All posts in Courts

Brown v. Board of Education redux

I was looking up something the other day and saw the Supreme Court opinion in Brown v. Bd of Ed.  I’m not sure I’ve ever actually read the case.  So I copied it and read it this morning, Saturday morning after my daily walk with my wife to get coffee.

My first thought about the case is the length of the opinion – 4 and a half pages before footnotes, 1873 words!  Oh for those days again, simplicity!

As for the merits, there is an interesting (and short) summary of grade school education in 1868 when the 14th Amendment was enacted, trying to figure out what Congress and the state meant when ratifying the 14th amendment.   Grade school education was largely non-existent then, certainly public education and especially in rural areas – so not much help there.  “We must look instead to the effect of segregation itself on public education.” Read more…

Re-reading a local rule re chapter 11 fee apps

I’ve filed a million chapter 11 fee applications, well maybe not that many.  I re-read the local rules re fee apps a couple years ago when a judge told me I’m supposed to say in the application that I have read the rules and that this application follows those rules (he was right).

Well, I’m sitting on Zoom.gov last week, listening to a judge and an attorney discussing the attorney’s fee application – minding my own business.  The attorney acknowledges that he violated the local rule that says the declaration by the client agreeing to the fees requested must be filed as a separate pleading.  Huh?  So I look it up.  Local Rule 2016-1(a)(1)(J) says the fee app must include “A separately filed declaration from the client indicating that the client has reviewed the fee application and has no objection to it.”

Just my curiosity wondering how long that’s been there?  If anyone knows, please say so in the comments.

An important comment on writing from Hon. Thomas Reavley, RIP.

Note today from Bryan Garner

Remembering Thomas M. Reavley.

On Tuesday, a legal giant died: Thomas M. Reavley of Houston, who was a Fifth Circuit judge for 41 years and a Texas Supreme Court justice for 7. You can read his obituaries [here] and [here].

Two years after I finished my clerkship with Judge Reavley, he wrote the foreword to my first book—which has been carried through to the third edition titled Garner’s Dictionary of Legal Usage (2011). Here’s part of what this quintessential judge wrote there:

“Excess language misdirects. Ambiguous language confuses. Errors in grammar, in diction, in spelling, as well as in fact or logic, distract and destroy confidence. No writer can afford to underestimate the importance of precise, well-placed words.”

Judge Reavley, RIP.

Bryan A. Garner

9th Circuit Annual Report

These are pretty fun to browse through.  The 2019 9th Circuit Annual Report is here.  Just came out.  Lots of facts, statistics and pictures.

Judge Zurzolo instructions for his November 16, 2020 chapter 13 hearings

Email from Keith Higgenbotham:

Dear Colleagues!

Judge Zurzolo has asked that attorneys appearing on his upcoming Ch13 Cf hearings for MONDAY, November 16th register their appearances with his chambers AS SOON AS POSSIBLE (now!) due to the number of matters on that calendar. Instructions for registration can be found below — including allowing you to register for more than 1 hearing in one email for ALL appearances for that day for that attorney.

As you may be aware, Judge Zurzolo was the first Judge to create a toll free appearance line so that we do not need to use CourtCall.  As a trade-off, we are REQUIRED to register your appearance(s) with his chambers beforehand using a new specific email address.

Since the Ch13 calendar has many matters on it, the Court is requiring all attorneys appearing on that calendar to begin registering NOW with Judge Zurzolo’s chambers, as is required.  Also, the Court is requiring ALL to register by NO LATER THAN 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday 11-11 — instead of the usual noon on the day prior to the hearing.

The Court has assisted us in posting the 11/16 calendar early and has been posted it on the Tentative Rulings page of the Court’s website with the following instructions (see below) on registering for appearances.

The Court is prepared to accept registrations beginning TODAY and strongly encourages it.  The Court asks that attorneys begin registering now and definitely no later than Wed 11/11. This will greatly assist Chambers in being prepared for the 11/16 calendar and NOT be deluged at the last minute.

NOVEMBER 16, 2020 CHAPTER 13 HEARINGS:

PLAN CONFIRMATION AND MISCELLANEOUS HEARINGS

Judge Zurzolo’s courtroom is CLOSED to the public until further notice.

Please refer to the home page of the court’s website for information on public access to the Roybal Building, including General Order 20-06 and Public Notice 20-009. All phone appearances are made on Judge Zurzolo’s toll-free line.

