Monthly Archives: October 2006


He slouched on the wooden bench outside of the 24 hour laundromat two blocks from his house. A yellow light hanging by half of its cord dripped shadows on the highlights of the night that lagged reality. The undefined darkness was an insidious vacuum that siphoned the terrors from his forgotten dreams and brought them […]

Update 2009: It cut off.

Two People at a Singles Dance

There’s a red schoolhouse along Route 9 between Concord and Portsmouth. During the day four dark windows overlook an empty gravel parking lot with a yellow sign that reads, “Singles Dance Friday Night 8pm.” The dance has taken place for at least a hundred years, the townies say. Generations have depended on this place to […]

Update 2009: It cut off.

A More Visual World

Is today’s world more visual than yesterday’s? Does TV, DVD, the internet, etc. make our current lives more visual than those of the past? What does visual mean? Don’t we see as much as ever? Eyes open 16 hours a day? Does it matter what we see? Is it about what we see, or how we perceive? Does this mean […]

Clear Away the Fog

Empathetic to the daily grind. Wait, there is no daily grind here. It’s school. Some people pretend there’s something difficult about being required to read and write, but they have it wrong. Reading and writing are two long-protected pillars of knowledge. Skills for the fortunate, and now we’re taking our turn in the never ending […]

Hope’s Worn Edge

There’s hope yet for that worn edge of life that trips us up from time to time. We slip down an extra stair and wonder if that’s really where we’re supposed to stay. Then someone comes along and lends a hand. Shows some compassion. Tells us what we’ve been wanting to hear. There’s a story […]

Update 2009: It cuts off.

Jury Selection

I learned about a new reality show today in Civil Procedure called “jury selection.” It’s kind of like that old show, Survivor, where they vote people off the island except the elimination of contestants (potential jurors) is based on stereotypes and perceived biases that pertain mostly to race, religion, wealth, and employment. God bless zealous […]

Update 2009: It cuts off.

My Torts Exam Question

Chris has an 8am meeting with new clients at Pebble Beach, but he’s new in town and completely lost on the Monterey Peninsula. In the midst of his cursing and thrashing about within the cockpit of his car, he turned on the built in emergency phone system called OnStar. A woman’s voice came from nowhere, which startled Chris and caused him to veer off the road and into a mailbox.

“My name is Linda. Are you OK, Mr. Rogers??
Chris, mistaking Linda for the voice of God reprimanding him for all of the sex, drugs, and rock ’n’ roll he experimented with in college, started to cry.

“Please, Linda-God. Have mercy on my soul. I promise I’ll be good.?

“Mr. Rogers, this is OnStar. Look at your dashboard. See the OnStar button??

“Oh, hah. Yeah. While you’re on the phone, can you give me directions from wherever I am to the nearest hospital and then to Pebble Beach??

Inevitably, as often happens with these new fangled OnStar devices, Chris, despite following the directions exactly and making u-turns as instructed, found himself completely lost. In fact, he wasn’t just lost. He had come to rest in the Monterey Peninsula ghetto. Yes, there is such a thing.

So, no hospital. No golf. Probably, no new clients. And now he’s lost in the ghetto. Worse yet is that he just noticed that the no-flat tires on his Cadillac didn’t make it their guaranteed 50 miles.

I think it’s quite obvious what happens next. His car breaks down. He is forced to strip from his golf clothes and is beaten with his driver by a 12 year old.

What To Write?

Not sure where to begin, so I’ll just write what comes to mind. I’ve been out of it for a week now. Something used to prompt me to post five times a day, regardless of whether or not people read. Now, I’ve got writer’s block for days on end. It’s killing me. I want to blame law school for taking up all of my time. But, that’s not it. I have time. I want to blame BaRAC and legal writing for messing up my approach, but I could never admit that I let those get to me. So, I’m left with looking inward. What usually inspires me? I was thinking about this in Contracts class this morning, needless detail that you don’t need, but will receive (have already received by now). Get this… my big revelation of the day, week, month, year.

There are other people with similar interests. And other people with different interests. On a basic level, this is blatantly obvious. And I apologize for that. But, from a writer / blogger / human interest it makes everything much more interesting.

