Tuesday, November 30, 2010

"I Know."

Boy first Leslie Nielson and now Irvin Kershner, the director of The Empire Strikes Back.

BTW, Kerschner was the real deal:
During production, Kershner focused on providing more depth to the characters that Lucas created, and even went on to have a sharp disagreement with him over dialogue of Han Solo (Harrison Ford) in the pivotal carbon-freezing scene.
In the original script, Solo was to reply to Princess Leia’s (Carrie Fisher) “I love you,” with “I love you, too.” However, not seeing this as something that a smuggler like Solo would say, Kershner insisted that it be changed to “I know.” 
George Lucas needs to find another Irvin Kershner.


Judge Cooke Voids Carnival Arbitration Clause.

This is a pretty interesting opinion from Judge Cooke, voiding an arbitration clause in a Carnival Cruise line employee contract.

She finds the arbitration provision to be null and void because it violates the statutory remedies provided to seamen by the Jones Act:
The Jones Act confers seamen the statutory right to sue their employers for the negligence of fellow crew members. 46 U.S.C. § 30104; Thomas, 573 F.3d 1115 n. 1. In the event of personal injury or death of a seaman, the personal representative of the seaman may elect to bring a civil action at law, with a right to trial by jury, against the employer. 46 U.S.C. § 30104. There is no dispute that the law governing the Agreement and the arbitration clause is Panamanian law. Panamanian law, however, does not provide a seaman a reasonable equivalent to the statutory rights conferred by the Jones Act. Accordingly, the arbitration clause violates public policy, operates as “prospective waiver” of a Plaintiff’s right “to pursue statutory remedies” under the laws of the United States, and is “null and void” under the Convention.  Absent a valid arbitration clause under the Convention, this Court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over this action. 9 U.S.C. § 205.
Hmm, this has pretty broad implications, no?

Any guesses on how the 11th will handle this?

Monday, November 29, 2010

Disbarred Miami Attorney (Yawn) Gets in More Trouble.

Disbarred Miami attorney Katherine Ferro -- not, repeat NOT the lovely and talented Fowler White litigator Katherine L. Ferro -- is in more hot water, this time in (of all places) New Jersey:
A Woodcliff Lake man and a former lawyer from Miami were charged yesterday with running an investment scheme that bilked victims out of $1 million, federal authorities said.

Joseph Suarez, 45, who headed his own investment firm, and Katherine Ferro, 35, a disbarred lawyer, allegedly defrauded at least 10 victims during the last four years by enticing them with bogus ventures and then pocketing their investments, according to a criminal complaint filed in federal court in Newark.
Hey, doesn't Katherine know that South Florida is the home of investment swindles, what the hail is she allegedly doing outsourcing all the way to New Jersey?

Must be awkward if the two Katherines meet at bar events, though I guess that's not very likely anymore......

Luke Campbell Has a New Lawyer!

Happy Monday, plebes.

Canes, turkey etc. etc., welcome back to the real world.

In said real world, noted elusive butterfly and quality attorney Richard Brodsky has landed to defend the honor and dignity (and money) of Luther Campbell, filing a notice of appearance in the case brought by Aueishua Butler pending before Judge Cooke.

This is good news for Luke, who now has a steady hand and experienced federal litigator on his side.

My guess is Richard will not just answer the complaint, but bring a counterclaim, serve a huge bunch of financial discovery, schedule the plaintiff's depo and generally be all aggressive in moving this thing forward to a reasonable resolution.

But what the hail do I know?

BTW Richard, about that photo -- you look great, but either straighten that tie or roll up those sleeves!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!!

This is a sincere shout-out to all this Thanksgiving morning.

Thanks for reading, commenting, tips, support, cranky emails, snarky remarks and all the other blessings we are fortunate to receive on this special day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

3d DCA Special Thanksgiving Turkey Day Watch!

It's turkey day inside the bunker, a special day of rest and relaxation, when the coffee is only politely stirred and the ritual carving of the roast beast precedes the stabbing thereof with their steely knives and we all give thanks that we just couldn't kill the beast, or something like that:

Milan Investment v. City of Miami:

This suit regarding the constitutionality of the Downtown Development Authority and related property tax, once as dead as the roast beast referenced above, is now only on life support:
We affirm the final summary judgment as it pertains to the state and municipal actions establishing the DDA and its territorial boundaries. We reverse that portion of the judgment determining that the four-year statute of limitations bars Milan Investment’s constitutional challenge to the 2008 ordinance fixing a half-mill per dollar ad valorem tax exclusively within the boundaries of the DDA district. In doing so, we confirm the applicability of the non-claim statute, § 194.171, to that challenge. Our reversal permitting the challenge to the 2008 halfmill DDA levy also permits Milan Investment’s refund claim to proceed regarding that levy. We express no opinion regarding Milan Investment’s class certification allegations.

Quintero v. Kenyon:

Here the plaintiff became unemployed, couldn't pay her attorney, so her attorney withdrew and moved for a continuance.

Judge Glazer refused to grant the continuance and the 3d reversed, saying there was no real prejudice to the defendant in granting a continuance under these circumstances.

This is the 3d DCA's equivalent of pardoning a turkey and a fitting way for all of us to ease into the holidays.

Luke Campbell Loses Motion to Dismiss!

Luke Campbell Order

Well it appears Judge Cooke has ruled and given Luke Campbell an early Thanksgiving gift -- a big fat goose egg:
Plaintiffs argue that Campbell is liable for the negligence of the Luke Corporations under Florida’s business judgment rule, Florida Statute § 607.0831. “Under the business judgment rule, directors are presumed to have acted properly and in good faith, and are called to account for their actions only when they are shown to have engaged in fraud, bad faith, or an abuse of discretion.” Cottle v. Storer Commc’ns, Inc., 849 F.2d 570, 574 (11th Cir. 1988).
Count II of the Amended Complaint alleges that Campbell willfully and recklessly failed to use reasonable care in performing his duties as the sole corporate director for the Luke Corporations. Count II further alleges that Campbell acted in bad faith and that the proximate result of Campbell’s actions have lead Plaintiffs to be damaged in an amount in excess of $400,000.00 plus interest and costs. The allegations of personal negligence set forth in the Amended Complaint are sufficient to satisfy the business judgment rule. Therefore, I find that Count II survives the Motion to Dismiss.
First the Canes and now this!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

This Profound Courtroom Drama Changed My Life!

