Monday, March 26, 2012

Buffalo Wings

Parker v. Parker, 2012 VT 20 

The bottom line here is that the statement: “That’s it! I’m moving to Buffalo!” is not enough to establish a real, substantial, and unanticipated change in circumstances for purposes of modifying parental rights and responsibilities.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

A Marriage of Lopsided Means

By Nicole Killoran

Molleur v. Molleur, 2012 VT 8.

Today’s opinion provides a glimpse into how the courts go about equitably divvying up marital property after a divorce; it also gives us a dirty peep into the private disputes between spouses that are inevitably aired during divorce proceedings.

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Payback

Doe v. Vermont Office of Health Access, 2012 VT 15.

For anyone new to reading appellate court decisions, the most striking feature is often the difference between the facts of the case and the actual issues under consideration.   Wild and tragic facts may belie a rather dry, abstract discussion of statutory insurance law.  First year law students often rail against the cold and heartless analysis of the court, which parses out the economic formulas in the dense, cold language that we associate with actuaries instead of expressing the outrage and mercy the students feel upon hearing the plaintiff’s story.

This response, of course, is neither fair nor reflective of what is going on in such cases.  The fact of the matter is that when a person suffers a catastrophic event in their lives the fallout is both severe and complicated.  To paraphrase Cormac McCarthy, calamitous events divide lives forever into the then and now.   Sorting out responsibility, indemnity, future medical expenses, and other collateral issues takes time, objectivity, and the application of regulatory systems designed if not for fairness, precisely, then consistency.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Faces of Justice

Once again, our blog is pleased to feature the work of Vermont Lawyer and Legal Historian Paul Gillies.  

Today, Paul has compiled a short movie featuring every available picture of the various  justices that have served on the Vermont Supreme Court.  

Throw out your gold teeth and pop up the corn.  You have never seen anything like this:

[Updated Note: below the fold is a complete list of all 131 justices and a plea from Paul]

Friday, March 9, 2012

What Are We Going to Request Today, Bain?

Bain v. Clark and Shriver, 2012 VT 14.

Vermont has recently experienced a quiet but consistent movement in the law of public records.  With little fanfare or horn touting, the Vermont General Assembly and the SCOV have been, over the past two years, widening and clarifying the reach of public records law and strengthening the reach and remedies available to parties seeking public records. 

Today’s case, if not one of the direct fruits of that work in the orchard, is at least a volunteer spring up as a byproduct of this tillage. 

Go Now

In re Chittenden Solid Waste District, 2012 VT 10 (mem.).

The first sentence of today’s case sounds an unmistakable tone of weariness. 

“This condemnation case was filed in July 1992, making it very, very old.” 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Large Pie—Hold the Arbitration

Unifirst Corp. v. Juniors’ Pizza, Inc., 2012 VT 13 (mem.).

In the practice of law, clients consistently rely on us to craft a course of action for them in a moment of panic and difficult circumstances. 

These are the dreaded 6 pm calls when we are entering our time for the day and thinking about returning to our loved ones or, in some cases, our families.  Just as you start to shut down the computer, the phone rings.  The client tells you her situation.  It is terrible.  Something should have been filed last week.  The client should have applied for a loan six weeks ago.  The other side should have been approached and talked off the ledge they are about make everyone jump off.