Tuesday, 30 September 2008

Roth Law Group Picked as Featured Law Firm

Chicago law firm, The Roth Law Group is please to announce its selection as a Featured corporate law firm by the nationally recognized leader in legal news reportage, Breaking Legal News.

As a business law firm, we pride ourselves on our skill and success in the practice areas of business litigation and contract negotiations.

A Roth Law Group corporate attorney (corporate lawyer) can assist you in keeping your small business in compliance with state and federal law and, as a Chicago attorney, he or she will also be able to help you keep current with any city laws and regulations.

The Roth Law Group can also provide you with an experienced contract attorney (contract lawyer) who can guide you through the complicated and often confusing process of contract negotiations.

The Roth Law Group is pleased to be singled out for notice by one of the Internet’s preeminent sources for legal news; an honor of which any Chicago lawyer would be proud.

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

Chatsworth Train Crash Lawyer Jerome Ringler

...Pamela Macek’s lawsuit against the Burlingon Northern and Sante Fe Railway Co. was the first of more than 100 cases stemming from the Placentia crash to go on trial.

See More

Train Wreck Crash Attorney

...The verdict is the first against the entertainment giant since the same jury last month
found the company liable for the crash that killed two people and injured 32 others.

See More

Friday, 19 September 2008

Disastrous So Cal Train Wreck

Metrolink has done it again folks. When are people going to wake-up?

Metrolink worker sued Burlington Northern Santa Fe, saying his alcoholism returned after the fatal 2002 Placentia collision.

A metrolink conductor who said his drinking problems resumed after the Placentia train crash in 2002 will receive $8.5 million to settle his lawsuit against one of the nations largest railroads.

Patrick Phillips of Riverside agreed Tuesday to settle his suit against Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railway Co. The case was set to go to trial next week in Orange County Superior Court.

Phillips, now 52, suffered minor head injuries the morning of April 23, 2002 when a Burlington Northern Freight train crashed into a Metrolink commuter train in Placentia. Three people died and more than 260 were injured in the early morning crash.

Though his injuries were slight, the conductor alleged that the trauma was serious enough to trigger a resurgence of his severe alcoholism, which he said he had controlled since rehabilitation in the early 1990's.

"I have never seen a case like this in 30 years, yet it is indeed what happened here," said Jerome L. Ringler, Phillips' attorney.

"We had extensive medical evaluations by a variety of neurological specialists. All were in accord that his injury, although minor, changed his behavior."

After the train crash, Phillips was hospitalized for evaluation but released about two hours later, Ringler said. In the months after the crash, however, Phillips allegedly resumed his alcohol abuse, resulting in at least two other hospitalizations.

Ringler said his client was finally diagnosed with alcohol-related dementia, a sever mental deficiency.

Phillips, who is now disabled after working 12 years for Metrolink, was unavailable for comment. He is living with a sister in Riverside.

Under terms of the settlement, Phillips will receive $8.5 million, including interest, paid out over 20 years. The amount is worth about $4.5 million in today's dollars.
Officials for Burlington Northern Santa Fe, one of the nations four largest railroads, confirmed the settlement but declined to discuss the case.

Phillips' lawsuit is one of more than 100 Civil cases stemming from the Placentia crash, which federal investigators said was caused by an inattentive Burlington Norther crew that missed a warning signal.

The lawsuits allege the collision could have been prevented by an automatic braking system, long sought by the federal National Transportation Safety Board.
They also contend that the freight train crew was fatigued by overwork and that the Burlington Northern conductor had a history of losing track of signals.

In December, an Orange County jury awarded Pamela Macek, 53, also of Riverside, about $9 million in damages for psychological and physical injuries suffered in the crash. Her case was the first to go to trial.

Friday, 13 June 2008

Roth Law Group named Featured Law Firm by Breaking Legal News

Roth Law Group named Featured Law Firm by Breaking Legal News

The Roth Law Group has been named a Breaking Legal News Featured Law Firm for its outstanding achievements in Business law and contract law in the Chicago area. Below is a little bit about the firm.

About Roth Law:
Business owners know that it takes hard work and dedication to make it in today's competitive marketplace. And choosing a law firm that understands the needs of small business is essential if you want to get a leg-up on the competition. You expect that your law firm will provide you with practical solutions and attentive individualized service. At the Chicago-based business law firm of the Roth Law Group, that's what you get.

At the Roth Law Group, we understand the concerns of small business owners like you and we have experience working in industries ranging from construction to chemical manufacturing. Our lawyers know that you need to remain focused on business and legal issues often detract from this goal. When the Roth Law Group represents you, we concentrate our efforts on resolving matters efficiently and economically and seek to reach the best business outcome in the least amount of time whenever practical. From contract negotiations to commercial litigation, we offer a full-range of business legal services specifically tailored to meet your needs.

If your small business is in the market for business legal services in Cook County or throughout Illinois, contact the Chicago-based Roth Law Group for a Free Initial Consultation. We offer practical solutions to your small business legal challenges at affordable rates.

A Few Representative Matters

Obtained six-figure a settlement on behalf of an Italian-based Manufacturer of wood veneer products in a breach of contract action against U.S. based distributor.

Obtained a judgment in favor of a Commercial Landscaping Contractor involving breach of contract.

Negotiated a nuisance value settlement on behalf of a Multi-Media Company sued for violation of Non-Compete Agreement, thus avoiding business interruption and an injunction.

Successfully prosecuted foreclosure and other actions on behalf of a Colorado-based Mortgage Company.

Monday, 28 April 2008

Young Professionals More Willing to Discuss Salaries

The New York Times refers to frank discussions of salaries on websites like greedyassociates.com as evidence that younger professionals are more willing to discuss pay than their parents.

“For people old enough to remember phone booths, a blunt reference to salary in a social setting still represents the height of bad manners,” the story says. “But for many young professionals, the don’t-ask-don’t-tell etiquette of previous generations seems like a relic.”

