Posts Tagged ‘Idaho’

“Wetzel Law Firm: Retract ‘Weasel’ or Else”

“Threatened with a potential defamation suit, two individuals have apparently retracted their claimed characterization of a Spokane, Wash.-area law firm formerly known as ‘Wetzel & Wetzel’ as ‘Weasel & Weasel.'” Jim MacDonald, president of the Bayview, Idaho Chamber of Commerce, “read a letter of contrition” at the chamber’s regular monthly meeting “as demanded” by the offended lawyers. Does this mean we’re going to get in trouble with our earlier references to Cruel & Boring, We’ll Getcha & Mangle Ya, Huge Cupboards of Greed, etc.? (Martha Neil, ABA Journal, Oct. 25; Herb Huseland, “Bayview News: Law firm claims slander”, Spokane Statesman-Review, Oct. 25).

P.S. Australian lawyer Stumbling Tumblr adds, “there’s no indication in the story whether weasels had also threatened proceedings”.

Government pays for prosecutions

In two cases in the last few months, federal judges have ordered the government to pay the defense costs of failed health care fraud prosecutions.

In Nevada, Judge Robert C. Jones awarded about $300,000, about 30% of the defense costs, to an Idaho doctor, finding that the losing case was frivolous because, the American Medical News reports, the government’s experts contradicted other experts in the case. (There is presumably more to the story than this, as the same is true in nearly every criminal trial involving expert testimony.) Half the claims were dismissed before trial, and the others were adjudged not guilty by a jury. The government has appealed. (Amy Lynn Sorrel, “Judge rules criminal fraud case against Idaho doctor is frivolous”, Aug. 20) (h/t P.N.).

And, in Texas, Judge Lynn Hughes awarded $391,000 to an Oklahoma attorney to cover part of his defense costs after being wrongly prosecuted on 54 counts of health insurance fraud. The court criticized prosecutors for misleading the grand jury and a “reckless disregard for the truth.” Again, the government will appeal. (AP/Tulsa World, “U.S. ordered to pay OKC attorney”, Aug. 13).

Depends on what the meaning of justice is

It takes a hard person to pick on the family of a dead child — but that’s why I’m here. In 2001, Tegan Rees, a 2-year old boy living in Idaho, was beaten to death by his mother’s fiance. The boy’s father had previously reported to Idado child welfare authorities that he saw bruises when he picked up his son from his ex-wife, but when they investigated, they decided it wasn’t abuse. That was just a few weeks before the boy was murdered. So, naturally, he sued the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare for $1 million.

Last week, the jury ruled 10-2 in favor of the state agency (AP, Mar. 11). The grandmother’s reaction?

“I’m just sickened,” Christie Rees told the Post Register. “I’m embarrassed that I live in Idaho. I thought finally Tegan would get justice.”

Justice? Keep in mind that the person who actually killed the boy was convicted of first degree murder, and sentenced to 22 years to life in prison.

I guess sometimes it really is about the money.

Airport wouldn’t land his personal jet

From “Decision of the Day: A daily summary of the best (and worst) of federal appellate decisions” (Jul. 3):

Money Can’t Buy Love, Or Permission to Land Your Personal Jet
Tutor-Saliba Corp. v. Hailey, 04-34524 [PDF](9th Cir., July 3, 2006)

Poor Ron Tutor. All he wanted to do is land his personal jet at an airport in Hailey, Idaho. The airport wouldn’t let him due to weight restrictions, so he was forced to fly in a less comfortable private jet. As a result, Tutor’s vacation at his Sun Valley home got off to a very bad start. Tutor sued the airport and the City of Hailey on various grounds, including under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 for allegedly violating his rights to due process, equal protection, and interstate travel. The district court predictably found these claims were frivolous and awarded partial fees to the defendants, totaling $88,000 (in addition to costs of around $70,000). On appeal, the Ninth affirms the decision to award fees but remands to the district court for recalculation. Am I the only one who hopes the district court finds a way to increase the fee award on remand?

“Decision of the Day”, incidentally, was launched by “Robert Loblaw” in October, and can be found here.

P.S.: In email, Prof. Childs advises that site author “Robert Loblaw” quite possibly may have borrowed that screen name from a similarly named lawyer-character on “Arrested Development”, who can be viewed here.

Watch what you tell your hairdresser, cont’d

The official recruitment of cosmetologists as informants (and as intermediaries steering customers to approved “domestic-violence” programs) continues, with programs reported in Florida, Idaho, Oklahoma, Virginia, Ohio and Maine, as well as Nevada and Connecticut (see Mar. 16 and Mar. 29, 2000). It’s not just black eyes or lacerations that the salon employees are supposed to be on the lookout for, either. A customer’s protestation that “he would not like that”, as a reason to turn down a new hairstyle, might be a sign of “controlling behavior” that needs watching. (“Salons join effort to stop violence”, Bangor Daily News, Jun. 15) (via van Bakel).

Drunk driver: cops should have stopped me earlier

Chutzpah champion of the Northwest? “Three years after getting drunk, blowing through a stop sign and triggering a wreck that left her passenger critically injured, a former Idaho resident has filed a $1.5 million claim against Washington’s Pend Oreille County for not detaining her before she caused the crash.” Ashlen Lee, 17 at the time of the accident, says in her claim that a county sheriff’s deputy let her off with a warning in the wee hours although he could see she’d been drinking and neither she nor her passenger was wearing a seat belt. (Richard Roesler, “Driver says her accident deputy’s fault”, Spokane Spokesman-Review, Aug. 5).

Florida’s legislature inviting plaintiffs’ lawyers to re-enact Scopes?

Two bad ideas in one: A Florida state House committee voted 6-2 to forward on H-837, a bill some legislators say will give university students a legal cause of action to sue universities and professors who “ridicule” their beliefs.

“Some professors say, ‘Evolution is a fact. I don’t want to hear about Intelligent Design, and if you don’t like it, there’s the door,'” [Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala] said, citing one example when he thought a student should sue.

The bill is expected to pass the Florida House. It’s not quite clear that the bill will have the effect of opening the courtrooms to every crackpot student offended by a professor’s lecture, but it’s not comforting to see the absence of a denial. (James Vanlandingham, “Capitol bill aims to control ‘leftist’ profs”, Independent Florida Alligator, Mar. 23; Joe Follick, “House OKs Student `Free Speech’ Bill”, Lakeland Ledger, Mar. 23; James Vanlandingham, “Pending academic freedom bill comes under fire”, Independent Florida Alligator, Mar. 24).

“Court overturns damages award for van full of mice”

“Boise attorney Gale Merrick, who represented the automaker, said the Supreme Court ruling reinforced the company?s contention that there was no evidence that mice got into the van because of some manufacturing defect. ‘They could have left the windows down or a door open,’ Merrick said.” An Idaho jury had held Honda liable for $10,250 because of the smell of mouse droppings in the vehicle. (Idaho Statesman, Oct. 24; Powers v. American Honda Motor Co.; “Of mice and men: Honda damages are overturned”, AP, Oct. 23; see also Julie Pence, “Mouse tales … Little critters can cause problems in your car”, Twin Falls Times-News Online, Oct. 24 for a story about the problems of mice in cars in the area).