Law Religion Culture Review

Exploring the intersections of law, religion and culture. Copyright by Richard J. Radcliffe. All rights reserved.

Friday, December 29, 2017

Year In Review, 2017.

Books Read (in order)
1. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. (2007 rev ed.)
2. A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston (2016)
3. The Small Big: Small Changes That Spark Big Influence by Steve J. Martin, Noah J. Goldstein and Robert B. Cialdini (2014)
4. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman (2011) [cd unabridged]
5. The Subtle Art of Not Giving A #%&@: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson (2016)
6. Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy (1985) [cd unabridged]
7. The Kingdom of Speech by Tom Wolfe (2016)
8. Life Is a Series of Presentations by Tony Jeary with Kim Dower and J.E. Fishman (2003) [cd unabridged]
9. The Magnolia Story by Chip and Joanna Gaines with Mark Dagostino (2016)
10. Survival in the Killing Fields by Haing S. Ngor with Roger Warner (1987)
11. Filthy Rich: - The Shocking True Story of Jeffrey Epstein by James Patterson and John Connolly with Tim Malloy (2016) [cd unabridged]
12. A Perfect Union of Contrary Things by Sarah Jensen with Maynard James Keenan (2016)
13. The Greatest Comeback: How Richard Nixon Rose from Defeat to Create the New Majority by Patrick J. Buchanan (2014)
14. Don't Sleep, There Are Snakes: Life and Language in the Amazonian Jungle by Daniel L. Everett (2008)
15. The Undoing Project: A Friendship That Changed Our Minds by Michael Lewis (2016) [cd unabridged]
16. Powerhouse: The Untold Story of Hollywood's Creative Artists Agency by James Andrew Miller (2016)
17. The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy by William Strauss and Neil Howe (1997)
18. The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee (2016)[cd unabridged]
19. Cities of Gold: A Journey Across the American Southwest in Pursuit of Coronado by Douglas Preston (1992)
20. The Upstarts: How Uber, Airbnb, and the Killer Companies of the New Silicon Valley Are Changing the World by Brad Stone (2017) [cd unabridged]
21. The Everything Store: Jeff Bezos and the Age of Amazon by Brad Stone (2013) [cd unabridged]
22. The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey by Candice Millard (2005)
23. The Lost City of the Monkey God: A True Story by Douglas Preston (2017) [cd unabridged]
24. Dixieland Delight: A Football Season on the Road in the Southeastern Conference by Clay Travis (2007)
25. The New Frugality by Chris Farrell (2009) [cd unabridged]
26. How to Murder Your Life by Cat Marnell (2017)
27. X by Chuck Klosterman (2017)
28. Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, And What The Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are by Seth Stephens-Davidowitz (2017)
29. The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion (2005) [cd unabridged]
30. The Social Animal by David Brooks (2011)
31. The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel (2017)
32. Slouching Towards Bethlehem by Joan Didion (1968)
33. Running With the Devil by Noel E. Monk with Joe Layden (2017)
34. Van Halen Rising by Greg Renoff (2015)
35. The Book of Joy: Lasting Happiness in a Changing World by Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu with Douglas Abrams (2016)[cd unabridged]
36. Illusion of Justice: Inside Making a Murderer And America's Broken System by Jerome F. Buting (2017)
37. Reforming the Federal Judiciary: My Former Court Needs to Overhaul Its Staff Attorney Program and Begin Televising Its Oral Arguments by Richard A. Posner (2017)
38. Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army by Jeremy Scahill (2007) [cd unabridged]
39. Making Sense of the Alt-Right by George Hawley (2017)
40. Astrophysics for People in a Hurry by Neil deGrasse Tyson (2017) [cd unabridged]
41. What Is the Bible? by Rob Bell (2017)
42. The Chickens&%# Club: Why the Justice Department Fails to Prosecute Executives by Jesse Eisinger (2017)
43. Devil's Bargain: Steve Bannon, Donald Trump, and the Storming of the Presidency by Joshua Green (2017)
44. Washington's Crossing by David Hackett Fischer (2004) [cd unabridged]
45. Blindfolds Off: Judges on How They Decide by Joel Cohen (2014)
46. Gilead: A Novel by Marilynne Robinson (2004) [cd unabridged]
47. Jesus: A Biography from a Believer by Paul Johnson (2010)
48. Bannon: Always the Rebel by Keith Koffler (2017)
49. Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter by Scott Adams (2017)
50. American Radical by Tamer Elnoury with Kevin Maurer (2017)

Losses Sustained
John Wetton
Chris Cornell
Chester Bennington
Malcolm Young
R.C. Sproul

Book of the Year
Survival in the Killing Fields by Haing S. Ngor with Roger Warner (1987)
Honorable Mentions: Win Bigly: Persuasion in a World Where Facts Don't Matter by Scott Adams (2017) and
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert B. Cialdini, Ph.D. (2007 rev ed.)

Concert of the Year

Film of the Year

Trial of the Year

"Family Fued"

My client was the youngest of four brothers. After their mother died, they agreed that he would administer their mother's estate, for which there was no will or trust. As administrator, he submitted a proposed accounting. In response, his two eldest brothers brought a lawsuit against him and his wife, alleging that they committed financial elder abuse on their mother and that my client breached his fiduciary duty. They observed that the accounting did not contain a joint bank account between my client and her mother, the net rental income generated from her rental property for about eight years preceding her death, nor the proceeds from a line of credit deposited into the joint account. The arrangement for the joint account and management of the rental property was approved by all the brothers when he took over management of their mother's rental property (from the second brother who also had a joint account with his mom during his tenure as property manager) as well as her trusted financial advisor. They produced documents and witnesses from about 10 years ago (at the time of the opening of the joint account and approval of the arrangement) allegedly indicating that the mother was severely hallucinating and lacked capacity to take care of herself or to make any decisions, and therefore, they alleged that my client and his spouse visited financial elder abuse on his mother by taking net rental income from a house owned by the mom that was deposited into the joint bank account. All dressed up, the claim was about a million dollars.

Following a lengthy trial in which experts and percipient witnesses testified as to the mother's mental condition at the time the joint account was set up, the trial court found that, while the mother had fluctuations in her cognitive state, Petitioners had not shown that she lacked capacity to make any of the decisions that she made the decision to allow my client to use any funds that were left over after those of the rental house were taken care of and the mother's needs were taken care of. The court found the (nonparty) brother's testimony credible that he had conversations with his mother about the joint account and her intentions that my client could and his family could use the funds as he saw fit after payment of expenses. After my particularly eviscerating cross-examination of their expert doctor, the court did not find their doctor's analysis as to the mother's capacity to comport California Probate Code Section 811's factors. The court found it "completely logical and reasonable" that the mother wanted any surplus funds to go to my client, his wife and their daughter (the decedent's granddaughter) with whom she had a continuing close and substantial relationship.

