Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Judge Cooke To Decide Important Issues of "Body Darkness Prejudice."

Folks I've been slammed today so I apologize for getting this up a little late.

Let's see, the 11th upheld certain Florida statutory caps on noneconomic damages in med/mal cases, but also certified a few issues to the Florida Supremes because -- surprise -- these issues are "unsettled":
Plaintiffs next challenge the cap under several provisions of the Florida and United States Constitutions. We first address Plaintiffs’ argument that the cap violates the United States Constitution. We then review Plaintiffs’ challenge to the cap under the Takings Clause of the Florida Constitution, Art. X, § 6, because Florida constitutional law on the matter is well settled. Florida constitutional law on the other provisions of the Florida Constitution under which Plaintiffs challenge the statutory cap, however, is unsettled. For this reason, we will certify several questions of state constitutional law to the Florida Supreme Court under its certification procedure.
(Shh, don't tell Governor Scott.)

But the more significant story, of course, is one man's quixotic fight against "body darkness prejudice" at our public parks and beaches, now undressing unfolding in Judge Cooke's courtroom.

Fight the power (and do it the way God intended)!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wonder Who Wrote This Order?

Here's how oral argument went in front of the 3d on that Carona/Suarez thing:
At Thursday’s hearing, the three appeals judges grilled Corona’s lawyer, William Petros, who could not get a word in edgewise before the sharp questions began.

“Is there any basis whatsoever” for withholding the results? Judge Alan Schwartz asked.

“How is [Corona] possibly harmed if the votes are released?” added Judge Frank Shepherd.

“The public would have knowledge that could later be disavowed,” Petros responded.

“So what?” Shepherd replied. Later, he added: “Does your client not have confidence in the electorate of this county?”

“Yes,” Petros answered.
And poor Judge Thomas, I don't think the 3d liked his injunction very much:
The injunctive order under review is totally deficient in form....and entirely unsupported by substantive law.
Hmm, so the order is not just deficient, it's "totally deficient."
And it's not just unsupported, it's "entirely unsupported."

Wonder which judge on the panel writes like that?

New Photo of Daniella Atencia Found!

(Boy it really is slow around here.)

What's Wrong With This Paralegal Assistant?

This has to be one of the stupidest moves a trial lawyer can make, right up there with the Joseph Rakofsky internet self-immolation:
A Chicago lawyer says his opponent in a small claims case is using an unfair tactic by sitting a buxom woman next to him at counsel's table.

Attorney Thomas Gooch says the woman's sole purpose "is to draw the attention of the jury away from the relevant proceedings" — a dispute over a used car. He asks Cook County Circuit Judge Anita Rivkin-Carothers to order the woman to sit in the gallery with other spectators.

In responding to the pretrial motion, attorney Dmitry N. Feofanov said the woman is his paralegal assistant and contends Gooch cites no "good faith legal argument" why she can't sit at counsel's table. Feofanov, who in the past has described himself as a "consumer protection lawyer," asked Rivkin-Carothers to impose sanctions on Gooch for his motion.
This is like a comic asking management to remove a heckler!

It's your job to deal with distractions in the courtroom, not by filing some bone-headed motion with no evidentiary basis whatsoever, but by stepping up your game and making your case even mildly interesting.

Have you tried humor, direct eye contact, calling witnesses that are worth paying attention to, introducing some sense of drama, tension, or anticipation -- anything like that?

BTW,  I happen to really like the Jack Benny glasses, and the whole men's dress shirt and jacket thing is a very nice touch.

Seriously, what kind of lawyer files a motion like this?

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Looks Like Jeremy Alters Has Finally Made It!

And by "made it," I'm not referring to his firm's role in the recent BoA checking overdraft settlement preliminarily approved by Judge King the other day, I'm talking about getting sued for a percentage of the fees that may be recovered down the road:
As an exhibit, the suit includes a copy of a contract between Campos and Alters' former firm, Alters Boldt Brown Rash Culmo. The agreement stipulates Campos agreed to work exclusively for Alters to develop potential cases.
"Campos brokered significant relationships on behalf of … Alters ... in Latin America such as top members of the government, law firms, attorneys and other noteworthy persons who were instrumental in the origination of cases pursued by the Alters law firm as a result of its agreement with Campos," the complaint said.
Hmm, these things don't ordinarily end too well for anyone involved.

This part isn't too good either, if true:
Campos y Asociados also alleges it originated the Bank of America lawsuit pending before U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King and is entitled to a 25 percent origination fee. Alters acknowledged the class action was originated by Campos in an email Aug. 21, 2008, according to the suit.
Alters has hired Andy Hall, who has moved to dismiss the suit claiming these are foreign attorneys unauthorized to practice law in Florida, and thus the contract is illegal or unenforceable?

