Archive for October, 2008

FAMILY COURT JUDICIAL RACES -18TH. Judicial Dist.

Monday, October 20th, 2008

 

Family Court Judicial Races  18th. Judicial Dist.

Name /
  
Address
Office
District/ Division
Raymond S. Bogucki PO Box 266
Mt. Olivet, KY 41064
Circuit Judge Family Court
18th/2nd
Donald A. Bromagen 1320 Walnut Grove Road
Carlisle, KY 40311
Circuit Judge Family Court
18th/2nd
Peter Newberry 1217 Criswell Road
Berry, KY 41003
Circuit Judge Family Court
18th/2nd
Barbara Paul 965 Morgan Hightower Road
Falmouth, KY 41040
Circuit Judge Family Court
18th/2nd

 

CANDIDATES FOR KY. STATE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

Monday, October 20th, 2008

See all candidates for contested Judicial races on Nov. 4th. ballot

Monday, October 20th, 2008

JUDICIAL RACES:  Scroll down to see candidates in all contested judicial races:


SUPREME COURT CONTESTED RACES

Name /
  Running Mate
Address
Office
District/Division
Daniel J. Venters PO Box 1749
Somerset, KY 42502
Justice of the Supreme Court
3rd
Leonard H. Brashear has withdrawn from the Sup. Ct. race with Dan Venters
Lisabeth Hughes Abramson 5905 Brittany Valley Road
Louisville, KY 40222
Justice of the Supreme Court
4th
James M. “Jim” Shake PO Box 608
Louisville, KY 40201
Justice of the Supreme Court
4th

CIRCUIT COURT JUDICIAL CANDIDATES

Name /
  Running Mate
Address
Office
District/Division
Joe Castlen P.O. Box 1062
Owensboro, KY 42302
Circuit Judge
6th/2nd
Ernesto Scorsone 511 W. Short St.
Lexington, KY 40507
Circuit Judge
22nd/7th
William “Bill” Clouse 116 Castlewood Drive
Richmond, KY 40475
Circuit Judge
25th/1st
Jeffrey M. Walson 1025 Elkin Station Road
Winchester, KY 40391
Circuit Judge
25th/1st
Jean Chenault Logue 436 Breck Avenue
Richmond, KY 40475
Circuit Judge
25th/2nd
John Knox Mills PO Box 314
Barbourville, KY 40906
Circuit Judge
27th/2nd
Charlie Cunningham 6010 Brownsboro Park Blvd., Ste. G
Louisville, KY 40207
Circuit Judge
30th/4th
W. Douglas Kemper 10529 Providence Dr.
Louisville, KY 40291
Circuit Judge
30th/4th
Irv Maze 429 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd.
Louisville, KY 40202
Circuit Judge
30th/10th

DISTRICT COURT JUDICIAL CANDIDATES

Name /
  Running Mate
Address
Office
District/Division
Ken Easterling 911 Fawnhill Drive
Edgewood, KY 41017
District Judge
16th/4th
Kathleen Lape 1304 Brightleaf Blvd.
Erlanger, KY 41018
District Judge
16th/4th
George F. Allgeier 4752 Ironbridge Drive
Lexington, KY 40515
District Judge
22nd/4th
Kimberly Henderson Baird 575 Plainview Road
Lexington, KY 40517
District Judge
22nd/4th
Julie Muth Goodman 4998 Athens Boonesboro Road
Lexington, KY 40509
District Judge
22nd/4th
Keith Horn 600 Hunters Green Court
Lexington, KY 40509
District Judge
22nd/4th
Sally Manning 2284 Abbeywood Road
Lexington, KY 40515
District Judge
22nd/4th
Joyce Merritt 284 Shoreside Drive
Lexington, KY 40515
District Judge
22nd/4th
Daniel H. Miller P.O. Box 22606
Lexington, KY 40502
District Judge
22nd/4th
John Tackett 1811 Versailles Road
Lexington, KY 40504
District Judge
22nd/4th
John Chappell 16 Violet Court
London, KY 40741
District Judge
27th/2nd
Gilbert E. Holland PO Box 1718
Barbourville, KY 40906
District Judge
27th/2nd
Ann Bailey Smith 10812 Golden Maple Place
Louisville, KY 40223
District Judge
30th/2nd
John J. Vandertoll 800 Stone Creek Parkway
Ste. 1
Louisville, KY 40223
District Judge
30th/2nd
David P. Bowles 3629 Kelly Way
Louisville, KY 40220
District Judge
30th/8th
D. Steven Parks Bowman Field Airport
2803 Taylorsville Road
Louisville, KY 40205
District Judge
30th/8th
Theodore S. “Ted” Shouse 2216 Dorothy Avenue
Louisville, KY 40205
District Judge
30th/8th
Anne Dedman Watkins 3009 Jarvis Woods Ct.
Louisville, KY 40206
District Judge
30th/8th
David Larry Holton 2408 Windsor Forest Drive
Louisville, KY 40272
District Judge
30th/16th
Katie King 2440 Tyler Lane
Louisville, KY 40205
District Judge
30th/16th
Jason P. Price 174 Sunshine Drive
Williamsburg, KY 40769
District Judge
34th/2nd
Fred F. White 62 W. Woodside Dr.
Williamsburg, KY 40769
District Judge
34th/2nd
John T. Aubrey 202 Main Street
Manchester, KY 40962
District Judge
41st/2nd
Henria Bailey-Lewis 306 Main Street
Manchester, KY 40962
District Judge
41st/2nd
Chris Broaddus 225 Green Wilson Road
Frankfort, KY 40601
District Judge
48th/2nd
Chris Olds 105 Cave Run Drive
Frankfort, KY 40601
District Judge
48th/2nd
Dana M. Todd 3136 Mt. Zion Road
Frankfort, KY 40601
District Judge
48th/2nd
Squire N. “Will” Williams 114 Randolph Road
Frankfort, KY 40601
District Judge
48th/2nd
Charles R. McCollom 2829 Tippecanoe Trail
Henderson, KY 42420
District Judge
51st/2nd
Greg Sutton 1221 Huntspoint Way
Henderson, KY 42420
District Judge
51st/2nd
Jennifer E. Porter 548 Ashford Drive
Mount Washington , KY 40047
District Judge
55th/2nd
Nick Raley P.O. Box 743
Shepherdsville, KY 40165
District Judge
55th/2nd
John Wooldridge PO Box 670
Shepherdsville, KY 40165
District Judge
55th/2nd

New Federal Wiretap Law Granting Phone Companies Retroactive Immunity Challenged in Court

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

 

Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle October 18, 2008

 

Civil liberties groups started a legal challenge Friday to the new federal law designed to dismiss their wiretapping suits against telecommunications companies, saying the statute violates phone customers’ constitutional rights and tramples on judicial authority. 

The law, passed in July, granted retroactive protection to AT&T, Verizon and other companies against lawsuits accusing them of illegally sharing their telephone and e-mail networks and millions of customer records with the National Security Agency. The NSA began monitoring Americans’ communications with alleged foreign terrorists, without court warrants, after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. 

Almost 40 such suits from around the nation are pending before Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker in San Francisco. The law requires him to dismiss the cases if the Justice Department tells him the companies had cooperated in a surveillance program authorized by President Bush to prevent a terrorist attack, or that they had no role at all. 

To conceal each company’s alleged participation, details of the department’s filing and the judge’s dismissal order are to be kept secret. The department submitted its filing Sept. 19, publicly releasing only a declaration by Attorney General Michael Mukasey saying the suits should be dismissed for reasons specified in the law. 

In papers filed with Walker, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation attacked the secrecy requirements and argued that Congress and President Bush lack authority to order courts to whitewash constitutional violations. 

“If Congress can give the executive the power to exclude the judiciary from considering the constitutional claims of millions of Americans … then the judiciary will no longer be functioning as a coequal branch of government,” Cindy Cohn, the foundation’s legal director, said in court papers. 

She said the law reduces judicial review to a “puppet show” by requiring the courts to accept the government’s factual claims and legal justification without further inquiry. 

Cohn also argued that the customers, whose suits claim violations of their privacy, have a right to learn the Justice Department’s reasons for seeking dismissals so that their lawyers can oppose them. She said the law’s secrecy makes the proceedings one-sided. 

“Due process requires more than the chance to shadow-box with the government,” Cohn wrote. 

Walker has scheduled a hearing Dec. 2 on the government’s request to dismiss the suits. He is also considering whether to revive the only other suit over the surveillance program, filed by an Islamic charity that said it learned it had been wiretapped in a secret document that the government inadvertently provided. 

Walker dismissed that suit in July, saying the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation – a now-defunct organization that was on the U.S. government’s terrorist list – could not rely on the secret document to show that it had been a target of surveillance and had legal standing to challenge the program. 

But he said he would reinstate the case if Al-Haramain could prove the same point with publicly available evidence. The organization’s lawyer says a speech by a deputy FBI director a year ago acknowledged that Al-Haramain had been under surveillance. 

Bush Administration rushing through new regs. to allow dumping of mine waste into streams

Saturday, October 18th, 2008


 The Interior Department has advanced proposed regulations  that would ease restrictions on dumping mountaintop mining waste near streams. Environmental groups will probably sue to block the change if the administration finalizes it.