Furthermore, the court ruled that my clients did not exert undue influence upon the mother. The court stated that what was clear was that the mother did not operate her family relationships like a company, and reasonably took into account each of her son's needs at their time of need. In sum, the court found that my clients did not take unfair advantage of their mother under the law of undue influence or otherwise meet the standard for financial elder abuse. Also, the trial court ruled that there was no breach of fiduciary duty committed by my client because he included all assets of the estate in his accounting, and any others that the other brothers' were complaining about were not assets of the estate.

The case was ruled in favor of my clients on every point, including approval of the accounting. The suing brothers recovered exactly nothing on their claims.

Appeal of the Year

"Beware of the Lawyer"

A lawyer received documents from his client and distributed them to other lawyers in furtherance of a case in which he was attorney of record. Two corporations alleged that these documents were "stolen", contained trade secrets and were obligated by the client's contract with them to be returned.

The corporations sued the lawyer (but not the client). We brought a special motion to strike the lawsuit under California's anti-SLAPP law. (C.C.P. Section 425.16.) The trial court agreed and dismissed the case in its entirety and awarded attorneys' fees. The corporations appealed.

At the oral argument on appeal, one of the justices said that he had “substantial concern” that Appellants “did not even begin to make” the factual showing of the elements of the prima facie case against the lawyer. He observed that the trial judge addressed Appellants’ attempt with a mere 10 lines in its ruling mostly citing to the unverified complaint. The justice asked the corporation's attorney where in Appellants’ submissions was their evidence tied to the elements of the claims? Counsel conceded their "showing was not complete.”

The justices also expressed concern that the case was barred by the litigation privilege, meaning the attorney had the right to use the documents for litigation purposes (even other cases). Another justice stated to Appellants' counsel “many of your claims are deficient.” And moreover, there are “defects that could not be cured.” The corporations' counsel conceded: “If the defects cannot be cured, then we lose.”

While the opinion is still pending, one does not need to be psychic to read the "tea leaves" here. A rough day at the office for the Appellants.

Athletic Achievement of the Year
Two Summits, One Day (Mojeska and Santiago Peaks, together: Saddleback Mountain) [33 miles, approximately 5000' elevation gain]

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Year In Review, 2016

Books Read (In Order Read)
1. Raw: My 100% Grade-A, Unfiltered, Inside Look at Sports by Colin Cowherd (2015)
2. Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand (2010) [cd unabridged]
3. Gorilla Mindset by Mike Cernovich (2015)
4. The Last of the President's Men by Bob Woodward (2015)
5. So You've Been Publicly Shamed by Jon Ronson (2015) [cd unabridged]
6. Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2012) [cd unabridged]
7. A Curious Mind: The Secret to a Bigger Life by Brian Grazer and Charles Fishman (2015)[cd unabridged]
8. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene (1998)
9. Fooled by Randomness: The Hidden Role of Chance in Life and in the Markets by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2005) [cd unabridged]
10. The Charisma Myth by Olivia Fox Cabane (2012)
11. The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2007)[cd unabridged]
12. Plunder and Deceit by Mark R. Levin (2015) [cd unabridged]
13. Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan (2015)
14. Hope After Faith: An Ex-Pastor;s Journey from Belief to Atheism by Jerry DeWitt with Ethan Brown (2013)
15. Heaven and Hell: My Life in the Eagles (1974-2001) by Don Felder with Wendy Holden (2008)
16. The Razor's Edge by by W. Somerset Maugham (1944) [cd unabridged]
17. Like Any Normal Day: A Story of Devotion by Mark Kram, Jr. (2012)
18. The Psychopath Test: A Journey Through the Madness Industry by Jon Ronson (2011) [cd unabridged]
19. True Story: Murder, Memoir, Mea Culpa by Michael Finkel (2005)
20. Imperial Bedrooms by Bret Easton Ellis (2010)
21. Galveston by Nic Pizzolatto (2010)
22. Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant (2016) [cd unabridged]
23. Presence by Amy Cuddy (2015) [cd unabridged]
24. Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court by Amy Bach (2009)
25. Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness by Edward Abbey (1968) [cd unabridged]
26. The Informers by Bret Easton Ellis (1994)
27. Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream by H. G. Bissinger (1990) [cd unabridged]
28. In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect by Ronald Kessler (2009) [cd unabridged]
29. Freakonomics: A Rogue Economist Explores the Hidden Side of Everything by Steven D. Levitt and Stephen J. Dubner (2005) [cd unabridged]
30. Pacific: Silicon Chips and Surfboards, Coral Reefs and Atom Bombs, Brutal Dictators, Fading Empires, and the Coming Collision of the World's Superpowers by Simon Winchester (2015) [cd unabridged]
31. The Haldeman Diaries: Inside the Nixon White House by H.R. Haldeman (1994)
32. Blood Defense by Marcia Clark (2016)
33. Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis (1922) [cd unabridged]
34. Our Lost Constitution by Mike Lee (2015)
35. San Francisco is Burning: The Untold Story of the 1906 Earthquake and Fires by Dennis Smith (2005) [cd unabridged]
36. The Snowden Files by Luke Harding (2014)
37. Wealth, Poverty and Politics: An International Perspective by Thomas Sowell (2015) [cd unabridged]
38. A Carlin Home Companion: Growing Up with George by Kelly Carlin (2015) [cd unabridged]
39. The Emmaus Code: Finding Jesus in the Old Testament by David Limbaugh (2015)
40. America's Bank: The Epic Struggle to Create the Federal Reserve by Roger Lowenstein (2015) [cd unabridged]
41. The Road to Little Dribbling: Adventures of an American in Britain by Bill Bryson (2015)
42. With Liberty and Justice for Some by Glenn Greenwald (2011)
43. Nothing Like It In the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863-1869 by Stephen E. Ambrose (2000) [cd unabridged]
44. Sweet and Low: A Family Story by Rich Cohen (2006)
45. One Summer: America, 1927 by Bill Bryson (2013) [cd unabridged]
46. How I Helped O.J. Get Away With Murder by Mike Gilbert (2008)
47. A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink (2006) [cd unabridged]
48. Our Republican Constitution: Securing the Liberty and Sovereignty of We the People by Randy E. Barnett (2016)
49. A Way With Words: Writing, Rhetoric, and the Art of Persuasion by Michael D. C. Drout (2006) [cd]
50. When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (2016) [cd unabridged]
51. A Troublesome Inheritance by Nicholas Wade (2014)
52. Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End by Atul Gawande (2014) [cd unabridged]
53. But What If We're Wrong by Chuck Klosterman (2015)
54. Sold Out by Michelle Malkin and John Miano (2015)
55. American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst by Jeffrey Toobin (2016) [cd unabridged]
56. Louder Than Words by Joe Navarro with Toni Sciarra Poynter (2010)
57. L.A. Noir by John Buntin (2009) [cd unabridged]
58. Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American West by Stephen E. Ambrose (1996) [cd unabridged]
59. White Winds by Joe Wilcox (1981)
60. The Mother Tongue: English and How It Got That Way by Bill Bryson (1990) [cd unabridged]
61. Yes! 50 Scientifically Proven Ways To Be Persuasive by Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin and Robert B. Cialdini (2008)
62. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley (1932) [cd unabridged]
63. Vertical by Rex Pickett (2010)
64. Intellectuals and Race by Thomas Sowell (2013) [cd unabridged]
65. Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade by Robert Cialdini (2016)
66. Purpose and Persuasion: The Power of Rhetoric in American Political History by Ken Masugi (2012) [cd unabridged]
67. MAGA Mindset: Making You and America Great Again by Mike Cernovich (2016) (audio)
68. Shoe Dog by Phil Knight (2016)
69. Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle by Chris Hedges (2009)
70. Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger (2016)
71. Rigged: The True Story of an Ivy League Kid Who Changed the World of Oil, from Wall Street to Dubai by Ben Mezrich (2007) [cd unabridged]
72. The Ego Is The Enemy by Ryan Holiday (2016)
73. Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis by J.D. Vance (2016) [cd unabridged]
74. Alien Nation by Peter Brimelow (1995)
75. Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari (2015) [cd unabridged]
76. Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters by Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger with Jeffrey Zaslow (2009)
77. Righteous Indignation: Excuse Me While I Save the World! by Andrew Breitbart (2011)