If so wouldn't that leave a quantum meruit or unjust enrichment-type claim?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

3d DCA Watch -- Yawn.

I'm starting to get bored by the lack of hot civil legal matters to talk about recently.

It's true there's a certain toe-tapping trial ongoing in the SD FL, but nearly every darned thing is being filed under seal.

Wonder why that is?

So onward to the bunker.....
Affirmed.  See random case cited for no apparent reason.
That's pretty much what you're looking at this week.

Oh yeah, there's your typical case where the insurer is trying to take advantage of a poorly-drafted statute to screw an insured, but that's a dog-bites-man story.

Surely someone, somewhere, can help out with something interesting going on in this town?

Ruden To Save Money By Closing Things!

Ruden McClosky has found a sure-fire way to save money, according to the Intrepid One™close offices!

Here's how it works -- when you close offices and fire people, you don't have to pay as much out in monthly overhead.

Why didn't Adorno Yoss figure this out?

(Wait a minute, they did.)

Here's the firm-wide email from chief muckety-muck Michael Krul:
I am pleased to provide you with the following confidential update.
Oh boy, that's a guarantee some angry partner will be emailing it around town.
Although we will continue to make sure that we are operating as efficiently as possible, we believe that our staffing level is now appropriate and do not anticipate that the firm will have any need to seek staff reductions in the near future and, hopefully, not for the long term. The inflow of new work is on the rise and our timekeepers are increasing their recorded time. This is a positive sign for improved revenues down the road.
Honey, I have great news!  My boss says "our staffing level is now appropriate" and they don't anticipate "staff reductions in the near future."

Unlike last year, we're going to make it through Hannukah.  Isn't that fantastic?

"Shut up and get me a drink."

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Happy 70th Birthday Bobby D!

Who hasn't, at one time or another, thrown it all away?

Judge Cohn Certifies Class of Gulfstream Poker Dealers.

 This doesn't seem like much of a claim, but allegedly Gulfstream does not properly pay the right portion of tips to their poker dealers, who apparently already make $32 per hour:
Defendant opposes notification for several reasons. First, Defendant argues that Plaintiff has failed to meet his burden that other individuals wish to opt in to this lawsuit.  Defendant contends that because Plaintiff and other poker-dealers make $32 per hour already, they would not be concerned with the potential recovery of an extra $1 per hour if they opted in to this action. Second, Defendant contends that Plaintiff has failed to identify a specific individual who desires to opt in to this action. Finally, Defendant argues that because it has already offered to settle this action with Plaintiff and the poker-dealer affiants for full FLSA damages and attorney’s fees, the action is essentially moot.
You shouldn't count other people's money, but on the other hand that's pretty good coin!

Why'd you go to law school again?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Your New Circuit Court Judge!

Congratulations Michael Hanzman!

Tale of Two Headlines: Checking Overdraft Update...or Herman Russomanno Looked White Hot!

So who else saw Herman Russomanno looking quite dapper at the Heat game last night?

LOVE the white jacket and red hankie!

In other SD FL news, the plaintiffs in the Checking Overdraft litigation, in light of new bank motions to arbitrate filed after the Supreme Court's Concepcion decision, are arguing waiver (of course) but also that the Supreme Court didn't fundamentally change the law in the 11th Circuit:
Simply put, Concepcion did not change the law of arbitration enforceability in the vast majority of the relevant states. For example, Concepcion changes nothing in states such as Florida, Georgia, Texas and others, where certain Plaintiffs reside. These states have never adopted a rule even closely resembling Discover Bank’s per se rule against class action waivers.
What do you think -- does this argument hold water?

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Justice Thomas Thinks Fat, Dumb Low-Wage Deputy Sheriffs Love His Opinions!

I don't know if it's a product of age or just creeping cynicism, but I'm starting to think almost any self-aggrandizing war story is complete bull$%@&.

Take, for example, this utterly implausible anecdote shared by Justice Thomas that just happens to perfectly illustrate an absurd point that the Justice seems to be making about himself -- that his writings are so plain-spoken and easy-to-understand that even menial, random service employees hang on his every word:
He said his own style was accessible to everyone, a point that is open to dispute. Consider, for instance, the opening sentence of his most recent opinion: “The False Claims Act (FCA), 31 U.S.C. §§3729 — 3733, prohibits submitting false or fraudulent claims for payment to the United States, §3729(a), and authorizes qui tam suits, in which private parties bring civil actions in the government’s name, §3730(b)(1).”

In the interview, Justice Thomas provided evidence that his writing is easy to grasp, including a remembered airport encounter with a man he assumed to be a law enforcement official.

“He looked like a deputy sheriff,” Justice Thomas said. “He had a little midriff going.”

