Friday, August 29, 2014

Addicted to Email?

This article on the "tyranny of email" had me thinking this morning:
White-collar cubicle dwellers complain about email for good reason. They spend 28 percent of their workweek slogging through the stuff, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. They check their messages 74 times a day, on average, according to Gloria Mark, an authority on workplace behavior and a professor at the University of California, Irvine.
And lots of that checking happens at home. Jennifer Deal, a senior research scientist at the Center for Creative Leadership, surveyed smartphone-using white-collar workers and found that most were umbilically tied to email a stunning 13.5 hours a day, well into the evening. Workers don’t even take a break during dinner — where, other research shows, fully 38 percent check work email “routinely,” peeking at the phone under the table. Half check it in bed in the morning. What agonizes workers is the expectation that they’ll reply instantly to a colleague or boss, no matter how ungodly the hour. Hence the endless, neurotic checking, and the dread of getting in trouble for ignoring something.
Surely lawyers with an active practice far exceed these numbers.

I'm not proud of this, but given exchanges with co-workers, colleagues, opposing counsel, email orders and motions etc., editing of documents and you name it, I check my email probably every three to four minutes from waking to bedtime.

That doesn't include social media, texting, and other smartphone functions (including the occasional phone call).

Perhaps that's one reason you don't hear lawyer-parents calling for their kids to get off the phone anymore -- they are on it more than their children!

What is the solution?

I don't think the one offered by the author of that NYT piece works -- you simply can't, in a modern practice, "shut down" emails after, say 6 p.m.  You'd be totally out of the loop on many useless and meaningless conversations and notifications (but it's the possibility that something important happened that keeps you coming back).

Or can you?

What are the creative solutions?

"Breaks" during the day; mindfulness time outs, being disciplined enough to put the phone down for an hour or two?

What are your thoughts?   (No one is really working today anyways.) 

Thursday, August 28, 2014


More good news here!
A state appeals court on Thursday rejected Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi's request to hold off on deciding the constitutionality of Florida's gay-marriage ban until after the U.S. Supreme Court someday rules on the issue. 
“Upon consideration, appellant’s motions to stay briefing are denied,” the Miami-based Third District Court of Appeal said in a terse ruling Thursday. 
“That is the best news of the day. We would have been sitting in limbo for an undetermined amount of time,” said attorney Bernadette Restivo, who represents Aaron Huntsman and William Lee Jones, two Key West bartenders who on July 17 won the right to marry in Monroe County Circuit Court. “Pam Bondi’s stay would have caused enormous irreparable harm to the plaintiffs and others similarly situated. Every day that we move forward in this case will hopefully mean we are moving closer to ending this oppressive discrimination.”

The smell of victory is in the air and it's a lot like Chicken Parm! 

Practice Tip 101 -- Remember to Notice Your Video Deposition!

Surprise surprise surprise!

(Boy do I miss Gomer.)

Are you required to notice your videotaped deposition in federal court?

What if you just "forgot" and you elicited something delicious (one-minute delay in responding to critical question) that can only be seen on the videotape?

Doesn't matter, kiddies:
Here, Dr. Ferré was first alerted that his deposition would be videotaped when he appeared for the deposition and saw video equipment and a videographer present. (ECF No. 53 at 4). Over MAKO’s objection, Plaintiff proceeded with the deposition. Id. at 5. It is undisputed, however, that the second amended notice of deposition, like the amended notice of deposition and the original notice of deposition, failed to notify Dr. Ferré or MAKO that Plaintiff would record Dr. Ferré’s deposition by videotape. See (ECF Nos. 53-1; 53-2; 53-3). Plaintiff claims this omission was a typographical error. See (ECF No. 66 at 2). Regardless of how Plaintiff characterizes the omission, however, the second amended notice failed to comply with the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure and the Local Rules for the Southern District of Florida.
Your CLE hours for the month are complete!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Gay Divorce?

Is the savior of gay marriage in Florida gay divorce?  Maybe.
Earlier today, the state's 2nd District Court of Appeal sent a request to the Florida Supreme Court asking them to take on a Hillsborough County marriage case and rule on the constitutionally of Florida's ban. If the Florida Supreme Court decides to take on the case, it will be a huge step forward in the fight for marriage in Florida. 
In an unusual decision, the state's 2nd District Court of Appeal on Wednesday asked the Florida Supreme Court to settle the question due to "great public importance." If the high court takes up the case, it could result in having the issue settled even before the U.S. Supreme Court acts. 
The ruling is connected to a Hillsborough County divorce case involving a same-sex couple who had been married in Massachusetts but since relocated to the Tampa area. Their petition to dissolve their marriage was rejected by a Florida judge who noted that state law does not recognize gay marriage.
My best guess is that we will have a definitive answer on this issue nationally from the Supreme Court by the end of June 2015. But this is one party I won't mind being early to!

