Will Football Litigation Change How The Game Is Played?

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NFL Litigation May Forever Change Football, by Nick Farr, Abnormal Use Blog

http://abnormaluse.com/2013/08/nfl-litigation-may-ruin-football.html

If you are a football fan, you have probably heard about the concussion/brain injury litigation against the NFL. The litigation has been going on for quite some time and seems to be growing with every passing week. We here at Abnormal Use first wrote about it way, way back in 2011. Two years later, there appears to be no end in sight. While we have no idea when the litigation will end, we have a pretty good idea of how it might do so. More than likely, the numerous current and former player plaintiffs will find themselves the recipients of a hefty settlement. But the financial and legal ramifications of this suit should be the least of the NFL’s concern. We here at Abnormal Use fear that this litigation may put a nail in the coffin of football as we know it. . . .

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Clients – Don’t Wipe That Cell Phone!

Appeals Court Upholds Terminating Sanctions For Wipe of Cell Phone, by Doug Austin, eDiscovery Case Law

http://bit.ly/1K5mzxO

In Woodell v. Bernstein, et. al., No. 14-2836 (Cal. App., Dec. 30, 2015), the California Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment of the trial court, which imposed terminating sanctions against the plaintiff for spoliation of evidence and dismissed his lawsuit with prejudice after the plaintiff had wiped his cell phone, which was key to the case. . . .

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If You Sign A Waiver To Play Sports, Have You Agreed To Assume The Risk If You Get Hurt?

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Judge Gibbons Grants Summary Judgment Based on Waiver Form and Assumption of Risk in Football Injury Case, by Daniel E. Cummins, Tort Talk

http://www.torttalk.com/2016/02/judge-gibbons-grants-summary-judgment.html

With the Super Bowl on the horizon comes the case of first impression of Feleccia v. Lackawanna Coll., No. 12-CV-1960, 2016 WL 409711 (C.P. Lacka. Co. Feb. 2, 2016 Gibbons, J.), in which Judge James A. Gibbons of the Lackawanna County Court of Common Pleas was faced with the issue whether two junior college students who were injured at a preseason football practice were barred from recovering against the college because both signed waivers of liability prior to their injuries. . . .

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2015 USSC Guidelines Manual and Proposed Amendments for 2016.

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2015 USSC Guidelines Manual, United States Sentencing Commission

http://www.ussc.gov/guidelines-manual/amendments-guidelines-manual

These rules became effective November 1, 2015.

Find the Proposed 2016 Amendments here:http://www.ussc.gov/guidelines-manual/amendments-guidelines-manual.

New Brain Candy from Sabrina I. Pacifici. Yum!

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Competitive Intelligence – A Selective Resource Guide, by Sabrina I. Pacifici, LLRX.com

http://www.llrx.com/features/ciguide.htm

Ms. Pacifici regularly updates her Selective Resource.  Here is her latest offering, published December 18, 2015. -CCE

“How To” for Evernote Tags.

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Organize Evernote with This Powerful Tagging System, by Herbert Lui, LifeHacker Blog

http://tinyurl.com/ksu6dbq

Although I knew about Evernote, I had not taken the time to use it consistently. Now that I use it more frequently, I want to become more proficient. Using Tags is only scratching the surface, but it is a good place to start. -CCE

Evernote can be a great digital mind, but—like the brain in your head—it can quickly become a mess if you don’t keep it organized. Make Evernote better by using this simple tagging system, which uses just five notebooks and sets of organized tags. . . .

Law Offices Targeted By Hackers.

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The Lawyers’ Guide to Hacking Threats, by Karen Conroy, Lawyerist.com

http://bit.ly/1POLdz2

International security authorities spent close to two years pursuing a criminal site called Darkode, where hackers could buy and sell malware meant to steal information. On the international site, which could only be accessed with a referral and a password, hackers advertised and sold their homemade software. Criminals who bought it could steal anything from Facebook follower lists to database account passwords.