“Here’s a guy,” the justice went on, “who looked like he clearly didn’t go to college, who said that ‘I’ve read all your opinions.’ Well, that’s accessibility.”
So we're supposed to believe Justice Thomas bumps into Sheriff Buford T. Justice at an airport and the guy just starts raving about his work and this perfectly validates an imagined point in your mind about how your writing resonates with the common man?

"I loved it when you ruled that if I take bad medicine my claim is pre-empted!"

"Remember that case where you limited my rights if I get discriminated against -- that rocked!"

"That time you slashed punitive damages against Exxon for dumping all that oil in Alaska, me and my boys still chuckle about that."

Whatever you say, Your Honor.

Friday, May 20, 2011

SFL Friday -- Ready for the Rapture!

It's kinda slow around here, other than the end of the world and everything.

But I'm ready, having spent many hours of my youth poring over the great illustrator Basil Wolverton's brilliantly disturbing images of the Apocalypse.

Plus I've seen the Omen III at least twice over the years.

So bring it, plebes -- it's been a good run.

See you all tomorrow?

2d DCA Says Richard Catalano Can Blare His Car Stereo Really Loud!

Poor Clearwater attorney Richard T. Catalano.

All he wants to do is drive down an idyllic, country St. Petersburg road and blow his ear drums out by blasting his car stereo at full volume.

What could be more American than that?

Well, now the 2d DCA agrees, though it has certified a question to the Supremes:
Helpfully, the 2d suggests the answer is yes:
Turning our attention to the Florida statute at issue, on its face it is not content neutral. The statute excepts from its provisions "motor vehicles used for business or political purposes, which in the normal course of conducting such business use soundmaking devices." § 316.3045(3). In other words, an individual using a vehicle for business purposes could, for example, listen to political talk radio at a volume clearly audible from a quarter mile; however, an individual sitting in a personal vehicle that is parked next to the business vehicle is subject to a citation if the individual is listening to music or religious programming that is clearly audible at twenty-five feet.  Clearly, different forms of speech receive different treatment under the Florida statute.  That is, the statute in question does not "apply equally to music, political speech and advertising," which is what the Supreme Court requires in order for the statute to be deemed, "content-neutral." See City of Cincinnati, 507 U.S. at 428.
This seems like a no-brainer.

I mean, who does St. Petersburg think it is, Coral Gables?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Sorry Folks, Court's Closed!

Who cares about stupid foreclosures in Palm Beach County anyways?

(Judge Tobin?)

That bald-headed moose of a Governor shoulda told ya.

Have You Ever Experienced "Premature Discovery Dispute" Syndrome?

I'm not ashamed to admit that I have.

What can I say, sometimes a person gets excited!

(It's not where you start, it's where you end.)

The first step, however, is to acknowledge you may have a problem, like our friend the witty Magistrate Judge Goodman does here:
Some discovery motions are brought to the Court too early. The discovery disputes at issue here fit into that category. As musically noted by well-known singer-songwriter Tom Petty, “the waiting is the hardest part.”2
I really love footnote 2, this is why Judge Goodman's orders are such fun:
The lyric is from the song “The Waiting,” the lead single from Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers’ album Hard Promises, released in 1981. Although now 30 years old, the song is still used in popular culture. It was featured in at least one promotional spot for the fifth season of the television situation comedy “The Office” and is used at Philadelphia Flyers home games (when officials are reviewing a play). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_ Waiting_(song) (last visited 5/16/2011). See also http://www.lyricstime.com/tom-petty-the-waiting-lyrics (last visited 5/16/2011).
Can you imagine being Judge Goodman's clerk on this matter:

"Quick, I need you to research recent cultural references to an old Tom Petty song.  What?  Ok, Tom Petty was a singer a long time ago.  You mean they didn't teach you this in law school?  Welcome to my world."

Judge, you are welcome to guest blog here anytime.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

3d DCA Watch -- Key West is Different Edition!

For no particular reason whatsoever, we proudly present today's "intemperate, impatient, undignified and discourteous" 3d DCA Watch:

State Farm v. Caboverde:

The 3d reverses Judge Areces' grant of a new trial in a case where State Farm got a defense verdict.

The reasoning should be useful as precedent for trial courts and litigants in guiding how to handle these motions in the future:
Having considered the entire record, together with the trial court’s findings in its order granting a new trial, a clear showing has been made that the trial court abused its discretion in granting a new trial. We therefore vacate the order granting a new trial, and remand this cause with instructions to reinstate the jury’s verdict.
BTW, I totally agree with Justice Thomas that lawyers who don't read opinions suffer from "a disease of illiteracy or laziness."

I mean, how can you pass this stuff up?

Western & Southern Life v. Beebe:

Be careful how you draft your fee agreement.

Trinidad v. Florida Peninsula:

Be careful how insurance companies draft their insurance policies.