 

The department’s Office of Surface Mining issued a final environmental impact analysis Friday on the proposed rule change, which has been under consideration for four years. It has been a top priority of the surface mining industry.

 

It sets the stage for a final regulation, one of the last major environmental initiatives of the Bush administration, after 30 days of additional public comment and interagency review.

 

The proposed rule would rewrite a regulation enacted in 1983 that bars mining companies from disposing of huge amounts of rock and dirt from surface mining within 100 feet of any intermittent or perennial stream if the disposal adversely affects water quality or quantity.

 

“The new rule will allow coal companies to dump massive waste piles directly into streams, permanently burying them,” warned Joan Mulhern of Earthjustice, among the environmental groups that have fought large-scale surface mining — including mountaintop removal — used in Appalachia, especially in West Virginia, Kentucky and parts of Virginia and Tennessee.

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The Ky. Court of Appeals on Friday, adopted new legal doctrine on jurisdiction for modification of child support order, also they discuss in detail duties of insurance adjusters and attorneys, plus they review the Wells DUI case which said a sleeping driver was not in physical control…and they dismiss writ of forcible detrainer obtained by non-lawyer representing his own LLC.

Friday, October 17th, 2008

The Ky. Court of Appeals on Friday, adopted new legal doctrine on jurisdiction for modification of child support order, also they discuss in detail duties of insurance adjusters and attorneys, plus they review the Wells DUI case which said a sleeping driver was not in physical control…and they dismiss writ of forcible detrainer obtained by non-lawyer representing his own LLC.

 

The Kentucky Court of Appeals released those 25 cases on Friday Oct. l7th.  LawReader subscribers may read keywords and a full synopsis and full text of these cases by going to COURT OF APPEALS DECISIONS FOR OCT. 17, 2008  The court ordered that 4 of these cases were to be published.   
LawReader has published a synopsis for all Ky. Appellate decisions since 2003. These cases are posted usually within 24 hours of their release.   This is an excellent way to quickly scan all new cases each week, and to stay current in the law.   LawReader subscribers enjoy this valuable service at no extra cost.
 

You may sign up for only $34.95 a month by going to www.lawreader.com.
 

hERE ARETHE LAWREADER  KEYWORDS TO FOUR OF THE 25 DECISIONS:

 

Case No. 1 TO BE PUBLISHED – complex civil case re: duties of litigants, insurance company, adjustors, attorneys:
This complex civil cases discusses duty to disclose insurance policy limits, vicarious liability of employer for worker, frolic and detour regarding travel of worker, duty of attorney employed by insurance carrier, duty of adjustment, fraudulent misrepresentation, attorney as independent contractor, evidence admissibility regarding settlement and litigation conduct of attorney, and settlement authority and procedures, punitive damages, summary judgment.
 

Case No. 5 non-lawyer owner of llc (or corporation) may not file for writ of forcible detainer from rental property- unauthorized practice of law –action void not just voidable      
Only persons who meet the educational and character requirements of this Court and who, by virtue of admission to the Bar, are officers of the Court and subject to discipline thereby, may practice law-
 
a person is prohibited from representing an entity (LLC) when he is the sole owner despite the fact he is likely to be the only person to suffer.
 

 

Case No. 13 TO BE PUBLISHED new law / jurisdiction to modify child support order of another state –uifsa jurisdiction – foreign citizens
It has been uniformly held that pursuant to statutes similar to KRS 407.5611, if the (child support) obligor or oblige remains a resident of the issuing state and no written consent is filed as required by statute, that state retains continuing, exclusive jurisdiction to modify its child support decree.
 
We now join those states that have concluded that under the UIFSA, the issuing state has continuing, exclusive jurisdiction over its child support order if the obligor or the obligee continues to reside in that state. Thus, the Oldham Family Court had no jurisdiction to modify the Georgia child support decree
 

Case No. 24 physical control of motor vehicle ruling in wells upheld under more recent dui statute – sleeping person not in physical control
In 1991, the Legislature amended the statute by adding language prohibiting the “physical control of a motor vehicle” while under the influence of alcohol. Since that time, Kentucky appellate courts have had several opportunities to reconsider the factors set forth in Wells in light of the statutory change. Wells’ factors have not been abandoned or displaced and remain a useful tool in interpreting KRS 189A.010(1).
 
a person who is asleep can seldom be said to physically control a motor vehicle
 

Iowa Supreme Court: Postpartum depression should have been presented in murder trial

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Iowa woman convicted of second-degree murder in the 1998 drowning death of her infant son will have new day in court


 By Lynda Waddington 10/17/08
An Iowa Supreme Court decision handed down today confirms that legal counsel for Heidi Anfinson was ineffective for not presenting evidence and investigating Anfinson’s claims of postpartum depression.
“There was ample evidence of Anfinson’s postpartum depression available to trial counsel if he had chosen to undertake the most rudimentary inquiry,” Justice Daryl L. Hecht wrote in the decision. “He chose instead to rebuff all attempts made by Anfinson’s family members and her grief counselor to educate him. He closed not only his ears, but also his eyes as he neglected to obtain medical recourds evidencing Anfinson’s mental state.”
The story of 15-day-old baby Jacob’s death — his body found in Saylorville Lake, 16 miles from the family’s Des Moines home — captured national attention and may have prompted other parents to seek help for postpartum depression.
In September 1998, when her husband returned home to find the infant missing, Anfinson initially said the boy was stolen. Hours later she told police that the infant had accidentally drowned when she left him unattended in a bath seat, and that she had subsequently panicked and placed his body in the lake. She led police to the place where she had placed her son in about a foot of water with two rocks on his back.
Anfinson was originally charged with first-degree murder, but, following an initial mistrial, was convicted of second-degree murder in 2000. The conviction was appealed, but upheld by the Iowa Court of Appeals. At that point the court ruled that there was no authority in Iowa law for using postpartum depression as a basis for an insanity defense. Her family, including her husband, stood by her throughout the process and have claimed that postpartum depression or postpartum psychosis was the root cause of Anfinson’s actions. Her brother-in-law, Bob Krause, has written extensively about the tragic incident.
According to court documents, Bill Kutmus, Anfinson’s defense attorney, was with the family when Anfinson was released on bail. On that day a woman approached the group and offered an envelope, saying she knew about postpartum depression. Kutmus took the envelope and proclaimed he “didn’t want to hear any talk of postpartum depression.” The next day he was quoted in a newspaper, suggesting that depression was not a factor in the baby’s accidential death.
Kutmus told the court that his comments were an effort to ethically “manage” and “balance” the news in furtherance of Anfinson’s accidental death defense. He testified that he “didn’t want the public to even think of postpartum depression, because postpartum depression means you deliberately killed the baby.”
The court examined statements from Anfinson’s family that she was withdrawn in the days following Jacob’s birth. The sisters noted “sores” on Anfinson’s legs, wounds they now believe were self-inflicted. On Sept. 26, 1998, Anfinson was hospitalized and treated for depression, suicidal ideation and panic attacks. Kutmus did not request copies of her hospital records, nor did he asked for records of her prior depressed episodes in 1980 (after giving birth and placing the child for adoption) or in 1985 (following an abortion).
While the decision admits that admitting evidence of postpartum depression would have had little stake in mounting a state insanity defense, Hecht lays out three reasons why evidence of depression should have been “developed and offered” during criminal proceedings:
1.     Why was Anfinson so distracted and inattentive on Sept. 20, 1998 that she left her two-week-old baby unattended in bath water?
2.     Why did Anfinson behave irrationally in subsequently taking Jacob’s body to the lake, buring it under rocks, returning home and going to sleep?
3.     Why was Anfinson’s affect flat and emotionless later that same day when she was questioned?
“The defense of ‘accidents happen’ chosen and presented by trial counsel was highly unlikely to result in an acquittal if the three most troublesome aspects of Anfinson’s conduct suggesting criminal culpability were left unexplained,” Hecht wrote. “Expert and lay testimony presented by Anfinson a thte postconviction trial clearly suggests trial counsel could have developed strong evidence detailing the nature and extent of Anfinson’s depression and provided an explanation for her bizzar behavior on the day of Jacob’s death.”
Since receiving her sentence of 50 years with no chance of parole, Anfinson has been held at the Iowa Correctional Instituation for Women in Mitchellville. She could be free on bail as early as next week. A new trial date has not yet been scheduled.
 

 

Justices Rule Against Ohio G.O.P. in Voting Case re: voter registration

Friday, October 17th, 2008

 

By ADAM LIPTAK and IAN URBINA New York Times – October 17, 2008  

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Friday overturned a lower court’s order requiring state officials in Ohio to supply information that would have made it easier to challenge prospective voters. The decision was a setback for Ohio Republicans, who had sued to force the Ohio secretary of state, a Democrat, to provide information about database mismatches to county officials. 

Skip to next paragraph 

The decision has the potential to affect as many as 200,000 of the 660,000 new voters who have been registered in Ohio since Jan. 1, according Social Security Administration and state election officials. 

The Supreme Court, in a brief, unsigned decision, said lower federal courts in Ohio should not have ordered the secretary of state, Jennifer Brunner, to turn over the information. The court acted just before a deadline requiring Ms. Brunner to act set by a federal judge in Columbus. 

