badge.

If law firms grow, will clients come? Report discounts the idea

If law firms grow, will clients come? Report discounts the idea.  This is a great question to ask.  More lawyers doesn't necessarily mean more clients.  What it does mean is more expenses in the form of more salaries, benefits, malpractice insurance and staff.  Law firms need "enough business to go around."  You wouldn't have 5 corporate lawyers for a practice with work for only 2 corporate lawyers.

Hospital refuses to take patient off life support, despite family wishes, because she is pregnant

Hospital refuses to take patient off life support, despite family wishes, because she is pregnant.  This is absurd, and this woman should be allowed to pass away naturally.  It is her family's wish.  I cannot believe this nutty law is allowing this woman to remain in a persistent vegetative state because of a non-viable being that isn't even a "life" yet.

80 retired police officers and firefighters charged in massive NYC disability fraud case

80 retired police officers and firefighters charged in massive NYC disability fraud case.  This is a shame.  Unfortunately this undercuts many legitimate Social Security disability cases.  Of course fraud occurs, but fraud occurs in every facet of life.  That doesn't mean most or all of SSD cases are fraudulent or even dubious.  I can see FOX News making a filed day out of this with their disdain for SSD or any other type of government benefits.

Football fan sues over Super Bowl ticket sales

Football fan sues over Super Bowl ticket sales.  I've been to the Super Bowl, and you need to know someone to "buy" tickets.  That's just the way it is unless you want to go on Stub Hub and pay thousands like many of the Patriots fans did in the 2004 Super Bowl against the Panthers.  I remember riding on the plane with obese Patriots fans wearing Tom Brady jerseys yelling, "Drink another beer Maaaarty." 

Most premium sports tickets come to you through people you know.  Otherwise you will pay thousands.  For example, this past December I went to a Blackhawks vs. the New Jersey Devils hockey game and sat on the third row.  I was there with my brother, his father-in-law and my dad.  Those 4 tickets cost us $130 a pieces (not cheap), but, if we hadn't had a personal "in," then the tickets would have cost at least $5,000 all together.  I enjoyed the game, but I'm not willing to pay $1,250 for a hockey ticket--maybe a Super Bowl ticket as that is about the face value now.  When went it was $600.00.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Michael Wells Jr. overview of Social Security disability


Attorney R. Michael Wells, Jr. Video Bio


Slain lawyer shot by police had drugs in his condo, court records say

Slain lawyer shot by police had drugs in his condo, court records say.  Why did the police need to shoot this guy over drugs?  He certainly shouldn't have been doing drugs, but the police should never have fired their guns at this guy especially with his 11 year old daughter near.

Slapping crying toddler on plane nets jail time for former executive

Slapping crying toddler on plane nets jail time for former executive.  This guy is a real prize.  What a scumbag.  I can't believe he would slap a toddler and utter a racial slur to a little kid.  Such a drunken bum.

Mandatory drug tests for welfare recipients are struck down; appeal is planned

Mandatory drug tests for welfare recipients are struck down; appeal is planned.  This law should have been struck down.  It is a racist and ill-conceived law.  I wonder when these kinds of idiotic laws will stop being passed.  Sadly there are so many morons in legislatures throughout the country (North Carolina) that more laws like this will be continued to be passed.  In North Carolina, we can't raise teacher pay but we can drop possums for New Year's.  This means: teacher raises are bad, but cruelty to animals is good?  The Rump Parliament continues.

Blogging law prof requests ethics probe of 'dybbuk' commenter

Blogging law prof requests ethics probe of 'dybbuk' commenter.  I can't stand anonymous commenters.  They tend to be cowards who don't want what they say attributed to them.  If you can't say it and have others know you said it, then don't say it.  It isn't surprising the commenter got caught.  I'm surprised this individual thought he could get away with this.

Social Security disability hearing in frigid weather

Today I have a Social Security disability hearing in Greensboro, and I doubt it will be much warmer than 15 degrees at the time of the hearing.  The cold weather has made me think about how my clients, many of whom do not have a set place to live (near homeless, homeless or chronic homeless), cope with the elements.  Most people never consider what it is like not to have your basic needs (food and shelter) met or even in doubt as to if they will be met.  We live in the richest country in the history of the world, and it is tragic we have the greatest income disparity in human history.  It is equally tragic that my Social Security disability clients have to wait two years or more to receive the benefits they deserve. And they have to wait  all the while hearing the clamor of idiots calling them lazy and "moochers".  Neither of these inappropriate characterizations could be further from the truth.  On this frigid day consider the "chilling effect" this struggle has on the souls of people.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Girl gets $32M settlement in med-mal case over quadruple limb amputations

Girl gets $32M settlement in med-mal case over quadruple limb amputations.  This is a harrowing case.  I'm not surprised at the size of the settlement.  Unfortunately this case wouldn't pay out as much in North Carolina.  Juries are unwilling to pay much, and this would have lessened the settlement value of the case. 

