FINDLAW:Daily Opinion Summaries for U.S. Supreme Court – 3/31/08


New Jersey v. Delaware, No. 134In a dispute between Delaware and New Jersey over their respective regulatory authority over a portion of the Delaware River, the Court rules that Article VII of a 1905 Compact between the states did not secure to New Jersey exclusive jurisdiction over all riparian improvements commencing on its shores. New Jersey and Delaware have overlapping authority to regulate riparian structures and operations of extraordinary character extending outshore of New Jersey’s domain into territory over which Delaware is sovereign.

Economic Stimulus Payments Information Center

Economic Stimulus Payments Information Center

Updated March 10, 2008

Starting in May, the Treasury will begin sending economic stimulus payments to more than 130 million households. To receive a payment, taxpayers must have a valid Social Security number, $3,000 of income and file a 2007 federal tax return. IRS will take care of the rest. Eligible people will receive up to $600 ($1,200 for married couples), and parents will receive an additional $300 for each eligible child younger than 17. Millions of retirees, disabled veterans and low-wage workers who usually are exempt from filing a tax return must do so this year in order to receive a stimulus payment.

But there are more details to know about. Find out more here and visit this page regularly for the latest updates.

Legal Ease Blog: Do Something! Review Your Retainer Agreement


Aside from your jurisdiction’s ethical rules, the single most important document that defines your relationship with your client is your retainer agreement or engagement letter. When was the last time you reviewed your agreement?

Here are some essential elements to include in your retainer agreement:

1. Scope of work: Does your agreement accurately and specifically reflect the work you will perform for the client (and the work you won’t perform under the agreement?) If you’re retained for a litigation matter, does your retainer agreement include working on an appeal? Does preparation of a will for a client include a health care proxy, living will and durable power of attorney, or are will those services require a separate agreement (and a separate fee)?

2. A time limitation. Don’t leave yourself open for problems with clients that fail to return your retainer agreement. Your agreement should state specifically that the provisions contained within it (including the fee) are only valid if the agreement iss signed within a specific period of time (i.e. 2 weeks. one month, etc.) Make it clear that if the agreement (and retainer fee) are not received within that period of time, you are not obligated to represent the client.


Read the rest of this retainer review at Legal Ease Blog and for help reviewing your retainer agreement and/or other forms or procedures in your office, feel free to contact Allison Shields, the author.



This author does the best job of anybody I’ve seen lately at writing clear, concise, super-useful, practical, articles for solos and small firms. 


FINDLAW: Daily Opinion Summaries for New York Court of Appeals – 03/25/08


In the Matter of 9th & 10th Street L.L.C. v. Bd of Standards & Appeals of the City of New York, No. 40A decision reversing the New York City Department of Buildings’ denial of a building permit to construct a dormitory is reversed as: 1) the Department’s denial was not arbitrary and capricious; and 2) where there is reason to doubt that a proposed structure can be used for a lawful purpose, municipal authorities are not required to let the property owner build the building and see what happens.


In the Matter of Disney Enters., Inc. v. Tax Appeals Tribunal of the State of New York, No. 37In an action challenging the validity, under federal law, of New York’s franchise tax apportionment formula, a finding that Disney’s business activities within New York via its corporate subsidiary constituted taxable activities is affirmed over Disney’s claims that: 1) its subsidiaries were not subject to taxation under Tax Law article 9 because their New York activities did not amount to more than mere “solicitation” of orders for sales of tangible property; and 2) New York’s tax apportionment formula was unconstitutional.


Mann v. Abel, No. 24 In an action for libel arising out of an article published in an independent newspaper, jury finding that statements in the articles were defamatory and award of compensatory and punitive damages are reversed and complaint dismissed in its entirety where: 1) viewed within the context of the article as a whole, a reasonable reader would conclude that the allegedly defamatory statements at issue were opinion; and 2) thus, the statement constituted non-actionable statements as a matter of law.