A 2002 federal law, the Help America Vote Act, or HAVA, requires states to check voter registration applications against government databases like those for driver’s license records. Names that do not match are flagged. Ohio Republicans sought to require Ms. Brunner to provide information about mismatches to local officials. 

Those officials could use information to require voters to cast provisional ballots rather than regular ones. They could also allow partisan poll workers to challenge people on the lists. Given Democratic success in registering new voters this year, those actions would probably affect that party’s supporters disproportionately. 

The court said it expressed “no opinion on the question whether HAVA is being properly implemented.” But it said that Congress probably had not intended to allow private litigants like political parties to sue to enforce the part of the law concerning databases. 

Ms. Brunner welcomed Friday’s ruling from the Supreme Court. 

“Our nation’s highest court has protected the voting rights of all Ohioans, allowing our bipartisan elections officials to continue preparing for a successful November election,” Ms. Brunner said. “We filed this appeal to protect all Ohio voters from illegal challenges and barriers that unfairly silence the votes of some to the advantage of others.” 

Edward B. Foley, a law professor at Ohio State, said the Supreme Court’s action in letting state authorities handle matters in the face of a late challenge was consistent with a general premise of election law. “Federal court intervention is a last resort, even if it’s not at the last minute,” Professor Foley said. 

A federal judge in Columbus ordered Ms. Brunner to supply the information on Oct. 9, and the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, in Cincinnati, affirmed that decision on Tuesday by a vote of 10-to-6. 

The majority decision in the Sixth Circuit acknowledged that the question about whether private parties may sue under the 2002 law was a close one. But Judge Jeffrey S. Sutton said that question could be deferred, as what the Republican party sought was just information. 

No one argues, Judge Sutton wrote, “that a mismatch necessarily requires a voter to be removed from the rolls.” A mismatch may merely prompt further investigation, he said, one that may be satisfied with an explanation as simple as a recent address change. 

Voting experts and state election officials added that many voters were likely to be flagged erroneously because the databases used to check voter registrations were prone to errors. Most non-matches are the result of typographical errors by government officials, computer errors, use of nicknames or middle initials, not voter ineligibility, they said. 

In one audit of match failures in 2004 by New York City election officials, more than 80 percent of the failures were found to have resulted from errors by government officials; most of the remaining failures were because of immaterial discrepancies between the two records. 

Ms. Brunner had also argued that requiring so many voters to cast provisional ballots would raise tensions at the polls and worsen lines and confusion on Election Day in a year when she is expecting unprecedented turnout. 

Republicans rejected those arguments. 

“It remains our belief that American citizens should be guaranteed that their legitimate votes are not wiped away by illegally cast ballots,” said Rick Davis, the McCain-Palin 2008 campaign manager. “What is no longer in question is the partisan nature of Jennifer Brunner’s efforts to minimize the level of fairness and transparency in this election.” 

Officials in the Ohio Republican party echoed the sentiment and said they are still deciding whether to take the matter to the state Supreme Court. 

Party officials had said they wanted the list so that local election officials could clear up any discrepancies before Election Day and in cases where that was not possible, those voters should vote using a provision ballot. Provisional ballots in Ohio are held for 10 days before being counted while workers check eligibility, and they are often subject to partisan wrangling and legal fights. 

Friday’s decision also means that the Ohio Republican Party will not be able to make public information requests to get the data so that poll workers can raise voter challenges at the polls. 

In 2004, President George W. Bush won Ohio by a margin of about 118,000 votes. During that race, litigation over Republican plans to challenge about 35,000 voters went to Justice John Paul Stevens on the eve of the election. Justice Stevens said it was too close to the election to intervene, but he added that he expected both sides to act in good faith. The Republicans dropped plans for their challenges. 

Polling in the state shows Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic presidential nominee, with a slight lead on his Republican challenger, Senator John McCain

More Articles in Washington » 

 

OHIO RULING MAY FORCE DISMISSAL OF THOUSANDS OF ABESTOS CLAIMS

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

By JULIE CARR SMYTH- AP   Published on Wednesday Oct 15, 2008

The Ohio Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a 2004 law making it more difficult to seek damages for asbestos-related deaths and illnesses can constitutionally be applied to cases that were in the pipeline before the law went into effect.

The 6-1 ruling means that many of the 40,000 Ohio cases that were in the works when the law was enacted are likely to be swiftly dismissed. It also has potential legal ramifications in Florida, Georgia, Kansas and other states that have sought to use such laws to reduce litigation related to the cancer-causing substance.

Ohio at one time had the largest backlog of asbestos-related cases in the nation. The 2004 law requires a plaintiff to show that a medical expert who personally treated the plaintiff has found that the patient’s health has been substantially impaired by exposure to asbestos.

Writing for the majority, Justice Robert Cupp said Ohio’s law can be applied retroactively because the changes were “remedial and procedural,” simply putting holds on the claims of thousands of Ohioans who were not yet showing symptoms of asbestos-related cancers. The Ohio Constitution bars retroactive laws that change the nature, or substance, of a law, justices said.

The case heard by the high court involves multiple defendants, including Ironton widow Linda Ackison, who filed a wrongful death suit in May 2004 against her late husband’s former employer, Dayton Malleable. Ackison alleged in the suit that long-term exposure to asbestos in the workplace contributed to the illness and death of her husband Danny.

The strong, fibrous asbestos is heat resistant, and it has been use by many industrial companies. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services says the fibers can remain in lung tissue for long periods and that significant exposure to the material increases the risk of lung cancer, mesothelioma and other lung disorders.

Only Justice Paul Pfeifer sided with Ackison in Wednesday’s lengthy ruling, saying the 2004 law couldn’t be considered merely procedural when state lawmakers effectively “legislated away” her claim to her husband’s damages.

“Claimants like Danny Ackison will not get a chance to avail themselves of (the law)’s ‘come back when you’re sicker’ provision,” Pfeifer wrote. “Danny Ackison will not be getting sicker. And he will never have the opportunity to vindicate his rights that existed on the day he learned that his workplace exposure to asbestos had made him sick.”

Richard Schuster, an attorney for several Fortune 500 firms and other businesses sued by Ackison, called the ruling significant to the companies and to Ohio’s ailing economy.

“For the businesses located here in Ohio, it will allow the cases to come off their books and allow them to focus on doing business and, hopefully, hiring people here in Ohio,” he said. “It really focuses the attention on those people who are ill, who have a real disease, and allows those cases to move through the courts, which have been clogged up by people who weren’t sick.”

He said the asbestos lawsuits appeared in such volume after workers at potentially hazardous work sites around the country were offered mass screenings in search of related health conditions.

Vin Green, an attorney for Ackison, said it is “completely and totally inaccurate” to say that those who filed asbestos-related lawsuits aren’t sick.

“That’s a fiction that’s propagated by the defendants and by the insurance industry,” he said. “If you have damage to the lining of your lungs, you are sick. The extent to which you’re symptomatic is going to vary from case to case.”

Green condemned the high court for what he said was a ruling on the side of big business.

“It’s a result-oriented decision in favor of corporations against injured Ohio citizens,” he said.

After the Georgia Supreme Court struck down the retroactivity of that state’s asbestos litigation law, state lawmakers passed another law that has not been challenged in court, Schuster said. A challenge to a similar law in Florida is before the courts and expected to be decided next year. A Kansas law has not been legally challenged

 

“Joe the plumber” , focus of Presidential Debate, isn’t plumber, doesn’t earn near the $250,000 level that might cause a rise in his taxes, and doesn’t disclose who he will vote for…

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

By LARRY VELLEQUETTE and TOM TROY
Tolego
BLADE STAFF WRITERS 


“Joe the Plumber” isn’t a plumber — at least not a licensed one, or a registered one.

A check of state and local licensing agencies in Ohio and Michigan shows no plumbing licenses under Samuel Joseph Wurzelbacher’s name, or even misspellings of his name.

Last night, his name, “Joe the Plumber,” came up about two dozen times in the debate between Mr. Obama and Republican nominee John McCain.

Since last night Mr. Wurzelbacher who lives alone with his 13-year-old son has been besieged with local and national news media, willingly granting interviews.

Mr. Wurzelbacher told reporters Thursday morning that he worked for Newell Plumbing & Heating Co., a small local firm whose business addresses flow back to several residential homes, including one on

Talmadge Road

in Ottawa Hills.

According to Lucas County Building Inspection records, A. W. Newell Corp. does maintain a state plumbing license, and one with the City of Toledo, but would not be allowed to work in Lucas County outside of Toledo without a county license. 

‘JOE THE PLUMBER’ SPEAKS 

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he works under Al Newell’s license, but according to Ohio building regulations, he must maintain his own license to do plumbing work.

He is also not registered to operate as a plumber in Ohio, which means he’s not a plumber.

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he was hired by Mr. Newell six years ago and that the possibility of him eventually buying the company was discussed during his job interview.

He said it’s his understanding he can work under Mr. Newell’s license as long as the licensed contractor works on the same site.

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he is working on taking the Ohio plumbing contractors’ license test.

Mr. Wulzerbacher’s notoriety has raised the ire of Tom Joseph, business manager for Local 50 of the United Association of Plumbers, Steamfitters, and Service Mechanics, who claimed that Mr. Wulzerbacher didn’t undergo any apprenticeship training.

