Justice Alito

 It’s not like we’re judging a moot court: Which lawyer is better. It’s the case, not the lawyer.

Justice Samuel Alito Jr.

Read more: http://www.nationallawjournal.com/supremecourtbrief/id=1202678371994/What-the-Justices-Say-About-the-High-Court-Bar#ixzz3bxW98SRj

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School Funding: The Washington Legislature and State Supreme Court

The legislature has not come up with a budget and the special session ends on April 26, 2015.  The governor said today he will call the legislators back for a continued special session.  Spokesman Review, Jim Camden.

Most interesting to people interested in the state constitution and a budget which provides adequate funding for K-12 funding is this:  What will the court do if the legislature does not, by the end of the continued session,  provide for adequate school funding?
The main event will be what sanctions and remedial orders might the court impose on the legislature.
How the court acts will tell us a great deal about the character of the state of Washington in 2015.

 

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Diocese of Spokane: We’ll never know the terms of the settlement.

The case has settled.

The case is made up of two parts.  Both parts have been settled.

We will never learn the terms of the settlement, at least insofar as the court is concerned.  The only thing to be publicly known as a matter of record is that the case has been settled.

If the settlement terms become public knowledge it will not be because someone has been able to review a public document.  Rather, the terms of the settlement can only become known because someone involved the settlement made disclosure.

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Spokane Diocese Case Against Paine Hamblen Has Settled

Yesterday I went to pre-trial conference scheduled in the Spokane Diocese v. Paine Hamblen case.  All the lawyers were there.  There, meaning Spokane’s most beautiful court room.  The historic courtroom of the District Court for the Eastern District of Washington in the recently renovated United States Post Office.  The courtroom is now the main courtroom for Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Washington.  The courtroom is something to behold.

Three of the lawyers were taking pictures of the courtroom.  I was not surprised, but it did seem a bit unusual.  Something is up, I thought to myself.

Surprise, Ragan Powers (Davis Wright Tremaine), for the defense took the lead.  Then, it dawned upon me, the case had settled.  The settlement must have been completed during the seven day continuance of the originally scheduled pre-trial conference.  No one from the press was there.  (I informed the Spokesman Review and the Associated Press as soon I returned to my office.  They too were caught off guard.)

Bankruptcy judge Frederick P. Corbit did a fine job of making the settlement an event all attorneys and clients could be proud of.

We won’t know the details of the settlement.  It is not one which required approval a review of the judge in a Chapter 11 proceeding.  The litigation was an adversary proceeding.

I talked with Greg Arpin, one of attorneys in the dock, a friend of mine,  he was pleased.  He and his wife were relieved.  I am happy for them.  I talked Bob Gould, a Spokane native and now the state’s premier attorney malpractice lawyer, the lawyer for the plaintiff.  Bob is an acquaintance of mine and has been for over 39 years or so.  He too was pleased with the settlement.  He asked what my interest was.  I had no hesitation “I have friends and acquaintance’s on both sides of the case.  And, for them I am relieved” I said. I think Bob understood how I felt.

Here is the Spokesman-Review piece.

The law is a fine mystery.

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Bishop William S. Skylstad

Bishop William S. Skylstad is the Bishop Emeritus of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane.  He retired June 30, 201o.

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Bishop Blasé Cupich: Chicago’s New Archbishop

Spokane Bishop Blasé Cupich became the Chicago Archbishop in November 2014.  See the story in Time Magazine — Meet Blasé Cupich: Chicago’s New Archbishop

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Diocese of Spokane: Ex Vicar-General Criticizes Bishop Departing to be Bishop of the Diocese of Chicago

Circa Mid-November 2014 — Former Diocese of Spokane Vicar General Steve Dublinski

All over America the Catholic Church is struggling with the history of sexual abuse in the church. The church is not alone. The problem of past sexual abuse by people of power in a diverse array of institutions has been coming to the fore, into consciousness, and into material world of the legal systems. Besides the Catholic Church others in trouble include Mormons, Boy Scouts, schools, colleges, caregivers and related institutions, etc.

The time of troubles of the Diocese of Spokane, Washington is of interest for all who care to understand how the Diocese of Spokane is dealing with its troubles. It is undergoing a “twist” of sorts at present:  Blasé Cupich, the most recent Bishop of Spokane, brought a diocese legal malpractice action against the law firm which represented Bishop William Skylstad, the Bishop which led the diocese through the initiation and finalization of a Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Arrangement.  (Bankruptcy is often resorted to regarding multiple claims against an entity.  See Richard B. Sobol, Bending the Law, The Story of the Dalkon Shield Bankruptcy.) News about the most recent development in the “struggle of the Diocese of Spokane” can be found in this story in the Spokesman-Review — Ex Vicar-General Critical of Lawsuit.

