The Velvet Hammer

The Velvet Hammer

Stritmatter Kessler Whelan
200 2nd Ave West
Seattle WA 98119
206.448.1777 tel
206.728.2131 fax

The Office Fitbit Solution

Posted in About Nala, Women

officedog

Anne has started off the new year with a Fitbit.   Her goal – add steps to her sedentary work day.  Tearing herself away from her desk has proven difficult.  Anne always has more work than she can complete.

Enter Nala.  She comes to work most days.  There are many hours spent lying on the floor, chewing an old antler, digging the stuffing out of her bed, and otherwise being bored.  She doesn’t complain though.  Afterwards we typically go for a run.

About three weeks ago, Anne had an aha moment.  She was watching  Nala who as usual, was exercising bad manners and jumping on someone who had come into my office for a visit.  Hmm, Anne thought.  And just like peanut butter and jelly the two souls came together.

Nala now has a new walking pal.  And Anne has found a fun way to add between 1000 and 2000 steps to her new contraption each day.

Photo:  Sunny, 50 degrees, and 3:00 Monday afternoon.

 

The origins of my initials and an updated motion to permit skype testimony at trial

Posted in About me, About practicing law, Forms, Trial Tips for Attorneys

swiss

Pick up mom from Shoreline.  It is 58 degrees out and she is in a faux fur black maxi coat with brass buttons.  She bought it for $25.  Half off at the consignment store.  Brand new from Sears.

Take her to late lunch at Din Tai Fung University Village.  Hour and a half wait.  Meet up with my brother Greg and his wife Laurie.  We say forget it.  Go to Boom Noodle.  Eat lunch.  Not as good as Din Tai Fung but quicker.  Greg and Laurie take Nala for doggie sitting play date.  I drive with mom to the movie theater at The Landing in Renton.  My sister Jenny pulls up.  Out jump her boys Ben and EJ.  We eat popcorn and watch Paddington Bear.  Quite delightful.

Movie ends.  Jenny retrieves the young ones.  Take mom back first to get Nala then back to Shoreline.  It is a bit of a haul.  She talks nonstop.  Her memory has been returning.

MFK:  You know when I was in the Bureau of Mines (she was a chemical engineer), I was third in command in case someone had to push “the” button.

K3:  Really.

MFK:   Yep.  At one point, everyone got a promotion.  I was waiting for mine.  I was seven months pregnant with you.  Boss said – well, you’ve got me over the barrel.  If I give you a promotion (and raise) how do I know you’ll even come back.  I said – if you don’t give me a promotion and a raise I will leave right now.  I wasn’t going to let him get away with treating me like that.  Just because I was a woman and it was 1960. Not to mention the Chinese part.   The next day he gave me a promotion and a raise.

K3:  Smile.  (No response necessary).

MFK:  His name was Ken K__ K___.  That’s when I decided if he could live with those initials then so could you.  (Laughing raucously).    Anyway you’re just K cubed.

K3:  (Thinking, ah so there was a scientific reason beyond all of this).  That’s real nice mom.

MFK:  So the next day he gave me the raise.   I had you.  And then a year later we left for Europe (for your dad’s post-doctoral program in Zurich).

Photo:   Mom (Mary Fung Koehler) and I in Switzerland

Motion to permit Skype testimony at trial:  newMtoallowSkype

 

Nala and my delicious red grapes – a cautionary tale

Posted in About Nala, About practicing law

vet

 

Today Nala almost killed herself.

It is drizzling.  We are running around the neighborhood.   Both of us in our rain gear.  Splish.  Splash. It starts pouring.   Get home.  Wash off the dirt.  Towel her.  Repeat process with myself.

Need to file a brief this morning.  A discovery teleconference is scheduled to start soon.

Hurry.

Grab large bunch of delicious red grapes.  Rinse them.  Wrap in dishtowel.  Place in purse.

Run out the door to office.  Arrive.  Anne is waiting.  Follows me into office.

Close door.  Throw down purse.  Go over final briefing touches.