“When you have guys going out there with no training whatsoever, it’s a little disreputable to start with,” Mr. Joseph said. “We’re the real Joe the Plumber.”

Mr. Joseph said Mr. Wulzerbacher could only legally work in the townships, but not in any municipality in Lucas County or elsewhere in the country.

“This individual has got no schooling, no licenses, he’s never been to a training program, union or non-union, in the United States of America,” Mr. Joseph said.

The association has endorsed Barack Obama, according to Mr. Joseph.

Questions were raised Thursday morning whether Mr. Wurzelbacher is a registered voter.

Linda Howe, executive director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, said a Samuel Joseph Worzelbacher, whose address and age match Joe the Plumber’s, registered in Lucas County on Sept. 10, 1992. He voted in his first primary on March 4 of this year, registering as a Republican.

Ms. Howe said that the name may be misspelled in the database.

Mr. Wurzelbacher, 34, acknowledged during an interview at his home late Thursday morning that he knows he’s “a flash in the pan,” after his fame spread for an impromptu debate he had in front of his Springfield Township home with Mr. Obama last Sunday.

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he objects to Mr. Obama’s plans to raise income taxes on incomes above $250,000. He said he makes no where near that much money but he would not say how much he makes or if he ever expects to make $250,000. Court records from a divorce show Mr. Wurzelbacher made $40,000 in 2006.

He said, “Is it right to take someone’s money because they work a little harder? It’s taking away from someone’s hard work.”

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he disagrees with the idea of people being taxed at a higher rate because they earn more.

“They’re going to take more of your money because you’ve been more successful,” he said.

In December, 2007, the Ohio Department of Taxation placed a lien against him because $1,183 in personal property taxes had not been paid, but there has been no action in the case since it was filed.

Mr. Wurzelbacher was playing football in his front yard with his son, Joey, on Sunday afternoon when Mr. Obama made an unscheduled stop to go door to door greeting voters and asking for their support.

In his conversation with Mr. Wurzelbacher, Mr. Obama tried to justify his plan tax breaks to 95 percent of Americans and raise taxes on incomes above $250,000.

Mr. Obama said his plan would improve the economy for other people trying to get a start in small business, and “spread the wealth.”

The phrase was quickly picked up by conservative bloggers and commentators saying it reveals a desire to redistributed wealth on the part of Mr. Obama.

During that same conversation, Mr. Wurzelbacher advocated a flat tax to Mr. Obama under which everyone would pay the same rate of tax which was a feature of Mike Huckabee’s unsuccessful campaign for the Republican nomination this year.

Mr. Wurzelbacher said he was surprised by the spread the wealth phrase.

“That’s a pretty socialist comment. Two-fifty ($250,000) is his number now. When is it going to be one fifty ($150,000), when it’s going to be one hundred ($100,000)?”

He continued: “If you believe him, I would be receiving his tax cut,” adding that he would not want the tax cut.

He won’t say who he will vote for on Nov. 4, but did say he likes Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

He said he was born in the Toledo area, lived until he was 13 in the Florida Panhandle area, went to Springfield High School, and then entered the U.S. Air Force. He was stationed at an Air Force base in Alaska from 1992 until 1995. He said he was honorably discharged.

Mr. Wurzelbacher also said he lived in Arizona from 1997 until 2000.

CA. APPEALS COURT DECISION SAYS DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LAWS VIOLATE MEN’S RIGHTS BECAUSE THEY PROVIDE STATE FUNDING ONLY FOR WOMEN AND THEIR CHILDREN

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle  Thursday, October 16, 2008

(10-15)  SACRAMENTO — California domestic violence laws violate men’s rights because they provide state funding only for women and their children who use shelters and other programs, a state appeals court has ruled.

The decision by the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento requires the programs to be available to male as well as female victims of domestic violence. The court said the services don’t have to be equal – an agency could maintain a battered-women’s shelter while giving men vouchers to stay at hotels, for example – but both sexes must have access to the programs.
The ruling overturned a Sacramento County judge’s decision to uphold the laws on the ground that women are more likely than men to be victims of domestic violence and to suffer more serious injuries.
Regardless of the overall impact, Justice Fred Morrison said in Tuesday’s 3-0 ruling, the state acknowledges that “domestic violence is a serious problem for both women and men.” He noted that the California Constitution forbids sex discrimination, under a 1971 state Supreme Court ruling, and said men and women are entitled to equal treatment, even if one sex is affected more than the other.
The ruling may not have a dramatic effect on most programs. The court quoted state officials as saying that 85 percent of the domestic violence programs funded by California already offer services to men, even though state law doesn’t require that.
The services include counseling, job training and legal help as well as refuge. The state spends more than $20 million a year on the programs.
A men’s-rights lawyer who challenged the state domestic violence laws said Wednesday that he was skeptical of those figures, and called the ruling a step toward equality.
“I’ve been fighting this for years. …It is outrageous to me that this law that excluded males has been on the books for so long,” said attorney Marc Angelucci, who works at a family law firm called the Men’s Legal Center and founded the Los Angeles chapter of the National Coalition for Free Men.
He said the laws are several decades old and were sponsored by women’s rights groups.
The lead plaintiff in the case is a Sacramento County man who said his wife repeatedly beat him and struck him with weapons, and that he and his daughter had sought shelter from a state-funded agency but had been turned away. Angelucci said the man still lives with his wife, whose violence subsided after she underwent counseling.
In another part of the ruling, the court upheld women-only laws that allow some state prisoners who are pregnant or have young children to be held in local minimum-security jails and receive drug treatment while caring for their children. Morrison said the plaintiffs offered no evidence that any male prisoners qualify for those programs, which are open to parents who are primary caretakers of their children, have committed relatively minor crimes and can show that their children would benefit.
Angelucci said he was disappointed by that portion of the ruling and will appeal to the state Supreme Court.
State lawyers are reviewing the ruling, said Abraham Arredondo, a spokesman for Attorney General Jerry Brown.

Read the ruling

To read the court’s ruling, go to: links.sfgate.com/ZFCN
.
 

Kenton Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders appointed to assist Jim Crawford as Special Prosecutor in Steve Henry Case

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

Special Prosecutor Jim Crawford, Commonwealth Attorney for Carroll, Owen & Grant counties,  will obtain the assistance of Kenton County Commonwealth Attorney Rob Sanders in his investigation of allegations of  campaign contribution irregularities in the Steve Henry Gubernatorial race.

As WHAS 11 News first reported two months ago, State Police have wrapped up their investigation of possible campaign finance violations by Henry’s campaigns for U.S. Senate and Governor. But the report is several thousand pages long and special prosecutor Jim Crawford of Carrollton told WHAS 11 News he didn’t have time to dig through the evidence and perhaps present the case to a grand jury. So he asked Jack Conway’s office for some help, getting it yesterday in the form of Sanders’ appointment as an assistant.

 

U.S. Sup. Ct. hears case on qualified immunity of public officials

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

What do public school principals and teachers share in common with the average police officer on the street?

 

The answer is an interest in the body of law concerning official immunity from liability in lawsuits that challenge their actions. The police are sometimes sued personally by criminals or suspects over charges of the alleged deprivation of constitutional rights. Educators are sued by students and their parents over a whole range of actions.

Under the U.S. Supreme Court’s precedents on so-called qualified immunity, such government officials are immune from suit unless they violated clearly established statutory or constitutional rights of which a reasonable person would have known. The principle has enormous practical consequences for educators and other public officials. If they are sued and can establish their immunity fairly early in the legal process, they are saved from countless hours and costs of litigation.

 

The question for the Supreme Court in a case argued today and stemming from a challenged police search is whether lower-court judges must follow a particular “order of battle” when analyzing such civil rights claims. Must they determine first whether a constitutional violation has even occurred before they decide whether an official has immunity?

 

That is the order the courts are supposed to follow under a 2001 Supreme Court decision known as Saucier v. Katz. In that decision, Justice Anthony M. Kennedy said that if lawsuits against government officials were often decided on immunity grounds alone, the courts would never resolve many constitutional questions.

 

In 2007, in a case about a student’s display of a “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner, one question for the Supreme Court was whether a high school principal merited qualified immunity for disciplining the student.

 

A lower federal court had ruled that the principal was not immune from a suit for damages because the student’s right to display the banner was so clearly established that the principal should have known she could not discipline him.

 

But in Morse v. Frederick, the Supreme Court unanimously agreed that the principal deserved qualified immunity because it was far from clear at the time of the incident that the “Bong Hits” banner, with its sly drug message, was protected student speech. In fact, the justices ruled 5-4 that it was not protected.

 

In a concurring opinion, Justice Stephen G. Breyer said the Morse case could easily have been decided on qualified-immunity grounds alone if not for the requirement from the Saucier decision that the courts first ask whether a constitutional right had been violated.

“The relative ease with which we could decide this case on the qualified-immunity ground, and thereby avoid deciding a far more difficult constitutional question, underscores the need to lift the rigid ‘order of battle’ decisionmaking requirement that this court imposed upon lower courts in Saucier,” Justice Breyer said in his Morse concurrence.

