Fish Tank

Sunday, December 14, 2014

It Just Get's Better and Better

it's all a scam
Well, it's that time of year for all the crazies to come out of hiding.  Yep - it's time for all the scammers and con artists to ply their trade to get you (and unsuspecting public) to cough up your hard won monies.  Heck, I just got a call saying that my credit card had been locked (my credit card company always leaves a message so I'm guessing it was another scam).

Anyway, today's story is about the Riverside, California woman who claimed to have cancer.  Yeah, seems this enterprising female was pouring out her problems to her "friends" on Facebook and she hinted that she had cancer.  She even went so far as to shave her head (intimating that she was in chemo therepy) and wore cancer awareness shirts.  OK, this last one is a bit odd - how does wearing a shirt say you have cancer; by that logic, if I ride in a hot air balloon, does that mean I'm a politician?  I don't know how wearing a shirt says you have cancer, but sure.

Funny thing about all this is that the enterprising female from Riverside, California was on probation for a 2013 embezzlement conviction.  Oops.  Anyway, after collecting about $3,000 from her friends and receiving a number or gifts to ease her cancer-filled pain, enterprising female from Riverside, California is cooling her heels in jail facing charges of felony by false pretenses.  

Thing is, if you look at her booking picture, she looks really happy.  So, maybe what she wanted all along is a small 6' X 8' room and "free" room and board.  In such a case, she's a happy lark and that's one less con artist on the streets and an early Christmas gift to those who are looking to avoid being scammed this holiday season.  You're welcome.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Things you can do without

My aching feet
The other day, I had a young-ish lawyer-type person come into the law library wearing a boot on his foot.  Turns out he had had a bunion excised from his foot and he was in healing mode (hence, the boot).  He told me that it had been bothering him for a while and my mind got me to thinking about another young-ish guy we had in the library with a similar situation.  

No, young-ish guy did not have a bunion excised but he was looking to extricate himself from a business dealing.  Seems young-ish guy had been working with a high school buddy and they have formed a corporation a while back.  Seems young-ish guy and buddy had a falling out and were looking to go their separate ways but didn't want to kill the corporation they had formed.  So, young-ish guy was looking for help on how to get out of the corporation without dissolving the corporation.

Knowing my library collection as I do, faster than you can painful bunion, I lead him over to 

Then, for good measure, I suggested he take a look at California Legal Forms Transaction Guide (Lexis; Vols. 1-5 (Business & NonProfit Organizations)) to see if he could find an corporate-ish agreement that would let him has his cake and eat it, too.  In no time at all, young-ish guy was off and running and found what he needed in short order.

The moral to this story is if you find that you have something that you're trying to excise yourself from, know that the good folks at your local county law library has just what you need to give you relief.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Word of the Month for December 2014

Everyone is a common people
Have you ever had a job that, when you open your eyes in the morning, you say, "I get to go to work, today!"  Being a law Librarian is just like that for me.  One of the best parts is working with the general public.  I guess my skills might be better suited for a corporate law firm or academia, but in working with the public I get more variety and am exposed to a diverse spectrum of people.  Of course, all this leads up to our word of the month which is PLEBS.

According to Black's Law Dictionary, a PLEB refers to the common people in ancient Rome; the general body of citizens, excluding the patricians (or privileged class).  In the modern world, PLEBs are the general public (i.e. non legal people).  Don't get me wrong, I dig working for/with attorneys and judges all the time but it is the rush I get from helping the everyday/regular people and the variety of problems they have (and the opportunity to turn despair into possibilities and hope) that drives me.

For instance, we had a guy in there the other day.  Seems guy had contracted for some services on his house.  Turns out the work was substandard and the contract that guy had signed said, if he's not satisfied that he doesn't have to pay until he is satisfied.  Well, he wasn't satisfied and when he complained to the owner, owner said - so sad, too bad - pay us or we're going to sue you (and you can't do anything about it because you can't afford an attorney to fight us).