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Law firms are especially tempting to cyber criminals because of the value of the sensitive information stored on their networks. A majority of law firms have experienced some sort of hacking, with law firms that handle government contracts and international business being targeted most often. About 80% of the largest 100 law firms have experienced some sort of violation. . . .

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Legal Alerts – An Indispensable Tool for Anyone Who Uses OSCN.

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In a recent post, I talk about an update to OSCN, Oklahoma’s website to access Oklahoma appellate and district case law. I recently learned about another tool, Legal Alerts, that performs an extremely valuable service. If you subscribe to Westlaw or Lexis, you may already have this feature.

Not all firms subscribe to Lexis or Westlaw, however. The price of both can be prohibitive for some smaller and solo firms. If you practice in Oklahoma, I strongly urge you to investigate Legal Alerts.

There are various ways to use Legal Alerts. Here is an example.  Have you ever had a case where opposing counsel simply “forgot” to mail you a copy of a document they filed with the court. With Legal Alert, you are notified by email every time any case within OSCN is filed in which your client has been named. You will learn of filed pleadings, orders, or other documents filed in the case before the copy has arrived in the mail.

The web site does a better job of explaining all of its components better than I can. As fair disclosure, Shawn Roberts, the co-founder of Legal Alerts, is also the managing partner of the firm where I work. Feel free to contact Shawn Roberts with your questions. -CCE

http://legalizedsoftware.com/2011/08/09/480/

Legalized Software, LLC, the creator of ‘Legal Alerts’ announces an expansion of its existing service to include ‘Name Search.’ Name Search will expand our audience beyond lawyers to include journalists and other professionals that track court cases based on particular persons or businesses. Name Search allows for our clients to track new case filings that involve a particular persons or businesses by name. Legal Alerts monitors cases on the Oklahoma State Courts Network (OSCN) and emails case updates to subscribers.

‘The capability of receiving automatic updates from the Oklahoma State Courts Network about individuals or businesses in your inbox has been a highly requested feature and a great addition to our offering’ Says Co-founder Shawn Roberts. Adding to its already formidable feature set, Legal Alerts users can now track people or businesses by name. Simply enter a name and receive an email update when a new case is filed with that person or business. Read more about Name Search at http://legalizedsoftware.com.

Legal Alerts is a monthly subscription service with plans to fit the needs of any size law practice with plans starting at $10.00 a month. The Name Search feature is available immediately for current Legal Alerts subscribers at no additional charge. . . .

 

Witness Preparation for Depositions. How to Say Enough But Not Too Much.

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Witness, Don’t Teach” (in Deposition), by Dr. Ken Broda-Bahm, Persuasive Litigator™

http://bit.ly/1SXtKtl

One common piece of advice given to fact witnesses during deposition preparation meetings is that it isn’t their role to instruct opposing counsel on everything they ought to know:  ‘Witness, Don’t Teach.’ . . .

Earlier this week, I was working with an anesthesiologist who simply could not deaden his impulse to take each question as an invitation to explain, expand, and expound. Applying our advice to ‘just answer the question and stop’ proved difficult once he got into the expository groove of his typical conversation style with colleagues, patients, and family members. That habit is one worth breaking, even if it takes some extra work and focus. . . . To aid in the continuing effort to convince witnesses to take off their teacher’s hats during the deposition, this post shares five reasons why that’s a good idea. . . .

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Wise Advice on Drafting Definitions and Instructions in Discovery.

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Drafting & Using Effective Definitions for Interrogatories (And Other Ways To Make It Much Less Defensible To Object), by Prof. Denis Stearns, Seattle University School of Law, Of Counsel, Marler Clark, LLP, PS

https://www.regonline.com/custImages/260000/269600/CLEPresentation102111DraftingDefinitions-Stearns.pdf

Probably one of the best and most logical explanations on how and when to include Instructions or Definitions in your discovery requests and how to deal with boilerplate objections. Good advice and tips for even the most experienced litigator. -CCE

Less Stress and More Clients? What’s Not To Like?

