December 2011 Archives

Sari Helps Santa

| No Comments

Enhanced by Zemanta

Send a Personalized Phone Call from Santa - brought to you by Gmail

| No Comments

English: Photo of Jonathan G. Meath portraying...

Image via Wikipedia

Last year, Santa got his very own Google Voice number, and people around the U.S. received a special personalized holiday phone call from Santa Claus.

This year, Santa wants you to reach out to him (after all, reindeer are only so-so conversationalists). If you or your family members have a special request for Santa, you can call him right from Gmail* and leave him a message at his Google Voice number: 855-34-SANTA. Santa won't be able to return messages himself--it's a busy time of year for him--but he's promised to keep us up to date on happenings in the North Pole day by day. 

You also can create and send a unique, customized phone call from Santa to anyone you know, from your nieces and nephews to old college friends, over the phone (to U.S. numbers only). Listen to a sample phone call, and send a message of your own from

*Calls from Gmail are free for U.S. and Canadian users, but will cost people outside those areas $.01/minute (plus any applicable VATs).
Enhanced by Zemanta

IRS Releases Guidance on Foreign Financial Asset Reporting

| No Comments

The Internal Revenue Service in coming days will release a new information reporting form that taxpayers will use starting this coming tax filing season to report specified foreign financial assets for tax year 2011. Temporary regulations have been issued for IRC 6038D reporting legislated by the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). U.S. taxpayers will file Form 8938 with their individual income tax returns starting this coming tax filing season if their specified foreign financial assets exceed certain thresholds.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Ten essential classes of websites for lawyers « Lawyers USA Online

| No Comments

Jim Calloway has been around for awhile, so when he says these are ten (10) web sites lawyers should know about, smart practitioners should pay attention. He covers 10 essential websites (or classes of websites) for lawyers without referencing Google or some of the more obvious sites.

FindLaw Legal News App

| No Comments


With the FindLaw Legal News App you can access legal news and information any time of day. 

Need a lawyer? They've got that too with their online lawyer directory at your fingertips.

iPhone Screenshots

iPhone Screenshot 1
iPhone Screenshot 2
iPhone Screenshot 3

$2.3 mil verdict/What I used in the courtroom (longish)