 

During oral arguments on Oct. 14 in Pearson v. Callahan (Case No. 07-751), a case raising immunity questions about police officers who were sued over an alleged unconstitutional search of a home for drugs, Justice Breyer picked up the cause for overruling or scaling back the Saucier requirement. (The court itself had asked the parties in the police-search case to address the issue.)

 

Noting some of the complex constitutional issues that were being raised by the police search, Justice Breyer said “constitutional questions in this area are like the stars in the sky. There are so many. Rather than having the judges answer each one and getting everything mixed up, why not just have them take whatever is the easier path? As a judge, I like to take what is the easier path.”

 

“And if it’s easier to deal with the qualified immunity, deal with it and forget the rest of it,” Justice Breyer said to Malcom L. Stewart, the deputy U.S. solicitor general, who was arguing as a friend-of-the-court on the side of the police officers.

Mr. Stewart offered no disagreement to Justice Breyer on the idea of doing away with the Saucier requirement.

 

“The mandatory order of decision for qualified-immunity cases announced in Saucier v. Katz should be overruled,” Mr. Stewart told the justices. (The Justice Department’s brief is here.)

 

Justice Breyer appeared to gain the support of the Supreme Court’s newest members to his cause. Both Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr., neither of whom were on the court when Saucier was decided, raised questions about that ruling’s requirement.

 

Chief Justice Roberts said he had had “a few of these cases” when he was on the federal appeals court in Washington.

 

“I thought it was very odd that I had to go and decide a difficult constitutional issue and then not worry about it because in one sentence you say, well, but the issue is not clearly established and so it’s qualified immunity” for the public official, the chief justice said.

But Justice Kennedy suggested that the theory behind Saucier remained valid—that the police (in this type of case) benefit from clearer constitutional guidance when the law is fully developed.

 

“It seems to me that we could have learned a lot if the courts of appeals had addressed” some of the constitutional issues raised by the police search in the case before the court, Justice Kennedy said.

 

The American Civil Liberties Union filed a friend-of-the-court brief on the side of the suspect who sued the police in the Pearson case, urging the justices to retain the Saucier requirement. The civil rights group noted that before the Saucier ruling, many suits against public officials were decided on immunity grounds without answering the fundamental constitutional questions at issue. Thus, in the next case, educators or police officers could again claim that the law in a particularly area was not clearly established, the group said.

 

A ruling in the case is expected by next June.

BLOOD TESTS MUST BE AUTHORIZED BY A PHYSICIAN -nurses who take blood test without prescription face prosecution

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

 

By LawReader Senior Editor Stan Billingsley    Oct. 15, 2008-
 

Kentucky DUI law has been expanded by court rulings (Mitchell v. Com.) that allow EMT personnel in some instances to take a blood sample from a defendant charged with DUI.  In common practice, police also take defendants to hospitals and the nursing staff frequently takes a blood sample for use by the police without a doctor’s prescription (i.e. authorization).  (A detailed discussion of this topic with citations, Administrative Regulations and statutes are available on www.lawreader.com to subscribers.)
 

We believe that any blood sample taken without a prescription (i.e. physicians authorization) is illegal.  See KRS 333.160 which spells out “Who may collect human specimens”.    This statute is justification for the argument that nurses and non-licensed physicians must be authorized by a physician before they can draw a blood sample.  If a hospital allows such a procedure without the physician’s authorization they have violated this statute. 
 

A hospital in Paducah has refused to allow its nursing staff take blood samples at the request of police officers in the absence of a physician’s authorization.  We note that KRS 333.990 makes it a misdemeanor for anyone to take a blood sample without a physician’s authorization.  Such a procedure may also violate medical ethical and licensure standards.
 

Any hospital or clinic that allows its personnel to take blood samples without a physician’s authorization is treading on thin ice and are subjecting themselves to liability for any injuries caused by the procedure (i.e. infection, damage to a nerve etc.) as well as a criminal penalty which includes potential jail time.
 

The courts have not clearly ruled on the issue of whether or not an illegally obtained blood sample may be introduced into evidence.  The Mitchell case focuses on Chapter 189A (the DUI act) to say that nurses and EMT personnel may take a blood sample under proper conditions…but that decision did not discuss the effect of KRS 333.160.  The Mitchell case says that nurses, phlebotomists and EMT personnel may take a blood sample but that decision does add the condition that the procedure not otherwise violate other law. 
 

We conclude that KRS 333.160 is controlling, and hospitals and nursing personnel are violating the law by ignoring this statute.
 


 

Lexington overtime pay mediation means $2.1 million for lawyers

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

A lawsuit in Federal Court in Lexington has been successfully mediated.  The suit involved an overtime pay dispute for Fayette County Detention Center officials. The plaintiff’s lawyers, Miller, Griffin & Marks will receive about 40% of the total fee and attorneys of Wyatt, Trarrant & Combs who represented the city will receive 60% of the $2.1 million in fees.

 

The following is excerpted from an article by Michelle Ku  Lexington Herald.com  10-14-2008

 

Lexington will be paying more than $2.1 million in attorneys fees in the settlement of an overtime pay lawsuit involving more than 300 current and former Fayette County Detention Center corrections officers.

 

The fees are about double the amount corrections officers will receive in the settlement.

The more than $2 million being paid to plaintiff’s and defendant’s attorneys “is enough to gag a maggot, but that’s the way it is,” said Urban County Councilman David Stevens.

 

In these lawsuits, the lawyers are the only ones who always win, Stevens said.

The majority of those fees, about $1.3 million, will be paid to attorneys from Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs, who were hired to defend  the city.

 

The other $870,000 will be paid to attorneys from Miller, Griffin & Marks, the attorneys for the corrections officers.

 

In addition to the legal bills, the city will pay the corrections officers $1.15 million in cash and paid leave time. The city will also make policy changes at the jail, which include longer lunch breaks and paying officers for their lunch breaks if they are required to work.

 

The settlement agreement was approved Tuesday by U.S. District Judge Jennifer Coffman.

 

The settlement and attorneys’ fees seem “fair and reasonable,” Coffman said. The settlement doesn’t give anybody everything, but takes all factors into account, she said.

The city’s bill from Wyatt, Tarrant & Combs is high, but the hours were legitimate and did not appear to be padded, said Stevens, who along with Councilman Ed lane, have reviewed the bill.

 

The corrections officers’ settlement will be divided between $805,000 in cash and $345,000 worth of paid leave time — or 2,530 leave days for the employees still employed at the jail.

 

Starting Oct. 27, policy changes will be made at the jail so that officers will receive 30-minute lunch breaks and will be paid overtime if they have to work before or after their shifts.

 

Work duties during those breaks will be limited to emergencies, said attorney Tom Miller, who represents the corrections officers.

 

“Our clients primarily wanted a real lunch break and to be paid for time that they worked,” Miller said. “The end result gets them not only that, but also gets them a very substantial amount of money so I am extremely pleased with the result for my clients. Where we started to where we finished is an ocean apart.”

 

The lawsuit, filed in 2006 under Mayor Teresa Isaac’s administration, alleges that the city engaged in multiple long-standing, widespread violations of the federal Fair Labor Standards act and the Kentucky Wage and Hours Act.

 

Corrections officers were often asked to perform job duties while on their 20-minute lunch breaks but were not paid for the breaks. Officers also were not paid if they had to come in early or stay after their eight-hour shifts. Some higher-ranking officers at the jail were required to take compensatory time — additional hours off — instead of overtime.

 

Volkswagen Wins U.S. 5th. Circuit Court of Appeals Ruling Limiting Venue in Product Liability case

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

By Susan Decker and William McQuillen 

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) — Volkswagen AG won a U.S. appeals court ruling that sets new guidelines on where it can be sued over allegations of defective parts, a decision that also could limit patent lawsuits in an east Texas town. 

The 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the trial judge erred in rejecting Volkswagen’s argument that a product- liability case over a 2005 Dallas car crash should be heard in that city. The automaker wanted to avoid a trial in Marshall, Texas, over a lawsuit in which the relatives of a 7-year-old girl blame a defective seat for her death. 

The case has been closely watched by companies and patent lawyers who claim that Marshall has become a hub of litigation because patent owners win in a majority of cases. In the Volkswagen case, as in many patent cases, the judge rejected the transfer request because the one who filed the suit got to choose the location. 

The 5th Circuit, in a 10-7 opinion issued Oct. 10, said the decision by U.S. District Judge T. John Ward in Marshall was based on “extraordinary errors” in interpreting the law. While the plaintiff’s choice “should be respected,” the appeals court said, the case should be transferred if the other court “is clearly more convenient.” 

The decision by the 5th Circuit, located in New Orleans, covers district courts in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi. The entire court heard the case because there have been conflicting rulings on the issue among the circuit judges. 

150 Miles Away 

Volkswagen, based in Wolfsburg, Germany, argued in May before the circuit court that the case should be heard in Dallas, where the accident occurred and the witnesses were located, not 150 miles away in Marshall. Ward, in rejecting Volkswagen’s bid to have the case moved from his court, said the choice made by Amy Singleton, the girl’s mother, and her parents is of “paramount consideration.” 

Singleton’s lawyer, Martin Siegel, said his clients may ask the U.S. Supreme Court to hear the case. The decision means the prerogative to choose a court “has somewhat less weight in a trial court’s decision whether to transfer a case,” and the appeals court may intervene more often in such disputes, he said. 