Athletic Achievement of the Year
Mount Timpanogos, Utah

Book of the Year
Tie: Antifragile: Things That Gain From Disorder by Nassim Nicholas Taleb (2012) and When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi (2016)

Film of the Year
The Revenant (1/16/16)
Honorable Mention: The Big Short

Concert of the Year
Honorable Mention: twenty one pilots

Losses Sustained
Justice Antonin Scalia

Trial of The Year
"Billy's Saga-Or No Good Deed Shall Go Unpunished"

As newlyweds, my clients purchased a starter home in Orange County. It had 1200 square feet, two bedrooms, and a "cozy" kitchen. Shortly after being married, "Billy's" mother-in-law, a widow, went in for emergency abdominal surgery. She wanted to convalesce with her daughter and "Billy" at their house--1.5 miles away from her home. "Billy" agreed, as it was the right thing to do. He understood it would be about one month, then his mother-in-law could move back to her home, and they could check in on her frequently since it was only minutes away.

Four months later, "Mom" was still living with the newlyweds and commandeering "Billy's" TV and space. At this point, "Billy" gently inquired of his wife when "Mom" might be moving home because she had fully recovered months earlier. In response, "Mom" had a proposition. She proposed that a second floor be added quite literally as a "Mother-In-Law quarters." "Billy" balked, telling "Mom" that they didn't have that kind of money handy. "Mom" had a solution. She offered to pay for the remodel, which would double the square footage and (likely) value of the residence. In exchange, she expected to live there and have the couple care for her. "Billy" reluctantly agreed. After her house's title was taken out of her trust, "Mom" refinanced her close-by property and used the proceeds to finance the costly project--nearly $300,000 and bringing the aggregate square footage to about 2400. "Billy" and his wife kicked-in another approximately $50,000. About 11 months later, the upgrade was completed and they were able to move back into the home. One problem: "Mom" didn't want to live in the upstairs unit. So, "Billy" still lost control over his TV and his personal space. Since the upstairs unit was unoccupied, when "Billy's" sister-in-law was foreclosed upon she moved into it. Turned out that "Sis" was a strong candidate for the show "Hoarders" and the beautiful quarters was nearly ruined. She was asked to leave and did--to a tent.

After staying with "Billy" and his wife 13 years pursuant to this arrangement, "Mom" passed away. "Sis" and "Billy's" spouse were 50% beneficiaries of "Mom's" trust. "Sis" demanded a ownership interest in "Billy" and her sister's house, since "Mom" contributed $300,000 towards the remodel and vastly increased its equity; remuneration for the increased equity, or at least repayment for the contribution. So, "Billy's" kindness was repaid with a lawsuit seeking to take away his home. We defended on the grounds that "Billy's" house was not party of the trust; the loan proceeds used to pay for the remodel were not party of the trust and could not be traced to it; and "Mom" didn't intend to amend her trust to equalize the distribution to account for this sizable contribution because it was in contemplation of the the live-in care she received over the remaining decade-plus of her life; and moreover, it didn't comply with the requirements to amend a trust or to overcome the presumption of title (i.e. a writing).

At trial, I examined the trust attorney. He conceded that after the trust was executed, he asked “Mom” if she wanted to change her trust to adjust the percentages or otherwise account for the lifetime time she made to her daughter for the house remodeling and offered suggestions how to do so. He conceded that after he brought to her attention multiple times, she steadfastly declined to amend her trust. We also demonstrated through financial records that no trust assets were used to finance the upgrade.

The fact-finder agreed with our position and defensed the case in its entirety. The (wife) client wept in utter gratitude and relief. “Billy” was zen-like, and was prepared before trial to losing his long-standing home as a result of his act of kindness more than a decade earlier.

Appeal of Year

We pointed out the statute on which Appellant's appeal was predicated didn't apply by its terms; wasn't even mentioned in the trial court; and therefore, Appellant lacked a basis for appellate jurisdiction, the appellate court dismissed our opponent's appeal. We were awarded our costs, which in this case included attornsys' fees. In turn, the case promptly settled in our clients' favor. We secured this win without the need for oral argument.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Year in Review, 2015.

