Guns and the Second Amendment

November 30, 2015

In almost 21 months at this site, I’ve only written two posts that focused on guns and the Second Amendment. One of them, Guns: Embarrassed and Ashamed!, was posted less than three months ago, and its title tells you everything you need to know about my not saying enough about the problem of guns in America.

The Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting prompted this post. Three dead. Several others will survive. The alleged shooter’s motives are not clear, although some evidence suggests a relationship between his views on abortion and the situs.

President Obama said “enough is enough” after the shooting. He and many others have used the same words, too often, with no evident change in the

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November 10, 2015

The New York Times featured an excellent three-part series on arbitration in the last several days. The pieces were written by Michael Corkery, Robert Gebeloff, and Jessica Silver-Greenberg, and they’re definitely worth an hour or so of your time. (Part I is Arbitration Everywhere, Stacking the Deck. Part II is In Arbitration, a ‘Privatization of the Justice System’. Part III is In Religious Arbitration, Scripture Is the Rule of Law.)

MRW has written twice on the subject of arbitration, in Arbitration. Mediation. Settlement Conference. Huh?—an informational piece—and, briefly, in A Funny Thing Happened On the Way to Arbitration. We’re due, however, for some commentary on this mostly abysmal aspect of the American dispute resolution system.

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Class Action Lawsuits

November 2, 2015

Class action lawsuits are often maligned, with some good reason. So, what are they, why are the maligned, and are their good reasons for trashing them? The issues come to mind because of the Volkswagen situation, which will bring class action litigation front and center for a while.

Class action lawsuits involve many people claiming damages; however, not every suit which involves many people is a class action lawsuit. Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure—I believe its corollary exists within every state’s civil procedure rules—requires, for a class of claimants to be certified, that: (1) there are too many people to make all of them individual parties; (2) there are common questions of law and fact;

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Covenants, Conditions and Restrictions

October 26, 2015

Covenants, conditions, and restrictions aka CC&Rs are today’s topic. Dry? Yes, about like toast. Important? Only if you care about how you can use the property you own.

CC&Rs are embodied in a document which gets recorded by the County Recorder. CC&Rs will always include a legal description of the land they affect. Once they are recorded they constitute an agreement or contract between the individual parcels which are referenced or embodied in the legal description. If we assume CC&Rs which control 10 acres, it’s as if No. 1 has agreements with Nos. 2-10, No. 2 has agreements with No. 1 and Nos. 3-10, etc.

CC&Rs govern use issues. In a residential subdivision you can expect statements about home size

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Workers’ Compensation and Opt-Out Plans

October 19, 2015

I heard a story on National Public Radio about workers’ compensation on Thursday. I haven’t been able to let it pass.

Workers’ compensation differs from state to state; however, at its root every comp system provides for wage replacement and medical benefits when an employee gets hurt at work, without regard for what happened. (Families also get death benefits when an employee dies as a result of a work-related incident.) The system depends on a basic trade-off: In return for a limitation on payments, injured employees and dead employee’s estates cannot sue the employer or co-workers.

Workers’ compensation developed as a mandatory system in the United States about 100 years ago, in response to industrialization and a realization that the

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More Thoughts on Using Attorneys

October 12, 2015

My friend Robert Fleming is a Tucson elder law attorney. He writes too. His platform is the Legal Issues Newsletter, which he has been writing on a weekly basis for more than 22 years. (Truth be told, he’s only written 857 of the 880 articles.)

Last week and this week Robert wrote When You Need to Talk with a Lawyer and Handling Your Own Legal Work – Without a Lawyer, respectively. They’re fine pieces, and worth your time! I share them here to use them as a jumping off point for some additional thinking about attorneys, time, and fees.

Fees are certainly a major barrier to establishing an attorney-client relationship. Businesses budget for legal services, and wealthy people know

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The U.S. Supreme Court, 2015-16 Term

October 4, 2015

First Monday in October is upon us. Tomorrow, the U. S. Supreme Court begins its 2015-16 Term. Here at Mark Rubin Writes we will follow the Court once again, relying heavily on and many other resources.

Adam Liptak’s Supreme Court Prepares to Take on Politically Charged Cases for the New York Times, today, provides an excellent overview of the coming Term. I noted in particular his three paragraphs about partisanship, relying on Neal Devins, a law professor at William & Mary. Here they are:

‘This coming term will again put into focus that the court is divided along partisan lines and that the 2016 presidential elections will be hugely consequential in shaping constitutional and other law for perhaps

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Law Firms: From One to 4200 Attorneys

September 29, 2015

I finished college in December 1977, one semester early. I indulged my love for Chicago by getting a job as a runner for Kirkland & Ellis. The job was … well, outside mostly, from late December until early May. The boots were cold and wet at night and in the morning. That aside, the firm offered up free Danish in the morning, and if things were slow we were sent away for a while, to insure that management did not see a mailroom full of young guys, sitting around. Great job!

From memory, I believe Kirkland had 200 attorneys in the late 1970s, 160 in Chicago and 40 in Richmond, dedicated to representing Westinghouse—the real one, not the

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Retention Elections at the Supreme Court

September 21, 2015

The United States Supreme Court is comprised of nine justices. Presently, their age span is 82 to 55, with four justices—Ginsburg, Scalia, Kennedy, and Breyer—between 77 and 82. On January 20, 2017, those four justices will be 83, 80, 80, and 78, respectively. They will also have been serving for 23, 30, 28, and 22 years, respectively.

My point? The 2016 election may be about only one thing which really matters: the composition of the U.S. Supreme Court.

Many people holler about the Supreme Court. Some people are genuinely concerned about a group of people who come from remarkably similar professional backgrounds. Read Is the Court We Have the Court We Want?, which I wrote in May 2014, for

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The Kim Davis Story: More Thoughts

September 14, 2015

Like a moth which cannot ignore the flame, I’m finding it hard to walk away from the Kim Davis story. She has clearly arrived, as I have linked to her Wikipedia page. Do you have a Wikipedia page?

You know the basics. Kimberly Jean Bailey Davis does not believe in same sex marriage. The law interferes with her beliefs, so she thinks she’s entitled to an accommodation. That position has gotten her a contempt citation and jail, courtesy of U.S. District Judge David Bunning. Now she’s out, back at work, and planning to sue Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D).* (Details are reported by Caitlin MacNeal for TPM, in Kim Davis’ Lawyers to File New Lawsuit against Kentucky Governor.)

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