Two minutes late for teleconference.  Dial number.  Rory and Jennifer are on the phone.  We chit.  We chat.  Write confirming email.

Cristina brings in cupcakes from Morpheys.  This is good because never got to eat breakfast.  Also some samples of cake and frosting that we are to taste for her wedding purposes.

Go to grab grapes.  Want to eat something healthy before sugar rush commences.  Pull dishtowel out of purse.  It is wet.  But empty.

The other night saw the very depressing movie:  Still Alice.  Julianne Moore may win the Oscar.  So went to see it.   Look at towel and think.  Pretty sure washed grapes and put them in towel in purse.  Maybe didn’t.  Maybe did.  Hmmm.  Look at Nala.  She stares blithely past me.   Bear down.  Make eye contact with her.  There’s no doubt.

Google:  dogs and grapes.  https://www.aspca.org/pet-care/virtual-pet-behaviorist/dog-behavior/foods-are-hazardous-dogs

Grapes are toxic for dogs and related to kidney failure.

Call Dr. Clare at Urban Vet.

Receptionist: How many did she eat.  If just a couple she’s fine.

K3:  I think she ate an entire two handed bunch of grapes.

Receptionist:  Let me check with Dr. Clare….can you bring her in right away.

K3:  yes.

Pack her up.  Tail wagging.  Drive down the road.  Get to Urban Vet.  Dr. Clare comes out to get her.  Tells me to go back to office.  Will call when ready to be picked up.  She needs to be given some medicine to make her throw up.

Drive back to office.  Walk in door. Brief has been filed.  Cristina returns.  We eat cupcakes.  Very tasty. Except the almond frosting is yucky.

Phone rings.  They say it worked fast.  She just vomited about 70 grapes.  Three times the level at which they would be toxic.

Cristina drives with me to get her.  Pay enough money to buy 25 entire grape vines fully loaded.

Thank Dr. Clare.  She says if we hadn’t caught it so quickly it would have been a big problem.  There would have been many more medical tests and procedures.  To say the least.   Thank her for being such a good and caring doctor

Return to office.  Attend meeting of an accident reconstructionist with Brad.

While Nala  cruises around.  Happy as can be.

Photo:  Dr. Clare of Urban Vet and Nala

 

 

This is a stickup – give us all his money: the true story of young brain injured John T

Posted in About practicing law, insurance, The most obnoxious...

1131698_IMG_1668.JPG

 

One of the hazards of driving while high, is that you become a very bad driver.  A year ago, Mr. H decided not to take my word for it.  He smoked some pot.  Went for a drive.  Creamed a car.  In the back of the car, right where he t-boned it, sat high school student John T.  And his doggie who was instantly killed.

But this isn’t the story of Mr. H.   Or  of his arrest.  It is the story of the other villain in this case.

To complete his circle of irresponsibility, Mr. H was uninsured.  John was horribly and permanently injured.  Amazingly, the insurance company for the car in which he was riding, decided to make things as right as it could.   It agreed to pay all of the coverage it had on the car.  What a good neighbor.

Enter Swedish Health Services. (You can start booing now).

John’s mom was a nurse at Swedish Medical Center.  Every month this mom paid money for premiums for health insurance through SHS.

SHS started out by doing what it had to do.  It paid his medical bills.  These amounted to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

SHS was told the car insurance company was going to compensate John for his injuries.  SHS said – we want all of it.  Every single last dime.  Fork it over.  Except 20% to be paid to the attorneys for getting it.

SHS cited the legal principle of subrogation.   http://fightsubro.com/  This concept, allows health insurers – if they choose – to stick up the people they insure.  So that’s what they decided to do:

“While we sympathize with Mr. T’s situation, the law requires us to administer the Plan in accordance with its terms.  The Plan provides for the payment of attorneys in the amount of 20% of recovery, but does not authorize a waiver of its subrogation rights.  The Plan will accept the (entire) settlement, less 20% for attorneys fees, as partial satisfaction of its lien.  Please note that this acceptance is not a waiver of the ZPlan’s right to collect the remainder of its subrogation lien int he event additional funds are awarded to Mr. T in connection with this accident.  Please make checks payable to First Choice Health.”