Robert Frank, an economics professor at Cornell, told the Times that salary information helps young people who see themselves as free agents move on to another job if they learn they are underpaid in their industry.

Financial columnist Suze Orman says such candor can help professionals fight income disparities. Her call for her hosts on an appearance on “The View” to disclose their salaries went unheeded, however.

Booksellers Challenge Oregon Censorship Law

An Oregon law that prohibits distribution of sexually explicit material to minors interferes with the right to provide materials protected by the First Amendment, Powell's Books, other booksellers and Planned Parenthood claim in Federal Court.

Oregon Statute 167.051 to 167.057, signed into law in July 2007, is "unconstitutionally vague because it fails to provide fair notice as to what constitutes a criminal offense," the complaint states.

The law does not require intent to harm. It makes it a crime to provide sexually explicit material to a child "if the person intentionally furnishes a child, or intentionally permits a child to view, sexually explicit material and the person knows that the material is sexually explicit."

Planned Parenthood claims the law will impair it ability to provide sexual education.

The ACLU and Powell's Books, the country's largest independent book store, are among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Stoel Rives and the New York firm Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal represent the plaintiffs.

Supreme Court Upholds Indiana Voter ID Law

The U.S. Supreme Court has upheld Indiana’s voter ID law against a facial challenge.

The law requires voters to show photo identification before they vote. Challengers had contended the law improperly interferes with the right of poor people and minorities to vote.

Three justices said the evidence did not support a challenge to the law as written, while another three justices said the law imposed minimal burdens on voters, SCOTUSblog reports. The law is thought to pose more harm to Democratic voters, who are more likely to have low incomes, than Republicans.

Justice John Paul Stevens wrote the plurality opinion, the Associated Press reports. He was joined by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. and Anthony M. Kennedy.

The law "is amply justified by the valid interest in protecting 'the integrity and reliability of the electoral process,' " Stevens wrote. His opinion said the evidence does not support a facial attack on the law.

Justices Antonin Scalia, in an opinion joined by Clarence Thomas and Samuel A. Alito Jr., concurred in the result. He said the law's overall burden is minimal and justified.

U.S. Solicitor General Paul Clement had urged the justices in oral arguments to reject the facial challenge to the law and wait for an as-applied challenge by someone who is actually harmed by the requirement for a photo ID.

Stevens' opinion, along with the opinions of three dissenters, leaves the door open to an as-applied challenge, SCOTUSblog says.

Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Giant Law Blog List

Law Firm News

Legal News For The Soul

Celebrities and the Law

Online Legal News & Law Firm in the News

Legal News Blog

Law Firm News, Legal Information and Marketing Blog

Lawfirm Blog

American Legal News

Legal Information Blog

Legal Insight

Legal Tax News

In Depth Legal Marketing Information

Lawyer Marketing and Public Relations

Officers Denied Immunity For Arresting Protester

The 10th Circuit denied immunity to five police officers in Albuquerque, N.M., who allegedly arrested a University of New Mexico faculty member during an antiwar protest, simply because he was part of a "large basket containing a few bad eggs."

The court ruled 2-1 that John Fogarty may proceed with a lawsuit accusing the officers of targeting him without probable cause and using excessive force to arrest him during a March 2003 demonstration against the U.S. war in Iraq.

The protest began on the UNM campus and spread to city sidewalks and streets, with between 500 and 1,000 demonstrators voicing their opposition to the war.

Fogarty and a friend joined a drum circle that was "play(ing) a really nice samba," Fogarty claimed. But police accused the drummers of inciting the crowd and making it more difficult to clear the streets.

Capt. John Gonzales told officers to "remove the drums," a statement some interpreted as a direct order to arrest the drummers, Fogarty included. The plaintiff said he was already off the street when officers pelted him with an unknown projectile and arrested him.

Officers allegedly took the handcuffed Fogarty near an area with lingering tear gas, causing Fogarty to suffer an acute asthma attack. He also claimed to have torn a tendon in his wrist during the ordeal.

The majority refused to dismiss Fogarty's claims, ruling that he had provided enough evidence to survive summary judgment at this stage.

"The Fourth Amendment plainly requires probable cause to arrest Fogarty as an individual, not a member of a large basket containing a few bad eggs," Judge Lucero wrote. "In other words, that Fogarty was a participant in an antiwar protest where some individuals may have broken the law is not enough to justify his arrest."

Can murder victim's statements be used at trial?

Dwayne Giles complains that his former girlfriend's statements should not have been used against him at his murder trial because the woman couldn't be cross-examined.

Her absence wasn't a result of a scheduling conflict. She was dead. And Giles killed her.

Three California courts that have considered Giles' claim have said, in effect, "You must be kidding."

Now, though, the Supreme Court, in arguments scheduled for Tuesday, is hearing Giles' case to see whether the use during his trial of statements the girlfriend made to a Los Angeles police officer violated his constitutional right to confront witnesses against him.

The issue the court has agreed to resolve is when defendants forfeit that right. It is already clear that a defendant who kills someone to prevent him from testifying may not come into court and seek to exclude prior statements by the dead person.

But this case is one in which there were no charges pending against Giles when he shot Brenda Avie dead with a 9-millimeter handgun outside his grandmother's house in September 2002.

A few weeks earlier, Avie told a police officer that Giles assaulted and threatened to kill her. The officer testified about the conversation at Giles' trial, over his lawyer's objection.

Giles claimed he acted in self-defense, fearing that Avie was armed. She wasn't. Giles also testified that Avie behaved erratically and threatened to kill both him and his new girlfriend on the night she died.

Imagining a Public Law Firm’s Earnings Report

Nearly a year after an Australian law firm went public, many in the legal profession are still tittering over whether any American players would follow suit.