Hardin v. Monroe County:

Of course a case from the Keys has been pending for two decades(!), they tend to lose track of time down at land's end.

Parsing the 1st DCA Taj Mahal JQC Charges.

It's never a good thing for a judge or lawyer to be hauled before a disciplinary committee, but for judicial car wreck onlookers the charging document against 1st DCA Judge Paul Hawkes is an interesting read.

Travis Pillow over at the Florida Independent has a nice summary, which includes this personal favorite:
On one occasion you demanded that the deputy marshal buy you a bottle of vinegar. The purpose was to clean your personal coffee pot. The deputy marshal refused, but you demanded that you be shown in writing why she, could not buy you a bottle of vinegar. She showed you that she was not authorized to purchase personal items for individuals. Even though she refused to buy you a bottle of vinegar, you continued to mention it to her and to harp on her refusal to buy you the vinegar.
And the problem is?

First of all, everyone knows the best way to clean a coffee pot is with lemon juice ice and salt -- has this guy ever worked in a restaurant?

Secondly, and I don't know about you, but to me this sounds like every boss I ever worked for when I was in high school.

Let's continue:
Hawkes allegedly tried to get a free trip to Indiana, courtesy of a company that had just sold the court thousands of dollars worth of new furniture. The chief judge at the time nixed his travel plans, and Hawkes allegedly “tried to intimidate” court marshal Don Brannon (who helped oversee budget matters) to change his version of events surrounding the planned trip during a closed-door meeting. Hawkes told other court employees “that no such trip was ever under consideration.” The fallout from that incident and Hawkes’s “coercive and intimidating” manner eventually prompted Brannon to resign.
My reaction:  see above.

But seriously -- we are talking Indiana.

I like this part best:
Hawkes’ conduct and behavior “demonstrated a pattern of conduct that can only be characterized as intemperate, impatient, undignified and discourteous,” the JQC alleged.
Come on!

"Intemperate, impatient, undignified and discourteous"  -- those are the precise qualities I look for in a judge.

(Mark Romance has already received my letter endorsing same.)

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Mike Kosnitzky Flies Often! (End of Post.)

What, you think there's more to the story?

I don't know, hard to say.

Ok, there is this:
Since I almost always travel alone, I’m often asked by other passengers if I could change my seat. If a middle-aged couple says that they are married and want to fly sitting next to each other, I say that they have been together for so long that I’m sure that they could overcome the separation anxiety for a few short hours.

If a younger married couple wants me to change, I say that “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” If an unmarried couple asks me, I say that I only make exceptions for married people. 
You silver-tongued devil!

But all hope is not lost -- every rule has its exceptions:
I have made a few exceptions recently, once for an elderly couple, and another time for a couple where the husband just had stomach surgery. 
I understand this -- lawyers are superstitious and air travel is tough enough as it is.

However, if you do happen to see Mike on a plane and you want to change seats, act really old or really sick and see what happens.

Safe travels!

"The Situation" Sues His Dad (With Richard Wolfe's Help)!

The Situation Dad Complaint

Courtesy of our friends at Riptide, it appears that Jersey Shore's "The Situation" has sued his polite, exceedingly charming father in the 305 and has hired our own Richard C. Wolfe to prosecute dear old Daddy.

The case is before Judge Huck.

Can you imagine the father appearing before Judge Huck pro se?

Here's a taste of what Judge Huck can expect:

Tips for Old Lawyers!

In a nod to Frank Ramos' entertaining and informative new blog, I offer the following tips for those of us who are old (or merely "old at heart"):

1.  Act like an enormous big shot.

Nothing screams success like immodesty!

2.  At judicial receptions and other Bar events, always refer to judges by their first names -- preferably diminutive nicknames.

This both diminishes their respect and enhances yours!

Bonus -- try to imply that you are the reason they are on the bench in the first place.

"Oh I remember young Freddie Moreno when he was just a wee circuit court judge."

3.  Make sure you cover all big hearings even if you are not prepared and have to look back constantly to the junior partner or senior associate behind you at counsel table who actually knows everything about the case.

This makes you look good before the Court and also you can blame your colleague for not getting you sufficiently prepared for the hearing.

4.  Always -- always -- expect to coast on your reputation and/or credibility.

The reality is your mere presence in the courtroom comes with a presumption of correctness that no facts or binding caselaw can dislodge.

5.  If you are a litigator, have the following three war stories ready:

     A.  The judge was incompetent but the jury saw through to your brilliance.

     B.  The jury was incompetent but the judge saw through to your brilliance.

     C.  Both the judge and jury were incompetent but you won anyway (see below).

 6.  Eat at Loggia's.

(I actually agree with that last one.)

