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Sunday, April 29, 2012

A White Slave Trader Once Lived and Traded Slaves on the Site of my Black Baptist Church: Captain Stephen Clay of Middletown, Connecticut

Three centuries ago, Captain Stephen Clay, a white sea captain and trader in slaves, built his large home on the same piece of ground where my church now stands, Zion First Black Baptist Church of Middletown, Connecticut.  I first learned this a few days ago at Russell Library, where I ran into Eric Hesselberg, a newspaper reporter for The Hartford Courant.  Both of us attended a talk last week by author Richard DeLuca about his new book, "Post Roads & Iron Horses: Transportation in Connecticut from Colonial Times to the Age of Steam."  I learned about the DeLuca lecture by accident, the day of the talk, when I ran into Eric who was on his way to the annual meeting of the Middletown Historical Society.  I first met Eric a year ago, at the last annual meeting, when he talked about his extensive research into the history of the destruction of lovely old neighborhoods in Middletown during the Redevelopment Era back in the 1960's and 1970's.

At the library a few days ago, I asked Eric if he was doing any new historical research and he said he's been working for the past two years on a book about the slave trade in Middletown.  I told him I'd recently read a chapter from a book, "The Underground Railroad in Connecticut" (Wesleyan University Press, 1962) by a black Middletown resident and graduate of the University of Connecticut, Horatio T. Strother.  The chapter described the history of the underground railroad in Middletown but also recounted some surprising history about racism at my alma mater, Wesleyan University.

According to Strother's book, sea captains brought African slaves from Barbados to Middletown and sold them at auction in 1661.  " The slave trade never became as important here [in Middletown] as it was in New London and Boston, and some other ports, but it is recorded that John Bannister, Newport merchant, was pleased in 1752 to find Middletown purchasers for 'the finest cargo of Negro men, women, and boys ever imported into New England.'  The number of slaves had risen by 1756 from its original handful to 218 in a total population of 5664.  Middletown then ranked third among Connecticut towns in Negro inhabitants, but hardly anyone at that time 'held more than two slaves.' "  Id., Stother, at 150-51.

At one time, the Joint Board of Wesleyan University, my alma mater, had ruled that "none but male white persons shall be admitted as students of this institution."  Id. at 154.  But by 1834, the Joint Board opened the doors of the college to male students without regard to race.  When I started at Wesleyan in 1967, there were still no women in our class.  The first women were allowed to attend classes at Wesleyan in about 1969 as part of an exchange program with the then all-women's college in New London, Connecticut College for Women, which, like Wesleyan, has since gone co-ed.  Women have pointed out to me that it took a lot longer for them to get the right to vote in this country than it took black men.  But that's another subject.

Eric Hessleberg said that he had read some of my blog articles and asked me if I was still going to Zion First Black Baptist Church.  I told him I loved the church and had become a full member on February 5, 2012 when I was baptized there by full immersion baptism in the baptismal pool in the front of the church.  Eric then told me, to my great surprise, that his extensive research at the Middletown Historical Society over the past two years revealed that a white sea captain, Captain Stephen Clay, whose portrait is on the second floor of the Society, was a slave trader in the 1700's.  Captain Clay's home was built on the site of my black baptist church.  I asked him if he was sure of this.  He was.  Eric also told me that the slave quarters at the captain's home were located north of where my church building now stands, in the area where the children's playscape of the YMCA is located.

I was suprised but not shocked about this fact.  I did ask Eric if he was sure about this and he said yes.  It's all in the documents he's been studying at the historical society for the past two years.

I was not shocked because this called to mind the place in Spain I remember visiting where a christian church is built upon the site of a former mosque, which was in turn built upon a former synagogue.  And I believe the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey is also built upon the site of a former eastern orthodox church.

