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Thursday, April 25, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Malpractice Practice

OK, let's get the obvious joke over with first.

SETUP: A "consulting group" appointed by the State Bar of California has proposed creation of a specialty in legal malpractice law.

PUNCHLINE: Well, they shouldn't have any trouble finding people who know how to commit malpractice.

Now that that's out of the way, let's consider this proposal. The State Bar is actually inviting public comment on whether there should be an officially-recognized specialty in legal malpractice.

What sort of comment can you make about this? Why would you even have an opinion?

What ought to be making headlines here is the fact that a Bar-appointed group thinks that there's so much legal malpractice going on in the state that specialists are needed to defend the people committing all that malpractice.


I guess there is an upside to this for the legal profession. There are many selfless lawyers out there committing malpractice so that other lawyers will have work defending them.

We should take our economic stimuli where we can get them.

EXTREME FANTASY. I have another one for your collection of Amazing Arguments Made with a Straight Face.

The following is from a U. S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruling called E.S.S. Entertainment 2000, Inc. v. Rock Star Videos, Inc. in which lawyers for the owner of a strip club claimed that the makers of the Grand Theft Auto video game infringed their trademark:

"ESS also argues that, because players are free to ignore the storyline and spend as much time as they want at the Pig Pen, the Pig Pen can be considered a significant part of the Game, leading to confusion."

Imagine the kind of person who would buy, install, and begin playing a computer game and then just hang out in the game's strip club.

Yes, a man without a life who doesn't have a virtual life either.

Now imagine that person on the witness stand.

This is the kind of concept that makes reading appellate opinions so much fun.

QUIT WHILE YOU'RE BEHIND. Sometimes it's best to advise your clients not to stand up for their rights. There ought to be a class in law school on how to back down.

Case in point comes from a lawsuit filed in federal court in Los Angeles on behalf of the operator of an air cargo business who claims he was harassed by the Federal Aviation Administration after he got a letter threatening a fine and responded with a letter back "in which he allegedly referred to the allegations in the May, 2007 letter as being stupid."

Pretty soon, FAA agents and police were, allegedly, coming down on him.

So what does our plaintiff do?

Yep. He writes another complaining letter.

Now, allegedly, he's being falsely accused of causing so much interference with the agents that he had to be tasered.

So what does he do next?

He sues.

This is not a promising pattern.

That little fine at the beginning of this story is going to sound really reasonable.

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