Now go make a name for yourself!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The BankAtlantic Motion for Rule 11 Sanctions.

This is a very interesting read, particularly in light of recent efforts to return Rule 11 to the mandatory/no safe harbor regime we had in place during the go-go 80s, which many argue was a bust for reasons having little to do with having any judicial sympathy for vexatious litigants.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

BREAKING -- 3d DCA To Disclose Oral Panelists Before Next Week's Calendar!

It's true I was absolutely mesmerized to learn of the intricate details of the 3d DCA's construction in the riveting lecture "Appreciating Concrete:  An Hour-By-Hour Account of How the Bunker Was Born!" during the recent Third DCA Historical Society luncheon, so I may have missed something minor in what was an otherwise highly informative event.

That's why I was surprised to hear from a tipster that Chief Judge Ramirez apparently also said something about the 3d now disclosing who will sit on its oral argument panels starting the Wednesday before the next week’s calendar.

The first panel up for May 16 arguments is Schwartz, Schwartz, and Schwartz.

Good luck all.

I kid, I kid!

Actually, it will be Suarez, Lagoa and Emas.

See, this is what happened when you get caught up in a debate over whether it's more important to have a relatively high compressive strength, or a lower tensile strength, and what is the proper coefficient of thermal expansion.

For gosh sakes, will that argument ever end?

Friday, May 13, 2011

SFL Friday -- I Like Exactly HALF This Picture!

Dang does Frank dress up nice!

I'm so pissed at Blogger for eating my posts and making me have to focus today almost exclusively on (1) my cases; and (2) deciphering the contents of Osama's porn stash.

Nearly as interesting as what's hawt right now in Abbottabad is this genuinely amusing defamation suit filed against the Internet.

Even better, our local intertubular representative in this epic legal fiasco is none other than bashful Brian Tannebaum.

Given the heavy hitters comprising the "Rakofsky 74" I am quite certain they will be ably represented, either by themselves or by that fabulous Coral Gables restaurateur Marc Randazzao.

This is the legal equivalent of Charlie Sheen -- someone needs to stop the train before it runs off the cliff.

(Let's see when -- or if -- Blogger posts this.)

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

3d DCA Watch -- The Passing of the Old Medicine Ball.

It's a slow day inside the bunker as everyone tearfully says their goodbyes to Judge Gersten.

As has been the ritual for many decades, the judges have gathered to solemnly present the departing jurist with their favorite piece of used exercise equipment, thus cementing a bond and punctuating a friendship forged across courtrooms, across chambers, and across mechanical rooms/storage closets.

"Hope you can use my old calisthenics mat!"

"Please use my jazzercise tape in good health."

"Let me know if they also have a shot put lunch club at Bilzin!"

And, given the ceremonies attendant to this momentous occasion, the 3d had time to emit only a single, lonely civil written utterance, one dealing with the technical differences between writs and the Court's jurisdiction to hear an appeal.

What better way to send off Judge Gersten than to tell the litigants to try again and repeat the whole process once your appeal is ripe.

(Actually, thank you Judge for your hard work and dedicated public service.)

Best Man For the Job.

Let's see, if I were the Governor and wanted to appoint someone to the South Florida Water Management District, which oversees an annual budget in excess of $1 billion(!), who would be my ideal candidate?

For sure I'd want someone who has never belonged to any organization -- ever -- that works on environmental or water issues.

I'd definitely want someone who is opposed to the historic purchase and restoration of 27,000 acres of Everglades currently owned by U.S. Sugar.  In fact, I'd want someone who was a featured speaker at a protest rally against the purchase.

I'd want someone who runs a Tea Party organization that is opposed to all environmental regulation and may possibly be a stealth front group for special interests.

I'd want someone who wants to slash the water district's budget so it can't do anything to help the Everglades.

I most certainly would want someone opposed to any regulation of greenhouse gases, and who wants to repeal the cap-and-trade regulatory program that reduces greenhouse gas emissions from electric utilities.

I'd want someone who heads a political organization that won't disclose its big-money donors:
Jumping into this political fight and mimicking the arguments of Florida Crystals is the not-for-profit Tea Party in Action, out of Boynton Beach. The group has produced a 30-second spot attacking Gov. Crist and the deal. Under Florida law, the group doesn't have to identify its donors. In an interview, Tea Party in Action Chairman Jim Moran refused to do so. So much for the tea party hating politics as usual.
Yes sir, I'd want Boynton Beach estate planning attorney Jim Moran!

Congratulations Florida.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

More Judicial Departures; More Coming?

Anyone who knows our judges know they are distressed over antics in Tally, openly griping (ok, more so than usual) and are considering their options.

So it is with some sadness that confirmation arrives of 3d DCA Judge David Gersten's departure as well as Circuit Judge Mary Barzee Flores.