By necessity, law firms are fairly tight-lipped about much of the work they do. That would have to change if any were to become a publicly traded company, what with the disclosure requirements and the probing questions of shareholders.

In the midst of earnings season, Above the Law’s David Lat pens a mostly tongue-in-cheek piece for The New York Observer speculating on what a quarterly earnings report by an American firm would look like. (A hint: It wouldn’t say much.)

Mr. Lat, a former corporate lawyer himself, gently jabs the pampered-partners culture of Big Law, which may take a hit as corporate profits slide. Niceties like $160,000 starting salaries for first-year associates, 18 weeks of paid parental leave and Friday Swedish massages, he imagines, would go out the window.

And how would the firm describe secrecy-shrouded practices like mergers and acquisitions work or criminal defense? Perhaps thusly:

The M&A department spent a significant amount of time on several potential transactions for a client in the energy sector that were never consummated. Unfortunately, the firm was unable to bill for most of this time …

The firm cannot provide additional details about this representation, due to client confidentiality rules.

As a point of comparison, consider the semiannual disclosures of Slater & Gordon, the personal injuries firm that now resides on the Australian stock exchange. Its recent annual report (PDF) resembles virtually any other public firm’s, with general income statements and descriptions of its business.

Which is not to say that public law firms would ever fully open their kimonos, much as representatives of another industry tend to play their cards close to the vest. Alternative asset managers — including private equity firm Blackstone Group, buyout- and hedge-fund manager Fortress Investment Group and hedge fund Och-Ziff Capital Management — have been criticized by some analysts and investors as presenting opaque looks into their businesses.

Prostitute murderer accused in court

A former pub landlord accused of murdering five prostitutes has appeared in court for a second day ahead of the start of his trial.

Steve Wright, 49, of Ipswich, Suffolk, denies murdering Gemma Adams, 25, Tania Nicol, 19, Anneli Alderton, 24, Paula Clennell, 24, and Annette Nicholls, 29.

Wearing an open-necked white shirt and a single-breasted black suit, Wright listened intently as the lawyers in the case discussed legal issues for 20 minutes at Ipswich Crown Court.

The jury of 10 men and two women, who were sworn in on Monday, did not attend Tuesday's proceedings.

The prosecution, led by barrister Peter Wright QC, is due to open its case against Wright at 10.30am on Wednesday.

Wright's defence team is headed by Timothy Langdale QC.

The five women were found at remote locations near Ipswich during a 10-day period in December 2006.

Friday, 18 April 2008

Surgeon Could Lose License Over Sex With Patient

SAN DIEGO -- A prominent North County surgeon could be in trouble with the state medical board and learned he could lose his license.

Dr. Dennis Nigro is the subject of a hearing at the state building in which he is accused of having sex with a patient.

Nigro admitted to having a brief affair with a woman in 2003, but said she was no longer in his care during their relationship.

Nigro’s medicare defense attorney, Michael Khouri, said, “The woman does not believe Dr. Nigro was her doctor when the sex occurred.”

“There is documentation required to terminate relationship. It was not done in this case,” said Deputy Attorney General Mary Agnes Matyszewski.

An administrative law judge will issue a proposed decision that will be sent to the state medical board for final disposition.

Nigro’s license could be suspended if discipline is deemed necessary.

On the subject of the "worst five things a doctor can do," Steve Alexander provided the Investigation Team the list of the "worst five" and then commented on each individual item. There were no specific cases or doctors mentioned in the course of this interview. Among the items provided by Mr. Alexander as one of the "worst five things a doctor can do," was a sexual relationship between a doctor and his or her patient. Clearly, in reporting the allegations against Dr. Dennis Nigro there was no intention or effort to tie Alexander’s separate interview specifcally to the Dr. Dennis Nigro case.

Thursday, 17 April 2008

Feds to collect DNA from every person they arrest

The government plans to begin collecting DNA samples from anyone arrested by a federal law enforcement agency - a move intended to prevent violent crime but which also is raising concerns about the privacy of innocent people.

Using authority granted by Congress, the government also plans to collect DNA samples from foreigners who are detained, whether they have been charged or not. The DNA would be collected through a cheek swab, Justice Department spokesman Erik Ablin said Wednesday. That would be a departure from current practice, which limits DNA collection to convicted felons.

Expanding the DNA database, known as CODIS, raises civil liberties questions about the potential for misuse of such personal information, such as family ties and genetic conditions.

Ablin said the DNA collection would be subject to the same privacy laws applied to current DNA sampling. That means none of it would be used for identifying genetic traits, diseases or disorders.

Congress gave the Justice Department the authority to expand DNA collection in two different laws passed in 2005 and 2006.

There are dozens of federal law enforcement agencies, ranging from the FBI to the Library of Congress Police. The federal government estimates it makes about 140,000 arrests each year.

Those who support the expanded collection believe that DNA sampling could get violent criminals off the streets and prevent them from committing more crimes.

A Chicago study in 2005 found that 53 murders and rapes could have been prevented if a DNA sample had been collected upon arrest.

"Many innocent lives could have been saved had the government began this kind of DNA sampling in the 1990s when the technology to do so first became available," Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said. Kyl sponsored the 2005 law that gave the Justice Department this authority.

Thirteen states have passed similar laws.

But the new regulation would mean that the federal government could store DNA samples of people who are not guilty of any crime, said Jesselyn McCurdy, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union.

"Now innocent people's DNA will be put into this huge CODIS database, and it will be very difficult for them to get it out if they are not charged or convicted of a crime," McCurdy said.

If a person is arrested but not convicted, he or she can ask the Justice Department to destroy the sample.

The Homeland Security Department - the federal agency charged with policing immigration - supports the new rule.

Barristers launch action over pay

Barristers who handle criminal cases in England and Wales are beginning protest action over the amount they are paid to represent defendants.