Upon receiving this letter, Anne sent me an email that said this:

“Karen: Please see letter from First Choice in response to our T subro lien reduction request.   This is an ERISA lien and they are _________ (noun).”

How would you fill in that blank.

Stay tuned for part 2 in this ongoing series.

Photo by Seattle Police Department of the t-boned vehicle

 

 

Mr. T – a deposition tale

Posted in About practicing law, depositions, The most obnoxious...

treadmill

 

5:45 am.  Phone beeps.  Count backward down to the minute have to get up to get out on time.  5:56 am get up.

Race through morning ritual.  Clothes put out the night before.  Black crop jeans.  Black t-shirt.  Deconstructed BCBG black and gray striped jacket.  Black doc martens.  2 black bags.  black raincoat.  Slick back hair that used to be black and now in places looks like tinsel.   Grab 2 luna bars, fat sumo orange and honey crisp apple for later.

Walk Nala to her patch of grass and back.  Hop in car.  Drop her at doggie day care.

Drive to airport.  3rd floor full.  5th floor full.  Find a spot on the 6th floor at the far edge.  Type in 6 – 55 on phone to remember spot. Magically am TSA pre-checked so hop through security line.  Get couscous cup from Dish d’lish for lunch and bottle of water.

7:20 Plane is on time and we board.  Eat 1 luna bar.   8:15 get off in Portland.  Go to rental counters – look at phone.  Booked on Budget.  Drat.  Hate Budget in Portland.  Have to take a shuttle.  Email Cristina and Anne whining about Budget.  No other passengers on shuttle.  No wait at rental counter.  Am assigned blue car that is not excellent.   Can’t figure out how to operate windshield wipers.  Start driving.   Apply brakes and car jerks to stop.  Touchy.

Input address and following phone commands to destination of today’s deposition.  Drive about 15 minutes past downtown.   To a vast non-descript office park.  9:35.  Have almost an hour.  Decide still hungry.  Type the word bakery into phone.  Follow commands.  Bakery turns out to be a 7-11.  No thank you.  Type in donut.  Fairly close.  Is in the JoAnn Fabric complex.  Sesame Seed Donuts or something like that.  Never had a sesame donut before.  Don’t try one now.  Get a glazed old fashioned.  Hold door open for elderly man carrying his newspaper.  He’s smiling in anticipation.   Consider this proof of merits of eating deep fried sugar coated dough.

Get back into rental.  Phone rings.  Answer.  It’s my bank.  Need to transfer money from one checking account to the other. Thank them for great customer service. Drive back to office building.  Park.  Open computer.  Transfer the money.  Eat donut.  Wipe sugar off face.  Grab black bags.  Exit blue bomber.  Climb three flights of stairs.  Open glass door.  Ask for Mr. T.

10:20 Follow receptionist down long blank beige hall to windowless conference room.   Say hello to court reporter.  She reminds me of my favorite librarian back in the day. Spectacles.  Carefully coiffed hair.   Is wearing a golden colored hummingbird broach on the lapel of her brown tweed-like  jacket.

10:30 Mr. T arrives along with defense counsel.

Mr. T is a lawyer.  Hired by insurance companies.  Rumor has it that he is quite unpleasant.  Am willing to suspend judgment and give him the benefit of the doubt.

He is wearing strict lawyer garb.  Looks older than his probable age.  Balding, overweight and with a circle beard (goatee connected to a mustache).   The soft spoken, gracious court reporter asks to take his photo (standard practice).  He tells her no.

What a gem.

For the next 6 hours less a 45 minute lunch break (eat couscous and fat sumo), we stay in that room.  Locked together.  Unpleasantly.