I really like this quote from Judge B:
“The enthusiasm among some in Tallahassee to slash spending on our court system, coupled with the staggering volume of new case filings driven by current economic conditions, poses a grave threat to our society.”
Big losses for justice in South Florida, but we thank them for their service and wish them the very best and great success in private practice. 

Three guesses on who's next?

Is It Israeli Independence Day Yet?

Sheesh it's slow around here.

Where are my loyal tipsters?

GT to Be Honored for Overturning Gay Adoption Ban.

It's an old legal truism that every person and issue deserves an attorney, but not everyone deserves you.

With that in mind I see that Save Dade is honoring GT for their pro bono and historic work overturning Florida's ban on gay adoption:
For the past 33 years, the state of Florida banned gays and lesbians from adopting.  In September of 2010, the ACLU of Florida victoriously struck down this ban. The ACLU of Florida has fought for the rights of children to have a "forever home," and this victory continues to prove their commitment to the fight for LGBT equality and rightfully earns them the 2011 Champions of Equality Award., stated CJ Ortuno, Executive Director of SAVE Dade.

The ACLU of Florida’s victory, however, was not its alone.  Greenberg Traurig LLP, a for-profit law firm, stepped up to defend , pro bono, the rights of the two children who have now been legally adopted by Martin Gill.

Greenberg Traurig has publicly stated that this case was the “most meaningful” for its team. Its willingness to go above and beyond to­ protect the interests of these children earns it the 2011 Champions of Equality Award.
As Glenn Garvin noted in his review of last night's excellent American Experience, dealing with the heroic efforts by visionary, forward-thinking activists to strike down Jim Crow in the South:
The immediate and profound reaction to each — even among viewers who lived through the 1960s: “That was America? It’s a testament to how stunningly and totally the civil-rights movement eventually triumphed that these images seem so utterly alien, as if they were drawn from a world long ago and far away. Could we really have lived in a country in which water fountains were marked white and colored? Where a public park could have a sign out front reading, whites only? Where a young white woman could smile sunnily into a TV camera and explain that three kids shot to death for registering black voters were asking for it? Where federal troops could be seen lining the streets of a state capital, grimly mounting bayonets onto their rifles in preparation for the day’s work?
It's always good to be on the right side of history, at least once in your life, on at least one issue of consequence.

The reception will be on 5/20 at the Ice Palace in downtown Miami.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Judge Olson Schedules En Banc Show Cause Hearing Against Kevin Gleason.

Olson Gleason En Banc Show Cause

Bankruptcy attorney Kevin Gleason's blistering response to Judge Olson's order to show cause is already legendary, and led to an order by the Judge promising further sanctions.

Well things do not look so good, according to today's order, and may include possible criminal sanctions:
The nature of Attorney Kevin Gleason's April 18, 2011 written response to the court's sua-sponte show-cause order is such that the continued show-cause hearing will be en banc

Local Rule 2090-2(B)(1) provides:
Upon order to show cause entered by at least one judge, any attorney appearing before the court may, after 30 days' notice and hearing and for good cause shown, be suspended from practice by the court, reprimanded or otherwise.
The continued show-cause hearing will consider appropriate sanctions under the court's inherent authority for Gleason's November 2, 2010 and April 18, 2011 Rule 9011(b) violations.  The continued show-cause hearing will also address whether the tone and/or content of Gleason's April 18th written response constitutes civil or criminal contempt of this court.  Attorney Kevin Gleason is ordered to appear and articulate cause why civil or criminal  contempt sanctions should not be imposed.
Mark your calendars:  June 16th at 1:30 p.m.

No mention as to whether Mr. Gleason should be taking his toothbrush to this hearing as well.

GrayRob Scores Big in Tally!

So thank God the legislative session is over.

One big winner -- the "extremely Floridian" GrayRob.


They're getting over $700k in taxpayer monies to fight the Fair Districts redistricting amendments:
Most of the money, of course, will go toward attorney fees. The Sentinel reported that House Speaker Cannon has already burned through $800,000 in the redistricting fight. And $700,000 of that went to GrayRobinson, the Orlando-based firm that also happens to be Cannon’s former employer. Small world, I guess.
It is a small world.

Perhaps that is why GrayRob was tapped to defeat a claims bill for Eric Brody, who was paralyzed 13 years ago thanks to the BSO and is still waiting for justice:
The Brody bill became one of the most heavily lobbied of what are known as claims bills. The proposal, which has had different incarnations over the years, was long opposed by BSO and its insurance company.
The company formerly known as Ranger Insurance was represented this year by Peter Antonacci, a lobbyist with the firm Gray Robinson — the former employer of House Speaker Dean Cannon.
Hmm, how about that -- I wonder if there's any connection?