The protest, which is likely to disrupt courts, stems from the freezing of legal aid rates in trials lasting up to 10 days since 1997.

Some barristers are expected to refuse to take new cases or appear in court.

The government has admitted the payment system needs reform, but said overall, defence barristers' pay had gone up.

The Department for Constitutional Affairs has said it accepts some junior barristers do have financial problems.

'Graduated fees'

But ministers are awaiting the findings of a wide-ranging review before making any changes.

Barristers are self-employed and, by law, cannot go on an organized strike.

However, it is thought that many - particularly in the north of England, the Midlands and south Wales - will refuse to take on new work.

Hearings may be postponed and the action could cause serious disruption to courts if it continues.

The government's fixed pay rates, which are known as "graduated fees", were introduced eight years ago and apply to crown court trials lasting up to 10 days.

Refusing work

Hourly rates for the 95% of crown court trials which last up to 10 days have not changed since 1997.

The freezing of legal aid rates has amounted to a reduction of almost a quarter in real terms.

Further cuts, which take effect from Monday, mean that defence QCs (defense Queen's Counsel to you Yanks) and those in longer trials will also receive less money.

Current hourly rates for defending in legal aid cases are £33.50 for a junior, £47 for a leading junior and £62.50 for a QC.

Barristers want the rates to be kept in line with the rate of inflation at the very least.

Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Small Boston Firm Makes a Big IP Play in D.C.

Prominent Boston commercial litigation boutique Hanify & King is making a major play for intellectual property litigation and transactional work with a new Washington office staffed by five attorneys moving from Bingham McCutchen.

Hanify & King, traditionally, focuses on business litigation, bankruptcy work and corporate and real estate transactions, but some of the firm's trial lawyers have also made limited forays into intellectual property litigation.

Besides considerably expanding the firm's intellectual property litigation expertise, the new Washington lawyers add patent prosecution and opinion capabilities to the firm, said president and firm co-founder Jim King.

"We really didn't have the depth and overall capability to go very far in that practice," King said. "That's really the primary motivation behind this change."

The Washington office opened on March 17 with former Bingham partner Ed Pennington, who is now a Hanify & King shareholder. Pennington said four Bingham associates will follow him shortly.

"My client following is sufficient to keep five attorneys busy full time," Pennington said.

King, who will shuttle back and forth from Boston and manage the new office, said he has a number of significant clients in Washington, including venture capital group Paperboy Ventures LLC.

The firm's Boston litigators will also spend more time in Washington, he said.

The Bingham team brings the firm up to 36 attorneys. Hanify & King also hopes to add another couple of intellectual property lawyers by the summer, King said.

Adding intellectual property heft in Boston is also a priority, Pennington said, but the main intellectual property team needs to be in Washington to be close to several key venues: the International Trade Commission; the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, which hears patent and trademark appeals; the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office; and the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, a popular patent lawsuit venue with a so-called "rocket docket," or speedy trial schedule.

"This is probably the most important IP venue in the country," Pennington said. "It would make sense for Hanify & King to have the flagship IP group in D.C."

Legal consultant Marci Krufka, a principal with Altman Weil Inc., wasn't familiar with Hanify & King's expansion, but she said it makes sense for a litigation firm without much intellectual property depth to acquire an IP group or another firm, as long as the types of clients and market sectors mesh.

"It's hard breaking into a new market, period," Krufka said. "If you can start with an ongoing practice that is on the ground in that market and has clients, [it] is always a lot better."

Intellectual property remains a desirable practice area because there's a high demand for knowledgeable practitioners and firms can charge premium rates for the work, Krufka said. "A lot of firms would like to acquire an IP practice," Krufka said.

Pennington, who began his legal career in the early 1980s when intellectual property was, mainly, a boutique practice, was seeking a chance to start an IP group from the ground floor.

Pennington worked at successively larger firms, including stints at New York-headquartered midsize intellectual property firm Morgan & Finnegan and Swidler Berlin, which he joined in 2000 to launch that firm's intellectual property group. Bingham acquired Swidler in February 2006.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Improper Handling of Client Trust Accounts

Managing money is always tricky, especially when it belongs to someone else. That's why, in 2006 alone, more than 20 lawyers found themselves before the State of Michigan Attorney Discipline Board after having grievances filed against them for mismanagement of their clients' funds.

However, in Michigan, there is an infrastructure in place that allows attorneys to insulate themselves from the consequences of accounting errors - both accidental and otherwise.

Specifically, Michigan Rule of Professional Conduct (MRPC) 1.15 provides guidelines for the two types of client accounts: Interest on Lawyers Trust Accounts (IOLTAs) and non-IOLTAs.

The rule defines an IOLTA as "an interest or dividend bearing account" that "shall include only client or third person funds that cannot earn income for the client or third person in excess of the costs incurred to secure such income while the funds are held."

Though interest is earned on this type of account, the client does not receive those proceeds. Instead, the interest is paid to the Michigan Bar Foundation.

Conversely, a non-IOLTA under MRPC 1.15 also earns interests or dividends, however, that "net interest or dividend will be paid to the client."

MRPC 1.15 applies to both pooled and individual client trust accounts. But, because "it is common for a lawyer only to maintain one pooled client trust account," said Professor Lawrence A. Dubin - who teaches Professional Responsibility at the University of Detroit School of Law - IOLTAs, rather than non-IOLTAs, may be easier for attorneys to work with.

However, that doesn't mean that IOLTA administration is without its own pitfalls.

In fact, with penalties ranging from a slap on the wrist to a permanent loss of license, learning the ins and outs of proper client trust management is fast becoming an integral part of effective practice management.

Thursday, 10 April 2008

British High Court: Saudi probe should have continued

The British government's decision to drop a corruption inquiry into a lucrative arms deal between Saudi Arabia and BAE Systems PLC was illegal, two judges ruled Thursday.