His involvement on this case started four years ago.  He is a fact witness.  He has done nothing to prepare for the deposition.  He hasn’t looked at his file.   Which is about 5000 pages worth.   He has for the most part – no  memory independent of what is contained in his file.    So he needs to see the file document in order to answer the question.  When I show him the file document, then he says it doesn’t refresh his memory and that the document speaks for itself.

5:00 approaches.  He says he has to go.  Actually he’s been saying this for awhile now.  Repeatedly leaning over to look at the clock on defense counsel’s computer.  Shifting about in his chair.  Asking the court reporter if she’s taping the proceeding.  So he can count the minutes where I am looking through documents. Acts even more rudely.  If that’s possible.

Say something to him like if you stop whining we can finish more quickly.  He doesn’t like that and jumps up.  Says this is over.  Walks out.  Defense counsel politely asks – how much longer would it take you to finish Karen. Say – gosh was almost done maybe 10 or 15 minutes at most.   He leaves to talk to the witness.  They return. Mr. T says – you have 9 minutes.

Ask some more questions.  Read a colloquy.  Tell Mr. T it is not a question so he doesn’t need to respond.  He looks at me as if am an ant he’d like to crush with his heel.  Defense counsel objects to the colloquy.   Mr. T leaves.  Exchange pleasantries with defense counsel who has been totally pleasant and professional.  Say goodbye to court reporter as she packs up.

Walk down three flights.  Open building door.  It is dark.  Head to car.  Over here.  Wait.  Maybe over there.  Walk around a few minutes and realize.  Wrong parking lot.  Go back into big box building down long beige entry and out the exact other side.  Locate car by clicking key button.  Lights flash.  Get in.  5:30.  Drive in hideous rush hour traffic back to Budget.  Get lost because phone has no idea that Budget is not with the other companies in the terminal.  Call office.  Tell Anne how rude Mr. T was.  She commiserates.   6:20.  Have missed 6:30 flight.  She rebooks me.

Arrive at Budget.  Take shuttle to airport.  Cristina calls.  Tell her how rude Mr. T was.  She commiserates.  Get vegetable salad from take out place and a Lindor milk chocolate ball – the one in a red wrapper  Reach gate.  7:05.  Just in time to board plane departing at 7:30.

Plane delayed.  Eat salad and chocolate.

7:25 Plane arrives.  Board.  7:48 plane takes off.  Eat apple.  Read book on ipad (Fall of Giants by Ken Follett).

8:30 Arrive back in Seattle.  Phone tells me where am parked.  Go to 6th floor.  Get in.  Pay $28 to exit.  Call Steven.  Tell him how rude Mr. T was.  He commiserates.

Drive to doggie daycare.  They retrieve Nala. 9:20  She is  giant fur ball.  They have sprayed and fluffed her with a scent that is supposed to mask the odor of what happens when doggies roll around together for 12 hours.  It isn’t working.

9:30  home.  Read text message from Sol –  sorry you had to deal with Mr. T.  Text back – no problem it’s part of the job description.

Put away load of laundry.  Give Nala some water.  Eat handful of raspberries.

10:15 throw on running gear.  Go downstairs to treadmill.    Run while watching an episode of Game of Thrones.   Volume on high to drown out treadmill noise.   Daenerys Targaryen is struck by her abusive brother and knocked to the ground.  She reaches over to a pillow whereupon lies a magnificent bejeweled barbarian styled necklace.  Swings it back.  Strikes him in the face.  Cuts his cheek.  Calmly furious, warns if he lays hands upon her again, she will have them (the hands) removed.

Channel Daenery to facilitate discarding of pent up Mr. T related aggression.    Run until done.  Call it a day.

Photo:   Where I run when it is too dark outside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Teaching Voir Dire with Bill Bailey and a little help from Trader Joes

Posted in About practicing law, Teaching, voir dire

snowtable

 

Prologue:

Taught trial advocacy for many years at UW School of Law with dear friend Bill Bailey.  Bill is now a full time professor at the school.  Since teaching without him would not be the same, decided to turn in adjunct badge.  However, today am going to the school to teach voir dire.

