REALLY, DON’T THREATEN YOUR CITIZENS WITH LEGAL ACTION BECAUSE THEY MADE NEGATIVE COMMENTS ABOUT YOUR TOWN
I have written a couple of posts recently about a smackdown administered to a town in Iowa that had its attorney threaten a citizen with legal action because the citizen wrote disparaging comments about the town. If you want to read the town’s abject surrender after it was sued by the ACLU on behalf of the citizen, Lowering the Bar has posted the injunction that was agreed to by the town, as well as the complaint.
This item goes all the way back to 2005, but since Lowering the Bar has a random posts sidebar, I had the good fortune to spot it. (Yes, I have again been reduced to trolling Lowering the Bar for material.)
The line I am talking about, which I could recite from memory without having even seen the linked post, was this: “Loosen up Sandy baby, you’re too tight.”
No disrespect to a (retired) Supreme Court Justice is intended by this post. Judging from the conversation related in the highly entertaining interview excerpt quoted in the linked post, I don’t think the Justice felt disrespected by the original line, or at least she was able to see the humor in the situation.
I HAVE MY DOUBTS ABOUT WHETHER THIS TAX AVOIDANCE STRATEGY WILL WORK – SOUNDS LIKE FORM OVER SUBSTANCE TO ME
Taxpayer operates a business that is not eligible for a favored tax treatment because of the nature of the services performed. Taxpayer creates two entities, one of which does the work that is not eligible for favored treatment, and the other of which claims all of the profit from that work. That way, all of the profit supposedly qualifies for the favored tax treatment.
Will that work? I think that falls into the category of form over substance. I don’t think it will work.
I was surprised, and mildly interested, to learn that Arizona is one of the five states with the lowest first time pass rates for its bar exam. The rate is under 65%, lower even than California, which I would have guessed would be the lowest just because it has a reputation for having a low pass rate, and a high number of applicants.
The five states with the highest first time pass rates have rates of almost 84% up to almost 87%.
I think the 65% pass rate for Arizona (that’s for 2017) is lower than it was when I took the bar exam over thirty years ago. I wonder why it’s lower now, and why it’s so low overall?
I think I may have linked to this before, but it’s worth re-reading. Professor Bainbridge explains the law defining the obligation of corporate directors to maximize return to shareholders, while at the same time recognizing the broad latitude accorded to directors in determining how to best meet that obligation. It’s a worthwhile read, and not too long or opaque.
Why do advocates feel compelled to blatantly overstate their case? It may fool the uninformed, but it undermines the advocates’ credibility with people whose opinions matter (such as, in the situation I’m going to reference in a second, the county supervisors and the judge presiding over their lawsuit). Some examples from a muckraking article that appeared at AZCentral.com on February 28:
The “gravity of pollution from [the egg farms is comparable to the water contamination in] Flint, Michigan, where dangerous levels were found in the drinking water?” The pollution from the egg farms is ammonia in the air. That’s really as harmful as lead in the drinking water?
Egg farms “are now factories – they are manufacturing plants, there’s no bones about it.” An agricultural operation pollutes to the same degree as a manufacturing plant? Never mind that there’s no comparison between an agricultural operation and any manufacturing facility using chemicals. Let’s just talk about smell. Have you ever lived near a paper mill?
And finally, no, Tonopah and Arlington are not “on the western edge of metro Phoenix.” They are closer to the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station, west of Buckeye, than they are to Buckeye, a historically (and currently) agricultural community that could be considered on the western edge of metro Phoenix.
Now, none of those overstatements are from the residents who are complaining about the egg farms in western Arizona. They are from advocates. But as an advocate, I’m here to tell you that overstating your case to that degree is not effective advocacy.
The situation with the egg farms doesn’t sound like it implicates the hoary, and confusing, legal concept know as “coming to the nuisance.” I’ll have to discuss that some other time.
PRIVATE LAW FIRM INSTALLED AS MUNICIPAL PROSECUTORS, BILLS VIOLATORS FOR COSTS OF THEIR PROSECUTIONS
It’s in California, of course. Nice work if you can get it, until you get sued by the Institute for Justice.
Note that the law firm couldn’t have set this up without action by the legislative bodies of the cities to install the law firm as the city prosecutors.
IJ says that the setup violates a rule against prosecutors having a personal financial stake in the matters they prosecute. I guess that’s different from government agencies engaging private counsel on contingent fees to pursue lawsuits against private businesses, because that reprehensible practice has been going on for some time.
I hesitate to post this because it will reveal that I occasionally waste time reading blog comments. This comment by “The Cracker Emcee Activist” (I have no idea what that means) was so insightful, however, that I think it’s worth sharing. The context was a discussion about how we react to opposition as we age. Here’s the comment (sorry about the profanity):
“If someone is above you authority-wise, you still take shit. But it's a lot lot harder not to be caught rolling your eyes when it happens.”
Now it’s Instapundit saying, in a column posted at USA Today, that automation is going to replace lawyers. The only concrete example he mentions, however, other than citing a book by another law professor, is a web site that I already pointed out has little potential impact.
He may well be right that automation will make legal information available to people who couldn’t get it otherwise. Far be it from me to question the logic of the Instapundit, but I can’t help asking: if automation is mostly going to benefit people who can’t afford lawyers now, how is that going to hurt lawyers?
A FREE SO-CALLED ROBOT LAWYER CAN HELP YOU “TACKLE LEGAL ISSUES,” BUT IS THE SERVICE WORTH ANY MORE THAN WHAT YOU PAY FOR IT?
Anything that helps people find information about their legal problems is fine with me. But equating an internet search engine with a lawyer is like calling the robotic arms on a garbage truck (you know, the ones that pick up the can, dump it in the truck, and put it back down) a surgeon.
People who obviously have their own motives keep coming up with these technologies and claiming that their ideas will, eventually, replace lawyers. I think the obvious comparison to the practice of medicine demonstrates the absurdity of those claims. When you’re ready to have a robot do your brain surgery, let me know.
The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.