3d DCA Watch -- Bring Me the Head of Downtown Reporting!

So I've been looking around for a new court reporting service, and someone mentioned Downtown Reporting.

Anyone have any intel?
Downtown Reporting, LLC, has offices in Miami-Dade and Broward Counties. Its business is the transcription of legal proceedings in both civil and criminal cases, ranging from depositions taken outside the courtroom to hearings and trial proceedings held in court. The company is one of several court reporting companies that have contracts with the State of Florida to serve as “official reporters” for all proceedings in the criminal division of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit comprising Miami-Dade County. Downtown Reporting is not an “official reporter” in Broward County. The order to show cause in this case concerns Downtown Reporting’s disregard of orders of this Court and lack of diligence in timely producing transcripts in cases arising out of the criminal courts of Miami- Dade County, now on appeal in this Court.
Judge Shepherd delivers a true, old-fashioned benchslap -- this is a must read.

I also like this part:
According to Ms. Kelly Kearson, the Court Reporting Service Department of the Administrative Office of the Courts has no procedure in place to attempt to monitor the performance of the court reporting firms it hires to service in the criminal division of the Circuit Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit. The management practice of the Department in this regard was perplexingly described to the court by Ms. Kelly Kearson as “reactive,” initiated in the usual case by a complaint by a trial judge of the service he or she was receiving.
No oversight or review of any kind of a government contract?

Welcome to Miami-Dade County!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Vote, Plebes!

I just finished voting, and most of the election today has to do with our local judiciary.

If you're a litigator and not engaged in this process already, shame on you.

But it's not too late:  spend some time today attempting to bone up on the candidates -- speak to your colleagues, ask someone knowledgeable, do some research, and by all means vote.
“If you are bored and disgusted by politics and don't bother to vote, you are in effect voting for the entrenched Establishments of the two major parties, who please rest assured are not dumb, and who are keenly aware that it is in their interests to keep you disgusted and bored and cynical and to give you every possible reason to stay at home doing one-hitters and watching MTV on primary day. By all means stay home if you want, but don't bullshit yourself that you're not voting. In reality, there is no such thing as not voting: you either vote by voting, or you vote by staying home and tacitly doubling the value of some Diehard's vote.” 
We miss you David Foster Wallace.

Pam Bondi Has Hates The Crabs

Some of my fondest memories of being a wee-little Whacker were regular trips to my Uncle Joe's farm in Tracy's Landing Maryland, a picturesque farming community located just 20 minutes straight down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White House. I had a blast riding the tractor and strutting through the woods. But the highlight was always a trip over to the neighboring fishing community Deale for bushel of blue crabs for the steaming pot. I can smell the beer and garlic now!

But the crab harvest hasn't been as good as it used to be. Agricultural and industrial runoff have diminished water quality. Surrounding states have banded together with the federal government to address the issue.

