December 2009 Archives

Rights of Inpatients in New York State Office of Mental Health Psychiatric Centers

Rights of Inpatients in
New York State Office of Mental Health
Psychiatric Centers

Most people are admitted to New York State psychiatric centers under the Mental Hygiene Law. If you are among them, you are entitled to a broad array of basic rights succinctly set forth in the above document. (Download full text in pdf)

Hat tip to Bethany Schumann-McGhee, Esq

Legal Guide for the Seriously Ill Released by the ABA

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The Legal Guide for the Seriously Ill - a project by the American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging commissioned by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization - was designed for both the seriously ill individual and those caring for someone who is seriously ill. The guide explains “Seven Key Steps” in a brief, clear way while offering additional tips and resources for readers looking for more detailed information and guidance. The recently released guide addresses societal issues that have gained prominent media attention in recent years, such as paying for health care, managing health and personal decisions, and patient rights.


Hat tip to beSpacific

Prof. Patty Salkin On FCC Timeline Ruling

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Petition Pending for Reconsideration of New FCC Rules Setting Timeframes for Governments to Act on Wireless Tower Siting Applications Under TCA « LAW OF THE LAND

Petition Pending for Reconsideration of New FCC Rules Setting Timeframes for Governments to Act on Wireless Tower Siting Applications Under TCA
In a 5-0 decision, the Federal Communications Commission (“FCC”) issued new rules, effective November 18, 2009, establishing deadlines for state and local zoning governments to act on wireless tower siting with respect to applications involving personal wireless services covered by Section 332(c)(7) of the Telecommunications Act.


Read entire article here.

N.Y. Court Finds Med Mal Settlement Doomed by Failure to Put It on Record

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Diarassouba v. Urban (full text of decision)

New York Law Journal

A New York judge's refusal to allow the parties in a medical malpractice action to put a settlement agreement on the record in the moments before the jury read its verdict, as well as the defense counsel's failure to acknowledge acceptance of the deal on the record, have resulted in the invalidation of the agreement. Instead, the jury's award of a $1.45 million verdict -- or nearly 10 times the amount the parties agreed to -- must stand, a unanimous panel has ruled.

NYLJ: WhichDraft

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The New York Law Journal - Webwatch
The document assembly site WhichDraft enables automatic assembly of contracts and other legal documents. Users start by finding the type of document they want and then fill them out by answering a series of simple questions. The site provides its own collection of documents and also allows users to post documents. WhichDraft also allows lawyers to upload their own documents and build their own sets of questions and answers for completing them. Users can keep these documents private or opt to share them

Google Chrome for Mac and Linux, and extensions on Windows and Linux betas

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You can now use Google Chrome on Mac and Linux, in beta. In addition,
if you're on the beta version of Google Chrome on Windows or Linux,
you can now try out any of 1000+ extensions to add more features and
functionality to the browser.

Google: Real-time search results

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Now you can access comprehensive real-time search results from blogs,
social networks, news and the web. When relevant real-time information
is available, a new universal search feature will appear with a live
stream of the freshest web content. Clicking on the "Latest Results"
link will take you to a filtered full page of results. You can also
filter to see only short-form "Updates" from Twitter, FriendFeed,, Jaiku and TWiT Army. We also announced new agreements with
Facebook and MySpace, and are working to incorporate public content
from those services in the feature. You can also see what's happening
on the web by checking out the new Hot Topics on Google Trends.

Xyggy Legal - Beta

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Xyggy Homepage

Xyggy’s paradigm for search is based on the fundamental idea that search should be item-based not just text-based. Just start typing in the name of a case >>

Xyggy Legal - Beta

Cases covered include:
United States Supreme Court:
United States Reporter (U.S.): 1 - 544
United States Circuit Courts of Appeal:
Federal Reporter, Second Series (F.2d): 178 - 999
Federal Reporter, Third Series (F.3d): 1 - 491
Case coverage is incomplete for recent years and Xyggy will endeavor to complete the collection in the future. Till then the site is at beta status.