I mentioned what I learned about my baptist church to my minister this morning after the service and he was of course interested to hear this bit of history.  I said I thought it wonderful that we are expiating the ghost of our city's racist past every Sunday when we worship God at Zion, the God who loves all humanity, regardless of the superficial attribute of the color of our skins.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Oral Argument at the Connecticut Supreme Court and the Tragic Death of a Young Man which Generated the Legal Appeal before the Court

The argument itself was impressive.  All the justices were deeply engaged in the discussion of the issues.  Unlike the U.S. Supreme Court, where Justice Thomas never asks a question, all seven of our justices asked questions of both lawyers.  And it was clear from their demeanors that they all were taking the case seriously.  After all, the outcome of this case could drastically change the way bars serve alcohol in Connecticut.  If the plaintiff gets the court to do away with the requirement of "visible" intoxication to win a Dram Shop case, then the only way a bar can try to protect itself is by either counting the number of drinks a patron has before cutting the drinker off, or requiring every customer to take a breathalyzer test before getting another drink.  As the defense lawyer, Elycia D. Solimene, pointed out in the post-argument discussion with the audience of law students and some lawyers, like me, who would want to go to a bar if there were that much checking up by the bartenders.  Ron Murphy, the lawyer for the estate of the man who was killed by the drunk driver, claimed that requiring bartenders to count drinks for each customer would not be a big deal.  Obviously, Attorney Murphy has never been in a dance club like the ones I go to three or four nights a week.  It's laughable to imagine the bartenders at Shrine at Foxwoods or even Up or on the Rocks in Hartford or Alchemy in New Haven or Sin City in Waterbury to go around counting drinks of hundreds of people.

The real policy question is this.  How is it possible for people to enjoy the benefits of drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, or owning guns or cars for that matter, all legal products, without causing an unacceptable level of carnage to non-drinkers, non-smokers, young black men in hoodies carrying Skittles and Arizona Ice Tea, and non-drinking drivers and passengers?  The question was not phrased in such broad terms yesterday at the oral argument in the tragic case of John A. O'Dell, Administrator vs. Kozee, et al., SC18551, but that IS an important underlying issue in these kinds of cases.

The tragic aspect of the case was embodied in the two middle-aged people sitting in front of me in the front row of the moot courtroom at U.Conn. law school in West Hartford.  They sat directly behind Ron Murhpy, their lawyer.  They are the parents of John O'Dell, the young man killed by the drunk driver.  As Ron explained after the argument, John O'Dell had been drinking with his friend, the drunk driver, at the bar.  They were in the bar from 7 p.m. until midnight.  After leaving the bar, John and his friend got in the friend's car and the friend plowed into the rear of a large truck.  John's body was thrown out of the car and into the oncoming lane.  Another truck ran over John's body.  The defense lawyer said that although she felt the bar had NO responsibility for the death, because there was NO evidence the driver was VISIBLY intoxicated, the autopsy photographs were the worst she'd ever seen.  The parents of the dead young man left the moot courtroom immediately following the argument so they did not have to listen to the frank discussion of the case.

In this kind of a case, most juries have a very hard time holding the bar liable.  This is because most people can't understand in the first place why the BAR can ever be held liable for the acts of the person who voluntarily drinks liquor at a bar.  That is precisely the reason that Connecticut courts decided a long time ago, as a matter of common law, that bars had NO liability for these cases because the LEGAL CAUSE of the tragedy was the drinker's decision to drink, not the bar's decision to sell the alcohol to the drinker.  The Connecticut legislature responded by enacting the Dram Shop Act, a very long time ago, to overcome the causation problem and impose a limited form of liability on bars as a kind of cost of doing business and providing a place for people to drink and get drunk.  Originally, the maximum damages recoverable under the act was $20,000.  That was raised to $250,000 a number of years ago.