The Spokesman-Review has done a number of stories about the lawsuit by the Catholic Bishop of Spokane against Paine Hamblin.  Many of them can be found in the column to the right of story’s webpage under “Related Stories.”

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Catholic Bishop of Spokane — Adversary Proceeding: Consists of Two Cases

An adversary proceeding is a lawsuit in the bankruptcy action and related in some way to the action. An adversary proceeding is a sub-case or proceeding of the bankruptcy proceeding. It has an adversary case number which is listed under the bankruptcy case number in the caption of the case. In the Diocese case, the case by THE CATHOLIC BISHOP OF SPOKANE against PAINE HAMBLEN, LLP, is ADV. PROC NO. 14-80001-FPC under the bankruptcy CASE NO. 04-08822-FPC11.

This adversary case is divided into two cases — the core issues case and non-core issues case with right to jury trial. Case issues which are “core” bankruptcy matters will be heard on February 17, 2015 by bankruptcy judge Frederick P. Corbit. These core issues are those which relate to the claim that due to a conflict of interest by Paine Hamblen, the attorneys’ fees paid to the firm should be “disgorged” by reason of a violation of the bankruptcy code.

The non-core issues relate to the negligence claims brought of The Catholic Bishop of Spokane against Paine Hamblen. The attorneys for the Bishop demand a jury trial regarding the claims. They would be willing to have the bankruptcy judge hear the claims with a jury. The attorneys for Paine Hamblen disagree, so this part of the adversary case will be referred to, or sent to, the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Washington for decision by an Article III federal judge.

Regarding this difference between core and non-core proceedings the legal authority of the judge deciding the question is of importance. The difference is between an “Article I, Article II” judge and an “Article III” judge. Bankruptcy judges are appointed, they are “Article I, Article II” judges. United States District Court judges are “Article III” judges.

For a discussion of Article II and Article III judges go here. Judith Resnik, The Mythic Meaning of Article III Courts, 56 U. Colo. L. Rev. 581 1984-1985.

For a discussion of core and non-core proceedings go to Allaw.com Core & Non-Core Proceedings in Bankruptcy.

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Catholic Bishop of Spokane — Trial February 17, 2015, 9:30 AM

Last year, Spokane Bishop Blase J. Cupich sued the law firm which represented Spokane Bishop Wm. Skylstad in the Catholic Bishop of Spokane, Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings for violation of certain bankruptcy court conflict of interest rules and for negligence.

There is a bankruptcy court “adversary proceeding” Adv. Proc. No. 14-80001-FPC which will commence on February 17, 2015 at 9:30 a.m. in the third floor courtroom in the United States Post Office at 904 W Riverside Ave., Spokane, Washington.  (This is the large courtroom the third floor.  It has been renovated and historic and a sight to behold.  I hear the acoustics are much improved.)

The purpose of the trial will be to determine:

a. Whether the defendants simultaneously represented both the Diocese and the personal interests of then-Bishop William Skylstad during the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, and if so, whether such representation constituted an un-waived conflict of interest and/or a relationship requiring disclosure under Bankruptcy Rule2014 and 11 U.S.C. § 327;

b. If there was simultaneous representation of the Diocese and then-Bishop William Skylstad that constituted either a conflict of interest or a relationship that required disclosure to the Court, whether the defendants improperly failed to make that disclosure to the Court and parties-in-interest and violated Bankruptcy Rule2014 and 11 U.S.C. § 327;

c. Whether the Court should set aside the order approving the employment of the defendants as counsel for the Diocese in the chapter 11 Bankruptcy, and the order approving the defendants’ fee applications in that matter;

d. Should the Court determine to set aside the above-referenced orders, whether the Court should order (in the Bankruptcy) the defendants to disgorge all or some portion of fees previously approved and paid to the defendants; and

e. The parties, consistent with the Federal Rules of Evidence shall put on at the time of the hearing scheduled to commence on February 17, 2015, evidence and expert testimony to demonstrate to the Court why or why not the defendants should pay back the fees awarded to it or a portion thereof. It will be up to counsel for the parties to determine what evidence they feel is appropriate to bear on this determination.

The pre-trial conference will be in open court on January 15, 2015 at 9:30 a.m.

Briefs are to be filed on February 4, 2015.

 

 

 

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California Attorney Discipline System: Executive Director Whistleblower Files Case Against Bar

The complaint filed .

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