Land Use Prof Blog: White on Shame, Fear, and the Social Management of the Housing Crisis

Brent T. White (Arizona) has posted Underwater and Not Walking Away: Shame, Fear and the Social Management of the Housing Crisis.  The abstract:

Despite reports that homeowners are increasingly “walking away” from their mortgages, most homeowners continue to make their payments even when they are significantly underwater. This article suggests that most homeowners choose not to strategically default as a result of two emotional forces: 1) the desire to avoid the shame and guilt of foreclosure; and 2) exaggerated anxiety over foreclosure’s perceived consequences. Moreover, these emotional constraints are actively cultivated by the government and other social control agents in order to encourage homeowners to follow social and moral norms related to the honoring of financial obligations - and to ignore market and legal norms under which strategic default might be both viable and the wisest financial decision. Norms governing homeowner behavior stand in sharp contrast to norms governing lenders, who seek to maximize profits or minimize losses irrespective of concerns of morality or social responsibility. This norm asymmetry leads to distributional inequalities in which individual homeowners shoulder a disproportionate burden from the housing collapse.


Download the entire article here.

AccuHolidays: Just click and listen to great holiday music

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AccuHolidays is one of the Internet's leading all-Christmas-music radio station, featuring dozens of channels of holiday tunes — rock, pop, jazz, country, R&B, classical, and more. And it's free! Just click any of the images at left of the page to start listening.

Jing 2.2.9337

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Jing is a screen capture program with a few novel differences. Like many screen capture programs it features a capture field that allows users to easily define what they wish to incorporate into each individual "capture". Visitors can also use the software to collaborate on a design project by sharing visual materials and even instruct family members on how to use different applications and programs. There is also a paid version of Jing available for $15 which gives users the ability to record directly from their webcam. This version is compatible with computers running Windows XP or Vista or Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later

From The Scout Report, Copyright Internet Scout Project 1994-2009.

Solo By Choice from Carolyn Elefant

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Noted lawyer/author and nationally recognized law blogger ( Carolyn Elefant works to promote the benefits of solo and small firm practice as well as improving the reputation of solos within the legal profession. She has graciously provided the following excerpts from Solo By Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You Always Want to Be for NYSBA members.

Dealing With Clients (PDF)

Growing Your Practice (PDF)

Legal Marketing Overview (PDF)

The full version of Solo By Choice: How to Be the Lawyer You Always Want to Be is available from Lawyer Avenue Press at

From the NYSBA Real Property Law Section:

Enactment of
New Mortgage Foreclosure Legislation

The New York State Legislature has passed and Governor Patterson has signed Program Bill No. 46 to significantly expand the scope of the mortgage foreclosure legislation enacted in 2008 that pertained to subprime loans.

Also known as S66007/and A40007, the legislation, which takes effect immediately, makes many important changes in the law and, most importantly, expands the use of early mandatory settlement conferences to include all home loans.

At the bottom of this message is a link to a copy of the Bill, the Sponsors' Memorandum and the Governor's message. Here are some of the major points covered by the legislation:

Expands the 90-day pre-foreclosure notice currently sent for subprime loans to include all home loans, including loans on cooperative apartments.

Requires lenders who serve a 90-day notice on a homeowner to make, within three days of that service, a regulatory filing with the Banking Department with specified information to allow the Banking Department and the Division of Housing and Community Renewal to provide targeted assistance to distressed homeowners during the pre-foreclosure period and closely monitor foreclosure statistics

Expands the scope of early mandatory settlement conferences to include borrowers of all home loans and not just borrowers with subprime loans and requires both plaintiffs and defendants to negotiate in good faith to reach a mutually agreeable resolution, including a loan modification, if possible

Establishes protections for tenants in foreclosed properties by requiring that they receive written notification of the foreclosure action and the change in ownership of the property, and be permitted to remain in their home for the remainder of their lease term or 90 days, whichever is longer, provided that such lease requires the payment of rent that is not substantially less than fair market rent

Requires plaintiffs in a foreclosure action who obtain a judgment of foreclosure and sale to maintain the foreclosed property so that it does not pose a blight or nuisance, or create a blighting influence on neighboring properties -- if the property is occupied by a tenant, the plaintiff must also maintain the property in a safe and habitable condition

Prevents brokers who perform distressed property consulting services from accepting upfront fees

Permits the court to award reasonable attorneys' fees to a prevailing borrower in a foreclosure action

This is a brief summary of the major points covered by the legislation and many of you will want to read the entire Bill.