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Toward a Less Stressful Workplace (and More Clients), by Jim Calloway, Jim Calloway’s Law Practice Tips Blog

http://www.lawpracticetipsblog.com/2016/01/a-less-stressful-workplace.html

Toward a Less Stressful Workplace is my column in the January/February 2015 issue of Law Practice Magazine. Law offices often deal with very high stakes matters under strict time deadlines. It is not news to those in the legal profession that there is a lot of stress associated with being a lawyer. So there may be nothing earth-shattering for you in these tips. But it is the beginning of a new year and aiming for less stress in your life and the lives of your coworkers has to be a good thing. So read and feel free to share. . . .

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9th Circuit Overturns Sealed Order Hiding Chrysler Defect – Not Something You See Every Day.

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Same Story, New Ending: Court Overturns Order Sealing Chrysler Defect, by Jennifer Bennett, Public Justice Blog

http://bit.ly/1TSR0ab

It’s the same story, over and over again: Corporation conceals deadly defect. Someone dies, and their family sues. Corporation settles quietly. Court records are sealed. Nobody finds out. More people are hurt; more people sue; more settlements are reached; more records are sealed. Lather, rinse, repeat.

This is how GM was able to hide an ignition switch defect that killed over a hundred people for more than a decade. It’s how Remington concealed evidence that its most popular rifle can fire without anyone pulling the trigger. . . .

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Gender Discrimination During Deposition Earns Judge’s Benchslap.

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Lawyer Receives Stern Benchslap And Amazing Sanction For Sexist Deposition Comment, by Staci Zaretsky, Above The Law Blog 

http://bit.ly/1RNcs34

As we’ve thoroughly documented in these pages, women who practice law are often subjected to demeaning and degrading comments from their male colleagues, for no other reason than because they’re women. One federal judge had finally had enough of this type of disrespectful behavior, so he took a lawyer to task for making a sexist remark during a deposition. . . .

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So What’s Going To Happen to Puerto Rico?

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Argument Analysis: Puerto Rico — Special No More?, by Lyle Denniston, SCOTUS Blog

http://bit.ly/1n4vFAC

It doesn’t happen often, but there are times when the very last words spoken by a lawyer during a Supreme Court argument sum up very clearly what the whole hour has been about.  That happened on Wednesday, when a lawyer’s closing, plaintive comment was: ‘Please do not take the constitution of Puerto Rico away from the people of Puerto Rico.’

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That prospect was entirely opposite of what the current government leaders of Puerto Rico had sought in taking their case to the Supreme Court.  They wanted a declaration that, at least up to a point, Puerto Rico was entitled to the dignity of ‘sovereignty.’

Part of the problem in achieving ‘sovereignty,’ it appeared, is that the Court was not exactly sure what that word means. . . .  ‘

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OSCN Adds Nine More Oklahoma Counties.

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OSCN Kicks off the New Year with Nine more District Courts added to its Case Search, OSCN (Oklahoma Supreme Court Network)

http://bit.ly/1n0FZJP

OSCN has been around a while. Oklahoma actually has two websites and, between the two, you can access every county in the state. The second website, ODCR, is useful, but not as sophisticated as OSCN. Both websites allow you to look up cases by county, name, or case number. OSCN allows free access to the hyperlinks that give you access to filed documents. ODCR charges a monthly fee for that access.

The larger counties are found on OSCN. With some exceptions, you can access everything that has been filed in the case in a relatively short time after it was filed. ODCR can be a bit slower to post filed documents.

Happily nine more county district courts have moved to OSCN, which is discussed more fully in this post. OSCN provides more than a method to access a court case’s docket and the documents filed in the case. It is also a great resource for Oklahoma case law, statutes, Attorney General opinions, and more. A very handy tool. -CCE

On January 7, 2016, the Oklahoma Supreme Court added nine additional district courts to its online case search. With this addition, visitors to the OSCN website now have the capability to search public records in 34 district courts and in the Appellate Court. This free service provides the public a convenient way to search for court records by case number, name, date of birth, and other identifiers. Search results are fast, and case information is available almost immediately after being processed by the court clerk’s office. In addition to online case information, site visitors may view court-related documents online; however, documents availability will vary by district court. . . .

