With over 25 years experience in the area of civil litigation, I now offer mediation services as a part of my practice. SCAO mediator training has been completed, and I am currently on the approved mediatior list in several Michigan Circuit Courts.
Having participated in many mediations, both as litigant and as mediator, I have come to understand the process and its benefits for all parties. I have always tried to earn the trust of all the attorneys with whom I have worked. This trust is, obviously, vital in the mediation process.
There will be no charge for the following services: phone conferences, scheduling, correspondence or administrative staff work. The only services charged are review of submissions before the hearing, and conducting the mediation.
ST. IVO OF KERMARTIN--PATRON SAINT OF THIS SITE
Born to a wealthy Breton noble family. From age 14 he studied civil and canon lawyer, philosophy, and theology in Paris and Orleans. Franciscan tertiary. Lawyer who practised in both civil and ecclesiastical courts, often defending the poor without charge, and ministering to them in prison while they awaited trial. Practised great personal ascetism, with frequent fasts, and wearing a hair shirt under his clothing. Fought the state over taxes and the rights of the Church. Incorruptible diocesan judge, refusing the bribes that were the order of the day, and working to settle claims out of court in order to save the litigants time and money. Noted preacher and arbitor, he built a hospital from his own funds, tended the poor in it, and gave away the harvests from his land to feed them.
SANCTUS IVO ERAT BRITO,
ADVOCATUS ET NON LATRO,
RES MIRANDA POPULO.
(ST. IVO CAME FROM THE LAND OF BEEF,
A LAWYER, HE, BUT NOT A THIEF;
A STRETCH ON POPULAR BELIEF.)
I have been piling on a little bit on Detroit area attorney advertising--with good cause. However, in the interest of equal time and fair play (you'll see a lot of that during the election campaign), I will resurrect a thread of posts I haven't added to in some time. That is, the Great Insurance Company Ad.
The last post on this topic proclaimed a winner but since then I have discovered other worthy entrants.
Senate insurance is a real company--like they have a website, www.kissmybumper.net , a FB page and everything.
As that great comedian George Orwell (author of such laugh riots as 1984 and Animal Farm) once said: " Advertising is the rattling of a stick inside a swill bucket". It most often is, except for talking chihuahuas, I love those.
Friday is Motion day in Wayne County Circuit Court in Detroit, Michigan. I had a couple of motions on the docket, in front of a couple of different judges. My second motion was the last case called on the particular judge's docket, as the 3 respective attorneys involved each had hearings that took them to other courtrooms during the morning. So, I was able to listen to a lot of motion hearings.
If a time and space traveller had materialized in the City-County building today, he/she might well have assumed Wayne County was in the middle of corn or wheat growing country in Iowa or Kansas, perhaps.
Why, you ask? Well it seems that at least one party in every hearing had a variation of the word "Farm" in its name.
Another observation. My last hearing involved a combined No-Fault and Auto Negligence case. The defense attorneys on both claims filed motions to stay proceedings pending resolution of a Worker's Compensation case arising out of the same accident. My office filed a response opposing both motions and after hearing both motions were denied. Three medical care providers had filed Intervention Complaints and are now parties in our case. Providers file Intervention Complaints because they believe that only through employing their own attorneys can they adequately protect their bills. (Humor alert) Given that belief, it was rather odd that not one of the Intervening providers filed an answer to either motion and not one attended today's hearing, even though the outcome could have seriously affected their claims. What a surprise. I wonder what the providers would think if their expert attorneys weren't doing the work for which they hired them. They might be mad. (Sarcasm alert)
I was finally able to locate and photograph this piece of crap from the image consultants at LegalGenius. Picture of a woman of mature years holding cash in one hand and giving the "thumbs up" with the other. In addition to the trade name of the group, there is a quote: I'M RICH, B*T$H!.
Looks like an ad for one of our official state sanctioned vices, the Lottery or the Casinos--though none of the ads for these government money makers are this tasteless.
This was just one of well over a dozen attorney billboards that blotted the landscape along the eastbound Jeffries expressway and the connector to downtown Detroit. At least 4 Joumana 3.0 signs among them.