| No Comments
    Peter Zavaletta <> Dec 14 03:38AM -0600  

    Last week, I posted that I was blessed to have received a $2.3 million jury verdict in a breach of contract case in Cameron County, Texas. As a followup, on December 13, the Judge entered Final Judgment on the verdict. With pre-judgment interest, the Judgment totals north of $2.66 mil. The per diem post-judgment interest alone is $877. 
    Some asked what apps, and technology I used in the trial. 
    Here goes, in the hopes it will help others: 
    My client is a small produce company in South Texas, who sold over 37,000 20lb boxes of grape tomatoes to Defendant1 through a broker, Defendant 2 (To give some perspective, you would need 21 18 wheelers to haul that number of boxes). The suit was originally filed as a suit on sworn account for the nearly $500,000 owing on the 20 invoices. With the passage of time, however, my client's damages increased - my client lost multiple planting seasons due to lack of money, because they weren't being paid. (Literally their seed money). The jury returned a unanimous verdict finding Defendant 1 had failed to comply with the agreements to purchase the grape tomatoes, and was negligent. Jury awarded $2,332,596.44 in damages for the failure to comply, and awarded the same amount for the negligence. 
    I took about 11 depositions in the case, and did my own video using a Canon Vixia HD camcorder (mini-DV), the Canon microphone accessory, and tripod. All videotapes were loaded into iMovie. 11 in HD. All transcripts were loaded into Clarity Legal's DepoSmart
    The case was document heavy also, so all documents were scanned and Bates-numbered, and easily called up on my iPad 2 or MacBook Air. In Numbers for the Mac, I had created a "Master Database" which contained the Bates-Numbers, Description of the document, when it was served, etc. As an aside, couple of times during trial, defense counsel tried to object to a particular exhibit on the grounds that I hadn't produced it. The judge looked at me, I checked that database on the MacBook Air, told him we had produced it, gave him the date of production, and what I produced it in response to (2nd Request for production for instance). Judge overruled objection. Defense counsel quit making those types of objections. Those types of objections ended pretty quickly. 
    DepoSmart was absolutely critical to the cross-examination of Defendant 1 and its employees. I had taken their depositions, imported the transcripts into DepoSmart, created issues, and annotated the transcripts. As trial approached, I printed hard copies of Annotation reports, using the Annotation List feature. I used the Annotation reports to prepare each witness' cross-examination. I organized the cross-examination generally around the issues I had created in DepoSmart, and used Word to create an outline, inserting a Page break after each outline/issue topic. Bullet points within each outline topic incorporated the testimony from the annotation report, complete with Page/Line reference. So when the question was asked at trial, and the defendant denied saying that, I had the precise page/line reference ready to impeach them with their prior testimony. 2 employees from Defendant 1 testified live at trial, and both were impeached a total of about 10-15 times with their previous testimony. Without DepoSmart, that would have been much more difficult, and far more time-consuming to do. With DepoSmart, you can easily slice up a long transcript into manageable pieces, and impeachment of a witness with their prior testimony, especially multiple times of the same witness, probably caused the jury to disregard that witness' entire courtroom testimony. 
    As for the technology, I used a combination of old school and new school. Before trial, I put all of the Exhibits I intended to introduce at trial in a large 3 ring binder, with the numbered tabs corresponding to my Exhibit number. For instance, Tab 1 was Exhibit 1. I took that binder to FedEx Office/Kinko's and had them make 2 other binders exactly the same, one for the Judge, so he could follow along, and one for the Witness, which doubled as the official court set, which went with the jury during their deliberations.
    As for new school, I had a new 13" MacBook Air at my desk at all times. I created a folder, and moved PDF's of all of my Exhibits into that folder so that, using Spotlight (in the Mac OS), I could type in "Plaintiff Exhibit 1," and it would appear in Adobe Acrobat. I could project that exhibit onto the wall so the jury could follow along as the witness was referring to the hard copy in the witness binder. I also gave the witness a laser pointer if they were referring to the projected exhibit, so the jury could follow along. 
    Occasionally, during trial, I would use the Index feature of DepoSmart to find a word or two in a transcript that would instantly lead me to the Page/Line of testimony that I was looking for. 
    My projector was an older Epson VGA style. (Next up will be a new projector with HDMI so I can go wireless with Apple TV2 & Airplay). 
    I bought a 25' super thin VGA cable, to connect my MacBook Air, or iPad 2 to the projector. With that cable, I could control the presentation from counsel table, instead of being tethered to the projector. I had seen several folks recommend that, and I picked one up off the internet (VPI?) for about $25 shipped. Worked great. 
    I used the Air to play video depositions of witnesses, which I had previously edited down in iMovie, or to project Exhibits as previously mentioned, or to project Keynote slides of certain key information. I used Keynote slides like some lawyers use paper flip charts during trial. That allowed the jury to write down in their notepads what was on the slide. (the judge had earlier granted my pretrial motion to allow each juror to take notes, which the defense opposed). 
    I also used an iPad 2 during trial and during closing argument. Before trial, I loaded the same folder of Exhibits into the TrialPad app. During trial, I would use TrialPad to project an exhibit or a picture. I used TrialPad's impressive call-out tool a couple of times as well. 
    I ran Keynote off the iPad during closing argument to show about 4-5 slides, mainly organized around the jury questions in the Court's charge. One of the slides, for instance, entitled "For Jury Questions 2a, 2b, and 4a, 4b" would have a bullet point - See Exhibits 71, 72. It was nice to see during my close the jurors write down what was on the slide, and that probably helped in their deliberations. After a 6 day trial, they needed only three hours to return their verdict. 
    But I knew that in closing argument I wanted to be able to play parts of a witness' testimony, so I brought my 24" Apple LED Display from my office, put it on the witness stand, and connected my Air to it. I had about 6 video clips, which had earlier been played or used during the trial. And when I got to that part of my close, I would step over to the Air, double-click the QT movie of the testimony, and play it for the jury through the Display speakers, which were being picked up by the in-courtroom PA. I think it added to the presentation, because I was able to do more than just tell the jury what was said, I was able to let them see and hear what the witness had said. 
    That is what worked for me, and of course was informed by the collective wisdom of this list that I have benefitted from over the past 3-4 years. I'm happy to be able to give back a portion of what I have received. 
    Kindest regards, 
    Emailed from the MacBook Pro of: 
    Peter Zavaletta 
    603 E. St. Charles St. 
    Brownsville, Tx 78520 
    T 956.546.5567 
    F 956.541.2205
    email & iChat:

Enhanced by Zemanta

iPad tip: transcripts in trial - iPhone J.D.

| No Comments
Jeff Richardson:  "My favorite tool for viewing and annotating PDF files is GoodReader, the best $5 an attorney can spend on an iPad app.  The easiest way to get the transcripts to GoodReader on your iPad is to use DropBox, a free service that allows you to create a folder on your computer, and any file you put in the DropBox is synced to a private space in the cloud.  You can set GoodReader to sync with your DropBox folders.  Thus, you can create a folder called "Smith v Jones Transcripts" in your DropBox, drag your searchable, full-page PDF files into that folder, and then in seconds the file will be in your DropBox.  In the GoodReader app, you can tap the sync button to quickly download all new files from your DropBox to the iPad. .."