After factoring everything that could go wrong with traffic, arrive 30 minutes early.  Make a quick pit stop at  Trader Joes.  Scan the aisles and choose: 1) bag of mandarin oranges; 2) container of cookie butter chocolates; and 3) small bags of mixed nuts and dried fruit.  These are the secret ingredients.

Start class off.  Ask question.  Student answers.  Reward follows.  Chooses chocolate.  Throw one at him and he catches it.  Next person volunteers.  Chooses nuts. Toss it over and miss target.  Someone retrieves it for her.  And so on.  Needless to say, class participation is superb. 

During this event,  Bill is taking notes. 

Here they are:

 

From: Bill Bailey

Date: January 13, 2015 4:49:20 PM PST

To: Trial Advocacy adjunct professors

Subject: The Monday Class Report-Voir Dire Training With Karen Koehler

 

Dear Faculty, In keeping with my New Year’s resolution, I want to fill you in on the Monday class, which was a huge success, with great energy and participation by the students. Karen Koehler is a remarkable trial advocacy teacher who I was most fortunate to be paired with for a number of years here at UW. Her spontaneity, creativity and intuitive grasp make her uniquely suited to help students understand and perform one of the most feared parts of a trial

Karen broke the session into two parts, first talking about trust and communication in the courtroom and “us” (lawyers) versus “them” (jurors). Then we adjourned to the mock courtroom “set” in 138 Gates. The students filled the jury box and the first two center rows of 138. One by one, they took turns asking the panel about attitudes and issues pertinent to the Constantine case.

Prior to adjourning to the courtroom “set,” Karen asked for a show of hands, which class members considered themselves extroverts and which were on the introvert side. It was about evenly split. She went on to say that most lawyers are not the brash extroverts that the public thinks we are.

Then she asked for a show of hands on who was the kind that others confided secrets in during adolescence. About 5 students raised their hands. She asked them why they thought others trusted them. The replies varied. “”I am a good listener.” “I care about people.” “I could be trusted to keep a secret.”  “I am calm and rational.”

Her provocative question that followed was, “If you weren’t one of those people that others trusted then, what are the odds of shifting into that now?” One student had a very good answer to this, “High school was a strange time. I have matured a great deal since then, much more comfortable with myself.”

Karen then focused on the core challenge of voir dire: “How do you get information out of people in a courtroom on who is going to be biased against your clients?” She used the term “lawbotomy” to describe the biggest issue for lawyers. “We learn to speak in measured sentences full of the jargon we learned in law school. This separates us from real people.” Karen laid out the consequence. “It turns voir dire into us versus them. You have to figure out how to be real. You want to be on the side of the jury, not on the other side with the lawyers.”

She made some general remarks on how to approach voir dire successfully. “First impressions are formed quickly. The jury weighs everything coming out of your mouth. You want to set a tone that goes beneath the surface and gets things going. It has to be a dialog, not information collecting. Safe, not judgmental.

Your questions should be based on whatever the last answer from a panel member is, trying to keep it going. If you read questions from a script, you will get scripted answers. This needs to be a human interchange. Make your questions to the panel small, short and simple. Dial down, trying to explore an issue. React with real human expression. But never judge people based on their answers, always thanking them for their candor.

You work the panel like a talk show host, getting them aligned. Deal with issues in groups. “How many agree with that?” “Why?” “Who has an opposite view?”  You don’t want to be seen as just a data collector that is just trying to kick some of them off.

Karen’s view is that for many lawyers, voir dire is a time of stalling and giving empty platitudes, thanking the panel for their service, trying to curry favo. “Jurors want you to get into it. Hit the go button.”

She exhorted the students to be like the “normal, regular people they were before they went to law school.  Act like a real person. Just do it! Get in and be real.” She asked them, “How does a real person stand? What kind of acknowledgement or eye contact do they make? How do they hold their hands. How often do they smile?”

