Thursday, July 31, 2003

Same-Sex Entities

Limited Liability Companies (LLC) are increasingly popular vehicles for same sex domestic partners to organize their affairs and protect their respective financial interests, while at the same time conducting a side business. Although gay or lesbian marriages are not legally recognized in many places, Delaware Corporations are given wide acceptance. LLC's can provide a legal framework of rights which approach, but do not duplicate the traditional marital rights. With good planning, a business purpose, and sound legal guidance, an LLC combined with a Will, a Living Will, and a Durable Power of Attorney can accomplish your estate planning goals.

Wednesday, July 30, 2003

I Just Have One Question!

My staff and I hear this every day, all day long. Normal people who have questions about some legal aspect of their life, and want the answer. They don't want to pay for legal advice, they just want the answer to their question. Why should they have to pay for that!? Well the answer is 42.

What some clients don't understand is that in order for me to answer their one question, I must ask and answer dozens more. And even then we may need to review documents and trace the history of the problem. Thus what is initially percieved by the client as being a simple question, is most usually an hour or more of work.

Delaware Almanac : Courts

The News Journal's Almanac re: Courts gives us a nice quick reference guide to the who and where questions of Courts. While the Alamanac as a whole is an excellent resource for general info.

Saturday, July 26, 2003

sundaes and litigation

It's a hot day in Delaware, and an ice cream cone would be an enjoyable treat. The Washington Times is reporting about a George Washington University law professor and a consumer health group that have sent threatening letters to ice cream chains demanding healthier alternatives and more easily available consumer information in an article called Lawyers scream about ice cream.

Thursday, July 24, 2003

Maryland Announces Closing of State

The Onion | Deficit-Wracked Maryland Calls It Quits

Now here's a perfect example of what happens when a State doesn't prop itself up with a well planned, stable, income base. Take a look at Delaware, in contrast. We have government sponsored gambling and liberal corporate formation laws. This helps us to get through the lean years. Too bad our neighbor didn't make arrangements for their economic future.

Anyone want some used State vehicles... cheap?

Wednesday, July 23, 2003

Aren't There At least Two Trial Lawyers Per Trial?

As one thinks past the rhetoric and smirkish "trial lawyer" name calling, we can clearly see that President Bush and his propaganda crew can't logically be opposed to all trial lawyers, it must only be that one-half of them that oppose his clique of oil, insurance, and special interest industries. So, I suppose for him to be honest, he would have to say that his trial lawyers are ok, but not yours. But that level of honesty stretches even his level of school yard posturing.

It is easy to pick a word that many people dislike, and utter it with a distasteful look and a grimace. To do so disingenuously in support of one's own unrelated political agenda is the slimy sort of politics that works against the needs of the people as a whole. (see how I used the words "slimy sort of politics" here with a grimace)

Even litigators should be disappointed with the onset of a trial. A trial means that we have failed to encourage the parties to reach a reasonable resolution to their issues. But trials are there to keep us all honest. They are the constitutional backbone of our rights as citizens. Without the looming pressure of a trial, many folk would not have the incentive to negotiate reasonably.

Sure, there are erroneous trial results. That's why we have courts of appeals. Don't be distracted by the few examples held up on politically motivated banners. But let us work together to improve the judicial system with reforms that really help all of the people, not just the special interest campaign contributors.

Right, Jane?

Friday, July 18, 2003

Herbal Smokes Not Banned

A bunch of the boys were whoopin it up at the Malamute Saloon... or rather, Smyrna's Bulldozer saloon. Apparently they were sitting around drinking beer and smoking herbal cigarettes. And since herbal cigarettes aren't banned by Delaware's indoor no-smoking law, they can keep on doin' it. Kinda paints a different picture of the Smyrna bar scene though, doesn't it?

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

For Sale: 1994 Ford Crown Victoria. +/- 140k loving miles. Factory tow package. 8 cyl. All the extras. Burns oil. Very good condition. $3250.

Sunday, July 13, 2003

cases back up in state courts

It looks as though someone from the Wilmington News Journal has been carefully studying statistics about the court system in Delaware. They've come up with a number of good points, and some excellent quotes from participants in the State's judicial system.

In their article entitled Cases back up in state courts, it's noted that
The number of cases filed in Delaware's state court system increased by 30 percent in the last decade, and the backlog waiting to be tried in some lower courts at the end of each year doubled and tripled.

It's good to get that decade long perspective, to see what changes have taken place. It would be interesting to define some aims or goals to use to measure the effectiveness of the courts over that period of time. A few are mentioned in passing, such as the length of time from arrest to disposition in cases.

There are signs in these numbers that the Courts, and the Public Defender and Attorney General need more personnel. When the State's Chief Justice asks for more people, it's a request worth considering seriously.

Saturday, July 12, 2003

A painful malpractice debate 07/12/03

From the Dodge Globe, finally, a well balanced and thoughtful discussion without the rhetoric: Kinsley: A painful malpractice debate : "The malpractice debate is a war of anecdotes. Both sides want you to feel that life could go awry at any moment."

blaming overtime amendment on trial lawyers?

In an article entitled House OKs rules to revise overtime, we get the following statement:

“The only winners under this amendment are the trial lawyers,” said Rep. Charles Norwood, R-Ga.