“That said, transfers are still likely to be the exception and not the rule in Texas and elsewhere,” he said in an e-mail. 

Volkswagen of America spokesman Steve Keyes said the company was pleased with the ruling. 

Broad Power 

Ward and other federal judges have broad power to rule on certain requests, such as transfers. Seven circuit judges, in the minority, said there was no “clear abuse of discretion” that warranted overturning Ward’s decision. 

Federal law allows companies to be sued in any district where they sell products or otherwise do business. It also allows cases to be transferred for the convenience of the parties, which is what Volkswagen was seeking. 

Volkswagen had the support of the Product Liability Advisory Council, a trade group that represents 120 manufacturers facing many lawsuits. Members include General Electric Co., Johnson & Johnson, 3M Inc., Kraft Foods Inc., Microsoft Corp., Raytheon Co. and Reynolds American Inc.’s RJ Reynolds Tobacco Co. 

Microsoft Corp., the world’s biggest software maker, based in Redmond, Washington, was ordered by a Marshall jury to pay $115 million in a dispute with a Michigan patent owner. The case later settled. 

Convenience of Parties 

The American Intellectual Property Law Association, the nation’s largest group of patent lawyers, urged the 5th Circuit to rule that the convenience of the parties should be the primary concern. 

Patent appeals are heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, which defers to regional circuits on local rules such as standards for transfer. It has ruled that when there are cases in more than one circuit, the convenience of the parties should determine which court hears the case. 

Trial lawyers in Texas formed a committee to fight the patent lawyers, and filed court papers saying Marshall has been “unfairly characterized” as a plaintiff-friendly court jurisdiction. 

The case is In re Volkswagen AG, 07-40058, 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals (New Orleans). The lower court case is Singleton v. Volkswagen AG, 06cv222, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas (Marshall). 

 

England’s 50 Highest Paid Lawyers…see what they make and how.

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

 

Are top lawyers worth their huge fees?

 

The Sunday Times of London, England  July 13, 2008

 

Their bills are astronomical, but what’s a few million here if it saves more money there? These days an expensive lawyer is a necessity — not a luxury — especially if you’re visiting the divorce courts. So who among the top 50 is raking it in — and are they really worth it?

 