Many lawyers point to Gregory Peck's performance as Atticus Finch as a touchstone and inspiration that led them into a life of law.

For me it was a little different....

I hope you enjoy this insight into what inspired me -- indeed, what still inspires me -- to become the best possible lawyer I know in my heart I can be.

Ralph Behr Has a Phone App!

Why do lawyers always want to have phone apps?

Here's one from "top US criminal attorney" Ralph Behr:
Top US criminal attorney Ralph Behr is pleased to announce the release and immediate availability of his iPhone/iPad book Say No to Police. Using 21st century e-book functionalities the app puts at fingertips hundreds of one paragraph criminal law concepts. This new app is available for Apple and Android devices, makes simple what was complex and answers every legal question at the touch of a finger. 
Why stop at one paragraph?

I'd like tweet-limited criminal law concepts to be streamed directly to my brain, my "home page" so to speak, so I can know enough about any legal topic just to be dangerous or provocative, without any actual knowledge or meaningful understanding of anything I might have at my fingertips or accessible immediately on my phone.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Gunster -- Like a Rock!

That's according to Mershon Sawyer (I kid!) Gunster managing partner Bill Perry, in a nice interview with the PBP.

I agree with Bill about this:
What you tell young people about your business:

"One: You work very hard. Nobody is a success as a lawyer unless they're willing to work hard. Whatever your chosen area is, become recognized as an expert in that area. Get out in your community.
"Go out - and not in your lawyer costume."
BTW, Bill's a Gunster lifer who started there fresh out of law school in 1986.

We wish him much success.

$400 an Hour for Foreclosure Defense? (and Glenn Garvin).

Remember when Glenn Garvin laughably contended that the only people in foreclosure trouble were those who deserved it?

This was his particularly ill-informed contention:
For all their frothing fulmination, neither the lawyers nor politicians nor journalists have been able to come up with any credible stories of people losing their homes despite faithfully paying their mortgages. They couldn't even find stories about people losing their homes despite being just a couple of payments behind.

That's because there aren't any.
So it's not particularly surprising that Glenn Garvin's own newspaper once again proves him dead wrong, in this harrowing tale of a foreclosure nightmare gone from bad to worse.

But I found this part pretty outrageous:

Hall paid her first lawyer, Alan Soven, more than $10,000 to fight the foreclosure. At one point Judge Friedman rebuked the Miami lawyer for subpar legal work, and the Florida Bar ordered him to refund $2,000 in legal fees to Hall in a mediation settlement. With a $400 hourly rate, he charged Hall nearly $3,000 for the 7.2 hours he spent trying to get legal approval to quit the case, court records show.
Soven declined to comment on the case.
Hall's next lawyer, Johnny Kincaide of The Kincaide Law Group in Weston, routinely skipped crucial court hearings and failed to file a response to a court ruling, causing the judge to penalize Hall with an order of default. Kincaide's firm is being investigated by Attorney General Bill McCollum after several homeowners said he promised to help them get a mortgage modification and then disappeared after taking their initial deposits. He did not return calls seeking comment.
I don't know whether the allegations of legal malpractice or incompetence are true, but there's really no good reason to charge $400 an hour to handle the defense of any foreclosure action, let alone to charge the client to withdraw from the case.

Good thing there are "no credible stories" of people getting screwed over in the foreclosure morass for Glenn to write about.

Friday, November 19, 2010

SFL Friday -- Jeremy Alters Cleans House.

Well kids, it's beginning to feel like the holidays -- I just set a depo in March(!), so apparently no one plans to work for at least the next six weeks minimum.

What else?

Paul Brinkmann, writing behind the SFBJ firewall, has a great piece on all the departures, defections, lawsuits, and other rumors swirling around recent changes at Jeremy Alters' firm.  Here's a choice tidbit:
Alters acknowledged that moving the firm into heavy-duty, national class actions meant a longer-term payoff, but he predicted large fees from the eventual settlement of the cases, especially Chinese drywall litigation.

Neither Boldt nor Culmo returned phone messages and e-mails about their issues with Alters.
Not discussed -- who keeps all those fakakta surfboards?

But seriously, we wish all involved good luck and much success.

In other news men should do more chores, here's a liberating way to improve voter turnout, and communication is apparently a form of foreplay?

Oy veh -- have a great weekend!

Peter Tictkin Discovers Meaning of Irony.

Peter Ticktin, who recently came under fire for placing mortgages on his clients' homes as payment for saving those very homes from foreclosure, is himself facing foreclosure of his own home:
Deutsche Bank National began foreclosure proceedings on Ticktin's Boca Raton home in 2007 after the lawyer and his wife fell behind on their loan. The couple haven't made a mortgage payment since December 2006 and continues to live in the home 3,920-square-foot house in Paradise Palms.

Ticktin has fought Deutsche Bank using the same strategy that he's been able to use for his clients: uncovering sloppy paperwork and poorly prepared mortgage files. In the Ticktins' case, Deutsche Bank didn't have their mortgage note, a problem that has surfaced in tens of thousands of foreclosure defense cases nationwide.Deutsche Bank dropped its foreclosure action in February after the Ticktins' attorneys claimed they didn't have enough information to respond because there was no note. The bank refiled the foreclosure last month.

"It's embarrassing that I'm in foreclosure. But I now understand my clients better than some lawyers who never had a problem in their lives," said Ticktin, whose firm is handles 3,000 foreclosure defense cases at two Florida offices, one in Deerfield Beach and one in Tampa.

He said he's confident his attorney Jamie Sasson, who works for his firm, can defend against the action. "[Deutsche Bank] doesn't have the paperwork," Ticktin said. He says he also was talked into a badly structured loan when, desperate for money, he refinanced.
 I wonder whether Ticktin's attorney Jamie Sasson -- if successful -- plans to place a mortgage on his boss' property.


Gene Stearns: It Wasn't Me!

Well I guess the big headline this morning is Gene Stearn's rare loss in a rare securities fraud case tried to a jury before Judge Ungaro.