In the John A. O'Dell case argued yesterday, Attorney Murphy told us after the argument that the jury awarded the estate $4 million in damages.  Juries are not told that the most an estate can recover is the statutory limit of $250,000 if they also find the bar liable.  The judge then reduces the award to $250,000.  In this case, the trial judge, Lois Tanzer, over the defense counsel's objection, made a pre-trial ruling that the plaintiff did NOT have to prove that the driver was VISIBLY intoxicated to win the case.  It would be enough, the court ruled, if the driver could be shown to have been served a drink by the bar when his blood alcohol level was over the legal limit of .08 for drunk driving under the criminal DUI statute.  On appeal by the bar, the Connecticut Appellate Court reversed the trial judge's ruling and held that visible intoxication must be shown under the statute, it was not shown by the evidence at trial, and therefore the judgment in favor of the plaintiff had to be set aside, reversed.  The Supreme Court then agreed to hear the case since the legal issue is an important matter of public policy.

The Dram Shop death case which was my last trial before I retired was a very hard case to win.  It easily could have gone the other way.  Sitting through the oral argument of the subtleties of the Dram Shop law, and participating in the discussion afterwards, I remembered how hard I had to work, with my team of investigators, law clerks, legal colleagues, and secretaries to win my case for the family of Donna Amarant, especially her husband George who, like me, is a Wesleyan alumnus.  My case was so difficult, so fraught with danger along the way, difficult tactical and strategic decisions, that I framed the Jury Verdict Form in which the jury forewoman confirmed by her signature that the jury had found all the issues in favor of my client, the husband of the dececedent.  I also printed on a piece of paper in the framed verdict form a brief history of the case, recounting that the highest pre-trial settlement offer by the bar's insurance company was a measly $1,500 (that's right, only One Thousand dollars for a lovely, intelligent, woman who got killed by a drunken man whom the defense medical doctor testified probably had drunk the equivalent of a case of beer BEFORE he entered the bar and had a few more drinks before leaving and killing Donna Amarant).

I am fortunate to have been referred this case by John Shaw, who referred all his personal injury clients to me for trial.  My favorite cases were the hard ones, hard fought, with difficult factual and legal issues, and tough, experienced defense lawyers on the other side.  But I'm also delighted that now I can spend my time looking back on those experiences which enabled me to develop the tough emotional skin I now take advantage of to live the kind of life which makes me happy.  And I have a virtually unlimited reservoir of experiences to draw upon in my writing.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A CT Supreme Court Oral Argument: How is the Dram Shop Statute to be interpreted? Is it necessary to prove a drunk driver was VISIBLY intoxicated when the bar served him to prevail in a wrongful death claim against the bar?

The last jury trial I had when I was in my old law firm was a Dram Shop case against a bar in Chester, Connecticut.  My client, the late-Donna Amarant, was driving on Route 154 in Haddam when Richard Roy crossed the center line in his pick-up truck and hit Donna's VW Jetta head-on, killing her.  I sued the bar, claiming the bartender sold Mr. Roy another drink, after he was already intoxicated.

The bartender claimed he never noticed any signs of intoxication in Mr. Roy, despite the fact that Roy had sat on a barstool across from the bartender for over 2 hours before getting back in his truck and killing Donna Amarant.  Mr. Roy's blood alcohol level was well-over the legal limit at the time of the collision, based on blood-test results at the hospital on Mr. Roy.  But expert testimony from our toxicologist and the defense emergency room doctor said that an alcoholic may or may not show visible signs of intoxication even at very high blood alcohol levels.

In our case, I called three witnesses before the jury who testified that Mr. Roy was severely and quite visibly intoxicated at the scene of the collision, which was only minutes after he had left the bar and had his last drink.

The defendant bar's insurance company offered us $1,500 (yes, one thousand five hundred dollars) before trial.  We turne it down and the jury found in our favor on all the issues.  The insurance carrier then paid us the maxiumum amount recoverable in these cases, even where a death results, and that is $250,000 (two hundred fifty thousand dollars).

In these cases, it would be much easier to win if all the injured party had to prove was that the defendant was over the legal limit, objectively, at the time he was last served by the bartender.  Proving "visible" intoxication is a much higher burden.  I was able to do so in my wrongful death case, but most of these cases go in favor of the defendant bar.  Few bartenders would ever admit they served a visibly intoxicated patron.  And most potential witnesses, people who hang out in bars, are themselves not in any condition to testify soberly about the defendant's state of sobriety.

