Attorneys & Lawyers & Counselors, Litigation of Business | Business of Litigation



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Lawyer agrees to disbarment for abdicating law firm to nonlawyersLaw_Firm_Image

A San Diego lawyer has agreed to be disbarred for allowing a nonlawyer to open and operate a law firm in his name that offered credit-repair services. Ernest George Georggin, 68, agreed to give up his law license and to pay $90,000 in restitution, plus interest, to 25 former clients of the law firm who filed complaints, according to a California State Bar press release, U-T San Diego and the Metropolitan News-Enterprise. According to a stipulation of facts, Georggin formed Georggin Law with nonlawyer Eric . . .

. . . keep reading here via Lawyer agrees to disbarment for abdicating law firm to nonlawyers.

Fraudulently Fooled, Litigation of Business | Business of Litigation

Scammy the Invoice Manufacturer and his bright and shiny “Yellow Page Ad”

I got this mailer (image below) in my snail mail yesterday. The envelope grabs your attention because its looks like a billing envelope and has the same ominous warning FINAL NOTICE in big, bold letters. The envelope has the walking fingers logo just like in the image. If you are a particular age that is a pretty memorable logo that is always identified with the Yellow Pages phone books (and apparently not owned by anyone. More info below).

It was probably because I have ads with that my heart did that little stutter-step-thingy and I ripped the envelope open instantly.  The way the flyer inside is folded, the first thing you see is the part at the top of the image I circled in red. It took about a second and a half before it clicked with me and I remembered seeing this flyer before. And then after another couple-or-few seconds, I remembered I don’t get bills in the mail for my ads online. Never had. Mine have been auto-debited off a card from day one (so, I can be a little slow at times before I get some coffee in me).

The scam works  likes this: They are hoping the invoice goes to a busy office setting with a bookkeeper who is responsible for paying all of the bills every month.  The invoices are made to work  best if her employer has Yellow Page ads with bills arriving at seemingly random times every month. The bookkeeper here has never had a payment go in late and dimly feels the tiniest glint of pride at that fact.

Although she doesn’t know it, and wouldn’t much care anyway, the scammy company sending these invoices out is targeting bookkeepers just like her. The kind  that would never be mistaken for doing anything that slightly resembled, or could  be reasonably confused with, someone actually “keeping the books.” Her job is dull. But as long as she writes out the checks on time, keeps the accounts balanced every month and never lets any dastardly late fees accumulate, she can go about her day, pretty much remaining unnoticed, knowing life can be much worse than this.

So, when she sees the vaguely familiar fingers walking across the invoice and the bold FINAL NOTICE catches her view, the silent warning speeds her up by a step as the deeply-seated routine kicks in and takes over. Naturally thoughtless, she pulls out the checkbook just like a thousand times before. Then she fills in the amount that’s listed where it says DUE NOW. After sealing the envelope that is always enclosed, she presses down the stamp and tosses it in the bin. Dimly she this thinks, “no goddamn late fees gonna beat me,” knowing it will be in the mail by the end of the day.

What the bookkeeper just started was an automatically renewing “contract” when she unwittingly sent the check for $298.00 to the scammy company. They bank on this slipping through the cracks just like this and then their bills being paid this same way. Every time I see these they always make me wonder how many of these the scammy company sends out every day? How many businesses thoughtlessly send in their money?

Evidently, some of the scammy companies have a real free directory somewhere on the internet that you could probably never find. Another other way to pull this off is to just get your business’ contact info from a public source, like state incorporation records, real phone books/directories or from any where you advertise.  Once they have that info, and sufficient printing and mailing resources, the deceptive invoices can magically appear in your mailbox

The scammy company is banking on the invoice reaching a distracted small company with employees/owners that may be inattentive, too busy, careless or simply sidetracked , who all nonetheless dutifully pay their bills when they come in. I suppose if you send out enough of these invoices, the pure odds alone will wind up being profitable.

I am always impressed by the ingenuity, thought and creativity that goes into these scams. If they applied those same skills in a legitimate manner, the scammers could probably wind up being very successful. You know, kinda like a respectable and upstanding member of [fill in the name of a profession that you dislike right here]!

More info below the image. Be aware, be very aware!

sccam yp maile--FINAL BLOGGER--480x632

The Better Business Bureau has more info here (from January 2013–“This scam continues to gain steam despite numerous investigations and enforcement actions taken by the FTC) and Minnesota’s Attorney General does here (listing “clever tricks” employed in this scam– “the “let your fingers do the walking” or “Yellow Pages” logos are not trademarked and can be used by any directory publishing company.”).And has a story here. (When companies  did not pay the invoice, the scammy company got nasty and mean, “They would receive threatening letters, threatening phone calls saying they were going to report them to collection agencies and have lawyers call them”).