The judges did not immediately order the investigation to be reopened, but said they would hear further arguments about the next steps in the case.

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair had taken responsibility for the decision by Britain's Serious Fraud Office, or SFO, in 2006, claiming the investigation threatened national security because of the possibility it would provoke the Saudi government into stopping cooperation on combating terrorism. Blair said the probe also threatened British jobs.

The government's decision was challenged by the Campaign Against Arms Trade and social lobby group Corner House.

The SFO was investigating allegations that BAE — a leading global defense and aerospace company — had a multimillion pound (dollar) "slush fund" offering sweeteners to officials from Saudi Arabia in return for lucrative contracts.

Lord Justice Alan Moses and Justice Jeremy Sullivan said the British government and the Serious Fraud Office were wrong to give in to pressure from Saudi officials to stop in the inquiry or lose contracts for Typhoon fighter jets.

"The claimants succeed on the ground that the director and government failed to recognize that the rule of law requires the decision to discontinue (the investigation) to be reached as an exercise of independent judgment," the judges said.

They said the SFO's director had been required to satisfy the court that everything had been done to resist any threats, but "he has failed to do so."

"No one, whether within this country or outside, is entitled to interfere with the course of our justice."
"It is the failure of government and the defendants to bear that essential principal in mind that justified the intervention of this court."

The pressure groups' lawyer, Dinah Rose, had argued that the government's decision was made on tainted advice that included illegal considerations about commercial matters, notably threats from senior Saudi Arabian officials that BAE would lose a $19.7 billion contract to buy Typhoon Eurofighter jets if the investigation was not stopped.

The two groups also allege that halting the probe contravened the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development's anti-bribery convention, disregarded Saudi Arabia's obligations under international law and was against British law.

Rose said government lawyers had not disputed an allegation that Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the former ambassador to the United States and now head of Saudi Arabia's National Security Council, told Blair during a meeting in July 2006 to stop the inquiry or lose the Typhoon contract.

Rose told the court that Bandar then met with officials from the British Foreign Office in December — shortly after he reportedly told the government the contract would be canceled within days and held talks with former French President Jacques Chirac about an alternative purchase of Rafale fighter aircraft.

Days after that meeting, Blair sent a letter to the attorney general, Peter Goldsmith, demanding that Goldsmith stop the investigation.

Blair said he was concerned about the "critical difficulty" in negotiations with Saudi Arabia over a contract for Typhoon fighters, as well as "a real and immediate risk of a collapse in U.K./Saudi security, intelligence and diplomatic cooperation," the letter said.

Shortly after, despite unease from Goldsmith, according to documents tendered to the court, SFO Director Robert Wardle confirmed the investigation had been dropped.

The judges said they relied on claims by Corner House and CAAT, based on media reports, that the threat to drop the Typhoon contract was made directly by Saudi Prince Bandar bin Sultan to Blair's chief of staff, Jonathan Powell.

Government lawyers did not dispute that, the judges said.

"Had such a threat been made by one who is subject to the criminal law of this country, he would risk being charged with an attempt to pervert the course of justice," the judges said.

"No one suggested to those uttering the threat that it was futile, that the United Kingdom system of democracy forbade pressure being exerted on an independent prosecutor, whether by the domestic executive or by anyone else," the judges said.

Tuesday, 8 April 2008

Cartwright Law Corporation to host online "Ask a Lawyer Live Law Blog"

Darrell Cartwright and the Cartwright Law Corporation will be hosting an online "Ask a Lawyer Live Law Blog" commentary and question and answer session on Alabama employment laws on Thursday, April 16, 2008. The event will be open to the public and take place from 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. at http://www.cartlaw.net/ask_a_lawyer_live_law_blog.

Using the nationally acclaimed "Coveritlive" software, Alabama attorney Darrell Cartwright will be providing commentary, addressing issues and answering questions in the area of Alabama employment laws. Issues expected to arise include sexual harrassment, racial discrimination, lawsuits from both the employer and the employee's perspective, "permanent" employment, covenants not to compete, and much more. Questions fielded during the session may relate to those issues or others relating to the area, and questions may be submitted to Mr. Cartwright in advance by email at darrell@CartLaw.net.

The "Ask a Lawyer Live Law Blog" has previously focused on topics of interest to Alabama residents including "Why do I need a Will," "Alabama Personal Injury Law," "Starting a New Business," and many others. Previous topics may be accessed in the archive located at http://www.cartlaw.net?ask_a_lawyer_live_law_blog as well. Mr. Cartwright has been practicing law since 1985, and has been actively practicing law in Alabama since being admitted to the state of Alabama in 1989.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Solicitor Jailed for £1.2m Theft from Disabled Client

A bent solicitor was jailed for 10 years today after enjoying a life of ``obscene extravagance'' on £1.2 million he stole from a disabled client.

``Arrogant and greedy'' Thomas McGoldrick, 59, stole the money from Keith Anderson, who was paid £1.8 million damages after being left a quadriplegic following a road crash.

He forged a letter claiming Mr Anderson ``gifted'' him the money, and used the cash to live the high life of exotic holidays, fine wines, fast cars, private education for his children and a £750,000 family home.

The victim was ``wrecked and devastated'' after finding out his money had been stolen - and was left in debt.

McGoldrick also created false accounts for his firm, McGoldricks, based in Croydon and Altrincham, ``grossly exaggerating'' his profits to get money on 13 credit cards and 33 loans.
He was convicted of 59 counts of fraud in February after, the judge said, lying his way through a six-week trial at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester.

Passing sentence Judge Roger Thomas QC, said it was the ``very worst breach of trust'' for a solicitor to steal from his client.

He added, ``It is right to point out you did not stint yourself on your lifestyle.

``Mr Anderson was living in limited circumstances, while you, with his money, were content to live the sort of life you had lived before.''