The legal issue of what must be proven by the injured party to win a case against a bar is still an open question.  And that brings me to what I have planned for this morning.  I'm going to see how Law is Made in our Supreme Court.  Or how Law is Interpreted.  Depending on how you look at the role of judges in interpreting statutes.

I'm going up to U.Conn. Law School to watch an oral argument in a session of the CT Supreme Court held at the school.  The case is a Dram Shop case involving a bar which was sued for allegedly serving an already-drunk person more alcohol, after which the patron went out and killed somebody in his car.  The issue on appeal is this: Does the injured plaintiff have to prove that the bar patron was VISIBLY intoxicated when he was served at the bar or merely that the bar patron was objectively over the legal limit for drunk driving, regardless of whether the effects of the alcohol were apparent to a reasonably attentive bartender.  The Dram Shop statute itself does not address the point explicitly and only speaks of the duty of bars not to served "intoxicated" persons.  Courts over the years have suggested that VISIBLE intoxication must be proven.  The plaintiff in the case before the Supreme Court this morning is claiming that the statute, which does not include an explicit "visible" intoxication element, does not require an injured person to prove that the bartender could have seen the person was intoxicated before serving him.  That interpretation would, in essence, make the statute what's called a "strict-liability" law.  The other interpretation, defended by the defendant bar, that the statute requires proof of "visible" intoxication, would make the standard of proof more akin to that in an ordinary negligence case.

I know the plaintiff's lawyer, Ron Murphy of New Britain and hope to get a chance to talk with him after the oral argument.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

My Recent Confrontation with a Man named John Uccello of 61 Bretton Road, Middletown, CT who can Dish it out but He Cannot take it, In Connection with the Trayvon Martin murder case

This Facebook post yesterday by my friend Ryan Estevez, following the arrest of George Zimmerman on Second Degree Murder charges in the killing of Trayvon Martin, called to mind the following recent confrontation I had with a man named John who can dish it out but he cannot take it.   The story about the encounter, which involved John calling the Middletown police, follows the Facebook post.

      A man named John Uccello of 61 Bretton Road, Middletown, CT called the Middletown police on me a few weeks ago at Klekolo Coffee shop in Middletown.  He was mouthing off that Trayvon Martin had viciously physically attacked George Zimmerman and broke Zimmerman's nose and bloodied his face.  In response, John was certain, Zimmerman HAD to use his weapon to shoot and kill Trayvon.  I said I very much doubted this was what happened.  I asked John what his source of information was: Fox News, he reported.  I said when I read it in the NYTimes I may decide to give it some credence, although even the Times has gotten things wrong in the past (think WMD in Iraq and Judith Martin's failure to question the Bush administration sufficiently on the point).
       A few days later, when more of the facts about the case had come out in the press, including the police video of Zimmerman walking with no visible evidence of trauma on his face, I again saw this man John at Klekolo.  I asked him if he was now going to retract his slanderous comments about Trayvon.  He told me to "get out of his face."  I asked him why he had been able to dish it out to me in our previous encounter but now he couldn't handle my coming back at him, armed with more realistic reports about the case.
       I then walked away from him and began talking with a woman I knew and her friend at another table.  I heard John calling the police dispatcher and describing my clothing and appearance.  "What a WIMP," I thought, that this grown man needs to call his Mommy the police to fight his mental battle with me!
       The police showed up, I explained what happened, they asked me to leave, and I told them I intended to remain to finish my conversation with the women.  When that was concluded, I left the coffee shop and was talking to some people on the sidewalk outside.  Another young man who apparently frequents the coffee shop told me to leave.  I told him I was standing on a public sidewald and would leave when I decided to leave.  The police were standing around and asked me to leave.  I asked them if they were the mediatators of neighborhood non-violent disagreements and they said they were not.  I told the police I objected to their using their apparent authority, as armed officers of the law, to ask me to leave a public sidewalk when I was not committing any crime or hurting anyone.  They did not know what to say but again reiterated their request I leave, just to "calm the situation down."  I looked the cop in the eye, smiled, and told him that, out of the goodness of my heart, and because I liked the way he had handled the situation inside the coffee shop involving John, in a calm and restrained fashion, I decided I'd leave and go elsewhere in town.  The cop thanked me, I thanked him, and I left.  On the way by the window to the coffee shop, I smiled and waved at John through the window, but he, having no balls and looking like a frustrated and angry little boy, looked away.
        I have ZERO respect for people who can dish it out but can't take it.  ZERO.  Pity, disdain, yes, but NO respect.