See, it was that last part that got my juices going.  As it turns out, about 45% of the people who use our law library have no legal background and yet are able to defend themselves against people like this guy was facing.  So, knowing our library as I do, I walk guy over to:

and in no time, guy had the forms he needed to defend himself and, in fact, found a couple of legal zingers of his own he could use to mess with the case against him (yeah, he was mad as all get out and was looking for a little payback).

Bottom line, just because you do not have a background in jurisprudence, know that your local county law Librarian has the skills to help you fight your battles.  Yeah, we are that good!

Monday, November 24, 2014

I can only do so much

legal advice
The other day as I was getting my law Librarian groove on, a guy was wanting some advice on how to proceed with his case.  When I was not forthcoming, he got screaming mad and he said, "If you don't tell me what I need to know, I'll get my shotgun!"  While I'm thinking he was jesting, it's a good thing I kiss the wife and kids every morning when I leave for work - just in case.

The thing is omnipotent as I am in my capacity as a law Librarian, I am prohibited by law from giving legal advice. What is legal advice?  Simply put, legal advice is the professional or formal opinion of a lawyer relating to the substance or procedure of the law.  In plain English, it is the information an attorney gives to a person as it relates to a legal matter such as recommending or "advising" the client to take certain action or how to use or fill-out a particular legal form. 

How does this translate in a law library setting?  Say, for example a person comes into the law library and is reading a case that relates to their situation.  Say person doesn't really understand what they are reading so they come up to me and ask,

  • "Can you tell me what this means (as it relates to my situation)?" or 
  • "What do you think this means (for my situation)?" or 
  • "How might this be applied (to my situation)?"

What each of these questions are doing is asking how to proceed in their situation (i.e. advice).  Maybe the person is trying to fill out a legal form and they need help with a few blank lines.  Again, I can't help you fill out your form because filling out a form is legal advice (because I'm telling you how to proceed).

Bottom line, there is really only one question that I, as your friendly neighborhood law Librarian, can answer for you and that is, "Where can I find information about...?"  Given the fact that I have a slew of advanced degrees, while I can't tell you how to use the information, I know enough about the law to know what resources are best to put in your hands so that you can answer the "how to use" questions yourself.  Yeah, I am that good.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

I can't make this stuff up

jockey at the beach
Have you ever read a story and it sounds so out in left field that it can't possibly be true?  Like all those fish stories where the guy fights for hours and lands a prehistoric megalodon, or the 5 year old kid who pulls a superman and lifts a car off his dad, or the story where your dad walked to school and back home uphill both ways?  Tall tales all to be sure.

Anyway, I was reading the Los Angeles Daily Journal about a similar story.  Seems a supervisor noticed a used sanitary napkin on the staff bathroom floor.  I'm guessing this is a girl thing (because I don't know what it is (and don't really want to know)).  Anyway, supervisor rounds up all female employees and asks which one is having their, uh,,...which one was...uh..."leaking" down there?  When none of the female workers fessed up, supervisor lined them up against a wall (under penalty that they would be fired if they didn't comply) and one by one were taken into the bathroom where they had to pull their pants down (or dresses up) and were examined for "leakage."

Yeah, pretty funky.  So funky, in fact, that the female employees all filed suit against the company alleging, among other things, false imprisonment.  I'm guessing company lost and company sought compensation by it's insurance company.  Insurance company (stifling a belly laugh, I'll bet) said "NO" and company sued the insurance company for failing to pay on the policy.

Reading the case, it looks like the court was really scrambling to pull out a win for the insurance company. Seems in the original policy, there was an exclusion clause that made it so the insurance company wouldn't have to pay if certain things happened.  Because there is no way to list every little thing (like lining up a bunch of female employees up against a wall for "inspection"), insurance company added two words to include everything - "such as" - and that's what the court clung to when it handed a win to the insurance company.

I guess there are two morals to this story.  First, read the fine print - it's there to burn you.  Second, if you want to be sued, hire a Gestapo supervisor who does something so fantastic that no one could possibly believe it happened (and, subsequently, get blogged about).  Yeah, that's what you should do.