You either read because you find what I say interesting or you like me. I’m guessing you wouldn’t read out of boredom. Maybe because you hate me, but I don’t know that many people that hate me. Anyway, the point of this dribble is that instead of trying to write about things that interest me all of the time, I should look around and see what other people are doing.

For instance, the room I’m sitting in has about 80 people. I talk to ten or fifteen of them a day because they’re all in my class. They’re all interested in the law (I hope), but not one is really “like” me.

Anyway, this is me attempting to restart my thinking. More later.

Alternative Liability

Torts was interesting today. We are covering “causation,” which is one of the elements of a negligence claim that the plaintiff has to prove to win a case – kinda. Anyway, to make a longer story short, we were specifically talking about “alternative liability,” which is employed when there are two defendants that are equally liable for a single claim brought by a plaintiff. There are loose restrictions that must be present when using alternative liability, which are:

1. Each defendant must be negligent
2. Proper parties. Generally, there can’t be too many defendants.
3. Harm to the plaintiff.
4. Simultaneous actions by the defendants.
5. Plaintiff can’t prove which defendant is negligent.
6. Defendant has superior knowledge of negligence.

If the plaintiff can show 1-6, or the court finds 1-6 present, then the burden of proof shifts from the plaintiff to the defendant. At this point, if the jury finds for the plaintiff, then both defendants are equally fully liable. That is, if the jury determines that the plaintiff is to be awarded $1,000,000 then the plaintiff can select one of the defendants to pay the full amount. It is up to the defendants to sort out the costs on their own, in a separate matter.

My question is, can the defendants, who are both equally liable, but only one of which will be selected by the plaintiff to pay the damages, attempt to persuade the plaintiff to chose the other defendant?

Zealous Representation

Excerpt from my Civil Procedure book:

The means employed by litigators to achieve victory for their clients regularly involve manipulating people and the flow of information in order to present their client’s positions as persuasively and favorably as possible. This manipulation may involve any or all of the following general techniques:

  • not disclosing evidence that could be damaging to the client or helpful to an opposing party
  • not disclosing persuasive legal precedents that could be damaging to the client
  • undermining or deflating persuasive evidence and precedents that are damaging to the client and are introduced by opposing counsel, by such means as upsetting or discrediting honest and reliable witnesses or by burying adverse evidence under mounds of obfuscating evidentiary debris
  • overemphasizing and present out of context evidence and precedents that appear favorable to the client
  • pressuring or cajoling witnesses, jurors, and judges into adoption views that support the client’s position
  • deceiving opposing counsel and parties about the weaknesses of the client’s case and the vulnerabilities of the opposing party and counsel that have nothing to do with the merits of a given dispute by such means as intimidating an anxious opponent, spending a poor opponent into submission, or “soaking” in settlement an opponent who has public image problems or who for other reasons cannot endure the risk and public exposure of a trial.

None of these techniques is illegal or violates the letter of the ethical rules of the profession. Indeed, the refusal to resort to at least some of these devices may be construed as a breach of an attorney’s obligation “to represent his client zealously within the bounds of the law.”

Midterm Time

I have a lot to do. I was feeling a bit overwhelmed earlier in Contracts, but then I took the big picture approach to everything and decided all will be fine in the long run. I have a Civil Procedure midterm on Friday. It’s take home and we get 24 hours from 3pm Friday to turn it in. That means I get to spend all day Saturday writing about how to bring a case in court. Believe me, I know it sounds fun, but I can think of better ways to spend my weekend. Like watching UM beat Penn State.

Top it off with a research report due Friday at 2pm and we’ve got a great week going.

Time to study. Bought a printer. Go Tigers!

Look Around

Look to the past. Look to nature. Look beyond what you can see. Behind the wall that separates you from the neighbor on the other side. From the world. Look at something weird and different. Something abstract. Something that can’t be defined. Look at a different culture. A different people. A different individual. Look at yourself. Look around the next corner. Look at the second to last page and burn the last. Look . . . I have to go to legal writing. More later.