In a case marked by particularly vituperative, some would say overheated rhetoric, Gene now seems to be suggesting it's all Judge Ungaro's fault:
Eugene Stearns, an attorney for BankAtlantic, said the company would appeal on a variety of issues, including U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro’s ruling before the trial that four of the 19 statements were false.
“We are obviously disappointed with the outcome, but in light of the court’s ruling on the four statements, we’re not particularly surprised,” Stearns said. “The probability that they will ever collect a penny on this is infinitesimally small.”
In a DBR article inexplicably not yet online, Gene reportedly added that "he has never seen a case with so many issues to pursue on appeal in his 40 years of practicing law."

Seriously -- most trial errors ever?

Who the hail presided over this piece of dreck anyways?

I can only begin to imagine -- deliciously -- what this thing must have cost in attorney's fees and costs.  For example, I noticed that nine Stearns Weaver attorneys apparently participated in the failed mediation of this matter back in June.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The NYT Throws A TwIqbal Party!

I'm always amused by judges who caution lawyers not to be verbose in filings, and to adhere strictly to the page limits in briefing.  This is usually accompanied by a whine about "all the paper" the Court has to deal with and that brevity is a virtue and you should be able to convey your legal position succinctly and clearly.

Yet many of these judges write long, repetitive, confusing opinions, sometimes twice the page limits of the briefs submitted by the parties themselves.

In a truly fascinating article, no court is more guilty of this than our own Supremes:
Yet the number of words per decision has been climbing. The Roberts court set a record last term, issuing majority opinions with a median length of 4,751 words, according to data collected by two political scientists, James F. Spriggs II of Washington University in St. Louis and Ryan C. Black of Michigan State. The lengths of decisions, including the majority opinion and all separate opinions, also set a record, at 8,265 words.

In the 1950s, the median length of decisions was around 2,000 words.

The opinions in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, the January decision that lifted restrictions on corporate and union spending in candidate elections, spanned 183 pages and more than 48,000 words, or about the length of “The Great Gatsby.” The decision — ninth on the list of longest majority opinions — was controversial, but the questions it addressed were not particularly complicated.

Long opinions are perilous, said Edward H. Cooper, a law professor at the University of Michigan. “The more things you say, the more chances you have to be wrong and the more chances you have to mislead the lower court,” he said. 

Not only are recent Supreme Court opinions ponderously long, they are also frustratingly vague and confusing!

Guess which ones gets featured:
In a pair of civil procedure decisions in 2007 and 2009 that have been cited many thousands of times, the court gave trial judges more authority to throw out cases early based on, in the words of the later decision, their “experience and common sense.”

That standard, Arthur R. Miller wrote last month in The Duke Law Journal, is “shadowy at best” and has caused “confusion and disarray among judges and lawyers.” 
You don't say!

Bob Josefsberg Rises To Jim Morrison's Defense Once Again!

It's nice to see Governor Crist do the right thing and possibly pardon Jim Morrison, whose arrest was more a product of the 60s culture wars than anything especially criminal.

The NYT takes another look this morning, and Morrison's old attorney Big Bob Josefsberg is right there continuing to defend his client to the bitter end:
“Not that I’m saying dropping your pants in public is acceptable,” Mr. Josefsberg said. “It’s not. It’s also not the worst thing in the world that ever happened.”
Hey, I thought there was a genuine factual dispute about whether Morrison drunkenly hung his schmekel off the Dinner Key or not?

Bob continues, reflecting on Jim's clemency chances:
“Jim’s a total loser, in terms of rehabilitation and what he’s done,” he said. “He’s shown no remorse, no sorrow.” 
Admirable honesty, it's true, but wait a minute -- which side was Bob on again?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

3d DCA Watch -- Good Luck With the Florida Legislature!

I don't know what I'm more happy about -- that the Beatles are finally on iTunes, or that the turning-children-into-compliant-consumers processing machine otherwise known as Wannado City is finally gone (via SFDB)

I already own all the Beatles records, so I'm going with Wannadon't City.

Let's see what tasty legal morsels the bunker denizens have prepared for us this week:

Markham v. FUAC:

This is a classic hold-your-nose opinion from the 3d, in which a manifest miscarriage of justice occurs to a hapless (now unemployed) citizen, but legal "technicalities" require that he be totally shafted out of unemployment benefits.

From Judge Salter's sympathetic concurrence:
This is another unemployment compensation benefits case in which the employer wins on a technicality and the former employee is denied even the meager safety net provided by law to cushion the trauma of unemployment. While I am obligated to concur in affirming the Commission’s order finding Mr. Markham’s appeal untimely, I write to identify a recurring problem that merits attention by the Legislature and the Agency for Workforce Innovation. That problem is the “short fuse” on procedural defaults applicable to appeals to the Agency.
Judge Ramirez is even more pointed:
Thus, Oak Construction Co., Inc. saved itself the additional unemployment taxes it may have incurred, and can discharge Mr. Markham with impunity. This in the midst of an economic recession and Mr. Markham’s inability to receive any assistance from the Agency for Workforce Innovation. We are powerless to redress this grave injustice.
 While the good Judges' hearts are (as always) in the right place, I'm not so sure the legislature is going to fix this injustice anytime soon.

From today's Herald:
Haridopolos, a college professor, used his opening remarks to set the tone for what he has pledged will be the most conservative Senate in more than 100 years.....Haridopolos warned: ``If your piece of legislation raises a tax, makes it easier to file a lawsuit against a fellow Floridian or increases red tape, then I don't like your chances.''
Looks like you'll have to keep holding your noses a while longer, your honors.

More Good Karma From Scott Salomon.

Hey I don't like this headline:

South Florida Lawyer Misrepresentation Causes Jacksonville Family to Lose Home

Who could allegedly be responsible for this?

Of course:

"We lost our home, our business; we lost everything," she said.

Dasilva and her husband bought a house in Coral Springs, Fla. In 2003; after eight years there, they decided to refinance to reduce their mortgage rate from 10.5 percent. They went to Scott Alan Salomon, an acquaintance.

"He is the godfather to my youngest granddaughter," said Dasilva.

Salomon, a lawyer and the owner of the Platinum Title Company, was able to secure a new mortgage for $166 thousand, but 90 days later Dasilva received a message from her old mortgage company that she was behind.

"So I called them and said, 'I don't have a mortgage with you anymore, we refinanced'. She said, 'we don't know anything about that'. I said 'maybe you should call my lawyer'," said Dasliva.

"She said, 'no, maybe you should call your lawyer.'"

