Friday, December 14, 2007

MDV in executive employment contract case

This afternoon, a jury in the Abingdon division of the W.D. Va. awarded a verdict of $4,000,000 on the implied contract claim in the case of United v. Keenan, Civil Action No. 1:06cv0071, related to a $10 million bonus paid to the defendant.

Interestingly, Magistrate Judge Sargent tried the case, with Big Law lawyers on both sides, plus local counsel.

Wahoo's with Imus

The New York Times has this profile of Tony Powell, said to be an old RCS major at the University, and now part of the Imus program.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Dog books

For my birthday, a couple of months ago, my wife or somebody got me the collection of Jack Kestner columns. My reaction to it was not what she expected, as she said: "I didn't know it was going to make you cry." It was the dog stories, I said, and the dog pictures - Buck, Leroy, Little Girl, et al., dogs I'd known in a sense for years.

One night this week, I enjoyed Jon Katz's Dog Days: Dispatches from Bedlam Farm, which begins with the disclaimer, "No dogs die in this book." I wonder whether Southwest Virginia's own Donald McCaig, author of Eminent Dogs, Dangerous Men: Searching through Scotland for a Border Collie among other works, would be considered a Border Collie Snob, by Katz's reckoning.

To the point, I have since learned that the dog died in one of Katz's earlier books, about which one Amazon reviewer wrote: "Maybe Jon Katz and Michael Vick should get together."

A week from today is December 20, the anniversary of a bad day in my book.


My rant about the Supreme Court's font choices made the bigtime on Blawg Review # 138, which says in part:

"As if there weren't enough meaningful, important rules to learn about how to practice, Steve Minor informs us that the Supreme Court of Virginia uses only Courier in its own documents, and plans to require that all filings be made in that font or Arial or Verdana, while other courts forbid using such sans-serif fonts."

Also, Brian Peterson (from the other side of the state line), has this perspective.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Third years win again, in federal guilty plea case

In U.S. v. Mastrapa, the Fourth Circuit in an opinion by Judge Niemyer, joined by Judges Duncan and Senior Judge Ellis, reversed the judgment entered by Judge Conrad of the W.D. Va. on the guilty plea of the defendant, concluding that the requirements of the guilty plea rule were not satisfied as the defendant (who speaks only Spanish) never allocuted to and the government never proved facts that would satisfy the criminal intent requirement for the offense with which he was charged.

Concerned with the Rule 11 issue, the Court had earlier appointed the University of Virginia School of Law Appellate Litigation Clinic to file a brief on Mastrapa’s behalf.

Alapa admitted only that he carried grocery bags, not that he knew there was methampetamine in them:

"He thought that by carrying the bag that had 'a lot of food' inside of it, even though he did not know it had drugs, he had unwittingly participated in a conspiracy for which the American system would imprison him despite his lack of knowledge."