This legislative update was prepared by Steve Alden, Rebecca Case Grammatico and Harry Meyer.

To view/download, the Bill, the Sponsors' Memorandum and the Governor's message, go to

Joel Sachs
Section Chair

Judicial Tardiness Can Trigger Discipline, Ruling Concludes

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The New York Law Journal - Judicial Tardiness Can Trigger Discipline, Ruling Concludes

Ruling on a commission recommendation to admonish Kingston City Court Judge James B. Gilpatric for his delays in making rulings from 2004 to 2008, the Court said that "a judge's failure to promptly dispose of pending matters is primarily a matter for administrative correction" within the court system.

"But after nearly twenty years of experience with Greenfield, we think it is not workable to exclude completely the possibility of more formal discipline for such behavior, in cases where the delays are lengthy and without valid excuse," the judges held in a per curiam ruling in Matter of Gilpatric, 196.

Read entire article by Joel Stashenko.

Pandora--Holiday Pre-Mixed Stations

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Want to try a pre-mixed holiday station? Here are a few stations created by The Pandora team. Enjoy, and Happy Holidays!

Listen to Classical Christmas Radio
Listen to Rockin' Holidays Radio
Listen to Swingin' Christmas
Listen to Hanukkah Radio
Listen to Jazz Holidays Radio

Thunderbird 3.0

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Thunderbird - It’s All Yours

Key new features in this release include:

Tabbed Email: Provides the ability view individual emails and folders in tabs, and web pages via add-ons in tabs so users can quickly jump between them, just as one manages web pages in Mozilla's Firefox. Folder tabs are remembered, so Thunderbird starts up pre-configured and personalized to each user.
Filtered Search: Designed with search in mind, the new search interface in Thunderbird 3 contains filtering and timeline tools to help users quickly and accurately pin-point the exact email by word matches, correspondents or even attachment types at the moment they need it, all based on analysis of the user's own emails.
Message Archive: Archiving mail moves email from the inbox into the new archive folder system, de-cluttering the inbox while at the same time enabling users to find email months or years from now.
One-click Address Book: A very quick and easy way to add people to an address book, by simply clicking on the star icon in the messages received from new correspondents.
New Mail Account Setup Wizard: Getting started with Thunderbird 3 is faster than ever with the new account set-up wizard that requires simple information, like email addresses and passwords to get going instead of a user's IMAP, SMTP, SSL/TLS settings.
Smart Folders: Combines individual mailboxes to help manage multiple email accounts in one spot. For example, by selecting the Inbox, users can view all the incoming emails from all their different accounts without having to go to each email account separately.
Add-ons Manager: The new add-ons manager can help users find, download, and install hundreds of add-ons enabling them to customize Thunderbird 3 and add functionality or change the appearance.
Better Integration with Gmail: Now integrates with international versions of Gmail and Gmail's special folders such as sent and trash.
Better Integration with Windows and Mac OS X: Updated look and feel, improved import tools, search integration, and address book support for Windows 7, Vista and Mac OS X Snow Leopard.
Gecko 1.9.1 Engine: The same Web page rendering engine and graphics infrastructure used in Firefox, provides the latest Web Standards support and security enhancements.
Automated Updates: Thunderbird's update system notifies users when a security update is available and automates the download and installation process to keep users safe.


Download for free here.

Draft Report on New York State's Juvenile Prisons

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Draft Report on New York State's Juvenile Prisons - The New York Times

Original Document (PDF)
A draft report by a New York state task force shines a harsh light on the problems in the state's prisons for juvenile offenders. The problems are so acute that the state agency overseeing the prisons has asked New York. Family Court judges not to send youths to any of them unless they are a significant risk to public safety, recommending alternatives, like therapeutic foster care. Related Article

NYTIMES: For Judges on Facebook, Friendship Has Limits

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Facebook Friendship? It’s Complicated for Judges and Lawyers -

Published: December 10, 2009
Judges and lawyers in Florida can no longer be Facebook friends.