The Dasilvas eventually lost their home to foreclosure. "He did not pay off our first mortgage," she added.
"(It was the) biggest mistake in my life...I felt sick."
You can read more about Scott's exploits here, here, and here or you can visit him yourself at the federal detention center downtown.

(Hey, at least he's got a home.)

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

11th Circuit Upholds Judge Zloch Sanctions Order Against Loring Spolter!

Remember that time in band camp when Judge Zloch hammered -- and I mean hammered -- Fort Lauderdale attorney Loring Spolter?

Well the digital ink is barely dry on the 11th's unpublished affirmance of the sanctions order:
A review of the record, including the 68-page district court order, shows Spolter has been intensely persistent in seeking the recusal of Judge Zloch because of a perceived bias he believes the judge has against him. It is clear from the record that Spolter has repeatedly attempted to create the appearance of impropriety to further his requests for the recusal and reassignment of cases by Judge Zloch. Spolter has repeatedly attacked Judge Zloch’s faith and political affiliations, and has also called into question the credentials of some of his former law clerks. Spolter has further impugned the dignity of the court by alleging that both Judge Zloch and the Clerk’s Office have manipulated the case assignment system of the entire Southern District of Florida for the sole purpose of ensuring Judge Zloch receives a disproportionate number of Spolter’s cases.
Ok, so?

I'm not following.

The Court continues:
Spolter’s conduct in filing multiple recusal and reconsideration motions without providing a good faith basis supports the district court’s imposition of sanctions. Even though Spolter claims he had a good faith belief the case assignment system operated on a blind random basis before filing his motion for reconsideration, his claims are unpersuasive. The record shows he was notified by a letter from the court explaining how the case assignment system operates in the Southern District of Florida. If Spolter reviewed the case assignment rules cited in this letter, he would have known the Southern District of Florida does not operate on a pure blind, random basis. Instead, Spolter enlisted the services of an expert five days after receiving notification from the court, and provided him with inaccurate information in an attempt to try and prove the case assignment system had been manipulated and that Judge Zloch was behind it. Further, Spolter even admits that prior to filing his motion for reconsideration, he should have investigated the Court’s internal operating procedure and that he mistakenly directed the expert to assume facts that he knew were not true. Although Spolter claims he made a good faith mistake, we believe Spolter’s actions were done in bad faith and for an improper purpose. See Jones, 49 F.3d at 694. Accordingly, we hold the district court did not abuse its discretion when it imposed sanctions against Spolter pursuant to Rule 11.

Is that full-page, Judge Zloch-approved DBR ad still an option?

Willie Ferrer -- The Democratic Rubio?

I find the premise of this otherwise flattering Sunshine State News article on U.S. Attorney Willie Ferrer to be fundamentally flawed:
Through his parents' odd jobs and his solid class work at Hialeah-Miami Lakes High School, Ferrer went on to college (University of Miami) and law school (University of Pennsylvania). Today, with misty eyes, a wife and two sons, he says he's living the American Dream.

Using stirring, Rubio-esque language to describe his up-from-the-bootstraps journey, the 44-year-old Ferrer blends loyalty to family and allegiance to American exceptionalism. The only difference is that Ferrer's party of advancement is Democrat, not Republican.
The only difference?

One's a schemer who created a malleable, slightly dishonest "man of principles" persona to ride a wave and advance an agenda of maximizing personal power via national politics, and the other is a career civil servant who has invested his life and significant legal and personal skills into serving the public and doing the right thing.

Other than that, they're exactly alike.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Judge Shenberg's Tip Line!

Are you going to the slammer?  Interested in how best to make that transition?

Then call convicted Operation Court Broom defendant, ex-judge Harvey Shenberg, who is prepared to disprove the old F. Scott Fitzgerald adage about "second lives," all for a fee:
Shenberg's firm addresses defendant and inmate questions: the surrender; safety concerns; what to tell the kids; how a commissary works.

Fee range: $300 to $750 for a phone consult, $1,500 for a face-to-face; and up to $10,000 to see a client from indictment to release.

``It's a lot more than just preparing the inmate,'' Shenberg explains. ``The family does the time with the inmate, even though they're not inside.''

He solicits business through attorneys and prisonplanning.com. Shenberg runs the operation from his condo in Phoenix.
Hmm, a pay-for-play internet business run from a condo in Phoenix?

Makes perfect sense to me.

BTW, drop Harvey a line and check out his LinkedIn profile here.

Bob Josefsberg and the Lizard King!

The NYT gives the legendary Hairy One (I'm talking Josefsberg, not Morrison) the love in this look back at those crazy times in Miami when possibly brandishing a schlong onstage could get you arrested and drop you front and center into the heated culture wars of the 60s (you know, the ones Glenn Garvin continues to fight).

Great interview, here's an excerpt:
How were you connected to this case, and what were your impressions of Jim Morrison at the time?
I was co-counsel and local counsel. I think I’m the only one from the trial who’s left alive. The defense co-counsel has passed away. Three different prosecutors have passed away, the judge passed away. And Jim passed away. Jim and I were pretty close in age, and we kind of hit off. He was a very nice person. I’ve seen the movie about him and the Doors. Oliver Stone, with all due respect, is a revisionist. In the movie Jim was portrayed as a selfish druggie, and he wasn’t. He was a very nice person, a nice, decent human being with a very good sense of humor. We spent a lot of time with notepads, passing notes back and forth to each other, and he was very perceptive, very bright. He understood everything going on around him. And for the three weeks I was with him, he was sober.
I realize your perspective is colored somewhat because you defended him, but then how did he go and get himself arrested?
Well, the charges brought against him were that it was 1969, it was a different world. There were all sorts of political and social pressures, as was shown by the immediately following “Rally for Decency,” with Anita Bryant and Pat Boone. People were terribly offended by what he did. And I think it got blown out of proportion, as most things do. It gathered its own steam and fed off itself, and it became an atrocious thing. Not that I’m saying dropping your pants in public is acceptable. It’s not. It’s also not the worst thing in the world that ever happened. I’m not justifying his behavior – I think there was an overreaction.
Bob's being politic.  Jim got arrested in deep "South" Miami for the same reasons Keith Richards got busted in deep "South" Arkansas and, for that matter, the same reasons Easy Rider ends the way it does -- that's just how things were back then.

Friday, November 12, 2010

SFL Friday -- Let's End This.