We then got into the voir dire process itself, with each student going about 2 minutes and then getting feedback from all of us. The liability areas touched on in the questioning were all very pertinent to the Constantine case, e.g., How do you feel about bicyclists on city streets? How many of you get irritated when you see them darting in and out of traffic? Who rides a bicycle regularly? How comfortable do you feel in traffic with cars? Who uses their cell phone while driving? How safe do you think this is? Who has ever rented a car in an unfamiliar city? Did it take you time to get used to the rental car? How do you navigate in an unfamiliar city? Who has ever used a crosswalk in downtown Seattle? Do you always look both ways? Are you concerned about being hit when you cross? Who ever has had a near miss as a pedestrian, when a car didn’t see you?” How careful are drivers in stopping for pedestrians? Who has ever motioned a pedestrian across a street when driving? How many of you consider yourselves safe drivers? How did you learn? Who taught you?”

Then we shifted to damages questions. How many of you have gone to college? How many of you changed your majors? How many times? Did anybody take time off during college or afterward? Has anyone ever lost a family member or close friend to trauma? How did that affect you? Did it change your daily life? How do you feel about awarding 4 for loss of life.”

In her feedback, Karen constantly urged the students to be themselves, “Know who you are and what makes you special. That’s what you go with in the courtroom. Be authentic.”
She also reminded them that “the purpose of voir dire is not just to get people off the jury. You are building trust. The trust relationship is the single biggest thing.”

The students were totally engaged in this, It was thrilling to see them put themselves out there for the sake of personal and professional growth. Karen created a climate in the classroom where they felt totally safe to explore the unknown.

Photo:  Nala and I on a picnic table at Lake Wenatchee state park.  Right before we jumped off.

 

Bump Bounce and Roll: Trying to start a trial.

Posted in About practicing law, Drop Dead Diva, The Good Wife

spaceneedle

On The Good Wife or Drop Dead Diva, the attorneys get the cases in the morning.  Try them in the afternoon.

In the real world the case is filed and then has to wait a year and a half for a trial date.

If it survives for that long, there is a fifty-fifty chance  the defense will ask the judge for (and get) a continuance.  Delay is a friend of the defense: Deny. Defend.  Delay.

So now the case has been waiting for a couple years.  The judge says – no more continuances.

As the trial date approaches, the office starts buzzing.  Call all witnesses.  Coordinate schedules.  Make sure everything will fit together as perfectly as possible.  Because judges don’t like even ten minutes of down time.

Just a few days away and we get the call from the bailiff.  Sorry.  Judge has a conflict.  Your case is getting brokered.  You are on standby.

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Frustrated.  But not surprised.

Office buzzes again.  Calls all witnesses.  They are unhappy.  Some will now be unable to attend.  They had already scheduled time off with their bosses.  Or they had travel plans.  Or they are doctors and have 50 patients booked solid every day.

The witnesses all want to know what the next date will be.  We can’t tell them.  The court hasn’t told us yet.

We wait until we get the call.  Case will start just one day late.  Just. This still plays havoc with everyone’s schedules.

The defense lawyer says they won’t agree to one day late.  Their witness isn’t available.  They bring a motion to continue the case again.

Gaaaaaaaaaaaaah.

Deal is worked out.  Case is continued for a month.

All the witnesses are notified.  All the schedules are reworked.  Plans made.

And we all cross our fingers and hope that this time it will actually go out on time.

Photo:  John, Anne and I making the best of the trial date continuance by eating lunch at the space needle. 

Livin’ the Glamorous Life – Another Hollyball Tale

Posted in About me, About practicing law, About running, Lawyer convention drama

hollyball2014

Wake up at 6:45.   Laze around.  Tonight is Hollyball.  Wonder what else is on schedule.  Open calendar.  “9:00 a.m. hold for Court of Appeals Argument.”  Whaaaaaaaaaaa

Text John 7:27 – is there an argument today.

Texts back 7:29.  Yes at 9:30 at first & union.