Books Read (in order read)
1. An Atheist in the FOXhole: A Liberal's Eight-Year Odyssey Inside the Heart of the Right-Wing Media by Joe Muto (2013)
2. The Lost Painting: The Quest For a Caravaggio Masterpiece by Jonathan Harr (2005) [cd unabridged]
3. Three Cups of Deceit by Jon Krakauer (2011)
4. Gasping for Airtime by Jay Mohr (2004) [cd unabridged]
5. Hikertrash: Life on the Pacific Crest Trail by Erin Miller (2014)
6. Lying by Sam Harris (2013)
7. The Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work: A Practical Guide from the Country's Foremost Relationship Expert by John M. Gottman, Ph.D. and Nan Silver (1999) [cd unabridged]
8. Denali's Howl: The Deadliest Climbing Disaster on America's Wildest Peak by Andy Hall (2014)
9. Ethics for the Real World: Creating a Personal Code to Guide Decisions in Work & Life by Ronald A. Howard & Clinton D. Korver (2008)
10. American Sniper by Chris Kyle with Scott McEwen and Jim DeFelice (2012)
11. Seven Years in Tibet by Heinrich Harrer (1953) [cd unabridged]
12. In the Heart of the Sea: The Tragedy of the Whaleship Essex by Nathaniel Philbrick (2000) [cd unabridged]
13. Yes Please by Amy Poehler (2014) [cd unabridged]
14. The Case Against the Supreme Court by Erwin Chemerinsky (2014)
15. In the Kingdom of Ice: The Grand and Terrible Polar Voyage of the USS Jeannette
by Hampton Sides (2014) [cd unabridged]
16. Adrift: 76 Days Lost at Sea by Steven Callahan (1986)[cd unabridged]
17. The Obstacle Is The Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials Into Triumph by Ryan Holiday (2014)
18. The Zimzum of Love: A New Way of Understanding Marriage by Rob and Kristen Bell (2014)
19. Meditations by Marcus Aurelius (Gregory Hays, trans., 2002)
20. The Trial by Franz Kafka (Breon Mitchell, trans.)
21. The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant (2010)
22. Speak to Win by Brian Tracy (2008) [cd unabridged]
23. Hell or High Water by Peter Heller (2004) [cd unabridged]
24. Mizzoula by Jon Krakauer (2015)
25. Negotiation Boot Camp: How to Resolve Conflict, Satisfy Customers, and Make Better Deals by Ed Brodow (2006) [cd unabridged]
26. Zero to One: Notes on Startups, or How to Build the Future by Peter Thiel with Blake Masters (2014) [cd unabridged]
27. Finding Ultra by Rich Roll (2012)
28. The Game by Neil Strauss (2005)
29. The Dark Art: My Undercover Life In Global Narco-Terrorism by Edward Follis with Douglas Century (2014)
30. Once Upon a Time in Russia: The Rise of the Oligarchs by Ben Mezrich (2015) [cd unabridged]
31. When I Stop Talking, You'll Know I'm Dead: Useful Stories from a Persuasive Man by Jerry Weintraub with Rob Cohen (2010) [cd unabridged]
32. Rules of the Game by Neil Strauss (2009)
33. Emergency: This Book Will Save Your Life by Neil Strauss (2009)
34. House of Cards: A Tale of Hubris and Wretched Excess on Wall Street by William D. Cohan (2009) [cd unabridged]
35. 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi by Mitchell Zuckoff (2014) [cd unabridged]
36. The Price of Silence: The Duke Lacrosse Scandal, the Power of the Elite, and the Corruption of Our Great Universities by William D. Cohan (2014)
37. What I Learned Losing a Million Dollars by Jim Paul and Brendan Moynihan (2013)
38. ¡Adios, America! by Ann Coulter (2015)
39. The Mystery Method by Mystery with Chris Odom (2007)
40. Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America by Jill Leovy (2015) [cd unabridged]
41. Money and Power: How Goldman Sachs Came To Rule The World by William D. Cohan (2011)
42. The Physician by Noah Gordon (1986)
43. The Martian by Andy Weir (2011) [cd unabridged]
44. American Nations: A History of the Eleven Rival Regional Cultures of North America by Colin Woodard (2011)
45. The Greatest Trade Ever:The Behind-the-Scenes Story of How John Paulson Defied Wall Street & Made Financial History by Gregory Zuckerman (2009)
46. The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright (2006)[cd unabridged]
47. Mate by Tucker Max and Geoffrey Miller, PhD with Nils Parker (2015)
48. God's Bankers: A History of Money and Power at the Vatican by Gerald Posner (2015) [cd unabridged]
49. Population Wars: A New Perspective on Competition and Coexistence by Greg Graffin (2015)
50. The Secret Man: The Story of Watergate's Deep Throat by Bob Woodward (2005)[cd unabridged]
51. The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge by Michael Punke (2002)
52. Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future by Ashlee Vance (2015)
53. Sick in the Head: Conversations About Life and Comedy by Judd Apatow (2015)
54. Daddy, Stop Talking!: And Other Things My Kids Want But Won't Be Getting by Adam Carolla (2015)
55. Witness to Power: The Nixon Years by John Ehrlichman (1982)
56. Left for Dead: My Journey Home from Everest by Beck Weathers with Stephen G. Michaud (2000)
57. President Me: The America That's in My Head by Adam Carolla (2014)
58. The Education of a Coach by David Halberstam (2005) [cd unabridged]
59. Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence by Bill James (2011)
60. SEAL Team Six: Memoirs of an Elite Navy SEAL Sniper by Howard E. Wasdin and Stephen Templin (2011) [cd unabridged]
61. How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams (2013)
62. The Dilbert Principle:A Cubicle's-Eye View of Bosses, Meetings, Management Fads & Other Workplace Afflictions by Scott Adams (1997) [cd unabridged]
63. The Truth: An Uncomfortable Book About Relationships by Neil Strauss (2015)

Athletic Achievement of the Year
Summited Mt. San Gorgonio, 11,502 feet

Losses Sustained
Vincent T. Bugliosi, Jr.
Dale R. Peterson (one of the hiring partners at law firm who hired me for my first lawyer position. A sharp Stanford JD with physics/philosophy undergrad degrees, he was one of a kind. A competitive handball player, he introduced me to the game and we had a standing Saturday duel. He could talk music, cars, comedy and fine dining with equal alacrity. His interests were as eclectic as his intelligence was electric).

Concert of the Year
Lagwagon/NOFX (at It's Not Dead Festival)
Honorable Mention: Social Distortion (at Greek Theater)

Film of the Year
Honorable Mention: Sicario

Book of the Year
Ethics for the Real World: Creating a Personal Code to Guide Decisions in Work & Life by Ronald A. Howard & Clinton D. Korver (2008)
Honorable Mention: How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big: Kind of the Story of My Life by Scott Adams (2013)

Trial of the Year
I represented a successor trustee who was charged with administering a trust that was amended multiple times. The overall effect of these changes was to disinherit one of the beneficiaries. The beneficiary sued to set aside the amendments on the grounds of "incapacity", "undue influence", and moreover, they were invalid because the trust was "irrevocable" in its entirety. We defended the allegations and also affirmatively brought forward a pleading to have the court correct "scrivener's errors" in the trust (and amendments) regarding its alleged irrevocability. Based on the drafting attorney's testimony and an expert opinion, we argued that only one subtrust was irrevocable and that all the amendments were intended to amend the revocable subtrust and effectively did so. As an additional complication, a deed was recorded that seemed to place a real property into the irrevocable subtrust when it only made sense that it be vested in the revocable subtrust (from which the contestant was disinherited). The trial court agreed in all respects, reforming or correcting the trust (and amendments) and upholding the disinheritance.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Year in Review, 2014.