I'm trying to get my hands on the complaint, but haven't succeeded yet:
Amy-Erin Blakely filed the lawsuit in an Orange County court on Wednesday and said the harassment at The Devereux Foundation went on for about five years.

Blakely managed 900 employees at the nonprofit behavioral health organization that also provides foster and adoptive assistance. Blakely says she worked for the organization in Orlando until she was fired last year after she accused managers of sexual harassment, according to CBS affiliate WKMG.

"It was very humiliating to know that senior members of our management team would focus on my breasts as opposed to my performance on the job," said Blakely at a Los Angeles press conference Wednesday.

"She also alleges that someone in management talked about how large her breasts were and that she needed to 'hide them,'" Allred told the station.
 What kind of employer would do this?  It gets worse:
The 43-year-old had risen to the position of Assistant Executive Director, but claims she couldn't advance any further because her managers said she was "too sensual."
 "Too sensual"?

Hold on -- this is a problem?

I kid I kid, but once the defendant removes this to the Middle District we'll be able to better assess these allegations.

In the meantime I am leaving my 100 percent sensual-free office environment immediately and intend to windsurf until the dry Gin Gibsons are perfectly chilled, the New York strip is perfectly thawed, and my post-windsurfing hot tub is perfectly heated.

At that point I plan to do it all over again and then it'll be Monday.

Have a great weekend!

Judge Dresnick Recuses From Case Involving Judge Dresnick!

Dresnick Order                                                                   

You don't see this all that often.

Peter Ticktin Says Client Mortgages OK!

You know that foreclosure defense attorney who is taking out mortgages on his clients' homes?

Turns out he was twice sanctioned by the Bar and they're taking a look at this issue as we speak:
Peter Ticktin, whose license has been suspended by the Bar twice since 2009, told the Times that the second mortgage would take effect only if he succeeded in having the foreclosure dismissed and the homeowner’s loan reduced. He also said his firm never would foreclose on his own clients should they stop paying on their second mortgages.

Elizabeth Tarbert, the Bar’s ethics chief, declined to say whether the unusual payment arrangement detailed in the article violates bar rules governing conflicts of interest. Bar spokeswoman Francine Walker said only that the disciplinary body’s investigation centers on Ticktin’s quotes in the Times article.

Ticktin said he was not aware of the most recent Bar investigation but defended the practice, saying his research indicated regulations allow attorneys to secure fees using mortgages. The Bar already had examined his retainer agreement in Tampa’s judicial district, where he also has an office, and found nothing inappropriate, he said in a telephone interview.
 “We believe it is ethical, appropriate and the only way some people will get representation,” he said.
Belief is a funny thing.

For example, I believe in unicorns, Bigfoot, and that Charlie Sheen just had an adverse reaction to over-the-counter flu medication.

Indeed, wasn't it Oscar Wilde who said "I can believe anything provided it is incredible"?

More Allegedly Forged Court Orders.

I can't imagine the place you have to be in your life as an attorney to forge court orders to present to a client. 

When you think about the hard work you've put in to become a professional, from college to law school to passing the bar to establishing a practice, and yet here you are, at the word processor, faking a judge's signature -- to me it's astounding but allegedly all the rage here in South Florida:
A Coral Springs lawyer forged the signatures of two Miami-Dade judges while lying to a client about a bogus lawsuit settlement, authorities said Wednesday.

The lawyer, Frank J. Ingrassia, who was working with a disgraced foreclosure rescue company called Outreach Housing, was arrested last week in Broward County and charged with three felonies involving the forgery of court documents.

Ingrassia, who was disbarred last month for the misconduct, drew headlines in 2008 after he began preemptively suing banks for providing allegedly fraudulent mortgages. Aventura businessman William Klein hired Ingrassia to sue his bank after reading a Miami Herald article about the attorney's efforts.

According to an arrest affidavit released Wednesday, Ingrassia presented Klein with paperwork showing a $1 million settlement signed by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Maxine Cohen Lando, and a foreclosure dismissal order signed by Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Ronald Dresnick.

But neither judge had signed any such legal documents, and they were never filed in court, according to an arrest affidavit by Florida Department of Law Enforcement Agent Michelle Bufalino.

Klein said Ingrassia even recounted to him detailed and ultimately bogus tales of dramatic courtroom hearings. 

Klein is still engaged in a legal battle to keep his Aventura condo.

Ingrassia ``performed a two-year charade,'' Klein said.
If true, this is just an amazing story of lawyer misconduct.  Of course I'd love to see the allegedly forged orders and compare them to Scott Rothstein's handiwork.

But I'm funny like that.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Justice Alito Is Very Fair and Balanced.

Let me see if I can get this straight -- Justice Alito doesn't plan on attending any more Obama State of the Union addresses, but he thinks it's perfectly fine to attend extreme partisan fundraisers where Michele Bachman is the keynote speaker:
Last night, the American Spectator — a right-wing magazine known for its role in the “Arkansas Project,” a well-funded effort to invent stories with the goal of eventually impeaching President Clinton — held its annual gala fundraising event. The Spectator is more than merely an ideological outlet. Spectator publisher Al Regnery helps lead a secretive group of conservatives called the “Conservative Action Project,” formed after President Obama’s election, to help lobby for conservative legislative priorities, elect Republicans (the Conservative Action Project helped campaign against Democrat Bill Owens in NY-23), and block President Obama’s judicial appointments. The Spectator’s gala last night, with ticket prices/sponsorship levels ranging from $250 to $25,000, featured prominent Republicans like RNC chairman Michael Steele, hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer (a major donor to Republican campaign committees and attack ad groups), and U.S. Chamber of Commerce board member and former Allied Capital CEO William Walton. Among the attendees toasting Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), the keynote speaker for the event, was Supreme Court Justice Sam Alito.

It’s not the first time Alito has attended the Spectator dinner. In 2008, Alito headlined the Spectator’s annual gala, helping to raise tens of thousands of dollars for the political magazine. According to Jay Homnick, a conservative who attended the 2008 Spectator gala, Alito spent much of his speech ripping then Vice President-elect Joe Biden as a serial plagiarizer. 
 Swlip, help me out -- seriously.

What am I missing here?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

3d DCA Watch -- Nothing But Blue Skies From Now On.

