Divorce Law

Voulez vous coucher avec moi ce soir? You’d think that when women ask that question of men in France, they’d be receptive. In fact, in my experience, French men are overly amorous. When I was a French exchange student at the ripe old age of 15, an older guy approached me at a club and tried to woo me with this line: “Did you know zat Frenche men make ze best loveurs?” I didn’t care to find out.

Well, times have changed, because apparently the French aren’t such great lovers anymore. A 2010 poll taken by the French Institute of Public Opinion found that 76% of people surveyed were having relationship problems due to a poor sex life. And it seems that a poor sex life was what brought about a divorce between Jean-Louis B. and Monique, a middle-aged couple in the birthplace of the language of love.

But after enduring 21 years of a near sexless marriage, a divorce was simply not enough for Monique. Mrs. B. wanted to be compensated for the lack of sexual rendezvous with her ex-husband, so she sued him for it….

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[A] rush to open the practice of law to unschooled, unregulated nonlawyers is not the solution [to the justice gap]. This would cause grave harm to clients. Even matters that appear simple, such as uncontested divorces, involve myriad legal rights and responsibilities. If the case is not handled by a professional with appropriate legal training, a person can suffer serious long-term consequences affecting loved ones or financial security.

William T. “Bill” Robinson III, president of the American Bar Association (ABA), in a letter to the editor of the New York Times. Robinson’s letter responds to an NYT staff editorial arguing that “allow[ing] nonlawyers into the mix” could help address the justice gap, i.e., low-income Americans’ need for legal services.

Roy Lee Conger Jr.

You take my … money you better get a federal law agency like the F.B.I. on the case. You will hear about me and read about me. I promise that.

Roy Lee Conger Jr., complaining about a lien placed on one of his bank accounts after his divorce train wreck. Conger had been involved in child support proceedings with his ex-wife, and his motion to reduce payments was denied earlier this month.

This morning, Conger, a truck driver, tried to ram his big rig into the Madison County Courthouse. The 18-wheeler got stuck on the courthouse steps.

Madeline Layla Samaan-Fay, RIP

I think he did the right thing. I’m proud of my brother and now he’s in a better place. He’s at peace. His daughter’s at peace. She’ll have one name now, and we can move on. And hopefully the court will learn a little thing about justice.

Nabil Samaan, a California attorney, commenting on the apparent murder-suicide of niece Madeline Layla Samaan-Fay and brother Mourad “Moni” Samaan. Moni had been in an epic custody battle with ex-wife Marcia Fay, a California deputy attorney general.

Reema Bajaj wins the race to the courthouse.

Today we bring you two tales of Chicago-area lawyers accused of naughtiness. Chicago is a beautiful city in the summer, but some of its attorneys are facing ugly allegations.

Ladies first. What’s going on with Reema Bajaj, the rather attractive Illinois lawyer accused of prostitution? We’ve mentioned Bajaj here and there over the past few weeks, but we haven’t had hard news about her since June. Is her case any closer to resolution?

Apparently so. A plea deal is near, according to the Daily Chronicle, and Bajaj is scheduled back in court on August 31. As you may recall, Reema Bajaj has been charged with two misdemeanors and one felony. If she pleads guilty to just a misdemeanor, can she keep her Illinois law license? Readers, please enlighten us.

Let’s hear more about Reema from one reader who knows her personally — don’t worry, he’s not a customer — and then learn about another twentysomething Chicago lawyer accused of more-serious criminal conduct….

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Ask this man for tips on romantic one-liners.

Google me.

Henry Silverman, billionaire and former CEO of Cendant Corporation, upon meeting yoga instructor Karen Hader, who is now his fiancée.

(A New York judge, Laura Drager, recently barred Silverman from using scientific evidence to prove his “innate genius” in court, in litigation against his ex-wife, Nancy Silverman. A creative way to try to get around the lack of a prenuptial agreement, don’t you think?)

Sad fact of the day: about fifty percent of marriages in America end in divorce. Of course, many of you already knew that, because you’re divorced yourself, the child of divorced parents, or a divorce attorney who is rolling around in money. But however you slice it, some of the best divorce train wreck stories are born of child custody battles.

Parents going through a divorce are willing to fight over anything when it comes to the custody of their children (“How dare you feed little Suzie pasta that isn’t organic and gluten-free?!”). Even when a divorce is finalized, sometimes parents are still willing to pull the trigger on any issues that arise. In some cases, though, custody modifications are warranted.

And in this case, an Oregon mother is actually fighting to keep another woman from pulling the trigger on her teenage sons, because she’s done it before….

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Dads, please don't set yourselves on fire.

I’ve said before that the word “literally” is overused and misused in our culture. I’m guilty of it, and so are many others. It’s not a big deal, except for the fact that when you really need the word, its meaning has been diminished.

But guys, today we have a story about a man who literally and successfully set himself on fire on the courthouse steps and died. To quote a tipster: “If burning yourself alive to protest the court system isn’t sensational enough to merit a mention on ATL, I don’t know what is.”

No doubt.

But why self-immolation? Well, let’s take a look at the man’s 10,000 word suicide note….

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If you already know what I’m talking about, I’m sorry — I don’t have very much to add. The deposition is so damn short, the transcript doesn’t contain case-identifying information, and the pdf has been stripped of its metadata. Really, I only know what you know: a hilarious deposition took place earlier this month.

For those who are in the loop, there’s been this deposition making the rounds on various lawyer listserves. From what we can tell, it’s a real deposition in what appears to be a divorce or some other type of family-law proceeding. The deponent is named Kevin Phillip Gartner; of all the Kevin Gartners in Google, we can’t be sure of which one. The lawyer taking the deposition appears to be Denise Watson, a Jacksonville area lawyer. When I tried to contact her, I was told she is “unavailable, this week.” The lawyer valiantly trying to represent Kevin Gartner and defend the deposition is known only as “Mr. Dorsey.”

That’s all I got: a name, a no-comment, and the mysterious Mr. Dorsey. Normally, that wouldn’t be enough for a full post. But you’re going to want to see the depo transcript for yourself….

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Matt Kluger

* Baker & McKenzie is being sued for $600 million. First they were the inspiration for Philadelphia. Then they gave me a cold offer. Now this? Horrific mistakes, all. [Sports Money / Forbes]

* Meanwhile, Bingham McCutchen is preemptively suing Frank McCourt for letting them screw him over so badly. [Los Angeles Times]

* The middleman in the Matthew Kluger brouhaha, Kenneth Robinson, has pleaded guilty to securities fraud charges. No word yet on whether he is a gay dad. [Bloomberg]

* The Ninth Circuit ruled that the most controversial parts of the Arizona immigration law will remain blocked. [Washington Post]

* A man was fired from his job as a part-time urine monitor because he was born a woman. He’s suing (with help from Gibson Dunn), but has already found new employment. As a package handler. [New York Times]

* Speaking of packages, this employment discrimination lawsuit filed against a Dallas law firm is struggling with penis ID. [ABA Journal]

* NFL owners and players have been ordered into mediation by a federal judge. Who gives a sh*t? It’s a great band, it’s a bad band. It’s like pizza, baby! [ESPN]

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