Greedy, grasping, duplicitous, self-serving, silver-tongued, slimy, pompous… and that’s being diplomatic. It has become fashionable to knock lawyers, especially successful ones. Few professional groups are as maligned as solicitors and their more voluble (and grandiose) bedfellows, the barristers.
But, m’lud, are we being entirely fair? Just how much do they really earn – and are they worth it? If you look at the hourly rates charged by the top law firms, it appears that clients might be well advised to keep the phone calls to a minimum. Yet the fact remains that an expensive lawyer may save you more than a few bob in the long run. Remember the relieved look on Paul McCartney’s face after he emerged from his divorce hearing – his solicitor, Fiona Shackleton, having saved him upwards of £100m in his settlement with Heather Mills.
The law is a polarised profession. While reforms on fixed fees have hit thousands of legal-aid practitioners beavering away in backstreet offices, partners in City law firms are trousering record profits. There are almost 150,000 practising lawyers in England and Wales – up from 91,000 a decade ago. Last year, the top 100 City law firms employed 46,000 lawyers, generating £12.25 billion in revenues and £4.2 billion in profit. This year, at least 800 lawyers will earn £1m or more. They remain largely an Oxbridge elite – over 60% of the top players went to either Oxford or Cambridge, and nearly all were privately educated.
The 50 lawyers profiled here are among the most distinguished in their fields. While some partners are on a fixed salary, equity partners are generally remunerated on some form of lock-step system – a firm’s profits are pooled and distributed according to seniority. But increasingly, our firms are adopting the US model known as “eat what you kill” – the more money you bring into a firm, the more of the profit you keep.
Rates of charging vary. For City firms these range from £600 an hour to £1,400 an hour for a partner. Leading barristers have a wider spectrum. Tax silks come out on top. When instructing the best tax silks for a conference that might last up to two hours, requiring an additional four hours’ preparation, fees will start at a minimum of £20,000. According to one instructing solicitor: “They very quickly escalate rewards from there – soon reaching £40,000 or £50,000 for more complex work.” At this level, hourly rates up to £4,000 are routine. So who are the key players – and what do they earn?
Dealmakers
Nigel Boardman, 57, £2.3m
Boardman is the best-known lawyer in the City. As Slaughter and May’s star dealmaker, he fought off Sir Philip Green’s £9 billion bid for M&S, negotiated the £420m financing of Arsenal’s Emirates stadium, and is currently advising BHP‑Billiton on their £70 billion hostile bid for Rio Tinto. He personifies the strong work ethos of the firm. One story tells of the trainee who shared his office getting up to leave at 8pm. As he reached for his coat, Boardman asked, “Are you cold?” He describes his 80-hour-a-week work schedule as “fun”. Boardman is fiercely loyal to his clients, which include 12 FTSE100 companies: “If I act for M&S, I buy my clothes at M&S, if I act for Shell, I stop at Shell petrol stations. I identify with them. I share their misfortunes and their excesses.” He even waves the Arsenal flag at most home games. He sometimes escapes to a holiday home in Aveyron, in the Midi-Pyrénées, near two other Slaughter and May partners. He is a father of six.
David Cheyne, 58, £1.8m
From a military family, Cheyne now commands an army of 2,500 lawyers at Linklaters, where he is senior partner. He was delighted when The Sunday Times put his as the only “magic circle” law firm in the 100 Best Companies to Work For, and believes “change needs to be constant”. This has required “de-equitising” partners to improve the firm’s profitability. “When I joined in 1972, I was not expected to work very hard, and didn’t: I wasn’t paid very much.” His first salary was £950 a year. Things soon changed. Was he noticeably more ambitious and aggressive than his contemporaries? “Yes.” And as a boss? “I am not unduly tolerant of someone who doesn’t learn very, very quickly.”
He has three sons: one in the army, one a hedge-fund manager, one a student. He takes three-week holidays in April and August, and has homes in Henley and Notting Hill. “I shoot and I collect things: antiques, paintings. My wife describes me as an accumulator.”
Alan Paul, 54, £1.6m
Not one of those lawyers who, he says, “has huge self-confidence even when they don’t know what they are doing”. Paul led Allen & Overy’s M&A practice to the top of the 2007 dealmaking tables, advising ABN AMRO on its £49 billion takeover by the Royal Bank of Scotland, which beat Barclays to the prize in the first competitive, hostile bid for a leading bank in the EU. He also advised Reuters on its £8.7 billion acquisition by Thomson.
He strongly believes that team strength is more important than the individual. “You’d be a nutcase to do this job if you didn’t enjoy it: you spend so much of your life working. I believe in balance, although my wife would say it doesn’t show much.”
At 13, he had a trial as a professional footballer. He now spends time watching his three boys and one girl (“all too sensible to be lawyers”) playing sport. He has a house in Roehampton, London, and is looking to buy one in France. He plays golf “badly”.
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Adam Signy, 52, £1.3m
Signy is a private equity and M&A whizz kid at Clifford Chance, the world’s biggest law firm. “By anybody else’s standards, it’s well paid, but by City standards, it’s not that well paid,” he says. From a medical family, he read economics at Sussex and chose law because his sciences “weren’t good enough to be a doctor”.
A self-avowed deal junkie, he starts at 8.30am and leaves at 9.30pm. “If there’s a deal on, I’m up all night.” He believes private-equity firms have had an unfair press: “They turn under-performing companies into more efficient machines.” But he says they don’t always think about the consequences of their actions. Weekends are spent with his family in Suffolk. They have 15 horses. “The only time I really switch off is on horseback — I don’t take my phone.” He goes hunting with his three grown-up children.
Steve Cooke, 49, £2.3m
Pragmatic, smart enough to be arrogant, but isn’t. His Slaughter and May clients: Diageo, BA, Cadbury Schweppes. Hobbies: guitar and piano — used to be in a band. Keen on cricket.
Frances Murphy, 50, £2.3m
First woman corporate head at Slaughter and May. Says she is “tough when necessary”. Likes cricket: often in the corporate rows at the Oval. Takes her 11-year-old to watch Arsenal.
William Underhill, 48, £2.3m
Runs marathons, cycles 10 miles to Slaughter and May from Kew “to help manage the stress”. Seven or eight visits a year to his house in the Costa Brava.
Mike Francies, 51, £1.8m
Great businessman at Weil Gotshal. Drives the US firm’s private-equity practice in London with huge energy. Watford fan: wears team shirt at matches.
Edward Braham, 46, £1.6m
Freshfields private-equity specialist. Cerebral, strategic thinker, in charge of the firm’s corporate business plan and strategy. Lives in the country.
Michael Hatchard, 52, £1.6m
Charming Skadden Arps star who says he works “every hour God gives”. Escapes to Hertfordshire smallholding: country pursuits, restoration of parkland. Rows an antique skiff on the Thames.
Will Lawes, 44, £1.6m
Great in a crisis for Freshfields: advised on Northern Rock. Kiwi — does a great Maori haka. “Has (Nigel) Boardman-like qualities,” says one colleague, and is “a Cliff Richard figure” — young for his age — according to another. Skis: has a chalet in the Alps.
Matthew Middleditch, 49, £1.6m
Linklaters heavyweight. Like many lawyers, he sees his family only at weekends. Dedicated to country pursuits: walking, shooting, horses.
Mark Rawlinson, 50, £1.6m
Self-deprecating, down-to-earth corporate head of the strong Freshfields team. Runs and skis. His wife has just “allowed” him to take up golf.
Tim Emmerson, 53, £1.5m
Recently joined Sullivan & Cromwell, Wall Street firm that tops the global deal tables. Very smart operator. “Being here, we have a good sense of what’s going on in the big banks that the press doesn’t,” he says.
Charlie Jacobs, 41, £1.5m
A future star of Linklaters. Big character. South African. Four children. Coaches mini-rugby and plays tennis, golf and squash.
Family
Fiona Shackleton, 52, £1m
Thanks to her expert handling of the Paul McCartney divorce, Shackleton has arguably become the best-known lawyer in the country. The jug of water poured over her by Heather Mills was a tribute to her skills as a cool operator and tough negotiator. High-profile clients include the Prince of Wales, Prince Andrew, the Aga Khan and Stephen Hawking. Princess Diana, who won a £17m settlement, sent her flowers after the royal divorce as thanks for “being so civilised”. She remains a solicitor for princes William and Harry, and is reported to have been retained by Madonna to handle her rumoured divorce from Guy Ritchie. “People generally choose the lawyers they deserve — that suit their personality and their style,” she says, in a loud voice. Her presence fills the room. Married to Ian, a businessman, they have two daughters: Cordelia, at Oxford, and Lydia, on a gap year in Africa. Teetotal, she lives in Kensington.
Nicholas Mostyn QC, 51, £1.3m
Paul McCartney’s brief — the best in the business. Flamboyant, frenetic, smoker, hunter: “All the things I like are banned by the government.”
Martin Pointer QC, 54, £1.1m
Represented Heather Mills until she decided to go DIY. Known as aggressive and clever. Three children. Leads a quiet life away from the divorce courts.
Lewis Marks QC, 46, £1m
Describes himself as living in “crumbling grandeur in the wilds of Essex”. Enjoys eating, watching cricket and country-and-western music.
Barry Singleton QC, 62, £1m
“A bit of a bruiser,” according to a fellow silk. Less flamboyant than Mostyn. Abrupt but very effective.
Taxmen
Graham Aaronson QC, 63, £3m
“I knew from age four I was going to be a barrister and my brother would be the surgeon: I had one of those mothers. It was a good Jewish family.”
Dora Aaronson was right: Graham became Britain’s leading tax silk, and his brother is a professor of paediatrics.
He finds his earnings embarrassing — “One of my daughters, an educational psychologist, earns £20,000 a year” — but justifies his high fees because “I’m dealing with clients who stand to win or lose very large sums of money, sometimes billions”. Aaronson and his second wife have six children and eight grandchildren between them.
David Goldberg QC, 60, £2.5m
Enjoys: reading, writing letters, working out. Holidays at the Excelsior in Venice Lido.
John Gardiner QC, 62, £3m
First choice of barrister for many City lawyers; described as less arrogant than some. Acquired the 11-bedroom Château de Garibondy, outside Cannes, from Raine Spencer. His passion is restoring it.
Steve Edge, 57, £2.3m
Big personality at Slaughter and May. Best tax solicitor in London. GE and Shell among clients.
David Milne QC, 62, £2m
Old Harrovian. Vat specialist. Mad on rugby. Member of the Garrick and Hurlingham clubs.
Yash Rupal, 44, £1.8m
Linklaters global tax head: works seven days a week when necessary. A cricket fanatic — supports India.
Patrick Mears, 50, £1.6m
Tax guru at Allen & Overy. Many US clients. Keen on golf. Supporter of the National Theatre.
David Taylor, 48, £1.6m
A star at Freshfields. Clients love him. Has busy family weekends with his four children. Plays tennis.
Jonathan Elman, 50, £1.3m
Clifford Chance’s key taxman. Married to an Aussie. Holidays in Australia. Owns three horses.
Mark Baldwin, 45, £1m
Left Freshfields to join Macfarlanes 10 years ago. “I escape to my wife, three children and the garden.”
Litigators
Jonathan Sumption QC, 59, £2.7m
Sumption speaks with the immaculate prose one might expect from someone labelled “the cleverest man in England”. Eton scholar, Oxford don, respected medieval historian, author, Royal Academy of Music governor, joint head of Brick Court Chambers, Sumption is also a brilliant forensic lawyer — as those who watched him in action for the government during the televised Hutton inquiry will confirm.
“Most of my work is in the appellate courts,” he says. “It’s an interesting intellectual exercise debating points of policy with highly intelligent people under ground rules which prevent you from evading the issue as one might over a dinner table.”
On the day of England’s 1990 World Cup semifinal against Germany, a colleague inquired where he was watching the game. “What game?” he asked. “The World Cup semifinal,” came the reply. “What World Cup?” asked Sumption.
He has a house overlooking Greenwich Park and last year successfully challenged his neighbour in court over the building of a wall. He has a son and two daughters and spends the summer in his house near Bordeaux, where he gets up at 5am to write. Volume three of his history of the Hundred Years War comes out in April next year.
Laurence Rabinowitz QC, 48, £2.4m
The son of a South African lawyer, Rabinowitz was a Rhodes scholar at Oxford. “The commercial Bar is full of tremendous talent,” he says. “I’ve been lucky to be led by some of the best.”
The quiet and modest star of One Essex Court — where 100 applicants chase each pupillage — Rabinowitz is fast assuming the mantle of the great Lord (Tony) Grabiner.
He loves the Bar: “You can achieve all your ambitions — for those interested in appearing in the spotlight or in working behind the scenes and plotting things as in a game of chess. Nobody survives in this job if they are not personable.”
He emphasises teamwork: “Litigation is like football: the QC is the centre forward, there to deliver the goals. You’re absolutely reliant on people delivering you the opportunities to do it.”
Leaving work by 6.30pm, he keeps one day free at weekends. A Manchester United season-ticket holder, he visits Old Trafford “far too regularly” — taking his children (13, 15, 16) in turn. Meeting Sir Alex Ferguson (during the Equitable Life case) was “a great thrill”. He walks his miniature schnauzer on Hampstead Heath.
David Pannick QC, 52, £2.2m
A strong contender for the finest legal mind in the country, Pannick is an outstanding advocate in an outstanding chambers: Blackstone. Equally at home in the House of Lords, Strasbourg or Luxembourg, he dominates the fields of public law and human rights, and is also a star sports-law performer. His first case, in 1981, was the UK appeal of a death sentence from Singapore: his client was hanged. “A monstrous injustice,” he says. “The English legal profession used to think [human rights] principles were already recognised by the genius of the common law. We British had it without the need to write it down. But as the European Convention and Human Rights Act show, there are circumstances where you need to have the check list.”
He does cases that are “interesting or lucrative, or both — if I’m lucky” and confesses to “often representing clients I don’t like”. He advised Princess Diana, whom he admired, Tiny Rowland and Robert Maxwell. He starts at 8.30, leaves at 5.30, then works at home after putting his two young children (one and three) to bed. He has three grown-up children as well — doctor, solicitor, student — and takes four holidays a year.
Lord Grabiner QC, 63, £2.7m
Doyen of the commercial Bar. Past clients: Robert Maxwell, Rupert Murdoch. Labour peer. Advises Sir Philip Green, whom he describes as being “even cleverer than Sumption”.
Iain Milligan QC, 58, £2.2m
Old Etonian with a stellar reputation. Chambers head at 20 Essex Street. Enjoys farming, forestry, walking. Has an estate near Dumfries. Supports the Solway Sinfonia.
Anthony Boswood QC, 60, £2m
St Paul’s; Oxford. Immense brain and equally big personality endear him to his clients. Passions: opera, riding, gardening, olive farming. He has a house in Hampshire and a villa in Tuscany
Michael Brindle QC, 56, £2m
Westminster School; first from Oxford. Specialises in banking and financial services. In chambers with Boswood: Fountain Court. Recreations include classical music, travel, bridge.
Ian Glick QC, 59, £2m
Family man who spends his time with his three sons. Swims to keep fit. Gets away to the in-laws in Florida.
Mark Hapgood QC, 57, £2m
Superb banking silk. Faced Elton John in a case where it was revealed the singer had spent almost £300,000 on flowers in a year. Recreations listed in Who’s Who: running, 16th/17th-century financial documents. Lives in London and Cornwall.
Mark Howard QC, 50, £2m
Top-flight performer at Brick Court. Immensely fit: serious walker, cyclist. Does a lot for charity. Spurs season-ticket holder. Homes: London, Colorado.
Gordon Pollock QC, 64, £2m
Secured the first £3m brief (BCCI case, 2005). “Big, noisy, aggressive — and still bloody good,” according to a colleague. He lives in Northamptonshire, has a motorbike and stays at the Garrick when in town.
Brian Green QC, 51, £1.8m
A first-rate Chancery silk. He has homes in Oxfordshire, Little Venice and Israel. Takes 10 weeks’ holiday a year. Keen on skiing: “I came to it late in life.” Likes opera and hill-walking.
Gabriel Moss QC, 58, £1.8m
Star performer at the finest insolvency set in the country: 3-4 South Square, Gray’s Inn. Expects “a flood of interesting (credit-crunch related) work” in 2008/9. Plays tennis badly.
Charles Flint QC, 57, £1.5m
Great commercial silk. He chaired the committee that found athlete Christine Ohuruogu not guilty of doping. Runs 400-acre family farm in Shropshire. Private pilot: “I’m lucky enough to have my own plane (two-seater Husky) and airstrip on the farm.”
Simon Thorley QC, 58, £1.4m
Intellectual-property star, a true gent and one of the nicest people at the Bar. “I’m a countryman. I was born and bred on a farm.” He still lives on one — near Duxford, Cambridgeshire.
Crime
Clare Montgomery QC, 50, £1.3m
At Millfield, Montgomery shone as a national fencing junior. At Matrix Chambers, she outshines her fellow silk, Cherie Booth (aka Blair), and at the criminal Bar, she outshines the men. From Guinness and Maxwell, through Pinochet and Jean Charles de Menezes, she’s starred in dozens of high-profile cases. She represented Sally Clark when she was cleared of murdering her two sons, and Sion Jenkins when his murder conviction was quashed. Also does significant appellate work and complex civil disputes. She is currently advising BAE in the ongoing corruption investigations.
Montgomery has been “very inspired” by Cherie. “This job exposes you to personal turmoil,” she says. “For women, having children remains a problem.” She took three months’ maternity leave with her two daughters. “As far as solicitors are concerned, you’re not diminished when you have children; you vanish.” She enjoys a quiet family life.
John Kelsey-Fry QC, 52, £1.2m
Brilliant advocate. Racehorse owner, scratch golfer, Chelsea supporter. Smokes Marlboro. A fantastic blackjack player, he was a regular at the Clermont Club. Now spends time with his young twin sons.
Edmund Lawson QC, 60, £1.1m
Clever lawyer, great advocate. Headed the inquiry into alleged thefts and homosexual rape in the royal households. Has a young family.
Ian Burton, 61, £1m
Outstanding criminal solicitor. Smooth, funny, fantastic client manner. A Mancunian, Burton combines northern nous with tremendous instinct and flair. Enjoys family life and good food.
Monty Raphael, 71, £1m
The doyen of criminal lawyers. Involved in most big white-collar-crime cases for the past 40 years. Favourite client: Kevin Maxwell. A living legend.
 