Books Read (in order read)
1. Catching the Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort (2009)
2. You Herd Me! I'll Say It If No One Else Will by Colin Cowherd (2013)
3. I Wear the Black Hat: Grappling with Villains by Chuck Klosterman (2013)
4. The Five Love Languages: How To Express Heartfelt Commitment To Your Mate by Gary D. Chapman (2006) [cd, unabridged]
5. The Liberty Amendments: Restoring the American Republic by Mark R. Levin (2013)
6. The Wolf of Wall Street by Jordan Belfort (2007)
7. The Buy Side: A Wall Street Trader's Tale of Spectacular Excess by Turney Duff (2013)
8. Double Down: Game Change 2012 by Mark Halperin and John Heilemann (2013) [cd, unabridged]
9. Killing Yourself to Live: 85% of a True Story by Chuck Klosterman (2005)
10. Hotel California by Barney Hoskyns (2006)
11. The Bully Pulpit: Theodore Roosevelt, William Howard Taft, and the Golden Age of Journalism by Doris Kearns Goodwin (2013) [cd, unabridged]
12. Skywalker: Close Encounters on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Walker (2008)
13. Crazy Love: Overwhelmed by a Relentless God by Francis Chan with Danae Yankoski (2008)
14. Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10 by Marcus Luttrell with Patrick Robinson (2007) [cd, unabridged]
15. Never Trust a Liberal Over 3--Especially a Republican by Ann Coulter (2013)
16. The Happiest Life: Seven Gifts, Seven Givers, and the Secret to Genuine Success by Hugh Hewitt (2013)
17. How Jesus Became God: The Exaltation of a Jewish Preacher from Galilee by Bart D. Ehrman (2014)
18. Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis (2014)
19. Dying for Triplicate: A True Story of Addiction, Survival & Recovery by Todd A. Zalkins (2011)
20. Godless: The Church of Liberalism by Ann Coulter (2006) [cd, unabridged]
21. Mystic Rhythms: The Philosophical Vision of Rush by Carol Selby Price and Robert M. Price (1998)
22. Bait and Switch: The (Futile) Pursuit of the American Dream by Barbara Ehrenreich (2005) [cd, unabridged]
23. Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge by Frederic Block (2012)
24. The Agent: My 40-Year Career Making Deals and Changing the Game by Leigh Steinberg (2014)
25. Colonel Roosevelt by Edmund Morris (2010) [cd, unabridged]
26. Trust Me I'm Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator by Ryan Holiday (2013)
27. Tweak: Growing Up on Methamphetamines by Nic Sheff (2008)
28. Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance: An Inquiry Into Values by Robert M. Pirsig (1974) [cd, unabridged]
29. A Year of Biblical Womanhood by Rachel Held Evans (2012)
30. The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible by A.J. Jacobs (2007)[cd, unabridged]
31. The Guinea Pig Diaries: My Life as an Experiment by A.J. Jacobs(2009)
32. America Again: Re-becoming the Greatness We Never Weren't by Stephen Colbert (2012) [cd, unabridged]
33. Not Cool: The Hipster Elite and Their War on You by Greg Gutfeld (2014)
34. No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Surveillance State by Glenn Greenwald (2014)
35. Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War by Robert M. Gates (2014) [cd, unabridged]
36. The Divide: American Injustice In The Age Of The Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi (2014)
37. Drop Dead Healthy: One Man's Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection by A.J. Jacobs (2012) [cd, unabridged]
38. Keeping It Civil: The Case of the Pre-nup and the Porsche & Other True Accounts from the Files of a Family Lawyer by Margaret Klaw (2013)
39. The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris (1979) [cd, unabridged]
40. Anarchy Evolution: Faith, Science, and Bad Religion in a World Without God by Greg Graffin and Steve Olson (2010)
41. Churched: One Kid's Journey Toward God Despite a Holy Mess by Matthew Paul Turner (2008)
42. Theodore Rex by Edmund Morris (2001) [cd, unabridged]
43. The Know-It-All: One Man's Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World by A.J. Jacobs (2004)
44. Is Belief in God Good, Bad or Irrelevant?: A Professor and a Punk Rocker Discuss Science, Religion, Naturalism & Christianity edited by Preston Jones (2006)
45. Nothing is Impossible: Reflections on a New Life by Christopher Reeve (2002) [cd, unabridged]
46. The Hollywood Economist: The Hidden Financial Reality Behind the Movies by Edward Jay Epstein (2010)
47. Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness by William Styron (1990)
48. Blindsided: Lifting a Life Above Illness: A Reluctant Memoir by Richard M. Cohen (2004) [cd, unabridged]
49. Sideways: A Novel by Rex Pickett (2004)[cd, unabridged]
50. The Joy of Hate: How to Triumph Over Whiners in the Age of Phony Outrage by Greg Gutfeld (2012)
51. I Don't Believe in Atheists by Chris Hedges (2008)
52. Brand NFL: Making and Selling America's Favorite Sport by Michael Oriard (2007)
53. Jesus on Trial: A Lawyer Affirms the Truth of the Gospel by David Limbaugh (2014)
54. The Lawyer Bubble: A Profession in Crisis by Steven J. Harper (2013)
55. Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage: America's Love Lab Experts Share Their Strategies for Strengthening Your Relationship by John M. Gottman, Julie Schwartz Gottman and Joan DeClaire (2006)
56. Broken: My Story of Addiction and Redemption by William Cope Moyers with Katherine Ketcham (2006)
57. Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein (1961) [cd unabridged]
58. Wide Awake: Spirituality Without Religion by Sam Harris (2014)
59. Citizens of the Green Room: Profiles in Courage and Self-Delusion by Mark Leibovich (2014)
60. Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace (1996)

Athletic Achievement of the Year
Summited Mt. San Jacinto, 10,834 feet

Book of Year
The Divide: American Injustice In The Age Of The Wealth Gap by Matt Taibbi (2014)
Honorable Mention: Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis (2014)

Movie of the Year
Honorable Mention: Whiplash

Concert of the Year
Honorable Mention: Bad Religion

Losses Sustained
Beth Kuttler (law partner)

Trial of the Year
As fun as a withering cross-examination can be, or as gratifying as a compelling closing argument can feel, sometimes the best trial result is the one short-cutting all of those entertaining machinations. I represented a client who had loaned a considerable amount of money to a corporation. After the corporation failed to pay and a lawsuit ensued, the corporate defendant asserted, through its attorney, a myriad of affirmative defenses claiming the loan was unenforceable. As is my custom in most cases, I served a series of requests for admission that, if admitted, would establish all of the elements of my client's claims and damages, but would also eviscerate all of the purported defenses. The corporation refused to answer the requests. In turn, I obtained an order deeming all the requests admitted. So as the trial approached, I prepared a single motion in limine asking the trial court to rule at the outset of the trial that judgment should be entered in my client's favor. The trial court granted the motion and the trial ended without my having to call a single witness. Thereafter, I brought a motion for attorney's fees which was granted in its entirety. Anti-climatic, but short and sweet.