Well, congrats on an "extremely Floridian" job well done!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hyderabad Continues To Employ Many People.

And at least three hundred are personally assigned to assisting David Joffe craft the very best press release possible.

Here is the powerful opening paragraph:
People running helter-skelter to find the best criminal attorney in Fort Lauderdale do not have to worry now, as David J. Joffe is an expert best criminal lawyer in Fort Lauderdale to give a strong advocacy to your case.
"Expert best" -- I assume this is somehow better than just "best."

A near-perfect introduction, but is it possible to improve on this text?

Let's see:
Advocate Joffe also has a listing in the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers making him one of the top five criminal attorneys in the US.
Top five?

Not too shabby.

I don't want to roam into Brian Tannebaum's area of expertise, and I actually like David and think he's a fine lawyer, but isn't there a way to clean this up just a little bit?

Ok, this stuff is too good, here's one more:
Moreover, you will come across many advertisements in Fort Lauderdale for hiring a criminal attorney, but it is crucial not to depend on them because for a fort lauderdale criminal attorney what counts the most is experience.

Advocate David J. Joffe makes strategies for cases keeping in mind the minimization of effects and consequences of criminal cases, so that clients can have more of their concentration in their professional and personal lives.

All these along with the experience of various cases make Advocate Joffes credentials undisputable. You can stay completely satisfied with your case once Advocate Joffe takes your case in hand.

If you have an accusation registered in any criminal litigation, then it is in your best interest to consult Advocate Joffe and Joffe and his staff will devise an effectual defense plan.
I agree -- if your choices are between an "effectual defense plan" and an "ineffectual defense plan," I would tend to opt for the former but, again, this is not my area of expertise.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Stu Rosenfeldt "Insolvent or Barley Solvent" But Due to Get Huge Tax Refund!

This is one crazy motion.

Apparently the Rosenfeldts are "either currently insolvent or barely solvent," but RRA overpaid them by $8+ million and they therefore are expecting a net tax refund of $2.37 million -- of which they will be paying the Trustee roughly $1.63 million.

To quote Yakov Smirnoff --

What a country!

Check Out Russell Adler's New Website!

Are you interested that Scott Rothstein and Russ Adler have their Manhattan condos up for sale?

Ok, then what about Adler's spiffy new website:
Russell S. Adler is a civil trial lawyer with a passion for the Court Room. This is where justice is dispensed for his clients. This is where all cases end up if they don't settle. Russell is passionate about his clients and their cases. He is dedicated to your cause. Russell focuses on personal injury, wrongful death, car accident, motorcycle accident, sexual abuse, medical malpractice, class action, qui tam whitsleblower, elderly abuse and product defect cases. He also handles commercial litigation and employment law matters. Visit our Case Types area for more information and video clips. We do a better job on your case using cutting edge technology. View your paperless case files online, and use our collaboration tools to stay informed.
Those are some mighty bad-arse photos Russ has scattered along his site.

Some even seem Carveresqe --I like them!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

3d DCA Watch -- Bunker Celebrates Cinco de Mayo (One Day Early)!

It's almost Cinco de Mayo and you know what that means -- spike the lukewarm coffee with three shots of tequila, swill the concoction into an unrecognizably swampy mess, and then everyone get into a big boozy fight and dissent like crazy until it's time to go to bed:

Jade Winds v. Citibank:


Citibank can't get its s&*t together and screws over the actual owner of a condo by acting like they want to modify a non existing loan with someone who doesn't own the condo anymore, and then fails to serve the actual owner, and cancels the sale that the actual owner wanted to have happen a bunch of times without notice to anyone who has any real interest in the property anymore.

Boy how may tequila shots were in that coffee anyways?

Avisena v. Santalo:

You say "terminate," I say "termination," let's call the whole thing off.

Judge Saurez and Judge Schwartz, dissenting, get into a detailed argument about the difference between a noun and a verb.

At the time, I am sure this made total sense.

Judge Suarez basically says you have to examine the structure of the contract, and how the word "termination" fits into the way the non-compete provisions operate depending on how the employee is terminated.

Judge Schwartz, however, says "termination" means "termination" and that's all there is to it:
The word “termination” is a noun which simply means the end of a given period of time or relationship, regardless of how it occurs—that is, the promise made was that after termination—whether caused by the employee or employer, the employee would not engage in the enumerated activities. Plainly put, the words “Employee’s termination” describe whose termination not who was doing the terminating, to hold otherwise is to read language into the parties’ agreement that simply is not there.
But can there really be "termination" without a terminator and a terminatee?

Now that I think of it, after a few more shots, who really cares?