McGoldrick ran up debts totalling £3 million, but saw his chance when his firm took on the case of Mr Anderson, a van driver from Jamaica.

He was left paralysed from the chest down and quadriplegic after the accident in Croydon in November 1996.

When he was awarded the damages in May 2001, McGoldrick drew up a forged letter allegedly from his client which ``gifted'' him half the money.

Belfast-born McGoldrick, who qualified at the University of London in 1973, in fact went on to take around £1.2 million of the cash.

In December 2004 Mr Anderson went to withdraw money to pay for a bicycle as a Christmas present for his six-year-old son and for his mother and sister to fly over from Jamaica for the holidays.
It was, he said, the first Christmas he had ever had any money.

He expected around £1.1 million to be in his account - but his balance was £224.64. The bike had to be sent back and his relatives told not to come over.

``My whole world just stopped,'' Mr Anderson said. I had been brought up to believe solicitors were people you could trust. I felt helpless.``

Meanwhile as McGoldrick's firm was going under he continued to live the high life.

Paying himself a £120,000-a-year salary, pension and motoring package, he drove a red Jaguar, while his much younger wife, Cheryl, drove a silver Mercedes. Both had private registration plates. His wife was paid £1,500-a-month for two days' work a week at his firm.

They lived in a £750,000 house in leafy Mobberley, Cheshire, paying £1,600-a-month for his two children to attend the private Hale Prep school in Cheshire.

He also splashed £15,000 on a new kitchen and £1,600 on a children's climbing frame so large it can be seen on Google Earth. Among his expenses were £80-a-month on wild-bird seed for his garden.

The family enjoyed four foreign holidays a year, jetting to Barbados, Portugal and Spain, and McGoldrick joined a £3,600-a-year golf club.

By 2004 his mounting debts had reached £65,000 in repayments each month - hence his theft of Mr Anderson's money.

Mr Anderson, a father-of-three from Croydon, told the court he would have been ``crazy'' to give away half his money.

The thefts came to light after the Law Society called in police and McGoldrick was arrested. Mr Anderson's losses were repaid by a lawyers' compensation fund.

Dorian Lovell-Pank QC, mitigating, conceded the defendant did have the ``odd foreign holiday'' but his pay ``never rose above £6,000-a-month.''

He added, ``When a man like Mr McGoldrick falls from grace, he falls from a great height. His reputation is in tatters.''

Det Con Mike Field, from Greater Manchester Police fraud squad, said: ``The man is arrogant and greedy. He got his just deserts. At no stage has he shown remorse.''

Friday, 4 April 2008

Federal Judge Strikes Down MI Election Law

A federal judge in the Eastern District of Michigan on Wednesday struck down a Michigan election law that limits access to information on presidential primary voters to the Democratic and Republican parties, blocking the state from releasing the voter lists from the Jan. 15 presidential primary election to the two political parties. The ACLU of Michigan had challenged the law in January, alleging that Section 615c of the Michigan Election Law was unconstitutional because it excludes other smaller parties, as well as individuals, citizen groups and news media, from seeing lists of voter preferences and gives preference only to the two major parties in violation of the Equal Protection Clause and 14th Amendment. Under the law, anyone other than the two parties who obtains or uses the voter lists would be guilty of a misdemeanor, and could be fined $1,000 or sentenced to 93 days in jail.

The ACLU filed the suit on behalf of the Green Party, Libertarian Party and the Reform Party of Michigan, as well as Metro Times, Inc. and David Forsmark as president of the political consulting firm Winning Strategies. The suit was filed against Michigan Secretary of State Terri Lynn Land. The ruling comes amid a dispute over Michigan's delegation at the Democratic National Convention, and likely ended any chance of a new Democratic primary vote in the state.



So it’s official – the lunatics are running the asylum! I refer, of course, to the news that unqualified Crown Prosecution Service “paralegals” are now to be entrusted with the conduct of summary trials in Magistrates Courts, as well as the more routine applications and guilty pleas in low grade crime.

To those of us toiling away at the coalface, it comes as no surprise, and it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Soon, these unqualified “paralegals” will be conducting Crown Court prosecutions along with their more senior ‘in house’ colleagues, as they grope uneasily from one crisis to another in the interests of justice. Next they’ll be wearing wigs and gowns and calling each other “my learned friend,” a misnomer if ever there was one, and the independent Bar will be helpless to stem the tide, just as they have been since the inception of publicly funded crime.

It comes as no surprise because this has been the agenda of successive governments since the blessed St. Margaret appointed Lord Clash of McFern as her curmudgeonly Lord Chancellor in 1986. His brief, which he accepted with typical Presbyterian relish, was to reduce the legal aid burden on the taxpayer at any price, and the price was economy, stupid, at the expense of quality of service.

As it was then, is now, and publicly funded crime is budget driven. The government is a monopoly provider, so they set the agenda and the terms of engagement, and if the legal profession don’t like it, they can lump it. So a word to the wise – if you can find a proper day job, go for it, and go for it now!

Pay peanuts and you get monkeys, and sadly in our profession, we have a cartload and more at the Treasury’s beck and call. Good luck, and may the road rise with you!

But I have a sneaking suspicion there’s another, hidden, agenda in all this. The facts speak for themselves. The prisons, police and court cells are full to bursting, so what better way to reduce overcrowding than to enrol “paralegals” to prosecute? Don’t forget that 80% of all criminal cases are determined in the Magistrates Courts, so with the “paralegals” at the helm, the conviction rates will reduce to a trickle, and at a stroke, our lords and masters will have achieved a number of memorable goals – they’ll get bargain basement prosecutors on minimum wage, a greatly reduced prison population, so fewer prison officers and support staff, all of whom can be made redundant, leaving only the editor of the Daily Mail to fulminate. A small price to pay, and with £110 billion on the Northern Rocks, a price worth paying!