Why I've Decided to Delete All Future Comments by the Deranged Individual Who's Posted Many Scurrilous, Untrue, and Un-Creative Lies about my Wife, my Children, and Me

I've decided this morning to delete any future Comments by this deranged and hostile individual who's been posting scurrilous, untrue, and un-creative lies about my wife, my children, and me.  An intelligent, concerned reader wrote the following Comment which I just read and responded to.  If you read my Reply Comment, you'll see why I've made this decision.

Here's the Comment and my Reply:

            AnonymousApr 11, 2012 06:27 PM

  1. I don't know Bob, sure makes you look stupid not him. Why would you want to re-post these comments? They are quite offensive. Giving acknowledgment only fuels the situation.
  2. Dear Concerned Anonymous (April 11, 2012 at 6:27 p.m.),

    You make a good point about the fueling. I decided this morning that, from now on, I'll delete any of his future Comments, not because they make me look stupid but only because the Comments are the productions of a psychotic mind. As such, they are novel but uninteresting, not useful; therefore, they are not creative, as I define the term.

    You're entitled to any opinion of me you wish to have. But I assure you of one thing: I used my intelligence, not my lack thereof, in deciding to let this deranged man have his say. But he's now begun to clutter my blog.

    His Comments do not offend me. They are untrue assertions, the product of either insanity or extreme hostility towards me and my free life. I actually suspect the latter is his motivation: to denigrate me, in his mind, because he cannot stand seeing someone else, me, having so much fun in my life. But that's just the story which comes to my mind in connection with this guy.

    What always fascinates, amuses me really, is the fact that NO ONE has accepted my challenge to call my cell phone and arrange to meet me. I'm not afraid of any of them , but they are afraid of me, even though I wish none of them any harm. I'm merely interested to STUDY them, understand their psycho-pathology, as a psychiatrist who studies the minds of serial killers wants to study and understand why they kill and kill and kill again.

    I truly thank you for your expression of concern and support.

    All best,


Wednesday, April 11, 2012

More Rambling Comments from this Chicken Shit Scared Little Boy Who Will Not Accept My Invitation to Meet With Me

Dear Chicken Shit Anonymous,

       If you have any guts, call me.  My cell number is 860-759-9860.  I'd LOVE to meet you.  Do you have the balls to say what you want to say to my face?

All best,

A Real Man

Here are his psychotic fantasies.  Interesting. Most revealing about his psychological make-up.

