Law Religion Culture Review

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

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.