Keith Higginbotham Read more…

City of Chicago, Illinois v. Fulton, oral argument at the Supreme Court is next week

Oral argument at the Supreme Court in the case of City of Chicago, Illinois v. Fulton is set for next Tuesday, October 13, 2020.  The audio of the oral argument will be on the SCOTUS website on Friday Oct 16.  You can access it here.

This case deals with the automatic stay.  The City of Chicago seems to fund itself largely on parking tickets.  When the tickets aren’t paid, the vehicle is seized until the ticket is paid (which amount by then has gone up many times the original amount).  When the owner files a chapter 13, does the City have to return the vehicle?  The 7th Circuit said yes.  Of course if you ask me.

You can get all the briefs here.

My interview with Judge Maureen Tighe

Some good articles in the Central District Consumer Bankruptcy Attorneys Association (cdcbaa) latest newsletter.  You can get it here.

Judge Zurzolo appearance instructions

Email from Keith Higginbotham

Dear Colleagues!

Judge Zurzolo has asked that attorneys appearing on his upcoming Ch13 Cf hrgs for MONDAY, September 14th register their appearances AS SOON AS POSSIBLE (now) due to the number of matters on that calendar.  Instructions for registration can be found on the calendar page for the tentatives for 9/14 (pages 1 & 2) and also on Judge Zurzolo’s webpage under “Telephonic Instructions”.

As you may be aware, Judge Zurzolo was the first Judge to create a tollfree appearance line so that we do not need to use CourtCall.  As a trade-off, we are REQUIRED to register your appearance(s) with his chambers beforehand using a new specific email address.

The Ch13 calendar for Monday, September 9/14 is now posted.  Instructions for making a telephonic appearance are also posted — including allowing you to register for more than 1 hearing in one email for ALL appearances for that day for that attorney.

The Court is prepared to accept registrations beginning TODAY and strongly encourages it.  The Court asks that attorneys begin registering now (at least for 9:00 and 10:30 hearings), and definitely no later than Wed 9/9.   That will help chambers be prepared and not deluged at the last minute.

As a reminder, Judge Zurzolo’s 9:00 a.m. and 10:15 a.m. hearings are listed on VZ webpage under “Chapter 13”.

The 10:30 a.m. hearings are posted under tentative rulings, and by Tues 9/8 the tentatives will be updated to identify hearings for which appearances are waived.

cdcbaa member

Keith Higginbotham

Judge Martin Barash new supplemental requirements for noticing motions before him.

In June, Judge Barash updated his posted “telephonic” procedures to include ZoomGov instructions and announced that he would be holding all hearings (unless otherwise ordered) using ZoomGov audio and video—at least through the end of the year.  His procedures are here (under “Telephonic Instructions”).

I am advised that he has decided to continue this policy for the foreseeable future.  In furtherance of that decision, he has established supplemental requirements for noticing motions that require a hearing before him.  Those procedures are here (under “Self Calendaring”).

These requirements are intended to ensure that parties get the maximum notice possible that a hearing will be held remotely and get the necessary information to connect to that hearing, either by computer, handheld device or telephone.

The following, which describes the new policy, has been added to Judge Barash’s publicly posted self-calendaring procedures.

Until further notice, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, all of Judge Barash’s hearings will be conducted remotely, using ZoomGov audio and video.  Accordingly, in addition to all other applicable noticing requirements, and pursuant to the authority granted under Fed. R. Bankr. P. 9007,  Judge Barash requires that a moving party or other party noticing a ZoomGov hearing before him (i) file and serve a completed Supplemental Notice of Hearing to Be Held Remotely Using ZoomGov Audio and Video (“Supplemental Notice”), at the same time the principal notice of such hearing is to be filed and served, or (ii) incorporate conforming language into such principal notice.  The form of Supplemental Notice approved by Judge Barash for a hearing in a bankruptcy case can be found here.  The form of the Supplemental Notice approved by Judge Barash for a hearing in an adversary proceeding can be found here.  The unique ZoomGov connection information for each day’s hearings before Judge Barash—which information is necessary to complete the Supplemental Notice–is posted on his public calendar, which can be located at: http://ecf-ciao.cacb.uscourts.gov/CiaoPosted/default.aspx

Nice post by evidence guru Wayne Silver on whether settlement discussions are really confidential

This is worth reading.  Gives you little shivers about the prospect of hearing your “confidential settlement discussions” being discussed with the judge.