Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Sad But True - Transplants

People come, and people go. They may have died or simply moved on. I got used to it living in Los Angeles for almost thirty years. Now I have also seen a lot of it in Thailand as well. People want to check it out. Some will stay forever. I almost stayed in LA forever. External circumstances drove me to Thailand. (No, not police. The jobs and the favorable cost of living.) Some stay a few years, and then they decide that they want to return to their old lives, or try Oregon, or Berkeley. You may simply say good luck, or you may have formed a very close bond with them and will miss them terribly. 

Those who die do so on their own motion. That probably wasn't their idea, so you can't hold it against them. You may, however, miss them. If you are a person who loves their friends, all of this can be difficult. 

Good luck to all of my friends who have moved on. To the living, to the dead, and to the ones who had their reasons. I love you all. 

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Liability Waivers: Fun Facts

It seems like a silly thing to even consider. Descending to a depth of 13,000 feet in the cold, unforgiving North Atlantic ocean in a weirdly amateurish, home-made submersible. I followed the story of its loss with some curiosity, although without real interest. What kind of company slaps a thing like this together, ignoring the safety conventions and the laws of both Murphy and physics, and sends it down full of billionaire adventurers who pay $250,000 per person for the privilege? The answer seems to be: the kind of company that trusts its risk of liability purely to the customers’ signatures on liability waivers.

This morning I read the articles about the loss in the N.Y. Times and the Daily Beast, and both strongly suggested that the company would be building its defense to wrongful death law suits (more essentially, negligence suits) on its supposedly strong liability waiver. That thing certainly seems to mention “possibility of death” everywhere that it is possible to squeeze it in. Oh, if only it were that simple.

My first legal observation was, “those things are usually found to be against public policy, aren’t they?” Well, it turns out that the answer is “yes,” as long as you include the “usually.”

I like to check a bit before I shoot my mouth off, so I consulted Professor Google. I always favor real law websites, so I read a nice article in the National Law Review (June 24, 2023). I’d say that they have also been following events as they unfold.

They also started off by pointing out that liability waivers are unenforceable if in violation of public policy. They dropped in more of the subjunctive than I did by making it conditional on an extra “if.” The article relied quite a bit on a case named Atkins v. Skimwest. Atkins starts with a warning of what is to come, “case law does not favor liability waivers.”

Atkins goes on to say that liability waivers “are not automatically invalid,” but that they will in every case be “strictly construed against the party seeking to rely” on them. The waivers must be ridiculously specific about every single risk that exists and that the customer is waiving. What’s more, the person signing the waiver must have been given the opportunity to bargain over the waiver, to bargain not only over the risks to be waived but also over signing the thing at all! Have you ever heard of that happening? Me neither.

The customers here are people to whom $250,000 is a weekend outing for one. They are billionaires proving once again that it is hard to think of things to do with all of that money. Have any of them actually sought legal advice about the waiver? A good lawyer would advise them to bargain with the dimwits running this company. “Tell you what, I’ll give you $350,000 if I don’t sign the waiver.” The answer is no? “Okay, $500,000.” Still no? No counter offer (“for a million, you can go without the waiver”), no back and forth? You have not been given a chance to bargain in good faith. You must sign, or no deal. You can sign, and the waiver is void for violating public policy. The defense fails.

Just imagine the legal horsepower available to an estate worth billions of dollars. At least when the plaintiffs can be trusted to pay their bills. This should be interesting.

Test June 24 2023


Test June 24 2023

Let’s take a test!

It’ll be fun.

Wednesday, June 21, 2023

Stubborn All Stars - Open Season

I have a Hepcat Records sampler from the late 1990s that includes this song. Is it a cover? A mystery! I love this version either way. 

Sunday, June 18, 2023

Bo Dollis And The Wild Magnolia Mardi Gras Indian Band - "Handa Wanda"

I know that Mardi Gras was four months ago. I also sing Christmas songs in the summertime. My personal calendar is flexible.