He got arrested at a comic club and entered no contest! He was offended by a black guy saying the word nigger! It's too much. He really thinks he's black. Guess that's why his wife left him and he spends all his money at the few clubs where they allow dancing clowns.
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Bet you can't wait to connect to your grandson orally. Your words Bobby.
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People know him. This is so funny. I asked some people and he used to go to Rookies before he got banned. People would take pics as a joke and he bought it. He also spend hundreds on girls who used him to get drinks for them and their boyfriends. A complete loser.
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Can this guy post videos of him dancing? Please Bob can we see you dancing? If your're as good as you say you are we'll get you back invited to the club of your choice. Except of course the ones you got tossed out of for spreading HIV. People tend not to forgive that.
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He also thinks going to a black church makes him black. They must hate that cracker. I think he goes because he thinks it will help him dance hip hop! Seriously. He has mental issues so deep. Look at the video post a couple pages back.
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Look at his older posts. They are the best. He writes a letter because he parked illegally and got towed. He said nothing told him that it was illegal to park in a closed private parking lot at 2 a.m. Yes, he is a lawyer or claims to be one! I wonder why he thought there was such ample room in that lot. Most peoe don't have shit for brains. All that booze must have really rotted his brains.
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Look this guy up on Google. He has a paragraph for a farewell for his lawfirm of 35 years! Must have been a terrible loss. He's also an alcoholic, been cited in several police blotters, may or may not have cut the brakes on his wife's bike leading to her broken neck, is barred from all CT casinos, and his own daughter denies him as her father. This is crazy! Let's enjoy him while we can before he has a shotgun for lunch.
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Your weren't kidding. Who is this guy challenging? What is he challenging people to? This is by far the best fake blog I've seen in a while.
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This is too much. What would you even do Bobby if you did have my name? Now be a good little punk and give the cemetery where where your mom is buried so I can dig her up and skull fuck her like your dad used to. Then give me your home address and we can chat like civilized people.

This guy who writes vile Comments on this blog is such a wimp he won't even DARE to contact me to arrange to meet me face-to-face

There's a scared little boy-type "person" who keeps writing vile but unimaginative Comments on my blog.  Below is a sample of some of them.  He's obsessed with me, my life, my professional career.  He's stupid, racist, anti-Semitic, homophobic, and wimpy.  VERY weak-kneed.  I've challenged him to call me on my cell phone, 860-759-9860, to arrange to meet me to tell me what he wants to say to me, face to face.  But he doesn't have the guts to identify himself or meet me.  

I actually find him quite amusing.  But I choose no longer to respond to his every Comment.  So I'll print the last number of his Comments here so you can gauge for yourselves the utter stupidity of this "person."  


You're probably right. But I bet you'd get kicked out of the cemetery for your dance moves like everywhere else. But then again your HIV is bound to turn soon so maybe it will be us who laugh at your gaunt corpse. You did tell your wife about your HIV? I bet it will be a comfort for her to know her miserable life is shortened too.
So prone to violence and threats. Maybe it was you who broke your wife's neck. Your anger seems so out of place for a dancing clown who does standup for confused pedestrians. Hahahaha! I'll leave you alone I want this suicide attempt to be successful. You can do it Bob-O. We'll be laughing about that one while we piss on your grave before we dig you up and crucify you to your church in hip hop gear.
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So your non paying audience loves your performance? But not enough to pay. Makes sense. I saw the resume. You said you were the owner? But never a partner? They didn't want a dancing clown to sully the name? That's strange. Every lawfirm must be dying for a street performing hobo who is I welcomed at even the seediest of clubs.
Why don't you post about the DUI you got not too long ago? That should be interesting to hear you defend.
Would that argument hold up in court you cocksucker? Can your dick hold up at all when you see that monstrous bitch of a wife you? We're all loving your replies. Is that you standup? Your a reverse insult comic? You take all the punches and come back with nothing. Good thing you not losing anymore cases in the courtroom. Just losing at everything else now I see.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

An Anonymous Imbecile Fantasizes a Class Action Against Me by My Former Clients for whom he Imagines I Lost their Cases--and a Wonderful Memory this Evoked in me from When I was a Very Young Lawyer

Below is an Anonymous Comment some imbecile, one of my haters, left this morning.  He fantasizes someone bringing a class action against me on behalf of any of my clients whose cases he imagines I lost.  If he weren't such a poor writer or had something interesting to say on the subject, I'd actually find what he wrote funny, in an ironic way.  But the guy is so far out in left field that it would be unkind of me to laugh at such a cretin's stupid Comment.