Hi kids, a team of highly skilled bunker managers -- Operations Group A -- has pried open the heavily reinforced steel dome several millimeters, just wide enough to allow all the tenderly seasoned written utterances to be released into the South Florida legal community, which as we speak are wafting due north and filling the blue skies with axiomatic odes to peace, love, happiness, and strictly construed statutes of limitation.


LLP Mortgage v. Tucker:

Panel:  We were wrong!

Judge Schwartz:  I was right.

Goldman v. Resnick:

Hmm, Goldman and Faye Resnick.  Could this be the OJ Faye Resnick?

Wingate v. Celebrity Cruises:

Bank error in Jay's favor!  Rest of opinion.....not so much.

Alvin Davis To Officially Adopt English Accent!

I understand he's going for a more acerbic Hugh Grant:
After more than two months of talks, London-based Hammonds agreed to merge with Squire effective Jan. 1, 2011. The new firm will have 1,275 lawyers in 37 offices in 17 countries and become a significant player in the international arena. In the United States, the firm will retain the Squire Sanders & Dempsey name.

In Miami, where Squire has 35 lawyers, few changes are expected, said managing partner Luis Reiter. But he said he expects the global platform to bring in new business for the Miami office, particularly in the area of international dispute resolution.

“I think it’s very exciting,” Reiter said. “It’s a really significant expansion for the firm. For Miami, this is particularly important, because it gives us a more expanded global platform, and our clients will benefit from the additional resources.”
 Reiter added "I might say we're a bit buggered about losing all dental coverage, Benny Hill is quite a good chap, pip pip cheerio and all that rot and bollocks to you!  Bloody 'ell!  Did I say that right?"

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Jill Clayburgh RIP

Though most remembrances of Oscar-nominated actress Jill Clayburgh focused on her zeitgeist-defining moment as a late 70s divorcee in Paul Mazursky's An Unmarried Woman, I remember her fondly for her tough, smart, attractive yet vulnerable roles in films such as Semi-Tough or Silver Streak, or her turn as the first woman Supreme Court Justice in First Monday in October.

Not a conventional Hollywood beauty, Clayburgh managed to convey a plucky, sexy intelligence, a full range of urbane, humane emotion on screen, and a humor, generosity, compassion and good will that will be sorely missed -- and that's often when her co-star was Burt Reynolds!

RIP Ms. Clayburgh.

"Because the Lawyer Said It Was."

 Hey, if Jay Bybee says it's legal, who am I to judge
Former President George W. Bush was asked during an interview last night why he believes waterboarding is legal.

"Because the lawyer said it was," Bush said. "He said it did not fall within the Anti-Torture Act. I'm not a lawyer, but you gotta trust the judgment of people around you and I do." 
 Exactly, I mean if the Fuhrer President Nixon Jay Bybee says it's legal, it by definition has the force of law.

Oh oh, I'm getting in a bad mood again.....

Another Teachable Moment.

Remember that case where Judge Seitz struck a motion for class cert because it was filed three months after the deadline?

Well these hapless plaintiffs can't seem to get anything right.

First they filed an amended complaint, adding some new class reps and a new defendant.

Sua sponte, Judge Seitz struck it because they were past the deadline to add new parties.


The Judge also entered an order to show cause why sanctions should not be imposed for lead counsel's failure to file pro hac motions -- the response is worth a read.

Not content to leave well enough alone, the plaintiffs inexplicably moved for reconsideration of the Court's sua sponte Order striking their amended complaint.

How do you think the Court ruled?

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Footsie Follies Live On!

The collateral litigation over the alleged foot-tapping lawyer has itself spawned collateral litigation, which of course no one could have ever predicted.

Wasn't this case at one time about Peter Halmos' yacht?

The latest sideshow involves Ms. Dennis' testimony at the evidentiary hearing, and whether defendant's in-house counsel possibly mischaracterized Magistrate Judge Brown's order and thus....oh I don't know you can read it yourself:
On October 22, 2010, John F. Roth, asked that this Court’s October 7, 2010 Order, which found that Mr. Roth violated this Court’s previous Order (D.E. 1020), be amended since it was “issued without affording him notice and an opportunity to be heard or present evidence . . . .”  That motion should be denied not only for the reasons originally given by the Court, but also because in his response, not only does he not exculpate himself, but he has (1) exacerbated his improprieties, and (2) provided direct evidence that contradicts the “credible” Ms. Dennis. Furthermore, the Court should impose stricter sanctions against Mr. Roth as it is clear that he, a lawyer, in fact willfully violated this Court’s Order, sanction INA’s lawyers for leading this Court astray in regards to Ms. Dennis’s testimony. The Court should also find Ms. Dennis in contempt of Court for lying to it.
BTW, the word "sanction" only appears five times in this brief!

"There Go the Lawyers Again."

I've never heard of lawyers taking out mortgages on clients in order to get paid, but then I just recently got accustomed to not wearing a suit on Fridays:
“We thought, ‘Why don’t we use a bit of ingenuity to find an affordable way to represent them?’ ” said Peter Ticktin of the Ticktin Law Group in Deerfield Beach, Fla. “It’s a new model, a new paradigm.”

Foreclosure defense is a new legal specialty whose strategies and techniques are still being worked out. Mr. Ticktin, who has some 3,000 foreclosure clients, says his plan to collect fees by taking another mortgage on his clients’ properties has already been copied by other firms.

The Ticktin mortgages resemble the loans that the clients originally got from Countrywide, GMAC and other lenders. Each will be a contractual obligation with the law firm, labeled as a mortgage and structured like one, too, with the client paying a certain sum every month and using the house as collateral.

Unconventional payment structures are becoming popular in the foreclosure hotbed of Florida. Whether they yet have caught on elsewhere is unclear. Certainly, Mr. Ticktin is far from the only lawyer being forced to innovate.

“We can put in $100,000 of our time but over the length of a case be paid only $6,000 in monthly fees,” said Thomas E. Ice of Ice Legal in Royal Palm Beach.

Mr. Ice, Mr. Ticktin and many other Florida foreclosure lawyers typically receive a few hundred dollars a month from each client. To supplement that, they seek legal fees from the banks they successfully challenge as well as contingency fees.

Contingency fees are standard in cases in which the client has little money but there is the possibility of a large payout. A slip and fall on a store’s wet floor or a medical malpractice claim are classic contingency cases. If the plaintiff wins, insurance companies ultimately foot the bill.