Try not to have a holy cow fit.  The word “hold” on a calendar is used when we are not certain of a date so hold it until confirmed.    The world hold threw me for a head fake.

Text John 7:34. Send me the files.

He does.  I read them.  Garth wrote them.   I know the issues very well and there’s not much case law.  Still… brain must go into warp speed.  And does.

7:55 – 8:20 –  get ready, feed nala, take her potty, grab some fruit, head out, mentally bounce through issues, calm down.

9:00 – park, look at breakfast options in “fresh” deli part of lobby.  Reject pre-packaged muffin idea.  Go to convenience store which has lemon luna bar.  Wolf it down.

9:15 – ride up escalator to appeals court.  Look up case.  We’re number one on docket.  Go thru security, let them dig through purse,  high heeled booties set off buzzer.  Get the once over treatment from the guard.

9:30 – say hi to Rory the defense lawyer.  COA commissioner enters.  We rise and begin.

10:00 – we finish.  Have not broken a sweat.  Enjoyed the adrenaline.  The positive endorphin rush from fighting for clients.

10:30 – back at office.  What else is on calendar.  Take a peek.  Oh great.  Another set of meetings double booked.  Sign this.  Sign that.  Draft that.  On the phone with 3 computer screens going.  Another typical day.

2:30 – leave.  Proud of self.   Goal was to leave by no later than 3.  Push self out of door with a little help from Nala.

2:35 – get home.   Take Nala potty.  Walk up to front door.  Leaves are everywhere from dratted street level neighbor’s maple.  She hasn’t raked them pretty much all year.  Which means I have to.   Can’t help it.  Get blower out and blow them back onto her part of the sidewalk.  This means they’ll be back on mine later tonight.  Still feel temporarily satisfied.

3:00 – throw on work out gear.  Do a few more emails.

3:15 – head out door with Nala and run around wind blown neighborhood.

4:30 – back home.  Holy heck.  Am done  two hours before hollyball begins.  This is a record.

4:35 – feed nala, move laundry from washer into dryer and start a new load.  Turn on Pandora funk 70s-80s channel.  Loud.

4:45 – shower.

4:50 – look at clock.  Still feels too early.  How long can it take to get ready.  Dink around.

5:15 – use hair dryer.  This device is used perhaps once a month for about a minute just to get things going.  Today actually dry most of hair with it.  Let’s discuss hair.  First of all, there are going to be people at the hollyball who have spent the afternoon at the salon.  My hair on the other hand, has a bit more…natural…character.  As you  may recall, it caught on fire last month.  And I used scissors to chopped off roughly 1 to 3 or 4 inches depending upon which side was less burned than the other.  In addition, Joy, the only person who has ever colored my hair, moved at least temporarily to be with her sister back east several months ago.  This means hair has some silver bits and pieces floating around.  Which I suppose adds to the whole holiday sparkle theme.

5:25 – hair is dry.

5:25 – 5:35 – put on some eye makeup.

5:35 – do not have a personal shopper or dresser.  Am just a wee bit not a Kardashian.   Have an outfit in mind.  Hopefully it will work out.  This does not involve a designer label like YSL, Gucci or Prada.  First, comes the velvet leggings by BCBG.  Have had these for three years and wear them rarely.  So they’re in good shape.  A few months ago bought BCBG tux jacket at super sale.  90% off or something like that.   Cost almost as much to dry clean as it did to buy it.  To tie everything together, last week went shopping with Cristina for a sparkly top.  Tried Nordstrom and other decent stores.  But there was nothing quite right.  Had aha moment – forget the grown up stores.  Let’s go to the teen stores.  Forever 21 to be exact.  Cristina found sparkly shirt.  $12.99.  So today, put it on.  Its a little  big.   Quite low in the front.  Consider tying straps up more.  Looks bunchy so don’t.  Put on tux jacket.  Sleeves too long.  Tailoring would have dwarfed the purchase price.  Roll up sleeps in an 80s way.  Inspired by the pounding funk.  Zip up velvet tassle booties.  Vintage prada satin party bag have had for about 20 years.