However, my reply Comment called to mind a wonderful memory I have of a seasoned war-horse of a trial lawyer, Bill Davis, whom I heard give a talk about what he learned from the cases he lost over his career.  I heard this talk at a trial lawyers' seminar on trial practice back in the late 1970's.  I wasn't even 30 years old and had only been practicing a few years.  I was SO impressed by what I heard from Mr. Davis that I used the wisdom I learned from him in guiding countless young lawyers over the years at my own firm.

Here is the Anonymous Imbecile's Comment, followed by my reply, containing the recollection about Mr. Davis.

  1. I'm collecting names of formal clients of Mr. Robert P. Dutcher to file a class action suit. Anyone for whom he represented is entitled to have thier case reviewed to determine if Mr. Dutcher was negligent is handling your case due to mental incapacity. Of course if you were the few who actual had their case won, you should count your blessings. The losers please make a stand as you were misrepresented.
  2. Dear Anonymous Imbecile (April 4, 2012 at 6:36 a.m.),

    That's actually pretty funny. If you weren't a mental defective, seriously retarded, I'd laugh.

    Go ahead, former clients. Sue away. But consider the following.

    Such claims would never qualify for class action status. There is no commonality in the causes of action of each allegedly "misrepresented" client.

    The statute of limitations has run on 99% of the alleged claims.

    You know, Anonymous Imbecile, if you could write a grammatical English sentence it would make it easier for my readers to understand your semi-formed thoughts, if such can be said about the poorly-communicated fantasies of an Anonymous idiot like you. Please get some remedial writing lessons. It would appear you think at a kindergarten level and write at a second grade level. Please keep me posted on your attempts to become reasonably literate. I care.

    When I was a young lawyer, the most impressive lecture I ever heard at a CT Trial Lawyers Association seminar was the legendary trial lawyer Bill Davis explaining "What I Learned from Losing." All the lawyer blow-hards who preceded Bill, as usual, bragged about all their big victories in court. Bill had the BALLS to talk about all the losses he had sustained over the years and what he learned from each loss.

    Whenever a young associate of mine would return from court having won his or her first jury trial, I'd take the winner out to lunch. First I congratulated the victor on the win. Then I said the following. "I know how good it feels to win. But I need to inform you that you didn't learn ANYTHING useful from winning. You only inflated your ego, which may hurt you in the next case, if you overestimate your case or your abilities. However, when you learn to absorb your first loss, and your second and third, especially the humiliating losses, then you'll learn some very important lessons."

    In saying these things to my young associates, I was just passing on the wisdom I learned many decades ago from Bill Davis.

    All best,

    A Most Intelligent and Savvy Trial Lawyer, retired

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

More on the tragic, wanton, and needless execution of Trayvon Martin by George "Junior Police Explorer with a Big Piece and a Little Wiener" Zimmerman:

More on the tragic, wanton, and needless execution of Trayvon Martin by George "Junior Police Explorer with a Big Piece and a Little Wiener" Zimmerman:

I'd love to represent the family of Trayvon Martin in their civil lawsuit against George Zimmerman and the homeowners' association which utilized Mr. Zimmerman's vigilante execution services to hunt down and kill Trayvon. In the civil suit for wrongful death due to the use of unnecessary and excessive force, the burden of proof for money damages is only a fair preponderance of the evidence and not beyond a reasonable doubt. The homeowners' association will hopefully have liability insurance to cover the negligence aspect of the claim but the willful and wanton aspect will not be covered by insurance. It is possible, depending on how the facts come out, that the homeowners' association, and even the individual homeowners themselves, will be liable for the intentional tort liability. If I represented Trayvon's estate, I would be seeking millions and millions of dollars in compensation for the loss of this wonderful young man who was the victim of a vigilante executioner, George Zimmerman. And I would try in any way possible to hold Zimmerman, the homeowners' association, and even the individual homeowners liable for punitive damages as well. 

By the way, if you think that Zimmerman may be found criminally not guilty, that does not preclude a later verdict of liability against him in a civil claim for money damages. Think about how OJ Simpson was acquitted of murder in the criminal case but convicted in the civil claim for money damages.