So what does this have to do with us here in Florida? Carl Hiaasen explains.
Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi filed a brief — paid for with your taxes — attacking the legality of the Chesapeake Bay Clean Water Blueprint. 
The plan was devised by six bay area states, the District of Columbia and the federal government. Its mission is to improve water quality in the rivers, streams and estuaries of the Chesapeake region. 
A federal judge upheld the terms of the so-called blueprint, which will limit the amount of pollution being dumped, but the ruling is being appealed. 
Why would the state of Florida try to obstruct the cleanup of public waters hundreds of miles away from our own? Because Bondi and Gov. Rick Scott are complete tools. 
They aren’t suing on behalf of the citizens of Florida; they’re suing on behalf of big agricultural and development interests that don’t want the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency enforcing clean-water laws anywhere. 
How the hell does it serve the interests of the people of Florida to side with polluters? George Sheldon, her likely opponent in the November election takes issue.
The people of Florida count on a strong federal Environmental Protection Agency, working with the state, to enforce limitations on pollution and keep our beaches and waterfront cleaner. Pollution in Alabama and Georgia flow down the rivers and streams into Florida, just as pollution flows down the Shenandoah and the Potomac and other rivers into Chesapeake Bay. 
Bondi is simply wrong about the Clean Water Act and wrong about federal enforcement of anti-pollution laws. We in Florida need to know that the Environmental Protection Agency will be there to ensure that our neighboring states will do their part to keep the rivers flowing into Florida clean.
Pam Bondi has put the interest of polluters ahead of the interest of Florida and its citizens. In doing so she has failed the most important test of an elected official. 
Florida needs an attorney general who will not use taxpayer money and the resources of the state to champion political positions that actually harm our state and our citizens. This litigation is bad for the Chesapeake Bay and bad for Florida. That is why I intend to withdraw from this pollution alliance and reverse Bondi’s decision and withdraw Florida’s good name from this bad lawsuit. 
My opposition to Bondi on the gay marriage issue has been well documented here. But there are lots of reasons to think that Florida's Attorney General is absolutely terrible. Florida has three major industries; tourism, seafood, and agriculture. All three depend on a clean environment. We cannot afford to have an Attorney General in the pocket of those who would destroy the environment for short term profit.

Get out and vote people!

Monday, August 25, 2014

"The Game" Facebook Fan Page Gone Bad!

I've never heard of a show that was on CW and is now on BET called "The Game," but that's because my frame of reference is pretty much The Brady Bunch, Gilligan's Island, I Dream of Jeannie, and Hogan's Heroes.

BTW. isn't it odd that Hogan's Heroes is no longer aired in reruns?

Guess Nazi humor isn't what it used to be.

Anyway,  this nice lady created a fan page on Facebook for The Game, then the show moved to BET and they started to work together, and then a lawsuit before Judge Cohn happened:
After signing the Letter Agreement, the parties discussed the possibility of BET employing Mattocks full-time. See DE 71 at 5, ¶ 27; DE 83 at 4-5, ¶ 27. During the course of these discussions, in June 2012, Mattocks informed BET that she would “restrict BET’s administrative access” to the FB Page “[u]ntil such time as we can reach an amicable and mutually beneficial resolution” concerning her employment. DE 70-13 at 17 (Mattocks Dep., Ex. 26). The same day, Mattocks demoted BET’s administrative access to the Page. See DE 71 at 5, ¶ 28; DE 83 at 5, ¶ 28. Mattocks concedes that, because of this demotion, BET was no longer free to post content on the Page.
Oh boy -- slam dunk sj for BET.

(Seems like she got a little carried away.)

Friday, August 22, 2014

SFL Friday -- Does Anyone Care About the Broward Judicial Races?

I think this sums it up:
Most voters wouldn't recognize a Broward judge if they fell over one. Or, given recent embarrassing events involving our judiciary, if one fell over them.
 Both scenarios seem plausible!

So do like my mother does and vote based on how their last name sounds when you pronounce it -- it's important to be an informed voter.

In other news, here's a look at the Jax attorneys who brought that marriage-equality suit before Judge Hinkle:
The initial lawsuits were filed by Jacksonville attorneys Bill Sheppard and Samuel Jacobson, while another was filed later by the American Civil Liberties Union
Sheppard told the Times-Union he is delighted by the ruling.

“At this stage of the legal landscape, it is not surprising,” Sheppard said. “What is surprising is the continued waste of taxpayer money by politicians opposing this overwhelming legal view.”
Really?   I have two words for you:  CITRUS CANKER.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

11th Grants Hearing in Buju Banton Appeal!

It's unclear the exact procedural posture, but this seems like good news for Buju backers:
A lawyer for convicted Jamaican reggae star Buju Banton said Tuesday that a U.S. federal appellate court agreed to a new hearing on his latest appeal.

The Grammy-winning singer is serving a 10-year sentence for convictions on cocaine conspiracy and trafficking charges stemming from a 2009 arrest that followed a sting operation. He was convicted in 2011 after his first trial in 2010 ended with jurors deadlocked.

In an email, attorney Charles Ogletree said the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta had agreed to hear oral arguments on the case.

“Mr. Buju Banton was pleased to learn that the 11th Circuit granted a new hearing of his appeal. We too are looking forward to the appellate argument,” said Ogletree, a Harvard University law professor who took over Banton’s case in February. 
Must be some fancy legal issues at play if Ogletree is involved.

Read more here: