June 2009 Archives

June 30, 2009

Hate a Lawyer Week: Abuse of Power and Process...

There are a couple of lawyers I can't stand, especially this week. Most clients actually like their lawyer, it's "lawyers" as a concept they hate.

The difference? Those who hire lawyers are generally seeking someone to help or protect them. Lawyers in general, however, are often criticized for dirty tricks, making life expensive, or pursuing frivolous cases. Then there's the lawyer who sues at the drop of a hat to prove he has muscle, or compel a result or settlement he or she couldn't otherwise get - forcing someone to honor an expired warranty or take back a product they don't like. We are all happy that hospitals count the sponges before they sew us up, but don't think to thank lawyers for that.

When a lawyer's action is viewed as without merit, it damages the relationship of all of us. Most lawyers I know are sensitive to this, and don't throw around their muscle - they try to work it our, or suck it up, without threats.

Last week I won a motion to dismiss a case against a client. The case was without any merit whatsoever. I spent a large amount of time, money, thought, and energy to this case, trying to bring it to a easy end - at that, it took almost a year to get rid of the case. My client loves me, and hates lawyers in general, as a result. I'm not so happy with the other lawyer either - he's mad at me for calling him disreputable.

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June 24, 2009

Blogs, Useless Information, and Rancho Santa Fe Divorce Lawyers...

As I've written here before, I have several word searches enabled through Google to keep me up to date on legal issues, primarily divorce, family law, and the geographical areas where I practice. Generally, I want any information relating to my area of practice and the two towns where I have offices: Rancho Santa Fe and Escondido.

When I don't recognize some alert Google sends me, I click on the link and go to the web page to which it refers. Some of these alerts merely send me to someone else's blog, which I read to see if it contains anything related to my practice. Sometimes, the blog is virtually unintelligible, for no particular reason. Today, I found the following "post":

"This is an warning of a WordPress page, you could modify this to place aggregation
most yourself or your place so readers undergo where you are reaching from. You
crapper create as some pages same this digit or sub-pages as you same and control
every of your noesis exclusive of WordPress."

WordPress is a site which will host your blog for you. Now I get a lot of these - they sound as though maybe the original was written in English, translated by a computer to Swahili, then converted to Japanese, then a computer translated the result back to English.

If this is "The Information Age," why do I have trouble finding the information part of it, hidden among the crap. Sometimes it's like looking for the needle in the haystack, not knowing for sure that there is a needle in there.

June 17, 2009

Divorce Shouldn't Cost an Arm and a Leg...

Doctor Batista didn't get compensated for the kidney he donated to his wife during the happier days of their marriage: See the disappointment on his face, and read the whole story HERE.

Who cares? I do: It means some judge got it right - always like to see that.

I wonder how much the parties spent over this dumb issue. Do I smell an appeal in the air?

June 15, 2009

Parental Rights as between Parents, Standard of Review....

In a recent court of appeals case, ENRIQUE M. v. ANGELINA V, a San Diego trial judge was affirmed after making a decision choosing which school the child would attend. The father contended that the choice proposed by mother substantially impacted his ability to parent the child, and failure to apply "strict scrutiny" to the choice deprived him of a fundamental right. The court selected the school proposed by mother, the school which many of the child's friends would be attending the following year, as being in the child's best interest.

In a 2000 case [Troxel], the US Supreme Court held that parents have fundamental rights subject to strict scrutiny, when weighed against the rights of grandparents who wanted to exercise visitation. Troxel held the order against the parents must be set aside or limited unless it serves a compelling purpose and is necessary to the accomplishment of that purpose.

In Enrique, our local court of appeal ruled that no such scrutiny is required in deciding between parents. In so doing, they held that the court was not required to make an order that treated the parents equally. Essentially, the best interest of the child controlled, not equality between the parents.

What does this mean in a particular case? No change, in my opinion. Judges have usually look at each custody or visitation case as unique, and try to decide what they think is in the best interest of the children. One parent will think the judge is biased or stupid, and the other thinks he or she is brilliant.

June 15, 2009

Rancho Santa Fe, Divorce, and Google: Too Much Information....

Yesterday, I was responding to an e-mail from a friend I lost touch with many decades ago - she had written for guidance with respect to a couple of attorneys to whom she had been referred for a civil matter in San Diego, although she now lives out of state.  In the process of catching up, I was telling her my typical Sunday a.m. was to watch hours of the morning news shows, and trying to devour the NY Times Sunday edition.

Her response was that she didn't watch the shows because they gave her too much depressing information.  There really is almost too much information available to us because of the explosion of media, including the Internet, and we must question whether we really need or even want it all.

I have an office in Rancho Santa Fe, practice family law [including divorce], and serve on a public advisory body for planning and zoning centered around that community.  So, I have a daily Google search to send me any information relating to RSF and Divorce, in particular.  Google allows us to set up such searches to run at regular intervals [even hourly], so we don't miss anything.  I suppose if I were a quilter in Carlsbad, I could find out any news stories or blogs relating to "Carlsbad and quilts" so that I might learn of a new quilting store or gallery in the neighborhood.

It's amazing how many stories hit each day with my search.  The cryptic blurb I get from Google is to entice me to link to the underlying story.  What I normally receive is...

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