In foreclosure cases, however, the client pays the contingency fee. While such an approach is sometimes used in commercial litigation, this is a first for consumer cases, said Lester Brickman, a professor at Cardozo Law School in New York.

“For a lawyer to supplement or replace the banks as a long-term mortgage creditor of homeowners leaves me a little queasy,” said Mr. Brickman, an expert on contingency fees. “It’s an invitation for the public to say, ‘There go the lawyers again.’ ” 
  Of course lawyers should get paid for their work, and these are cash-strapped clients who badly need legal assistance.

But I wonder if there are conflicts created by such arrangement.  Does anyone know if  the Bar has approved of this?

Friday, November 5, 2010

SFL Friday -- Some Diets Are Bad.

Hi kids, it's a cool Friday and I'm off for some early drown-my-sorrows windsurfing (of course I'll bring my wetsuit).

Can you believe Suge Knight plans to appeal Judge Seitz' decision?

Palsgraf's a bitch, my man!

What else -- Marco Rubio is scheduled to deliver the first post-election weekly Republican address -- he's already a star!
 Oh well it's back to worshiping women, men are the weaker sex anyways, and Christina Hendricks -- don't do it please.

Have a great weekend!

Jon Stewart Examines Supreme Court Debate Over Violent Video Games

We previously discussed the recent Supreme Court oral argument over whether the government can ban violent comic books video games.

Jon Stewart, of course, takes it to another level -- watch:

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
You're Welcome - Violent Video Games
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorRally to Restore Sanity

Judge Olson Recuses!

Judge Olson Recusal Order

Bankruptcy Judge Olson, who previously denied a motion to recuse based on his partner's employment in the bankruptcy group at Ruden McClosky, has now changed his mind and granted a second motion to recuse (although he still thinks he doesn't have to):
 On September 3, 2010, the Defendants filed “Second Motions” seeking my recusal and vacatur of rulings. These “Second Motions” are actually reconsideration motions which do not satisfy reconsideration standards. Nevertheless, for the reasons stated on the record at the hearing conducted October 28, 2010, the Plaintiff believes that recusal and reassignment will be beneficial as a practical matter. I will accordingly recuse myself to speed these adversary proceedings to a more prompt conclusion.
So I guess the Judge is saying that if the plaintiff did not otherwise agreed, the second motion would also have been denied.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Florida Supreme Court Delivers Bunker Smack-Down on Ever-Expanding Cert Review!

No wonder the boys in the bunker have been issuing a lot of glorified PCAs lately  -- get a load of this epic smack-down by the Supremes today.

What I like about the opinion is the Court focuses on the proper scope of judicial review (a bugaboo of mine) and determines -- surprise -- that it somehow keeps expanding, rather than narrowing, as it makes its way up the judicial ladder:
The Third District premised its exercise of certiorari jurisdiction on the assertion that the circuit court appellate division “departed from the essential requirements of the law.” However, similar to its decision in Ivey, the district court did not supply any correct requisite analysis or sufficient rationale with regard to the manner in which the circuit court departed from the essential requirements of law in its application of the law with regard to directed verdicts. The Third District neither clarified what the circuit court held below nor did it analyze or address why this holding departed from the essential requirements of the law. The district court opinion contains no determination that a denial of procedural due process occurred, and the district court did not express the manner in which the circuit court applied an incorrect principle of law or that the decision constituted a miscarriage of justice, “as required by this Court‟s precedents.” Ivey, 774 So. 2d at 683; see also Educ. Dev. Ctr., Inc. v. City of W. Palm Beach Zoning Bd., 541 So. 2d 106, 108-09 (Fla. 1989).

Instead, the decision below conveys that the district court of appeal simply disagreed with the circuit court‟s determination and interpretation of the applicable law. See Ivey, 774 So. 2d at 683; Educ. Dev. Ctr., Inc., 541 So. 2d at 108-09. This disagreement is evidenced by the district court‟s reliance on clearly distinguishable and inapposite precedent to hold that an insured‟s attendance at a medical examination is a condition precedent to the existence of an auto insurance policy that provides PIP benefits and that, consequently, the insured rather than the insurer has the burden of proof on this issue. See Custer II, 990 So. 2d at 634-35. Logically, the circuit court could not have violated the essential requirements of law when that principle of law had never existed.

In addition, the district court improperly considered and incorrectly relied on language in United‟s policy which was contrary to existing statutory provisions, had not been advanced by the parties below, and was never involved in the consideration of the lower tribunals in the prior proceedings. After issuing an initial opinion that lacked any reference to the conditions provision in United‟s policy, the Third District ordered the record to be supplemented on rehearing with the trial transcript and evidence. The district court specifically requested that the parties provide the relevant insurance policy. The Third District then altered the fundamental underpinnings of its analysis to include a contractual provision which had not been advanced as dispositive to any issue in the proceedings below. Moreover, to support its analysis that attendance at a medical examination was a condition precedent to coverage, the district court incorrectly characterized a letter concerning Masis‟s failure to attend a testimonial examination under oath in August, not a medical exam, as referencing Masis‟s failure to attend the medical examinations scheduled in April. Of note, the letter does not support the Third District‟s condition precedent analysis because the relevant quote in the letter is from the policy, which designates attendance at a testimonial examination under oath, not a medical examination, as a condition precedent to receiving PIP benefits.

In contrast, the medical examinations provision, which immediately precedes the verbal exam provision, does not contain any reference to a “condition precedent,” as follows:
Proof of Claim; Medical Reports and Examinations; Payment of Claim Withheld. A soon as practicable, the person making claim, (including any assignees of the injured party) shall give to “us” written proof of claim, under oath. Such person shall submit to mental or physical examinations at “our” expense when and as often as “we” may reasonably require. A copy of the medical report shall be forwarded to such a person if requested in writing. If the person unreasonably refuses to submit to an examination “we” will not be liable for subsequent personal injury protection benefits.
(Emphasis supplied.) Moreover, the letter relied upon by the Third District was not advanced by the parties as relevant to consideration of the circuit court‟s decision and is contrary to the statutory provisions of mandatory PIP coverage.

Thus, the district court‟s actions and analysis are simply an improper de novo review in a “second appeal” rather than the limited review permitted on second-tier certiorari and incorrect in both substance and approach.
Other than that, I do want to point out that the Supremes had no problem with how the 3d DCA handles cert review.