I'm trying to figure out exactly how that works...

arrrggh... there be treasure on them beaches

The Wilmington News Journal takes a look at treasure hunting along Delaware's shores, with metal detectors. The article quickly turns into a history of pirates who frequented Delaware's beaches and bay. If you find a local treasure map, you might not want to be too quick to scoff at it.

cache and copyright concerns

Ever use Google to search for information, and click on a link provided only to find the site isn't coming up? Then, returning to Google and clicking on the "cache" link to the site? I have, and it's vey useful.

But, is it ok for Google to have copies of web sites like that? I'm not sure that I want to make the argument for or against. It has helped me in the past.

But, there is a concern being voiced by some people on the web. There's an argument that I've seen a number of people make in web forums. It was only a matter of time before mainstream media took a closer look at Google's cache. Especially since it can provide looks at pages they've archived, to be retrieved for a price.

stocking the law library -- with CDs

The Delaware Law Office is a fan of law books on CD, and has been for years. When you consider how much can actually fit on one of those CDs, it really becomes a decision that doesn't require a great deal of thought.

There is something about having a book in your hands that can't be duplicated by the keyboard and monitor. But it's something that you can learn to do without when you consider the savings in terms of space, and convenience.

Just how large is the law library in your office? has an article that looks at law firms and their libraries: Revolution or Evolution for Law Libraries?

Friday, July 11, 2003

delaware seeks designers

Your help is needed if you are an artist or designer. And the results of your efforts could be seen on roadways in Delaware, and anywhere that a Delawarean might drive.

The State has sent out a call for artists to help design a novelty license plate "to honor Delaware's farmland preservation program."

Entries are due by August 12th. I don't see anything in the announcement that limits participation to Delawareans.
Delaware's gallows have now been dismantled.

international law and bounties

If you've been following along at home, this might sound a little like a rerun of a syndicated tv series. A bounty hunter, trying to bring in fugitives, while being a fugitive himself.

In the case of Duane Lee Chapman (warning, audio clip of "who let the dog out" plays repeatedly), it's the real thing. While capturing Andrew Luster in Mexico recently, he broke that Country's law. It's illegal to be a bounty hunter in Mexico.

This last Monday, instead of appearing in front of a Mexican judge, which is a weekly condition of his bail, Dog Chapman was busy picking up the bounty for the capture of Andrew Luster. The failure to appear now makes him a fugitive.

A Findlaw article on The Perils of Bounty Hunting offer an interesting and informative look at extradition in North America and the difficulties in chasing someone across national borders.

Thursday, July 10, 2003

banned books database

The Norwegian Forum for Freedom of Expression has created an international database of banned books called the Beacon for Freedom of Expression. I was surprised by how many banned books I've read.

Corporate Forms Disc Hits The Streets

DE LAW OFFICE today began offering for sale, a cd of more than 70 sample corporate and general business forms. For $50 plus shipping and handling. E-mail me to order.

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

UNUM Steps In It Again

The United States District Court for the District of Delaware, in Purnell v. Unum C.A. No. 02-160-JJF, held up UNUM at 2nd base as UNUM tried to steal. Veteran pitcher, Selma Hayman, Esquire walked one make-believe doctor and then held the score to 0 - 0. UNUM is building a body of case law on their own, as they strive to cut their insureds from the bench, like so many unsigned free agents. Mark down a win for the little gal.

Sunday, July 06, 2003

delaware justices make the news

On Thursday of last week, former Vice-Chancellor Jack Jacobs was introduced as Justice Jack Jacobs, at an investiture ceremony held that afternoon at the New Castle County Courthouse.

Also on Thursday, his predecessor, Joseph T. Walsh was recognized by Delaware's Governor Ruth Ann Minner with the Order of the First State, the State's highest official governmental honor, for his years of public service.

justice O'Connor likely to return

it's beginning to look likely that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will likely return when the US Supreme Court reconvenes in October. Justice O'Connor indicates she will return to high court.

bursting the beach bubble

Housing and transportation are concerns everywhere. Delaware is such a small state, that it can be interesting watching how development in one part of a state can have an impact upon the whole state.

Sussex County, the southernmost part of Delaware, is going through interesting times. Between its access to the ocean, an evergrowing number of outlet shops, and the growth of a number of towns and developments, it is seeing some serious changes. And it's experiencing some serious growth spurts.

The Wilmington News Journal takes a look at real estate and traffic in the areas near Delaware's beaches and finds some reason for concerns.

Is there a real estate bubble waiting to burst? Are there steps that need to be taken now by the Delaware Department of Transportation to improve the traffic situation?

Friday, July 04, 2003

tv bricks and politics

I'd like a TV brick, a device that you hook up to a tv station and a DSL line, to watch any station in the world.

Right now, the broadcasting of stations outside their "geographical territory." violates copyright agreements. Broadcasters better consider changing those agreements fast. Moving slowly means that they're losing a lot of money.

Thursday, July 03, 2003

recognizing caesar rodney

A ceremony in Downtown Wilmington, Delaware recognized Delaware's revolutionary days hero Caesar Rodney.

While you may be familiar with Caesar Rodney's career as a politician and signer of the Declaration of Independence, his role as a Brigadier General in George Washington's army is less well known.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

artists v critics, round one

The Guardian UK has an amusing look at what they call the second most infamous libel trial of the 19th century. On one side, art and social critic John Ruskin, and on the other side James Whistler.