Read this excellent, step-by-step, "how-to" article, with graphics, in full here.

Enhanced by Zemanta

New York Health Access / News

| No Comments

04 Nov, 2011
It's not too late to take steps NOW, in the last months of 2011, to the EPIC program will be drastically cut back.  Read about these changes here.   This article gives tips to take steps NOW, in the remainder of 2011, to prevent clients from being unable to pay for drugs in...

More health-related news and resources from Empire Justice Center's New York Health Access.

Enhanced by Zemanta

App Store - Picture It Settled

| No Comments

Picture It Settled™ Lite helps you visualize the negotiation dance and calculate your next steps.

Settlement talks finally break out in your contentious case. But the pace of negotiations seems slow. You're wondering if the dots will ever connect. Well, now there's an app that will let you see progress towards a deal.

Picture It Settled™ has developed enterprise software to help litigants analyze their positions and develop successful negotiation strategies using patent-pending neural networks crawling over thousands of cases and settlement negotiations.

Some of that intelligence has been made available in this free app. Picture It Settled™ Lite tracks the dollar moves in negotiation. But, perhaps more importantly, it also tracks the time interval between offers. The app then takes that offer history and extrapolates it out in both dollars and time to help the parties picture whether and when they might reach a deal. The actual offers are connected by solid lines and the extrapolations are dotted.

The app also helps you calculate future offers based upon the concession rates of both parties. You may want to match your last move in the next round. The app will make that calculation based on your dollar move. If you'd rather move by the same percentage, the app will calculate that for you too.

If you'd rather match your opponent's move, the app will calculate your move based upon your opponent's dollar or percentage concession. Just click the other party box at the top and the app runs the same calculations based upon your opponent's moves.

If you have several negotiations going on at the same time, the app will keep track of each one separately.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Paperless Office

| No Comments


The decision to go paperless is a no-brainer, but many lawyers who want to leave paper (mostly) behind just don't know where to start. This list of essentials includes everything you need to get started.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Refusal to Hear Case Lets Stand City Ban on Services in Schools-NYLJ

| No Comments
The legal controversy over the use of New York City public schools for weekend religious services appears to have come to an end after 16 years with the refusal of the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case.

Read the church's application for review by the U.S. Supreme Court andthe city's opposition.

The Court yesterday denied certiorari inThe Bronx Household of Faith v. Board of Education of the City of New York, 11-386, giving the city a victory on a Board of Education policy barring worship services in schools.

Read entire article by Mark Hamblett here. (Requires registration)

Enhanced by Zemanta

Flipboard -- Now available on iPhone

| No Comments

Image representing Flipboard as depicted in Cr...

Image via CrunchBase

The quintessential iPad app is finally available for iPhone.  For those who have suffered through several attempts at publishing or aggregating your own newspaper/magazine and been disappointed, look no more.  Flipboard is the real deal.  It provides free links to a variety of sources, including domestic and foreign newspapers, ezines, and other content providers.  Sign up for a free Flipboard account and integrate your Twitter, FaceBook, and Linkedin streams for a start.

Flipboard for iPhone has most of the features of its iPad namesake.  It doesn't do horizontal mode; but it looks great in portrait and makes efficient use of the screen space available to it.  

The demand has been very heavy.  The servers melted down after the first few hours; but they are back up now.  If you have Flipboard on your iPad, create your account there first, then download the free iPhone version from the app store.  You can then sync your accounts with two clicks, three if you want to use your photo from Twitter or FB.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Anthony V. Cardona, Longtime Third Dept. Presiding Justice, Dies-NYLJ

| No Comments
Anthony V. Cardona, the presiding justice in the Albany-based Third Department since 1995, 
died Sunday evening of cancer. He was 70. (Full obituary by Joel Stashenko)

Administrative duties had been handed over to Justice Thomas E. Mercure in late January (NYLJ, Feb. 1) 

when Justice Cardona was hospitalized. He underwent surgery on Jan. 23. He died in St. Peter's Hospital in Albany.

Justice Cardona had announced his intention to retire at the end of 2011.

He was appointed presiding justice by Governor Mario M. Cuomo in 1994 and reappointed by George E. Pataki in 2005.