Thursday, 3 April 2008

Code of conduct copyright litigation resolved

The litigation between Andrew Hopper QC and Gregory Treverton-Jones QC and the Law Society has been amicably resolved. In a general announcement, the parties stated:
'The Law Society and the authors of the Solicitor's Handbook, Andrew Hopper QC and Gregory Treverton-Jones QC, are delighted to announce the amicable resolution of their dispute over copyright issues relating to the reproduction in full of the Society’s Code of Conduct.'

For contractual reasons both parties declined to comment on the precise details of the settlement. The Society will now publish the Handbook, containing all the current professional rules, codes and regulations together with a critical examination of the regulatory regime governing solicitors' practice. Des Hudson, chief executive of the Law Society commented:
'We are very pleased, and we are looking forward to working with the authors on this project. We consider the Handbook to be a valuable resource for our members and are strongly committed to it'.

Andrew Hopper added:
'We are delighted that this dispute has been resolved and that we are working with the Law Society to get the Handbook published and available to the profession.'

Mr Treverton-Jones commented:
'I am excited at the prospect of a long and successful relationship with Law Society Publishing'.
The result of the settlement is that the publication will now contain the Code of Conduct in full and will be available to the profession from the Law Society by the end of May 2008.

The Handbook has been written by two recognised leading practitioners and will provide insight on issues previously covered in the now defunct Guide to the Professional Conduct of Solicitors, the 8th and final edition of which was published in 1999. It will contain all the most important regulatory rules and regulations that affect solicitors, together with text from the authors which describes the practical reality of the regulatory and disciplinary world in which solicitors operate and discusses all of the relevant decided cases in the field.

Tuesday, 1 April 2008

Fulbright & Jaworski L.L.P. Announces New Partners


Antony James Corsi is a new partner in Fulbright's London office, where he has been a senior associate since 2006. Corsi handles dispute resolution - primarily complex commercial litigation, alternative dispute resolution, risk assessment and internal and regulatory investigations. His international dispute resolution experience involves diverse locations, including North America, the Caribbean, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. As a member of the London Solicitors Litigation Association and the Solicitors Association of Higher Court Advocates, Corsi is a qualified solicitor advocate with rights of audience in the civil High Court. Corsi received his LLB with honours from the University of Bristol in 1994 and completed his legal practice course at the College of Law in 1995. He was admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales in 1997.

Richard Hill joins the partnership in Fulbright's London office, where he had been a senior associate since 2005. He practices in Fulbright's international arbitration group, and handles commercial litigation and alternative dispute resolution. Hill has been involved in major international arbitrations in England, Ireland, France, Switzerland, Italy, the Czech Republic, the United States, Mexico, Hong Kong, Singapore and China, and provided counsel under the ICC, ICDR, ICSID, LCIA and UNCITRAL rules. Additionally, Hill has extensive litigation experience in the English High Court, Court of Appeal, House of Lords and Privy Council, and in the courts of certain commonwealth jurisdictions. He is also experienced in mediation and other forms of ADR. He is co-editor of the Leading Arbitrators' Guide to International Arbitration (Juris, 2003) a new edition scheduled to be published in March 2008. Hill received a post-graduate diploma in law from City University, London, in 1995, and graduated with honours from Cambridge University in 1993. He was admitted as a barrister in England and Wales in 1996, receiving the Prince of Wales Award, and as a solicitor-advocate in 1999.


Cork barrister formally arrested

Cork barrister formally arrested today 12:20:08 PM A Cork barrister was formally arrested today and charged with intimidating a witness in a court case at the Circuit Courthouse in Camden Quay, Cork, last November.

Padraig Cullinane, aged 43, of Courthouse Chambers, Washington Street, Cork, replied "Absolutely not guilty" when he was charged outside Cork District Court today.

Detective Sergeant Edmond Fogarty testified that he met the accused by appointment at 11am and formally arrested, charged and cautioned him.

Det. Sgt Fogarty said the Director of Public Prosecutions had indicated that the case against the barrister should proceed by indictment.

Defence solicitor, Donal Daly said the case would be defended when it comes up for trial by judge and jury.!

I am instructed to say he will be vigorously fighting this matter and will be contesting the matter tooth and nail," Mr Daly said.The charge against Cullinane accused him of intimidating a witness in a case that was at hearing at Cork Circuit Court.

Cullinane B L was defending Hicham Settini in that action.T

he charge states that on November 4, 2002 at the Circuit Courthouse on Camden Quay, Cork, the defendant (Cullinane) did intimidate another person, to wit, Caroline Settini who was a potential witness in proceedings for an offence, whereby Hicham Settini was prosecuted for allegedly obtaining cash from health boards, with the intention of causing the course of justice to be obstructed, perverted or interfered with, contrary to Section 41 (1) and (5) of the Criminal Justice Act 1999.

Judge Con O’Leary remanded Cullinane on his own bail of €500 to appear at Cork District Court again on October 23.


Wigs off for UK civil judges, chief justice says

The traditional wigs and gowns worn by judges and advocates for 300 years could be scrapped for civil and commercial trials under a review by the Lord Chief Justice. Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, a moderniser who dislikes his own five different costumes, intends to reopen the long-running debate of horse-hair headdress when he takes over as official head of the judiciary next month.

The move comes after concerns by the president of the Law Society and the Solicitors’ Association of Higher Court Advocates that they are treated as second-class citizens when it comes to court dress.

The 2,000 solicitor-advocates are not allowed to wear wigs and also wear different robes — a simple black gown.

Kevin Martin, president of the Law Society, says that for some years solicitor-advocates have argued for parity with barristers: either there are no wigs at all or both kinds of advocate wear the same costume.

In a letter to the Lord Chief Justice, he says: “The difference can lead to solicitoradvocates being seen as inferior to barristers. Jurors may form the impression that a non-wigged lawyer is less credible.”