Litigation of Business | Business of Litigation

Small Businesses Sue AIG Over Workers’ Compensation Insurance Scheme

ALTON, Ill. (Oct. 9) (Press Release): Small businesses in California, New York and New Jersey this week initiated coordinated class action lawsuits in federal courts on both coasts against American International Group (“AIG”), its subsidiary companies and former CEO Maurice Greenberg alleging unfair business practices, fraud and violations of the federal racketeering statutes.

The businesses allege that for approximately four decades beginning in the 1970s, AIG engaged in a sophisticated scheme to misreport the amount of workers’ compensation premiums it collected in each state, thereby causing insured employers to pay more in certain workers’ compensation fees than they otherwise would have paid. By making it appear less money was collected in workers’ compensation premiums in these states, AIG caused  . . .

Small Businesses Sue AIG Over Workers’ Compensation Insurance Scheme.

Civilized Proceedings, Litigation of Business | Business of Litigation

Man who appeared in court is legally dead, judge says

Of course, the ex-wife shows up to oppose his request to be declared legally alive again. Filed under Hollywood movie script ideas, comedy?

An Ohio man who appeared in court on Monday is legally dead, a judge has ruled. Donald Eugene Miller Jr. was declared dead in 1994, eight years after he disappeared from his home in Arcadia, the Courier reports. On Monday, Judge Allan Davis of Hancock County said Miller is still legally dead because a death ruling cannot be changed after three years have passed. UPI and Yahoo News noted the story. Miller, 61, told the court he was an alcoholic and he left town because he lost his job and he was unsure what to do. He wants to revArse the death ruling so he can get a driver’s license and reinstate his Social Security number. Miller’s former wife, Robin Miller, opposed Miller’s attempt to reverse the ruling. She has been receiving Social Security death benefits for her children and she says she . .

via Man who appeared in court is legally dead, judge says.

Attorneys & Lawyers & Counselors

Federal courts are open, but some stays have been granted

Come on, Baby! Let’s stay us some civil actions between private litigants, Baby!  Come on . . .  Got a brief due Thursday, so let’s get us some blanket stays going on . . . Baby!

Why lawyers are not lyricists.



The federal courts may be open for business during the government shutdown, but business there is anything but routine. Criminal litigation continues without interruption, Third Branch News reports. But the Justice Department has asked PDF U.S. Attorneys across the country to curtail or postpone civil litigation that is not absolutely necessary. As a result, federal prosecutors are filing motions for stays of litigation on a case-by-case basis. And judges’ responses to such requests have varied greatly. Chief Judge Loretta A. Preska has issued an order PDF staying all civil cases in the Southern District of New York except for civil forfeiture cases in which federal prosecutors have appeared as counsel. The stay will be lifted the first day after the president signs a budget appropriation into law. Preska was apparently responding to a letter from Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney . . .

via Federal courts are open, but some stays have been granted.

Appealing Appeals Applied, Attorneys & Lawyers & Counselors

Practice Tip for Aspiring Appellate Attorneys

courthouse-1330873-mIf you want a successful win/loss record* as an appellate attorney, always remember to only represent the Respondent when a case goes up on appeal.

In 2012, US federal courts of appeal granted the Appellants reversals in only around 12% of all civil cases appealed out from federal district courts, considered federal trial courts.

Nationwide in 2008 (most recent data I found), the combined rate for US state intermediate appellate courts  (e.g., usually state “courts of appeal”) that reversed lower court decisions averaged out at only 15%.

Also nationwide in 2008, in cases appealed to a state court of last resort (e.g., usually a state “supreme court”) the cases affirmed outnumbered reversals more than two-to-one. While nationwide the same year, cases affirmed by state intermediate appellate courts outnumbered reversals at a rate of four-to-one.

Finally in 2008, leaving my local courts last, but certainly not considering them least, in deciding 147 civil and criminal appeals combined, the Supreme Court of Minnesota only issued reversals in about 14% of all appeals. Meanwhile, in Minnesota’s intermediate appellate court, the Court of Appeals decided 2,046 criminal and civil cases, with the Appellants doing slightly better by obtaining reversals about 16% of the time.

The numbers don ‘t lie. If you want to have the best possible win/loss record for your appellate practice, the odds are much higher if you only represent the party that prevailed at trial court level: The Respondent.

If your practice allows you to pick and choose cases on this basis, please leave a detailed comment below explaining for me how it’s done, because I sure don’t enjoy that luxury in my practice!

* Other outcomes may be considered a “win” or a “loss” as well, but are not incorporated in the above discussion in order to keep the definition of a “win” as clean, clear and indisputable as possible. The outcomes left out that could be considered either a “win” or a “loss,” depending on the interpretation of each particular case’s final result, can include cases where an appellate decision is issued that modifies a lower court’s decision (one way or the other), cases when an order is issued dismissing an appeal (for any number of reasons), cases when an Appellant voluntarily agrees to dismiss the appeal (usually with undisclosed reasons), along with many other potential outcomes that are never so neatly and distinctly defined that they fit in a classical “win” column or “loss “column.

MKT–MKT Law–Appellate Practice Information