U.S. Supreme Court to rule if police informant acting as gov. agent can let in police to search residence without warrant

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

 

By Thomas Burr The Salt Lake Tribune   10/14/2008

 

WASHINGTON – Salt Lake City attorney Peter Stirba argued before the U.S. Supreme Court on Tuesday that an informant working for the police is a government agent and, when invited into a home, can let in law-enforcement officers even if they don’t have a warrant.
    But several justices appeared wary of waiving search-and-seizure protections under those circumstances when they say police could have obtained a warrant on information they already knew.
    Stirba told the high court – hearing a case arising from a Utah drug bust in 2002 – that police officers sent the confidential informant into the home to buy methamphetamine but that they didn’t have probable cause to get a warrant.
    “That is the most astonishing view of probable cause I have heard in this courtroom,” said Justice David Souter, who wondered why the informant’s knowledge about drugs in the home wasn’t enough to justify a warrant.
    The court agreed to hear the case to solve a split between federal circuit courts on whether informants should be treated the same as undercover police officers with regard to waiving Fourth Amendment protections. The case also examines the question of how lower courts deal with officers’ immunity from civil lawsuits.
    In this case, officers with the Central Utah Narcotics Task Force enlisted an informant, himself facing drug charges, to buy meth from an alleged dealer in Fillmore.
 

When the informant signaled officers that the sale was done, the officers entered without a warrant and arrested Afton Callahan.
    Callahan’s attorney, Theodore Metzler Jr., argues his client didn’t consent to the officers’ entry. He also notes the officers had no warrant, no extenuating circumstances and that they should have known they were breaking Callahan’s Fourth Amendment rights.
    Callahan, whose guilty plea was vacated by the Utah Appeals Court, has sued.
    Much of Tuesday’s one-hour argument centered on the civil-immunity question. While another circuit court had ruled that officers could enter a home after a signal from an informant, the Denver-based 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, which covers Utah, had not taken up the issue in 2002 when the bust happened.
    Callahan’s attorney says that shows the officers knew they were engaging in a tactic that was not constitutionally sound and are liable. But attorneys for Cordell Pearson, who heads the Central Utah drug task force, defended the officers’ actions.
    Souter, along with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer, asked attorneys why the officers couldn’t have approached a judge for a warrant when they had information that drugs were in a home.
    Breyer also wondered why, when a home occupant unwittingly invites in an undercover officer, he is “suddenly consenting” to invite in the entire police department.
    “I would think that’s the last thing he would want,” Breyer said.
    Deputy U.S. Solicitor General Malcolm Stewart told the court that extending the doctrine of “consent minus one” to confidential informants will allow law-enforcement officials to use informants to combat drug crimes. That doctrine is most helpful when police don’t have probable cause but can obtain it with the help of informants.
    After the hearing, Metzler said the government’s argument – that by letting an informant into your home, you’re allowing police to enter – is a dangerous standard.
 

The late Justice McAnulty will be honored at portrait dedication Oct. 15 at the Capitol

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

 

 FRANKFORT, Ky., Oct. 8, 2008 - The Supreme Court of Kentucky will honor the late Justice William E. McAnulty Jr. at a portrait dedication ceremony at 2 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 15, in the Supreme Court chambers on the second floor of the Capitol in Frankfort. Former Judge Edwin P. (“Pete”) Karem, chair of the Resolution Committee comprised of attorneys who worked with Justice McAnulty, will present the portrait to the Supreme Court. The portrait will hang in the corridors of the second floor of the Capitol. 

The dedication ceremony will be open to the media and the public. 

Ten reasons you aren’t a millionaire….

Tuesday, October 14th, 2008

 

(We also suggest that one reason might be that you use a high priced legal research source instead of the resonably priced LawReader…”.sames cases, lower price!”)
 

By Jeffrey Strain  aol.com
 

Many people assume they aren’t rich because they don’t earn enough money. If I only earned a little more, I could save and invest better, they say.
The problem with that theory is they were probably making exactly the same argument before their last several raises. Becoming a millionaire has less to do with how much you make, it’s how you treat money in your daily life.
The list of reasons you may not be rich doesn’t end at 10. (Caring what your neighbors think, not being patient, having bad habits, not having goals, not being prepared, trying to make a quick buck, relying on others to handle your money, investing in things you don’t understand, being financially afraid and ignoring your finances.)
Here are 10 more possible reasons you aren’t rich:
 

You care what your car looks like: A car is a means of transportation to get from one place to another, but many people don’t view it that way. Instead, they consider it a reflection of themselves and spend money every two years or so to impress others instead of driving the car for its entire useful life and investing the money saved.
 

You feel entitlement: If you believe you deserve to live a certain lifestyle, have certain things and spend a certain amount before you have earned to live that way, you will have to borrow money. That large chunk of debt will keep you from building wealth.
 

You lack diversification: There is a reason one of the oldest pieces of financial advice is to not keep all your eggs in a single basket. Having a diversified investment portfolio makes it much less likely that wealth will suddenly disappear.
 

You started too late: The magic of compound interest works best over long periods of time. If you find you’re always saying there will be time to save and invest in a couple more years, you’ll wake up one day to find retirement is just around the corner and there is still nothing in your retirement account.
 

You don’t do what you enjoy: While your job doesn’t necessarily need to be your dream job, you need to enjoy it. If you choose a job you don’t like just for the money, you’ll likely spend all that extra cash trying to relieve the stress of doing work you hate.

You don’t like to learn: You may have assumed that once you graduated from college, there was no need to study or learn. That attitude might be enough to get you your first job or keep you employed, but it will never make you rich. A willingness to learn to improve your career and finances are essential if you want to eventually become wealthy.
You buy things you don’t use: Take a look around your house, in the closets, basement, attic and garage and see if there are a lot of things you haven’t used in the past year. If there are, chances are that all those things you purchased were wasted money that could have been used to increase your net worth.
 

You don’t understand value: You buy things for any number of reasons besides the value that the purchase brings to you. This is not limited to those who feel the need to buy the most expensive items, but can also apply to those who always purchase the cheapest goods. Rarely are either the best value, and it’s only when you learn to purchase good value that you have money left over to invest for your future.
 

Your house is too big: When you buy a house that is bigger than you can afford or need, you end up spending extra money on longer debt payments, increased taxes, higher upkeep and more things to fill it. Some people will try to argue that the increased value of the house makes it a good investment, but the truth is that unless you are willing to downgrade your living standards, which most people are not, it will never be a liquid asset or money that you can ever use and enjoy.
 

You fail to take advantage of opportunities: There has probably been more than one occasion where you heard about someone who has made it big and thought to yourself, “I could have thought of that.” There are plenty of opportunities if you have the will and determination to keep your eyes open.