The problem is heightened by differences in mode of address: barristers describe each other as “my learned friend” but solicitor-advocates as “my friend”. Solicitors are concerned that the rules could be a breach of competition law.

Mr Martin says: “There are instances of clients indicating that they do not mind who the advocate is, as long as they wear a wig.”

While there is backing for reform, the public — and many criminal barristers — support keeping wigs in criminal trials. Any move to scrap wigs might make an exception for criminal trials. Mark Clough, QC, chairman of the Solicitors’ Association of Higher Court Advocates and one of only a handful of solicitor Queen’s Counsel who anomalously wear the same robes as barristers, says: “We have always argued for parity — with or without wigs.”

Lord Phillips favours a simple black gown and faulard or collar. Stephen Hockman, QC, the chairman of the Bar, is also believed to favour reform.


Friday, 28 March 2008

Costell & Cornelius Law Corporation

Costell & Cornelius Law Corporation was founded over 16 years ago to offer sophisticated legal services of the highest standard. We maintain this tradition ofexcellence in a comprehensive, modern practice that spans the globe. Our lawyers areresponsive, thoughtful, ethical and vigorous advocates with a substantive understanding of our clients’ business needs and the many marketplaces in which they compete.

We have leading practices that often have a cross border focus due to the firm’s international approach to the practice of law. We place the highest value on collaboration and interdisciplinary cooperation in order to provide clients with seamless representation across practice areas and across continents.

The Firm prides itself on being an established, full-service commercial and business law firm, involved in commercial, corporate, real estate, entertain-ment and other business transactions and litigation, as well as in corporate restructuring, bankruptcy and debtor/creditor rights and remedies.

Cardinal Rejects Shariah in British Legal System

Muslims believe the Shariah is the revealed law of God. It informs their religious, social, domestic and private lives but is opposed by many non-Muslims because it demands inequalities between men and women and between Muslims and people of other faiths or no faith.

An English cardinal has rejected suggestions that aspects of Shariah, or Islamic law, might be incorporated into the British legal system.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor of Westminster distanced himself from remarks made in a speech by Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, but he added he was "saddened" by the way the archbishop had been misunderstood.

In a Feb. 7 lecture on Islam and English law, Archbishop Williams, leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion, said Britain needed to continue to find accommodation with religious legal codes such as Shariah if community cohesion and development are to be achieved.

Archbishop Williams told the British Broadcasting Corp. hours before the lecture in London that the adoption of some aspects of Shariah in Britain "seems unavoidable." Senior Anglican bishops from around the world criticized his remarks, and some called for his resignation.

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor declined to criticize the archbishop but made his views on Shariah clear in an interview with the Sunday Telegraph newspaper Feb. 10.

"I don't believe in a multicultural society," he said. "When people come into this country they have to obey the laws of the land.

"There are going to be certain things which might clash in the overall culture of the country. That's where one has to make a judgment," he said.

"There are aspects of Shariah that are practiced that we certainly wouldn't want in this country. The laws of this country don't allow forced marriages or polygamy," he said, adding that governments had "a right to make sure that those laws are kept.

" The cardinal said that multiculturalism had "meant a lessening of the kind of unity that a country needs."

"It is not enough for people to live within their own cultures and then say 'We'll live within the freedoms that are given in this country within a totally separate culture,'" he said.

"Of course you can keep the variety of traditions, but when you enter this country there are common values which are part of its heritage, which should be embraced by everybody," he added.

The cardinal, one of six children of Irish migrants, said it would be better if Muslims contributed beyond their own families to the common good, saying they would then "become a normal part of this country and, indeed, cherish those values that should be common to everyone."

Muslims believe the Shariah is the revealed law of God. It informs their religious, social, domestic and private lives but is opposed by many non-Muslims because it demands inequalities between men and women and between Muslims and people of other faiths or no faith.

In some parts of the world it is used to justify slavery and punishments such as amputations for theft, stoning for adultery and the death penalty for apostasy.

In his lecture, Archbishop Williams said that "nobody in their right mind, I think, would want to see in this country a kind of inhumanity that sometimes appears to be associated with the practice of the law in some Islamic states (with) the extreme punishments (and) the attitudes to women as well."

But he hinted that he thought Shariah courts might be an acceptable way for Muslims to settle marital disputes and financial matters. He cautioned that such flexibility was necessary because the increasing secularization of the British legal system could bring religious believers into conflict with the law on matters of conscience.

Archbishop Williams refused to apologize for his remarks when he addressed the Church of England General Synod in London Feb. 11.

He said much of what he said had been misinterpreted and that he believed "quite strongly that it is not inappropriate for a pastor of the Church of England to address issues about the perceived concerns of other religious communities and to try and bring them into better public focus."

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor told BBC Radio 4's "Sunday" program, "I think he did raise a point of considerable interest and concern at the moment, namely, the rights of a religious group within a secular state."

"Everyone in Britain must obey the law and, therefore, the question of how one can be a loyal British citizen and a faithful member of a religious group is a very pertinent question," he said Feb. 10.

Archbishop Williams' lecture was praised Feb. 11 by the Christian Muslim Forum, an organization founded partly by the government to further community cohesion.

"The archbishop has opened an important debate, not primarily about Shariah, but about the broader issues around the rights of religious groups within a secular state," said a statement co-signed by the forum presidents, including Catholic Bishop Michael Evans of East Anglia.

Dominican Father Timothy Radcliffe, former worldwide head of the Dominican order who is now based in Oxford, called Archbishop Williams' arguments "intelligent and subtle" and the reaction "hysterical."

"Christians believe that our intelligence is a gift from God, which should embolden us to probe complex issues, and the archbishop has shown real Christian leadership in daring to do so," Father Radcliffe wrote in a Feb. 11 letter to The Times, a London-based daily newspaper.