Monday, June 29, 2009

Murder She Wrote

I attended the Maine Bar Association summer meeting in Bar Harbor this weekend, and while there I attended a lecture by the noted trial lawyer, Dan Lilley. The subject was the trial of a case in defense of a person accused of murder. Dan had a number of suggestions which would be helpful to any attorney who tries cases to a jury. One of these is that a lawyer should stop reading books and instead spend his or her time watching popular TV shows, especially the crime shows such as CSI. This is what the members of the jury watch, and the lawyer needs to do this is order to have a feel for where the jury is coming from or how they will be approaching a legal case in their thinking. Something to think about, but if you are not a trial lawyer, you have just wasted another few minutes reading my scribblings. Don

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

I am pretty new to blogging, so I am not sure that just venting on a personal gripe is really the way to go, but this thing is just sticking in my craw, so maybe writing it down will help.

I pay most of my bills online by logging into my bank’s website, where I can view the balance, activity, etc. in my checking account, and I can direct the bank to pay whichever bills I indicate. In some cases, when the payment is going to a large established company, I believe that the funds are transferred electronically, but in many cases the bank simply creates a check and mails it to the creditor.

In early April I directed the bank to pay a premium on my, and my wife’s, long term care insurance in the amount of approximately $2,500. In late May I received a notice from the insurance company that my payment was overdue. I looked at the record of my account online and saw that the check had been paid, or at least the amount of the payment had been deducted from my account. I called my agent who then checked with the insurance company and found that it had no record of receiving the payment and would need a copy of the front and back of the check to show that the payment was made. When I asked the bank for copies of the check, they responded that the check had never cleared.

Now, it is not the fact that the insurance company lost the check which is irking me. What makes me ticked off is that the bank deducted this amount from my account without ever having made any payment, and furthermore, now insists that in order to get that money put back in my account, I will have to submit a ‘stop order’ request and pay $25. Go figure.

I have written a strongly worded letter to the bank and have threatened to take this up with our state banking officials if they won’t put the money back into my account without charging the $25 fee. It is unlikely that I’ll actually do this, but just making the threat and blowing off some steam seemed worth it.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The 1908 Woman: An Object of Public Interest

Here is an interesting item that I came across recently in a publication by the Supreme Court Historical Society.

In 1908 the Supreme Court decided a case that upheld an Oregon law which prohibited an employer from requiring a woman to work more than 10 hours in a day. The fact that the court would allow the government to interfere with a private employer and an employee was pretty radical for that time, but even more amazing was the reasoning which the court adopted.
The court found that, “women’s physical structure and the performance of maternal functions place her at a disadvantage in the struggle for subsistence is obvious. This is especially true when the burdens of motherhood are upon her. Even when they are not, by abundant testimony of the medical fraternity, continued standing for a long time on her feet at work, repeating this from day to day, lends itself to injurious effects upon the body, and as healthy mothers are essential to vigorous offspring, the physical well-being of woman becomes an object of public interest and care in order to preserve the strength and vigor of the race.”

What a difference a century can make! Not withstanding that the ruling was in favor of women, the paternalistic approach which the court took at that time is just the opposite of the equality sought by women of today.

Monday, June 1, 2009

At the Height of Their Generation

Here we go a-blogging again. This time I’d like to mention a phenomenon that I have been noticing more and more lately. It seems to strike me particularly when I am traveling by air, but that is probably just because I don’t have occasion to meet up with many young men on a day-to-day basis. The observation that I am referring to is this: It appears to me that 90% of the men I see in airports under the age of 30 are at least six feet four inches tall. When did this happen that everybody got so big? And how? I was very near to six feet tall when I was a bit younger (I am sure that I have lost an inch or so in my “old age”), but I find myself looking up at almost every young man and teenaged boy that I meet. It used to be that anyone that big would be ticketed for a career in professional sports.

Fortunately for me no points are awarded in court for tallness, but for anyone interested in having Lowry & Associates handle a personal injury claim, you don’t have to worry, because my associate, James, is a young man who is fully up to the standards of his generation.

So there is something to think about, but mainly you have wasted another perfectly good few minutes reading my ramblings.