Western Hay v. Lauren Financial:

More dissents, and this time over -- of all things -- Florida's Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act:
Because the majority misinterprets and misapplies the one-year savings provision, which extends the four-year statute of limitations under Florida’s Uniform Fraudulent Transfer Act (“FUFTA”), I must respectfully dissent.
Now don't you kids all feel silly arguing over such a thing?

Just sleep it off and passionately make up in the morning.

(This is what I understand people do.)

Charlie Crist, Plaintiffs' Lawyer!

Oh heavily tanned one, you could have picked a better time what with all these silly legislative proposals your successor is kicking around, but welcome back anyways to the profession of law.

(h/t here)

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Chris Bosh Gets Ready for Big Game By Suing Ex-Wife!

It's good to be able to compartmentalize, so I'm sure the last thing on Chris Bosh's mind today will be the suit he filed against his ex-wife to get her off VH1's "Basketball Wives":
In his complaint, Bosh said the television series threatens to dilute his trademark and confuse viewers by suggesting that he endorsed Mathis' appearance on the show. The suit said Bosh has cultivated his trademark through YouTube videos that promote basketball programs for children. Mathis threatens to undermine that reputation by attacking Bosh's parenting skills on the show, the suit alleged.

In addition to trademark infringement, Bosh accused Mathis and the production company of violating his right to market his own identity and tell his own life story. He asked for damages of at least $75,000 and injunctions preventing the use of his name or image.

The lawsuit tried to counter any potential free-speech arguments by Mathis and Shed Media by claiming that the show is primarily commercial and does not express anything "other than an attempt to profit from (Bosh's) fame." The suit said the depiction of celebrity NBA players is "the very sum and substance of the show."

Judge Brown Vindicated; Let's Have a Bench Trial!

Judge Brown Vindication

Peter Halmos' last-ditch toe-tapping effort to have Judge Brown's order of reference vacated has been denied by Judge Martinez.

In a comprehensive order, Judge Martinez addresses specifically the "coerced consent" issue, the "mediator then adjudicator" issue, and the SIMPLY AMAZING(!) "judicial rhetoric" issue.

Here's a taste from footnote one:
Before Judge Brown asked any either party about consent individually, however, counsel represented to Judge Brown that the parties had all agreed to consent.  Judge Brown asked the parties one at a time regarding consent only after counsel made that representation.  Plaintiff's motion omits any mention of this portion of the transcript.
Translation = I've got your back!

Now go have some fun spending endless days proving up damages to a leaky boat.

Monday, May 2, 2011

"I Award You No Points, and May God Have Mercy on Your Soul."

To my friends in the media:

There's a little trial over somebody's damaged boat that may or may not start tomorrow in Judge Brown's courtroom.

Heard it could be interesting.

A few points arising from the eve-of-trial Halmos motion linked to above:

(1)  Could the process of consent to Magistrate jurisdiction truly be as depicted?

(2)  What to make of trying a case -- non jury -- after presiding over a confidential mediation of same?

(3) "[F]lamboyant grammatical form" (page 17)?

What on earth is he talking about?

Like I said, should be interesting.....

Checking Overdraft Cases Thrown into Turmoil!

We've previously reported on the numerous orders entered by Judge King finding various banks' arbitration clauses to be unconscionable.

Those orders are now highly suspect in light of the Supreme Court's Concepcion opinion last week.

Already the 11th Circuit has vacated at least five of these orders:
After oral argument in this case, the United States Supreme Court decided AT&T Mobility LLC v. Conception, No. 09-893, 2011 WL 1561956 (April 27, 2011). The district court’s order denying the motion to compel arbitration is VACATED, and this case is remanded to the district court for reconsideration in light of the Supreme Court’s opinion.
And Wells Fargo immediately moved before Judge King to have the case against it dismissed for lack of jurisdiction.

How this will impact the $410 million BoA settlement announced back in February is anyone's guess.

3d DCA Judges Want You to Eat With Them.

They don't get out much, the food at the bunker isn't so hot, they get hungry after vigorous mechanical room/gym time, it grows tiresome to enter 40 PCAs a day.....the reasons are myriad when you think about it.

So go see Judge Ramirez (who has done a great job!) and don't think about it:

Third District Court of Appeal
Historical Society, Inc.
cordially invites you
to attend its
Biennial Luncheon With The Judges
A “Members Only” Event with the Judges of
The Third District Court of Appeal
Featuring “Reflections on Serving as Chief Judge”
by The Honorable Juan Ramirez


May 13, 2011 at 12:00 noon

Hyatt Regency Coral Gables at The Alhambra,
50 Alhambra Plaza
Please note:
There will be no on-site registration.
Please access the Historical Society’s Membership Enrollment Form here.
Please access the Historical Society’s Luncheon Registration Form here.
Also note:
Current and former Third District Judges enjoy a complimentary registration fee.
All trial court judges and other government employees enjoy a reduced registration fee.