Appeal of the Year
My client was a high school athlete. He played football, at least that is what he signed up for. However, during practice one day, the coach had the team perform drills whereby it would divide into squads that would crash into each other akin to what occurs during kickoffs. The kicker was that the students were in full pads but were not provided helmets or mouth-guards. Not surprisingly, the drill went awry; my client's jaw was obliterated. He filed suit (through another law firm). The school district brought a motion for summary judgment om the ground of "assumption of the risk". The trial judge granted the motion. We advanced an appeal that essentially argued that the doctrine of "assumption" did not apply because the coach increased the inherent risk of the sport, by conducting a drill that was not inherent in the sport. In other words, while my client might have signed up to play football, he did not sign up to play rugby or whatever amalgam that drill constituted. Thus, the "assumption" doctrine did not apply and the motion for summary judgment cold not stand. The appellate court agreed and reversed unanimously for a trial on the merits.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Year in Review, 2013.

Books Read (in order read)
1. Arguably: Essays by Christopher Hitchens (2011)
2. Imperfect Justice: Prosecuting Casey Anthony by Jeff Ashton with Lisa Pulitzer (2011)
3. Free Will by Sam Harris (2012)
4. Full Service by Scotty Bowers with Lionel Friedberg (2012) [cd,unabridged]
5. Presumed Guilty by Jose Baez and Peter Golenbock (2012)
6. G-d, No!: Signs You May Already Be an Atheist and Other Magical Tales by Penn Jillette (2011)
7. Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, And An Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan (2011)
8. Life After Death by Damien Echols (2012)
9. Predator Nation by Charles H. Ferguson (2012)
10. Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief by Lawrence Wright (2013) [cd, unabridged]
11. Sex, Mom, and God: How the Bible's Strange Take on Sex Led to Crazy Politics--and How I Learned to Love Women (and Jesus) Anyway by Frank Schaeffer (2011)
12. What We Talk About When We Talk About God by Rob Bell (2013)
13. Bet The House: How I Gambled Over a Grand a Day for 30 days on Sports, Poker and Games of Chance by Richard Roeper (2010)
14. Mismatch: How Affirmative Action Hurts Students It's Intended to Help, and Why Universities Won't Admit It by Richard H. Sander and Stuart Taylor, Jr. (2012)
15. The High Adventure of Eric Ryback: Canada to Mexico on Foot by Eric Ryback (1971)
16. Red by Sammy Hagar with Joel Selvin (2011)
17. Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek with Steve Friedman (2012)
18. Dogs, Camping, and Other Candid Tales -- Life Lessons From the Out-of-Doors by G. Roger Schoenhals (2012)
19. How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels by N.T. Wright (2012)
20. The Price of Politics by Bob Woodward (2012) [cd,unabridged]
21. The Ultimate Journey: Canada to Mexico Down the Continental Divide by Eric and Tim Ryback (1973)
22. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson (2003)[cd,unabridged]
23. By Men or By Earth by Tyler Coulson (2013, 2d ed.)
24. I Promise Not to Suffer: A Fool for Love Hikes the Pacific Crest Trail by Gail D. Storey (2013)
25. The Operators: The Wild and Terrifying Inside Story of America's War in Afghanistan by Michael Hastings (2012)
26. Between the Bylines: The, Love and Loss of Los Angeles's Most Colorful Sports Journalist by Doug Krikorian (2013)
27. Is College Worth It?: A Former United States Secretary of Education and a Liberal Arts Graduate Expose the Broken Promise of Higher Education by William J. Bennett and David Wilezol (2013)
28. Inferno: A Novel by Dan Brown (2013) [cd, unabridged]
29. Skywalker: Highs & Lows on the Pacific Crest Trail by Bill Walker (2010)
30. Journal of the Dead: A Story of Friendship and Murder in the New Mexico Desert by Jason Kersten (2003)
31. Neither Here Nor There: Travels in Europe by Bill Bryson (1991) [cd, unabridged]
32. Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan (2013)
33. The Man Who Walked Through Time by Colin Fletcher (1967)
34. This Town: Two Parties and a Funeral--Plus, Plenty of Valet Parking!--in America's Gilded Capital by Mark Leibovich (2013 [cd, unabridged]
35. Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design by Stephen C. Meyer (2013)
36. Shaping Our Nation: How Surges of Migration Transformed America and Its Politics by Michael Barone (2013)
37. David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell (2013)[cd, unabridged]
38. Eleven Rings: The Soul of Success by Phil Jackson and Hugh Delehanty 2013) [cd, unabridged]
39. Kings of Tort by Alan Lange and Tom Dawson (2010)
40. League of Denial: The NFL, Concussions, and the Battle for Truth by Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru (2013)

Film of the Year
The Place Beyond the Pines
Honorable Mention: American Hustle

Book of the Year

By Men or By Earth by Tyler Coulson (2013, 2d ed.)
Honorable Mentions: Zealot: Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth by Reza Aslan (2013) and Following Atticus: Forty-Eight High Peaks, One Little Dog, And An Extraordinary Friendship by Tom Ryan (2011)

Athletic Achievement of the Year
Summitted Mt. Baldy (aka Mt. San Antonio, 10,064 feet)

Trial of Year
My client, a beneficiary, sought an order compelling a distribution of a real property pursuant to a trust provision. The trustees opposed the distribution and sought an order keeping the property in the trust. Both the trust's drafting attorney and the trustee (who was given a life estate over the property in question) testified that it was the trustor's intent (stated to them) that the property be held in trust until the end of the life estate. We countered that the trust's text provided that the property was to be distributed upon the trustor's death, subject to the life estate. The trial court granted our petition and denied the trustee's petition and ordered an immediate distribution in favor of my client. In so doing, the court found that I had impeached the drafting attorney's testimony. The judge stated that in light of the drafting attorney's testimony two options remained: (1)the attorney received instructions from the trustor that the property remain in trust but she did not include language in the trust to effectuate this intent which was tantamount to "malpractice"; or (2)the attorney was lying to the court. The trial judge said he did not need to resolve the question of which option adhered to rule in my client's favor, but he went on to state that he thought it was option number two given the impeaching testimony I had highlighted at trial from the drafting attorney's deposition I took months earlier and the attorney's apparent motivation to avoid malpractice. I didn't want to embarrass a fellow member of the bar, but it was beyond dispute that the attorney would not answer my questions and would not refrain from shading her testimony for her perceived benefit. In the end, she embarrassed herself and my client prevailed.

Appeal of the Year
My opponents appealed a judgment refusing to grant them title to property to a shopping center in Southern California. They also appealed an order denying them attorneys' fees. Applying the heightened "abuse of discretion" standard I argued applied, the appellate court rejected their appeal and affirmed. In so doing, one of the lines from the opinion rejecting my opponents' contention was a sharp, "That is not true."

Concert of The Year
Depeche Mode

Losses Sustained
Dr. Jerry Buss
Dr. Robert J. Radcliffe (my dad)

“His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” (Matthew 25:23 NKJV.)
The words “good and faithful servant” have never applied to a human more than Robert James Radcliffe.
He never wavered to the very end. He was always faithful. His faithfulness was perhaps best exhibited in the three most important areas of his life: his mission, his ministry and his marriage.