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More Ways To Use The Versatility of Evernote.

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How Lawyers Use Evernote, by Tim Baran, Legal Productivity®

http://www.legalproductivity.com/practice-management/evernote-lawyers/

Evernote has so much potential. I have barely scratched the surface. This is a tool I definitely want to use and know more about. -CCE

Evernote is more than a note-taking application. We use it to store ideas, recordings, projects, tasks, images…The list is as comprehensive as we want it to be. Evernote allows us to offload our brain and organize our lives.

And how do lawyers use Evernote? I asked a few Evernote-loving lawyers. Here are their stories.

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Employer’s Motion for Preliminary Injunction is Denied in Non-Compete Agreement Case.

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Dissecting an Injunction Hearing for Enforcing a Non-Compete Agreement, by Jason Shinn, Michigan Employment Law Advisor

http://bit.ly/1OJ90Wo

In non-compete lawsuits, whether a preliminary injunction should be issued is a critical battle that in large part determines the direction of the lawsuit. For this reason, a recent decision denying a former employer’s motion for injunctive relief in a non-compete enforcement action provides critical insight for companies and individuals. . . .

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FDA Finally Issues Stronger Requirements for Transvaginal Mesh.

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The FDA Is Doing Too Little, Too Late About Transvaginal Mesh, by Max Kennerly, Esq.,  Litigation and Law Blog

http://bit.ly/1TBQ4qN

I’ve written about transvaginal mesh so many times I feel like a broken record. But it’s still an issue affecting tens of thousands of families and will continue to be an issue as long as that infernal implant keeps being sold and the manufacturers keep refusing to do right by the families that have already been hurt by them. . . .

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“How To” On Post-Judgment Collection.

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Collecting An Oklahoma Judgment –> Visualized, by Shawn J. Roberts Blog

http://www.shawnjroberts.com/how-is-a-judgment-collected/

So you win the case and are awarded damages, attorney fees, and costs  – yeah! So when do you get your check? No one appeals, so you think the case is over, right? Wrong.

You have a judgment against the other side but, for whatever reason, they won’t pay. It’s time to execute that judgment, but what do you do? This is how you do it in Oklahoma – in graphics. -CCE

Have you ever wondered how an Oklahoma court judgment is turned into cash?

Good question. As most people know, the judgment is only one step in the collection process. Rarely does a person owing a judgment simply right a check to pay it off.

This is where the collection process kicks in. . . .

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2016 Tech Resolutions.

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7 Technology Resolutions for a Better 2016, by Ian Paul, PC World

http://bit.ly/1R6wrcE

You may be ahead of the tech curve – maybe not. My bet is that you already have a smart phone and you probably have an iPad or some type of tablet reader. What about the rest of the things on this list? You have not want more than the tech you already have, but here’s some food for thought that scrapes the top of the tech iceberg. -CCE

Are You Guilty of Using Any of These Overly Used Words?

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51 Over-Used Adverbs, Nouns, and Clichés in Writing, by Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen, Blossom Blog

http://theadventurouswriter.com/blogwriting/51-over-used-adverbs-nouns-and-cliches-in-writing/

This post is like preaching to the choir. I found several words that I often use on this list. Time for a New Year’s Resolution! Remove these words from our writing and vocabulary. -CCE

Do you want your writing to get noticed – in a good way? Ditch these over-used adverbs, nouns, and cliches when writing articles, stories, and books.

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I promised a reader in the comments section of 5 Over-Used Words and Phrases for Writers to Avoid that I’d write this post . . . and here it finally is . . . better late than never. What’s that you say? The cliché ‘better late than never’ is over-used and boring, and belongs on my “over-used words and phrases in writing” list? If you caught that, you get a gold star! (jeez, there I go again with the tired clichés).

Ditch these boring words and phrases! Stop using amorphous adverbs and namby-pamby nouns! Delete crummy clichés!

