Monday, March 25, 2019

No Selfies Allowed

Of all the outrageous warning signs and postings I have seen, this one is one of the best!  This was a sign taped in the courthouse in White Plains, New York, Westchester Supreme Court. 

This sign warns you not to take a selfie in the bathroom.  There is a sign outside the door and one inside near the sink, in case you thought you might ignore the first sign as you walked in. And in case you were wondering if this was an actual law, conspicuously placed at the bottom of this notice is the number of the executive order and the year it went into effect.

The signs says: All cell phone use, including taking pictures, is prohibited in this area. - Executive order #2 of 2014.

So what was I to do?  I snapped a picture of course!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Pants At Your Waist!

It's a sad state of affairs when a sign is needed to remind people that you need to dress appropriately when at the courthouse and that appropriately means: pants worn at the waist! 

This is at the courthouse in Peekskill, New York. The posted sign states: Proper attire: All pants must be worn at the waist.

Where is the decorum? the proper etiquette?  ...  the self-respect?!

They should give out summonses!

Monday, March 18, 2019

Learned in School And Will Never Use IRL - Or So I Thought

The joke goes that so many things you learn in school you will never use in real life.  The funny thing about this is in actuality, at times, you do use those lessons in real life without even realizing it.  

For example, when you try to beat the red light, your mind is calculating how fast you must travel for a certain distance in order to get past the light before it turns green.  Your mind is really calculating trigonometry. Or is it calculus? Whatever it is, it sounds a lot like this math problem on 

Problem 1: A person 100 meters from the base of a tree, observes that the angle between the ground and the top of the tree is 18 degrees. Estimate the height h of the tree to the nearest tenth of a meter.

There are so many lessons in high school that you would think you will never need again. Law school is no different. How many times in law school did I learn a doctrine that I truly felt I will never use nor see ever again?    

Until that time that I did see it again... 

One day I was reading a book for my local book club, The Alienist by Caleb Carr.  First published in 1994, it was a major phenomenon, spending six months on the New York Times bestseller list, receiving critical acclaim, and selling millions of copies.  A "touchstone of historical suspense fiction", a period piece that is "fast-paced and riveting, infused with historical detail".  Sounded interesting enough! It is the last place I would think to find an esoteric legal doctrine I learned in my first year of law school, in Torts class no less.    

But there it was.  the text bounced off the pages of the book and knocked me into my quondam days of being a 1L: 

"Res ipsa loquitor".  

First of all, even the word "torts" is not one that is ever used outside the halcyon days of first year of law school.  Instead one says "personal injury case".  So to see res ipsa loquitor a decade later was a precipitous journey way back to sitting in the back of Torts class at Howard University. 

So for all  1L students struggling through your classes.  It may seem unforeseeable but don't worry because one of these days those seemingly expendable legal dogmas will creep up on you when you least expect it!  

Monday, March 11, 2019

Paid by the Minute

Paid by the Minute - New California law says you must be paid by the minute

It started with fast food workers demanding higher wages. Now all workers across the nation have galvanized to win a $15 an hour minimum wage. In 2012, 200 fast food workers walked off the job to demand $15 hourly wages and union rights. What began as a fast food workers plight has become a global movement! Thanks to, now more than one in five workers is covered by $15 minimum wage.  Twenty-two million workers have won $68 million in raises.

The federal minimum wage is set at $7.25 an hour and has remained the same since 2009. According to the Associated Press, twenty states have minimum wage increases taking effect in 2019. Twenty-Nine states and the District of Columbia have set minimum wages above the federal level since 2009.

It is great to see that workers are getting an increase in their minimum hourly wage. But when you think about it, nowadays everything is tracked and pinpointed. Your location can be pinpointed and be off by just a few yards, if even that. Time also can be tracked by the millisecond, or even less than that. What then, if you work an extra 2 minutes at work? Shouldn’t you get paid for those extra two minutes?

California courts say yes! California Supreme Court departs from the doctrine of federal wage-and-hour de minimus doctrine that excuses the payment of wages for very small amounts of time that are irregular and administratively difficult for the employees to track. But nowadays time need not be difficult to track at all. According to the California Supreme Court, if the time can be captured, then it can and must be paid. This means that if you stay at work for an extra 2 minutes, then you must be paid for those extra two minutes!

But wait a minute!

There is one unexpected, small, minor, shall I say, minute problem with this ruling. This pay-by-the-minute ruling suggests that now your time at work cannot be rounded up. Rounding up of time is common and it is permissible under federal law. But if we are tracking by the minute, essentially tracking by the second, then rounding up seems to be de minimis.

Rounding up of your time at work becomes negligible and unnecessary. Think about it, for a minute or two and you will see that it makes sense. Or on second thought, if you live in California, use those extra few minutes instead and get back to work…. Because you get paid by the minute!

Monday, March 4, 2019

5 Reasons Why Jackson’s NeverLand Ranch Will Never Sell

Michael Jackson's estate, the Neverland Ranch is on the market for 31 million dollars, a 69 million dollar price drop from its original listing back in 2015 for $100 million. Listed now for a discounted 31 million dollars is a bargain. But will Neverland Ranch ever sell?

Neverland Ranch has been priced to move but here are five reasons why Neverland Ranch will never sell.

5. The first problem with the sale of Jackson's Neverland Ranch is that the area where Neverland Ranch is located known as Los Olivos, California, has been devastated by wildfires, mudslides, and drought. People are not purchasing property in that area.  And most certainly, people are not buying distraught property at such an inflated price point.

4. The next problem with the sale of Jackson's Neverland Ranch is that the high-end luxury real estate market is depreciated and taking a hit at this present time. People are simply not buying million-dollar homes like they used to. According to Coldwell Banker’s 2019 State of Luxury report, there was a moderation in the pace of luxury home sales in 2018 due to several factors, including increasing inventory levels, elevated pricing, and—to a lesser degree—rising interest rates.

3. Another big problem with finding a buyer for the Neverland Ranch is that this estate is essentially a crime scene. Police searched the entire house and property after the 2003 allegations of abuse against Jackson. A 2005 trial ended in acquittal on charges of child molestation. Jackson then moved out of the Neverland Ranch and vowed to never return. Least we forget these allegations on Jackson, there is a documentary on HBO airing just a few days after the sales listing of the Neverland Ranch.

2. Another obstacle to signing a buyer for the Neverland Ranch, which the new property managers have certainly considered, is that Michael Jackson's property will forever be known as Neverland Ranch. The new agents must have taken this into consideration because it was rebranded with a new name: The Sycamore Valley Ranch. As if by changing the name anyone can forget that this is the world-famous Neverland Ranch!

1. And the number one reason why Neverland Ranch will probably never be sold is because The Neverland Ranch is known for 2700 acres, a 12,000 square foot 5 bedroom house, a few guest houses, a lagoon-style swimming pool, an amusement park with a ferris wheel, roller coaster, carousel, bumper cars, and an arcade, two train locomotives, a fire department with a 1950s fire truck, a 50 seat movie theatre,  and world famous menagerie with exotic pets that Michael Jackson owned such as an elephants, orangutans, and llamas.

One would think that all these amenities would warrant the sale tag price of $31 million. But see, Neverland Ranch, where Michael Jackson resided for about 15 years, is being sold without the amusement park, nor menagerie of exotic pets. The Neverland Ranch, or as they call it now, the Sycamore Valley Ranch, is also being offered for sale without any of Michael Jackson's personal affects. Without these things, NeverLand may never be sold.