By mission, I mean his focus to achieve personal goals. In other words, his personal mission statement. At least five (5) come readily to mind: education, technology, music, books, and nature.

A. Education.
First, he believed in education. He persevered until he obtained his Ph.D in Education. I had the pleasure to accompany dad to classes at Claremont Graduate School. They would sit around a conference room table discussing big ideas. I remember how much dad like to talk about philosophy while he was studying in this program. It seemed like he is familiar with all the “isms” there were in the world. It is not coincidence that his dissertation for this Ph.D. was called The Compromise of Mission of Church-Related Colleges. His book studies how schools that were originally Christian had lost their way, i.e. did not remain faithful to their mission. At the end of his program, one of his advisors who has not a Christian, asked him did we change your mind? He said no, this education made me more convinced of my beliefs.

B. Technology.
He was an early adopter of technology. He was ahead of the curve, especially with respect to computers. We had computer in the house by 1981. He counseled us to take typing, but he foresaw that computers would revolutionize life.

C. Music.
Dad was accomplished in music. He was a gifted singer who sang powerful solos, duets and even in choirs. He learned to play the guitar, and had success playing brass instruments in marching bands, which he continued later in life at nursing homes.

D. Books.
I was always impressed with how many books Dad had at his office. An entire wall was filled with books. Plus he knew how to read them. Once I thought I figured out a way to shortcut reading them. I said one could skip over the preface or the introduction and get right to the “meat” . Dad corrected me. He rightly said that sometimes the most important material is found in the preface or introduction. How true this turned out to be. Also, he didn’t just show his enjoyment by reading books, he wrote them too. His book about being a pastor is still used in seminary courses to this day.

E. Nature.
Dad loved nature. He took us on trips to Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion, Bryce Canyon and other national parks. I remember camping with him, just the two of us, not far from here in Lake Arrowhead area. He took us as a family right here—to Big Bear Lake every summer while growing up. Dad was comfortable in the outdoors. He knew how to fish, make fires, cook in the outdoors, and make a camp. Camping in Yosemite Valley one summer I got afraid that bears were waiting to devour me and retreated to sleep in the car. Fearless, dad remained in the tent snugly in his sleeping bag. He reported it was one of his most comfortable slumbers ever. He was a pretty good around horses too, a story I will get to.

He started his ministry in the church. In fact, he got his bachelor’s and master’s degrees with the sole focus to get into ministry. He turned down an opportunity to study at the University of Illinois so that he could go to the premier Christian college in the country, Wheaton. Good call, because that’s where he met mom, and most of us would not be here without that choice. As a pastor, he was one who poured him life into other people. He and mom said that the most important and long-lasting investment one can make is in other people. He lived that maxim. One story illustrating that principle occurred right here in Big Bear. Every summer he would take a group from the church to horseback ride. One summer we were on such a horseback ride when a woman’s horse was spooked reared up, bucked the woman off, and then drove his hoof into the woman’s arm. This caused her arm to open and bleed profusely. Dad didn’t run away, defer to someone else, or stand paralyzed with fear. He took his shirt off and sued it to apply a compress to the wound. It stopped the bleeding enough for the woman, who ironically was named Mrs. Payne, for the woman’s arm to be saved (after going the hospital).
He transitioned his ministry into education. He explained me why he did this. Multiplication principle. Book called The Master Plan of Evangelism by Robert E. Coleman. Jesus and disciples. Jesus poured his life into his disciples, who in turn could spread is message after he left the earth bodily. By the same token, Dad enjoyed mentoring and ministering to people in his church, but he realized that if he could train other pastors, not only would he minister to them, but they in turn would multiply dad when they pastored their own churches. Having the opportunity to go to the same university while he taught there I got to see firsthand what effect he had on his students. They called him Daddy Rad. It was ok to share him with others who called him dad too. He was very respected and made my very proud.

Dad exemplified faithfulness in his marriage. Married in 1964 he remained faithful to mom until his death. He and mom were married 49 years. As an extension of his marriage, he was a good father. In addition to imparting these life lessons—some of which he covered already--through words and his deeds, he spent quality time with us. I remember times throwing the baseball around (I found out form his brother, John, that he was an excellent pitcher growing up), shooting baskets out front of the house (a backboard and hoop he and I installed together), and having him root for me during my games.

Reflecting back on all of this and other wonderful things about dad, I’m confident he has received the greeting in heaven, “well done good and faithful servant.” I can only echo that by saying “Well done.” And thank you; we love you; we shall never forget you.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Year in Review, 2012.

Books Read (in no particular order)
1. Losing It: In Which an Aging Professor Laments... (2011) by William Ian Miller
2. Inside Scientology (2011) by Janet Reitman
3. The New New Rules (2011) by Bill Maher
4. Here Comes Trouble (2011) by Michael Moore
5. I Lost My Love in Baghdad: A Modern War Story by Michael Hastings
6. Hilarity Ensues (2012) by Tucker Max
7. I Hope They Serve Beer In &%#$ (2009) by Tucker Max
8. Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (2009) by Christopher McDougall
9. A Supposedly Fun Thing I'll Never Do Again: Essays and Arguments by David Foster Wallace
10. Quiet (2012) by Susan Cain
11. Godforsaken (2012) by Dinesh D'Souza
12. Game Change: Obama and the Clintons, McCain and Palin, and the Race of a Lifetime by John Heilemann and Mark Halperin [cd, unabridged]
13. Boomerang: Travels in the New Third (2011) by Michael Lewis
14. Heaven and Mel (2012) by Joe Esterzhas
15. Running on Empty: An Ultramarathoner's Story of Love, Loss, and a Record-Setting Run Across America (2011) by Marshall Ulrich
16. Steve Jobs (2011) by Walter Isaacson
17. Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 (2012) by Charles Murray
18. Run!: 26.2 Stories of Blisters and Bliss (2011) by Dean Karnazes
19. Bossypants (2011) by Tina Fey [cd, unabridged]
20. The Letter: My Journey Through Love, Loss & Life (2012) by Marie Tillman
21. Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail (2012) by Cheryl Strayed
22. Failing Law Schools (2012) by Brian Tamanaha
23. AWOL On the Appalachian Trail (2010) by David Miller
24. Einstein: His Life and Universe by Walter Isaacson [cd, unabridged]
25. A Blistered Kind of Love: A Couple's Trial by Trail by Angela & Duffy Ballard
26. A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson [cd, unabridged]
27. Quitter (2011) by Jon Acuff
28. Notes from a Small Island by Bill Bryson [cd, unabridged]
29. The Day the Earth Caved In: An American Mining Tragedy by Joan Quigley
30. Tangled Webs: How False Statements Are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff (2011) by James B. Stewart
31. The Cactus Eaters: How I Lost My Mind--And Almost Found Myself--On The Pacific Crest Trail by Dan White
32. The Brief Against Obama (2012) by Hugh Hewitt
33. In a Sunburned Country (about Australia) by Bill Bryson [cd, unabridged]
34. Private Empire: ExxonMobil and American Power (2012) by Steve Coll [cd, unabridged]
35. Don't Go To Law School (Unless) by Paul Campos (2012)
36. Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (2012) by Ross Douthat
37. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir by Bill Bryson [cd, unabridged]
38. Too Fat To Fish by Artie Lange with Anthony Bozza [cd, unabridged]
39. Not Taco Bell Material (2012) by Adam Corolla
40. No Easy Day: The Firsthand Account of the Mission That Killed Osama Bin Laden (2012) by Mark Owen (pseudonym) and Kevin Maurer
41. Consider the Lobster And Other Essays by David Foster Wallace
42. Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert [cd, unabridged]
43. In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks: . . . And Other Complaints from an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy (2010) by Adam Carolla
44. Why I Left Goldman Sachs: A Wall Street Story (2012) by Greg Smith
45. The Oath: The Obama White House and the Supreme Court (2012) by Jeffrey Toobin [cd, unabridged]
46. The Big Miss: My Years Coaching Tiger Woods (2012) by Hank Haney [cd, unabridged]
47. Mortality (2012) by Christopher Hitchens
48. Confidence Men: Wall Street, Washington, and The Education of a President (2011) by Ron Suskind