Thank you to the tipster who forwarded this doozy!

Williams and Connolly Attorney to Head Rick Scott Transition Team.

Are you wondering who the players are on Rick Scott's transition team?

According to Sunshine News, here they are:
On the actual committee, Floridians will find familiar names like Rep. Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton; former Lt. Gov. Toni Jennings; Sen. Paula Dockery, R-Lakeland; U.S. Sen. George LeMieux and Kathleen Shanahan from the Department of Education.
Former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre is the only Democrat on the transition team.

Boy that's some murderer's row interesting and diverse group of fresh faces!

The transition team is headed up by Williams & Connolly attorney Enu Mainigi, a Big Pharma defense litigator based in DC.

Note to Enu -- traveling to Tally from DC can be a real pain.

Judge Cooke Allows Lawsuit Against Luke Campbell To Proceed!

Looks like UM-loving Luke Campbell may be in some legal trouble again.

Plaintiff Aueishua Buckner has sued Luke's companies over alleged unauthorized appropriation and use of her image.

Now the plaintiff wants to sue Luke personally, but Luke apparently was not cooperative with her discovery efforts, leading to this order from Judge Cooke:

Now, on the eve of trial, Plaintiffs wish to amend the Complaint to remove the Luke Corporate Defendants and pursue the action against Luther Campbell for personal liability, personal negligence, and fraudulent transfer so that the pleadings conform to the evidence offered during trial. See Fed. R. Civ. P. 15(b). In light of the discovery challenges Plaintiffs have faced in this case, I find no reason to deny Plaintiffs’ request for leave to amend the Complaint as the Defendants, who at all times were aware of the recently disclosed information, will not be prejudiced.
Luke is represented by Chris Benjamin of The Brown Law Group.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Toe-Tapping Lawyer Controversy Stays On High Road -- Ends Amid Charges of "Racial Slant."

 Motion to Reconsider                                                                   

Ok, since we last checked in the Court denied the footsie motion, then plaintiffs moved to reconsider, then Magistrate Judge Brown denied the motion to reconsider (all links are Scribd).

There's a treasure trove of material in there, but I'm going to put up the plaintiff's motion to reconsider, because pound for pound it's a start to finish must-read.

BTW, I scoured the reconsideration motion for the source of this seemingly out of nowhere comment by the Judge in his order denying reconsideration: 
The court will not dignify the racial slant with a response.
Where did that come from?

Although it took me many hours of careful review, I think I may have found what prompted it:
It must be noted that the only witness asked as to whether or not he had been convicted of a felony and whether or not his employer had represented him in the past, was of the young African-American witness, and not of the other two witnesses.
All I can say is since the Court struck the plaintiffs' jury demand this is going to be one very interesting bench trial.

3d DCA Watch -- Submit Your Bids!

I don't know about you, but I spent most of the morning working up a bid to replace the bunker's aging AC system.

Do you think the Resplendent Ones will like my proposal?  BTW, it happens to involve 60 inch plasma screens, miles of African Sapele wood, new kitchens for each judge, and of course hand-chiseled granite air filters.

Oh yeah, I should probably mention that all the opinions this week are glorified PCAs.

Which is fine, because now I have more time to get back to my proposal.

What about a nice Taj Mahal shaped coffee maker?


(Incidentally, the judicial architect behind the new 1st DCA courthouse, Chief Judge Hawkes, was retained by a narrow nine point margin yesterday.)

I Fought the Law.

I'm too depressed to discuss the election right now, but I do want to highlight what for me was a personal tragedy last night:  fervent Florida Bar News letter writer George L. Metcalfe inexplicably failed to persuade Central Florida voters that he deserved to be their next Congressman, drawing only 1.9 percent of the vote!

What the hail is wrong with Florida voters?

But enough with bad news, let's discuss something uplifting and empowering -- the Supreme Court debating government censorship:
The law would impose $1,000 fines on stores that sell violent video games to people under 18. It defined violent games as those “in which the range of options available to a player includes killing, maiming, dismembering or sexually assaulting an image of a human being” in a way that is “patently offensive,” appeals to minors’ “deviant or morbid interests” and lacks “serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value.”

“What’s a deviant violent video game?” asked Justice Antonin Scalia, who was the law’s most vocal opponent on Tuesday. “As opposed to what? A normal violent video game?”

“Some of the Grimm’s fairy tales are quite grim,” he added. “Are you going to ban them, too?”

Justice Stephen G. Breyer took the other side. He said common sense should allow the government to help parents protect children from games that include depictions of “gratuitous, painful, excruciating, torturing violence upon small children and women.”
This is pretty remarkable, as it recalls almost exactly the well-intentioned efforts in the 1950s by progressive liberals, led by Democratic Senator Estes Kefauver (Adlai's 1956 running mate), to purge the nation of the "scourge" of horror comics.

Poor William M. Gaines, EC Comics publisher and later the founder of MAD Magazine, got caught up in Kefauver's cross-hairs and delivered an epic demonstration of the difference between law and pure aesthetic expression, attempting to explain what aesthetic "taste" means in the context of a horror comics cover in which a man is shown holding a woman's severed head by the hair in one hand and gripping a bloody ax in the other:  "A cover in bad taste, for example, might be defined as holding the head a little higher so that the neck could be seen dripping blood from it and moving the body over a little further so that the neck of the body could be seen to be bloody."  

That pretty much did them in (the comix industry cut a deal and voluntarily regulated horror comics out of existence).

As recounted in Jim Trombetta's excellent The Horror! The Horror! Comic Books the Government Didn't Want You to Read!,
[T]hese proceedings record how deeply ambivalent the postwar American establishment was about the baby boom.  The good part was "move to the suburbs, have a couple of kids"; the bad part was an "alarming" increase in "juvenile delinquency."  The censorship of comic books now looks like an opening salvo in the cold war against the young, which would soon flare up in the gratuitous suppression of rock and roll, eventually generating the zombielike protractions of Vietnam.
What will censoring "violent" video games look like 50 years from now?

Perhaps Justice Kagan put it best:
“You think Mortal Kombat is prohibited by this statute?” she asked Mr. Morazzini. It is, she added, “an iconic game which I am sure half the clerks who work for us spent considerable time in their adolescence playing.”

Mr. Morazzini said the game was “a candidate” for government regulation.