Winning & Losing

     For the following reasons, we affirm in part and reverse in part the judgment of the appellate court, and affirm in part, reverse in part, and modify in part the judgment of the circuit court.
     It’s my job to let you know about entertaining and/or fascinating works of legal literature and I’ve got a good one for you this week.
     The quote above is from a ruling by the Illinois Supreme Court last week called Lawlor v. North American Corporation of Illinois , in which both sides won.
     And both sides lost.
     And then, at least according to the Illinois Supreme Court, both the trial court and the first appellate court got the case partly right and partly wrong.
     I’m happy to report that no split babies were involved.
     Oh, and there were three separate opinions by Illinois Supreme Court justices – with one guy, naturally, concurring in part and dissenting in part.
     You’d think Congress was involved.
     And this was a case that began in 2005.
     I won’t go into the details here, but I do want to note two things about this ruling.
     One is that there are private investigative companies called Probe and Discover and they apparently have nothing to do with UFOs and aliens. At least as far as I know.
     The other is that the lesson of this ruling may be that civil law could learn something from criminal law. Or maybe vice-versa.
     When the police get a little carried away, a judge can just throw out the evidence or the entire case. End of story.
     But when a private company gets a little carried away investigating a former employee for stealing business, you get seven-plus years of litigation and a stand-off result.
     That doesn’t sound terribly efficient, but apply the civil result to a criminal case. You convict a criminal using the illegally obtained evidence and then you throw the police in jail too. They did, after all, violate the law too.
     Then you’d have orderly prisons because half the population would be police.
     
     QUOTABLE. A few of my favorite quotes from the past week.
     First, from a Los Angeles Superior Court complaint filed by a female lawyer on behalf of a client named Jordan Shannon:
     “Fiesta … was generally overseen by … Michael Bazera … who quickly approved Jordan Shannon’s employment based on Shannon’s looks, his young age, willingness to be subjected to or persuaded to do sexually charged and/or explicit things for the bar to entice customers, as well as Shannon’s tremendous physique and well endowment which, on information and belief, Bazera was aware of based on obvious physical factors, as well as asking others who had seen Shannon’s private parts.”
     Information and belief, eh?
     I’m thinking this lawyer really enjoyed writing that – or her client was dictating.
     And then there was this statement from a Cornell law professor on a National Public Radio Show this past weekend (I wrote it down as soon as he said it):
     “It’s a great time to be a constitutional law professor because they’re always screwing something up.”
     So there is an upside to that crazy U. S. Supreme Court.
     Finally, here’s another one I liked a lot, from an 11th U.S. Circuit of Appeals ruling last week called Underwood v. Harkins :
     “When she was elected in 2008 as superior court clerk of Lumpkin County, Georgia, Rita Harkins did not emulate President Lincoln …”
     The courthouse slaves in Lumpkin will not go free.
     OK, I took that out of context. The case had nothing to do with slavery. What happened was that the court clerk fired a deputy court clerk who had run against her in the Republican primary for the office of court clerk.
     That sounds political – but they were both Republicans and this was a court clerk position. How political could that be? How many controversial court clerk issues could there be? Could they have been fighting over higher courts fees for the rich?
     Read the opinion. There seems to be no reason for the firing or four years of litigation over it.
     It’s obvious someone is not telling us something.
     I think they were either fighting over a guy or were ex-lovers.

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