And, here are 51 over-used words and phrases in writing – which I hope helps you become a more successful, confident writer. Compiling this list has certainly opened my eyes to my own weak writing habits…

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The IRS’ Offer-In-Compromise Program.

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The Truth About the IRS Offer in Compromise Program, by Dale Cazes, The Law In Plain English by Dale B. Cazes Blog

http://dalebcazes.com/?p=155

If the IRS swoops down, my knee-jerk reaction would be to beg mercy and hope to resolve it quickly. However, the IRS’ approach is likely to be that it has the upper hand, and will act like it. Your best bet is to have a knowledgeable advocate in your corner. -CCE

If you are experiencing IRS tax troubles, be wary about the companies you see on television and radio claiming that they can settle your tax debts owed to the IRS for ‘pennies on the dollar.’ The settlement program these companies are speaking about is known as an Offer in Compromise (OIC), and despite what these companies say, the reality is that the IRS rejects more OICs than it accepts. . . .

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Chief Justice Urges Judges To Impose More Management Over Their Cases.

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Chief Justice Wants Less Gamesmanship By Lawyers, by Lyle Denniston, SCOTUSblog

http://bit.ly/1JkhNf7

Justice Roberts’ words apply to state courts as well. Ignoring client’s cases, unnecessary and burdensome discovery disputes, and repeated continuances do nothing to endear the legal profession to their clients or the public. -CCE

Speaking in soft but plain words, Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., used his year-end report on Thursday night to urge lawyers who practice in federal courts to take steps to help improve the efficiency, and reduce the cost, of trying cases.  Roberts also added some strong encouragement for judges who preside over federal civil trials to take greater control of the management of cases, rather than leaving the process to the tactics of the competing lawyers. . . .

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Observations On Gerry Spence’s Witness Examination Technique.

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Gerry Spence Witness Examination Excerpts, by Paul Luvera, Plaintiff Trial Lawyer Tips

http://plaintifftriallawyertips.com/gerry-spence-witness-examination-excerpts

In 1985, a man was shot dead on a rural road in Lincoln County, Ore. A teenage boy and his mother were indicted for the crime. Gerry Spence took on both cases for the defense pro bono and faced off against a young prosecutor named Joshua Marquis in the juvenile’s trial; the attorneys did not take a shine to each other. So contentious was the trial that they both ended up before the Oregon State Bar. A special report in the bar matter described their relationship as ‘reveal[ing] a degree of hostility and vituperation unique in our experience.’ The bar charges were dismissed, but the animosity remained. Spence wrote a book about the Oregon trials The Smoking Gun.

I was at the courthouse in Portland during a day or two of this trial. I was able to spend some time with Gerry and his partner during recess. He did an amazing job of obtaining an acquittal for his client. I have part of the transcript of that trial. I recently re-read Gerry’s examination of the polygraph operator from that trial. Gerry’s position was the accuser, wife of the deceased, was actually the one who accidentally shot her own husband and then blamed his client who was a neighbor.  He called the polygraph operator to show the accuser had failed the polygraph test. I’m setting out a few illustrations from that transcript for your consideration.

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Preparing Your Oral Argument – This is How You Do It.

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 How to Prepare for Oral Argument, by Sam Glover, Lawyerist Blog

https://lawyerist.com/40693/how-to-prepare-for-oral-argument/

Oral argument is one of the most exciting parts of litigation, and only a few lawyers are really good at it. But even if you aren’t a naturally talented presenter, you can still improve. The important thing is to get away from your outline and use a more ‘modular’ approach to oral argument.

Many lawyers — especially those new to law practice — prepare for oral argument the same way, by creating an outline and rehearsing as they would for a speech. They may prepare for questions by talking through the issues with a colleague, but this does not usually result in effective oral argument. What it does result in is a stiff argument, awkward recovery after answering questions, and an ineffective presentation overall.

That’s because oral argument is so much more dynamic than an outline — even if you have a ‘cold’ bench. In order to prepare for dynamic argument, you need a more dynamic approach than an outline and a few run-throughs. . . .

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