6:00  – 6:30 – voila.  Am done.   Take picture.  Post on FB.  Steven comes to get me.  Arrive at four seasons.  And hollyball the night away.

Photo:  selfie with Nala

 

 

 

Playing the “pot” card against an innocent driver

Posted in About practicing law, frivolous defenses, Tips for Attorneys

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Driving while high is now being used as a sword by the insurance companies of bad drivers who cause crashes.

Let’s say you live in a state where pot is legal.  You get high on a Sunday evening with a group of friends in your own home.  On Thursday, you are driving down a road and someone runs a red light.  You had a green light.  The bad driver tells the officer that you look high.  The officer doesn’t see anything unusual but asks you to take a blood test.  Carboxy-THC shows up.  You are ticketed for driving under the influence.  Until a prosecutor looks at the blood work and realizes there’s no case.  At which point the charges are dropped.

This is not a fanciful scenario.

Once a person uses marijuana, THC (Tetrahydrocannibol) can stay in the blood stream for days if not longer.  However not all THC is the same.

The pharmacology of marijuana is described in terms of three chemicals:

1) THC, which is metabolized into

2) 11-hydroxy-THC, which is the metabolized into

3) carboxy-THC.

Only the first two chemicals – THC and 11-hydroxy-THC produce impairing effects on brain cognition.  The third chemical form – carboxy-THC is not psychoactive and not associated with impairment.

In a recent case, a van driver blew past a yield sign into an intersection.  At the same time, a car driven by a young man (Hopkins) with two passengers was already in the intersection.  Hopkins was on the arterial and had the right of way.  The van t-boned the car of friends.  Our client was one of the passengers in the car.  She was critically injured.

When the lawsuit was filed, the van driver’s insurance company claimed that Hopkins was at fault for not reacting faster to the van having blown through the yield signed.  They claimed that he had THC in his blood and was driving high.  Hopkins said he had used marijuana a week before the crash and was not driving high.

Attached is the motion for summary judgment filed by Hopkins’ attorney.  The plaintiff’s lawyers joined in the motion.  The van driver’s lawyers opposed it.   After a court hearing, the judge agreed that there was no evidence Hopkins was driving while high and that he was not at fault for the van having run the yield sign.  Hopkins was dismissed from the case.

Motion for Summary Judgment:  Hopkins’ MSJ

Photo:  Animation still by Larry Tompkins, P.E.

 

Time Machine: did my college frosh prediction come true

Posted in About me, family

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Saturday morning.  Am going through and dumping old files.  The box catches my eye:  “Business Junk – Old School Records.”  All neatly organized.  Typical.

Find a two page writing sample entitled:  “Where will I be in ten years. Karen Kathryn Koehler.  English 181  Milbauer, May 9, 1979.”

This would have been typed on an IBM Selectric.  The three pages of  onion skin paper are a bit wrinkled.

The 54 year old me reads what the 19 year old me has to say.   Oh the arrogance of youth!

The teacher docked me for poor punctuation.  Never mind the run on sentences.

Where will I be in 10 years?  It’s a question I hardly ask myself as I am young and still not worried about my future.  Yet, when I examine my past upbringing, present living situation, and various expectations of life, I find I can pretty accurately predict what my place in society will be by that time.

My past plays an important role in determining my future.  I am the product of a family in which I was the oldest child.  Not only did I have my younger siblings to boss around act like a queen to, but I also had a substantial amount of responsibility placed upon me by my parents, which included setting a proper example for the rest of the kids, and often being placed in charge of things, like cleaning up the living room.  To my childhood under these circumstances, I attribute my current ability to be authoritative and my general nature of being very self-assured.

 

Ah, yes, the hardships of cleaning up that living room.

For more insight into the analytical brain of a 19 year old future lawyer (and to see if the predictions came true) here is the full unabridged and uncorrected text:

Where will I be in 10 years

Photo:  Nala helping me to go through a few boxes of old papers.