As I indicated in a prior post, the plaintiff's personal injury bar gave up the moral high ground some time ago. No longer is the issue obtaining just compensation for those hurt through no fault of their own. Now, we are brought down to the same level as the drug dealer and the pimp (and to be fair, the State of Michigan with its hand out for its share of the more legitimate scams).
The picture, above, is my poor attempt to recreate a billboard I saw on the Southfield Expressway near 7 Mile in Detroit recently. I haven't been able to find a good copy on the web, though attorney Heather Atnip did take a picture of the actual billboard, shown in this post.
The actual billboard reads "Lawyers with Huge Balls". The picture above might be titled: "There is no I (or better still IQ) in Genius".
The man pictured is the firm's founder. The picture used in this post was taken from the firm's website, where this gentleman had photoshopped the scales (of Justice presumably) where his balls are now.
The firm's website does not list the names of the lawyers who actually do the work of the firm. If I met a female Legalgenius attorney, and introduced myself saying, "Hi, Mike Butler, nice billboard, I understand you have huge balls", I think I'd expect to have my face slapped. Or, I might experience a sudden pain in my own balls, the size of which are not at issue here.
Funny, this firm doesn't think it's important to establish a personal connection between lawyers and potential clients either on its billboards or on its website. On the other hand, many of the huge billboard advertisers take the opposite approach:
(Not that clients should ever expect to see these folks working on their cases)
I am fiscally conservative, pro-life and pro-family values. I voted Republican for decades. No more. My values haven't changed, but I find myself appalled at what comes out of the mouths of many Republican politicians, and I am afraid of where they want to take my state and country. (By the way, unlike many devotees, I have actually read books by Glenn Beck and Ann Coulter. I have even paid money to watch Rush Limbaugh perform on stage.)
Because I am pro-life and don't believe the government can solve every problem, I am not a card carrying Democrat either.
I am not trusted by some because I don't think Bush was worse than Hitler, and by others because I don't think the same of Obama.
Insurance companies aren't always wrong, but "Rule of Law" judges can and do legislate from the bench. I don't like billboard law firms, but I don't think insurance companies should treat their premium paying customers like the enemy.
Currently, most groups, and political parties seem to require unwavering adherence to a group orthodoxy, that often includes a lot of bad stuff. Point that out and you become the enemy.
So, bereft of a party I can call my own, I am forming my own. It will be called the Zecca Party, in honor of the early French film maker, Ferdinand Zecca. When I saw the picture shown above, I was hooked. It shows Mr. Zecca himself in his 1906 film "Conquering the Skies".
The picture shows my position in the political and legal world to a nicety: an old gasbag, on top of an old gas bag, pedaling alone against the prevailing winds.
I wonder if my Zecca Party affiliation is enough to get me on the non-partisan ballot for Michigan Supreme Court?
Richard Bernstein (son of Sam) is running for Michigan Supreme Court. That's nice. Interesting video, which has not exactly gone viral in the two months since it was posted.
Good luck to him. I will vote for him. I agree with him on most issues. Not that everyone will. This "Fairness For All" stuff will not sit well with our Chief Justice Robert Young, for instance. Please see, Doing Good is Not Judge's Role for just some of Chief Justice Young's views on the subject. As Mr. Bernstein is a non-partisan nominee of the Democratic Party, I wonder if his "Fairness For All" slogan will be attacked as the ravings of a future "Empathy" judge.
While I will vote for Richard, that is not to say I endorse him without qualification. I am not a fan of lawyers who practice primarily by means of the press release and the billboard (Sam's family is not alone in the billboard department).
With regard to Richard Bernstein, he issued a press release in May of 2012, wherein he stated he had chosen a case in Macomb County wherein he was going to challenge Michigan's "Open and Obvious" Doctrine. Here is a link to the story. The injured person in Richard's case was blind, and Michigan Courts have not been kind to blind injury victims.
As this is an area of the law of great interest to me, I looked into what became of the case. As I suspected, the case did not overturn "Open and Obvious", and did not even make it past the Circuit Court level. It was settled while a Motion for Summary Disposition was pending, but before it was heard. This is not how you overturn Supreme Court precedent. You appeal a bad decision to the next level, and ultimately to the Supremem Court. I also noted that a very capable lawyer at the Bernstein firm, but not Richard, handled the litigation on behalf of Bernstein client.