New You Tube videos of Mike Wells and Michael Wells on Wells Jenkins website (www.wellsjenkins.com)

Check out the new videos on www.wellsjenkins.com.  Mike has a video describing his practice areas and a video describing various consumer issues.  Michael also has a video describing his practice areas and a video on Social Security disability.  More videos are to follow.

Immigration misconceptions

Immigration cases are complicated, and there are multiple ways to misstep.  If there are specific legal questions, it is important to contact an immigration attorney.  In order to illustrate the point, here are some common misconceptions:  Immigration & Naturalization Service (INS) no longer exists, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has taken over INS’ functions; DHS also coordinates with the U.S. State Department, the U.S. Department of Labor and other governmental agencies to oversee immigration; lawful permanent resident status and citizenship cannot be achieived simply by marrying a U.S. Citizen; there are other criteria;  illegal entry into the United States will likely jeopardize a later immigration case; certain criminal plea agreements such as no contest or deferred prosecution may be deemed a guilty plea by DHS and therefore have a dire impact on a person’s immigration status.

This is by no means an exclusive list, but it demonstrates the necessity of talking to an attorney prior to making a decision that may adversely affect you or the person who needs assistance.  For additional information, see the DHS website www.dhs.gov.

 

Man blows nearly 6 times legal drunk-driving limit after passenger blows whistle

Man blows nearly 6 times legal drunk-driving limit after passenger blows whistle.  I saw this on Twitter this weekend, and I didn't believe it at first.   I thought .467 is a great batting average not a BAL, but I was wrong.  This guy should have been dead.  He's probably still drunk and likely will be for the foreseeable future.  How can someone consume this much alcohol? 

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Miami law

I was in Miami recently and saw this ad near Coral Gables not too far from Jeb Bush's house.

Friday, January 3, 2014

How an ordinary attorney got hired as general counsel to Marlon Brando

How an ordinary attorney got hired as general counsel to Marlon Brando.  This is an example of how doing a good job can lead to unexpected good results.  The lawyer here snagged Marlon Brando as a client, and he continues to represent Brando Enterprises to this day.  Not a bad deal.

Unhappy with $128K award in family farm case, couple sues prominent lawyer and wins $1.1M

Unhappy with $128K award in family farm case, couple sues prominent lawyer and wins $1.1M.  I have a feeling this case would have turned out very differently if the defendant weren't a lawyer.  It is likely the jury wanted to "stick it" to a lawyer.  This isn't surprising given most people hate lawyers.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

New year's new laws OK pot sales, let moms take placenta home after birth, limit gov't use of drones

New year's new laws OK pot sales, let moms take placenta home after birth, limit gov't use of drones.  Ah the new laws that are now in place.  The weirdest one in this headline is obviously the one where a mother can take the placenta home after birth.  That's disgusting.  For those of you who don't believe in global warming (or science in general), the placenta is the sac where the baby resides prior to passing through the birth canal.

New law means undocumented immigrants can practice law in Calif., top state court says

New law means undocumented immigrants can practice law in Calif., top state court says.  This is great news.  Hopefully this will begin the process for the repeal of our ridiculous and draconian immigration laws. 

Internet car companies offer convenience, but lawyers see caution signs

Internet car companies offer convenience, but lawyers see caution signs.  Ride sharing apps certainly raise interesting legal issues.  Drivers of cars where multiple people share rides may be liable to passengers if there is a wreck.  It does raise a question as to whether the maker of the app is liable too.  I don't think the maker is.  The users of the app aren't employees of the company.

Was Christmas fire that destroyed small law office a case-related arson?

Was Christmas fire that destroyed small law office a case-related arson?.  This is a crazy case.  Divorce cases are quite contentious at times, but obviously this case represents an extreme example.  This assumes there was arson at all.  It could be coincidence.

Suspended lawyer drops suit over her nude photos

Suspended lawyer drops suit over her nude photos.  Those pesky nude photos.  Anthony Weiner and now Geno Smith know too well the havoc they wreak.  Now this lawyer dropped her lawsuit in the nude photo case in Florida. 

Chemerinsky: Bankruptcy case tops a busy January session

Chemerinsky: Bankruptcy case tops a busy January session.  There is a major bankruptcy case before the Court on January 2014.  At issue is the jurisdiction bankruptcy judges have or don't have to issue final judgments on federal claims and state law claims not part of the bankruptcy.

Federal judge gives up his celebrated blog after story airs criticism

Federal judge gives up his celebrated blog after story airs criticism.  Too bad this blog ended.  Judges should be able to have opinions so long as their opinions do not affect pending cases.  I'm sure the judge stopped blogging because of concerns over potential ethical issues.  Likewise, it probably wasn't worth the effort.