In a recent opinion, the state’s Judicial Ethics Advisory Committee decided it was time to set limits on judicial behavior online. When judges “friend” lawyers who may appear before them, the committee said, it creates the appearance of a conflict of interest, since it “reasonably conveys to others the impression that these lawyer ‘friends’ are in a special position to influence the judge.”


Read entire article.

NYTIMES: David Pogue Reviews the Nook

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State of the Art - Barnes and Noble’s Nook Reader Fails to Live Up to Promises -


So O.K., the Nook is a mess, clearly rushed out the door in hopes of stealing some of the Kindle’s holiday cheer. “We want to optimize everything quite a bit,” a product manager concedes. The first of many software fixes, B&N says, will arrive wirelessly on Nooks next week. The company also says that it’s working to bring the selection and pricing of its e-book catalog more in line with Amazon’s.

Now, the Nook may have some hardware advantages — a removable battery, a memory-card slot and (because of narrower plastic margins) a slightly trimmer shape — but the Kindle is still a better machine. It’s faster, thinner, lighter and much easier to figure out. Its battery lasts more than three times as long (seven days versus two).

Read entire review here.


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Members of the bar are cordially invited to attend a CLE program, and the Annual Meeting and Dinner of the NDNY Federal Court Bar Association, at The Albany Marriott this Thursday, December 10, 2009.

11:00 a.m. Complimentary Lunch Buffet
12:00 p.m. CLE Program* - "Speaking to Win: Effective Speaking for Lawyers" (presented by Steven D. Stark, Esq.)
4:30 p.m. Annual Meeting of the NDNY-FCBA
6:30 p.m. Annual Dinner

Presentation of the James R. Duane Award to the Honorable James P. King. The award, named in honor of the Honorable James R. Duane, the first Judge of the United States District Court for the District of New York, who also served as a delegate to the Continental Congress, a New York state senator and the Mayor of New York, will be bestowed on the Honorable James P. King. Judge King has had over 40 years of distinguished public service at the national and state level with the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government.

Distinguished Guest & Speaker - The Honorable Dennis Jacobs. Judge Jacobs is the Chief Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He became Chief Judge on October 1, 2006. Since 1997, Judge Jacobs has been a member of the Committee on Judicial Resources of the Judicial Conference of the United States, and he has chaired that committee since 1999.

The CLE program is complimentary to current NDNY-FCBA members (i.e., attorneys who join or renew prior to, or on the day of, the event).

Pre-registration is required. Please visit for details and registration information.

Thank you for supporting the NDNY-FCBA.

Lawrence K. Baerman
Clerk - USDC
Northern District of New York

Google Scholar-Legal Acknowledges Pioneers

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Official Google Blog: Finding the laws that govern us

Google acknowledges the work of several pioneers, who have worked on making it possible for an average citizen to educate herself about the laws of the land: Tom Bruce (Cornell LII), Jerry Dupont (LLMC), Graham Greenleaf and Andrew Mowbray (AustLII), Carl Malamud (Public.Resource.Org), Daniel Poulin (LexUM), Tim Stanley (Justia), Joe Ury (BAILII), Tim Wu (AltLaw) and many others. It is an honor to follow in their footsteps. We would also like to acknowledge the judges who have built this cathedral of justice brick by brick and have tried to make it accessible to the rest of us. We hope Google Scholar will help all of us stand on the shoulders of these giants.


Google Scholar's searchable Legal Opinions and Journals with citation coverage--all for free is still the big legal research news of the year.

Kindle and Beyond-"A Holiday Guide to E-Readers" from the NYTIMES

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A Holiday Guide to E-Readers -

This year, new players have entered the e-reader space, while some familiar ones have hedged their bets by introducing new devices. Among Amazon’s eager competitors are Barnes & Noble, Sony, Plastic Logic, IREX Technologies and even Disney.

A new law that went into effect Nov. 6 extends the first-time homebuyer credit five months and expands the eligibility requirements for purchasers. The Worker, Homeownership, and Business Assistance Act of 2009 extends the deadline for qualifying home purchases from Nov. 30, 2009, to April 30, 2010. Additionally, if a buyer enters into a binding contract by April 30, 2010, the buyer has until June 30, 2010, to settle on the purchase.

IRS YouTube Video
New Homebuyer Credit, November 2009

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This page is an archive of entries from December 2009 listed from newest to oldest.

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