Judge Cherished Opinions Standing Up for the 'Little Guy'

In In re Golden, 56 AD3d 1109 (2008), Justice Cardona concluded that both common law and state Human Services Law 

permit transgendered individuals to legally assume a new name to reflect their new identification; i

People v. Pauly, 21 AD3d 595 (2005), he rejected constitutional challenges to the retroactive application of Rockefeller drug law reforms;

 and in Auto. Ins. Co. of Hartford v. Cook, 21 AD3d 1155 (2001), in dissent, 

he said an insurer has a duty to defend a policyholder who killed an intruder in self-defense.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Property Tax Cap Filing Requirements

| No Comments

Local governments should be aware that they are required to file certain data with the Office of the State Comptroller under the new Property Tax Cap Law prior to the adoption of their annual budgets - even if they have overridden the cap by local law or resolution. For many municipalities, whose fiscal years are the same as the calendar year, this deadline is approaching soon. OSC is committed to helping local government officials comply with the law, and has created a website to guide you through its complexities. If you need assistance, please visit and click the "Real Property Tax Cap Information" link, or call our office at (518) 473-0006.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Drilling Down: Archive of Oil and Gas Leases - Document -

| No Comments

The New York Times has collected more than 111,000 oil and gas leases and related documents through open records requests made to more than six dozen counties with rich natural gas prospects. Over 100,000 of the documents in the archive are from Tarrant County, Tex., roughly 3,200 are from New York, and the remainder are from states including Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. Related Article »

Enhanced by Zemanta

Changes to Federal Court Rules Take Effect-US Court News

| No Comments

Amendments to the Federal Rules of Appellate, Bankruptcy, Criminal Procedure, and Evidence took effect December 1, 2011.

Congress took no action after the changes were approved by Supreme Court more than seven months earlier. That means new amendments to these rules are now in effect:

  • Appellate Rules 4 and 40
  • Bankruptcy Rules 2003, 2019, 3001, 4004, and 6003.
  • Criminal Rules 1, 3, 4, 6, 9, 32, 40, 41, 43, and 49.
  • Evidence Rules 101-1103.

In addition, new Bankruptcy Rules 1004.2 and 3002.1 are in effect, as well as new Criminal Rule 4.1.

The text of the amended rules and extensive supporting documents is available.

In New York, for anything other than a first-degree felony sexual assault occurring after 2006, the statute of limitations ("SOL") cuts off prosecution when the victim is 23, at the latest.  For civil claims, too, a victim would have had to file his suit by age 23 at the very latest, and likely much earlier than that. 

Until 2002, Pennsylvania was as bad as New York regarding child sexual abuse SOLs.  Once you turned 20, you were shut out of court.  But in August 2002, the state extended the civil SOL to the victim's 30th birthday.  Then, in 2005, it extended the criminal SOL to the victim's 50th birthday.  Neither extension, however, was retroactive, which means that if someone turned 20 before August 2002, he or she would not get the benefit of the 10-year civil extension without putting forward a legal theory alleging misrepresentation, fraud, or conspiracy.


This simple comparison of child sexual abuse SOLs in two contiguous states, New York and Pennsylvania, should give readers an idea of the confusion and complexity when we widen the lens to take in all 50 states.

I (Hamilton) have a website,, for which I regularly update a 50-state survey of criminal and civil SOLs for child sexual abuse.  It is a Herculean task that takes a large team of students to accomplish.  Not only must the law in 50 states be kept current, but updates are constantly occurring, as the law is in constant flux.

Whatever limitation is set in a particular state, eventually a case of heinous abuse is discovered that is time-barred--leading to a grave injustice.  Then the state extends the SOL so the next equally heinous case will be covered.  But unless the SOLs are eliminated, there will always be the next awful case.


Enhanced by Zemanta

Your Android Phone Is Secretly Recording Everything You Do (Updated)-Gizmodo

| No Comments

If you have any decently modern Android phone, everything you do is being recorded by hidden software lurking inside. It even circumvents web encryption and grabs everything--including your passwords and Google queries.

Worse: it's the handset manufacturers and the carriers who--in the name of "making your user experience better"--install this software without any way for you to opt-out. This video, recorded by 25-year-old Android developer Trevor Eckhart, shows how it works. This is bad. Really bad.

Update 1: Nokia claims they don't use Carrier IQ's spyware.
Update 2: Hackers have found Carrier IQ in Apple iPhone, but only works in diagnostic mode--which is off by default--and only logs technical data.


Read entire article and see the video by clicking the first link below:

Enhanced by Zemanta

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2011 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2011 is the previous archive.

January 2012 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Monthly Archives


Powered by Movable Type 5.11