Now, once litigation starts, cases can fall apart, for both sides, and maybe that is what happened here. But, perhaps it would be wise to hold off on the press release until something is actually accomplished.
As an aside, if Richard Bernstein is elected to the Michigan Supreme Court, that court will never agree to hear another case involving a blind slip and fall victim. With a blind Justice on the bench, it wouldn't have the guts to throw out a blind person's case based on the "Open and Obvious" doctrine.
I do admire those who have the resources to pursue public interest litigation, and it's nice that Richard sued U of M for increased access for wheelchair-bound football fans. Having been to a half dozen or so U of M games, I can say that it remains a pretty uncomfortable seating experience for the non-wheelchair bound fan, even after the University, in its beneficence, gave us all that extra inch of metal bleacher space several years ago. I daresay, however, that Brady Hoke is doing more now to make it easier to get around the stadium than anyone in recent memory.
So again I say, Good Luck to Richard Bernstein. I'll be voting for you, as I do believe in Fairness For All--even though many of our "Rule of Law" judges do not.
I have seen Bernstein fundraisers sponsored by attorneys I know who are members of the Michigan Association For Justice. I belonged to the organization, once, several years ago. It is made up mostly of plaintiff personal injury attorneys, and to be fair, is vastly outspent by the pro-insurance, pro-tort reform, anti-injured person lobbies.
So, Richard Bernstein's campaign, even if unsuccessful, has already accomplished something I thought impossible. It has seen plaintiff personal injury lawyers giving money to a member of Sam Bernstein's family so he can advertise. If he can to that, anything is possible. Maybe even "Fairness For All".
In the Olden Days, most all Wayne County civil cases were scheduled for a mandatory proceeding called a Mediation. The Wayne County Mediation Tribunal Association was formed to handle the Mediation hearings.
Not so long ago, these proceedings were re-named Case Evaluations. However, the name of the Wayne County Mediation Tribunal Association remained the same.
In the not so Olden Days an informal proceeding called Facilitation started. Not mandatory at the time, Facilitation was a real, concerted attempt to settle civil cases.
About the same time mandatory Mediation was changing to mandatory Case Evaluation, Facilitation started to be called Facilitative Mediation, or just plain Mediation.
In addition, various Michigan Court Rules were amended to make this Facilitative Mediation/Mediation mandatory, if the Judge so desires. So, in many if not most cases we are back to a mandatory Mediation which is not to be confused with mandatory Case Evaluation, which used to be called mandatory Mediation. As an aside, Facilitation/Mediation has now become the default Settlement Conference for most civil cases, as most judges, for reasons not clear, prefer not to get involved in negotiating settlements (until they leave the bench and go into business full time as Facilitator/Mediators.)
By the way, Wayne County now has a separate organization, at a separate location, called the Wayne Mediation Center to handle Facilitations/Mediations.
Simple, isn't it?
Anyway, I have participated in countless Mediations/Case Evaluations over the years, and I have served as a Mediator/Case Evaluator in several jurisdictions. Not to confuse matters, but I am also a Facilitator/Mediator, serving pursuant to state certification and agreement of the parties in various cases.
Two weeks ago I was at the Wayne County Mediation Tribunal, not the Wayne County Mediation Center, for a Case Evaluation, not a Facilitation/Mediation. There were more attorneys present than I can remember seeing for a long, long time. This might be partly due to the fact that the panel that was hearing my case, scheduled for 9:30 took an hour and 20 minutes with a case scheduled for 9am. That case had been filed by one of the big billboard advertisers and included a couple of separate provider claims. Provider claims were never a feature of No-Fault practice in the Olden or not so Olden Days. While waiting 90 minutes for my case to be called (there were 2 cases scheduled at 9:00), I noticed something for the first time. In the Olden and not so Olden Days, I'd identify attorneys I knew by the law firm they worked for. That day, for the first time I can remember, I identified about a dozen attorneys solely by the medical provider they represented.
As I get older, I guess I expected that the legal system would have progressed and improved through advances in technology and the work of great legal minds in the state. Not at all sure that has happened.