People v. Hall, No. 29Police may conduct a visual body inspection of an arrestee if they have a factual basis supporting a reasonable suspicion that the arrestee has evidence concealed inside a body cavity and the search is conducted in a reasonable manner. If the visual inspection reveals the presence of a suspicious object, the police must obtain a warrant authorizing the object’s removal unless there are exigent circumstances.



People v. Windham, No. 42In an appeal arising from a sex offender risk level reassessment hearing, a decision adjudicating defendant a level three sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) is affirmed where defendant failed to preserve a claim that he was not subject to SORA because, although he was released on parole after SORA’s effective date (January 21, 1996), he finished serving the sex-offense portion of his concurrent sentence no later than August 2, 1994. 

FINDLAW:Daily Opinion Summaries for U.S. Supreme Court – 03/25/08


Hall Street Assocs., L.L.C. v. Mattel, Inc., No. 06-989The statutory grounds provided by the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) for expedited judicial review to confirm, vacate, or modify arbitration awards are exclusive, as opposed to mere threshold provisions open to expansion by agreement. In a dispute between a commercial landlord and tenant-manufacturer, involving arbitration of the applicability of a lease indemnification provision for failure to comply with environmental laws, the Ninth Circuit’s judgment is vacated and the case remanded for further proceedings.


Medellin v. Texas, No. 06-984Neither an International Court of Justice case, Case Concerning Avena and Other Mexican Nationals (Mex. v. U. S.), 2004 I. C. J. 12, nor a memorandum issued by the President of the United States constitutes directly enforceable federal law that pre-empts state limitations on the filing of successive habeas petitions. Consequently, dismissal of a habeas petition in a death penalty case raising a claim that petitioner was not informed of his Vienna Convention right to notify the Mexican consulate of his detention is affirmed. – Owner Charged With Cruelty for Failing to Treat Cat’s Ailments

Owner Charged With Cruelty for Failing to Treat Cat’s Ailments

Noeleen G. WalderNew York Law JournalMarch 24, 2008

A cat owner who did not seek treatment for his pet’s serious ailments during the cat’s last year of life can be charged with animal cruelty, a Manhattan judge has ruled.

Allegations that the defendant left a “swollen and bleeding” paw and other conditions untreated “sufficiently demonstrate that the animal was subjected to unjustifiable physical pain,” Criminal Court Judge ShawnDya L. Simpson wrote in People v. Walsh, 2007NY022001.


Read entire article

Axiotron Modbook


Axiotron : Modbook

The Axiotron Modbook is a slate-style tablet Mac that enables users to draw and write directly on the screen.Axiotron integrates an Apple MacBookョ computer, state-of-the-art Wacom pen-enabled digitizer technology and Axiotron’s own proprietary hardware and software components into a complete tablet solution, the Axiotron Modbook.

Intended for artists, mobile users, students and professionals, the Modbook’s condensed form factor and integrated pen allow users of the Modbook ton draw and sketch directly on the screen using popular graphics applications like Corelョ Painter’s X and Adobeョ Photoshop.

The Axiotron Modbook operates on the Mac OS X v10.5 Leopard platform. It has 2.1GHz-plus of processing speed, 1GB-plus of memory, and the full-range of Apple MacBook connectivity via Ethernet, USB, FireWireョ, Bluetooth and AirPortョ.

Every Modbook also comes equipped with a built-in iSightョ camera, optical drive and Global Positioning System (GPS).

Priced at $2279.00 for fast and $2479.00 for faster.



Here’s a Case Management System, which is entirely web-based.

With Rocket Matter, your calendar, contact, and billing information is:

secured on routinely updated enterprise level servers

stored in a highly secured facility where several municipalities maintain mission critical systems

placed on a network monitored by security experts 24 hours a day

available to you anytime, anyplace via encrypted connections

backed-up daily to comply with malpractice standards

Early adopters will receive a signing bonus; i.e., a discounted rate of $50.00 per month per lawyer and $15.00 per month per staff person.

Check out their blog for more info.