Book of the Year
Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (2012) by Ross Douthat
Honorable Mentions: Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010 (2012) by Charles Murray and Quiet (2012) by Susan Cain

Concert of the Year

Losses Sustained
Charles Colson
Frank Pastore
Junior Seau

Film of the Year
Arbitrage and Flight (tie)
Honorable Mention: Argo

Athletic Accomplishment of the Year
Summited Saddleback Mountain (Santiago Peak)

Trial of the Year (arbitration)
Corporate client executed consulting agreement with hospital to obtain provider contract that had long eluded hospital (after its cancellation many years ago). Client was successful in securing lucrative provider contract. Once hospital had provider contract in hand, it refused to honor consulting agreement, which included a substantial success fee to Client. Client and hospital mediated. The parties fashioned a settlement agreement (with mutual and general releases). Hospital failed to honor settlement agreement (even while enjoying the benefits of provider contract). Client sued. Hospital moved to arbitrate pursuant to arbitration clause in consulting agreement. In arbitration, which I conducted, hospital argued the contract was "illegal" and demanded return of the money it had paid Client (prior to and in addition to success fee). The arbitration involved complex testimony of experts as well as percipient witnesses. Arbitrator granted every penny requested to my Client and denied the cross-complaint in its entirety. I moved to confirm the arbitration award as a judgment. Hospital argued the award should be vacated and asked the court to take up its "illegality" argument. The trial court rejected the hospital's argument in its entirety and confirmed the award. The court issued judgment for my client. Hospital appealed. However, the hospital did not post a bond or otherwise seek a stay of enforcement. My colleague initiated judgment collection efforts and reached full payment, which the Sheriff's office (who did the levying) reported was the largest recovery they had ever seen. The hospital dismissed the appeal.


Saturday, December 31, 2011

Year in Review, 2011.

Books Read (in no particular order)

1. Fate, Time and Language: An Essay on Free Will (2011) by David Foster Wallace.
2. Forged: Writing in the Name of God--Why the Bible's Authors Are Not Who We Think They Are (2011) by Bart D. Ehrman.
3. Malled: My Unintentional Career in Retail (2011) by Caitlin Kelly.
4. The Reason for God: Belief in an Age of Skepticism (2008) by Tim Keller.
5. Easter Everywhere: A Memoir (2008) by Darcey Steinke.
6. The Moral Landscape: How Science Can Determine Human Values (2011) by Sam Harris.
7. Laker Girl (2010) by Jeannie Buss & Steve Springer.
8. Conservative Assault on the Constitution (2010) by Erwin Chemerinsky.
9. Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain.
10. Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip--Confessions of a Cynical Waiter (2009) by Steve Dublanica.
11. Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival (2010) by Norman Ollestad.
12. The Fall of the House of Zeus: The Rise and Ruin of America's Most Powerful Trial Lawyer (2010) by Curtis Wilkie.
13. Deadly Spin: An Insurance Company Insider Speaks Out on How Corporate PR Is Killing Health Care & Deceiving Americans (2010) by Wendell Potter.
14. The Grand Design (2010) by Stephen Hawking (& Mlodinow).
15. Griftopia (2010) by Matt Taibbi.
16. Those Guys Have All the Fun: Inside the World of ESPN (2011) by James Andrew Miller and Tom Shales.
17. On B___S___ (2005) by Harry G. Frankfurt.
18. Love Wins: A Book About Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived (2011) by Rob Bell.
19. Although of Course You End Up Becoming Yourself: A Roadtrip With David Foster Wallace (2010) by David Lipsky.
20. The Pale King (2011) (CD, unabridged) by David Foster Wallace.
21. Divinity of Doubt: The God Question (2011) by Vincent Bugliosi.
22. Truth and Consequences: Life Inside the Madoff Family (2011) by Laurie Sandell.
23. The Rogue: Searching for the Real Sarah Palin (2011) by Joe McGinniss.
24. Of Thee I Zing (2011) by Laura Ingraham with Raymond Arroyo.

Losses Sustained

Christopher Hitchens

Concerts Experienced

1. 311/Sublime
2. Chicago
3. Sade/John Legend
4. blink182/My Chemical Romance

Appeal of the Year

Appealed ruling of trial court refusing to compel arbitration. The trial court determined that the arbitration clause in a franchise agreement was purportedly "unconscionable." Court of appeal reversed on 3-0 vote, holding it was not "unconscionable" and published the opinion, making it precedent throughout the State of California.

Trial of the Year

Client hired law firm to represent him in a securities fraud case, claiming millions in damages. That law firm obtained an award of approximately $30,000. Thereafter, the law firm sued my client for its attorneys' fees approximating half a million dollars. We asserted that the law firm was retained pursuant to a contingency fee agreement, so their fee was about $10,000. While the law firm claimed that it "rescinded" the attorney-client fee agreement due to purported breaches of contract and thus was entitled to it hourly rates of over $550, we argued that rescission was unable under the circumstances and asserted the contingency fee controlled. The trial court agreed with us.

Book of the Year

Crazy for the Storm: A Memoir of Survival
(2010) by Norman Ollestad. Beautiful tribute to his father, also named Norman, a California attorney, whose life lessons ended up saving the son's life in a tragic airplane crash that took his father's life.

Film of the Year

Drive with Ryan Gosling. Film noir, the movie does so much with so little words. A testament to fine acting and directing. With his other two movies this year: Ides of March and Crazy, Stupid, Love, no actor had a stronger triad this year.